Friday, October 29, 2010

Repeat Friday: Go With the Flow

Last week I went to a cocktail party that positively sparkled with witty repartee and fascinating conversation. Too bad all I wanted was to get laid. I made my excuses, hightailed it to the Eagle, and the first reasonably attractive guy I saw I tailed home. We stripped off our clothes and he leaned in close, grinning like a 12-year-old about to swap his sister's Hershey bar with Ex-Lax.

"You know what would be really cool?" he said, eyes twinkling. "You could tie me to the bed and force me to suck your feet!"

Now, this bothered me in a couple different ways. First, I wasn't falling for his alleged spontaneity. It reminded me of those hetero guys who find themselves on dates with hot, tipsy chicks: "I heard about these things called 'body shots,' " they say, feigning innocence. "You wanna give it a try?" And second, I was supposed to force him to do me? I'm attractive; he should be happy I'm naked and there. I made my excuses and scurried off, adding entry No. 472 to my "Why I Shouldn't Sleep With Strangers" list.

A few days later, though, it happened again. Another guy with a weird request, and another naked scene. "You know what would be great?" this one said like a kid at Christmas. "My neighbor's a submissive pig into hypnotism and electricity. How about we see if he's busy?"

I put my finger to my chin, pretending to think, but mostly I tried to remember where my pants were. I made some vague excuse -- when you flee a pervert's apartment you don't quibble about the details -- and went out and found a replacement. My heart leapt up to my throat when we got naked and he too started to speak: "There's something I've always wanted to try," he said. "How do you feel about Nixon masks and cheese?"

"OK," I thought. "I give up. Everybody's doing that midlife-crisis thing. But can't you all just buy Porsches?"

Now, I've got nothing against crazy stuff: I mean, some people think what I do in bed is crazy, and that's before they hear about the chickens. It's the surprise part I don't like. You wouldn't ask people over for dinner and then surprise them with horse testicles in cat pee, and you shouldn't surprise sex partners with frilly pink corsets or Ovaltine enemas.

For the third time in a row, I put my clothes back on and made my excuses, but halfway down the hall I noticed my wallet was gone. It falls out of my pants a lot so it didn't particularly surprise me -- I just didn't like having to re-greet somebody whose apartment I'd just fled. I walked back to his door and heard him talking on the phone.

"He looked really hot," he was saying. "Nice face, stylish clothes. But then he takes his clothes off, and oh my God! He's so pink and furry I'm afraid the cat's going to run after him. He's got a roll of flab six inches wide around his waist, and it looks like he hasn't been to the gym since gravity was invented. I was like, 'Skipper, better put your shirt back on or Little Buddy's going to be sick!'" I poked my head in and he pasted on the smile I use when opening presents from Grandma. "I'll call you right back," he interjected. "Something's come up."

He hung up and I edged my way in. "I guess you were talking about somebody else," I said, trailed by an awkward chuckle.

"Oh, no," he said, with an insouciant air. "We were talking about you."

"So that stuff about the Nixon mask and the cheese -- that was just to get rid of me?"

He nodded. "It seemed easiest. You weren't quite what I expected."

I sighed. "Well, I'm not a model or a professional bodybuilder. But I work out three times a week, and I've never gotten any complaints."

"Oh, puh-leeze!" he cried like Joan Rivers spotting Cher. "Aside from your massive pinkness there's a zit on your shoulder the size of Vesuvius, and if you stood with your feet together I could still toss a ham between your legs."

I stared at him in disbelief, too stunned to argue. "I forgot my wallet," I said frostily, and I pushed past him to the bedroom where it was lying on the floor. Maybe he'd stripped me of my dignity, I thought, but I'd still have a Discover card with nearly $80 available. With my head held high, I strolled back outside, where the freezing air and his insults hit me like a smack in the face.

The sun was setting as I slowly trudged home and the city darkened around me. Although I hate Los Angeles, I found myself missing it: I mean, having sex there was mindless fun, while here it was like entering a dog show. You take your clothes off and they're inspecting every muscle, every hair, asking you to trot around the bed. "That right delt is slightly saggy," they say, looking up from their clipboard, "and there's a slight curvature to the spine. The chest hair is off-center, and the ears are out of proportion. I'm afraid you'll have to go." But I guess I should have expected it. New Yorkers are cutthroat about everything -- business, sports, even food. Why did I think sex would be different? For the first time in my life I had to confront one of life's biggest questions: Would I ever have sex in this town again?

I got my answer soon enough. On the subway home, a nice-looking guy struck up a conversation with me, then asked me to his place "for coffee," and I went. I stripped naked, he leered at me lustfully, and everything was cool. Then he took off his clothes, and damn. Freak-show time. From chest hair shaped like a bagel to thighs as flat and gray as Flipper to skinny ankles where the hair had been worn away by tight socks.

This would not do.

You know what I'd really like to try?" I said, feigning excitement. "I'd love for you to piss on me while singing 'Send in the Clowns.' "

When he led me into the bathroom and began humming the intro, I nearly freaked. If I'd still been wearing either pants or shoes, in fact, I'd be in Cincinnati right now. But then I thought, Heck, I'm not getting any younger, and to tell you the truth, I'm not in the best shape in the world. How often do opportunities like this come up?

I learned my lesson. By the time he finished, let me tell you, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Repeat Thursday: What A Dump

I don't understand my dog Snowflake. Three times a day I take him out for a walk, and he always scurries over to the same old tree. To the naked eye it looks like all the other trees, but from the way Snowflake acts you'd think it was Bob Fosse. He sniffs at the bark, paws the fallen leaves, circles endlessly. It makes me wonder if he's stupid. This thing's the botanical equivalent of "The View," except even Barbara Walters rarely reeks of piss.

I yank on his leash and drag him farther down the block, past a new apartment house they're building. I've got a love/hate relationship with it. It's an oversized concrete box surrounded by classic old brownstones, but since it brings ten hunky Polish construction workers to the neighborhood it could be the Gates of Hell for all I care. Whenever I pass one of these guys on the street I'm tempted to strike up a conversation. I usually go for flattery as a pick-up line, but I'm not sure "You can sure stack concrete blocks!" will prompt eyelashes to bat.

Snowflake and I are almost to the corner when we find an enormous brown pile in the middle of the sidewalk. It's about enough to make me lose my lunch, but to Snowflake it's like finding vintage Gucci. He tiptoes up to it, circles a few times, sniffs. He can't take his eyes off it. If he had opposable thumbs he'd be snapping pictures.

I'm tugging on his leash when a construction worker appears. He's picked up a Snapple at the deli, I guess, and now he's headed back to work. He's one of my favorites, reminding me of a guy I used to date. We went all hot and heavy until his birthday came up. I still get defensive about it: I mean, if mango shower gel is a crime, color me guilty.

"Hey," he says, in a thick Polish accent, "you gotta clean up after your dog."

I show him my hand, stuck inside a plastic bag, and think about making it talk. I decide not too: I mean, if there's a profession that less sexy than accountants, it's puppeteers. "I do," I say. "He hasn't gone yet."

"Then what's that?" he asks, pointing to the sidewalk. Like an idiot I look. It hasn't changed. "Your dog took a dump."

"It's not his," I say. "It was here when we got here."

"Of course it's his. He's standing right next to it."

"You're standing right next to it and nobody's claiming it's yours."

He starts his next sentence with "Listen, wise guy," which doesn't bode well for our future together. I don't date anybody who reminds me of Dad. "I just went to the store, and it wasn't here when I left. Look around -- you see any other dogs? Who else could have done it?"

I don't see any other dogs, but this doesn't prove anything. "My dog's poo is nothing like this," I maintain. "For one thing, this is bigger than his head. Snowflake ate a whole pizza once and barely crapped a cannoli."

"I'm not even listening," he says. "I'm not buying your excuses, and you're not leaving until you clean that up." He's just dripping with macho swagger. It's only hot when you're sure the guy's not going to kill you.

I come to the conclusion that I can't win this argument by myself. I need backup; I need a character witness. Surely some of the neighborhood folks have seen Snowflake poo before, and can testify that this monstrosity isn't his.

Like the answer to a prayer, the guy who lives upstairs from me is fast approaching on the other side of the street. I've kind of got a crush on him too: he reminds me of a guy I used to date in college, who dropped me when I gave him a ring. It wasn't commitment he was afraid of -- some folks just don't get Cat's Eye. "Hey!" I yell. "Excuse me! Have you ever seen my dog take a crap?"

"No!" he hollers, and he darts across the road like the Clash are playing on our side. He takes one look at the sidewalk and scowls. "Damn," he snaps. "Did I miss it?"

This is such an allegory for my life, I think. Two men I'm interested in, and the topic of discussion is whether or not my dog took a dump. Under other circumstances I'd probably have caved, but the dog that left this muffin was clearly not in good health. Let's just say it'd be easier to pick up apple sauce.

From four different directions bystanders approach. In a quiet Italian neighborhood like this, a giant crap is like Cirque du Soleil. I get the newcomers up to speed, hoping somebody'll back me up, but everybody takes Construction Worker's side. "If I wasn't going to clean up after my dog," I ask, "why did I bring the bag?"

