I know it’s odd to say, but had it not been for Madonna’s Sex book, I might not be married – at least not to the fabulous woman to whom I am married today. Back in 1992, when the Sex book came out, 50 bucks for a book was just too much to spend – even if it WAS Madonna. I was a poor college student and actually, was a bit on the outs with Madge at that point – having truly hated “This Used To Be My Playground” and been underwhelmed by “Erotica” as a kick-off single. I vowed that I would not be immediately purchasing Erotica when it was released and would certainly not be purchasing the Sex book because of its exorbitant price tag. Well, all it took was a clip of “Fever” and “Deeper & Deeper” on Entertainment Tonight and I was hooked. I had to go purchase the album the next day – which I did after class and spent most of the rest of the weekend drinking it in.
But no Sex book – although Jeff did buy it and I ultimately saw it thanks to him. And I was able to live without it for many years. Camille Paglia is, unfortunately, right – it has all the production values of a high school yearbook. We had all seen Madonna naked before, and while there are some absolutely fabulous pictures in it, most of them are not the greatest and as far as being erotic goes, well, it mostly isn’t. And in addition to all this, there’s the VERY IRRITATING tendency for the spiral binding to break and the book to fall apart. Pretty shoddy workmanship for a fifty dollar book, I daresay.
Flash forward to 1996. I had a part time job during Christmas break working as a pharmacist at a small rural clinic near my hometown. I was making money like I had never made money before, and I decided that it was high time that I procure a copy of Sex. Now, bear in mind, this was in the days before eBay, so I went to alt.fan.madonna and the Madonna listserv that came out of Michigan and put up an ad on there saying that I was looking for a decent copy of the Sex book – it didn’t have to be sealed as I was going to open it anyway, but I did want the Mylar wrapper and the CD single of “Erotic” that came along with the book. I got some replies, but not many, and most of the people told me that I wasn’t willing to pay near what the market was demanding for the Sex book at the time. Finally, I struck a deal with a guy – I’d pay 150 dollars for a sealed U.S. version of the book which was pretty standard at the time (and apparently now as well, given a quick eBay search.) Well, as it turns out, the guy ended up calling me at home and saying that he was sorry, but he THOUGHT he had the U.S. version, but what he really had was the French version – he told me he’d sell it to me for 75 dollars and call it a deal. Me, I didn’t care – I just wanted a copy of the book, and plus, with some of the text in French – what a cool bonus! It showed up on my doorstep about a week later (along with a money order for 75 dollars refunding me the difference – what a man of his word) and I was so glad to finally have this piece of Madonna memorabilia.
Now what I’ve so far left OUT of the story is that Heidi and I had just started dating at the time – we were maybe two months into our relationship and since we were moving as slow as a glacier, we were still in the very early stages of our relationship. In any event, my naive self asked her one night – “hey, I just got the Sex book, would you like to look at it?” Now, had cooler heads prevailed (or at least ones not clouded by the giddiness of new love) I would have known that that that was probably not the best thing to say to a girl you had just started dating. Well, fortunately, I didn’t have to worry about that with Heidi. As Whitney Houston once said, it wasn’t right, but it was okay.
As it turns out, Heidi told me later that my procurement of the Sex book and resultant excitement in sharing it with her was one of those things that started sealing the deal. I guess she thought that I was just a little too much of a “nice guy” and to know that there was this whole weird undercurrent in me – one that was totally unexpected and did not fit in with the “nice college educated boy to bring home to mother” was exciting and put me in a whole new light. And it’s funny, that undercurrent in me mirrored and complemented the weird undercurrent in her. The fact that we can be weird together is something that we frequently take solace in. And besides, what is marriage and true intimacy if you don’t know your partner through and through?
It’s funny – I get similar reactions from people when they find out I’m a Madonna fan, as if it doesn’t fit with their preconceived notion of who I am or who I should be. That used to bother me, but now I revel in it.
I still have the Sex book. I don’t bring it out very often – except when we have company and someone is interested in seeing it. And yep, the spiral binding is in the process of breaking, but it was still a VERY wise 75 dollar investment. If you’re really interested in seeing it and NOT paying 150-200 dollars, go here.
Je m’appelle Dita.