The Secret Life of Kitty Lyons: Ladies’ Night

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The Secret Life of Kitty Lyons by Maggie Cutler  
More Kitty, More, More

The Story So Far

Ladies’ Night

I know you’re not supposed to bring work to bed, but a recent government

report that managerial women’s salaries sank relative to men’s during

the late great economic boom has my mind doing overtime. A successful

woman in the entertainment


industry is now shortchanged 63% on the

dollar, they tell me, $37,000 on every $100,000 she would earn if she

had a penis and $21,000 more than being female cost in 1995. This vile

data packet, combined with my own dismal employment prospects, is making

me fixate on every striving career girl in the news, and also on Max’s

penis itself.


In fact, thanks to all this career-slash-penis turmoil, the sight

of Max rolling on a purple condom reminds me inescapably of Leslie

Stahl’s 60 Minutes interview with Lt. Col. Martha McSally, the

fighter pilot who is suing Donald Rumsfeld and the Department for

Defense for (as Leslie described it) insisting that she cover her

head with a Muslim head scarf (an abaya) whenever she

travels off base in Saudi Arabia.


At the climax of the interview, Leslie donned an abaya herself

and looked rather fetching in it (much as does Max’s penis in a

condom). The image suggested it might be a tad

overzealous of Martha to ruin her chance to make general over a

mere fashion accessory. Martha’s beef, it turns out, is really

about a whole battery of discriminatory rules forbidding military

women to drive or go anywhere without a pretend “husband” as

escort. But Leslie’s headgear graphic was so good at

narrowing the issue, I suspect it’s what inspired the air force to

try to neutralize opposition by changing only the abaya rule,

which they did a few days later, keeping all other humiliating

regs in force.


I’m noting that Max’s penis in its colorful condom is a bit like Leslie

Stahl, willing to wear a silly hood to boost ratings, yet a bit like McSally, too — willing to sacrifice itself for womankind — making it both a little repulsive yet enormously adorable at the

same time. Which is how I begin to look upon Max’s penis

as a puppet in my feminist passion play.


And once I do I can’t seem to stop. I try to concentrate on the

abstract pleasure of feeling it plunging in and out of my body,

but instead, Max’s penis turns into Vanessa Leggett pacing up and down in her cell. Vanessa is a

freelance writer working on her first true crime book. She was jailed for longer than any American journalist in history because she wouldn’t give the Feds all her notes. They said she wasn’t a real journalist because the book, whose source material they wanted to confiscate before she could finish it, wasn’t yet published. On the face of it, the case has nothing to do with being a woman, but it’s hard to believe that law enforcement would try to use logic this loopy on a man.


Vanessa ended up doing 168 days. And by now I feel that Max

has been in at least as long. Because while Vanessa and Martha are both tough-yet-vulnerable

heros whose defiant courage and eagerness to right the world’s

wrongs would make any penis proud to embody them, somehow the experience

of internalizing them is leaving me 63% short of an orgasm. I’m

getting the awe I need from embracing these women, and the

outrage I love, but the empowerment that lights my final fuse

just isn’t sparking and I’m ready to quit.


Sensing this, Max’s penis thrusts forward, rising like Tina Brown in the Gotham of my

body, reaching the very peak of Si Newhouse’s empire, then crashing and collapsing in a puddle, like Tina’s under-capitalized Talk magazine did this month.


Although sex with Max engages me whether I come or not, I feel a

little bit defeated when I don’t. Sensing I’m down, Max kisses

my eyelids so tenderly, so personally, with such open affection I

forget all about which of us has the penis and I melt in his



In this moment of calm between discouraging statistics, I realize

that although my work problems persist, a solution to my biggest

sex problem may be close at hand. Specifically I’m thinking about

my desire to play versus Max’s insistence that we not pretend he’s

anyone but him when we make love. Which I didn’t all night. Max

was Max. It was only his penis who played roles.


Although the penis puppetry approach didn’t get me off this time,

what if it at some point could? And, if it could somehow work for

me, might it work for him, too? Will his fetish for authenticity

and my fetish for whatever you call this fetish of mine finally

mingle? This generation of top women doesn’t entirely get me off, but tonight a brave few did inspire me to dare to dream.

Tune into HBO this week for a very animated Kitty Lyons . . . “ Downloading Sex” next airs on Friday, February 8 at 12.30 a.m. (Thursday night). Get more air times and download clips from the show here, catch up on the Kitty story so far or get more Kitty, more, more . . .

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Maggie Cutler ©2002 All rights reserved