"You were gonna pretend to clean it up," a chubby kid replies. Right, I thought -- now I'm the Sociopathic Urban Mime. He's just mad because I gave out Swiffer refills last Halloween.

"You know," somebody says, "I'll bet he's the one who's been carving graffiti into the trees."

"And setting off the car alarms at four in the morning."

The crowd murmurs like a posse on "Bonanza," accusing me of everything from destroying the ozone layer to reusing postage stamps, and the circle around me starts to close in. By now I'm thinking, hey, maybe Frankenstein didn't have it so bad. Sure, he was chased around by villagers with torches, but it wasn't in a hip neighborhood, and he didn't have to worry about ruining flattering clothes.

Just as I'm deciding on the best direction to run, an old lady in a faded housedress breaks through the circle, wielding a cane like a tire iron. Somebody explains the situation to her in Italian, and I'm guessing they offer her first whack. Instead she takes a look at the dog, the poo, the plastic bag over my hand, and puts it all together like a Sicilian Miss Marple. "So your dog hasn't gone yet?" she asks. I nod. "Then make him go."

A gasp of surprise erupts from the crowd. It's like we're all gathered in the library and she's just picked out the killer. Even I'm impressed -- I mean, I wouldn't have expected anything more than interesting than curse words and tasty gnocchi from her. "Easier said than done," I complain. "I have to massage his lips to get him to eat."

"Convince him."

All eyes turn to the dog, who's shivering like a chilly chicken. "Poor little puppy," somebody says. "He's too nervous to go."

Now this was just flat-out wrong. Snowflake's never cared who was around when he went. In fact, he seemed to be spurred on by attention from attractive guys. It was the bane of my existence: I'd meet somebody, we'd flirt, he'd try to make friends with the dog, and before we could swap numbers we'd be scurrying for gas masks.

A lightbulb goes on over my head. "Hey," I say to Construction Worker, "pet the dog. Pretend you like him."

He stares at me like I'm crazy but follows my instructions. Not two seconds later Snowflake is proudly standing over his own, markedly-smaller creation.

The crowd grumbles and I beam like a new dad. "See?" I say, gesturing like it's a game show prize. "There's a huge difference."

They nod reluctantly. It's a rollerskate next to a Humvee. "Sorry," Construction Worker says. "I guess I jumped to the wrong conclusion."

"No prob," I reply, and then comes our first awkward silence. Pause. "You can sure stack concrete blocks."

He smiles and his brown eyes twinkle. "Thanks. Well, I gotta get back to work. Maybe I'll see you later."

"Yeah, that'd be nice." We all watch as he walks away.

Snowflake and I head back towards home, and he runs to the safety of his tree again, circling like a Spirograph. I still can't claim to understand the little pooch, but he's a chip off the old block in a couple ways:

Great taste in men. Really not so great with gifts.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Repeat Wednesday: Why I don't read the classics

I’ve been reading way too much trash recently -- books with sex or drugs or violence and no redeeming value whatsoever. The last book I finished was about a gay vampire who had other things on his mind than sucking blood. Try checking that out of the library without a fake moustache and dark glasses. After being both embarrassed and bored, I figured I'd read something respectable for a change. I’d seen most of the classics on “Masterpiece Theater” and they didn’t seem all that difficult so I figured I’d get one of them. To speed things up, though, I’d skip over Kenneth Branagh's lines.

I ended up with “Pride and Prejudice.” It’s one of those books you mean to read but never do, and halfway through the book I understand why. Like a PBS miniseries it’s interesting in theory, but after more than a couple minutes in reality it just bugs the pants off you.

For one thing, I expected intrigue, intelligence, and wit, but instead got a Victorian potboiler on the level of “All My Children.” Austen uses plenty of big words in Ye Olde English, but I’m still pretty sure the first printing had Fabio’s great-grandfather in a torn pirate shirt on the cover.

The book concerns several hundred people, all related, who alternately love and hate each other with the skill of Italians. At the center of the story are the Bennets: Mr. Bennet, Mrs. Bennet, and their daughters. Lots of daughters. The number is never specified, and it seems to change by the hour. We start off with Elizabeth and Jane, then page by page discover Lydia, Beth, Kitty, Mary, Lizzy and Eliza, though someone smarter than myself may discern that four of these could refer to the exact same person.

The big romance is between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, a guy who doesn’t even get a first name until page 187. There’s a roadblock flung in their path: we’re supposed to think that Mr. Darcy is unforgiveably rude because he went to a ball and only danced twice. That’s rude? the guys reading will ask. Hell, if he showed up in his underwear, guzzled scotch from a bottle and asked the hostess to pull his finger maybe she’d have a case. Then we learn that a dance lasts fifteen minutes, that you have to book them like appointments with the cable guy, and that dancing with the same woman twice is roughly equivalent to proposing marriage. Under these conditions even Fred Astaire would be hanging around the buffet table stuffing rumaki in his gob. Besides, that’s unforgiveably rude? That’s an obstacle to a relationship? Once I forgave a hubby who had sex with a preoccupied paraplegic.

The characters hook up and break off straight out of daytime drama. Miss Bingley likes Mr. Darcy, Mr. Darcy likes Elizabeth, Mr. Bingley likes Jane but seems destined to marry Countess De Burgh’s daughter (his cousin) to unite their estates. Elizabeth ought to marry Mr. Collins, her cousin, but since she hates him she pawns him off on Charlotte Lucas, the only character who’s not a relative. There are like eight sets of cousins who consider each other for marriage, yet for some reason they’re more concerned with estates and property than bearing children who have bat ears and duckbills.

Adding to the overall confusion is the language barrier. Shew, sallad, chuse -- maybe these words used to be English, but now they sound like parts of a snail. When they play “Vingt Un” I’m not sure they need playing cards or a plastic mat with colored circles on it. I have no clue what a “quadrille” is, and in the book it seems to alternate between being a dance and a board game. A major plot point hinges on how the Bennet estate is “entailed.” I’m guessing it’s not the opposite of what a butcher does to a bunny.

Here are some of the convoluted phrases Austen uses, and what I determined they meant through hours of research:

“It is more than I engage for, I assure you.”“Huh-uh."
“Dare I say my eye might have misjudged the possibility?”“Really?”
“I see no occasion for that.”“Whaaa?”
“That is not an unnatural surmise.”“Maybe.”
“Upon my honour I have not the smallest of objections.”“Oh. Okay.”

Now, I don’t mind a little wordiness as long as the author keeps it all straight. Austen, though, turns the whole exercise into a word problem. There are forty countesses in the book, yet rather than referring to them by name she gives the name of their house. “’I visited your relations at Lancashire,’ the Countess of Marscapone exclaimed while her own thoughts dwelt on her sister at Longhorn.” Everyone has three or four cousins with the same name (Colonel Fitzwilliam and Fitzwilliam Darcy meet on page 252, much to my astonishment). And everybody’s got more aliases than Puffy.

Austen loves to throw all sorts of folks into a room and not tell you who she’s talking about. Pronouns, adjectives, past participles -- I‘ve never seen so many things dangling, and I spent one Christmas at a nude beach. Here’s a typical scene among the Bennet sisters (remember there are somewhere between five and forty of them). See if you can tell who’s talking, and who they’re speaking of:

“Tell me, dear Lizzie,” enquired the younger Miss Bennet of her sister, “who is it that you are fondest of?”

“Methinks she shall chuse herself!” a flaxen-haired lass cried, and her two elder sisters tittered.

Elizabeth looked at her older sister with fine eyes mingling incredulity and agitation. “Why am I thus subjected to this undisguised air of discivility? Whilst my desires burn brightly within my bower they are of no small importance to yourselves, and I fear you shall render them like insects ‘neath a hasty hobbled boot.”

Silence hung in the air, then the girl leaning against the mantle-piece spake. “Beth, you are over scrupulous, I assure you; her intent was not so bold.” She turned to the woman nearest the bird. “What say you, Kitty?”

The tallest sister who isn’t Lydia froze with mortification. “Indeed, madam, I am not Kitty,” she observed. “Kitty stands indifferently by the balustrade, nearest the girl who’s allergic to cheese.”

The woman with the bean-shaped mole and crinoline knickers pressed the back of her hand to her forehead. “I foresaw the return of this confusion within a fortnight,” she cried, and with the girl who’d recently returned from the dentist fled the room, fatigued.

And so, kind reader, to cut a long story short, I’m giving up. At page 274 I’m bidding a final “fare thee well” to the Bennets and the Bingleys and their fourteen hundred cousins and returning the book to the library, where it can be admired from a great distance. Tonight I’ll enjoy a respite from such obfuscation in my bed-sit chamber, neither playing nor dancing a quadrille with the one I hold in fondest regard who isn’t me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Repeat Tuesday: Small Wonder

Tall guys have to be careful who they go out with. Wander around with another tall guy and the world will cower at your feet. Hang out with an average-sized guy and you'll still get admiring glances. Venture into public with somebody short, though, and you may as well glue a "Kick me!" sign to your ass.

I'm not talking about all the problems due to the height difference. Sure, the short guy will amble along just slightly slower than a disabled dachshund, while snails and Frankenstein scamper past. Then there's the impossibility of having a conversation: his mouth is roughly ten feet from your ear, which means you'll hear more audible words out of a seashell. Either you pretend to understand what he's saying and just randomly nod your head, or you actually make the effort and say "What?" every time he speaks. You're going to end up a frustrated hunchback, and he'll burn out his throat yelling like Grandpa. Both of you will be spitting nails, but it'll get worse when he gives you an ear trumpet for Christmas.

