The promise was certainly there for an exciting read. The question posed to me would be the degree of honesty Sarah Forbes would muster regarding her own personal story of her surprising emergence as a sort of “sex worker” coming unlikely on the heels of her graduating from a conventional academic study in anthropology. Forbes provided herself with an entire book in which to elaborate and explore, in what was hoped to be in the spirit of jeopardy, her tenure as sex curator. The Museum of Sex would afford her, to a curious degree, enough decadence and titillation that can only be imagined by her potential readers. In my mind, because of these unique circumstances, Sarah Forbes was required to present more than just a mere reporting of what she had learned. Her daily bombardment of sexual subcultures alone should have prompted even the slightest personal bout of salaciousness. It seems almost frigid to me for Forbes to remain distanced and so desiring to be perceived as scholarly while immersed in this environment of wanton sex. Even her formal accounting of her own wedding presented an almost flippant reporting of extreme lust, but offered no additional details in which the reader might actually believe her. There was no feeling anywhere. Her words were dead.
Sarah Forbes did present a few sexual kinks she discovered in her involvement as curator, but to no degree that was stimulating or exciting in any way, and certainly no kinks presented of her own. There was never a question of what was good, bad, deviant or normal sexual behavior as promised in the blurbs. Throughout my reading I remained indifferent and unsatisfied. But because of my obvious interest I can only hope that deviant behavior will always remain titillating to the extent of its being considered forbidden and something that additionally still must be somehow exhumed. Unfortunately I discovered nothing in these pages that felt threatening to a degree in which I myself might shudder as reformed Lutherans are wont to do.
The sharing of her love story, her prior dating and eventual marriage to her new husband, is what I most found unnecessary and totally lacking. It seemed to me that this was the main object behind her writing this book. That and composing a self-help book for today’s woman regarding relationships and parenting. Throughout the duration of her romantic inclinations I was thinking “who cares?” And as much as I always insist in my reading for the personality of the writer to come through on the page, it is doubly important that she be interesting and liked. Neither of these required attributes impressed themselves upon me.
For as much as her background as an anthropologist excited me, just for its possibilities in uncovering sex, Sarah was a bore. Any writer promising the extent of titillation that this book did, who then describes a romantic date eating fast-food in, of all places, at a MacDonald’s in New York City and then bragging about how great the experience was, obviously should be avoided at all costs. Problem was this silly anecdote describing her most momentous date with her future husband came a bit too late in which I might have successfully bailed. Unfortunately the work failed to deliver on any promises made. And it is what I have come to expect from the blurbs and hype of today’s popular culture filling the backs of almost every dust jacket a publisher needs to sell.