Table of Contents

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pp. ix-x

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1. Plastic

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pp. 3-7

Some people live in condominiums. I am, at the moment, residing in a condom. This is not a complaint. I am not male. I am Sondra Lear, associate professor of English and women's studies at the State University of Virginia at Blackhole, feminist theorist by day and husband hunter by night. ...

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2. The Long Good-bye

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pp. 8-11

Only after Hugo had blown out to sea off the North Carolina coast did Herbert deem it safe for me to go to the New York airport. Her advice: "Don't forget to keep your eyes open on the plane. You'll be spending seven hours enclosed with three hundred people. At least two have to be eligible men. Find them." ...

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3. The Spy Who Didn’t Love Me

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pp. 12-16

Ulrike drove Norris and me to the apartment that would become our Rottingen home. We managed to move all my possessions from car to curb. A young woman followed by a large German shepherd approached. As the dog barked at the backpack, a scream emerged from within it. ...

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4. Slaughterhouse One

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pp. 17-19

I, as usual, distracted myself from my failed husband hunt by becoming immersed in scholarly work. It was late October and the German term had begun. Ulrike introduced me to my new colleagues. “Frau Dr. Lear, I would like you to meet Herr Professor Dr. Himmler Hundschnort and Herr Dr. Adolf Schweinshank.” ...

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5. The Ultimatum; or, Springtime for Hundschnort

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pp. 20-23

The phone in my apartment rang. I picked it up and heard a familiar voice. “Hello. Sondra? This is your mother, Herbert. Is anything new?”
“No.”
“No? Nothing is new?”
“No. Nothing is new.” ...

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6. Garbage

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pp. 24-26

I went to the lobby snack bar in Rottingen’s Humanities Building to contemplate, over coffee, the Hundschnort disaster. A kind-looking, attractive man sat next to me. “Sie scheinen traurig zu sein. Kann ich behilflich sein?”
“Ich spreche kein Deutsch.”
...

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7. Chickens

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pp. 27-35

I have already mentioned that I do not like red meat. Since Baden-Württemberg is not known for its fish, I was relegated to eating chickens. Before taking Norris to the vet and myself to the doctor, I enjoyed a huge portion of chicken cacciatore at my favorite Rottingen restaurant. ...

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8. Into the Woods

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pp. 36-41

The details of the army-base foray at once puzzled and fascinated Brigitte. “What is a Fritos?” (She pronounced the brand name “fry-toes.”) What is a marshmallow?”
“You don’t know about Fritos and marshmallows?”
“No.” This situation was worse than when, during my previous Fulbright, ...

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9. Heat

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pp. 42-45

Susan phoned to suggest a second excursion. “Now that we’ve recovered from the American army base, let’s go to one of those great German swimming pools.” Although I knew that Germany has many elaborate pools replete with contraptions such as squirting fountains and bubbling hot and cold water, I was not prepared for the par-...

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10. Surprise, Disguise

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pp. 46-52

I was praying for a German telephone-company strike. Herbert was in rare form. “Hello, Sondra. I just called the Hundschnort residence in Rottingen. Hundschnort is married. I know because, before I hung up, a female voice answered and said, ‘Hier, Frau Hundschnort.’ Don’t waste your time with Hundschnort. Look for someone else.” ...

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11. Surprise, Reprise

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pp. 53-57

I watched Dallas reruns to combat homesickness. Although “Guten Tag, Miss Ellie” and “Guten Tag, J.R.” sounded a tad inauthentic, at least I could look at Dallas skyscrapers. The Golden Girls fares worse in translation than Dallas. ...

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12. The Land of Milk and Honey—and More

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pp. 58-66

To assuage my shock, I embarked upon a period of frenetic lecturing and traveling. Lecturing and traveling, after all, was the expected agenda of Fulbright scholars. Israel was my first stop. I looked forward to the chance to see familiar American colleagues at the science fiction studies conference being held there. ...