Now, all this is irritating -- I mean, I'd prefer a sweater -- but the real horror is how everybody else treats the two of you like a Ripley's exhibit sprung to life. The rudest folks whip out cameras to get proof to show their friends. You're not just interesting: you're one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and they'll snap away like you're the Virgin Mary floating over the Topeka Wal-Mart. They won't just stand across the street and worship from afar: they'll want to twist the pair of you into all sorts of insulting poses. "We wanna play up the height difference," drawls Wilbur from Bag ‘o Pretzels, Idaho, like a redneck Orson Welles. "Whyncha pretend yer stuffin' Tiny in yer pocket?"

"No, no, no," his wife Durlene protests. "Have Tiny sit on Lurch's lap, like a ventriloquist's dummy."

I hate taking part in these scenarios, though I can talk without moving my lips. I leave the house feeling like an average guy, and then these folks go and spoil it. I want to run screaming for a land where people are compassionate and considerate, but somebody's got to pry Tiny out of that teacup.

Worse than hanging out with somebody short is hanging out with someone heavy. Here's a weird phenomenon: Now the pair of you won't just look strange-- you'll transform into a number. The number 10.

Oddly, this is the only time I've heard of people turning alphanumeric. If Pamela Anderson kicked a skier nobody'd see RL. If Marlon Brando screwed Wally Cox nobody'd see Qr. When a pregnant lady frisks a midget, nobody sees BY.

But pause for a second near an overweight guy and suddenly everybody's an accountant.

Most embarrassing by far, though, is hanging out with a short female, because now everyone will assume you're having some kind of freakish relations. Now they won't just casually glance at the pair of you, or stare as you walk by. They'll chase you down the street, screaming in disbelief. They'll follow you home, pluck out their eyes, and roll them under your door to get a better look. And then the inquisition begins, always with the same idiotic question:

"Gawrsh, you're like ten dang feet tall, and she's eentsy as a mouse. How in the name of Our Good Lord Jesus do the two of you manage to have SAYYY-ex?"

Now, I get so confused by this I wonder if I'm doing something wrong. Height doesn't have anything to do with any of my bedroom activities, yet these folks give me the feeling I shouldn't let anyone under five foot eight take a ride. I mean, it's not like my partner and I aren't flexible. It's not like furniture doesn't exist. C'mon -- half the stepstools you see are like twelve inches high. They're not exactly made for changing lightbulbs.

I thought about this long and hard, and I narrowed it down to two possibilities. One, they're concerned that while our genitals are busy, our faces are too far apart to express affection. Sure, I'm not thrilled that my mouth is closer to the Australian outback than my current companion, but as long as our middles meet I'm fine. Or two, they're worried that our genitals don't match up when we're standing. Yup, it's true: I have to do a lot of crouching. It's good exercise, though. My arms may look like chopsticks, but my thighs rub together when I walk.

Still, I refuse to dignify this stupidity with an intelligent response. I shake my head. I wonder why I have to put up with this. I wonder why these idiots think that's a question you can ask a stranger.

And then I tell them, "I do it the same way you do it, except my relatives are in a different room."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Repeat Monday: Bothered and Bewildered

Every member of every minority group has a specific life goal to fulfill. Jews have to visit Israel, Muslims have to go to Mecca, and gays have to persuade a straight guy to have drunken sex with them.

Scott lived a few doors away in my college dorm, and I fell head over heels for him. He was a farmboy straight out of Nebraska, with the stocky, broad-shouldered body that came from hard work, fresh air and twenty years of eating nothing but beef. But it wasn't just physical attraction that drew me to Scott: his personality drew me in too. He was quiet and confident and an all-American boy, Jimmy Stewart with eighteen-inch arms. He was butch as Hoss Cartright, straight as a rail, and owned a Harley Davidson, which was two virtues more than I required to pledge my undying troth.

To my eternal surprise, Scott wasn't totally horrified by me. He was either curious or envious of the fact that I was relatively hip. That had taken no work whatsoever on my part: my roommate was one of the dorm's major drug dealers so I got some of that cachet, plus being gay in San Francisco earned me bonus points. Every Friday night I'd head to Castro Street and paint the town red, sometimes not returning home until just before classes on Monday. The first time I did this the Resident Advisor called the police to report me missing. He started to give them my description and the officer cut him off. "Oh, that guy," the officer said. "We've been looking for him for years."

Needless to say, by the time I returned, word had gotten around. The police wanted me. Just by being a cheap tramp I became the Lindsay Lohan of my dorm.

Scott didn't protest, then, when I followed him around like a puppy, content to bask in his presence and occasionally try to peek up his little red shorts. I hung out in the TV room when he was there, joined his table at the cafeteria, dropped by every party he attended. I knew from Day One that nothing would ever happen between us, because he was completely and totally straight. Even if he was curious, I was hardly the type who could talk fence-sitters to jump over to our side. Besides, I liked Scott. I respected Scott. I wouldn't have fallen for him in the first place if he listened to anything I said.

The first time he mentioned his motorcycle I gushed with admiration. "I'll take you for a ride sometime," he offered, fueling my sexual fantasies for a year. I pictured him commandeering a massive hog, muscles bulging beneath his denim shirt, and me wedged like a biker bitch behind him. I'd hang on tight, my groin to his ass, and grind against him as all of San Francisco gaily zipped by. He could drive us straight to hell and with my hands wrapped around him I'd have paid all the tolls.

One night I saw him in the TV room, so naturally I went in. He was reclining in one club chair, with his legs propped up by another, his muscles making both look understuffed. As usual he wore his little red shorts, and the vast expanse of his hairy legs was covered with homework assignments. "Hey," he announced suddenly, "I promised you a motorcycle ride. You wanna go drive around?"

I was so startled I could hardly believe my ears. I'd long since given up hope. I'd decided the odds of this happening were just short of Jesus dropping by and asking if I wanted to go meet Dad. "That would be . . . absolutely . . . fantastic," I gushed, almost too excited to speak. Five minutes later he had his hands on the handlebars, and I had my hands on him.

We bounced and zipped and swerved all over San Francisco, for the better part of the night. We stopped by Coit Tower, varoomed past Fisherman's Wharf, and circled the Cannery, him looking cool and confident and me with an shiteating grin on my face. I was the picture of discretion, keeping my hands where safety required rather than pushing my luck. I was happy making any kind of contact at all, and he seemed oddly comfortable too.

After we'd been down every street in the South Bay, the neighborhood turned familiar, and my heart sank when I spotted the college parking lot. "Hey," I said, after took our helmets off, "you wanna come up and smoke some dope?"

We lit up joint after joint while perched on the edge of my bed. Clearly this was a new bond of intimacy between us. I was content to bask in the afterglow, but some small part of me wondered how far it would go. No matter how stoned I got, my hands still trembled with excitement. I snuck a fresh glimpse of him whenever I got the chance, picturing us intertwined in an erotic embrace while ignoring the fact that very few attractive people have longings for stick-thin, bearded teens. I absent-mindedly chatted about how great the ride was, and how great motorcycles were, and how much I liked San Francisco, and when the conversation dried up we just sat there. Passing the joint I let my eyes linger on him a minute, and this time he looked back. Then he flipped on the TV -- nervously, it seemed -- and spun the channel until it landed on "Bewitched."

I never really liked the program, but here totally killed my buzz. Scott, on the other hand, became visibly excited, the red slits he had for eyes opening saucer-wide. Slowly he slid back onto the bed, and you could almost watch his crotch expand. His eyes stayed fixed on the TV as his hands sat poised astride his groin, like a gunslinger getting ready to draw.

"That Samantha is completely, totally hot," he announced before taking a hit off the roach.

"Yeah," I said, almost honestly. "But I'm not all that fixated on appearance. Personality is more important to me: it's what really makes people attractive. Whether they're fat or skinny or young or old, it doesn't matter. You touch, you hold, you connect. Sex is a physical manifestation of affection that shouldn't be weighed down by looks."

"So you'd do an ugly chick?" he asked from deep inside a cloud of dope smoke.

"I don't select my partners based on looks," I corrected. I gestured toward the television: "So that's who you're holding out for?"

"Well, not necessarily," he said cryptically. "I can fantasize. I can pretend. Besides, everybody looks the same in the dark."

He looked at me and I looked at him, and then it happened. I could actually seen the green light flash in his eyes. He went for the lamp and I went for his pants, and in a nanosecond both were off. Rather than meeting in a mutual embrace, though, it was more like a wrestling hold. Two enormous, cornfed arms pulled me to my feet and bent me over the coffee table. Without so much as a hug or a kiss he plugged right in and started banging away. "Ohmigod," came a groan from somewhere in the dark, "this is so freakin' hot."

Me, I wasn't so sure. It had all happened way too fast. Was this it? I wondered as he slammed me back and forth like a ragdoll. My head cleared the table like a battering ram, clanging my knickknacks together like windchimes. Was I actually having sex with my soulmate and it was nothing but a pain in the ass?

