MONICAMANIA is acquiring epidemic proportions in the United States. The Internet has spawned at least a dozen Monica Lewinsky sites. Sales of "Zippergate" T-shirts are going through the roof. Sandwiches are being named after her. Books are in the pipeline and possibly, if she bites at the $2m offer, a Penthouse spread. And everyone, but everyone, has heard a Lewinsky joke.

The next craze, depend on it, will be Monica lookalike contests. A busy Washington restaurant was brought to a standstill on Thursday night when a woman walked in who was a dead-ringer for Ms Lewinsky. Her hair full and black, her figure generous, she sported a black Che Guevara beret like the one Ms Lewinsky was wearing in the now celebrated television footage of her hug with President Clinton.

"Look! Look! It's Monica Lewinsky," restaurant patrons cried. A big red letter "M" embroidered on the beret gave the game away but the message was clear: American head-gear manufacturers who jump on the bandwagon could be in for a bonanza.

One of the various T-shirts on sale (for $14.95 plus shipping and handling) has a cartoon picture on the front of Bill and Monica smiling, under a "Zippergate" logo. On the back the message reads: "But did she inhale?"

Most of the jokes doing the rounds are built around the same theme. "The motto in the White House is swallow your leader"; "Why is there no proof? She swallowed the evidence"; "What's the difference between Bill Clinton and the Titanic? Only 1,500 went down on the Titanic."

Jay Leno, the late-night TV talk-show host, quoted press reports saying Mr Clinton did not consider his affair with Monica Lewinsky adultery because it only involved oral sex. "If Clinton can get that law passed," Mr Leno suggested, "every man in America is going to vote for him."

Better than all of the above, perhaps, was the bumper sticker spotted in Arkansas: "Honk if you haven't had sex with Bill Clinton".

The Internet sites include the "Monica Lewinsky Online Fan Club", which, under the words "It's fun to serve", features a photograph of her flexing her biceps in the pose of a Soviet working-class heroine. Another site offers "Monica Lewinsky nudes free" and, in yet another trick photograph, the netsurfer is provided with the opportunity to stimulate the President's animated penis with his or her mouse.

As for books, at least four are being rushed into print, with titles along the lines of The Dysfunctional President: Inside the Mind of Bill Clinton. USA Today quoted an unnamed publisher on Friday saying that bids for Lewinsky's story, if credible, would start at $5m.