Free Love for Sale
The spring of 1997 signals the end of college for Tate, the hedonistic protagonist of Free Love for Sale. He operates in the dual roles of tour guide and hostage, bearing witness to hyper-sexual mom's weekends, never-ending house parties, a heroin epidemic and a stream of co-eds who serve as the daily objects of his penchant for lust and his unwanted need for love. More
Set during the Spring '97 semester at Foster College, Free Love for Sale follows housemates Tate, Gwen, Jicky and Sevie as they navigate the cultural minefield of late 20th century college life. Foster College is a place where Mom's Weekend is a hyper-sexual bacchanal, cell phones and Internet access aren't ubiquitous, rape is a political issue and college students take their cues from the adults around them during the last great American economic boom time. The quartet's house serves as the college's circus, an over-sized dilapidated structure through which most Foster College students and north Texas pleasure seekers tend to enter and disappear.
The ringmaster of this collegiate circus is Tate, the perpetually buzzed narrator, tour guide and hostage to the 24-7 party of his Id, furious at the college's creeping misandry while taking full advantage of the school's wildly disproportionate female-to-male ratio. As he makes his way through a series of girlfriends, attractions, diversions and conquests, each more distant and less real than the last, he counts the days to graduation while increasingly growing paranoid at his own grip on reality.
Tate's closest friend and open lust object is Gwen, the MTV-obsessed brewing heiress whose early travails in college life lead her into Tate's loose-knit circle - happily vain, hideously beautiful, heavily libidinous and with no women and many men in her life, she grimly goes along with the ridiculous drunken plots and social scheming of Tate and his circle.
Jicky is the sexually-confused, drug-peddling ginger whose complete absence scruples Tate envies from afar while enjoying up-close.
Finally, there is Sevie, the conspiracy buff and biochemistry major, forever going along with Tate's and Jicky's increasingly amoral plans, existing as the smartest person in the group who never has any understanding of what is actually going on.
Free Love for Sale is a time capsule of college life at the end of the 20th century. It exists in equal parts as a how-to guide and cautionary tale about the unbridled, relentless pursuit of hedonism among the youngest members of Generation X as they complete their formal schooling, a celebration of consumption and a warning about the dangers of nihilism that often follow in its wake.