Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sex with Other People

Dear Readers,

This week has been difficult for me. Upon revisiting an old piece I submitted late last semester, I reviewed my mentor’s notes and they were brutal. Included were comments like: “Most people don’t care about your sex life outside of maybe your blog readers …” combined with overall mark-ups about formatting, incomplete thoughts and ineffective structure. I am getting over this godforsaken flu, though it has been well over 2 weeks, the fatigue is all-consuming. There are other things … I am broke and working all the time.

In the midst of getting the notes and feeling my mental state unravel, my boyfriend broke up with me because he decided he couldn’t make me happy. Jumping on Facebook, someone posted a picture of a dead puppy left in a cardboard box, covered in morning snow, laying next to an overturned water dish and it all came crumbling down. I realize the blog is two months behind so you don’t know the state of things, but let me illustrate the mood here in this messy bedroom on a Tuesday afternoon: I couldn’t read or write, I didn’t eat, I couldn’t get out of bed; I couldn’t shower.

Frank, my roommate, would circle outside my bedroom door and occasionally come in to sit next to me, as I lay curled up under a blanket on the bed with a bag of chips and a bottle of cheap wine. His hand would fall down to my leg and shake. “How are you doing?” he asked.

“I would kill myself but that would require getting out of bed and actually putting an effort into something,” I stated in my typical,  matter-of-fact way. He chuckled.

My boyfriend and I made amends. My new mentor sent brilliant notes for this semester. And just as I opened a clean white page in Google Docs to write this, my old mentor sent a very encouraging note my way: “... it often looks like I'm hardest on the students who I think have the most potential ...“

I am waiting to feel better.

I don’t.

This depression is lethal. My fingers are numb. I have slept for four days. My hair is in a greasy ponytail and my lips are chapped. So here I am, about to write more in first-person, more autobiographical material, more about my sex/love life,  more about my story in the hopes that it does mean something. Otherwise, in my mind, I would mean absolutely nothing.

madonna not loved

***

It was November and Michael was spending the night every night now. We had been dating for a couple weeks, and things, as they tend to with me, escalated quickly. He was attentive, genuine, funny, affectionate and by my side every night. And with Michael’s more constant presence, my two roommates, Greg and Frank, both seemed to disappear more and more into their rooms.

In my bedroom, we had an air mattress and three dogs, music playing and weed smoking. We were happy, making out, making love every half hour or so. With my new job, my new place and my new boyfriend, things felt like they were falling into place. I needed that more than anything. Stability, if not the illusion of stability.



Me and Mike in Bed Me and Mike Kiss

'Lady Marmalade' from Moulin Rouge came on my Spotify playlist.

"Hold on! Is this what I think it is? .... now, I think it is has appeal, it is contextual, but I think it stands on the platform of the movie. I don't think it stands on its own,” Michael said, sitting up from my naked torso in bed.

"The song? Are you f***ing kidding me? It’s excellent," I said.

Standing next to each other in public, it was awkward. Waiters would flirt with me when we were out together at dinner. We simply did not look like a couple. He was small, with the face of a 12-year-old. And, as a tall woman approaching her mid-thirties (who am I kidding, I am in my mid-thirties), my face is thinner and has given me the definition I needed to finally blossom into a good-looking woman.

Me at 21

Side by side, we may pass as brother and sister, aunt and nephew, but never as boyfriend and girlfriend. When we kiss, the waiter’s face drops, the couple at the booth next to us whisper and we shrug. I know it bothers him, but I always tell him it doesn’t matter what they see … only what we see. It is so hard to make it work with someone, why kill a connection over something as silly as age and height?

Michael was looking in my closet door mirror one day. “I mean, look at this … I have a perfect build, good-looking face, and I am stuck in a little boy’s body. Is this some kind of joke? What is God trying to prove. Look at this … it is ridiculous,” he said.

Then there is the issue of age:

“How can you not love Pink Floyd?” I asked in the car.

“If I tell you something will you promise not to get mad? My mom loves Pink Floyd,” he responded.
"Here, let me put on some of y our young people music," I said, switching the station over to hip hop.
"Oh, [StarFire], you fuddy duddy."

The age and height seem like natural obstacles, but I ask you to imagine the genders reversed: the female narrator of this story as a 5’4 ft. tall 23-year-old, and the male love interest as a 5’9 ½ tall 34-year-old … would it be that odd now?

Me and Mike Starting Out

My mother once asked me why I don’t date men closer to my age. I have no fucking idea where they are. Sascha and I shared a pitcher of beer the other night and she said, “The guys our age are all married and miserable. That’s why.”

So in my unpacked bedroom, on a mattress thrown among white walls, we laughed, made love and fell in love. One particular night, I started my period and told him it was alright to ejaculate inside of me. In the dark, we made love six or seven times, and I felt the stickiness of blood on his fingers as he held my waist while I sat on top. I am the first to advocate for condoms, though I never use them. I have used them and they are a wonderful prevention tool most of the time, but I have had every brand of condom break on me. Now, I ask questions, hope for honest answers, and feel the push of their skin inside me. The ridge of circumcision slip through. I hear the moan of his voice change. For better or worse, I believe this forms stronger bonds of intimacy with my sexual partners. You rely more on trust. You both agree to danger. And you allow your body to be completely exposed to another human being. There is a primitive bond. Now, when he cums inside of you, everything is taken to the next level; the trust, the danger and the pleasure. I feel everything inside of me grow suddenly more sensitive and if he tells me he is about to cum, I can orgasm almost immediately.

“Have you had unprotected sex with someone else, I mean … since we have been seeing each other?” he asked.

I took a breath in. “Yeah, I have.”

“Was it with someone you knew and trusted?” he asked.

“No, I’m sorry, it wasn’t. I didn’t know him well at all,” I said.

I heard him exhale and I put my hand over my head as we both lay still, totally naked, covered in blood and semen. “I am sorry,” I said again.

“I just don’t know why you didn’t tell me before we had unprotected sex again,” he said.

“I know. That was irresponsible. I am really sorry, there is no excuse,” I said again, still covering my face though I couldn’t see him very well in the dark anyway.

“Well, I am glad you are telling me now, but what the fuck?”

“I know, I know. It was just awkward and I didn’t know how to bring it up or when. There is no excuse,” I repeated.

“Well, don’t feel bad. I just wish you would have told me,” he said.

“I know. I should have. Are you mad? I mean, do you still want to go out?” I asked, like a teenager.

“Yeah, of course,” he said. Then he put his arm around me and tugged me close. “Hey, don’t feel bad about this, ok?” It was odd. No one ever really comforted me before about my sexual exploits.

“I do take your health very seriously, I just was doing whatever I wanted. We weren’t really serious then, and suddenly we were ...” I said.

“Hey, it’s ok,” he said again, tucking his cold nose into my neck.

stoperka69-erotisch--dark--4purrz--sexy--hot--sex--Cool-Pics--DJ-TEDI--MWOMAN--meins--solidão--GO-AND-SEE_large

We made love, and he fell asleep. I was unable to sleep, so I would leave the room while he napped and walk out to the living room to finish books for school. I came back in with a cup of tea and casually picked up his phone. I do not make a habit of this, and had he picked up my phone, God knows what he would have found. But at this late hour, this man who just comforted me about unprotected sex with another man was fast asleep and his phone was on my desk. I picked it up and found text messages to a girl (we will call) Donna.

“Are you still coming out to Milwaukee?” Donna wrote.

“Yeah, in a few days and just so you know, I am a sure thing in the sack,” Michael wrote.

“ … you should know I have a UTI. I just don’t want you to be disappointed,” she typed back.

“That’s ok, at least I can take you out to dinner,” he wrote back.

“SURE THING IN THE SACK!?” I bellowed over my cup of tea. Michael stirred over my stained sheets and pillows.

“What?” he said sleepily.

“I see. You were going to go fuck this girl in Milwaukee. Nice, Michael!” I said.

“I couldn’t. She had a UTI,” he said.

“But you are a sure thing in the sack!” I said, and threw the iphone at him. He turned a little so it pelted him in the back, right shoulder blade.

“Come on …” he said, calming, cool.

“FUCK YOU!” I shouted, then slammed the door.

I know it was irrational. I know it was childish. I didn’t care. It was the first ping of jealousy I felt since the summer and it burned. Perhaps even more so with Michael dripping out of me.

moonfountain

Around 3am, I was making soup, reading Nabokov and heard Frank walk in with a friend. “Someone is up …” I heard him say. I slowly climbed out of my wicker, circular chair padded in pillows we picked up from a yard sale. The $50 oval mattress that came with it was discarded after my cats pissed on it one too many times.

“Hey, you are up?” he said.

