TITLE: Sex In The Title
AUTHOR: Zack Love
RELEASE DATE: October 21, 2013
New York City, May 2000. The Internet bubble has burst, and Evan's boss fires him with an email. The next day, his girlfriend dumps him, also via email. Afraid to check any more emails, Evan desperately seeks a rebound romance but the catastrophes that ensue go from bad to hilariously worse. Fortunately, Evan meets someone whose legendary disasters with females eclipse even his own.
To reverse their fortunes, they recruit their friends into a group of five guys who take on Manhattan in pursuit of dates, sex, and adventure. With musings about life, relationships, and human psychology, this quintessential New York story about the search for happiness follows five men on their comical paths to trouble, self-discovery, and love.
Zack Love graduated from Harvard College, where he tried to create a bachelor’s degree in Women. With the bachelor portion of that degree in hand, he settled in New York City but – to afford renting his bed-sized studio – found himself flirting mostly with a computer screen and stacks of documents. Determined not to die a corporate drone, Zack decided to sacrifice sleep for screenwriting, an active social life, and Internet startups offering temporary billion-dollar fantasies.
To feed his steady diet of NYC nightlife, he regularly crashed VIP parties in the early 2000s and twice bumped into his burgeoning crush, a Hollywood starlet. But – much to Zack’s surprise – neither of those awkward conversations led to marriage with the A-list actress. Zack eventually consoled himself by imagining fiascoes far worse than those involving his celebrity crush. In the process, he dreamed up a motley gang of five men inspired by some of his college friends and quirky work colleagues. And thus was born Sex in the Title. But the novel is not autobiographical: Zack never had his third leg attacked by any mammal (nor by any plant, for that matter). In fact, keeping his member safe has been one of Zack’s lifelong goals – and one of the few that he’s managed to accomplish.
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“So what’s the body count?”
“The body count?”
“You know: how many women have you slept with in your twenty-nine years?”
Evan wasn’t sure whether to overstate the number to look sexually impressive to a soft porn star, or whether to understate the number to look less promiscuous and more like the responsible, clean cut, solid-boyfriend type. Since he still hadn’t quite figured out what Tina was looking for or who she really was, he decided just to tell the truth.
“I’ve been with about sixty-seven women.”
“What do you mean ‘about sixty-seven?’ You say ‘about sixty’ or ‘about seventy.’ But not ‘about sixty-seven.’ You’re obviously keeping track.” Tina looked amused at another opportunity to toy with Evan.
“All right. You got me,” Evan conceded. “I’ve been with precisely sixty-seven women.”
“Unless, of course, you said ‘about’ because the total depends on how you define ‘being with a woman.’ For example, if you just got a blowjob and nothing else then maybe you don’t count that.”
“OK. To be more precise, I’ve had sexual intercourse with sixty-seven women.”
“All right, so then you’ve probably been with many more women than sixty-seven?”
“Yeah. But I don’t keep track of those.” Evan suddenly wondered why he didn’t bother to keep track of anything but consummation.
“I see…So when did you get started on these sixty-seven women?”
“You mean, how old was I when I lost my virginity?”
“So you’ve slept with sixty-seven women in just nine years.”
“Well, actually I’ve had six serious relationships that together took up about two years.”
“Serious? Let’s see…Six serious relationships in two years…So each one lasted an average of four months. You call that serious?”
“Well, it was an intense four months. And I wasn’t seeing anyone else. You know, that’s kind of a big deal in New York,” he added ironically. “Dating someone exclusively for four months in New York is like four years in Anchorage.”
Tina chuckled at Evan’s joke. “All right, so not counting the serious relationships, you’ve slept with...” She crunched some numbers in her head. “You’ve slept with sixty-one women in just seven years…That’s an average of almost nine per year…A new woman every forty days.” Tina seemed impressed, which suddenly made Evan feel rather promiscuous.
“What’s SQ?” asked Evan.
“Basically, it’s your odds of getting laid. Everyone has an SQ. Just like everyone has an IQ.”
