Well, What Purpose DO You Serve? Musto Talks to Marie Calloway

Welcome to Next Question With Michael Musto, a regular feature in which the veteran La Dolce Musto writer uses his time-honed skills to interrogate big celebrities, former celebrities, and wannabe celebrities. Musto is a pop culture icon, regular TV presence, and the author of four books, including his latest collection, Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back.

The love child of Candace Bushnell, Lena Dunham, and Larry Flynt, 23-year-old Marie Calloway (pseudonym) has been the toast of the clitterati since her first-person book what purpose did I serve in your life exploded like a money shot recently. A collection of loosely autobiographical pieces d’hormone in which a young woman searches for validation—sometimes through degradation—it’s been hailed as the 50 Shades of Gravy for the shocking-shit-for-lunch-bunch. Moxieish Marie agreed to field some of my emailed questions, so I‘ve interjected some of the responses I would have said in person.

Hi, Marie. Why do you prefer email interviews? It's not like you're afraid of intimacy.

I feel like most writers are much better able to express their thoughts through writing than speaking. I did a pretty cringe inducing radio interview recently. A lot of half coherent sentences full of awkward word choices. Also, it allows for more control, for obvious reasons. Like interviewers just want to ask me "What does your dad think?” or ask me leaded question about some half baked idea they have about the internet and narcissism and kids these days. Or in the case of one recent profile, the interviewer painted me as a Lolita seductress, going so far as to write that I was trying to seduce him when I said "I don't have any plans tonight" after he asked me. He didn't include things I had to say about writing or gender or anything of interest. Of course I come off looking bad.

That won’t happen here, sugar. But how do we know you’re not a JT Leroy-type scam artist?

I don't understand the impulse to label me as fake. I think people should probably examine their motivations behind it. The recent theory seems to be that I'm actually a creation of my best friend, Rachel Rabbit White, despite there being numerous photos of us together. There are videos of me doing readings and I go to parties sometimes where literary people see me. I feel like if I were a concoction I'd have made less mistakes. And the actress they hired to pretend to be me in public would be thinner and less socially awkward.

Actually, judging from photos, you’re attractive (if that’s indeed you, lol). Would people pay to read sex stories by someone UN-attractive?

I don't think I am very attractive. I am not trying to be modest or self-deprecating. I just think it’s an objective assessment. Put me next to Megan Fox or even a lot of women I see at literary parties here...On the cover of my book, I wasn't wearing makeup and I didn't style my hair. Some people have commented on how "ugly" the photo is. When people talk about my supposed beauty, it seems almost accusatory, not so different than when MRA types talk about female privilege. Whatever we have to say about beauty and commerciality, it seems better to look more structurally at the problem.

Oh, sorry. Do you wake up horny every day? I wish I still did.

I don't like this question.

Neither do I. Is sex better in your mind or when it actually happens?

Lately I'm not having sex with men anymore, so I guess in my mind. There's no pressure, I guess; it's no longer work. I was obsessed with having sex with a boy who was initially very attracted to me, but it fizzled out. I mean the frustration, anticipation—will we or won't we?—as well as the power I felt because he was so attracted to me, all of that would go away if we finally had slept together. But in the end it didn't matter because he rejected me and then I felt like I wanted to sleep with him out of hurt pride.

Hurt pride is my favorite aphrodisiac.Have you ever seen a sex tape that was actually sexy?

Sex tapes creep me out. I find the flourishing of revenge porn to be very distressing. I don't know why so many sensitive liberal/leftist guys think their porn habit is morally or at least aesthetically better because they watch amateur porn. Or rather I do know why, but...

Any regrets about having bared your soul to the world?

I don't know if I did "bare my soul." A lot of things were a game or a joke. But I don't care about things like people knowing I had a threesome and felt weird about it afterwards.

What other topics do you plan to write about besides sex-sex-sex?

My very next project is going to explore female homosociality and be kind of weird and multi media. I'm excited about it, recording conversations and videos. I'm working on a new novel that's more mature and written in third person, more expressive and perhaps more blatantly political. I feel this has to do with maturing in various ways, as well as feeling I did everything I could with the style that's in my current book. Maybe when I said my book is fiction I was trying to express that I didn't mean for the writing to be taken at face value necessarily. Perhaps people will take my insistence of authorial distance more seriously with the new style.

Are you the love child of Candace Bushnell, Lena Dunham, and Larry Flynt?

I have never watched Girls.

One followup query: When you say you don't sleep with men anymore, does that mean you sleep with women or that you don't sleep with anyone?

I left it vague intentionally.

You seductress!