“Yeah,” I said quietly, looking to see who his escort was.

“This is Jim, I have been wanting you two to meet for some time. This is great,” Frank said. A tall, pale, middle-aged guy strolled in. He spoke in a funny kind of way, fast with a curly whine to the words he chose to emphasize. Sometimes it seemed like he was chewing on his sentences. Introductions were made and Jim settled in with my dogs on the couch. He was a doglover and I was immediately attracted to him. He was also a stand-up comic, in from New York; successful enough to support himself on bi-coastal gigs.

I led the conversation in our kitchen starting with how I agreed that Michael could ejaculate inside of me while on my menstrual flow. I read Jim’s face to see how he would take immediate, intimate conversation and he held it with grace, and a flickering smile. I revisited the story about my sexual partners and how I was honest though hadn’t volunteered the information.

“It was really uncomfortable,” I said.

“Any conversation about sex with other people is uncomfortable. I don’t care who you are,” he said.

“Meanwhile, I am getting these texts from Double T … this rapper I met at a friend’s house a few weeks ago. (please see Hope, Worries and the Cumming of New Times) Michael and I are having our first fight out of this taxi cab coming home from a party in North Hollywood. We made him leave his car but of course, he was the only one who could afford the taxi. As we are getting out, and Michael is struggling for a credit card that goes through, Double T calls me. Now, Double T heard my gripping lecture on how to properly give a blow job so of course, he is interested, but our introduction ended with him asking if I shaved my pussy and I said no. ‘I keep a little to remind myself I am a woman.’ He just walks away. Not even a goodbye.

So he calls me on this random night and I am dealing with grouchy, drunk Michael in this taxi cab, and say, ‘I can’t talk right now. I am with my boyfriend. And you weren’t interested anyway because I didn’t shave my pussy.’ Then I hung up on him.

He continues to text me. (I take out my cell phone) 2:38am: ‘I never said i wasn’t enterested baby i love the way u look and i would love to see u asap … i have all kinds of party favors.

3:21am: ‘You should come suck this big black dick of mine.’

4:56am: ‘What youdoing

7am: ‘Hello’

Isn’t it amazing how dignified a conversation can get over four hours of total silence?” I said.

Jim and Frank laughed.

I returned to the bedroom to make love to Michael. There was no tension, no arguments, barely any words. The room smelled of sweat, blood and semen. I cracked open the window and left him there to fall back asleep.

sexinthedark

“Are you upset about the Donna thing?” he asked.

“No, I just need to blow up about things for a second and then I am over it,” I said.  Walking out of my bedroom, my hair was wild and alive. Jim handed me a cigarette without a word, and we stepped outside.

“You understand while you are fucking this kid, you are handling fine china,” said Jim, holding his hands out like Michael's glass snowglobe was put back together in our imagination. I nodded, heavily. Everyone wanted to remind me how fragile he was, and how reckless I am. Even this person I just met.

Jim, Frank and I chatted until dawn, about fucking, about comedy, about drugs and dogs. I liked him. It was complicated, you say you want a relationship, you want a guy to always be there, you want someone to love you and be your partner. And then you meet someone fantastic. Someone who effortlessly makes you laugh; whose storytelling holds your attention to the last syllable when you are shaking in the night air holding a dead cigarette. When his eyes fall on you, the vibration to perform shakes from your shoulders down. I liked him. Immediately, I liked him.

That was the first time I had to choose.  There are people out there you will be attracted to you want to make love to, maybe for a night, maybe for a weekend, maybe for a year. There are people out there you could fall in love with. Hell, there is a man or two out there I might still be in love with. In the end, you need to choose the man who will give you the best life. The man you can love, and make love to and share in some kind of life you want. A life that relies on hope and daydreams, laughter and discovery, trust and fidelity- not just with the body but with the mind and soul. You can’t share that kind of faith with more than one person, you have to choose. You must invest. Otherwise, it becomes just an affair. Another fragile, temporary, tragic affair. I choose Michael. At least for right now, my life is Michael.

I went back into the room and fell asleep with my boyfriend.

Michael and my dog Brad

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

No Respect!

Michael was in the habit of asking me out for drinks and dinner, almost daily. I was poor and thrilled with the invitation, but I knew the kid probably didn’t have enough money for a full on courtship. He was 23 and working at a doggie daycare for $12 an hour.

One night, he asked me out for drinks and I agreed. When he arrived he said, “Would you like to drive or do you want to take my car?”

“Let’s take your car this time,” I said.

“Ok …,” he said, “It sucks. Just so you know …”

“I don’t care,” I said, walking out to his hyundai four door. I tried opening the door on the passenger side. “Does this open?”

“Nope,” he said. I climbed in through the driver’s side and sat down. The passenger side of the car was completely smashed in on itself. I tried to roll down the window, “Does the window work at all?”

“Nope,” is all he said again, while lighting a cigarette. I could tell he was embarrassed. What did I care? I never understood the fixation on cars, cars as part of our identity, cars as reflection of our life … who the fuck cares? I didn’t. As he drove, the gear slipped out every few seconds, so he popped it in neutral then back in drive, lunging the machine forward. “Wow, this is bad,” I said.

“Yup,” he said, sucking on his cigarette, not looking at me.

“Oh well,” I said.

piece of shit car


He took me to a bar we had never been to on Brand Ave. in Glendale, between car dealerships. We parked and walked into the hole in-the-wall, with a heavy door and absolutely no life on either side of it from the street. It was an odd sort of place for a bar. There was no foot traffic, no restaurants, absolutely nothing would lead you to its door unless you happened upon it from buying a new car at a nearby dealership or found it on Google, like we did. He opened the door for me, and as I walked in I knew immediately we were the only white people in the bar. To the right were a couple of Hispanic men playing pool. At either end of the bar, more working class, Hispanic men. The only women were behind the bar, around my age, also Hispanic and carting a chip around on their shoulder the size of Rhode Island.

“Can I have a Bud Light and a shot of whiskey? And for the woman …” Michael started.

“No,” one of the bartenders said. They were both there side by side, with their heavy eye-make-up, tired tank tops and cheap, sparkling hair clips bought from a street vendor downtown.

“No?” he asked.

“No,” the bartender said.

“The Bud Light or the whiskey?” I asked.

“We only serve beer or wine here,” she said, flatly in a thick Spanish accent.

“Ok, well can I have a Bud Light?” he asked.

“No,” she said.

He threw his hand up on the bar. I could tell he was having a bad day.

“No Bud?” I asked. “What beer do you have?”

“Well, we have Bud, just not on tap,” she said.


bud_light_bottle_decal__70472

“Oh,” Michael said, “Well, that’s fine.” He turned to me and lifted his heavy hand off the bar as a motion to get my order.

“Can I just have any beer? Surprise me,” I said.

She looked confused for a moment but then a little excited by the task. I have trouble ordering, especially when faced with a lot of options. Often I will just ask the waiter or bartender to surprise me. They know what is best anyway, so rarely am I disappointed.

“So, I was having a tough day and just wanted to talk about a bunch of stuff that has been going on,” Michael said. He looked crouched over but still confident. He had money on his card, he had a girl at full attention next to him, and he took the moment for all it could be worth.

“You have seen my car, you know it was in an accident. It was pretty bad. So the first one I was driving along and looking at my phone for sushi menus, and rear ended this guy. He seemed fine. My airbag went off but it wasn’t a big deal. We exchanged information, everything was fine. My horn was stuck and just going off through the whole thing. After we exchanged information and I gave all my information to the police, I spent 30-minutes pulling out all the wires in my car to make the horn stop blaring. Everything seems fine … no one’s hurt. Then I find out the guy is suing for soft tissue damage.

Second car accident, so you notice how my transmission keeps slipping? No big deal, I just pop it in neutral and back in drive to get the car back on gear. I come up on this whole line of cars and I brake. It is really weak and my transmission is just failing, so I swerve to the right to avoid rear ending a bunch of people. My blinker is on and I am exiting to the right, and this guy speeds up to cut me off and hits me. It completely demolishes the passenger side of my car. I mean … you’ve seen it. No mirror, the doors don’t work, completely fucked. We wait for the cops, they don’t show so we just exchange information and drive off. Now, he is claiming that I hit him on the driver’s side and pushed him into the shoulder, making me responsible for damage to both sides of his car … which is total bullshit. In addition to that, I have like five unpaid parking tickets. And I work all day, I just don’t want to hand over my paycheck to the city and say, ‘Here ya go! Here is all the money I have been working for! Enjoy!’ You know? I can’t stand the idea of it. I worked for that money. I go in, I do my job and I think I do it well. And no matter how good of a person I am to other people, how nice I am, what I do to help, how good I am at my job, I always seem to get fucked.

