Virago, £5.99, ISBN 1-86049-554-0
Contemporary Fiction, 1999
In Search of an Impotent Man may be something of a sex farce comedy. I don’t know. Even the heroine’s name – Carmen Legg – sounds like it’s an intentional joke.
Drop dead gorgeous Carmen Legg, who’s also a rising-fast-in-the-ranks insurance agent, is sick of men lusting after her killer legs. First, a man ogles her in a seminar. Then a client buys insurance from her at unbelievably good rates, but he expects something on the side in return. Then her whiny boyfriend turns up with Mr Wonky all ready to play when she’s definitely not in the mood.
In a fit of determination, she places an ad in a personals, looking for Mr Right who is intelligent, charming, sensitive, and in dire need of Viagra.
Predictably, she gets all sorts of replies from ex-macho men-turned-sensitive new age guys the moment old Johnny gets into perpetual hibernation. The type that go, “I’m glad a beautiful lady like you knows that performance isn’t everything.” Yeah right.
This book is in trouble with me the moment Carmen meets her potential hookups. She doesn’t start with “Hello!” or “Nice weather!” She declares that men looking as good as they can’t be impotent. What a great conversation opener. “Excuse me darling, are you sure you’re impotent? You look so handsome. Let me rub salt on your wounded ego some more.”
My eyes roll upwards when Carmen makes a promising Mr Right get naked with her for a cuddle. To prove he really can’t perform, you see. I shake my head when she starts getting paranoid about him married. Successful, beautiful, and has killer legs… and still itching for a catfight with her fellow women. Nice.
When Carmen complains to her 80-year old neighbor bitterly that that Mr Right is impotent and it’s so unfair – good lord, isn’t that what she wanted? – close the book, and switch on the TV. Who needs to read about a whiny, insecure, indecisive, and irritating woman who ultimately is lacking in the brains department?
Comedy? Satire? By Chapter Five I’m beyond caring.