Friday, November 02, 2007

A Virile Anthology


What better way to begin this blog than with Stories For Men: A Virile Anthology? I found this sweet little thing priced at 30 cents at a local used bookstore during their going-out-of-business sale this past summer. It was a bittersweet event, actually-- the sale, I mean. I was half brokenhearted over the loss of a great used bookstore and half thrilled/maniacally competitive over the possibility of carting home tons of books for next to nothing. Like wow-- thirty cents for an anthology with the word "virile" in the title! The minute I laid eyes on this collection, I handed it over to Male Companion, a guy I'd been out with a couple of times who'd asked to come along that day, who'd spent the last two hours sitting nicely in a chair in some undisclosed portion of the bookstore with a few slim magazines while I systematically put my hands all over every book in the fiction section. Now he was openly hovering, glancing at his watch a lot and no longer seeming so enchanted by the booksale, or my enthusiasm for the booksale, or the stack of books three feet high that I'd probably want him to help me carry to the car. Male Companion smiled when he saw Charles Grayson's Stories For Men, though. He squatted beside me, and he reddened a little while paging through all those stories from the forties and fifties about men, and war, and all variations thereof. In the end, he put the book back for someone else to buy-- someone who maybe really needed the book, he said. Ha ha. Two points for Male Companion. Since then, I've been wondering what Charles Grayson might call an anthology of short stories for women. Most synonyms for "virile" seem pretty gendered: "beefcake," "hairy," "he-man," "stud," "tiger," and "tuna," or my favorite-- "two-fisted." But apparently, "vital" is also a synonym for "virile." I like that. Stories For Women: A Vital Anthology. I wonder if Charles Grayson would approve.