And I really don’t get it. I mean, I should have some karma coming back to me. I should have a shit load of karma coming back to me! Instead, I have two people suing my car insurance company, five unpaid parking tickets and work is always calling me on my days off, always asking me to come in and cover and I really feel like I deserve more respect, you know? Just because I am a good person.”

Our drinks came and Michael put down a few bills on the counter. “And see, even though she was a bitch to me, I am still going to tip her well. Better than anyone else in here. Will she be nice to me, now? No.”

“Well, if I can respond … I don’t want to interrupt if you are just venting,” I said.

“No, please. I trust your opinion,” he said.

“I don’t put much stock in karma. I think the easier and happier you can make things for yourself, the easier and happier life. If you dwell in the negative, it just fosters more negativity. That’s nothing new though, that is just my theory on karma. I know things seem really horrible now with the car accidents and the parking tickets, and I am not saying these things won’t happen in your future, but they will be easier to deal with in your future. In your twenties, everything seems worse than it actually is. I mean, it sounds bad, but this is just your first time around. You have no experience in how to deal with it, so things feel extreme. When you have had a few rounds of shitty luck, it doesn’t seem so bad. When I turned 30, everything seemed more manageable. As for work, [the HR woman] is calling you in and asking you to do a bunch of stuff you don’t have time for …” I trailed off, hoping for an answer.

Karma's a bitch!

“nnYeah,” he said. When he wants to agree with me on something, he clips the beginning of the Y with a nasally “en” sound. “You know, it’s my job so I don’t want to say no, but I am the only person they ask to do all the extra stuff, all the extra shifts that need to be filled, whenever anyone calls in sick … I am just tired of it.”

“Well, that just means you have become their go-to person and you need to lay down some boundaries. You need to learn to say ‘no’,” I said, sipping my Blue Moon.

“I don’t want to have to say no. I want them to leave me alone on my days off and not ask me to do so much all the time,”  he said.

“Unfortunately, that is just a part of growing up,” I said, instantly watching him deflate like a birthday balloon forgotten on a fence post. I tried to save a little air for him. “I had the same problems when I was your age. It took me a long time to figure out how to get comfortable with saying ‘no’ but it is all a part of our journey. People will take advantage of you until you learn to reinforce boundaries.”

“I would rather just surround myself with nice people who I can trust not to push or manipulate me all the time. That is what I want-” he said, growing more passionate.

“You are in Los Angeles, Michael. Come on, don’t fool yourself. I had the same theory when I was around your age. People want to be pushy, bossy or mean to me? Fuck em! The truth is most people are going to get what they can from you. You can’t live in a place like this and avoid that,” I said.

He shook his head, “No, I am sorry. I won’t give up on that. That is something I am not giving up on! I refuse to work around that type of person. I just want to be around good people and not worry.”

I shrugged and sipped my beer. “So, are you going back to Milwaukee then?”

“No, I think I am going to hang here and give it a try. I have my dog-sitting base here. Most of my clients are here. It just seems stupid to give all that up and go back to the Midwest,” he said.

“I agree. That makes sense.”

“And, um … I am hoping I could give things between me and you a shot,” he said, sipping his Bud while turning his body away from the bar. He kept his eyes on me. He gently grabbed my hand, “I like you. I like you a lot and I want to give it everything I have.”

“I like you, too,” I said. My chest was heavy. There was some trepidation for this young man, holding my hand in a suffocatingly unfriendly bar, to propose a relationship after just confessing his disappointment in basic human nature and the revelation that life just isn’t fair. I didn’t want to be his lesson on older women and broken hearts. Now, on top of the basic problems I saw with the pairing, he wasn’t going back to Milwaukee. I thought it was the right decision anyway, but I knew if things didn’t go the way he expected with us, that would naturally become a source of resentment.

My phone buzzed. Michael would take note with his eyes. I would check the message, it was either from Frank or from the Crow (who I made love to a few days beforehand). “Anyone important?” he asked.

“No,” I said. “Just someone I met getting a little enthusiastic.”

He nodded, “The Crow?” God damn Facebook. He must have seen my post on Halloween.

“... yeah,” I said.

He nodded. Ordered another drink and played it cool. “I really appreciate all the things you are saying. Usually I don’t listen to advice, but I want you to know that I really respect your opinion and I take it very seriously.”

“Thank you,” I said. “Advice is tricky. We are all on our journey, you know.”

“Oh, I know. But I really appreciate what you had to say, so thank you!” He was so damn genuine. His voice and face were something you might see out of a 50s newspaper advertisement. He was earnest and boyish, but above all, at that moment, he reminded me of myself when I first moved to California. I was more stubborn and thick headed. I still got myself in trouble, but I relied far too much on human kindness and generosity to get by. As each new friend or opportunity or dream hovering over my twenty-something head soured or passed me by, it fed  into a hole I dug for myself. It is filled with shovelfuls of disappointment and bitterness. Every year I try to cover it up with fresh soil, but I can still see where the grass won’t grow.

The real lesson and love I have for Los Angeles comes from getting kicked out, yelled at, fired, pushed around and taken advantage of so much in such a small period of time, that I was forced to grow up immediately. I came out learning how independent I could be, how strong and resilient, how adaptable and wily. Los Angeles bullied me into becoming a weird kind of superhero- thrown out the company skyscraper like Selina Kyle and revived by a pack of stray cats like Catwoman. (This is not accurate within the backstory of the original Batman comics in 1950 or Frank Miller’s revived Batman comic books series 1987, but rather the Catwoman comic book series of 1992)

cattoon

Down and out. Up and down. Los Angeles gave me everything and then took it all away. What I learned was to enjoy the ride- I learned to be happily surprised when things went my way and prepared when it didn’t. I let go of money and boxes of things I carried with me from Washington state. I let go of lofty dreams and standards for who I wanted to be or who I wanted to fall in love with. I allowed myself to become a shape-shifter, a thief, a hard worker, a fantasy girl, a drug user, a student, an inventor, a dreamer, street performer, anything I needed to to get through another pay period with my soul intact. Compromises are made along the way, but I know how far I can be pushed and what I am unwilling to sacrifice. When you walk out of the cloud of dust knowing exactly who you are, you can really do anything. And for that, Los Angeles, I will always be grateful.

“No respect, huh? Do you know Rodney Dangerfield?” I asked.

“Yeah, of course I do,” Michael said.

I pretended to loosen my tie, “Yeah, I wish I was breastfed, but my mother always had a headache.” Michael erupted in laughter.

“I told this girl to call me when no one was home. She called, I went over, and no one was home,” I said, in a poor imitation.

“That is the best Rodney Dangerfield impression I have ever seen,” he said.

I looked down, smiling. “He is my favorite.”

Sometimes it is just easier to laugh than explain.

rodney_dangerfield_2006_03_10

**

That weekend, Sascha invited us out to her place for a party at her neighbor’s place. We grabbed Trent, my gay boyfriend and Gary, my roommate, then headed up to her studio apartment in North Hollywood.

"We are coming (over). I have men," I texted.

"Ha u have who? An Indian roommate, a bisexual boyfriend and a gay husband?" she wrote back.

"Yes, all of the above."

Sascha, Trent, Michael and I all come from the same Doggie Daycare. We all quit at certain points of time, mostly when we were all fed up or making a major life change. “As fucked up as that place was, and despite all our complaints about it, it really did bring us together ... which is worth a lot,” Trent said. It was an odd job, and I loved it for a good year. We were paid to play with dogs in a large playground and everyone was strange, broken and sarcastic. When friends started leaving and the odd regulars who practically lived there were promoted, things went downhill and we all ended up leaving.

Michael and I were flirting in Sascha’s apartment. “I really love this thing going on right here,” Sascha said, making a big circle with her index finger over me and Michael. Trent turned away. Earlier, he had confessed he was jealous but didn’t know why. I find it incredibly flattering but doubly confused because I never thought Trent found me attractive. That is unless I am fooling myself, and it is Michael that he is really jealous over. I didn’t ask.

We reviewed the practical jokes and biting humor passed around at Doggie Daycare. “Everyone was nice to me after a while, but Trent and [StarFire]. I would dread working with you two,” Michael said. “I just came in and wanted to do my job, then I have two people in back who wanted to make my life a living hell.” Trent and I cackled on the loveseat together. We bounce back and forth, opposite each other, laughing until our faces are red and we have to cough for air.

“The person who really got the brunt of you two was [Mississippi]. The nicest and hardest working person there and he was pushed every day,” Michael said. Mississippi was a young man in his early twenties who came out to Los Angeles from Mississippi (of course) to become a rock star. He was very good looking, had a southern accent and just wasn’t clever enough to keep up with me or Trent. So we preyed on him, joke after joke after joke … we laid it on thick.