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13. More

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pp. 67-73

Two weeks after returning to Germany, I picked up the phone. “David, this is Sondra. You remember, the woman who wants to fly to Israel to have sex with you. When will it be convenient for me to arrive?” ...

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14. Someone Is Sleeping in My Bed

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pp. 74-76

Even though my bladder infection recurred, I decided to honor my commitment to lecture in Britain at the University of Edinburgh and, a week later, at the University of Southampton. Armed with a new bottle of Norfloxacin, I boarded my British Airways flight. ...

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15. Chicken Redux

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pp. 77-81

I am sure that by now Norris felt more like Norris Therondopolous-Klein than Norris Compton Lear. At least he would be in good hands when I ventured to the University of Vienna. I had been invited by Frau University Professor Dr. Marie Schirer, one of the few women full professors in Austria. This occasion called for a haircut. ...

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16. Ejection Seat

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pp. 82-85

I welcomed the opportunity to spend a weekend in Bonn with the German Fulbrighters, a group of very talented people who had lived in America. While listening to a Dresdner Bank representative lecture about finances, I was attracted to a man seated across the room. I stared at his jet-black hair and luminous blue eyes. ...

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17. La (Un)Dolce Vita

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pp. 86-103

Men acted according to their usual sexually predatory fashion when I attended a science fiction conference in Italy. Italy is a very sexy country. My public behavior upon arrival overtly reflected this fact. Because I dread death by pickpocket, I always secure a pouch containing my passport and plane ticket within my underwear. ...

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18. Coming Out of the Closet

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pp. 104-105

During the noon meal at the Italian conference, I felt like kissing the ground because the conference was nearly over. I had nowhere to sit. Thurston was at one table. I would be sick to my stomach if I sat there. Gerald was at another table. ...

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19. Sexual Harassment

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pp. 106-111

I was off to attend the Fulbright meeting in Berlin, an annual week-long gathering consisting of American Fulbright grantees who resided throughout Europe as well as within Germany. Since the Berlin Wall had recently fallen, this year’s meeting promised to be especially interesting. ...

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20. Big-Mouthed Bigfoot Escapes

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pp. 112-117

Throughout the bus ride that took the Fulbright meeting attendees to Potsdam, Veronique and I discussed our experiences with men. Upon arrival, we noticed that the man who had been seated behind us was extremely pale. Perhaps we had talked too loud and he had become excited by our conversation. ...

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21. Welcome to the Hotel California

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pp. 118-127

After all of my travels, I looked forward to spending time in Rottingen focusing upon my research. Two days after my return from Berlin, I was ready to begin work. Norris was settled comfortably on my desk. I picked up my pen. The phone rang. “Hi, this is Jane Weintraub. ...

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22. I Don’t Want to Suck Your Blood

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pp. 128-142

Two days after the hordes vacated my apartment, things were returning to normal. Somehow, I had managed to scrub painted dog paw prints off the floor and extricate squashed Fritos from between sofa cushions. I settled down to enjoy a good night’s sleep. I smelled smoke. ...

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23. Back to the Salt Mine

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pp. 143-153

It was 14:07. There was a knock on the door. “Ready to go to Paris?” Brigitte asked.
I need a minute to pack. Things have been a little hectic lately. Just let me gather some stuff appropriate for Paris, Aix, and Switzerland. I think that I by now have packing down to a science.” ...

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24. How the West Was Lost

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pp. 154-165

I was satisfied that I had done my work well while abroad. Now, after vanquishing evil professors, making good friends, and having great sex, it was time to say good-bye to Germany. Departure provided an opportunity to add another accomplishment to my list: successfully cleaning my Rottingen apartment according to German housekeeping standards. ...

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25. The Homecoming

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pp. 166-172

Returning to Blackhole without Rhonda and Jasmine was an even worse fate. I pondered this as I heard Jasmine’s voice. “If you don’t get us down from this roof immediately if not sooner I’m going to kill you.” Knowing better than to mess with Jasmine, I granted her and her roof-mates ladder access. ...

