DE: It was really strange. They were really expecting a work about sex to be written in very stiff, kind of medical Latin, formal academic language.
AK: Right, right.
DE: Which is how you were supposed to write it to be safe. Which is not what we were choosing to do. I’m very happy, therefore, also, for the success of using language that is conversational, that is alive. As Albert Ellis used to put it, we were using “language that is wet.” He wrote in the 1950s about how talking about sex is wet, and the language is wet, and it is supposed to be wet, and talking about it in medical Latin makes it dry, and that’s not going to be very sexual.
AK: I love that. To finish up, a wag is an old fashioned term for a droll, a wit, or a joker — who’s your favorite wag, from history, or literature, or your life?
DE: Who came to mind instantly was George Carlin. One of the best wags. Also Scoop Nisker. I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that waggishness, the questioning of values. Another really great wag, who has done some interesting bits about sex, is Bill Cosby. One of my favorite pieces is in the voice of a thirteen-year-old boy trying to figure out about sex, it’s called “The Regular Way.” In every question he asks, you know, how do they do that, everyone answers, “You know, the regular way.” It’s over forty years old but it’s still quite beautiful. I also love Margaret Cho. I guess those are enough favorite wags.