"IS THIS IT FOR POSITIONS?" I yelled as I head-butted the lamp to the ground.

Scott kept pounding away, oblivious. "Oh, Samantha," he groaned, fraught with passion. "Oh Sam, oh Sam, oh Sam!"

His speed increased, and realizing I was in a distant second place, I took matters into my own hands. Futilely I tried to coax my genitals into something approaching interest, but before they could respond Scott made a sprint for the finish. "OH SAM!" he yelped. "OH SAM! OH SAM!"


The thrusts came to an abrupt halt, and his iron grasp loosened on my hips. "I'm DARREN," he declared testily, "not LARRY."

"I know," I croaked, mentally shredding my unwritten love letters. "But if you're that lousy in the sack, I'm pretty sure she's thinking about somebody else."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Repeat Friday: Lying in the Sun

It seems like every time I go on vacation I have to explain my sexuality to somebody, and it’s starting to piss me off. It starts when I make hotel reservations. “We don’t have a fitness center,” the clerk says, “but we have a lovely garden. I’m sure your wife will appreciate that.”

A friend and I want to go to one of those debauched, all-inclusive resorts, to lie in the sun and have sex with total strangers. “Sandals is a great couples resort,” the travel agent chirps, “but it’s not much fun for single men!”

I’m in Boston and need to see leather, so I tell a cabdriver to take me to the Eagle. “You don’t you wanna go there, bub,” he advises, in a seemingly-helpful tone. “That bar’s for gay guys.”

By far the worst was at a hotel in the south of France. A paramour and I were celebrating our two-month anniversary, so I’d booked us a suite at a converted convent. Behind the desk was a tiny old woman in a threadbare black robe who looked like she’d been abandoned by the last inhabitants. She pulled up our reservation, her hands shaking like a chilly chihuahua. “But someone has made une erreur,” she said. “You are two men, but you have zee room with one bed only! I will change for you at once.”

Mark and I froze like snowmen as tension crackled in the air. Now, call me crazy, but I’d happily have gone with separate beds. They’d probably be big enough for two, and we could always push them together. I’d rather sleep in the bathtub, in fact, than explain homosexuality to some dried apple of a woman who’d given her life to Jesus. Mark, however, wasn’t going to let it slide. He’d bore her to death discussing everything from prepubescent gender identification to courtship rituals among the Chippewa before he’d cave in. In three and a half hours, I predicted, she’d be swinging from the rafters by her rosary.

He stepped up to the counter like a speaker headed for a podium. “We asked for one bed when we made the reservation,” he said, “and it wasn’t a mistake. You see, the common assumption that everyone is heterosexual is a political rather than a biological tenet, and the truth is -- “

His words veered into a yelp as my foot thwacked the back of his knee. I pulled him into a huddle where I mimed “tiny” and “nun” and, well, everything short of “I’m trapped in a box!” He exhaled hard and backed away and I approached the desk. “See, I was in the Army,” I said, “stationed in Korea. There was a shortage of beds, so everybody had to share. For nine years I slept in tight quarters with other men, and I got so used to it that now I can’t sleep alone.”

“Oh, le pauvre!” the woman gasped, looking like Macaulay Culkin at age one hundred ninety. “I am so sorry!”

“It’s not that bad,” I said defensively. “I mean, we do that ‘Those aren’t pillows!’ routine at least once a night.”

We got the room we wanted but even before we left the lobby Mark was yelling at me. “Coward! Why did you always have to lie? How are things ever going to change if everyone keeps dodging the truth?”

“I’m on vacation,” I protested. “I didn’t drag us here just so we could explain to Sister Bertrille that we like to touch each others’ willies.”

He smacked the button for the elevator. “So what was your excuse yesterday?”

He had a point there. I told my landlord it was fine to drop by unexpectedly, told my mom I had to hang up because a football game was on TV, and told Mark I thought it really was room odorizer when I bought it.

It took an hour or two for the argument to dissipate, but like all lies it kept coming back to haunt us, always in that Tiny Nun form. We ventured to the fitness center for a quick workout, and there she was cleaning the equipment. “Messieurs,” she twinkled, admiring our physiques, “how zee ladies must sigh over you!”

Mark glared at her. “As Alfred Kinsey discovered in the 1950s, approximately ten percent of the male population would similarly sigh over -- “

I was afraid Tiny Nun was going to grab a dumbbell and pound herself out of her misery so I jumped in. “Next to saving the whales,” I barked, “that’s our goal in life!”

We’d gone eight hours without speaking when I suggested marking our anniversary with champagne. Mark cracked a smile, but it vanished when the skinny figure appeared at our door. “Do we celebrate?” she sang, Dom Perignon in her bony claw.

“We most certainly do,” Mark snapped in his frostiest tone. “We celebrate that despite the patriarchal intolerance of same-sex, transgendered, and bi relationships -- “

Tiny Nun glanced frantically at our open windows but sensed they weren’t high enough to do any real damage. I hollered over him. “We celebrate a wonderful city, a wonderful hotel, and a WONDERFUL FRIENDSHIP!” I screamed.

The little woman vanished like fog, leaving lukewarm champagne and the shards of our relationship behind. “You know what?” Mark said after swigging his glass in one gulp. “I don’t think this is going to work.”

“I know,” I said, “I know. I’m a great guy, but you’re not ready for a relationship.”

He shook his head. “No, I’m ready for a relationship. Just not with a liar like you.”

I thought about protesting but he just might have nailed me. The more I thought about it, though, the madder I got. Sure, I lied occasionally -- but always for a good cause. I tried to make people feel better. I tried to spare their feelings, so they didn’t have to dwell on how stupid they were. Did that make me evil? Did that damn me to an eternity of singlehood? By the time our bottle ran dry I’d convinced myself: I wasn’t the James Gandolfini in this relationship.

After two more days passed without a word we wandered out to the hotel terrace for coffee before the flight home. We nearly jumped out of our seats when the Catholic Freddy Krueger materialized with a basket of pastries. “Still eet eez only zee two of you?” she quizzed, eyebrows springing up like McDonalds’ arches. I watched as she scanned the grounds expectantly, as if at any moment Catherine Deneuve and Jacqueline Bisset were going to burst in wearing big floppy hats and give both of us wet French kisses. And I decided I’d had enough.

Mark fired up again, using words like “ontology” and “taxonomy” and “fin-de-siecle,” but Tiny Nun had a butter knife and she looked like she could use it. I picked up a breadstick in my right hand, a bagel in my left, and pointed the former at the latter. “Babe,” I said, “I’m only going to explain this once.”

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Repeat Thursday: Big Feet: Big Stuff or Big Bluff?

In the history of the universe, ever since Nothing turned into Something, since planets formed from cosmic dust and little green salamanders evolved into Homo Erectus, there have been exactly four studies to determine whether Big Feet mean Big Meat.

Scientists have examined virtually everything: why the sky is blue, why birds sing, why toast always lands butter side down (Svenska Joornal der Breakfaast, 1997, pp. 162-217). Why the penis ennui? When I'm hanging around some bar, trying to choose between the reasonably-attractive tall guy and the drop-dead gorgeous short guy, the last thing on my mind is dirty bread.

Gay people blame homophobia for all kinds of stuff, but I'm thinking it's involved here as well. This is the most frequently asked question of all time, surpassing even "Who killed JFK?" and "Why is Audrina Partridge famous?" A million times a day somebody asks if there's a connection, and that's just the folks who catch me in clothes.

Scientists, I'm guessing, don't want to be tarred by that "gay" feather. It's okay to grow a spare ear on the back of a mouse, or genetically merge chickens with Miracle Whip so they'll start laying egg salad. But get another man excited? That's just plain weird. What are the other scientists going to think? "That Günther, he likes the penis a little too much," they'd tell their assistants. "Now go sew these lips on that dog." And how's his wife going to feel when he comes home and recounts his day? "Honey!" he calls, setting his briefcase on the hall table, "I saw a real whopper this morning!" She might feign enthusiasm to his face, but you know she's going to tell her family he's unemployed.

Even these four studies seem a little skittish, since they all have serious flaws. The first declares there's no significant correlation between penis length and shoe size, though somehow they've avoided handling erect penises. They "gently stretch" them, like they're tight socks, and measure them that way. Because, you know, who's got the energy to get a guy hard?

I want to tell these researchers that nobody cares how stretchy penises are. I have friends who have sex with rubber plants, and friends who have sex with balloons, but I don't know anybody who wants to get screwed by taffy. Then I notice their disclaimer: they don't need to measure erections, because an earlier study showed a strong correlation between stretched length and erect length.

This sounds a little farfetched to me, so I check it out. I'll just say two things about that study: one, math is boring even with big dicks involved; and two, while the correlation between stretched and hard length was 0.793, the correlation between soft and hard length was 0.678.

Translated into English, it means guessing how much bigger a stretched penis will get is just slightly more reliable than guessing how much bigger a soft, dangly penis will get. And if that were even remotely possible, I wouldn't have cried myself to sleep three times last week.

A few months later a second group of scientists comes along, and they decide they can do better. "To hell with stretching dicks!" they proclaim. "We'll have guys measure their own!"

