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October 7th, 2009

Review: Obsolete

Obsolete book

Last year author Anna Jane Grossman contacted me for an interview. She wanted to write about the decline of phone sex for her book Obsolete. She asked me several questions and now I’m quoted in Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once-Common Things Passing Us By. I’m on page 132. Neat!

Grossman gives definitions and anecdotes for her obsolete subject matter. Some of the items only have definitions. Here’s the definition for phone sex:
“Arousing conversations conducted via telephony, sometimes for a fee; born in 1875, with Alexander Graham Bell’s first words into a phone: “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.”

It was a treat to see myself quoted in a book. One thing that irked me was that my quote sounds like I’m no longer a PSO. But she asked me the question “How would you describe your work to, say, someone living 100 years from now–someone who knows nothing about it?” So it made sense to describe myself in the past.

Is phone sex becoming obsolete because guys can get it for free online, as Grossman theorizes? The popularity may decline but I don’t see it going away completely. Especially with cell phones becoming smaller and cheaper with each passing year. Sure you can get free sexual services but will it satisfy? There’s a saying I learned from a Spanish teacher years ago that comes to mind-”What if free is often more expensive”. How many hours would someone have to spend to find someone willing to indulge their particular fantasy and do a good job of it?

She makes the point that college students are less likely to do paid phone sex. While it’s true that I don’t have many college aged clients I don’t think they’re my target audience. The bulk of my clients are middle aged or older. I guess the real question is will these college students turn to phone sex when they reach middle age? I theorize some will turn to sex workers to fulfill their needs. Perhaps new technology will change the way they communicate with said sex workers but I still think they’ll want to interact.

The book makes a good coffee table book. You can pick it up, read a few entries and then put it down again. You could read it straight through but I enjoyed randomly opening it and reading. While I don’t agree with all of her assessments-I can’t imagine email becoming obsolete. And as a knitter I know there’s a whole DIY community out there that darns socks. I know I do.

But there are some items where we’re in complete agreement-typewriters, hotel keys and lickable stamps are definitely in decline. There are cute illustrations throughout the book. They’re not needed but it makes the book fun.

Posted by Vixen as Musings, Reviews at 11:12 PM CDT

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