Possibly the worst part of this whole Anthony Weiner situation is that his sexts are just not that good. And I’m not talking about the sexually explicit parts (which, for all of our sakes, I’m not even going to quote here). No, I’m talking about how he uses terms like “make love” and admits that he’s “deeply flawed” and wonders if she was ever turned on when he was on TV. Those things are not sexy. Not at all. But sexting really isn’t as easy as it appears. I mean, on the one hand it’s intuitive because the desires expressed are ones that are pretty universal. But on the other hand, you don’t want to sound like a fool.
And so I started thinking about some well-known writers and whether or not they would have been any good at sexting and it was interesting who got dismissed off the bat. Updike? Once described by David Foster Wallace as a “penis with a thesaurus,” Updike wrote the kind of uncomfortable sexual metaphors (breasts are “the two smoothest scoops of vanilla I had ever known” and a character who was not Phyllis had a cunt whose “wetness [was] less thick, less of a sauce, more of a glaze”) that might seem ok in theory, but never quite work in practice. And sexting is all about practice. Nabokov? No. This is tough because Nabokov wrote some beautiful things, and yet it would be hard not to read his elegant turns of phrase without thinking of the fact that he probably saved his most beautiful words for the narrative voice of a pedophile. And once I read in a Stephen King novella (which, I must have blocked out the title) a description of a woman that evoked what looked like “an open roast beef sandwich” between her legs. So. Not all authors would be any good at sexting. But the following authors? If they’d been around for the age of sexting? They would have done all right.