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Catherine Townsend

A sex and dating columnist, Catherine Townsend published her first novel Sleeping Around: Secrets of a Sexual Adventuress in 2007, and followed up with Breaking The Rules: Confessions of a Bad Girl in 2008. She also appeared in How To Have Sex After Marriage on Five, and is now writing a third book. Born in Arkansas, Catherine was a gossip columnist for New York Magazine before moving to London in 2003, since when she has had a very interesting - and pretty public - private life...

The Bridget Jones Effect

Posted by Catherine Townsend
  • Tuesday, 20 April 2010 at 07:26 pm
According to a new survey, British girls hope to tie the knot by age 26 - a drop of five years from a decade ago - because they are afraid of ending up like Bridget Jones. The editor of More magazine, who quizzed women for the survey, says 'They don't want to fall into the Bridget Jones syndrome and view their future through an empty wine glass. They want to marry and have their first child while their complexions are still youthful rather than Botoxed.'

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Concubine as career choice? No thanks...

Posted by Catherine Townsend
  • Friday, 2 April 2010 at 09:59 am
As an American living in London, I was always amazed at the UK's 'Kiss and Tell' industry, and believed that there was no US equivalent. Sure, we would occasionally have a celebrity get caught with his pants down, but we didn't seem to have the same mill of women who sold their stories to the highest bidder while posing in their underwear. That has all changed since the Tiger Woods scandal broke. First, we heard reports that Rachel Uchitel got a settlement of up to $10 million to buy her silence, then Mindy Lawton talked about escapades with Tiger involving a Subway chicken wrap and a tampon (fortunately, not both at the same time). Women keep coming out of the woodwork to talk about Jesse James: In the most recent incident (which unfortunately, is burned into my brain!), the husband of one of his flings, a receptionist at a tattoo parlour named Skittles Valentine, said he was part of a foursome with James. He said he couldn't remember if he used protection, but 'sometimes as a last-case scenario I tie a latex glove finger off.' It's like everyone saw a B-list celebrity coming and forgot all reason.
What that tells us, boys and girls (other than the fact that a man should NEVER admit that his entire manhood would fit into a latex glove finger!) is that we're in for a sad state of affairs when concubine becomes a career choice. Having sexual freedom is great, but young girls must look at these women and wonder: What's the point of getting a degree when I can hook up with a celebrity and secure a huge payout?

Don't Tell Me to 'Have a Nice Day!'

Posted by Catherine Townsend
  • Friday, 26 March 2010 at 10:27 am
In a New Yorker article, writer Jill Lepore debunks marriage counselling and explores the philosophy behind Paul Popenoe's American History of Family Relations (it turns out that Popenoe's anti-divorce stance had less to do with love than eugenics, which is pretty unromantic!) The message is clear: Therapy doesn't work.

As an American who has been living in the UK for the past few years, I was amazed by how the Brits expect life (and weather!) to be crap a lot of the time. I find the British attitude very reassuring. I'm not a miserable person, and I like smiling at strangers! But I have come to believe that the constant quest for happiness makes us miserable.

I'm in sunny Los Angeles this week, and when I have a bad day sometimes the only half-full glass I want to see is the Jack Daniels in the palm of my hand. I don't want to smile and read relationship psycho-babble, I want to hide behind my dark sunglasses.

It wasn't always this way. At one point, I was so worried about negatively influencing my surrounding that I became addicted to self-help. At various points in my quest, I've taken mind-altering prescription drugs, drunk endless cups of free coffee at Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meetings, had countless hours of therapy, tried every self-help technique from Alcoholics Anonymous (for the 12 step method, I don't have a drinking problem) to Zen Buddhism.

Sometimes, life sucks. And trying to convince myself that it doesn't just makes me feel like crap. Maybe the reasons that our grandparents' generation was happier than we are despite fighting in wars and toiling in fields was the fact that they didn't follow Deepak Chopra on Twitter, get dragged by their girlfriends into Kaballah lectures on miracles, or have the constant pressure to be 'happy'.

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 As soon as word of Sam Mendes and Kate Winslet's split hit the press, the Daily Mail hit back with an article blaming her for the breakdown of the marriage. 'So Why Can't Kate Winslet Make Her Marriages Work? blasts Kate for various wrongdoings, including doing nude scenes...despite the fact that her husband was the one directing her! Oh, and she's also 'fierce' and 'intense'...but she somehow failed to 'tame' the wily Sam Mendes. Of course, none of this wild speculation is sourced. Never mind that the separation has been a long time coming, or that Kate and Sam put out a very amicable statement. Who knows what happened inside their marriage? They were together for seven years, tried to make it work, and couldn't. Aside from the nasty undercurrent of jealousy running through the article (you may be rich, famous, and successful honey, but you can't keep your man, can you? Better go back to the kitchen!) as I read through this ridiculous character assault, I couldn't help but wonder: When was the last time I read about a male celebrity who had gone through two break-ups being asked why he couldn't make his relationships work? 

Cheryl Cole: Pass the Ben and Jerry's

Posted by Catherine Townsend
  • Wednesday, 24 February 2010 at 07:31 am
Cheryl Cole has finally split with her husband Ashley. In 2008, she forgave him for one affair, telling Vogue that he had a 'young mentality'. But a string of women have come forward with new accusations, along with some seriously unflattering pics of him in his Y-fronts. Cheryl may be crying now, but I think that it's her--not the WAGs who emerge smiling or wearing slogan T-shirts next to their cheating husbands--who has the most potential for a happy ending. Read more...Collapse )

My Valentine's Day With Jack Daniels

Posted by Catherine Townsend
  • Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 09:36 pm
I accepted a long time ago that Colin Firth isn't going to show up in search of a madcap adventure with me, which is why I hate traditional romantic comedies and their silly, formulaic 'rules'.

