Last week, model-slash-editor Anja Rubik drew battle lines between her new magazine, 25, which focuses on erotica from a women’s point of view, and the sex-obsessed French fashion tome Purple, which she contends is “more from a man’s point of view.” It seemed only fitting, then, at Purple’s annual Fashion Week dinner Tuesday night at Acme, followed by a dance party at the Top of the Standard, for the Cut to ask guests if they think that Rubik has a point. Is there enough erotica for women?
Purple’s editor Olivier Zahm wrapped his arm around us while smoking inside and photographing and kissing basically every man and woman in the room. He said he thought 25 was a great idea, but objected to Rubik’s idea that his publication is male-oriented. “Okay, I’m the editor, so it’s maybe more for men, but I try to have sexual fluidity in Purple,” he said, pointing out that he’s had transgender models and guy-on-guy and girl-on-girl spreads. “I think that men are women and women are men. I don’t really believe in gender.”
If it were up to him, Zahm said, “I think the porn industry should be done by a woman.” Why? “Because it would be much more interesting.” He imagines the approach would be subtler, about the beauty of the body. “Because a sex magazine made by a woman is not made to masturbate. Well, maybe it’s made to masturbate, but it’s also made to dream. A woman likes to dream first, to be mentally stimulated. And men like to see.” Zahm’s good friend Glenn O’Brien, author of How to Be a Man, concurred. “I think women like stories and men like pictures. It’s funny, if you read interviews with the Playboy playmates they always say, ‘I like a guy with a sense of humor.’ And then if you ask a guy, he’ll say, ‘I like a woman with a big rack.’”
Among the women in the crowd, Cynthia Rowley contended that she gets plenty of erotica on Sunday nights. “The last Girls episode with Patrick Wilson, I said, ‘This is like female porn!’” she explained. “They’re having sex full on, but it’s in a way that is so sensitive and smart.” Rowley said the show makes her wish she’d taken more chances in her twenties and makes her want to be more experimental now. In bed, with her husband, gallerist Bill Powers? “I think so,” Rowley said coyly.
Across the room was Theophilus London, who had come into town for the week from Paris, where he’s working on his new album. “A lot of my music is about sex lately and Paris is a good place to write about sex,” he said. “Sex is the only thing inspiring me at the moment. I’m all about sex.” He’s not having a lot of it, though. “It’s not just about me saying, ‘Oh, intercourse this, intercourse that,’” he said, explaining he’s just gotten out of a long relationship. “But the way I play the bass is sex. I have sex with a lot of girls without even having sex with them. I have mental sex. I can hang out with you all night in Berlin till four in the morning and we’re dancing and grinding, that’s sex for me. I go home satisfied.” Doesn’t he care about coming? “No, I’d rather not wake up in the morning and you’re right there and it’s awkward while you put your clothes on and, ‘Oh yeah, I might hit you up.’ I’d rather just have mental sex.”
But like Zahm, he’s also happy to have visual stimulation. London said he appreciated his fellow artists breaking the Grammys’ wardrobe rules, and when it comes to breast exposure, sideboob trumps cleavage and underboob. “The sideboob is provocative,” he said. “It makes me aroused. It’s like, ‘Damn!’ The shape of a woman is just incredible. I’m not a creep. I like seeing naked bodies. Not to be a creep, not to touch it, not to outdo myself and come in ten minutes, but just to watch it and admire the body that God has given us and built for us. Sideboob, fuck yeah!”