“Hard worker? Come on!!!” I said.

“Oh please! Mississippi was no more of a hard worker than anyone else. He just complained the most,” Trent said.

Mississippi would come in to work after dropping dogs off at their various homes in the company van, usually half hour to an hour late, overwhelmed with car problems, traffic problems, who knew. “What happened, did you break a nail?” Trent would ask.

“Your mascara is running. Do you want to tip back a few cosmos and talk about it?” I said. “God, your face is getting really red. Are you reverse menstruating?”

Trent and I were unbeatable. And we really pushed it until one day Mississippi just walked out, blushing, silent and fed up. Our rationale is that he is sexy, he is good-looking, tall, hell, as it turns out he is actually talented. If anyone deserves to be torn down through banter and especially grotesque “Your Mother” jokes, it should be that kid. “We are helping him get used to LA,” I said. “Making him stronger. Someday he will only have us to thank!”

mississippi

Mississippi eventually ignored us to the point where joking became a bit boring … but once in awhile he will resurface in my life, show up here or there with his girlfriend, and I always see the beginning of a little smile. He kind of liked it.

The bass was coming through Sascha’s apartment from next door with the rising chatter of people lining up outside. The party was a house full of large, Hispanic men with bald heads and neck tattoos. I am no racial profiler, but we obviously wouldn’t ever run into this crowd at the same coffee houses or doggie care circles (and yes there is overlap in that department)! They were a little intimidating. Sascha insisted they were nice, so we all went over to the house party already toasted from a 12 pack of Bud Light. When we came in, we all quietly walked in a line to the backyard, where a DJ was set-up and playing hip hop. I just wanted to dance, so my 5’4 boyfriend and I took over the dance floor.  Alicia Keys came on and we drunkenly sang to each other:

♫ ♪ You and me together
Through the days and nights
I don't worry 'cause
Everything's gonna be alright

People keep talking ♫ ♪
They can say what they like
But all I know is
Everything's gonna be alright

♫ ♪ No one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I'm feeling  ♫ ♪
No one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I feel for you, you, you
Can get in the way of what I feel for you

“Yeah .. um you two have been seen. People are watching you,” Sascha said.

“Good,” I said. “We are this party!” I grabbed Michael by the coat and lifted him up to my mouth. We all grabbed beer out of the cooler next to the DJ. When I reached in and nothing was left, I turned to the tattooed bald guy next to me.

“There is nothing left but cold ice, now my hand is cold…” I said.

“I know, I took the last one. Sorry,” he said.

“Mother fucker,” I said, crunching up my empty beer can and throwing it at the cooler. It bounced off the corner and flew into a dark corner of the courtyard. He quietly excused himself. “Just kidding ..” I said. I let myself into the kitchen through the backyard, and opened the fridge. There was an open bottle of moscato wine. The women at the party stood along the wall, next to the table covered in chips and cake, beef and chicken. You could assemble your own taco or enjoy fried chicken and birthday cake. They watched through their drawn in eyebrows and extra thick lip liner, like they were cartoon characters who needed to outline themselves with crayons. I pulled out the bottle of wine, used my teeth to uncork it, spit it against the wall and drank out of the bottle. No one bothered us, but I figured it was better to put on a little bit of a show than cower in the plants outside. Though, that was exactly what Gary, the physically largest of all five of us, was doing.

moscato_wine

Trent and Sascha were ripping up the dance floor, and eventually someone pushed Trent aside. “Get out of here, faggot,” they said. Trent stepped away a little but didn’t leave Sascha alone, after all, she was busting out that ass like a real professional. I had never seen her move like that, the men were hungry and circling.

“Someone called you faggot! WHO!? I am going to kill that motherfucker!” I said.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said, “I am used to it. It’s not worth it.”

“It’s worth it to me,” I said.

“Just stop. Please,” Trent said. I sucked the venom back in, but I never could relax after that. Michael was already on me about the relationship. He was drunk and kept grabbing my arm, “Let’s have feelings talk!” That is his thing, I guess we all sound like a broken record after a few too many drinks. Michael becomes a therapist on crack, “Come on, let’s talk about it. How do you feel?”

“I don’t know yet, I am thinking about it,” I said, in a sea of people dancing and drinking, all the while watching where I stepped as the only lights came from the DJ booth or the helicopters overhead.

“So what? Why don’t you want to have a relationship? Is it the sex? Fine. We can have an open relationship if that’s what you want,” Michael said.

“It’s not the sex but … really?” I said.

“Yeah, why not? Whatever you want,” he said. I could see his mind was sinking, the shadows under his hair and eyebrows were growing darker. His face slowly dripping into a frown. He had too much to drink and was crossing over.

While waiting with him in the small line outside the bathroom, he accidentally knocked over a family picture hanging on the wall. When he stumbled backward to recover it and prop it back where it belonged, he asked the slightly overweight girl next to him, “Nice picture, huh?”

I stormed away and then said, “You like girls with threaded eyebrows, is THAT it? Fine. Ask her all the questions you want. In the meantime, tell her nice 5” pumps.”

threadingchin

“You’re jealous … how cute,” he said. We were a mess. At one point, I remember turning around and hearing him shout, “You fucked FRANK (my roommate)! Didn’t you? Oh my God, of course you did!” I shook my head and walked away, he would corner me and manically recover, “Come on, I really care about you. I want to make this work. What do you want? What can I give you? Anything …Let’s get married.”

He lost his cool, but it was a little refreshing. There was a flawed, emotional human being deep down in there and he seemed to really want a relationship with me. “Just take it easy, we don’t have to be in a relationship. We can just do whatever we want. Remember? You are going to grow and change, let me give you the opportunity to do that without consequences. When I was married, I was your age. And a wedding seems like something you really, really want. Once I got it, I realized it didn’t really matter. And then I changed my mind. Let me give you the freedom to change your mind. Let me give you that gift,” I said.

“I don’t want that. What is with the fear of a relationship, let’s talk about it!” he said.

“Why don’t you ask threaded eyebrows!?” I barked back. He laughed and pulled me in close. It was our little on-going dance.

Sascha and Trent would break it up. “It’s a party, just have a good time. No relationship talk now.” We would separate, then collide and argue, then dance until there was no booze left. As quickly as we stormed into the party, we left just as abruptly. Broken, sweaty and belligerent, we fell into Sascha’s studio apartment, watched her lay down and then heard her state that she was “really tired” and needed us to leave. So, Gary, Trent, Michael and I stumbled out onto the road and argued with Michael that he was too drunk to drive, especially a car with so many problems.

We called a cab, it picked us up and drove us back to Glendale. Michael was upset because he felt like everyone was treating him like a kid and no one trusted him to make an adult decision like driving home his own car.

“This has nothing to do with your age, Michael. This is what friends do for each other, they let the other one know when they have had too much. If you got in a car accident, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself,” I said.

“I should be able to drive my own car home when I want to. I can’t be pushed around like some kid. I am a grown man!” he said.

“Calm down now,” I said, sitting him down on my couch at home. “This is the wrong battle to fight. Come on, now, sit down. Look, you want to talk about a relationship. This world is a shitty place. People are going to steal from you, they are going to hurt you, they are going to make you feel shit until you give them what they want. That is inevitable. That is what is going to happen to you over the next five years, and I don’t want to be around to see it. I don’t want to get in a relationship with someone who has to learn the hard lessons. I already learned those lessons myself, I don’t want to go through it all over again with you. That is why I don’t want a relationship. You are … the best person I have ever met. I don’t want to see that, ok?”

A tear fell out of his right eye even though he wouldn’t look at me. “NO MORE FEELINGS TALK!” Trent shouted. “Stop! Please!!”

feelings talk

“OK,” I said. “I am going to bed.” Though Michael followed me into my bedroom that night, I am not sure if we made love. We were all trashed and it was a mess. We fell asleep in our clothes, tangled in the bed sheet already coming off the mattress. We set the alarm and at 5am, Michael was up and off to work. I gave him the keys to my car.

Trent and I walked my dogs later that morning and spoke about Michael. “Yeah, he is really sensitive. All that stuff last night about ‘Feelings Talk’, that comes from therapy. He obviously went through a lot of therapy which means he is fragile,” Trent said. “You have to be very careful with him.”

“He told me he tried to kill himself over breaking his mother’s snowglobe. He is sensitive,” I said.

“See? If that’s how he reacted to his mother’s snowglobe, think of what his first adult relationship will be like. Is this is first relationship outside of school?” Trent asked.

“Yeah, he only had one serious relationship before and I think it was in high school.”

“Yeah, so this is his first real relationship. It could get really ugly with him. You need to decide if you want to risk really hurting him or if there is a real future there,” Trent said.

