Remember gender and relationship columnist Cynthia Heimel.
Heimel, who died Sunday, is known for her humorous advice on village voices and playboy columns. It was first broadcast in 1991.
DAVE DAVIES, host:
This is fresh air. Cynthia hermel, a groundbreaking humorist, wrote about sex, romance and feminism, and died Sunday in Los Angeles. She is 70 years old. Her 1983 book, “sex tips,” started with a gender column for “playboy” and “village voice.” In a tribute to Sharon, Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote that hymel combined complex wit and sexual orientation and eventually spawned many successors. She says Heimel paved The way for Candace Bushnell’s Sex And The City column, which later appeared in The HBO series starring Sarah Jessica Parker.
She wrote a column called “But Enough About You” and a series called “chaos girl guide.” “If you can’t live, why don’t you die?” terry wrote to Cynthia helmer in 1991. The collection. They started reading her work, “Snow Job,” from Heimel, and solved the familiar plight of single people. How do you know if this is a real date when someone asks you out for dinner?
(archive broadcast archive)
CYNTHIA HEIMEL :(reading) from now on, I think we have to have new social behavior. From now on, we have to know if we’re on a real date. I can’t stand it. I can’t get more calls from men. What if we meet on Saturday night? And they really mean, if we go to a party, meet many of our friends, and then go out to eat, and then I go home together, and others that? Or if I take you to the strange little neighbor, tell you all the information I divorce, and I don’t have sex for the sake of, how did I think I will never deal with anyone again, and then ask your advice about how to get the waitress? Or, if we go to a nightclub, I’ll give you your job information,
I mean, if you call a date, don’t even know whether nervous, even can’t take the initial step, and ask yourself whether you like this person, whether you be attracted this person, whether or not you want to see the people do not have his clothes, because he may not be this meaning. He may want to be a friend. But he didn’t tell me. No, is now a modern people, so I must do this terrible psychological distortion, let my mind is completely blank, don’t expect anything, what all don’t want to, but at the same time, I have to clean my house, wash your hair, shave legs, to wipe the body oil, pour in perfume, find the sock, trying on clothes, 10 several jump on scale, blow dry hair, wet, dry again, to apply deodorant, 15 minutes brushing your teeth, then put my hair into a ponytail in case of one thousand. I’ve been trying to keep my mind blank. All the time, my mind has refused to be a blank and passionate. Is this a date or not a date?
TERRY GROSS, wired :(laughter) great. When did this become a problem?
HEIMEL: I noticed three, four years ago, when someone called me and asked me for a strange day. And I almost — I almost want to start eating dinner and say, ok, what are you going to do? But I’ve never had the guts to do that.
MAO: why not? You are a rather nervous person.
HEIMEL :(laughter) nervous y in my writing. Watch me in real life.
HEIMEL: a completely different set of nerves.
MAO: have you ever asked a man?
HEIMEL: yes, absolutely. I don’t know if they know it’s a date. (laughter) And I don’t know how to say I’m asking you, because I think I might want to sleep with you. I mean, what did you say? How do you do that? I think I have to figure it out, because nobody does it. I think this is my job.
MAO: you know, like women, we grew up where a man asked – a man or a boy asked a woman or a girl to go out on a date. If there is any one, you know, romantic sexual contact, men start it. So you have to overcome that socialization and training. Do you like, like, the first romantic contact? Did you get that?
HEIMEL: never. I mean, it’s like involuntary. You know, you don’t think it’s breathing. I think I’ve been trained since I was six months old, and I’ve been passive in this kind of thing. It will take more courage. It’s going to be blind, roaring drunk, I — you know, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that. I’m too timid.
MAO zedong: but, as a feminist, did you think, as a feminist, you should overcome this problem, even when you start a relationship can also be as equals, do you understand what I mean? You think you’re falling behind on this level, you should try to overcome this? Or do you accept it?
Helmer: I don’t know. I used to spend a few hours, weeks and months on yourself, let oneself become more attractive, more available, more exciting, more thin, more hair, the skin is better, in order to attract men. As I grew more confident and crazy, I felt I was tired of getting myself out.
If anyone wants to go out with me, they’ll let me know. I’ll let them know. But I don’t want to pursue it to the end of the earth. That’s too low. I think the role of women has always been that we — if we don’t have a date, we do something wrong. If no one asks us what we did wrong. There is a terrible thing – everyone can see our secrets, but we ourselves.
