“Fear of Flying” by Erica Jong


“The zipless fuck is absolutely pure. It is free of ulterior motives. There is no power game. The man is not ‘taking’ and the woman is not ‘giving’. No one is attempting to cuckold a husband or humiliate a wife. No one is trying to prove anything or get anything out of anyone. The zipless fuck is the purest thing there is. And it is rarer than a unicorn.”

“I was the one they counted on to write about their fantasies. I was the one they counted on to tell the funny stories about former lovers. I was the one they envied in public and laughed at in public.”

“We were both bookworms and when life disappointed us we turned to literature–or at least to the movie version.”

“How hypocritical to go upstairs with a man you don’t want to fuck, leave the one you do sitting there alone, and then, in a state of great excitement, fuck the one you don’t want to, fuck while pretending that he’s the one you do. That’s called fidelity. That’s called monogamy. That’s called civilization and it discontents.”

“I knew that the women who got most out of life (and out of men) were the ones that demanded most, that if you acted as if you were valuable and desirable, men found you valuable and desirable. That if you refused to be a doormat, nobody could tread on you. I knew that servile women got walked on and women who acted like queens got treated that way.”

“. . . no man wants to be stuck to a lady writer. They’re liabilities. They daydream when they’re supposed to be cooking. They worry about books instead of babies. They forget to clean the house . . .”

“Was I going to be just a house wife who wrote in her spare time? Was that my fate? Was I going to keep passing up adventures that were offered to me? Was I going to go on living my life as a lie? Or was I going to make my fantasies and my life merge if only for once?”

“A kind of pounding in my gut which I had nicknamed my “thunder thump”. It was as if my stomach thought of itself as a heart. And no matter how I filled it–with men, with books, with food, with gingerbread cookies shaped like men, and poems shaped like men, and men shaped poems–it refused to be still. Unfillable–that’s what it was. Nymphomania of the brain. Starvation of the heart.”

“Where men are concerned I have always lacked a simple quality known as caution, or perhaps you might call it common sense. I meet a guy any other self-respecting woman would automatically run miles from, and I manage to find something attractive about his manias.”

“I have always set a high value on words and have often made the mistake of believing words far more than actions.”

“Learning how to survive your own life. Learning how to endure your own existence. Learning how to mother yourself. Not always turning to some analyst, a lover, a husband, a parent.”



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