“It’s just … I really like him. I want to know what its like dating a nice guy for a change, you know? And the chemistry is there.”

“I know. He is really nice,” Trent said. “Just … be careful.”

bull-in-a-china-shop

*

At 2pm, Michael came back with my car, tossed my keys up in the air and walked right by me. I was able to catch my keys but then looked at Trent and said, “I guess it’s over. That was quick.”

We got in my car, I dropped Trent off at home and then drove Michael up to Sascha’s where his car was left the night before.

“Can you talk to me about what’s wrong? Why you are mad at me?” I asked.

“I just need to think about it for a second,” he said. A second became several minutes, and we we made the entire drive in silence (with the exception of when Cher’s ‘Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves’ played on the radio and Michael sang along). I dropped him off and then peeled out of there.

Cher_-_Gypsys,_Tramps_&_Thieves

When I came home, I ranted to Frank: “I am done! I am done with men being hot and cold. I am done with this big baby behavior. I am just done. It was fun. It’s over. I am done.”

Earlier in the week, Frank sat down with a plate of food in the lawn chair he erected in the middle of our living room and said, “I will let you go through these young boys. When you are all done, I will be here waiting.” I chuckled, so I wouldn’t take it seriously, but now, in the middle of my red face, my loud voice and my chain-smoking on our porch over young men and the grief that follows, I saw him exhale and an expression shook out from his baseball cap like change trapped inside a purse. He looked relieved.

*

Michael called. I rejected the call.

He left a voice message, “I understand if you want to break up, just know I will always be there for you and the dogs …”

Then we met, and had sober feelings talk. “Just tell me how you feel. For some reason I feel some resistance to feelings talk. Let’s talk about it.”

“Ughhhh, if you must know, I haven’t been in a relationship with someone local in a very long time, and it makes me nervous. Abe was long distance. Alan was long distance. It has been years since I was dating someone locally and it didn’t go over well. Also, your sexuality bothers me. I mean, what if you decide you like men and leave me? I don’t want to go through that,” I rambled.

“Ok, well to address that …” he trailed off, “I am not gay, but I understand your concern. I am more attracted to women and very attracted to you. I have no intention of dating men or leaving you for one.”

“Well, you are just starting out. You can change your mind at any time,” I said. He crossed his legs, his bare knees peaking out of the holes in his jeans, both index fingers pressed against each other and pointed against his lips.

“I am not gay,” he said.

“Ok, well I think everyone is bisexual to some degree, so don’t feel locked into anything but understand my anxiety about it,” I said.

“I do,” he said. “Do you feel better now?”

“Yes,” I said. “That was weird, feelings talk actually worked.”

“Feelings talk works,” he said, “Now should we have post-feelings talk?”

**

The next day, Frank was outside with his cigar. Since Michael had returned from Milwaukee, he was at the house everyday.

“This seems like it is getting serious,” Frank said.

“It is,” I said, exhaling a cloud of smoke, “oddly.”

“Look, Thanksgiving is the one holiday I really give a shit about. It is a few days from my birthday. I wanted to play house with you, spend the day with you, but I am not gonna do that if you and Michael are serious. If you two are going to be together, then I will just hop on out of here and go somewhere else. So you tell me, is it serious?” he asked.

I rubbed my head. I felt like I was losing something in exchange for something else without understanding the real value of both. “Yeah,” I said, “it is getting serious. We can still play house. Like cook and stuff?”

“By play house, I meant play house,” he said. “I can’t do that if you are with him, but I tell you what, he is a really nice guy. I can’t complain. He seems like a good one. If it was anyone else I would be annoyed. I have no gripes with this guy,” he said.

“I know. He is pretty wonderful,” I said.

Frank leaned in and kissed my cheek. “I will go somewhere else for Thanksgiving.”

nice-guy

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hope, Worries and the Cumming of New Times

After Halloween, Michael was back in town. We hadn’t spoken while he was in Milwaukee for a family funeral, but the day he was back we already made a date. I felt eager to see him, and though the giggling, the anticipation, the sex eight times in one night didn’t exactly mean I was in love with him, it certainly felt like I was falling.

Michael had a sweet disposition. He never appeared upset or annoyed, making it almost too easy to be around him. His prerogative was to keep everything as easy and enjoyable as possible for everyone around him. He was a giver.

He wanted a relationship and I knew soon I would have to choose between Michael or my on-going sexual adventures. Two things about Michael sat on my shoulders:

-The first night we went out when I was back in Los Angeles he said, “We could never be together, you would use a guy like me as a doormat.” I nodded, almost sadly. I have grown accustomed to the idea that I require a cowboy to rein me in.

-After my parents kicked me out and I was looking at apartments in Los Angeles, we were talking on the phone one afternoon as friends and potential roommates. “I still owe them $1,000,” I said.

“I am sure you have given them at least $1,000 worth of happiness,” he responded. That meant a lot. It still does. When I feel anxious or outraged by my family, those words return and wrap around me like a blanket, muffling those final conversations.

dating-awkward

**

The presidential elections were the evening of November 6th. My driver’s license went missing in Cannes, France, and  I had applied for a replacement card twice and haven’t yet received one. In the same visit to the DMV, I registered as absentee and was waiting for my voting information via snail mail. I was about ready to plaster conspiracy theories up all over Facebook (like everyone else) when Alia commented on a thread: “I think your voter’s ballot is here.”

Later she texted me, “Let yourself in. The back door is open. Double T is staying there.” Double T was a rapper who needed a place to stay. Shortly after we moved out of Alia’s, Double T moved in.

Michael invited me over for the evening. "We could watch the election on ABC or Hulu," he proposed.

"If this doesn't go well tonight, I should warn you ... I will have to get drunk and cry," I said.

"You've done it before," he shrugged.

After my day of dogwalks, I drove through 90 minutes of traffic over the West Hills to Alia’s house. I let myself in through the backyard, then the patio door, sifted through her stack of mail cascading off the corner table by the front door, found my ballot, and pulled out the cheat sheet in my back pocket listing which propositions I wanted and didn’t want. I grabbed the ballot, rushed out the back door, drove a few blocks away to the nearest polling place and handed it to a friendly, large woman with an American Flag on her sweatshirt. “Thank you!” she said.

super-baby-statenisland-thumb-640xauto-7125

I still had a box of clothes and some books at Alia’s, so I headed back to her house, let myself in through the back and picked up a few books I left in the nook. I watched a topless, black man with shoulder-length dreadlocks walk from the back hall into the kitchen. He was built well, but short. He dropped a dish off in the sink. I stood there and watched him for a moment, knowing exactly who he was. He looked over- “OH SHIT!!!” he said, stumbling backward. “What the fuck!?”

“I am friends with Alia, sorry. I was just here to pick up a few things,” I said.

“You scared the shit out of me. You smoke pot?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

“Come on back to my little set-up back here,” he said, walking back to Alia’s spare bedroom. He wasn’t in the room where I slept with the dogs, though it was clear he was sleeping in there. Male clothes and shoes were strewn over a box of my things left on the floor. He simply moved in over me.

"Alia told me about you. I call you pi. Get it?" I asked.

"Uh ... yeah like the math sign. I get it," he said.

pi

 
He led me into the middle room, the one Alia had converted into a sound studio. It was a small room, but there was expensive equipment on a mixing station. Sitting on the floor cross legged there was a white girl with lots of eyeliner on. Chestnut hair. A tank top and shorts. She was cute … early twenties maybe. “Hi, I am Tiffany,” she said. I introduced myself and sat down across from them on a pillow.

“Ok,” I said, putting my hands out.

“What?” Double T said, “Don’t you have any weed?”

“No,” I said. “Don’t you?”

“No,” he said.

“Well, what am I doing here, then?” I stood up and resumed the collection of my things around the house. I heard Double T call Alia on his cell phone as I made a few sweeps and created a pile by the back door.

“Yeah, um … how do you start the Mac in the studio?” he asked her.

Alia’s voice was flat and cold over speakerphone. “Why are you on my Mac in the studio?”

As most of my things were finally in one large pile, Tiffany came out to the living room and sat on the couch, tying her hair up on top of her head. Double T followed her out and tackled her neck with kisses. She giggled. “Have you ever felt your heart stop when you kiss someone? Do you know what that’s like?” Double T asked me.

“Yeah, it’s called love,” I said.

“Do you want to hang here with us? We are going to get a little weed and have us a little party. Why don’t you join us?” he asked. I looked at Tiffany to see how she felt about the proposition. She smiled and looked up at me from the couch. If she was uncomfortable, I couldn’t tell. Her eyes were gorgeous, they were a coral blue with cleopatra black eyeliner smoking around the edges. I always like the smudge of make-up around a woman’s eyes when she has forgotten to touch up her face. There is a worn innocence about the smear of life, whether it be from the arm she leaned into, or the face she kissed, the tear or tire from her eyes.