Helmer: we read 100 million self-help books. You know, “love too many women” may not actually be a bad book. But let half of the female population devour the book and realize, yes, I have some new mistakes – I think it’s anti-feminist. I think it’s time for everyone to say, ok, you want me, okay. If you don’t want me, it’s too bad.
Maurice: now, you’re one of the few feminists I can think of, who writes about fashion and dating. And, of course, your reaction is ironic. But on the other hand, like, you really like shoes.
MAO: what makes you angry about buying clothes now? What do you find frustrating?
HEIMEL: well, for anyone who wants to look good, the price is certainly depressing. Another thing I feel very frustrating thing is that now there are a lot of people are close to or already 40 years old, and don’t want to be a grandmother, don’t want to be a fallen man, don’t want to be upset, don’t want to become is not willing to look like mutton dressed as lamb in despair, all people in the face of our youth clothing.
Now, I love Betsy Johnson’s death, and I’ve been wearing Betsy Johnson’s clothes. But I can’t wear them anymore. I can’t wear much more. I don’t want to wear a doll dress with flowers. I just look stupid.
So I want to know is, who was there for me in this age group has strange women and tens of thousands of design, fashionable, adventure clothes – you know, we are – we grew up with so many people in the 60 s of people just don’t want to suddenly in chanel suit or chanel chanel suit of stereotypes stereotypes in the world.
Davis: writer Cynthia hermel spoke to terry gross in 1991. Hermel died on Sunday. We’ll hear more after the break. This is fresh air.
(voice of TROPICALISIMO BITIKO SONG, “NO LO PUEDO CREER”)
Davis: it’s fresh air. We are listening to terry’s 1991 interview with Cynthia Heimel, a groundbreaking sex and columnist. She died Sunday at the age of 70.
(archive broadcast archive)
General secretary: in one of your new books…
MAO: one thing is to invite some male friends and then invite some female friends to watch porn. What is this exercise about? Are you trying to compare the differences between men and women and how they respond to pornography?
Hymell: well, they’re playboy, so I’m not sure I consciously know what I’m doing. But this is an experiment, yes. This is to see what men look like. And then, when I realized that their performance was completely stupid, I thought, well, let’s see what the woman did. And, you know, this is great. I think in biology, men and women are so different, you know? They just – I’m surprised we get together, ‘because men are so visual, and women must have so many fantasy, or must be connected in some way or fall in love with the real sex.
The President: what do women get confused about what men do to women in movies? I mean, sometimes I think porn is made by people who don’t know how women work.
HEIMEL: yes, the women say – you know, they’re just laughing. I mean, it’s ridiculous. In a movie, a woman has a telephone relationship with a man, and she’s wearing what god knows – you know, like one of the garter belts. Her hair was flawless, her makeup flawless, and she was breathing heavily on the phone. How many women in the room, on the phone with her boyfriend about sexy – you know, there is some version of the phone sex – say, oh, of course, we wear flannel pyjamas and knee socks,…
Helmer: you know, get out of here. Who does that – nobody. Nobody did. No one is like that. I mean, that’s what those movies are about. They don’t fit us. They are not suitable for women. I see some clothes that are specifically designed for women, and they do a lot of good stuff, and they do a lot of good, you know, interior design. But they are bored in bed. I think for a woman, porn is like a room with a lot of scenery…
Helmer:… You know, it just boils on the surface. I can’t wait. I can’t wait – oh, my god, my god – you know, that sort of thing.
MAO: yes. I want to ask you about the tone you use in your writing…
GROSS:…… Because whether you’re talking about sex or clothes or self-help books or whatever, you have this great, funny, sarcastic tone. It looks like – you know, like Dorothy Parker, it’s part of a fashion magazine. Talk about your tone in your writing, where it comes from, what you’re doing.
Helmer: I don’t know. I mean, there’s an interesting style, it just evolved. I think – I have never went to college, so nobody taught me how to write, this will help a lot of things, because if you try to start with an idiot to write a creative writing courses, they can teach you all the wrong things at college. I was always reading when I was a child. I remember when I was, like I kept reading JD salinger at the age of 16. So I think there’s something like JD Salinger there. I know it’s weird, but this is where it starts. I read a lot about hunter Thompson and Tom Wolfe for the news. I just adore these people.
Remember gender and relationship columnist Cynthia Heimel.