Well, this is the country we live in. Hard work is not held in such high esteem as it once was. Look at Warren Beatty. A recent biography claims that he slept with 12,755 women, which cannot possibly be true, but even if it were half that number, what a labor of love: the delicate work of seduction, the pats on the arm, the flattery, the exquisite timing of the kisses, then the zippers, the bra clasps, the stockings, and then the performance itself--which, if you are Warren Beatty, will be judged by a higher standard than if you are Ralph Nader or Archbishop Tutu--and then the obligatory post-coital glow in which you help the woman believe that this time, THIS time, was of all your many couplings the one that really zinged your strings and rang your chimes, and then coaxing the babe from your bed and into her clothes and into a cab, so you can freshen up in time for your 11:30 assignation.
Mr. Beatty, through his lawyer, says the number is not accurate. But the number 12,755 is out there, emblazoned in our memories. And so Mr. Beatty gets credit for work he did not do. A lazy Casanova who lets another man write his story and inflate the workload, and then, by denying the story through a lawyer, publicizes it further.
I know something about fiction, and I believe Mr. Beatty slept with 15 women, maybe 18, 25 tops, and considered himself lucky. But I admire him for creating this enormous legend.