I'll pause here as we all laugh. Mature men with advanced degrees, wearing white coats and stethoscopes, based a study on the assumption that men wouldn't lie about their endowments. Maybe they phoned the guys and asked how long their dicks were, or maybe they shoved them into little cubicles while they waited squeamishly outside. Either way seems pretty silly to me, and I buy my cologne from Rite Aid. Doctors can remove your spleen or transplant your gallbladder or even smear a woman's pap, but getting a guy visibly excited, well . . . that's not somewhere anyone wants to go.

Anybody who's ever answered a personal ad knows how that study turned out. They didn't find any correlation between shoe size and penis length -- maybe because regardless of shoe size, everybody reported nineteen inches. Guys lie about everything, even when they know they'll get caught. "That's in dog years," they admit when you question their age. "That's on the moon," they say when you doubt their weight. As for endowment, cold weather is a popular excuse. Except I lived with one of these guys for nearly a year, and two weeks in Death Valley wouldn't have nudged him up to small.

Eventually a third research group steps into the breach. "That second study was nonsense," they decree, "so we're going to reenact the first." They stretch, they measure, and there's no correlation.

The veil is lifted slightly by our fourth and final group, though they're stretchers as well. "We think we found something in index fingers," they announce, "but we just didn't see enough penises." You can criticize these guys if you want -- they should get better funding, or try to sign up volunteers -- but I just want to buy them a beer and say, buddy, you and me both.

And so here I sit, a ridiculously tall man who gets asked three hundred times a day if big feet mean big meat. I don't like sharing my own personal data, at least until somebody's bought me a drink, so I've always said nobody knows. Now I can add a well-informed postscript: that nobody's done a study comparing erect penis length to shoe size, or finger length, or height. That the geniuses in our prestigious research institutes have more pressing things to do, like calculating the force required to shoot a sheep to the moon (Applied Ovine Ergonomics, Nov. 2002, pp. 523-81). That maybe it's time gay scientists stepped up to the plate.

Heck, I'll volunteer, if that'll help. Because when my time comes, I'd be pretty damned proud to have this on my tombstone:

Here lies RomanHans.

He wasn't a doctor, or a scientist, or even particularly smart.

But he sure wasn't afraid to get a guy hard.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Repeat Wednesday: To Serve Mankind

It took a couple days for me to piece it all together.

The first part of the puzzle showed up at breakfast. At nine o'clock on the dot, somebody knocked on the bedroom door, then without waiting for an answer blithely barged in. It was a grizzled, grey-haired woman in a maid's uniform, bearing a tray full of food.

"Thanks, Peaches," Clive yawned without looking, sitting up and arranging a mountain of pillows behind his back.

Totally naked and barely covered with the corner of a sheet, I was more than a little embarrassed. Peaches, though, couldn't have cared less about her boss's bedmate, wondering only where to leave the coffee and croissants.

In that same bed the next morning came the second puzzle piece. I woke up even earlier to a strange sensation below the waist. Dampness. Pressure. Heavy breathing. Pretty much adding up to foreplay in my book. "Clive," I muttered, "it's a little early for -- "

I opened my eyes and saw him scanning the newspaper over on his side of the bed. "Something is sucking on my toes," I announced.

"It's Peaches," he declared. "She likes you. Take it as a compliment: she doesn't like a lot of guys."

Needless to say I sprang out of bed. I mean, it's nice when maids appreciate you, but I'd rather their feelings be expressed by ironed shirts or freshly-dusted furniture than tongues exploring obscure erogenous zones. I've been woken up by thousands of things over the years, from alarm clocks to angry boyfriends to annoyed street sweepers who just had to clean the spot I was laying on. But a stern-looking woman in orthopedic shoes set a new record in maneuvering me upright.

I leapt out of bed like it was electrified, then glanced over to see a very startled dog. "Hey!" Clive snapped. "You scared Peaches!"

"Wait," I said, before resuming my position in the mattress dent. "I'm confused. I thought Peaches was the maid."

Clive sipped from his mug of French Roast and shrugged. "She's another Peaches," he said nonchalantly. "But I don't think she likes you that way."

I grabbed a section of the paper and selected a raspberry danish from the tray. I ate until I got it sufficiently pieced together in my head. "Your maid and your dog have the same name? Who got named after who?"

"It's just a coincidence. First the maid showed up, then the dog. They both already had names when I got them."

I didn't want to argue so early into our relationship, having met the previous Thursday at driving school. He'd probably already pegged me as a loose cannon after hearing I'd followed a school bus for eight miles. But nobody, I repeat nobody, flips me off, even if they're wearing braces and a Hello Kitty smock. Still, I couldn't help myself. "Then change the dog's name!" I insisted. "It's not fair to the maid to have another Peaches around."

"You should never change a dog's name," he said, emanating seriousness. "It can turn them schizophrenic."

"They already spend half their lives licking their genitals," I announced, "so how much worse can it get? C'mon, it's freakin' rude. What happens when you yell 'Peaches'? They both come running?"

Clive took on an embarrassed look. "Maybe," he said. "What's wrong with that?"

"What's wrong with bringing the maid running when you want the dog? Nothing a Human Rights Tribunal couldn't straighten out."

We didn't speak again for a few hours and eventually I stormed off home. That night Clive called and announced that he'd given in. "You're right," he admitted. "It just isn't fair. From here on in, Peaches will be known as 'Socrates.'"

"Really?" I asked.

"I was already planning on doing something about it. When I can't find her, I hate wandering the neighborhood yelling 'PEACHES!' at the top of my lungs."

I hung up the phone with a contented smile on my face. I'd righted a wrong in the world. I'd fixed an injustice, made somebody's life a little better, just by getting Clive to rename --


That night I tossed and turned in my bed. He must have meant the dog, right? I mean, nobody in their right mind would think about renaming a woman who had enough wrinkles for four. But rich people live by different rules, as demonstrated by Leona Helmsley and Donald Trump. It's a fact of life that huge piles of money buy huge piles of crazy, so it could easily have gone the other way. Right now, in Manhattan, there could be a maid named "Socrates."

I thought about calling Clive back, but I couldn't figure out what to say. I mean, I couldn't exactly ask which Peaches he was talking about. The only reasonable scenario was that he changed the dog's name, and anybody with a brain in their head would be insulted if I asked them if they'd renamed a maid.

I'd learned my lesson more than once: I made a small misstep that unleashed years of bottled-up pique. "You don't know me at all!" Walter snapped when I gave him an autographed photo of Katie Couric for his birthday. "Who do you think I am?" Steve screamed when I asked if he'd put Men Without Hats on my iPod. "Have you met me?" Butch yelled when I politely inquired whether he'd borrowed my purple thong.

So I let the whole thing drop.

The next time I woke up, a different tongue was lapping at my foot. This one was practiced: it went from forceful to playful to passionate all in the course of one lick. I slowly pried my eyes open and gazed over at Clive. He was in his usual position: propped up on pillows, reading the Times and spreading an almond croissant with orange marmalade. "Is it Socrates?" I asked warily. He nodded.

I couldn't look. Elderly maid? Schizophrenic dog? And in the great scheme of things, did it make any difference? "I saw her rubbing her ass on the carpet yesterday," I offered, but Clive just said "Mm" and passed me a brioche.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Repeat Tuesday: Sugar Frosted Flake

I met Trevor bar-hopping one night. He was a few years older than me -- heck, a few hundred years older -- so I tried to lose him, but he was incredibly persistent.

"Come home with me," he said.

"I couldn't," I replied.

"It's just a small penthouse. Ten thousand square feet in Chelsea, overlooking the Hudson."

"I'll get my coat."

Almost instantly we became an item. My usual boring life vanished as I got swept up in a whirlwind of fast cars, expensive restaurants, and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. My mom always said it was just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one, but I thought it was easier to fall for a wealthy guy. He was cultured. He was refined. He didn't wear underwear twice. How could anybody resist?

A determined, confident lawyer, Trevor leapt into commitment headfirst. Waking up the morning after our first date I found myself alone in a bedroom the size of a football field, walls of glass on three sides. "Had to go to work," a note on the Noguchi table read. "Make yourself at home. See you tonight. P. S. The alarm is on so you can't leave."

Naturally, I was horribly annoyed. I felt like a goldfish in a bowl, a bird in a cage, a Fabergé egg, though I'd only pleased a couple members of the Russian royal family. But as I wandered the endless hallways dotted with tasteful Italian statues, passing room after room stuffed with armoires, wet bars, and Renoirs, I felt my anger fade. By the time I counted bathroom number eight I never wanted to see real life again.

The kitchen was vast and industrial, with more chrome than a Cadillac dealership, and the fridge was stocked like Balducci's. I smeared some brie with caviar and headed to the rec room, where a flat-screen TV covered the one non-glass wall. I'd never let myself be "kept," I decided as I watched a King Kong-sized Julia Child chop garlic larger than my head. But I could be cute and appreciative until chickens colonized Mars.

That first date lasted eight days, with just a quick pause for breath before the second: Trevor whisked me away to his home in the Hamptons. When he hosted a pool party, though, so I could meet his friends, it spiraled straight down the toilet. There were 50 of us: Trevor, me, and 48 other folks who, one by one, either congratulated me on my "catch" or suggested innovative ways to suck the poor sap dry.

