am always fascinated by the physical transformation of two complete strangers into the intimacy of lovers, lying naked beside each other silently afterwards, each with the privacy of their own thoughts, and how random and accidental this journey together is, almost like flipping a coin.


. . . Heads


. . . Tails


. . . And so we were lovers for the spring, sorting through the typical pleasures, misunderstandings, joys and arguments or just sitting around for hours in the morning drinking coffee and talking about the many things there are to talk about.


She was very intelligent and so our minds could roam far and wide. Also, I find intelligence in women to be an aphrodisiac. I think I read this someplace else, but anyway, a woman's intelligence sexually excites me.


She was one of those women who have a very good tight body but choose just to make life simpler by camouflaging it with loose-fitting clothes that lead one away from it. She didn't want to be hassled by men. She just wanted to go where she wanted to go without being an active part of a man's fantasy.


So it was very exciting to have a long conversation

with her and then watch her take her clothes off. Looking back on it now, it's sort of interesting that she almost always took her own clothes off.


I think that's because she was very small, five-two, weighing between 97 and 103 pounds, and maybe I like to take the clothes off women who are taller, but like to watch smaller women take their own clothes off.


I've never really thought much about this before and it probably would not hold up to the searchlight glare of logic because I have not been to bed recently, say in years, with a tall woman five-seven to six feet, so it's hard for me to recall accurately.


I'm six-four and that perhaps has something to do with it, if anything does. I may be all wrong, but it seems to me that it's easier to take the clothes off a tall woman, the somewhat equal closeness of her eyes watching my eyes, but with a short woman it's so far down to her eyes and looking up she has to strain her head or maybe it causes an awkwardness to occur in me taking her clothes off.


Maybe the bending over does it.


I don't know. I'll have to bed with a tall woman one of these days to see if this hypothesis has any verity, but this book I'm afraid will be over before anything is proved one way or another.


I did have a chance to go to bed with a tall woman last week.


We talked for a couple of hours and, running out of things to say, at one point I asked her how tall she was.


"Five-ten" was the reply.


I wonder if I would have taken her clothes off, if things had ever gotten that far. She did have interesting-looking breasts and a small waist. The blouse

she was wearing would have come off quite easily and I would have been looking into her eyes and it would have not been any effort for her to have looked into my eyes.


I wonder . . .


There's also something else that I just remembered that plays a part in my love life. Often I like to take my clothes off and get into bed first and lie there

and watch the woman take her clothes off, and how she does it.


Sometimes they do it very quickly and as fast as they take off a garment they just drop it on the floor and then almost jump into bed when they are finished.


Other women take their clothes off very slowly and carefully, then fold them neatly on a chair or whatever is about before gliding like a swan into bed.


I might add that whatever way a woman chooses to take her clothes off does not have anything to do with the quality of her lovemaking.


. . . And there is of course something else.


Perhaps this resembles an erotic spice and a spying glass into my mind and its sensuality. Sometimes I like to spend an entire night staying up talking with a woman in the front room, drinking whiskey and talking until dawn or almost, and sometimes during those nights I'll suddenly ask, interrupting whatever

is being talked about, either a movie or the precarious fate of the American novel or perhaps a story about a boring mutual friend who's so boring that we have to talk about him or her for at least an hour, and then I'll suddenly ask the woman to take her clothes off.


I usually word it this way: "Please take your clothes off," and usually the woman does it without saying a word about it and we continue talking about the boring friend while she takes her clothes off.


After she has them off, we continue talking as if she still had her clothes on, and I make no romantic overtures toward her. I just want to see her with her clothes off because I enjoy the sight of her body. It adds to the whiskey and the conversation. The women never seem to mind and act perfectly natural. They curl up on a couch and the night moves on. If I see they are getting cold, I find a blanket for them and turn up the heat.


Sometimes after they are warm and cozy under the blanket and the room is hot enough, I interrupt whatever we are talking about. We have of course finished with the boring friend and are on to something else. Maybe we are talking about the morality of suicide.


