FUNNY WOMEN #42: The Best-Selling Story of All Time


The five most popular words in best-selling books are (source: Time magazine):

1. man
2. diet
3. house
4. woman
5. sex/sexual


The man was on a diet. A woman was having sex in a house with this man who was on a diet. The house smelled of sex only when the man was on a diet. (He was that kind of man.) He had just come back to the house after doing a tour for a book which he hoped was going to be a bestseller, although he was starting to believe what the woman would tell him when he called the house from his various hotel rooms on tour: she said the book was headed for the bargain bin. (She was that kind of woman.)

The woman got cranky when she went too long without sex, and it had been several weeks since the man and woman had had sex since the man was on his book tour. The woman loved sex and hated the diet the man was on because it made her feel like she was on a diet, too.

So the man and the woman went without sex, because, although the man’s agent had also said his book did not look like best-selling material, the man wanted to prove the woman wrong. So he read at bookstores both near to his house and far, far away.

When he returned it had been six weeks since the man and the woman had had sex, this now the only place they ever had sex, since the idea of bare skin and secretions and hair and sweaty genitals on hotel sheets and car seats disgusted the man to such a degree that the mere thought of the prospect of touching someone else’s past engagement in the act of having sex created in him an anxiety so great he no longer copulated except in situ, and for this man the natural and original location for sex was and only could be in the house, woman, man―hence the diet.

Before the diet started how they touched things, this man and woman, having sex wherever and whenever they could: on tables, in bars, in hotels, and yes, in that bathroom there, the one you are about to go into, and in which you are going to brush your hand against the stall, not knowing that you are touching a place that was once touched by SWEATY GENITALS, the SWEATY GENITALS of a man and a woman engaged in various sexual acts outside of the comfort of their own house. Then the man started writing his book, the one he hoped would become a bestseller and lead him to great fame and fortune and notoriety and elevated status, the man would be called a genius, yes, and he would have a new house, maybe, and a new woman, maybe, and a different diet and more sex, yes, more sex, but the pressure and anxiety the man’s grandiose ambition generated, coupled with the woman moaning that the book would never sell, overwhelmed him to such a degree that he envisioned the house as being surrounded by a dangerous moat, the dark, germ-y moat of failure.

And so it came to be that on this day, this man returned from this book tour and had sex with this woman in this house because he was on this peculiar diet. The woman climaxed, which happened quickly (it was six weeks she had been waiting). Not long after the man whooped with delight, not because he climaxed (although he did) but because he heard the voice of his agent on the answering machine, calling to say that his presumed bargain-bin novel had, in fact, become a bestseller (it had been six years he had been waiting).

Thus the man felt liberated from a looming sense of his own inadequacy and got off (as did the woman, by proxy) the Sex Only in the House Diet. Post-diet, the man and woman left the confines of their house and had sex most anywhere.


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Kathleen Heil writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, in English and Spanish. She has published in Hermano Cerdo, PANK, The Barcelona Review, and elimae, among others. When not spending time as a ‘Funny Woman,’ she can be heard speaking Spanish with a funny accent. Her website is More from this author →