It was September 1957. I was sixteen, a junior in high school, and contemplating becoming a gigolo, just for a summer or two in Rome. Unlike the gigolos I had seen in movies, I would be kind to the middle-aged women who kept me. I would be grateful to them, not only for the money I was earning, but for whatever I learned from them that I might later apply with my own wife. And I wouldn't ask for outlandish payment--merely enough to cover my trips, provide a little spending money for college, and add to my savings account for my eventual marriage. So begins Andre Shulman's tale. Like his narrator--and like many teenagers of the 1950s--the author himself was fascinated by the book, Ideal Marriage, written by the Dutch gynecologist Van de Velde. Translated into over forty languages, it was the sex and marriage bible of an entire generation. In this novel, Ideal Marriage stands as one of the central characters, which Andre turns to in quest of a glorious future.
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