I interrupt by saying, "Let me see your breasts," and the woman exposes her breasts without a break in the conversation, acting as if it is the most natural thing in the world for me to want to see her breasts while we are talking about suicide.


There has probably been a question that you have wanted to ask almost from the beginning of this little revelation of mine.


I have trouble with the word "kinky" because frankly I have difficulty understanding that word. There once was an English woman who lived in the nineteenth century who said the best thing I've ever heard about one's sexual preference or activity.


She said something like "I don't care what anyone does, just as long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the horses."


I know that is not the exact quote but it is close enough for my purpose. Maybe in this time we could substitute motorcycles for horses.


Yes, back to the real question that you have wanted to ask me.


"Do you take your clothes off?"




"Why not?"


"Because it's not the effect that I want to produce. I enjoy the sight of a woman's body at play in the fields of intelligence."


"What if things were reversed and the woman asked you to take your clothes off while she left hers on, would you do it?"


"Of course."

This story is an excerpt from Richard Brautigan's last unpublished novel, An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey. It is published here with the generous permission of Ianthe Brautigan.

©1999 Richard Brautigan and, Inc.

Commentarium (17 Comments)

Apr 12 00 - 8:52am

Great excerpt. Hope the book is as good. The quote is from a woman named, Mrs. Patrick Campbell. I know little about her, but she had been a ballerina, later married "well" and became a patron of the arts herself. She was apparently a financial supporter and friend of some of the "Lost Generation" is Paris in the 1920's. The quote I read goes, "In the end, it really doesn't matter what you do, as long as you don't do it in the street and scare the horses." Always been a favorite.

Apr 12 00 - 11:53am

interested in more brautigan, look at my brautigan web site:

Apr 13 00 - 1:25pm

is this novel ever going to be published?

Apr 13 00 - 11:30pm

I have been unpleasantly suprised to bear witness to such a load of patronizing bullshit. Surely you could find more competant, nay, remotely bearable writers to grace you proverbial pages.

Apr 16 00 - 12:04pm

some nice moments, but author seems drunk or roughly translated from another language ... admittedly i have had a couple drinks so I could be projecting but seems less clean than regular Nerve fare ...

Apr 16 00 - 10:14pm

lucid. humbly erotic in its simplicity. i felt like taking off my shirt and conversing with my breasts.

Apr 21 00 - 7:07pm

It is a thrill to once again be transported to the magical times and the wonderful mind of Richard Brautigan. Ah, the free love... free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last.

Thank you for the excerpt.

Apr 27 00 - 3:58pm


Need to read more--the technique sounds very simple, if not understated. I have never found it that easy to get someone out of their clothes.

Apr 28 00 - 12:46pm

First of all, I would be really suprised if he wrote that. It seems a bit more like someone who read Brautigen -vs- someone who is a who. Art can not be taken, nor can real names or real attitude based on experience. You loose if you are not hot pizza in front of the masses. Wishes are loud but seniments are incriminatining. If he wrote that then kisses are rape. I am sure there is unpublished material but I doubt that this is it. Find your fame in yourself and not unanswered questions. Writing is not that hard when you are truly confused.

J.Garwood Hodgson
Unemployed Ph. D. student
Madison Wisc,

May 02 00 - 10:45pm

i can relate to this so very well.

May 28 00 - 4:28pm

i love brautigan and it is great to see this piece on here.

Jun 08 00 - 4:20pm

Very much enjoyed this one. Thanks!

Jul 05 00 - 12:31pm

As interesting as this article was. It seemed largely untrue. I doubt that this technique has worked more than once, and never without the aid of large sums of alcohol...

Jul 22 00 - 4:01am

no matter if it's true or not, I would probably take my clothes off for him.

Feb 01 02 - 2:23am


Jun 09 02 - 12:18am


Aug 27 02 - 1:58am

I still enjoy brautigan.
Bought this book in this discount bin in Monterey Ca.
much to my shock. Thanks for sharing it with us.
anxious to read any more. David Eibling stockton, ca