Rediscover: Cynthia Heimel

Feminist humor columnist, playwright, television writer and author Cynthia Heimel died on February 25 at age 70. She began her writing career in the late '60s at Distant Drummer, a counterculture magazine in Philadelphia, before moving to the SoHo Weekly News, New York magazine, then the New York Daily News. She published her first book in 1983, Sex Tips for Girls, which mixed satirical takes on popular women's magazines like Cosmopolitan with actual feminist sex advice. Heimel later had columns in the Village Voice, Vogue and Playboy, of all places, the first one about women by a woman (it ran until 2000). She wrote A Girl's Guide to Chaos, a play that later became a book, in 1986. Heimel eventually moved to Los Angeles to write for the TV series Kate & Allie and Dear John.

Douglas Adams once described Cynthia Heimel's work as "like P.G. Wodehouse if he wrote about sex." She collected more of her simultaneously lighthearted and enlightening columns in If You Can't Live Without Me, Why Aren't You Dead Yet? (1991), Get Your Tongue Out of My Mouth, I'm Kissing You Goodbye! (1993) and If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too? (1995). Twenty years after Sex Tips for Girls, Heimel wrote a sequel, Advanced Sex Tips for Girls: This Time It's Personal. The original Sex Tips for Girls has never gone out of print. It is available in paperback from Touchstone ($14.99, 9780671477257). --Tobias Mutter

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