When Tulip e-mailed me about wanting to be my friend - and that's an exact quote - I was quite thrilled and sure that this was finally that editor at Knopf who'd been "seriously considering" my manuscript over the past eight months or maybe it's been eight years. Of course this wouldn't be the editor directly, rather her editorial assistant, someone named Tulip.
Most encouraging was another message from Tulip, that she was "ready for action."
I clicked over to the Web Club that everybody has already joined (I've been tardy with this) and directed myself further to the Book Forum that I had specified when I first joined up. I had imagined that this Book Forum would be the place to exchange writing tips and secrets of the trade with Tom Wolfe, Denis Johnson and E.L. Doctorow.
At the site, I found Tulip, just her name, and she invited me to "view" her "pics." Naturally these would be photos of Tulip at a book signing with the Dalai Lama.
I switched over to her pics and obviously I caught her by surprise because she wasn't dressed yet. She was practically naked. She invited me to "read more about me" and turns out she really does want action. In her bio, she doesn't say much, except that she's 22, lives in Des Moines, and adds, "I am so horny."
Never before had a book editor said this to me.
Tulip also invited me to view pics of her other friends and all of them are naked or half-naked. They also lament about being horny and I believe this. Some are single, some are married, but it doesn't seem to matter either way. At the start of all this I used to think that I was the only one getting these invitations. I am getting suspicious, however, that, speaking of Tulip, for example, there may be other men she wants as friends.
I may not be so special, after all.
I guess -- though we can't be sure -- that Tulip is not part of the editorial department over there at Knopf. The reason we can't be sure is because in this Internet world we're all living in, the next person, the next e-mail, could be from someone really important, or someone who isn't naked or horny.
This already happened. A news and opinion editor reached me by phone recently and said she'd been after me for months to join up as a columnist. Turned out she was legit, a real editor for a real online news magazine, and her name was Heather. If she was naked or horny when she phoned, I don't know. But let this be a lesson that deleting people too fast can be a mistake.
Or it could be someone from Oprah's office who's inviting you on the show, and because you thought it was spam and tossed it, down goes your dream of a bestseller.
Therefore, I now respond promptly to anything that comes from Veronica and Candy and Blossom and Felicity and all the rest.
It is amazing that there are so many naked women in America. They're everywhere and so many of them are horny. Is this an epidemic? They show up even in Book Forums, coast to coast. No one's counting, but there could be millions. This is not a complaint, merely an observation, and it isn't a warning, either. Something strange must have happened to get so many women rapidly undressed.
The next naked lady may even be the neighbor next door - though of course I don't mean you, Mrs. Klein.
Meanwhile, still no word from Knopf. Ann - that's the name of the editor. I'm waiting for that invitation to be her friend.
I can be reached at the same address where Tulip found me.
About the author: Jack Engelhard wrote the international bestseller "Indecent Proposal" that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Hollywood motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. His memoir, "Escape From Mount Moriah," which was honored for writing (MPA) and film (CANNES) has been newly released in paperback and is up on Amazon.
Engelhard's website: www.indecentviews.com