"You know what you should do," one attractive man suggested, "is have an early birthday. That way you'll get a present whether or not he lasts until the real thing."

"Make up a sick aunt in Brooklyn," a thin young guy in Speedos advised, "so you can get out occasionally and sleep with someone attractive."

"Two words," a Leona Helmsley-type whispered. "Hot chocolate. It masks the taste of everything from Rohypnol to Beano."

I figured another intergenerational couple would understand, but once December wandered out of earshot May cut to the chase: "Getting him into bed was the easy part," he disclosed. "Now you've got to get into the will."

Eventually Trevor's sister sidled over and took my arm. "I can't believe the hateful things people are saying," she said. I felt like kissing her, but then she glanced over at Trevor, who was flipping burgers in his tiny swim trunks, and guffawed. "I mean, look at that eyesore. You'll earn every penny you get!"

I broke free of her grip and stormed into the house, Trevor toddling close behind. "I'm sick of these people," I said, tears welling in my eyes. "Every one of them thinks I'm after your money. It's like I have to be a gold digger just because I wear ugly clothes, cut my own hair, and buy my cologne from Rite Aid."

That last one froze Trevor in his tracks, so I continued to the bedroom alone. I changed into street clothes, threw my stuff in my suitcase, then cleared my toiletries out of the bathroom. I stumbled outside and got in the limo, but before I could tell the driver where to go Trevor had jumped in beside me, fully clothed.

"I hoped we could ignore the differences between us," I said, "but your friends don't seem willing to try. Why are they so suspicious? Why can't they see us as a couple, as two men in love, instead of old and rich paired with young and for sale?"

"Roman," he said, taking my hand in his, "it's nothing personal. Everybody makes assumptions, rich and poor alike. It's just the way people are."

"That's where you're wrong," I said. "It's the greedy who think we're all after money. It's the conniving who suspect us of plots. It's the backstabbers who think everyone's after them. I'll go hang out with poor, stupid, lazy people if that'll stop me from being insulted."

I don't know why this made me think of McDonald's, but it did. My stomach started growling, so I told the driver to head there, and we rode in silence until the golden arches appeared. "If you set one foot in there," Trevor warned, "it's over between us."

"I know," I said, nodding gravely, "but that's how it's got to be. This is my world. Here, I know I won't be judged."

Trevor followed me inside, resigned to my decision. "At least let me pay for you," he said, "as my farewell gift." I gave him a hug, for the last time inhaling the woodsy cologne that cost more than my education. When I let go, he stepped up to a register and bravely faced the geeky clerk. "I don't want anything, but I'd like to pay for him." The clerk looked to me for my order, punched it in, and read the total aloud, his pubescent voice cracking.

Trevor and I exchanged one final glance. I'd miss him, as strong feelings intermingled with my love of his wealth. But I knew what I was doing was right. Maybe these people weren't rich or fun or creative or smart, and maybe they had to move their fingers in the air to read the menu, but they wouldn't damn someone based on appearance. We were below pride, with our farts and flab and turquoise fannypacks. This Dorothy was back in his Kansas.

As Trevor fished the bills from his wallet the clerk looked at the two of us -- him in his tailored finery, me in my humble attire. His mouth twisted into a scabby pink smile and he scratched the top off a zit. "I love it when folks buy food for the homeless!" he said.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Repeat Monday: A Lousy Trick

I ran into an old boyfriend at the grocery store. I cluelessly got behind Gary in the checkout line, and by the time I recognized him it was too late to scurry away. It wasn't easy pretending I was happy to see him again: we slept together exactly once, and we spent most of that time trying to decide who would do what to whom.

Luckily he had something else to talk about. "I'm opening a bar," he announced. "How'd you like to be a bartender?" No questions, no resumés, no interviews. Which got me wondering: was he looking for employees with no experience, or just Abraham Lincoln lookalikes?

One question he should have asked was how old I was, because the answer was "Not old enough." I was six foot six with a thick black beard, so I guess it didn't occur to him. In fact, I'd never even been in a bar before, and everything I knew about them I learned from "Cheers." I pictured a place overrun with alcoholic, sex-addict jocks.

"I'd love to," I said, pulling him into a hug.

At the grand opening I decided I'd died and gone to heaven. Being a math major at UCLA I wasn't exactly surrounded by attractive gay guys. I figured even if I got extraordinarily lucky -- that is, if I eventually encountered another male homosexual -- he'd still have a slide rule and a clip-on tie. At the bar, all I had to do was pour alcohol into glasses and an endless line of hot men waited to talk to me. They'd buy us both drinks, and we'd chat and flirt until another hot man called me away.

If there was any problem, it was Gary's boyfriend Bob. From the moment he set eyes on me it was obvious he wanted to get into my pants. He spent the whole evening clamped onto the bar, staring at me, and when I got within reach he grabbed with both hands. "You're so hot," he drunkenly growled. "I'd love to rip those clothes off you and fuck you until the cows come home."

As Gary fumed quietly in the corner, a couple of questions formed in my mind. First, what's with all those cows staying out so late? And second, when Gary finally exploded, would he go after Bob or me?

Subsequent nights proved more relaxing, because the bar was an immediate bomb. The decor could have been the problem: a gay bar with wood paneling, brass details, and hanging ferns is like a Christian Science Reading Room with black lights and a leather swing. Still, it was fine with me. I did my homework, watched TV, or just sat and drank. That's what I'd have done if I hadn't been working, so minimum wage was icing on the cake.

Stuart was an old friend of Gary's, and he quickly became a regular, turning up to keep me company. I wasn't exactly attracted to him, preferring Burt Reynolds to Joel Grey, but an offhand comment from Gary convinced me to reconsider. "Stuart had the perfect boyfriend," Gary announced. "He made a fortune creating one of the most popular shows on TV. Then he died and left all his money to Stuart."

Suddenly I realized how much I liked Stuart, and the more we talked, the more we forged a common bond. Unfortunately, every time he opened his mouth, words like "church" came out. To teenagers, there are several thousand more interesting words, including "Jaegermeister," "hopscotch" and "dirndl." "I've got to leave early tonight," he declared. "Church tomorrow!" "That guy looks familiar," he said. "I'm pretty sure he goes to my church."

It wasn't enough to discourage me. In fact, if there was a Higher Power, he was clearly on our side, because Stuart confused my refusal to sleep with him with some kind of morality. Apparently he didn't know bartenders and morality go together like hot tubs and hairdryers.

Our chaste relationship was almost a month old when I noticed a change in Stuart. He went from confident and self-assured to timid, nervous, apprehensive. He started talking about "we" and "us," planning events in the years to come, and all of a sudden it hit me: he was going to propose. I spent hours blissfully daydreaming -- not about love or romance, but writing up menus for the cook, checking the maid's dusting with a white glove, ordering the chauffeur around. How wonderful my new life would be.

Unfortunately, the business was sinking fast, and Gary had to resort to desperate measures. "We're going to have a contest," he announced one night while I read the Journal of Applied Mathematics in an empty bar. "We're going to put up pictures of all the employees' dicks, and whoever recognizes the most wins a hundred-dollar tab."

Now, this didn't sound like such a bad idea. I'd made two hundred bucks in tips on opening night, and hadn't made twenty dollars since. In fact, being the naturally gregarious sort, I stood a good chance of winning that prize. But with a rich boyfriend seconds away from asking for my hand, exposing myself to a roomful of drunks wasn't the first thing on my mind. "Count me out," I told Gary. "I prefer to entertain men two or three at a time."

Bob threw himself between us like he was shielding us from a grenade. "I can take the photo!" he offered. "Heck, I could even be the fluffer, too!"

If angry glares were blowtorches, that bar would be burning like Tara now. I repeated my denial while reassuring Gary that Bob would never get close to my genitalia, then they left to fight it out. The stunt proved spectacular: almost from the minute Gary tacked up the photos, there were thirsty crowds debating who was who.

Me, I stayed behind the bar, amassing jars full of singles and daydreaming about my future hubby. Slowly, though, I noticed another odd phenomenon. Half the eyes in the bar were pointed at me, chattering mouths hidden behind hands. Whispering. Laughing. Nodding towards the photo wall. One by one they wandered over. "A little bird tells me you're the one on the right," Guy #1 said with the expression that usually accompanies food poisoning. "I'd never have believed it," Guy #2 offered. "I mean, you've got enormous hands." "A big penis isn't everything," claimed Guy #3. "At least, that's what people tell me."

I stomped over to the board, my heart pounding in my chest. At the end of a long line of knackworst there was one tiny Vienna sausage, nearly lost in a tangle of hair. The reels in my brain clicked and whirred, and when they halted it was perfectly clear.

Gary didn't just get mad: he got even.

"NOW HEAR THIS!" I bellowed, as all eyes spun my way. "I am NOT the dude on the right. My penis is not shriveled, small and splotchy. In fact, should any of you get lucky enough to see my equipment, you'll discover that I am enormous downstairs. I could choke a buffalo. I need a rope and a burro just to drag it out of my pants."

Jaws dropped and eyes grew wide. "GOT THAT?" I barked, and a hundred heads nodded in twitchy agreement. "Now, I don't want to hear another word."

