There is something about being in novelist Erica Jong's apartment that makes a person feel a certain degree of—how to put this?—sexual license. Maybe it is to do with the enormous Tom Wesselmann nude that greets visitors in the foyer, all big lips and blonde hair contrasting with dark pubes. Maybe it is just knowing that you are in the home of the lady who coined and, you know, engaged in "the zipless fuck," even for those who could only have the thrill of discovering 1973's Fear of Flying on their parents' bookshelves. Maybe it is that Erica herself is such a hot tamale! In any event, something made me feel like it would be okay to go up to British author Ken Follett and start telling him my dirty secrets right off the bat. Photographer Kathy Lo was the youngest person there by at least five years.
Last night we were celebrating the publication of World Without End, the sequel to Ken's 1989 historical novel The Pillars Of The Earth, which is another book I had been excited to discover on my parents' bookshelf because MAN. It is dirty. I mean, most historical fiction is! How else would anyone get readers to sit through a 900-page book about the building of a cathedral? Anyway, as I told Ken, "I was 11 when I read The Pillars of the Earth, and it was the first time I remember, um, feeling aroused." (I am a big oversharer, but I was not about to say "getting wet" to some dude I had just met. I don't work at Jezebel.)
"Well, I think I can safely say that's the first time I've ever aroused an 11-year-old girl!" Ken said. Funny guy!
Erica met Ken while yachting on the Aegean, she said during her little speech. Theirs is a great friendship because their spouses are friends, too. He is married to Barbara Broer, who is a member of Parliament! She is married to Ken Burrows, who is a divorce lawyer.
I didn't get to talk to Judy Collins but she was there, bringing the grand total of "people at this party mentioned in Bob Dylan songs" to two (Erica).
Critic and novelist Daphne Merkin was also very present. At first when we were introduced she started off being very anti-Gawker because of that post about her "cattiness" in reviewing Tina Brown's book. "It was a rave!" she bellowed. I was like, "Please send all bellowing to Doree Shafrir care of The New York Observer." But after just one bellow, Daphne mellowed. Later, she dished about how Mediabistro founder Laurel Touby had taken the writing class she teaches at the 92nd St. Y once upon a time. "She was very confident. Very."
In the bathroom, many perfumes were arrayed on the mirrored vanity (we took a picture!). I did not open the medicine cabinet, or sneak into the bedroom and look in the bedside table drawer. That would be rude. However, I did see a sculpture of a couple engaged in an act that Erica's daughter, the author Molly Jong-Fast, described to me via IM today as "falichio." Like so many writers, she can't spell worth shit.
"Also," Molly typed, "they have a painting of two men doing it but I think they took it down for last night." Well, it is important to draw the line somewhere! Maybe.