September 11, 2012
Dexter is in his second week at the dude ranch, where men pay to go to be teased and demeaned. The cowgirls 'milk' the men in the cowshed, make them work out, eat steak and milkshakes and if they are really lucky, ride them. Otherwise they're kept in chastity devices or they have hoof gloves to stop them getting themselves off.
The Dude Ranch is billed as CFNM (Clothed Female, Naked Male for those of you who, like me, need to google that) where one of the cowboys falls in love with a cowgirl. If you try to look for any sort of romance in this story, I think you'll be disappointed. The premise of relationship developing between Dexter and Josephine is really just there to take Dexter, and therefore the reader, behind the scenes of The Dude Ranch.
It can make you a bit dizzy with the amount of things happening: we find out that the cowgirls pay to be there too; Josephine quickly becomes a house dog for disobeying the rules; Dexter's boss turns up and joins in; Dexter washes underwear; and opponents/enemies all end up in the hot tub together at the end. It's a kind of HEA in a way, to go with the hint of a nascent relationship, but not quite like you've ever seen before!
I think that one of my favorite scenes in this novella is when Dexter is looking for Josephine in the house. He has a peeping tom moment, where he looks through the cowgirls bedroom windows. Behind the first door, the cowgirl has tied herself up and is pretending she's submitting to a male dom. At this point I thinking here we go, all women are innately submissive. Blah. Yawn. But Dee delights in confounding my fears and behind the next door, the cowgirl is revising for exams in her underwear. Dexter waits for her to get distracted and touch herself, but she doesn't. His comment: "Weird". The next girl is practicing dive bombing a dildo with fellatio. The whole thing is just hilarious.
I think one of the things that really worked for me with this story is that there is liberal humor spread around, including a couple of laugh out loud moments. Dee has clearly intended for ridiculousness to be part of the story and for the reader to laugh and enjoy it all the same. The plot, setup, any of it really, doesn't stand up to close scrutiny. What it is, is fun.
The cover says that there are three tales. The other two - a story about a nunnery which has a forest of cocks which the nuns tease; and a sort of girls school in an alternative universe with an underclass of people who are slaves; are quite short. Neither of these stories really did it for me. Neither do I think that they really fit in with the main (much longer, ~1729 of the 2277 kindle locations) story of The Dude Ranch. These two 'bonus' reads have the same slightly tongue in cheek humor to go with the liberal teasing.
Overall, if you don't take it too seriously, The Dude Ranch is a fun, irreverent romp of a read. It almost deserves an F+, a sort of 'so bad, it's good' grade. But given that it doesn't take itself too seriously, I'll give it a B-.