How to Fake an Orgasm
|Title:||How to Fake an Orgasm|
|Author(s):||Punk and Sab, writing as V. Salmone|
|External Links:||online here|
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So, let's start by talking about the genre of Mulder/Other stories. In my opinion, these are really, really hard to pull off successfully. Writing compelling original characters in fanfic is always difficult, and you have the additional danger that your original romantic interest is pretty much automatically under suspicion of being a Mary Sue. It's a thankless genre. Either Mulder ends up with Scully in the end (in which case why are you even bothering?) or Mulder ends up with the other woman (in which case the Scullyists are probably going to kill you).
The best Mulder/Other that I've read is probably Syntax6's "Isometry," because the romance isn't the whole point of the story. Punk Manuverability's "Venture Forth" was way too Mary-Sueish for me. And Tesla's "Flying Under the Radar" was very interesting, but we've discussed its Scully-bashing ending already. Enough said.As I recall from my last reading of this story, it is a pretty decent example of the genre, certainly better than average. Now I'm going to have to re-read it and see whether I have any more specific comments. But it seems to me that you can't talk about a story like this without talking about the genre too. 
Reactions and Reviews
...for some reason I just wasn't buying Dating Machine Mulder.
I've always been a big fan of Punk and Sabine's work and was excited to read this, because I'd missed it the first time around. It was an enjoyable read and I liked the original character. I really felt for Sue (was her middle name Mary?)--she was a big, excitable puppy and seemed like a very nice person, but she just wasn't Scully. Loved the part where it turns out that she and Scully have the same dentist and she knows the dentist's whole personal story and Scully has never bothered getting to know him.As mentioned before, the story had some memorable lines. However, as a whole, it didn't do much for me. Maybe I'm just not a fan of Jealous!Scully and Mulder and Scully both felt out of character at times. 
I guess I am going to swim against the tide here to say that I enjoyed reading this very much. I am also a fan of the the authors and I was not disappointed by this at all. I am clearly in the minority in enjoying Mulder/Other and Scully/Other stories, whether they lead to MSR or not, as long as there is no Mulder or Scully bashing taking place. I suppose the point of writing and reading these stories is the point of any fan fiction: to enjoy the ride. It is clearly not that popular a genre, but I like it.
I like the idea of portraying Mulder and Scully as more like normal people, who date other people, and try to have a social life. It makes sense to set this story during a time when the X-Files has been taken away from shut them. I agree that X-Files Mulder would not be taking two hour lunches. However, Shit Detail Mulder, who is hating working for Kersh, and doing those background checks, seems like a good candidate for a two hour lunch and some serial dating.
The story is full of delightful Mulder/Scully banter, with many classic moments...
One of the things I like best about this story is that Mulder doesn't get all of the funny lines.
I like the little running joke that Scully is having trouble with her phones. Her answering machine isn't taking messages from "Doug," who appears early on and then conveniently disappears into thin air. Her cellphone keeps calling Mulder's cellphone, which makes Susan Anthony giggle and say it must be lonely. Nice bit of foreshadowing there.
It is pretty clear almost from the start that Mulder is more in love with the idea of being in love with Sue than he actually is in love with her. I don't feel sorry for her. She knows what she wants from a relationship and when it is clear that Mulder isn't going to give it to her, she dumps him. She can take care of herself. A cute, funny woman like her will meet someone better suited to her in no time. Since deshenka brought it up, I can contrast Sue Anthony with Cassidy Neill in Blair Provence's "Banging Your Head Against a Red-Haired Brick Wall," who just doesn't get it, and spends a lot of time planning her wedding to Mulder and wondering why he isn't confiding in her and acting like a normal boyfriend. I don't feel sorry for Cassidy either, but by the story's end, I do want her to wake up and get a life, the sort of life she deserves. A life she is not going to get hanging around waiting for Mulder.
Sue Anthony is a fun, likeable original character. It is easy to see why Mulder was attracted to her. But as he confesses to Scully at the story's end, she was both too easy and too demanding. She does serve her purpose: to bring our hero and heroine into closer proximity to each other, so that Scully can make him tea that he doesn't really want, and so that Mulder can kiss Scully, which she does really want.I also love the ending with Mulder in the laundromat taking off his jeans to add them to the washload while Scully watches him through the window, her nose pressed against the glass, like a little girl looking wistfully at a department store mannequin wearing an outfit she knows she will never own. But Scully can have Mulder; in fact, by this point she has had him, so she is no longer on the outside looking in. 
