BLOOMSBURY £10.99 £9.99 (P&P FREE) 08700 798 897

Millions of Women are Waiting to Meet you, by Sean Thomas

Now look, Sean, this ain't normal

On the cover of my proof copy of Sean Thomas's non-fiction account of his adventures on the internet-dating scene, Millions of Women Are Waiting to Meet You, there is a jokey warning that "this book reveals how men really think." This isn't true. Sean Thomas may believe himself to be a normal man, but in the course of this book he decides a woman named "Bongowoman" is an appealing person to go on a date with; describes how his first sexual experience (at 12 years old) involved him flashing at his parents' cleaning woman; reveals that he can only go out with women who are shorter than him (he describes such women as "sit-on-my-lap girls"); fakes suicide to impress a girl who's broken up with him; suffers from several bouts of serious impotence; catches crabs from an Australian woman; boasts about the TV celebrity he used to date, a relationship which began when he shoved his hand up her skirt; gets so addicted to internet porn (particularly "Bernie's Spanking Pages" and "extremely convoluted scenarios where submissive Danish actresses are intimately shaved by their dominant female doctors in the shower") that he masturbates himself into the hospital, where he ends up on a saline drip; goes into a 15-page explanation of why he doesn't want to sodomise a woman who's begged him to do so, before deciding that he will do it after all; explains how when he was 30 he made his 17-year old schoolgirl lover have an abortion; gets a blow-job from his best friend's girlfriend on Bayswater Road in full view of the public; performs oral sex on a woman moments after she has finished having sex with his friend in the other room; goes to a strip club in Thailand so often over a three-month period that one of the strippers writes messages to him with a pen clenched in her vagina; has an abortive threesome in Russia which ends with him prematurely ejaculating over the carpet, and in one of the book's most flabbergasting chapters, mistakenly believes he's impregnated a prostitute and considers throwing everything in and starting a family with her.

Now, Sean, that ain't normal. It is, however, hilarious. I can't remember reading a book that's made me laugh out loud as much as this one. Thomas must be extraordinarily brave to reveal so much about his personal life, and this book truly ups the stakes for the male confessional genre, offering an even more intimate insight into one man's mind than Toby Young's How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, which previously seemed as far as comic self-abnegation could go.

But, while Thomas is unbelievably open about his sex-life, by being quite so down on himself he misses a couple of tricks. He presents himself as a loser who "reviews Lego for Amazon", only occasionally disparagingly referring to his past career as an author. But he is a very good novelist, whose last book, The Cheek Perforation Dance, was a brilliant account of the darker extremes of sexual desire.

Here, he mostly plays the biographical details that clearly inspired this fiction for laughs, acknowledging this side of himself but trying to fit it into a conventional romantic scenario. Also, when towards the end of the book he talks about his difficult relationship with his novelist father (D M Thomas), he uses it to explain his problems with women, which seems an inadequate use of material that would perhaps be more suitable for a different sort of memoir.

I thoroughly enjoyed Millions of Women Are Waiting to Meet You, but I hope the easier sell of confessional literature doesn't distract Sean Thomas from continuing with his career as a novelist, especially now he has got this out of his system.

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power