“No, thank you,” I said, “I have a date with a very, very young man.”

“How young?” Double T asked.

“23,” I said.

“Ohhhhh!” they both boomed with smiles on their faces. I got a high five from Double T while reviewing my text messages with my other hand.

“But is he black?” Double T asked.

“No, he is a white boy,” I said.

“Well, it don’t matter if he isn’t black. If he isn’t black, you are missing the best part. Have fun though!” he said.

“I will, thanks. You too,” I said.

“Yeah, I was gonna play some of my music for you,” he said.

“That’s right, I heard you are a rapper,” I said.

“Usually, I don’t tell that many people because I want people around me for like … uh … genuine purposes, you know. Girls all wanna just get with me because I’m a rapper.”

“Well, that doesn’t seem like a real concern here because everyone in Los Angeles is a performer. It would be difficult to be somewhere in this city and avoid performers,”  I said.

“Yeah, you’re right. It’s LA,” Tiffany dismissed.

“Well, girls are all up on my shit after a show. And I let them blow me, you know, but that's it. I don’t get real with a girl unless she hasn’t seen my show,” he said.

“Get real means … intercourse? I am not up with the kids’ slang, so pardon me for asking,” I said.

“Yeah,” Tiffany giggled.

“Women will blow you after a rap show?” I asked. Double T crumpled his eyes low and gasped as if it was obvious.

“Yeah ….” he exhaled.

Donald's Morning Boner

“Well, I don’t blow a man unless I have real feelings for him, but its worth the wait. I have spent years interviewing fat women and gay men to get it just right,” I said.

“Do you mind explaining it to me? I would be curious,” Tiffany asked.

“Well, it is very intuitive. But you work your tongue in opposition with your lips as you go up and down the shaft. Then you let the drool slide down around the base, where you keep your fingers wrapped tight. So it feels like you are deep throating him. You work the sides, almost pinching them. He is sensitive on either side of the penis, just beneath the circumcision and just below the V-cut on the tip. You want to put emphasis on those areas. And occasionally drag your tongue from the tip all the way down to the base of the balls. Then you tease it until he is about to pop. Voila! The [StarFire] specialty,” I said.

“Thank you,” Tiffany said, “That was very informative.”

“Knowledge is power,” I said, picking up my things.

“Here, let me help,” Double T said, carrying a box out the front door for me.

I unlocked my car doors and tossed the box and bags of clothes in the backseat.

“Hey, uh, I like what you had to say in there. You talk like a lady,” he said.

“Thanks,” I said.

“Why don’t I get your number and we can work out some of those theories you were talking about,” he said.

“And what would I get out of it? I mean, besides a mouthful of semen?” I said.

“I would make sure you got a few orgasms in there, and if I can’t do it, I will call in a woman who can,” he said.

“Well, at least you are aware of your limitations,” I said.

“Come on, give me your number,” he said, holding out his phone. I dictated it to him. Why do I give out my number to everyone that asks? I guess you could say I was never very good with rejection, on either side.

When he reached to hug me goodbye, his hands lingered along my back as he buried his face in my hair and I grew uncomfortable. So I climbed him like a tree, wrapping my legs around his hips and hoisting myself up in the air.

“Alright then!” Double T said, putting me down. “Spunk. I like it! You, uh, have a  shaved pussy?” he asked.

shaved pussy

“I wax most of it off but leave a little hair to remind myself I am a grown woman.”

He threw his hands down in disgust and walked away. Double T, ladies and gentlemen!!

*

Driving back through traffic, it was a little easier. I had no idea where the election was between Romney and Obama. The Sound 100.3 was playing the whole album of Abbey Road off of vinyl and I felt myself relax a little. There was a lot of anxiety that day. One of my clients lost their daughter’s dog while she was on vacation; a pit-bull mix who broke out of their back yard. There were two car accidents on the highway. Someone pounded their horn when I didn’t take the exit fast enough. Anxiety was running high. The media convinced the American people that Romney might be a possibility, and everyone was speeding home to get drunk in front of their television sets or monitors. 

surfer voter

Chicken Voter

I was worried. If Obama lost, I was fairly certain the whole thing would fall apart. This isn’t a political blog and I am not qualified to be a political writer, but I can tell you everyone was frantic that day. Whether you are Democrat or Republican, there was a feeling of helplessness with how the country was being managed. There still is. We are told to educate ourselves, read and watch the news, ingest all the information about propositions and arguments, look at the money spent here but neglected there … and we come up with our own theories, philosophies and answers. We think we have it figured out from what the TV spoon feeds us but then find it maddening trying to discuss it with someone who watches a different channel. At the end of the day, we aren’t in control. I don’t know who is, but it isn’t you, it isn’t me and it sure as hell isn’t the president of the United States. That said, we need someone to believe in. We need someone to follow. Right then, all we had was the man we were following and a businessman no one thought could make it that far.

dryer polling place
 
How the United States will recover from the hole we dug for ourselves, I don’t really know. I believe it will be a revolution. It may not be in my lifetime, but there will be a moment when we decide to be a country instead of a business. I am afraid that will be a bloody battle.

My neck ached. I was stressed out when I arrived to Michael’s Pasadena house. He greeted me with a smile, a bottle of champagne and a cigarette. He was still playing it cool, but leaned in to hug me. Once I described to Frank one of the greatest attributes in dating someone so much younger: (Michael is 23 yrs old, I am 34 yrs old) “When he comes in to say hello, instead of a quick kiss on the mouth, he leans in for a long hug. It reminds me of who I was in high school … in a nice way,” I said.

“Hey,” he said, almost under his breath, before leaning in for a long hug hello. Being so much taller than him, I wrapped my arms around his shoulders. I have gotten in the habit of letting my face fall into his thick, head of black hair and kissing him.  He doesn’t use shampoo, so his hair smells like the column of a vanilla flower … the same way he tastes. When he pulled away, his voice changes like he is snapping out of hypnosis, “How’s it going?”

“Ok, I am worried about the election,” I said.

“Oh, we have it in the bag,” he said, sucking on his cigarette and squinting.

“Really?” I asked, and then I exhaled.

“Do you want to see? Come on in,” he said. I followed him into his bedroom and sat down in front of his computer. Romney was waiting to give his concession speech.

“Wow, I really did miss it,” I said. “My vote doesn’t even matter … God damn it. That was two hours in traffic to drop off my ballot.”

“I believe in America. I believe in the people of America,” Romney said before pausing for applause. 

Mitt Romney Concession

“Blah blah blah,” I said, popping the bottle of champagne at his desk. “I really don’t feel like I earned this bottle of champagne.”

“You earned it,” Michael said as he poured me a glass. Then, as President Obama walked to the podium for his acceptance speech, Michael grabbed a pillow and dropped it at my feet, pulled off my pants and buried his tongue inside of me.

Obama waited for the cheers to tumble into silence and stretched his neck out, “Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people."

Obama acceptance
 
“You don’t have to go down on me,” I said, feeling pressure to cum while listening to Obama’s voice. Michael lifted his head and wiped his mouth. “I want to. You are perfect. Perfect body, perfect mind … and a tight little vagina as a cherry on top.”

“I have a tight vagina?” I asked.

“Yeah, wet and tight,” he said, before gently lapping at my clitoris.

“Oh …,” my head turned towards the monitor, “He is looking older,” I said, staring at Obama. His hair is almost grey now. What a toll leading our country takes on one’s appearance.

Obama thanked everyone and I felt my head float up to the sky with bubbles of champagne. "Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated … “ he said, pausing after each sentence, pacing himself. I came … and came and came again. The sweat tickled my hairline. My jaw ached in tension then dropped open. The knot in my neck and back slowly unwound.

My phone buzzed. Sascha, a mutual friend of both Michael and myself, was pinging me.

“I am at a bar alone, drinking. Come join me,” she wrote.

“I am with Michael. We are together now,” I responded.

“But he is gay and moving to Milwaukee,” she wrote.

“I know, he is perfect for me!”

Obama stood strong, despite my cumming and despite Sascha’s drinking. The world was going on as it always has. “I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting …” his voice steady, deep, sexy. I still liked him, but he wasn’t the Kennedy we had hoped for.

“Where is he now?” she asked.

“Going down on me.”

“Why are you texting me then?” she wrote.

“Because he keeps handing me the phone when it buzzes,” I typed.

“Wow … he is perfect for you.”


“I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America,” Obama said as the web spit and sputtered the stream.

Hope for our country. Hope for a new relationship.

Hope and worries.

