Plus a general discussion of Tinglers!
What’s one key piece of information you think a reader should know before getting Dr. Chuck Tingle’s Complete Guide To Romance?
Erin: This is a humor book, but it has very different energy than the erotica books. And it also has a peculiar mix of really good advice and obviously terrible advice.
Holly: Also there’s a whole chapter of spells.
Ingrid: Oh yeah, that was so weird. This seems to be a stand alone Tingle book–it’s not necessarily like the other ones.
Who is the audience for this book?
Holly: My theory is that it’s for Tingle superfans as kind of a special collector’s edition kind of thing.
Erin: I agree. It seems geared to people who are already clued into what Chuck Tingle’s all about. It has excerpts from some of his stories. So maybe it could be a reader magnet.
Holly: I think when you say, “People who know what Chuck Tingle’s all about” it’s not just people who have read a few Tinglers, but people who are really interested in diving into the whole myth-making of who Chuck Tingle is—his background and persona.
Ingrid: Did anyone else get the impression that the auto-biographical components in the book could have been peppered with some truth mixed with not truth?
Holly: I found a profile that includes stories that he tells about himself and theories about who he is. He has this very specific public story that he tells that he is a neurodivergent guy whose wife died or left and his adult son lives with him and helps take care of him and that he was raised in a very conservative way and that writing these Tinglers helps express himself and his sexuality. But there are also a bunch of people who think, “No way, Chuck Tingle is just a bunch of trolls working together that spun out of control and became a phenomenon.” But the autobiographical stuff that shows up in the complete guide to romance is basically the same as the stuff that comes up in the profile.
Should any of this advice be taken seriously?
Erin: I’m so glad I highlighted things! Who thought I would highlight things in a Tingler?
Holly: I added this question because as Erin said in her overview, there are some bits of advice that are really good. Like it has to be fun for both people, and here’s how to do a proper butt pounding with lube, you only don’t use lube if you’re writing erotica. Then there’s some advice that’s really a joke (or maybe not?), like what kinds of dinosaurs are the right kind of dinosaurs to attract. And then there’s some that’s just bad advice.
Ingrid: Like you can’t fall in love if you don’t like spaghetti and chocolate milk.
Holly: Or at one point he says, “On your first date only talk about yourself.” Unlike the spaghetti and chocolate milk, this is something people actually do, and actually need to be told not to.
General thoughts on Tinglers?
Ingrid: We read a wide variety from flat-out absurd to thought-provoking. And the question of what do you take seriously and what don’t you—after all the butt pounding, that’s what sticks with me after the books are done. I wonder if his books are popular because they’re so funny and off the wall, but there are ideas that just stick with you.
Holly: The bigger question of how are his books meant to be read—or I guess it doesn’t matter how it’s meant to be read, but are they silly books? Is it all a troll? Is it satire OF erotica or satire IN erotica? Is he 100% serious that you should be able to love whatever you want and if you want to be pounded by your car then that’s a beautiful thing? And I don’t know how to understand him. Basically.
Erin: I was just trying to look at things I highlighted because there were snippets that…what makes these books good reads is those little moments of realness. Either the realness of acknowledging when Lance in the raptor book makes arguments about how it’s not gay if it’s a dinosaur, or all the sentiments about what we should be valuing, or in the coffee cup story, the tongue in cheek argument about who’s really oppressed. I think even in the sasquatch one there are a couple little zingers that were like, oh, ok.
Because in terms of erotica, we read a whole bunch of monster erotica last year. We’re not without weird sex scenes in our reading history in terms of actual erotica. I don’t think what we saw here is particularly unique, even in a short story format. So the voice is what really makes it something special.
Holly: Yeah, I would say that reading six of these in a row, the sex is very repetitive. You deep throat him and you get pounded in the butt. What makes them different are the things, especially in the living objects stories, that make the sex partners not human. But even once you get past the larger question of what kind of creature your having sex with, the details are very much the same: the creature has chiseled abs and a large dick and it’s going in your mouth and it’s going in your butt.
Erin: Unless it’s a double shot.
So also, the names are very curious. Lance in the space raptor one is the most “normal” name.
Ingrid: It’s not just that the names aren’t “normal”. In most romances, the names are the most “attractive” of names. But here, they’re obviously unattractive. Like Borb.
Holly: And the associations—is he “Bob,” like he’s boring and generic? Or “Blob” like he’s a blob?
Are you glad we did this?
Erin: Yes. It was delightful.
Ingrid: Yeah. I have to say I have wondered for a long time, and now I know, and I’m really glad that we’re up to speed on Tingle Town.
Holly: I mean, I probably wasn’t ever going to read them by myself, so I’m glad we did. I mean I’m probably not going to read any more…but maybe not! Maybe I’ll change my mind.
Erin: You might have to find out what happens to Orion the space raptor and his human lover!
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