Not two minutes later Stuart wandered in and worked his way through the crowd to the bar. He placed a tiny velvet box in front of me and it seemed like time stood still. "Roman," he declared as the bar went quiet, "since we met here, it's only fitting that I do this here as well. I love you, and I want us to be together for the rest of our lives. I'd like to take you to Massachusetts this weekend, where we'll have a civil ceremony to affirm our love for one another. If you agree to be my husband, you'll make me the happiest man on earth."

Guy #1 wiped away a faceful of happy tears. "He sure will," he sobbed apologetically. "Roman's enormous downstairs."

Guy #2 enveloped the prospective groom in a bearhug. "He could choke a buffalo," he agreed.

A sappy grin spanned #3's face. "He needs a rope and a burro just to drag it out of his pants," he said.

As Stuart stormed out of the bar clutching my ring, I watched my future disappear too. No maid to direct. No chef to insult. No chauffeur to push around. Bob vaulted over the bar, grabbed ahold of my belt, and started to unbuckle. "Now that your boyfriend is out of the picture, why don't you show us what you got?"

I grabbed Bob just slightly lower and squeezed like I was making orange juice. If you're near Studio City and you listen closely, you can still probably hear his scream.

I walked out with my head held high, and I never saw any of those people again. I couldn't complain, even though I was once again single and unemployed. Even if I didn't believe in a Higher Power, it seemed like somebody had tried to give me what I wanted.

They just had me abusing the wrong kind of staff.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Repeat Friday: Stripping Grammar Naked

Once in a while, somebody will ask me where I learned to write. Sometimes I tell them about the year I spent under John Rechy at Princeton. Sometimes I tell them about the short-story classes I took with Edmund White, or the sabbatical at that writer's colony off the woodsy coast of Nantucket.

And sometimes I tell them the truth: that I learned everything I know from sitting naked in front of my computer and reading lots and lots of godawful porn.

Experts know the best way to learn what's good is to study what's bad. For instance, I learned how not to cook Mexican food from Taco Bell, what not to wear from Wal-Mart, and how not to have sex with ex-husbands 1, 2 and 4. Desperate to find the very worst in writing, I cruised the sleaziest internet porn sites, searched Google for every four-letter word, and scrutinized every fan-fiction site where Spock and Sulu ever touched.

To save you time, though, and from discovering your belongings heaped on the doorstep by an intolerant boyfriend who knows about Internet Explorer's "History" file, I've compiled the most miserable writing I've found in many hard years of study. If we take a moment to examine these examples and see what mistakes were made, we can use that knowledge to write up some rules that we can use to improve our own work.

(1) He had nice thick chest hair that covered his entire body.

The first thing we learn is, never eat breakfast while surfing porn sites. Because while chest hair can be reasonably fetching on, say, a chest, when it creeps over to the forehead or the elbows it can make Jim Belushi spew up his Sugar Pops. It doesn't take an expert to realize chest hair is best confined to the upper torso, in much the same manner that toenails should remain in the vicinity of the feet.

(2) Jim grabbed his ass through his tight shorts and said, "I want you bad."

From this awkward construction we learn that if there are two or more males in your story, avoid using the word "his." Your dramatic scene will turn farcical if the reader thinks your hero is grabbing his own body parts and expressing his feelings of desire. Similar examples include the following:

-- The stranger wrapped his hungry mouth around his mushroom head.
-- Standing at the side of the bed, Gustavo grabbed his ankles and lifted them high into the air.
-- Slowly Maury worked his lips down to his stomach.

(3) All night long Carl slept, sprawled naked across the bed, and Max approached with anticipation.

What we learn here is, modifiers in the first half of your sentence also apply to the second. We’ve got a scene that’s probably eight hours long, which means Max moves about as slowly as gay rights.

(4) Brad's endowment was throbbing so hard Joshua thought it'd explode.

The problem here is painfully obvious: Don't frighten your reader with images from Japanese horror movies. You've spent hours conjuring up the perfect picture, then you go and spoil the mood:

-- Chuck's erection grew so hard it could have knocked over Hitler.
-- I'd never seen an ass pounded so relentlessly, and I watch Bill O'Reilly.
-- His equipment, trapped in those thin white shorts, looked like my grandma in her bra.

(5) Max took out Walter's penis and played with it.

Watch out for the words “took out.” While you may assume it’s equivalent to “bared" or "uncovered,” the reader may opt for another meaning, like “to remove from a box.”

(6) I really wanted to have sex with him. After I finished my french toast, I slid over next to him and brought it up.

Here we've got a confusing pronoun -- in this case, the word "it." The writer is hoping he can refer all the way back to his previous sentence, but instead the reader stops at the closest noun, which just happens to be "french toast."

Other regrettable examples are:

-- My wife and I made love on the deck of our pristine white yacht, then I tied her to the pier and went home.

-- Cooper and I took the dog for a walk. I couldn't resist the way his ass swayed back and forth, so I dragged him behind a bush and took him from behind.

(7) He grabbed hold of his meat and pulled out a condom.

This sentence shows that sometimes there's a weird synergy between different parts of your sentence. Either half of this line is fine by itself, but put the two together and it sounds like a magic trick.

Similar missteps include:

-- I squeezed the bartender's nipple and he refilled my empty glass.
-- Wayne rubbed Raoul's butt until Barbara Eden appeared.

(8) On my knees, Stephen grabbed my head and guided it toward his groin.

This is what's called a "dangling modifier," because the writer has misplaced a clause. Rather than being turned on, the reader pictures a Cirque du Soleil-style attraction. Re-read your articles searching for sentences like:

-- Covered with mayonnaise, Roger took a bite of his sandwich.
-- Engrossed in the newspaper, his penis lay there quietly.
-- Nearly at orgasm, Puddles the dog trotted in.

Well, we've just barely scratched the surface, but today's lesson has to come to an end. Remember, there are serious side effects to reading too much porn. You start to feel inadequate by constantly comparing yourself to these perfect, unreal images, and your self esteem can suffer as a result.

Honestly, though, I swear to you: usually I can go on for hours.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Repeat Thursday: Seven Days to a Larger Penis

DAY 1. Sitting happily on my couch I scan the newspaper, not thinking for a moment about my penis. In the top right corner of one page there’s a tiny ad headlined “FOR MEN ONLY! Penile Expansion Procedure.” I wonder if the “FOR MEN ONLY!” part is really necessary, since I know very few women with tiny penises. The ad has no specifics, but is dotted with phrases like “Confidentiality Assured”, “Same Day Results”, and “Mastercard/Visa” that could just as easily describe a dry cleaner. I wonder if I’ll ever be curious enough to call and I jot down the number.

TEN MINUTES LATER: I call. Genial but caring “Stan” tells me that penile expansion is a simple and safe outpatient procedure. One afternoon I go to a doctor’s office where fat cells are extracted from my abdomen and injected into my circumcision scar, if I’ve got one. There’s a pregnant pause, and I wonder if I am supposed to fill it with my own pertinent penis facts. Just as I decide I’ll tell “Stan” about mine if he tells me about his, he jumps back in. The procedure is strictly decorative, he says, conjuring up in my mind a surgical Bob Mackie, and I make a mental note to tell him I’m allergic to sequins.

In no way will the operation affect any of my average daily penis activities, “Stan” says. Daily penis activities? I ask. My typical schedule consists entirely of hanging, interrupted by brief periods of indecision. I’m wondering if “Stan”’s has sporting events or birthday parties to attend that mine hasn’t been invited to. The width increases, not the length, and the head of the penis isn’t enlarged, just the shaft. I’m picturing my penis looking like a skinny bald man in a puffy jacket.

“Stan” says my penis will increase up to an inch and a half in circumference, and I try to remember the mathematical formula that’ll give me the diameter. I can’t. I blame my old math teacher: if he’d taught these equations using sex organs instead of pies I’d be Stephen J. Hawking today. “Stan” says he’ll mail further information and he says goodbye in that way people do when they know you’ve got a small penis.

I dig out my old algebra book and find the equation: the circumference of a circle is two pi times the radius. Pointing my solar-powered calculator toward a lamp I discover that adding an inch and a half to the circumference increases the diameter 0.4774637 of an inch. Hmm. I’m more impressed by my mathematical ability than by the thought of adding less than half an inch to my penis width.

DAY 2: I get a brochure in the mail from “Stan” that looks like a cardboard walk-in closet with “For Men Only” written across it. Behind the first door is a patient’s testimonial: “I now have a new life and I am fine.” I wonder why in every advertisement I’ve ever seen for tummy tucks or nose jobs there are patient photos printed but in this brochure there are no BEFORE and AFTER penises. There’s a letter enclosed, though, that says a video is available, “for viewing in the privacy of your home”. I wonder why they add this line: are they afraid of accidentally sending it to someone with Jumbotron access? Would some unscrupulous Broadway producer use this footage to mount some sort of penis revue? I send in a check to cover the deposit.

DAY 3: The video arrives in the mail. The good news is, nowhere on the package are the words HERE’S THE PENIS ENLARGEMENT VIDEO YOU SENT FOR. The bad news is, there are still no before or after shots.