2012-and-new-year-2013-coming

Monday, January 7, 2013

Welcome to the Darkside

I'm stressed but you're freestyle,
I'm overworked but I'm undersexed,
I must be made of concrete,
I sign my name across your chest ....

Halloween is sacred to my kind. I love it more than Thanksgiving. I love it even more than Christmas. I am not sure if it is the assumption of a different identity, if it is the permission to love the darkness or if it is simply the only holiday that marries an adult to her childhood without involving other children. It could be because it is the one holiday where family is irrelevant.

Happy-Halloween-from-Clara-Bow

Alia bought me a ticket to the Los Angeles Dead club scene for the night. I was so broke, I couldn’t put together the costume I had hoped. Alia was going as Madonna and I was going to be Lady Gaga. While living at her house, I showed her a music video from Gaga, “See? She has a David Bowie thing going on.”

In the end, I didn’t have any money for much of anything much less a  costume. Alia found some cheap outfits on-line, but anything more than a couple bucks was a stretch for me. I was eating a bowl of cold beans in the morning for breakfast. “I am so tired of being hungry,” Gary said. Once we moved to Glendale, he dropped his job at the Halloween store because the commute was too difficult without a car. So he settled in a red, fold-out chair in front of Frank’s television set and watched the News, commercials, sports and movies from 7am to 10pm everyday.

I was working but unable to really retain any of my money after gas, dog food and some money for a deposit I handed over to Frank, my other roommate. In addition to all of that, the brakes were going out on my car which made no God damn sense since I paid to have them replaced the year before.

The evening of Halloween, Alia and Ryan came over with more blow. Or was it already here? I never knew the details. In addition to sharing her drugs with me, she brought a blue wig and some silver chaps along with silver thigh high boots to match. So I could throw together some kind of pop diva look. When all was said and done (the boots were too small for me) the look became known as “Girl Bowie”.





Girl Bowie
Bowie and Madonna kiss

Bowie and Madonna dance

Girl Bowie with Esther

“Come here, I have a fat line all set up for you,” Alia said from Frank’s walk-in closet. I crept in and looked down. My first thought was, “Where?” I stared down at two modest lines. Frank and I already took our vice to the next level. A fat line in our world looked like an obese, on-the-verge-of-heart-attack, in-desperate-need-of-a-bypass fat line. Alia and Ryan were still dancing through it like pixie dust.  On Frank’s coke, I knew I could have a field day. On Alia’s, I had to watch myself. She was buying, I still owed her money for her laptop and recreational use in her scene was very much kept at recreational.

evil queen coke

In a blue bob wig, my fishnet dress and silver chaps, we headed down to The Belasco Theatre in Downtown LA. We found parking in a lot next to a hotel and a dive bar. The hotel was empty on the first floor, the marble floors and glass entrance were completely vacant with no movement or light, with the sad exception of an ATM machine. We stopped in the dive next door to use the bathroom and I bought everyone a very cheap beer. It was a long hallway of a bar, with a jukebox playing some funk, several black people laughing and drinking with only one or two white guys eying us up and down. The bartender was surly when I warned her my card might not go through- but when I did, I left her a huge tip and she smiled at me.

Alia was uncomfortable, I could tell, but I liked the feel of the place. Two white girls dressed up in lingerie, feathers and wigs stirred the pond a little, but it felt like a real place. Thin cigars and Brixton Jones hats teetered under the red lights overhead, shifting the light from one shoulder to the other, without revealing the eyes of it’s owner.

After our beers, we headed towards the Belasco on foot. Alia wore her costume with a graceful wiggle, balancing her petite hips over two incredibly small heels, the size of dimes. Her fake eyelashes splashed the glitter out of her face and she handed over our tickets to the doorman. The doorman looked us over and nodded, turning ever so slightly to his left so we could pass by a cheap, velvet rope. Once we were in, I could see there were three floors, on each level a dance floor with a different theme of music. The basement, below, was spinning darker music: The Smiths, The Cure but with a little Garbage thrown in there. The ground level was the main floor, a few go-go dancers were positioned on rises here and there. The stage was shadowed and almost none existent with the exception of a few monitors and a big screen giving legs to animated characters synched to the music. The top floor were more vintage type rock: Violent Femmes, Bowie, Depeche Mode, Blondie.

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Alia and Ryan immediately filed into the line for photographs, so I patiently followed and tried to keep my mind in conversation as the music called to me from three different doorways. The music was already in my legs, I felt my knees shaking from the coke and bass. The acidic trail of cocaine down the back of my throat was fading in the seduction of lights, magic and music. I Didn’t care about the coke anymore, I wanted to dance.

Alia knew the person collecting tickets and money for photos and made conversation. The man behind us was looking us over, trying to take measure with which one of us was with Ryan. My feet wouldn’t stay still, they tapped, they turned towards the doors, they wanted to lead me away, but I had to be patient. We posed for pictures and then Alia led us into the first dance floor, ground level. Ryan and Alia sat down in back. “I have to go out there, are you ok here?” I said. There was no way I could sit down and watch people dance. “I will go out with you,” she said. We left our coats with Ryan and shuffled to the center of madness.

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The eye of the storm was between three risers holding up go-go dancers. The strobe lights and deep ceiling kept everyone anonymous. We danced and the world was pushed off the cliff of recognition. My wig flew off, so I stuffed it in my pocket and let my hair spill out on my shoulders, betraying the blue for a darker shade of rye American whiskey. Everyone was shadows, even Alia, and the pulse of measure and metre wrapped its legs around me until my mind and body fell in synch. Alia left, grabbing my arm to let me know she was going to find Ryan. I nodded, feeling the sweat stick to my hair, keeping it out of my eyes and mouth. I lifted my head to the music. In and out of the shadows, other costumes appeared. On the whole, the LA Dead scene was a menagerie of strange and disturbing costumes. The theme was very dark. There were a great deal of large men with plastic masks that bore no expression, whatsoever, but sported overalls and an ax or machete, human-penguin-hybrid types with umbrellas and plaster noses, dark monsters we have invented or have yet to invent stories for. When I dance I smile, and when I felt watched under the eyes behind such thick, foul faces, I reminded myself to keep smiling. The human was not the mask and the only way to ward off fear, to ward off darkness, was through the light. No one was there to hurt me. The fear wasn’t real. So I kept dancing.

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Men surrounded me in shifts. I noticed two closing in on me, one was The Crow (circa 1994) and the other was a Santa Claus tumbling around me with too much padding and a very young face. Alia found me on the dance floor and invited me to the third level, as I followed, I let my hand drag across the stomach of The Crow so he would know to follow. And he did.

the crow

To the third floor we went, and without water or drink, I continued to dance. Note to note, my body, hips and feet met each euphonic note, dripping in honey and sweat. The Crow appeared and continued dancing with me. The face of what I know to be Brandon Lee in the 1994 cult classic film melted under white grease paint and sweat into a rather thin, white boy fighting to keep up with me. Once in awhile, he leaned in to ask a question and receive a generic answer. “You are sexy,” he said, smiling behind the painted black lipstick of a mime. “Thank you,” I replied wondering if Michael would approve, or wondering if he would disapprove. He was with his mourning family in Milwaukee at a funeral, and I was dancing opposite a young man I could easily take home with me. He had a tall, lean body and though I don’t pretend to speak for other women, I always had a fantasy about Brandon Lee as The Crow. It isn’t the type of fantasy men might have towards a character or costumed woman they find on an image search via the internet. I just liked The Crow. Even at the age of 16, I wanted to make love to him, then be his girlfriend.

The boy, whoever he was, had the same long, curly haircut as his persona from the film. He was taller than I was but skinnier. Waifish. Occasionally we would touch and once he leaned in for a quick kiss.

I thought about the last thing I said to Michael before he left California: “Let’s just leave it at ‘We can do whatever we want.’” I had permission to do whatever I wanted to do. Michael and I were not serious, not yet. Though a mild betrayal, it was a betrayal somehow.

He wouldn’t have to know. I was allowed to indulge myself in the painted skin of a young stranger. I felt my mouth go dry and I wondered where Alia was. Let me rephrase, I wondered where the rest of the coke was. I couldn’t afford anymore drinks, so all I had left was the line in her pocket.

I looked in the sea of masked faces and didn’t see her, but each song took me by the laces of my cheap, glittered chaps and dragged me back into their melody. I couldn’t part from the music, until The Crow took my hand and asked to move to the basement. I agreed.


Like an animal you're moving over me,
When did I get perverted,
I can't remember your name,
I'm growing introverted,
You touch my hand and it's not the same ...

