That Other Hunger – Sloane Britain (Midwood F117, 1961)
This is the story of Lisa McBride, a somewhat naive young lady in New York, attending the New School for Art and modeling on the side to make money. Her mother was once a model, and has sent Lisa to Fran, an agent and PR person. But Fran is also an aging lesbian with an eye for the young ones, and just when she thinks she has Lisa for her lover, Lisa meets a hunky “he-man” model, Craig Phelps, and instantly falls in love with him.
Fran is annoyed but she doesn’t think the romance will last long. Craig is a user, moving into her place and getting her to buy loads of marijuana, which starts off slow but becomes a daily, hourly obsession for him. He sees Lisa as his property, and at a party, he tells his buddies “what’s mine is yours” and they can all have sex with Lisa if they want.
“Craig! Do you really mean that? You . . . don’t care if I have sex with other men?”
“Not all the time, baby. Just on certain occasions, when I feel in the mood. And tonight I felt like sharing you and our pad with some old buddies. I still feel like it, as a matter of fact. So let’s get going and get you high.”
Lisa fell bac into his arms, stunned and hurt […] She had no rght keeping him from entertaining his buddies — just because she was so jealous and didn’t want to share him with anyone. So he wanted to show her off to his buddies. Nothing wrong with that. It was kind of nice, as a matter of fact […] He carried her into the living room. Pausing on the threshold, he shouted for attention. “Now here this, all you cats. Here’s my chick, Lisa. And for tonight, what’s mine is yours.”
Three husky crew-cut young men, clad only in jockstraps, fell to their knees in front of Craig. They stretched out their brawny arms toward him. Craig spread his arms and let her drop down into their midst. Her startled shrieks were lost in their roar of laughter and clapping from the others in the room. (pp.94-5)
There’s some lesbian sex too, like when Lisa spends the night in a Park Avenue pad and a maid who resembles her has sex with her, making Lisa like “she’s having sex with herself.”
Fran meanwhile has found a new young female paramour, Sally, to replace Lisa. She hears of the crazy pot parties and orgies and admonishes Lisa that it’s only a matter of time before Craig starts pimping her out for money. Lisa guffaws.
But in a matter of days, their money gone, Craig is desperate. He has been opening her mail and cashing checks not his, pawning her jewelry, telling her that what she owns he owns, vice versa — including her body. He also seems to be hooked on heroin but denies it — similar in fact to The Needle, where the husband pimps his wife for junk and dollars, Craig talks Lisa into attending a “party” for a rich businessman they know, who will pay her $200 to “entertain” some out of town buyers. She thinks she’s just supposed to talk and act nice and then finds out she’s expected to have sex with any man at the party who wants it. She narrowly escapes gang rape.
Lisa is a lot of Terry Southern’s Candy, so naive and always finding her way into sexual adventures she didn’t ask for; sometimes you can’t feel sorry for her for being so dumb, but she leans the hard way, with the help of Fran, who winds up getting murdered by Craig in a moment of madness.
That Other Hunger also has a lesbian-positive ending, where Lisa and Sally, grieving for Fran, wind up in each others’ arms, in bed, “wide awake and performing the ageless rituals of love” (p. 188). Does the title refer to the twilight desire, or to heroin over pot?
The novel starts off slow, a tad too New York chic, but we slowly get sucked into Lisa’s sad glamor world of modeling, drugs, and sex.