By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
"I am not a psychologist, and I don't want to act like one," Patterson says. "I just told her not to be afraid to seek counseling--that there was nothing wrong with it."
Another woman wrote and asked Patterson to send her a copy of Will the Real Women... "ASAP," and signed the letter "Desperate."
But Lavilla Bradford, a 43-year-old Sacramento woman, is more typical of her readers. Bradford says she shared the book with her lover, who found it enormously interesting. Since then, she's learned to "appreciate that he's emotional, and I've neglected that. Now, I appreciate the extra things he does that I used to take for granted."
Today, Patterson spends her days fielding phone orders from home, presiding over book signings, and answering fan mail. Her answering machine is literally full of pleas from booksellers--including Barnes & Noble and Walden Books--begging for copies of Will the Real Women...Please Stand Up!.
Between orders and promotional trips, Patterson is finishing up two other volumes--Women Who Live Alone, an instructional safety guide for single women, and a novel, Woman with a Past.
The author is already fielding orders for the unfinished books, and is rushing to get them into print.
"This has been tripping me out," she says in her husky, crackling voice. "My feet hurt, my back hurts. I'm trying to catch up to the book. It has just taken off."
Beginning with a salutation of "Happy Sexuality," Patterson's book attempts to solve the mystery of becoming a "real woman." It has nothing to do with baking cupcakes.
"Women who cook, clean, speak well, and are good mothers come a dime a dozen," Patterson boldly declares. "But a sensuous woman, who can make her man feel he's the world, will be worth the world to him."
Today's women, she points out, "are no longer submissive to men when it concerns their bodies. Women are taking their bodies back."
Men, on the other hand, are "concerned contributors."
Will the Real Women...Please Stand Up offers an astounding variety of advice on everything from fragrances and stimulation techniques to breath mints and oral sex. Under "Props and Supplies," Patterson advises women to periodically send their lovers Mr. Goodbars (the candy bar) as a gesture "to tell him he's good."
The author makes clear early on that, in order to become a sensuous woman, women have to stop thinking like "nice girls." She proves her point in a notorious, blush-inducing chapter titled, "Games You Can Play." Many copies of her book, indeed, are permanently creased at page 19.
Here, Patterson provides readers 100 ideas to spice up their sexual relationships--culled from personal experience, as well as her numerous interviews with strangers. About 20 percent can be printed here, including Number 73: "Leave love notes all through your home for him to find"; Number 77: "Ask him to strip from head to toe for you to his favorite song"; and Number 88: "While waiting in lines together tell him in a low, sexy voice what you plan to do to him when you get home."
Others--the X-rated ones--nonetheless deserve comment. Number 20 is potentially embarrassing; Number 68 can prove unduly taxing on the male partner; and Numbers 90 and 92 are quite novel, indeed.
"Much of it is obvious, but it is also very intuitive about issues of sexuality," says Dr. Phyllis Simpson, a former professor of Patterson's and an instructional specialist for the Dallas Independent School District.
But Simpson admits she never quite finished reading the book, because "My daughter, who is 22, took it and won't give it back."
Ella Patterson, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, has loved writing since she won an award for it in third grade. She's compiled dozens of journals, and even used to ghost-write love letters for her college friends. "One day I said to myself, 'I need to be charging these people.'"
Patterson is an endearing mixture of church lady--she blushingly showed a copy of the book to her pastor--and vamp. A former cheerleader and athlete, she sports a tattoo of an exotic bird--the "African tit"--on her left breast.
"I thought, well, 'a tit on a tit,'" Patterson says. "The African tit used to guard the African queens when the warriors went out to war. I believe all women should be treated like queens."
Over the years, her cheerleader's physique has filled out, and she dresses her plumper frame to perfection. She's partial to gold jewelry and fine fabrics, and has traded her long, woven braids for a short, crisp bob.
The most striking aspect of her appearance is her tawny-colored eyes, which are level and frank--like a schoolteacher. With soul.
Will the Real Women...Please Stand Up! was a logical response to "people who were always asking my advice about sex. I used to think, 'what do I look like?'"
The book's brisk sales come as no surprise to Patterson's 39-year-old husband, Martin, a manager at EDS. "She has always had a lot of energy, determination and focus," he says. "She has a lot of drive to make herself happy."
The former Ella Jones set her sights on Martin when the two were attending Dallas' now-defunct Bishop College. "The way she tells it," says Martin, "she decided whether I was going to be someone she wanted to be with."