I have a magazine before me called Q., which is probably the greatest collection of women's problems ever assembled in any single publication in America.
Its articles embrace the agonies of sex, career, dating, child-raising, job stress, marriage, divorce, art, automotive repair, baby-sitting, alcoholism, love, romance, haiku poetry and how to avoid perspiration odor.
There is especially a good deal of sex in Q. since the magazine is largely devoted to the New Woman, and the New Woman loves it when her publications talk dirty.
One feminist-oriented periodical I saw recently spent 2,500 words discussing whether female orgasm was a right or a privilege. I forget what the conclusion was, but I think there's another constitutional amendment in the works.
Q. is published in L.A. and is devoted almost entirely to answering questions.
When a woman asks, for instance, what she should do about a husband who systematically beats her after dinner every night of the week, someone with a Ph.D jumps in and says she ought to reevaluate her menu choices. Try rice for a change.
If you listen to talk shows at all, you come to realize how many of the callers are grown-up Valley Girls undergoing the emotional strain of discovering there's more to life than sex and bubble gum. Fer shure.
Q. is meant for them: women with just enough of an IQ to be able to read, but not high enough to intrude on their faith in publications devoted exclusively to women's problems.
The questions in Q. range from intellectual challenges like "Is She or Isn't She Sleeping With the Boss?" to even more profound subjects like "How Do I Introduce My Woman Lover to My Kids?"
I happen to be an expert on offering advice, due to years of helpful suggestions from a coterie of professionals I have gathered in Los Angeles.
When I worked in Oakland, advice came from only one source, a kindly old family physician, but I was not in L.A. six months before I had a psychologist, a psychic, a hypnotist and an agent, all of whom have Porsche-loads of advice for unwary out-of-towners.
This naturally qualifies me to answer a few of the questions contained in Q., since the real experts are people with Ph.D's and therefore unable to communicate except in cosmic terms.
I, on the other hand, speak the people's language, laced with insight and obscenities. We understand each other.
I think the question about sleeping with the boss, however, is one that I will avoid. I can't imagine in the first place anyone actually wanting to sleep with an editor, but even if I did have any knowledge of an illicit affair among the commissioned-officers class, I would probably not discuss it publicly.
I was never meant to end my career covering high school soccer in Pacoima, if you get my meaning.
The second question about lovers and kids involves a lesbian relationship, as you might have already guessed. It asks, in so many words, how do you explain to the little ones that the woman mommy has brought home is their new daddy?
That's a toughie all right.
I'd say the best way to deal with this is to lie to the children. I know I would have preferred it under similar circumstances.
Tell them she's a homeless American and you have adopted her or that she's a burned-out "hug therapist" whose fire you are attempting to rekindle.
If, however, the kids won't buy that, send them to live with their father, who will then be forced to explain that the man he is living with is their new mommy.
It's a fun age, all right.
Here's a little more complicated question, which I will paraphrase:
My boyfriend is a "born-again" Christian who thinks we're living in sin. When we go to church and the minister raves about harlots, he gets uncomfortable and wants me to marry him. What can I do?
The real response in Q. calls the guy a double-dealing hypocrite and warns the woman that if she marries him, she should be prepared to obey him completely because that's what fundamentalist Christians expect of their women.
I don't see anything wrong with that. Sit, roll over and the devil take tomorrow. Next question:
My husband and I haven't made love in three months because I can't relax. What do you suggest?
If that doesn't work, try another husband. He either doesn't like you or he doesn't like volleyball.
Finally: I am the only woman on a team putting together a presentation for our company. I feel frazzled and can't sleep. The men seem perfectly calm. How can I be that calm?
Try sleeping with the calmest man on the team. If that doesn't work, try volleyball. But never at the same time.