The Museum of Sex seems to exist solely for 18-year-old tourists from Minnesota to come in and giggle wildly at the adult diapers and dildos on display. Because really, would you pay $14.50 plus tax to see stuff that's probably in your bedroom? But last night, duty called, and so Nikola and I headed over to the museum for the party for Sin in the Second City, a new book about a brothel in turn-of-the-20th-century Chicago. (And guess what? The book is actually really, really good. Even Joseph Epstein thought so!) What we found was that there's nothing publishing types like more than a party at a sex museum, because people who work in publishing are all secretly sexual deviants. Kidding! Well, sort of kidding.
The author of Sin in the Second City is a feisty Philly girl named Karen Abbott, who used to work at the same alt-weekly in Philadelphia that I did, and so I immediately felt the kind of kinship with her that you feel when you meet someone who was, like, at the same POW camp as you were, even though your time there didn't overlap? Like, we totally had the same jailer! Karen lives in Atlanta now with her husband, a very nice man named Chuck Kahler, and is tan and really kind of hot, which her editor said was helpful in promoting the book. (Well, duh!) Karen is also the type of person who seems to say whatever is on her mind, propriety be damned, which is another thing I liked about her. For example, when her editor and the host of the party, Water for Elephants author Sara Gruen (Sara and Karen met years ago in an online writing group, which must have been some writing group!), were giving toasts, Karen said a few words, including about how great her editor, Julia Cheiffetz, is, because Julie was more than an editor, she was also a friend and, it seems, a sort of remote therapist, and would advise Karen to sleep, go to yoga, and take a Xanax when she felt stressed out, which sounds like a smart combination.
Also, Karen said that if she had known that Random House editor Will Murphy was going to be there, she would have made it a cash bar. Ha! The truth of this statement was borne out as the party slowly wound down to its inexorable end. You know that point? It happens at every party, and it's when things start to get weird. Like, all of a sudden, off in the corner, Will Murphy is sucking face with a very tall, very skinny publicist from Wiley in a way that causes one person to remark, "That is the most un-sexy making out I've ever seen." Other people are imploring the bartender to pour them one last drink. And through it all, the hors d'oeuvres—spring rolls, fried dumplings, some goat cheese and endive thing—never stopped coming.