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Excerpt from Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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A Memoir

by Patricia Lockwood

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood X
Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2017, 352 pages

    May 2018, 352 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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Print Excerpt

"In fact"—the seminarian sighs—"no one knows how lesbians work."

"It's easy," I say. "You put one leg over her leg, and then she puts her other leg over your other leg, and then you brush each other's hair forever while not going to church."

He rolls his eyes. "You're not a lesbian, Tricia," he tells me patiently. "You wear dresses."

"If you're so determined to figure out who's gay and who's not," I say to my father, "then why don't you ask someone who has actually met some gay people, gay people who haven't had to pretend their whole lives not to be gay?"

Gaydar is not real, and I hope never to be in the business of perpetuating crude stereotypes, but the priest who owns his own harp and gets ten different brown-bagged magazines about the Royal Family delivered to him each month? Is possibly not a straight man. But Dad assures me the Gay Inkblot Test is quite sufficient for their needs. So a word to my queer brothers who are longing for a life in the Church: you are safer than houses, for the time being. Go with God.


The seminarian talks frequently about his "celibate powers," which mainly consist of being able to get up extremely early. No, it doesn't sound good to me either, though it's plausible my extreme deficiency of celibacy is the reason I often sleep till noon. To protect and strengthen these celibate powers, he has developed a move called the celibacy block, where he holds up both arms in front of himself in the shape of a cross to ward off the person who's trying to seduce him— mainly women, as he explains to me, who are "wearing volleyball shorts when there isn't even any volleyball going on." "You know what would be a better idea," I tell him. "To just point a gun at any girl who's cute and yell 'I DON'T THINK SO' at the top of your lungs."

The celibacy block is necessary, it seems, because the woods are full of women who lust after men of the cloth. "We call them chalice chippers," the seminarian explains one Sunday, piling his plate with the cold cuts and pickles my mother always sets out after the last Mass.

"They're everywhere," my father adds, vengefully forking a slice of roast beef, and goes on to tell us the story of a woman who once gave him "a teddy bear soaked with your mother's perfume, to try and tempt me."

How would that even work? Has any man who ever drew breath been seduced according to this method? Also, I would love to date a woman who soaks teddy bears in perfume and sexually gives them to priests, because she has got to be crazier in bed than any atheist ever dreamed of being. Maybe once you got back to her apartment you would see an even bigger teddy propped up against her pillow, soaked in holy water and waiting for you, with a Bible between its legs opened up to the Song of Songs. Maybe it's for the best, after all, that the seminarian knows what a furry is. If they ever come for him, he'll be ready.


I am not sure what the seminarian wants, exactly. He acts with admirable propriety at all times, despite the fact that all the chairs in this house are upholstered with velvet and leave perfect impressions of your hindquarters whenever you sit down on them. My mother obliterates the prints with the palm of her hand whenever she encounters them, but I sneak back in and sit on the chairs again when she's not looking. The seminarian is unaffected by this campaign, however. His sights are set on something higher. The firmest desire I ever hear him assert is that he would like to have a lady wash his clothes, perhaps in a river.

"Why a river, specifically?" I probe further, carrying two mugs of tea in from the kitchen to fortify us against the doldrums of four o'clock.

"I want to watch her rub my clothes on the stones," he responds.

I look down at him for a long moment, wondering if I should tip the tea out into his lap so he doesn't get too turned on by my gesture of servitude, and he shrugs. "I like domestic stuff," he tells me, his voice falling to a sudden romance-novel huskiness. So fuck a butler. Men, it bears repeating, are so weird. This is so far outside my area of sexual expertise it's not even funny. Tell me you want to role-play a butlerfuck while pretending to serve your penis on a big silver tray and I will nod with understanding, and perhaps even offer to film it. But you want a woman to wash your clothes in a river? What are you, some kind of pervert?

Excerpted from Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood. Copyright © 2017 by Patricia Lockwood. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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