We walked down the stairs and I ran into a fellow blogger, hand in hand with my new suitor. “Hi, I didn’t know you would be here,” I said. He was someone I barely knew, a messenger in Hollywood. We friended on Facebook well before the birth of my blog and I hadn’t seen him since. “Welcome to the darkside,” he said.

Downstairs, it was a smaller dance floor. At the head of the horizon, two cages were staged and occupied by two slightly overweight and exhausted go-go dancers. I knew the music more than the boy, and I sang, grabbing his hand at the head of each song like I could take him into my world with the movement of lips and hips in pop poetry. He gave into me, and I smiled, lifting my arms into the enveloping darkness of the dance until I felt Alia pull me out of the water. “Hey, do you want the line I saved for you?” she asked.

“Oh yeah, but where?” I asked.

“Let’s go in the bathroom,” she said.

I held up my finger for The Crow as Young Madonna lead me into the restroom outside the bottom dance floor. We waited in line for the handicapped stall and walked in together. After clasping the lock down on the long door, she pulled out what was left of the coke. It was more than I expected. “It is yours, do you want to do it all now, or do some and save it for later?” she asked.

“Let’s do it all,” I said. She poured it on the toilet paper dispenser and extracted a straw, snorting what lines were left. I, obediently, followed. The taste of powder in my nose and mouth lifting me an inch higher than the music. We stumbled out of the stall into a pod of young women with black wigs and black eyeshadow. No one looked at us, despite the fact that the sound of our snorting must have stabbed  through their conversation and running water. We checked our nostrils in the mirror for any residue and skipped back out onto the dance floor.

Alia led me to a booth where Ryan was waiting. I grabbed the hand of my new suitor and slid him down the vinyl lining of the seat then struggled to listen to conversation as 2am put her heavy hand on our shoulders. “Do you want to go back to my place or yours?” she asked. Ryan’s hand was on my thigh, I could feel the warmth of his fingers between the silver chaps and my dress. “Um, whatever is easiest for you,” I said, sucking whatever powder was left between my teeth.

Another boy with a forgettable girl tugged on the arm of The Crow. He leaned in to exchange a conversation. “I have to go, my ride is leaving,” The Crow said. “Oh …” I said, disappointed the music, coke and boy were all ending in the same minute. “Do you want to come home with me?” I asked.

The Crow conversed with the boy and turned back to me. “Yes,” is all he said.

We left the club before the house lights were turned on and the bouncers grew cloddish. Only then does the fantasy of the evening dissolve. You see the rips in the stained carpet. The coarse skin around make-up. The spot on a wall painted a different shade from the rest of the house. There was still the magic of illusion in one, shifting, fragile, oily bubble wrapped over us as we trotted out on the sidewalks of Los Angeles.

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Out in the parking lot keeping Alia’s prius behind steel bars and under bright lights, we all took a turn smoking a joint. My body was wet with dance, and the harsh calx of ground bud sucked whatever air was left in my lungs. I crawled in the back seat and put my head on The Crow’s lap. We exchanged names and ages. He was 24.

“Yeah, I was in the army for like a year. I was a sniper in Afghanistan,” he said.

“How was it?” I asked, heavy from drugs and attraction.

“It sucked,” he said, “Fuck the army!”

“Where do you live?” I asked, handing him the joint, only for him to wave it off.

“You know where Six Flags is? Up there. I am going to school up there. I live in a townhouse with my two uncles. They don’t work, so they just kind of hang out there.”

“That sucks, “ I said, French inhaling the vapor fresh out of my lungs.

“Yeah, fuck them!” he said.

Ryan drove and dropped us off at my quiet, Glendale front house. There were no more trick-or-treaters, no more headlights on the road, no more police cars coasting over the speed bumps near the elementary school on the corner. There was nothing but the night, a street lamp and The Crow.

A flash in the pan,
A storm in a teacup,
A needle in a haystack,
A prize for the winning,
A dead for the raising,
A catch for the chasing,
A jewel for the choosing,
A man for the making in this blistering heat ...


In the stark, empty apartment, I led him into my bedroom and laid myself out for him. He crawled over me, the make-up still thick in the light of my computer monitor. He kissed me and tickled me with his tongue before stopping short. “Do you want to see my Halloween costume for next year?”

“Sure,” I said, smiling a little and crawling out from underneath him as he reached over my head to type on my computer. My desktop was still laid out on the floor for lack of furniture. After a few taps on the keyboard, he summoned a cartoon of Wolverine with pulsating muscles, beastly hair and dripping fangs. “Oh,” I said politely, almost as if I was his mother.

Wolverine comic art

“I already have a membership at Gold’s Gym to work up for it,” he said.

I giggled. “Ambitious” I said, realizing how much more immature he was than Michael though a full year older. Then I unapologetically pulled off his shirt. Across his soft, flat chest was a tattoo of a skyline you might see in a neo-noir graphic novel by Frank Miller. My fingers searched for body hair above the waist but only found the placidity of youth. “I have never gone home with a girl I didn’t know before,” he said.

“Is that true?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he chirped, “I have never kissed a girl on the dance floor before either.”

“Come on,” I said, “That isn’t true.”

“It is true,” he said before feasting on me. He pulled off my chaps and my dress until I was totally nude. I wondered if I should shower off the music, club and cocaine before we started, but he was already licking me and I felt myself forget everything but his fingertips pinching my clitoris, softly bringing an engorged tip into his mouth. No one had ever pinched my clitoris like that while going down on me and it easily produced three or four orgasms.

“Wow,” I gasped, “You are really good at that.”

“Yeah, I read about it in a book,” he said. Then he pulled out his cock and I thought for a moment about the disease I might have from the last man I fell in love with, or the disease I might give the next man I fall in love with. Just as the word “condom” crawled up the raw, dry base of my throat, he stuffed all seven-inches of himself inside of me and I was helpless. I could feel his skin working against mine, and my eyes rolled up in my head. He smelled of borrowed aftershave and cheap deodorant.  We fucked in every position you could imagine from a typical, mainstream porn. We started in missionary. He stopped me and requested I climb on top. Then he stopped me and requested I get on my knees. Then he stopped me again, and requested I get on top again but with my back to him, in reverse cowgirl. I appreciated the direction, but something was too clinical about it. It was easy for him to withhold his cum, which was the total opposite of Michael. The inability to produce primal surrender from him stifled the eroticism, and at one point, an hour or two later, I felt my 34-year-old body grow tired, my knees ache and my hips grow still. He went back down on me, using his forefinger and thumb to pop up my clit like he was plucking one corpulent grape from a vine. The orgasms came so easily, I almost felt my elixir spray in his mouth. I pulled him down for a kiss after the fourth or fifth orgasm to taste myself.

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Sweat it all out,
Sweat it all out,
With your bedroom eyes and your baby pouts.
Sweat it all out,
In our electric storms and our shifting sands,
Our candy jars and our sticky hands ...

As the sun rose on the other side of Los Angeles, the pale blue of dawn ate through the clouds. He finally came. “It takes me a long time,” he said.

“Well, I think we covered every position in the book,” I said.

He laughed. “Yeah, well, I figured now that I have the chance I should use it, right?”

“Why not?” I said, turning my body away from his to fall asleep. I cued up some Thelonious Monk to escort us into sleep and slowly heard his pant fade into idle.

I woke up not long after. I got dressed, showered, made coffee. I chatted with Gary in the living room. I checked my email on my mini-laptop with my crooked eye glasses and my hair swept up in a sloppy bun. Eventually the tall, chatty, white boy appeared in the hallway, leaning his arms against the roof of the archway and advertising the city landscape across his chest toward us.

“What’s up?” Gary said, nodding his head.

“What’s up?” The Crow said. His makeup was washed off now and I could see some slight acne around his chin and ears. He was still handsome, but somehow younger. He asked me to drive him to the train station so he could make class in Valencia.. “Or you could drive me and I would pay for gas,” he proposed.

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I agreed even though it was a 45-minute drive and took him out of the heavy traffic and noise of Los Angeles into the suburbs of the hills and canyons. “I would really like to take you out to dinner or something. I have money so I can treat you. I think that would be really nice,” he said, hanging his head from the side, staring at me solemnly.

I thought about Michael. “That sounds nice,” I said.

“Ok, I will call you then, if that is ok,” he said.

“Of course,” I said, parking my car and receiving one last kiss before he hopped out.

By the end of the day, I had 19 texts from the boy and I was partly flattered but partly worried how I would conceal one kind of love affair from another.

Frank came home, asking about the night. Over a cup of coffee, I indulged him in the details of the night; the cocaine, the dancing, The Crow. “Did you see this guy?” he asked Gary.

“Yeah,” Gary snapped back, “He looked like some 19-year-old kid.”

Frank laughed and looked at me, “What the hell are you doing?”

“Whatever I want,” I said.