Unexpected Results: Winning High School

April 10th, 2006 · 7 Comments
by Booksquare

Unless you count reunions, there is nothing worse than high school. It’s as if an ancient sadist stroked his (or her) bearded chin and said, “How, I wonder, can I destroy their psyches for life?” Another moment passes and the answer comes, “High school! Of course. I am both diabolical and brilliant. Also, I had an unfortunate experience in gym.”

Oh wait. Releasing your first book might count. Rejections, reviews, and people telling you that your life’s work is all wrong (and they should know, they have an idea for a book). Our friend Joan Kelly, author of The Pleasure’s All Mine: Memoir of a Professional Submissive gives all of us hope. She ca–oh we can’t do that, it’s far too easy– she saw, she won the high school game, and she posed for her own book cover. And, after some gentle (hey, you read the book!) arm-twisting, she’s here to tell about it:

Joan says:

I had all kinds of grandiose fantasies about what might happen once I sold my book, The Pleasure’s All Mine: Memoir of a Professional Submissive. Oprah’s book club, Fresh Air with Terry Gross – hell, I even imagined Phil Donahue going back on the air just in time to have me on his show. (Note to Phil – I am still grieving your absence.) What I hoped for more than anything else, however, was that my book would get me laid.

And not just with anybody. From seventh grade through my first two years in community college, I went spectacularly unnoticed by every single guy I felt attracted to. Wait, that’s not true – sometimes they noticed me just enough to reject me in humiliating ways.

How satisfying would it be, I wondered, if even one person from my past came across my book and decided to get in touch? I know, I’m thirty-eight, there have to be more important things for me to think about than whether so-and-so from ninth grade will see my naked ass on my book cover and finally be open to the idea of kissing me. I’ll be honest with you – in the wake of my recent mini-book tour, there’s not a lot of other important things going on. It’s basically back to writing, naps with the cats, and praying for tax time to come and go already so that business picks up again. The thought of hearing from someone who knew me before my skin cleared up and I learned how to shape my eyebrows was too seductive to push away – sexual redemption by way of trade paperback.

No word yet from Oprah’s people or the New York Times Book Review, but a few days ago I got an email that answered all my narcissistic prayers:

Have to say, I think you win the award for post-high school blossoming…

And while it was indeed from someone who wouldn’t have given me the time of day at age sixteen, none of my daydreams could have prepared me for this particular blast from the past. The note was from one of the popular girls in high school.

Erin (not her real name) hung out with the cheerleaders and football players, was a homecoming princess, an editor on the school newspaper, and got to make out with a number of the boys I liked back in the day. I always thought she was gay anyway, even before I felt like I might be partly or wholly gay, but I never considered there might come a day when she’d be gay for me. If I had ever had occasion to think about it, I would have thought that she would stay closeted her whole life, even to herself, which was the style at the time for a lot of gay kids where I grew up.

We had one class together junior year, in which my twin sister and I got on her nerves for dicking around in the back of the room instead of covering our assignments. (We wrote for the school newspaper, too, for about two weeks, before getting kicked off for laziness and poor attitude.) She never even spoke to me back then, and when I first got her note, I thought, “she just wants to confirm that I’m the pervert who wrote that book, so she can tee-hee about it with her popular girlfriends.” We’re having our twentieth high school reunion this summer, by the way. And although she’s still friends with some of the young women from her group in high school, she doesn’t seem like the kind of person anymore who tee hee’s at other people’s expense. Or certainly no more than I do, so who am I to judge…

So I wrote back and asked her if she was gay. (There were a couple of small-talky emails in between, but we got right to the point pretty swiftly.) I added that I had thought I was gay myself for the first couple of years after I quit smoking, lest it sound like an accusation. (I hesitate to admit that in a way; I wouldn’t put it past Big Tobacco to incorporate it as some kind of homophobic propaganda – “keep smoking our fags, or turn into one!”) I told her I didn’t know what I was anymore, besides a sex maniac.

Having seen what I looked like on my book cover, she said it was only fair that she send me a recent photo of herself. She’s cuter than I remembered her being, too, and I asked her what she thought about meeting for coffee some time. She’s all girl on the outside, but acts like a butch-y top – she said yes to the coffee date, then called me the day of to tell me she was taking me to dinner instead. She made reservations at two fancy restaurants before picking me up, and let me choose once I was in the car. She totally knows how to treat a girl, and all I can think about now is kissing her again.

What does any of this have to do with book promotion and publishing trends and the usual Booksquare subject matter?


I just wanted to tell all those boys I liked in high school, who made out with her instead of me but never did get in her pants: Looks like I might get to bang the hell out of her tomorrow night. See you at the reunion.

File Under: Wrapped Up In Books

7 responses so far ↓

  • Mia Zachary // Apr 11, 2006 at 8:33 am

    Sex… I mean, success, is the best revenge. Way to go, Joan LOL

  • "The" Homecoming Princess... // Apr 11, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    …And to think of all the fun I missed back in high school by not being nice to you, Joan Kelly… I think that updates your readers/fans as to whether or not the “bang” has happened… Touche. “Erin”

  • James // Apr 12, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    Wow!!! What A Great Little Piece To Write Thanks, Joan

  • Richard from San Diego // Apr 13, 2006 at 10:08 am

    Nice little write up, Joan. I enjoyed reading it. Now, if you could only arrange to get a spanking to go with that evening . . .

  • Joan Kelly // Apr 13, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    Erin, thanks for your sweet post. James, thanks for the kind words. Richard, I did, and thank you for the good thoughts.

    Thanks again to Booksquare, too, for having such a great site and for allowing me onto it!

  • Heidi and Walter // Apr 13, 2006 at 1:59 pm

    Joan! What on earth would have happened to you if you had listened to me instead of your gut instincts. Get down with yourself, girlfriend! Your biggest fans, Heidi and Walter

  • Dina // Apr 14, 2006 at 10:51 am

    Joan- you are a riot! XO