Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ask Showgirls (Or, Are You There, Elizabeth? It's Me, Nomi)

My friend Patty's birthday was a couple of weeks ago. In celebration of said event, I decided to get Patty a copy of Ask Elizabeth, famed Showgirls star Elizabeth Berkley's hit book for teenage girls.

Yes, I know.

The first person you'd think would write an advice book for teenage girls is a woman who starred in the Citizen Kane of sexploitation films. OK, maybe Showgirls isn't the Citizen Kane of sexploitation...but it might be its Magnificent Ambersons.

Ask Elizabeth
is, to quote the book's subtitle, "Real answers to everything you secretly wanted to ask about love, friends, your body...and life in general."

Patty is not a teenage girl.

Patty is, however, a deeply committed fan of Showgirls.

Given the nature of such a book, I couldn't resist. It's not the subject matter that drew me in. Oh, no. It's the faint hope that Elizabeth would eschew earnest advice and answer semi-to-hardcore NC-17 questions a la her alter ego Showgirl Nomi Malone:

Dear Elizabeth/Nomi,

How do you have an orgasm like you're a short-circuiting robot in a swimming pool?

Love, Hopeful RoboBimbo


Dear Elizabeth/Nomi

How do you get that 'whorish' look on your nails?

Love, Keep On Pressin' On

If Nomi's voice wasn't given airtime in the book, I figured maybe she would answer questions from young girls seeking fame and fortune in Hollywood:

Dear Elizabeth,

If you have a flat ass, how do you handle nude scenes?

Love, Two Saltines Out Back


Dear Elizabeth,

If you realize your starring vehicle is going to get laughs rather than Oscars, shouldn't you work it like a drag queen? It worked for Gina Gershon. Let me know!

Love, Cristal Connors II

Of course, the book has answers to none of these important questions. That didn't stop me from hunting the thing down like a high priest of camp, scouring the teen readers sections of multiple Barnes & Nobles for this sacred ritual text. I nearly gave up after a surly Customer Service clerk wearing a pin that announced "I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER" rolled her eyes at my request and sent me deep into the bowels of the store. Looking over tables and tables of Twilight merchandise, I began to lose hope. Finally, a male clerk recognized my despondency and asked me if I needed help. I went through the same "I need 'Ask Elizabeth'!" desperation speech and his eyes lit up.

She knew exactly where it was.

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