News of a Duke University student's sex list had people looking at this young lady in one or two ways. Some people called her a hero. (WHY?) Some people thought she was a slut. (WHY?)
But let's be honest, we all have a bit of Karen Owen in us. Meaning we have a sex list — maybe not as detailed as hers.
How long have men been keeping black books? I remember looking in my brother's black book once. (Well, it was a purple address book.) It was filled with the names of different girls with stars beside them. Some of the names were highlighted, underlined and two were completely blacked out. Of course, I couldn't ask him what the stars meant because he would've known that I was snooping again.
Fast forward about 15 years. My freshman year of college I made a list and while it was much shorter and snarkier than Miss Owen's list, I did it for two reasons.
One, I wanted to be a writer, and I figured that college would be a lot more exciting than it was. (WRONG)
Two, I used to drink a lot. Wanted to keep my memories.
Now, my list was handwritten in a pink-and-white notebook that I kept underneath my bed. So, the only way my sex list would've gotten out would've been for my roommate to be super nosy and go underneath my bed. I'm pretty sure she didn't since her ex boyfriend was on that list, but I digress.
Owen says the list -- which refers to the men as numbered "subjects" and evaluates everything from their penis size to the creativity they exhibited in the bedroom (and, point being, elsewhere) -- was never intended for public viewing. She sent it to three friends, one of them forwarded it along and the rest is history. Put simply, Owen foolishly let it slip out of her control and it went viral; such is the story of our time. Beyond the fact of these jocks being virtually pantsed on a national stage, there is plenty to be said about the "thesis" as it was intended: a gossipy joke among close friends. I haven't known any women to create actual PowerPoint presentations about their sex lives, but her frank, and sometimes flippant, talk is very familiar. Come to think of it, the document is rather tame in comparison to the details I've heard from, and shared with, my female friends. And who hasn't created some version of this list -- whether it's a mere mental tally, scribbled details in a journal or a vividly detailed Word document?
If you're going to have a sex list, you shouldn't share it. Not even with your closest friends. Especially if it can be e-mailed. But does anyone else see Owen with a big book deal in her future? Or an even bigger lawsuit?
Remember I said some people weren't feeling Owen's tell all? One sex writer has put down her pen because of Owen and detailed it on the Salon.com.
Publishers have long been partial to young women willing to open up about their private lives in memoir or thinly veiled fiction, from Erica Jong's "Fear of Flying" to Elizabeth Wurtzel's "Prozac Nation" to Emily Gould's "And the Heart Says Whatever." After Jezebel ran an item that detailed a Duke graduate who created a PowerPoint detailing all the men she slept with, agents and editors pounced, comparing her to a female Tucker Max and praising her self-empowerment. The woman in question may be humiliated now, but trumpeting her sexual conquests opened doors that would have otherwise remained closed -- should she take advantage of it? For that matter: Should I have?
We celebrate Tucker Max, but are divided on Owen. Maybe we all ought to stop writing about our sex lives? Nah, then I'd be out of a job.