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26. A Course Taught by a Horse? Of Course, of Course

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pp. 173-176

While contemplating what to wear to the semester’s first department meeting, I automatically reached for the black garment that formed the foundation of my Rottingen Turkish woman costume. The Blackholeian situation called for different headgear, though. Hence, before I entered the meeting room, I put the kaffiyeh David Razi had bought for me in Jerusalem over my head. ...

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27. Blackhole(a), Blackhole(a)

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pp. 177-179

After making certain that Ms. Ed was happily installed in her new stall, I phoned the provost’s office. “Miss Jane, Professor Lear here. I would like to see Provost Drysdale. Yes, tomorrow would be fine.” The next morning, I tied back my hair, put a fedora on my head, and a man’s suit on my body. ...

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28. New York Is Where I’d Rather Stay, I Get Allergic Smelling Hay; or, Escape from the Planet of the Goyim

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pp. 180-192

Making the best of things as the semester progressed included inviting Catharine Stimpson to address my women’s studies class. I drove to the airport to meet her. “I have never been to Blackhole before. Tell me, who are the minority groups here?” Catharine asked cordially. ...

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29. Murder in the Apartment (Not in the English Department); or, “H” Is for Homicide

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pp. 193-197

I had forgotten the meaning of some city words. “Mezzanine,” for example. When I encountered a Rockefeller Center sign which directed me to a mezzanine, I could not remember exactly where one was usually located. I attribute this memory lapse to Blackhole’s dearth of mezzanines. Hell, Blackhole even lacks elevators. ...

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30. Fear of Flying; or, The Return of the Native

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pp. 198-209

After the last detective left the apartment, I investigated how to find friends in New York. I thought of a childhood pal: Bambi Bamberg-Cohenberg, called Bam Bam. Ten-year-old Bam Bam and I invented the first Forest Hills rock store. ...

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31. The Dating Game

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pp. 210-220

I was on the Blackhole campus without any return transportation to New York. Always one to improvise, I walked over to the art department. “May I borrow some red paint?” I asked the secretary. Paint in hand, I enabled my mundane brown clogs to masquerade as magic red clogs. ...

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32. The Tsurisauruses

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pp. 221-228

Admitting that I was not interested in trade shows, dating services, unreal men, and singles bars, I turned to areas that did concern me: teaching and Jewish culture. I was offering a science fiction adult-education course at the Hayden Planetarium and attending singles functions at synagogues. ...

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33. Smile, You’re Not on Candid Camera; or, The Empire Strikes Back

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pp. 229-236

I settled down to my new routine: teaching at SUNY–Greenwich Village and the Hayden Planetarium and attending literary readings. I wondered what would happen if, after hearing every living author (there are a finite number of them), I still failed to find a husband. ...

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34. The Sounds of Silence

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pp. 237-244

My personal life entails consulting matchmakers; my professional life at SUNY–Greenwich Village entails teaching in a department that has two tenured, nonfeminist women. As a science fiction critic, I am chagrined to find myself living in a time warp: circa 1850ish matchmaking characterizes my per-...

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35. Murder in the English Department

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pp. 245-254

I saw an unfamiliar and welcome sight when I walked into the SUNY–GV English department lounge. Michael had finally emerged from his apartment. “I have to wear these sunglasses. I’m not used to coming out from behind my computer and seeing the light of day,” he explained. ...

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36. Episode II—Attack of the Clones; or, Don’t Bet on the Prince?

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pp. 255-264

I tried to cope with the terrible loss of Rhomona by immersing myself in scholarly writing. I logged on to my computer and saw something strange: a handwritten message appeared on the screen. This message certainly was not usual e-mail. “Meet us by the meteor in the Hayden Planetarium,” the message read. ...