“I’ve never heard that term before.”
“That’s because I made it up.”
“That figures. Finally applying your actuarial skills to what really matters, eh?”
“Yeah…It’s an idea I had always sort of toyed with, but after I lost Yumi to my boss, I really began to develop and refine it.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I started obsessing over why she suddenly dumped me for him. And in the process of figuring that out, I developed the concept of SQ.”
“So how does it work?”
“Your Sexual Quotient is really just an attempt to quantify, on some absolute scale, how attractive you are to the opposite sex. In general, the higher your SQ, the more desirable you are.”
“So the higher your SQ, the easier it is for you to get laid.”
“Right. But your SQ determines a lot more; it effectively defines your bargaining position in a relationship. The lower your SQ, the more likely you are to be dominated by the person you’re with,” Heeb explained.
“You really think so?”
“Look at me. I always end up being the doormat because of my SQ. But if you look at models – male or female – they generally get away with demanding more and giving less.”
“So how do you figure out your SQ?” Evan asked, suddenly eager to compute his own Sexual Quotient.
“Well, your subjective SQ is how attractive you are to a particular person. And your objective SQ is just the average of all the scores you got for all of the people out there.”
“So how do I calculate my SQ for a particular woman?”
“It’s calculated the way you would calculate your personal income taxes.”
“Various facts cause you to take deductions from the total, although with taxes you want the deductions and with your SQ you obviously don’t. Because the lower your objective SQ is, the fewer women you attract, and the less picky you can be. And that’s a bad thing. And for anyone who wants to marry a Jew, it’s a disaster.”
“Because there are only about fourteen million Jews in the whole world, which leaves about seven million for each gender. So let’s say I’m willing to date any Jewish woman who’s twenty to forty years old. That leaves me with a choice of about two million women in the world. And if we assume that half of those women are already taken, I’m left with a million eligible women roaming about six billion people. And, chances are, the million that’s not taken is not taken for a reason.”
“Yeah. And if you want to get really precise, we need to shave off at least another three hundred thousand, because I can’t date any Chasidic, Orthodox or even Conservative Jews.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I’m compatible only with bagel Jews.”
“The ones who are Jewish culturally but not religiously. Which leaves about seven hundred thousand.”
“Listen to what you’re saying to me! Can you believe what you just – ”
Heeb blanked out on Melody for a moment as he remembered that he needed to deposit his mail in the mailbox a few feet away because it was the last one before he entered the Eighty-sixth Street subway station. He had been looking forward to this moment, after uncomfortably holding his mail in a stack that was sandwiched between his fingers and his cell phone, which was held down on the stack by his right thumb and pressed up to the side of his head for the conversation.
He refocused on Melody’s rant: “…not fair…I mean, listen to how you communicate with me! I feel like that’s become our problem. That’s really what this is about now: we just don’t communicate like we used – ” And that was the last thing he heard Melody say. Heeb’s painfully cramped and over-encumbered fingers were so eager to release the stack of mail from his right hand into the mailbox that they released his cell phone as well.
Heeb stood there for a moment, in dazed disbelief, looking helplessly at the sides of the mailbox. Melody’s continuing diatribe could now be heard only as a series of strangely muffled, barely audible noises, emanating from within the metal mailbox, like a transistor radio that falls into a manhole and just gives off a faint, chattering buzz.
In absurd desperation, Heeb tried cupping his hands to the mailbox for a moment, and shouting into it, hoping that she might hear what happened and that he really didn’t mean to drop the phone in the mailbox just as she was complaining about how they don’t communicate as well as they used to.
“Melody! Melody! I can’t hear you! I dropped my phone in the mailbox! Can you hear me?! I’m sorry! It slipped!”
As several commuters walked by, looking oddly at this heavyset balding man in a suit and tie crouched down low and apparently talking rather urgently to a mailbox, Heeb felt that he may have reached the nadir of his follies in the New York dating scene. But it would actually get much worse.