So, since I constantly get asked how to deal with a dateless Valentine's day, I have an idea for those of us who want to put our heads in the sand. As an expert at holiday avoidance (I have to navigate Christmas with divorced parents and lots of drama!), here's how I'm planning to spend February 14th. 

First, I'm getting up and running five miles in the cold. Then, I'm having an anti-chick-flick horror movie marathon. I think I'm going to go with 'Fatal Attraction', followed by 'Baise Moi' and the British horror flick 'Mum and Dad'. Or, I could turn on True Movies (the UK version of Lifetime Television). They seem to have a great selection of 'Women Who Love The Men Who Eventually Turn on Them and Kill Them' flicks. My main course for the evening will be microwave popcorn, and my 'date' will be Jack Daniels. Or maybe Johnnie Walker. Jose Cuervo can't come. He feels good going down, but in the morning I always have major regret.

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Is John Terry becoming the 'British Tiger Woods' ?

Posted by Catherine Townsend
  • Monday, 1 February 2010 at 12:13 pm
It's been a bad week for England football captain John Terry. First, his affair with Wayne Bridge's ex-girlfriend was exposed...then his wife Toni left, and the women just keep coming out of the closet! I don't know whether 'I Pulled John Terry' T-shirts will become an ironic accessory on this side of the pond in the way that 'I Slept With Tiger' tees have in the US, but my money is on more women lining up at Max Clifford's door to sell variations of their 'I know it was only five minutes in the toilets of Funky Buddha, and he was vomiting continuously, but I really thought that he could be The One!' kiss-and-tell stories. Footballers occupy a weird alternative moral universe. Read more...Collapse )

Opposite of 'Cougar' = 'Silver Fox Hunter'?

Posted by Catherine Townsend
  • Tuesday, 19 January 2010 at 10:20 am
 The New York Observer has helpfully broken down the older woman/younger man phenomenon by generation. Now we don't just have 'cougars' (40-something women who date younger men), we also have 'cheetahs', the thirty-something, 'younger cousins' of cougars who date men in their twenties, and (gasp) sometimes want to stay the night, because they are 'on the prowl'. Confused yet? There are also the 'pumas', women in their late twenties to early thirties who hit on men in their early twenties.  

Am I the only one who is getting really tired of all of this sexist labelling of relationships? I'm 32 and when I date a man in his 50s, the only thing I hear him described as is 'bachelor'. Yet my girlfriend who is my age and dating a man who is four years younger than her gets constantly teased about her 'boy toy'. What's the big deal? My parents are one year apart. They met, got married, bought a big house and waited exactly seven years before they started having children. In short, they did everything by society's 'checklist', and their marriage fell apart. Meanwhile, my dad and step mum have a twenty year age difference and are very happy together. Isn't life WAY too short to keep slapping solitary cat labels on relationships?  

Why some men's 'hot' sex scenes leave me cold...

Posted by Catherine Townsend
  • Thursday, 7 January 2010 at 11:27 pm

I wasn't surprised when Katie Roiphe wrote in the New York Times book review that these days, male writers tend to craft sex scenes that are a bit, well, flaccid.

If these guys grew up watching the same movies as I did, it's no wonder that they are totally confused.

The past two decades have been all about the rise of the sensitive man, and the metrosexual. On the other hand, men are told that they have to win at all costs.

Focusing on writers like David Foster Wallace, Dave Eggers, Michael Chabon, and Jonathan Franzen, she Roiphe writes that "The current sexual style is more childlike; innocence is more fashionable than virility, the cuddle preferable to sex.’

While I enjoy the male writers she mentioned, their descriptions of lovemaking leave me cold. After reading them, I’m left wondering if these guys would rather crawl back inside their mother's nether regions than get inside mine.

I think that the era of the ‘sensitive’ guy officially began around 1989, when women everywhere fell in love with John Cusack’s trench coat-wearing anti-hero Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything. He was every girl’s best friend, he wrote love letters, and when he finally got the girl into bed, he shook with happiness.

So pervasive was ‘the Dobler effect’ that Chuck Klosterman blamed John Cusack for a generation of male angst when he wrote in Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs that ‘every straight girl I know would sell her soul to share a milkshake with that motherf**ker.’

We were supposed to idolise him. But I always rooted for the bad boys in movies. I hung out with guys like Lloyd at school, but after dark it was another story.

I watched Mickey Rourke drag Kim Basinger through a back alley in 9 ½ Weeks late night, and rooted for Amanda Bearse to drop the geeky teen boyfriend and jump on Chris Sarandon as a sexy older vampire in Fright Night.

These men weren’t awkward or uncertain. They knew what they wanted, and they took it.

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Do you believe in the G-spot??

Posted by Catherine Townsend
  • Sunday, 3 January 2010 at 11:43 pm
First Italian scientists claimed that they could find the G-spot through ultrasound, and now researchers at King's College London say that the ever-elusive pleasure zone doesn't exist. The study was led by Andrea Burri, who told The Times that the research was meant to lessen the feelings of inadequacy that women feel. 'It is rather irresponsible to claim the existence of an entity that has never really been proven and pressurise women--and men, too,' she says.

The study is already being challenged. But researcher Tim Spector tells The Times, "This is by far the biggest study ever carried out and it shows fairly conclusively that the idea of a G-spot is subjective."

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