I meant to answer some letters today, but I was endlessly tweaking my column right up to deadline. So instead, just some pop culture notes about that eternally fascinating subject - men.
I’m reading this book: The Score: How The Quest For Sex Has Shaped The Modern Man, by Faye Flam.
Flam is the science reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and writes a weekly column for that paper called "Carnal Knowledge", about the science of sex. It’s an interesting subject: why are men the way they are? Who among us has not wondered?
Flam has a light, pleasant tone of voice. There’s a bit too much on the discovery of mitochondria and the evolution of sperm, but overall she keeps it moving.
But I will say: she ain’t Mary Roach. For me, when it comes to pop-science, it doesn’t get any better than Mary Roach’s books.
Also, I watched the première of Hung, HBO’s new series about a male-for-female escort. (Spoilers follow, if you care.)
It wasn’t bad. Frankly, it was much better than I thought it would be. The lead actor, Thomas Jane, plays the character of Ray Drecker with a deft touch. Ray is likeable but imperfect, and he’s definitely having a tough streak of luck. In fact, I sympathized with him so quickly, I kept thinking, “All right, all right, we get it. You’re not a slimeball. Go fuck a woman for money, we’ll still like you, really.”
HBO apparently thinks the average viewer might need more persuading. The virgin run of Hung stayed virgin. Drecker’s unseen first client changed her mind and slipped a turn-away fee to him from under her hotel room door. Hate it when that happens, but at least he got something!
This show has been called "Breaking Bad with prostitution", but it's not nearly as dark as that. I haven't seen all of that show, but the minute you saw Walter White, you knew he was a doomed man. Ray Drecker isn't.
And of course now I’m going to have to watch more of it just to see what happens. Arg. TV is such an insidious thing.
EDIT: Several people have forwarded me this story on the Daily Beast, about Hung and male sex workers. It's interesting.