Despite my recent contention that my mom resembles Melissa Etheridge, she gets confused more often with the famous porn icon who shares her first name.
I had the good fortune to meet Nina Hartley at a Susie Bright reading awhile back. Introducing myself I told her how people sometimes confuse my mother with her and that my mom is always very flattered.
Ms. Hartley has held up well. Her body is tauter than mine and her chest more ample. That is one of the things they share in common, Nina Hartley and my mom- Big Boobs. I knew this was one of their similarities. They are also both sex pioneers and feminists, both smart blonds born around the same time. Both trained nurses. Why given the chance, I’m sure an afternoon with each other would go by in a heartbeat, as they’d have so much to talk about.
My mother feels fatter, plainer, less glamourous in comparison. I know she owns her sexual power though, she was Leather Marshall of SF Pride, and I know my mom still gets hit on regularly by members of both sexes. They’ve still got it- Ms. Hartley and my mother both.
I commented to Susie Bright while having her sign a copy of her memoir, “Big Sex, Little Death”, about something I’d read in another book, Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers.” He had posited that there are certain points in time that create certain types of people. The 1830’s were the right time to be born if you wanted to be a Robber Baron, for instance. Likewise if you wanted to be a world-changing computer genius you were better off being born between 1953-1955, ala Bill Gates and Steve Jobs etc.
Following that logic I hypothesized that perhaps there was a window in time as well for being a sex pioneer. You had to be born early enough to reach maturity around the free love decades of the sixties and seventies.
Ms. Hartley and my mom were born only six years apart and while further research proved there to be quite a range around birthdates for folks as diverse as Betty Dodson (born 1929) and Dan Savage (1964), I think my theory might hold some weight. Ms. Dodson should be given ample credit for being WAY ahead of her time. But Annie Sprinkle was born in 1954, a year after my mother and so was Pat Califia. Susie Bright came along in 1958 and then Nina Hartley was born in ’59. So there is sort of a window of time in a way. I am just super thankful they were born at all since these pioneers paved the way for my own liberation. Thanks ladies! (And Mom!) (And Mr. Savage!)