What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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What Every Woman Should Know About Men
by Dr. Joyce Brothers

Field-Tested by E. Jean Carroll

in the Star Mountains of New Guinea

I picked up this book, one of the great works of the 20th century, in the Sydney airport on my way to Papua New Guinea. It was 1987 and Joyce was at her peak. I was not at my peak, but what the hell. I took her along in my backpack when I walked from Telefomin, headquarters of the West Sepik Province, New Guinea Highlands, to the border of Irian Jaya. My object: to find primitive man. I was sick, sick, sick of modern man. I wanted a real man, and not a sperm less.

Sali and Bickie were my guides.

Bickie was an Atbalmin tribesman, standing 4'6". Sali was a Telefomin, big-boned, big-muscled, bighearted, who had been taught to read English by missionaries.

Have you ever been lost in the Star Mountains of New Guinea? We used pages out of What Every Woman Should Know About Men to roll cigarettes, wipe our behinds, start fires, and trade for Kau Kau. And speaking of Kau Kau, it's time to eat dinner.

Sali and Bickie are calling from the bush hut. Yes, getting out of the tent is going to kill me. Eating frogs, that is going to kill me too. And my feet, in the end, it is my feet that will be the death of me.

Well, well, I didn't think I could crawl out of the tent so easily with my bad knee. There are two fern beds in the bush hut and a fire with a pot of water on it. Across the fire sit Sali and Bickie. Night is falling. Six o'clock. How festive we are when night falls, laughing and farting around the roaring fire! Yes, farts for me at this time are a real pleasure. Did I say six o'clock? It must be more toward 6:30. Sali is half a page into his nightly reading of What Every Woman Should Know About Men.

“What sentence are you on?” I ask.

“The man worry about the size of his penis,” says Sali.


“‘He worry about whether he satisfy as her previous lovers,’” reads Sali.

“Ah, well,” I say.

“‘He worry about whether she have an orgasm,’” says Sali.

“Well, well.”

“‘He worry if he is muster booting,’” says Sali.


“Meister booting,” says Sali.

“Masturbating?” I say, laughing.

“Yeah, masturbating,” says Sali, laughing.

“Do you know what that is?” I ask.

“No,” says Sali.

I sit down.

“Ahk! Sex without a woman,” I say.

“Huh?” says Sali, stunned.

“Just by yourself,” I say.

Sali ruminates.

“Now don't tell me Telefomin guys don't do that,” I say.

“No,” says Sali.

“They do it all the time,” I say. “Don't they?”

“Yeah,” says Sali, laughing.

“Yeah,” I say, laughing.

“Yeah,” says Sali, laughing.

“Let's ask Bickie!” I say, laughing.

Bickie starts giggling.

Sali translates.

“Yeeeaaaaaaaaaaaeeeeee!” screams Bickie.

Before we met, Bickie had never talked to a white person. Can you blame him?

A brief silence.

“I'm dying for a pizza,” I say.

“‘He worry there might be some truth in those old beliefs that masturbating sups‘”

“Well, really, sups!”

“‘Saps a man's vitals,’” reads Sali. “‘His very manhood is on the line every time he make love.’”

“Gee whiz,” I say. “Is that true?”

“Joyce is telling us the truth,” says Sali. “His manhood, you know.”

“You mean Star Mountain men in New Guinea are like men in America?” I say.

Yes, there are moments when I wonder where I am and why I've swelled my knee to the size of a water bucket looking for primitive man, but whether my manhood, too, isn't on the line. It wouldn't surprise me.

Sali banks the fire.

“Men are men everywhere,” says Sali.

Joyce, where ever you are, I salute you!

E. Jean Carroll writes the longest-running, most popular advice column in America called “Ask E. Jean” in Elle, the world's largest fashion magazine. E. Jean was nominated for an Emmy for writing for “Saturday Night Live” and is the author of four books, including the highly acclaimed Hunter: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter Thompson. She has also served as a contributing editor to Esquire and Outside. In addition to her partnerships with PopSugar, Veoh, Elle.com, and YouTube, E. Jean has founded several websites, including GreatBoyfriends.com (which Oprah said was "the greatest idea ever"), AskEJean.com, and Top Campus Sex Columnists. She is currently working on a sex manual for college students — it will be the end of her. She lives in a mountain cabin on an island in upstate New York.

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