I remember ye olden days of unsolicited submissions (circa 2002-2005 for yours truly), when I’d buy stamps and manila envelopes and proceed to abuse the shit out of the free printer in the graduate assistants’ office. You actually had to mail in hard copies back then, and you could buy a copy of Writer’s Market for submission guidelines, but pretty much every publication asked you to “subscribe to the quarterly to familiarize yourself with our tone before submitting” or something along those lines. And I was like, yeah, I’m going to pony up $30 plus this postage plus a reading fee. I MAKE $600 A MONTH. FUCK YOU.
So by necessity, I did a lot of throwing shit at the wall and seeing what stuck. (This remains my career strategy, in many ways.) Anyway, the point of that story is that thanks to the Internet it is SO MUCH EASIER to do what these literary magazines were asking me to do back in the early aughts, which is READ THE PUBLICATION. And reading is what got me my second acceptance this month, by xoJane.com.
If you read this blog, you know this is not the first time I’ve written for xoJane. But it had been a couple years, and I hadn’t felt the burning desire to tell any really embarrassing stories about myself. Until I happened to be READ(ing) THE PUBLICATION and I happened across the story of a woman who dated a public masturbator (PM).
Preach on, sister. Someone knows my pain, I thought.
It turned out the author actually didn’t know my pain. She had UNKNOWINGLY dated a PM. And the commenters complained that like me, they felt let down by the story’s false promise. Give us a real PM story, they implored.
The world was ready for my story. So I sent this pitch letter.
Dear xoEditors:When I saw “I Went Out With A Subway Masturbator” pop up on my Facebook feed, I clicked without hesitation. Someone had made the same mistake I’d made and gathered courage to talk about it. So I was bummed to find out Anonymous and I weren’t THAT similar. (Aside from the public masturbator dating part.)You see, I once dated a public masturbator. And masturbating in public was exactly the thing he was doing when I first laid eyes on him. Yet I went on to date Public Masturbator, who became known among my friends as simply PM, for the better part of a summer. Was I insane? Desperate? Overly open-minded? Honestly, I still haven’t figured that out. Five years after the romance, the question I’m left with is, where was my better judgment? Attached, please find my 1,321 word essay about the experience for your consideration. I have written two essays for xoJane.com in the past (here and here), and I also write for Thrillist, HelloGiggles, Country Living and many other internetty outlets. Thank you for your consideration.
You might assume writing for xoJane in the past would have helped me get my foot in the door, but I don’t think it did in this instance, because the editors took me for a new contributor and sent over the contract and bio instructions and everything. Anyway, the story went up fast and the commenters rejoiced. And by rejoiced I mean rejoiced the way a jackal rejoices when it bags a succulent young gazelle. The comments changed from THIS IS NOT A REAL PUBLIC MASTURBATION STORY GIVE US A REAL PUBLIC MASTURBATION STORY to