I do love that "best friend for life" thing. Awwwww!
SO, I finally got to this one since I needed a bit of light-hearted humor. I certainly enjoyed it, and loved the humor and characterization while I was reading it, but overall it somehow just doesn't grab me enough to save. I feel like partially I'm missing something. I feel like it's saying something about what Scully has that no other woman can fill, but I'm missing what. That's actually quite a high compliment for Sue because she was extremely likeable and fun and spunky. I almost hated her for it. ;) It made me wish Scully could bring out that light-heartedness in Mulder, and thankfully they did show how fun and light-hearted their interactions can be. I almost felt like it was good for the MSR in the end, reminding them both how to just have fun with each other.
I wasn't very thrilled by Mulder's explanation for why he wanted to get with Scully in the end - "I noticed you were jealous and flirty so I figured I'd give it a try?" At least that's the way it came off to me. So, I feel like I'm missing something.However, the joy in this story is in the details - the witty dialogue and banter and moments (like Scully in Mulder's bathroom, smelling him on her after using his shower) that are written so well. And they really, really capture both the thrill of infatuation (in Mulder) and the sorrow of being left behind (in Scully) in ways that we can all sympathize with. 
I am glad you enjoyed this. I think the Mulder/Scully interaction in this story is so adorable that I forgave Mulder for being slow on the uptake. I thought his reasoning for deciding to see whether or not Scully was interested was very plausibly male. Scully was such a goner by that time that she just didn't care! One of the things I really liked about the characterization of Mulder in this story is how recognizably a guy he was. In so many MSR stories, Mulder is romanticized to the point of absurdity. 
this story would have rubbed me off the wrong way if the Scully characterisation had been a little off. i found it agreeably balanced and appreciated the evidence of her sense of humour. the 'best friends/partners' angle always gets me. well, practically without fail. that, i think to myself, is as much of the truth that anybody can ever touch, never mind the little green (or grey) men. (oh soppiness!) 
Call me crazy, but I like the idea of portraying Mulder and Scully acting more like normal people, who go out on dates and try to have a social life. The trick is to write that story while keeping Mulder and Scully in character. Admittedly, Obsessed X-Files Mulder would not be taking two hour lunches; however, Shit Detail Mulder, who is hating on Kersh for making him work on those mind-numbing, soul-stealing background checks, seems like a fine candidate for extended lunch breaks and some serial dating.
The story is filled with delightful Mulder/Scully banter. This scene, where Scully catches Mulder playing computer games, is a favorite.
Scully reached a hand around and pulled Mulder’s monitor to face her. The wrong Tetris shape slid down the screen to balance inappropriately on a growing center tower. “Well, thank god you’re taking care of the Tetris portion of our assignment,” Scully said, spinning the monitor back toward Mulder. “I was really hoping you’d take it off my hands.”One of the things I like best about this story is that Mulder doesn’t get all of the funny lines. Oh yeah. I’d forgotten this was Thanksgiving fic, too, kinda.
Philes, we know sometimes /Other can be a tough pill to swallow. But /Other that eventually turns into gloriously, deliciously resolved MSR should be the balm for what ails you. Honestly, this fic is pretty damn near perfect. You kinda sorta find yourself hung up on the “other woman” just as Mulder is, because she’s written so darn well. And then, you kinda sorta find yourself realizing that no matter how great she is, she’s never gonna be Scully, right about the same time that Mulder starts to come to that realization himself.Plus, let’s be real. Sab and PM can bring it when they write by themselves. Teamed up, they’re pretty freakin untouchable. Enjoy, lovelies! 
- emily shore at xf book club,
- x_dashenka at xf book club, April 2008
- wendelah1 at xf book club, April 2008
- memento1 at xf book club, April 2008
- wendelah1 at xf book club, April 2008
- 22by7 at xf book club, April 2008
- wendelah1 at xf book club, April 2008
- 201 Days of The X-Files, Archived version, 2015
- X-Files FanFiction Sommeliers, Archived version