Why Not To "How Not To Get Laid"

A friend sent me a link to How Not To Get Laid, a website by one "Stewart Fox" devoted to readers' stories of near-misses, last-minute fumbles, and fast-trains-to-Loserville in trying to have sex with another person.

A horrible confession: I like the "Cosmo Confessions" and similar features in COSMOPOLITAN magazine. I sneak looks at other people's copies ('cause you know that, like, guys don't read COSMO) when I get a chance. These are collections of anecdotes from readers telling about spectacularly bad or inappropriate sex, and/or of being caught having bad or inappropriate sex. (The type of story like having hot, noisy office sex while not realizing the intercom is on.)

So How Not To Get Laid is sort of the geeky kid brother of "Cosmo Confessions". I took a look, and some of the stories were pretty amusing, in a horrifying deja vu kind of way.

The friend who sent me the link added a note asking if I wanted to contribute a story of my own to the website.

Back when I was young, my most common method of not getting laid was, like most guys, being too scared to even try. But there were a few times when I made some motions in that direction, with, umm, less than positive results. Once, not getting laid actually turned out to be one of the most pleasant, memorable and fun evenings I've ever had. But for full dramatic effect, that story needs to be told along with its Evil Twin, an occasion so spectacular and emotionally painful that if it were filmed, it would be a wide-screen epic with an all-star cast and a red carpet premiere. And that story is one I will probably never, ever tell in public.

But I did think of another not-getting-laid story that would have been appropriate for the HNTGL website. So I clicked on the "Submit A Story" button, and saw...

...this, in the middle of the submission instructions:
By submitting a story in the box below or to the e-mail address below, you grant How Not To Get Laid an unlimited, exclusive worldwide right to republish the story online, in print, or in any form of media. How Not To Get Laid reserves the right to fully edit submissions. By submitting a story, you assert that the story you are submitting is one of your own creation and does not infringe on any existing copyright. Submitting a story does not guarantee that your story will be posted or used by How Not To Get Laid‘.

So, if you post a story to HNTGL, you also assign all rights to further use of that story to "Steven Fox". All rights, forever.

What this suggests to me is that "Fox" is using the website to accumulate material for a book. Material that the actual authors will get no recompense, at all, for.

Nope. Uh-uh. Not acceptable.

If Fox had stated up front that HNTGL might eventually be used as the basis for a book or other projects, I might have respected that honesty enough to submit a post regardless. But there's no reason for that paragraph to be there unless he is thinking of using the material from HNTGL for future (presumably commercial) projects. (His bio describes him as a writer and screenwriter.)

So, nope, you won't read my story of long-ago humiliation on How Not To Get Laid.

You're going to read it here instead:

Back in the early 70's, I was catching a flight home to Arizona. I boarded the plane and found my seat.

And noticed that the passenger sitting next to me was a nice-looking young woman of about my own age. A very nice-looking young woman.

So as the plane takes off and starts flying westwards, I'm stealing sidelong glances at this lovely young woman, and thinking, "Wow. What could I say to start a conversation with her?"

I think along these lines for fifteen or twenty minutes, trying to screw up my courage to actually speak to her. And I'm getting close, pretty close, to actually turning and saying something...

... when I feel... something.

Something... in my stomach.

Something... roiling. Something... churning. Something... taking on a life of its own. Something... taking on its own inhuman form of sentience. Something... that wants to escape.

And I feel a surge of vomit racing up from my stomach, through the esophagus, towards my mouth, and I clamp! a hand over my mouth and lurch forward in my seat, reaching with the other hand for the air sickness bag in the seatback pocket in front of me.

The air sickness bag... that is NOT there.

And the vomit reaches my mouth, and I'm struggling mightily to keep it in, but it's spurting out between my lips, between my fingers, and, oh god Jeezus, it's coming out my NOSE...

... and the passenger across the aisle sees my distress and, as quickly as possible, hands the bag that IS in HIS seatback pocket, and I'm able to release most of the vomit into the bag, gasping for breath and wishing that a trapdoor would open in the floor of the plane and just drop me out into mid-air.

For the entire rest of that flight, I didn't even glance towards that nice-looking young woman seated next to me. (It was a long flight. A long, long flight.)

But wait, there's more!

This was back during my military service, and regulations at the time required us to travel in uniform, and I was wearing a freshly starched, spotless set of khakis for travelling. So not only did I suffer an utterly ghastly personal humiliation, but I totally trashed the strong, manly, macho image of the entire United States Army.

Oh yeh, the good old days. Like Hell.


Unknown said...

Hey Bruce,
Stewart Fox here. Thanks for the link to my site (altho obviously your title is less than enthusiastic). As for your suspicion that I'm collecting stories for the purposes of a book, you're not entirely wrong. Right now the site is something of an experiment. If we get enough material and enough of an audience to warrant a book at some point down the line, I'd certainly love to do one. My legal line (ugly as it is) is not meant to deprive people of the rights to their own personal stories (that's the last thing I want to do), but rather to protect me from anyone who may want to sue me if HNTGL achieves any financial success down the line. You're right that this is something that should be further explained, and I plan on adding a Frequently Asked Question section that addresses this and all other concerns. But until my tech guy starts actually returning my calls that FAQ section will have to wait. Meantime, I encourage your readers to visit the site, submit if they choose, and most importantly, enjoy! all the best, Stewart Fox
p.s. I liked your airplane story

Unknown said...

Turns out I didn't need my tech guy after all. The FAQ page is up:


Thanks, Bruce, for kicking my butt and motivating me to get it up there.
happy blogging,