Mystery Solved: What Happened to Pamela Druckerman’s Threesome Essay

What Women Really Think
Feb. 9 2012 2:38 PM

Mystery Solved: What Happened to Pamela Druckerman’s Threesome Essay

I posted last night on my quite accidental discovery that Pamela Druckerman, author of the newly published  Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting had written an article for Marie Claire in 2010 about taking part in a threesome with her husband and another woman to mark his 40th birthday. The article was available as a PDF uploaded by someone else, but it was unavailable from the Marie Claire site itself.

I wondered if the magazine had pulled the article at Druckerman’s request or if it was a technical glitch, and I promised to report back if I heard anything. And today, I received a call from Joanna Coles, the editor of Marie Claire, who kindly explained why the article was down and said that it will be available online again soon.

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“Pamela asked us to take down the piece because she felt it would distract from the book, and we agreed to take it down for about a month,” Coles said. “She’s a good writer and a valuable contributor to Marie Claire.”

As I wrote in my initial post, I could understand why Druckerman would want the article to disappear for a little while. The article was daring, in the way she put herself out there knowing it would most definitely generate negative feedback, but it wasn’t salacious. Still, it’s bound to scare off some potential readers of a parenting book. (Personally, I wouldn’t be brave enough to write such an article in the first place, because I have kids, and someday they will be clever enough to Google me.)

Should a publication take down an article like this? I think there’s a difference between, say, hiding an old political scandal or a public figure’s embarrassing DUI, and a personal essay on the author’s sex life. And even if you take it down, you’re really just making it harder to find, as was the case with this article. I asked Coles about her thoughts on the way the Internet keeps old pieces, which might otherwise be forgotten, bouncing around.

“Today I read that Facebook photos that you delete have a life of up to three years. In this digital age you cannot keep anything secret.” She added that Druckerman’s article received more reader feedback than any other that year: “I suspect that even if she had written the pages only for the magazine that people would have remembered. Readers were fascinated and outraged in equal measure.”

Rachael Larimore is Slate's managing editor.

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