Womanizer recounts the sexual memoirs of a confirmed womanizer appropriately named Randy Rosen. Although the book is subtitled, "A Novel Novel," it reads like an autobiography.
The story begins with an 82-year-old man having discovered that his first love recently died. The death of "Annie" prompted a nostalgic reminiscence of all the women he has "known." He describes his initial sexual contact with Annie at age 16; the subsequent incredible emotional highs that can only be found within the angst of adolescent relationships and the inevitably painful ending.
Randy and Annie dated for two years beginning when he was 16 and she was 15. Four months after he went away to college, having been fully immersed in his studies, he arrived back home assuming his relationship with Annie would be as it had been. In a normal relationship, the expectation is that New Year's Eve will de facto be spent with your partner. However, not having heard from him since Thanksgiving, Annie had made other plans.
The betrayal by Annie, Randy believes, is the triggering event that shaped him becoming a womanizer. In his words, womanizers are made, not born. By his report, he has never fully trusted a woman again. Nevertheless, he clearly loves women.
In school, Randy had been a bookish, nerdy student who had never developed an interest or aptitude for sports. Perhaps his alienation from the jock crowd and his leaning toward liberal politics put him in touch with more women than men. Whatever the reason, he prefers being with women.
He enjoys and celebrates the whimsical changes of heart that women have. He relishes in their unpredictability. He cultivates women as friends rather than hanging out with male friends. He revels in sexually satisfying many of the women that cross his path, but he has never trusted any woman since Annie.
Womanizer is not just a book about sex. Randy also tackles some interesting issues. He defines the word "womanizer." He attempts to address the "subservient" misconception of Asian women, and he touches on the sensitive subjects of physical abuse, mail-order brides, and occasional impotence. While not everyone will agree with his conclusions, he bases his theories on his vast experience with the many different sizes, shapes, shades, and personalities of the fairer sex.
Randy is unabashedly non-monogamous when single. He prides himself on not leading women on, by having broken few hearts, by not telling the majority of his conquests that he loves them unless he truly meant it. Within his role of Lothario, he had his own code of honor. He has been married twice, for a total of 30 years, and has never cheated while married.
Regarding his own maturation and his flashes of insight into understanding women, Randy says:
"A little maturity had made me wiser. When you've got a good thing going, you think twice or ten times before giving it up because of some irrelevant altercation."
"…the two most important things in life were peace of mind and piece of ass."
"..the old story of women giving sex for love and men giving love for sex."
He describes why he prefers intriguing women rather than beautiful ones. He had one encounter with a woman who had a "perfect" body but bored him – in and out of bed.
He reported a story about one woman with whom he had a very strong sexual attraction, but who always needed to be on top. He learned she only did so in order to maintain her perfectly coifed hair. "Strange to say that flash of logical enlightenment somehow neutralized the chemistry of our relationship, and it shortly came to an end."
As to why he still does not trust women sixty-plus years after Annie, "I have seen women who were previously friends do things to each other that most men who hated each other would never even think of doing."
The "Final Curtain" chapter is the end of his story wherein he gives two different finales to his interactions with women and one very intriguing summary.
I had the opportunity to correspond with Marv Rubenstein through his aptly named affable curmudgeon website. He acknowledged that this novel was largely autobiographical. In his own words, "Since I shall be 86 in two weeks, the book brings me back to my misspent youth." The word "misspent" may be artistic license, because he has few recriminations regarding his love of women.
He described his theory on why he was able to maintain monogamy during his marriages. In part, as stated in his book, his mother's teachings became ingrained and it felt as if she were "watching over [his] shoulder." In addition, he clearly distinguishes between his pleasure in sexual encounters and being "deeply in love" with his wives.
In determining whether to read Womanizer, a feminist might suspect that she would be outraged in parts of this novel and disgusted in others. Perhaps she would. However, this novel gives tremendous insight into one Lothario's thought processes regarding his perception of women and the choices he has made. The deep appreciation Randy has for all women is palpable on every page.
Womanizer is worth the read for all women who want to understand why some men do not remain faithful, and for all men who want some insight into women.
Marv Rubinstein is an engineer, professor, attorney, entrepreneur, and published author. He has taught at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and was CEO of his own engineering firm, Selectron LTD. Marv has lived in Bangkok, Carmel, Tel Aviv, London, and New York City. He currently resides in New York City with his wife, and sometimes co-author, Chie.