cover image Chick for a Day: What Would You Do If You Were One?

Chick for a Day: What Would You Do If You Were One?

. Simon & Schuster, $18 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-684-85517-2

A follow-up to Giles's Dick for a Day, this collection of essays, poems and stories by men fantasizing about becoming endowed with female genitalia for 24 hours contains neither profundity nor insight, although it is amusing and, at times, fascinating. From novelists Rick Moody and Alexander Theroux to NPR correspondent Andrei Codrescu to poets Jeremy Reed and Richard Foerster, a legion of acclaimed wordsmiths both straight and gay weigh in. In her excellent introduction, Giles explains that for many of the women who contributed to the previous collection, putting on maleness gave them a sense of belonging and freedom, whereas femininity, for the men, was often a joke. She writes, ""For men to put on femaleness is to stand out as comically shocking, or at least flamboyantly frivolous. If the female costume is exaggerated, this is funny not because women are powerful but because womanhood appears to be an inherently risible option within patriarchy."" Few men in the collection actuZally explore what it means to be female in our society. Most of the pieces, like Justin Chin's ""Marianne Faithfull's Cunt"" and Ronald Sukenick's ""Womanizer,"" focus solely on sex, and plenty of it. Not surprisingly, masturbation (with and without accessories) also proves to be a popular theme. Although some writers gain some insight into male behavior through their exploits, most are content to tire themselves out, along with their new equipment, as quickly as possible. The result is a humorous romp through male fantasy that includes a great deal of primping, pouting and posing. Agent, Elaine Markson. (Feb.)