I invited nearly everyone I met on the road to write to me about their own sexual philosophy. His was a little different.
See, those other 99 messages, they said things like, "I can't get enough of you." It was the sweetest praise I could hear, and yet that yearning that exhausted me: there was never enough of me; they always wanted more. I was a girl who couldn't say no, and couldn’t register “empty.”
By the end of the day, though, I was turning into toast. I didn't want to be Susie Sexpert anymore; I wanted to disappear.
This man— who addressed my tired bones instead of my credentials—read my exhausted senses. He said he farmed for a living. He lived an hour from one of the university hamlets I was visiting. He he could drive me out there to the fields where I could watch the new garlic grow. We could walk in the woods, or sit at the lakefront and do absolutely nothing at all. I salivated reading his offer.
My home is in the central farming community of California. Some of my best friends are farmers, and they feed me well. Writers and farmers share the sensibility that you might as well go broke doing something you love.
I liked this man already, just to know what he did for a living, and for extending me the best invitation I'd ever received on a book tour: to run away. Still, I had to decline the temptation. I had interviews nearly every hour I was in his vicinity; there was no way I could make a polite escape.
The farmer read my online diaries, and he wrote me again. This time, he said, that truth be told, he did fantasize about making love to me— but that my doubts were as real as his own. He liked that I promised fans to be “bad in bed.” He said it was a relief.
I couldn't dismiss him as easily as I had the other e-mails, like the one that said: "I am a 43 year old atty. in Las Vegas who is well-endowed. Call me when you arrive."
No, the Farmer wrote well, and that always touches me. He was lyrical about his environment, and his kindness was a genuine aphrodisiac. Still, I was wary— this could be a ruse, an Internet pose job. I wrote him back:
"Things are always so different face-to-face. I hope when I speak in town that you'll come and introduce yourself to me."
A week later I was at another Big University, signing books at the back of an auditorium. He came up to me at the very end. The end of a glorious night, a SRO crowd of readers, and many autographs on both breasts and books.
On my ninth glass of ice tea, he walked up to the table, and in my mania, I'd forgotten entirely about my invitation to him. What I saw was a six-foot tall man, with graying, curly long blond hair, waiting at the end of the line. He was so shy, that despite his height and looks, he didn't stand out in the crowd. He put out his hand and said, "Hello, I'm the Farmer. "
For a second, my mind recognized nothing; he sounded like a recording from a child's pull toy. I almost replied, "Hello, I'm the Author!"
Then my mind's eye uncrossed and I leapt from behind the table to greet him. He was real, and I gave him a great hug. He embraced me back, and I remembered that although he wrote me that his hands were rough, they weren't harsh at all.
That night I went back to my antiseptic hotel room, put the starched pillow over my head, and started to fantasize about the Farmer: his body over me, fucking me, his hands on my breasts. I pulled myself out of my reverie long enough to grab my laptop and find his address:
I liked meeting you so much tonight. Now I can't get you, or your invitation, off my mind. If I postpone some of my media junk tomorrow, I can get away for four hours— is that ridiculous?
I went to sleep happily, knowing that if nothing else, I was going to have him in my dreams. In the morning, I checked my messages:
Continued here in Mommy's Little Girl, "Farmer in the Dell"