By ELIZABETH HAYT
March 27, 2006 -- TUCKER Max does not perform oral sex. He doesn't care if a woman has an orgasm with him. I know this because his online "Tucker Max Hook-Up Application" comes with a disclaimer: "I define my success in bed by my happiness, not yours."
Max, 30, is an Internet impresario and author of "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell." Two weeks ago, he moved from Chicago to Manhattan. He's Hale-Bopp to a generation of narcissistic cynics, ages 18-35, who kneel before their laptops every time he posts on his Web site a new short story or blog about his unconscionable antics.
Seventy percent of his 50,000 to 75,000 daily users are men. He offers them a vicarious joy ride through an unleashed male id, the highlights being alcohol-poisoning-be-damned, bareback sex.
"Cool guys identify with Tucker's escapades," said Alan Philips, 26, a New York event planner. "Losers look up to him. He's a real-life Will Ferrell in 'Wedding Crashers.' Tucker gives you all the fun without the consequences."
Although it's understandable why guys idolize this developmentally arrested XY creature, why are a third of his fans women? More shockingly, he claims to receive up to 12 e-mails a day from women soliciting sex from him.
I had to figure it out. How did Max make the fairer sex swoon?
The opportunity presented itself on March 14 when he posted a request for a woman to do his laundry. In exchange, he offered "free books, dinner, sex," pointing out that hooking up was a good way to pass the time between loads.
"I don't know you but I want to be your laundress," I said over the phone.
"You've got it ass backwards," he sneered. "You've got to first know Tucker Max to get why you should do his laundry. Let's hang out."
A few nights later, I rang the buzzer of his third-floor, Flatiron District walk-up, a box of Tide in hand. I wanted to be prepared for anything, from separating his whites from his colors to slipping between his sheets.
"You're too late," he said, grabbing the detergent, putting it inside the doorway. "I already got some girl to do it. I want a beer."
I was stunned - not because I'd been scooped or by his gruffness. Max's pale, bloated face and flabby body were a far cry from the stud pictured on his Web site. He seemed shorter than his supposed 6 feet, smelled like a locker room and had a fleshy mole on his right nostril. Wearing baggy jeans, a gray tee and a black nylon, zip-front jacket, he looked like a convenience-mart cashier, sans the Redman chewing tobacco hat.
He led the way to Live Bait (ha!) where he paid for my ginger ale and expressed concern that I might get chilly because we were sitting on bar stools by the door. Was this personality shift from cad to gentleman his taming of the shrew?
Nah, that would be giving him too much credit.
"The ultimate strategy is no strategy," he explained when I asked what made him a lady-slayer. "In the 'Five Rings', Mushashi says that when a good strategist reaches the apex of his skill, it's fluid. You have to learn everything about everything and then apply what you know to the situation."
I had no idea what he was talking about.
He started blowing his nose into paper napkins, chucking them into his half-eaten buffalo chicken salad.
"You're making me sick," I pointed out.
He tossed a snotty napkin between my breasts.
"WHAT WOMAN WOULD EVER WANT YOU?!!!!!!!!!!" I cried.
Belching, he flipped open his cell, called a 21-year-old New York college student he'd recently slept with and handed me the phone.
"I'd been reading his site for three years and e-mailed him," she recounted. "I knew it would be casual sex. For me, he's the equivalent to Motley Crue in the '80s. Tucker's my idol. He's a genius. There's deeper meaning to his stories. I spent the night at his place. I expected him to be mean, but he picked up the bar tab and drove me to school the next morning, so he was nice."
I'm not the most discriminating of women when it comes to men, but this chick's standards were abysmally low.
"Was he at least good in bed?" I asked.
"He's very aggressive - hair pulling, biting; I had a bruise on my arm for days. It's the whole alpha- male thing. The fact that he says he's slept with hundreds of women makes him very attractive."
Back at Max's apartment, he let me check his e-mails. His inbox didn't lie.
"I don't get it," I said. "You're an overgrown frat boy with an average-size penis, as you described it. You offer a woman nothing."
"Eight times out of 10, if you come to my Web site to have sex with me, there's something broken about you," Max answered, finally decoding the mystery.
He was no different from an old school bad boy, except he promoted his reputation by way of modem. Insecure women with a classic "bottom" mentality couldn't resist - even took pride in - being the object of his condescension and abuse. To justify the degradation, they convinced themselves that bedding him was actually a coup. I bet a few had stolen a dirty sock from his wash as a souvenir.
Tucker Max was right. I had to know him first to understand why a woman would want to do his laundry. Clearly, I wasn't one of them. I left the unopened box of Tide behind.
Elizabeth Hayt is the author of "I'm No Saint: A Nasty Little Memoir of Love and Leaving." She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org