Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Hodson's TONIGHT I'M SOMEONE ELSE: A Sexually Explicit [Pre] Teen

Along with two stacks of other paperbacks, Ashleah Gonzales (@ashleahelena) gifted Kendall Jenner Tonight I'm Someone Else by Chelsea Hodson. The green post-it on the paperback reads: 

This is my FAVORITE BOOK! 
you Should Start here!

Here's part of Amazon's description of Hodson essays:

From graffiti gangs and Grand Theft Auto to sugar daddies, Schopenhauer, and a deadly game of Russian roulette, in these essays, Chelsea Hodson probes her own desires to examine where the physical and the proprietary collide. She asks what our privacy, our intimacy, and our own bodies are worth in the increasingly digital world of liking, linking, and sharing.

Here are the relevant excerpts:

Hodson shared that when she went to an interview for a $8 per hour filing job, the Russian man, with a heavy accentasked, "You don't mind if I make massage?" Then "[...] he picked up the phone and began making an appointment. He put the phone on speaker and looked into my eyes as he asked the receptionist for the youngest masseuse they had."

Hodson wrote that when she was 12, she played Purple Moon, a computer game about navigating middle school. In addition, Hodso visited the game's online message board that "[...] attracted young girls who played the game, so men also joined the site with girly usernames and talked to me about sex." Hodson admitted that she wasn't repelled by the erotic messages, that she loved them and that her posts were sexually explicit: "I was not repelled by the messages: in fact, I loved them [...] I remember being as explicit as the men were being [...]"

Like a number of teen girls, Hodson and her middle school friends had a major crush on a member of a boy band. Hodson's crush was on Brian of the Back Street Boys. But the age gap between teens and members of boy bands isn't always obvious. Hodson wrote:

I knew how famous they were, and that they were in their twenties while we were only thirteen, but it's hard to explain how close they felt. I filled an entire wall with magazine photos of the Backstreet Boys, and I looked at them with such focus and for such long periods of time that it became like a prayer. It was the first time in my life that I remember feeling physical side effects of longing --- I preferred to ache than to feel nothing at all [...]

When Hodson was 17, she invited Tyler, a college-aged lead-singer in a local band, to her house while her parents were out of town:

[...] Tyler rubbed his jeans against my jeans like someone lighting a hundred matches in a row. I closed my eyes and came, and then I asked Tyler if he wanted to go ahead and take my virginity. He said, I'd just feel too bad, and I didn't ask again.

There was another Chelsea at Hodson's high school who: "[...] lured boys into her bedroom by saying, I want to show you something. [...] She was beautiful enough that the boys would have gone into her room even if she didn't have a line, or if her line was a murder threat, but there each of my friends went, one by one, disappearing into the other Chelsea.

Hodson met Bianca, a blonde 13-year-old, at beach camp on Catalina Island.  Bianca was "effortlessly cool". Her favorite movie was Welcome to the Dollhouse: "So then he [Brandon, a middle-school bully] says to her [eleven-and-a-half-year-old Dawn], three o'clock, I'm gonna rape you, Bianca said laughing." And "What's under your towel anyway, Will [a fellow camper]? Bianca asked, and added, Chelsea's never seen a dick; let her see it." 

After camp ended, Hodson regretted not having a teen lipstick lesbian affair with Bianca: "I wish I could say Bianca and I traveled through the night and the tall grass, desire clearing our path, stronger than a machete. I wish I could say we held hands or kissed or touched in some way as soon as we were alone."

Lastly, Hodson referenced Der Fan, the 1982 German film, where "[...] Simone is a high school girl who falls in love with a famous pop star, known to the world only as R." 

Interestingly, Tonight I'm Someone Else showed up in a stack of books in the last scene of
the last episode of Netflix's You (season 2).

And Kendall Jenner reading the essays was featured in New York Magazine's Approval Matrix (January 6-19, 2020).

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