Bed Notches and Groomsticks
Eisenberg’s autobio a love letter to doing it before the I Do’s
BY SCOTT STIFFLER | She may have a nice, seemingly normal second act existence — living in Brooklyn with her supportive husband and adorable dog — but don’t think for a minute that Ophira Eisenberg has gone soft or settled down.
While the more timid among us are doomed to look in the rearview mirror only to see roads not taken, Eisenberg will be living for years off the worldly confidence one can only get after gingerly hopping from bed to bathtub to the occasional sleazy hotel countertop.
Voyeurs, virgins, prudes and dudes will all find something to recoil from and admire, under the covers of “Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy.”
You could be forgiven for glancing at that title and assuming Eisenberg’s autobiography is just a series of DWI (Dating While Intoxicated) misadventures. But “Screw Everyone” is more than a coming of age story (although there’s some of that) and more than a barfly confessional (there’s plenty of that). Like the author, the book slowly reveals itself to be in possession of a solid moral foundation.
That said, barely a page goes by where sex and pleasure aren’t front and center, described in frank and occasionally graphic detail — usually leavened with crackling observations that are more anthropologic than pornographic.
Fortunately, this teen-to-30something tale is the work of a professional stand-up comic. So every potential suitor gets the sharp evaluation, and witty punchline, he deserves — while the author (a Village comedy club and Moth story slam veteran who hosts NPR’s game show “Ask Me Another”) never emerges unscathed from her own well-calibrated bullshit detector.
Long before her bed notches reach the double digits, readers who can see beyond the sex on the beach, the sunburns and the social disease scares will realize that this relentless collection of hook-ups and hangovers is really about the rewards of putting it out there and taking chances, without the crippling burden of shame — or the desperate end game goal of settling down just because you don’t want to be alone.
Why, some of the life lessons Eisenberg accrued in the sack actually translate into helpful etiquette and esteem tips for the sober and the celibate! Straight guys will learn more about what women really want by reading this book than indulging in a lifetime of locker room brag sessions (or Lifetime movies).
“Call me an enthusiastic consenter, or a fairly responsible hedonist,” says our conquering hero, “but sleeping around was often a by-product of getting what I wanted.” Right after proclaiming that she “never set out to be a slut,” Eisenberg hits it right on the head, so to speak, when she reasons, “I just thought I was being nice.” She certainly was.
Even when knee-deep in tales of vomit, meth addict sex partners, near-arrests and lesbian flings, Eisenberg rarely disavows her often ill-advised choices. She wears her mistakes and her triumphs equally well — badges of pride that look damn good on her, just like the wedding dress she ends up in by the book’s final chapter.
SCREW EVERYONE: SLEEPING MY WAY TO MONOGAMY
BY OPHIRA EISENBERG
Seal Press (sealpress.com)
NPR’s “ASK ME ANOTHER” LIVE TAPING
Mon., April 8, 7:30pm
At The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY
149 Seventh St. (btw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.)
For tickets ($10), amatickets.org
THE “SCREW EVERYONE” BOOK PARTY
Thurs., April 25, 7-9pm
At Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
126 Crosby St., btw. Houston & Prince Sts.