In publishing, landing a spot on the "Today" show has traditionally been thought of as a publicity holy grail. Is that why Benjamin Percy wore a pregnancy suit to get there? And did he have any idea just how strange the experience would be?
Not wearing the pregnancy suit for nine weeks -- trying to talk to
Percy does have one of the most arresting voices in contemporary American letters. He's also known for writing fiction with a specifically manly bent, like "The Wilding," which is about three generations of men in one family who go on a hunting trip. So imagining him walking around as a pregnant woman does present a little cognitive dissonance.
He committed to a simulated mini-pregnancy, wearing a high-tech pregnancy suit made in Japan that got bigger each trimester. "It looks a little like a flak jacket," Percy writes, describing his mommy-gear in militaristic terms. A chronicle of his experience -- which included shopping, attending public events, and getting a sweaty rash -- appears in this month's GQ.
Here's how he describes the idea in the magazine: "No one has bought me the World's Greatest Father coffee mug yet, and I don't deserve one. I'm crabby. I'm impatient. I wear skull T-shirts. I kind of look forward to my children growing old enough to walk twenty yards ahead of me in the mall and pretend I don't exist. But male empathy— at least among the co-op-shopping,
On the "Today" show, Harvey wants to know why. "You wanted to accomplish what by doing this?" he asks.
"To make up for my mouth-breathing, hairy-chested, caveman deficiencies," Percy explains. There's a pause, and he grins as there's a burst of laughter from off camera.
Harvey doesn't laugh.
Things continue to get awkward. Percy doesn't get a chance to mention his nothing-to-do-with-pregnancy novel, "Red Moon," coming in May from Grand Central. I haven't read it, but