The first testimonial comes from a sweaty, shaky man who looks like Nixon when he resigned. His conversation veers inexplicably and repeatedly to his penis. Whereas the milestones in most people’s lives are birth, marriage, children and death, his are all penis-this and penis-that. There’s the day he realized he was short-changed, the embarrassing showers in gym class, distracting the women he slept with using dim lighting and sleight-of-hand, and, finally, that wonderful day when trained technicians relocated his abdominal fat. He beams and boasts that he grew from 3 1/4” to 5” in circumference. I get out the calculator again: this guy’s gained 0.5570409 inch increase in diameter, and he’s smiling like Ed McMahon’s running towards him with a giant check.

The second interviewee is wearing big sunglasses and a fake beard but curiously his wife sits undisguised at his side. Both smile. He says, now that I’ve had the operation I’m as happy as a lark. A lark with an enormous penis, his smile says.

Next, a cartoon drawing of a person appears. One arrow points to where the fat will be sucked out, and another points to where the fat will be stuffed in. A line-drawing of a penis appears, resembling a 50’s style kidney-shaped coffee table, but it is too thin to hold many drinks. It doubles in size to show the expected effect of the redistributed fat, and now it’s big enough to hold the lunch buffet at Caesar’s Palace. The video ends without credits for make-up, costuming, or grip.

The letter enclosed with the video instructs me to return it at my convenience to a nearby clinic.

DAY 4: I go to the clinic. The receptionist tells me that the only person who can refund my deposit is out, but will return soon. I take a seat and read a copy of “Travel & Leisure” from 1989. Glancing around the southwestern-style room I wonder if all the visitors think the pink wall sconces look like ceramic vaginas or if it’s just me.

Another customer enters with a World-Class bulge, trousers-wise. I’m about to tell him he’s in the wrong damn place when the receptionist greets him and says the doctor will be with him in a moment. He sits next to me and reads an old “National Geographic,” oblivious to the pink wall vaginas. I sneak a surreptitious glance at his puffy pants, searching for clues. Is he embarrassed and over-stuffing, or is he apres-surgery and swollen? Just as I gather the courage to inquire, the receptionist says they can mail me the deposit refund. I agree and exit, hearing someone on the phone promising the caller “IN BY 10, OUT BY 2”. Hah! If they’re anything like my drycleaner he’ll see Pat Boone in “Naked Boys Singing!” before he gets his dick back.

DAY 5: I scan newspaper ads again, and the male cosmetic surgery advertisements have multiplied like rabbits. One ad is headlined “MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH” and promises an increase in penis length. I call, and “John” explains the process. The suspensory ligament holds the penis aloft and stable, he says, and for $3000 they’ll slice mine clean in two. As a result my penis, no longer held back, will plop down and out. I could gain two inches, he says, but he also casually mentions the drawbacks: since my penis won’t be held in place it’ll bounce around a bit, and since it won’t be held up it’ll usually point down. This scares me. I wonder if I’ll have to jump and down to get a blowjob.

Other ads leave me more confused than informed. One advertises “injections for erections,” which sounds like bad Cole Porter while being short on details: I mean, does the shot cause erections or cure them? When I’m excited, jabbing a needle in my bits is one of the last things I’d do, right before “Phone Tyne Daly.” Another offers “scrotum enhancement.” Now, Webster’s says “enhancement” is “to make greater in value or attractiveness”. I hear the word a lot when I go to Home Depot or Lumber City, but I can’t think of anything I could do that’d make my balls better looking or increase their resale value.

I spot one ad that offers something called “The Circle Device” that lengthens the penis non-surgically for just $89. I write away.

DAY 6: I receive the information about “The Circle Device”. Though it’s vaguely described, it’s still scary enough to make the Pope cross his legs. “... [A]fter five minutes you will not realize your [sic] wearing it”, and “... their [sic] is virtually no limit to the length you can stretch your penis.” What happens if I forget I’m wearing it and I leave it on too long? Will I have to get a bigger car? “The CIRCLE DEVICE has a unique circular design with a hinge to allow for expansion ... “, “... weighs approximately 10 oz.”, “... will not be noticeable under normal pants.” Pardon me? Something weighing 10 ounces that’s hinged around my penis will not be noticeable? I look around my apartment for something weighing 10 ounces and find only Stouffer’s Frozen Lasagna.

As I stand there trying not to imagine noodles in meat sauce dangling from my penis I wonder why nobody’s offering before-and-after photos. I picture my penis looking like a bald man in a big coat, bouncing around like one of those plastic dogs on the back dashboards of Chevys while I’m in the throes of desire. I wonder if, though “... after five minutes you will not realize your [sic] wearing” the CIRCLE DEVICE, you’ll spend four minutes and fifty-nine seconds stuffing your mouth with everything pill-shaped in your medicine chest.

When I come to, the refrigerator door is still open and lasagna juice is coagulating around my feet.

DAY 7: I remember that tight t-shirts and horizontal stripes make French sailors look big and muscular, so I go to the store to find the tightest striped condoms that money can buy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Europeans have it all figured out. We Americans fly over, buy all sorts of things, and return home with pockets stuffed with bizarre foreign bills. "I'll save them for my next visit," we tell ourselves, but then a year or two later we fly back and encounter the following:

CLERK: I am sorry, but we only accept zee cash here.

ME: Um, this is cash. This is French cash.

CLERK (looking at them closely): No, eet eez not. Are you sure you deed not get zeese from le Chuck E. Cheese?

See, they've got a great scam going. Every year they discontinue their old bills, like they're ostrich-skin boots at Barneys. The residents all scurry to the bank, swap their old currency for new, and immediately cease to recognize the old. "Cash?" says the woman at the boulangerie. "No, zat's not cash. Deed you deeg them up with zee metal detector?"

It's happened to me twice in France -- once when they converted to Euros -- and once in England. And every time I got a look like, "Will Sir be trying to pay his bill in cole slaw next?"

I toss the useless paper into the nearest river and it hits me: why don't we give these guys a taste of their own medicine? We could probably pay off the federal deficit if we switched from dollars to, say, ObamaBux. And personally, I'd love to be at the counter when some of them foreigners pull out the old currency.

ME: Dollars? You want to spend dollars? Ha! If you're very lucky, perhaps you could sell them at an antique shop.

Anyway, against my better judgment, I'm going on vacation again. Until November 8 I'll be wandering England, the Greek islands, and Turkey, while reposting daily repeats here. Somehow, I know it's going to happen again. I'm hoping somebody still takes Euros, or I'm coming home with a pocketful of useless --

Oh. On second thought, forget everything I said about ObamaBux. We'll talk about it when I get back.

When Nacho The Chihuahua Passed Away, Marcie Realized She Just Couldn't Let Him Go

You and up to 3 guests are invited to an exclusive event where you will learn culinary secrets from one of the top chefs in the country. You will also enjoy products crafted by local artisans, discover an insider's look into American travel and taste custom cocktails paired to gourmet cuisine. Your discovery will continue with a test drive of the all-new, sport-injected 2011 Buick Regal.

Well, okay, but better have some coffee on hand or make it a car with huge bumpers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"They wear these little Speedos and they grind against each other and it's just a terrible thing," said Carl Paladino describing the Gay Pride Parade.

"Wait: he's just talking about the gay guys, right?" said every single person in the West Indian Day Parade.

Luke Geissbühler and his son Max tied a video camera to a weather balloon and sent both more than 100,000 feet into the stratosphere. Ninety minutes later the camera floated back to earth with the help of a small parachute.

A spectacular seven-minute video of the voyage, posted on Vimeo, has become a viral success, garnering more than one million views since it was uploaded on Sept. 19.

Captured on their video? The curvature of the earth, the blackness of the upper atmosphere, and Amy Winehouse.

These are the stars of The Deep Throat Sex Scandal, now playing off-off-Broadway.

I'm really upset by this. I mean, all women look alike, so chick is fine as Linda Loveless. But that guy is supposed to be Harry Reems? Did fifty million gay men really buy tickets to Deep Throat to see their brother-in-law naked? If we wanted to see more of this dude, we'd hang around the changing rooms at J. C. Penneys. And news flash to producers: Harry Reems was not famous for his enormous forehead.

Well, the bad news is, people really didn't want to see Obama streaker Juan Rodriguez naked.

The good news is, apparently it took both hands to block the view.
In the back of my mind I've always wanted to weave a rug. Finally a couple months ago I spotted this big old loom at a flea market. It's a clumsy old thing and it took me forever to figure out how to use it, but I just finished my first weaving and I had to show it off.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chile's trapped miners cheered Saturday as a drill punched into their underground chamber, opening a way out with a spray of rock and dust from the collapsed mine where they have been stuck for an agonizing 66 days.

Video taken by a tiny camera showed the shirtless men jubilantly hugging, singing and dancing.

Moments later, passing thugs beat them all up.

TEA BAGGER CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS, THIRD FROM LEFT: There is absolutely nothing wrong with dressing up like a Nazi for fun historical recreations of wartime periods.

GUY ON LEFT: Yeah, it's just harmless fun. PLEASE IGNORE MY TATTOOS.
Today Gawker has a photo that's supposedly Mickey Mantle nude. Needless to say, it's getting a lot of attention.

"In my defense, I'd only seen like one in my entire life," said Michelangelo.

On Sunday New York's Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino said that homosexuals are scary, that a sentient God would never have created homosexuals, and that children have to be “brainwashed” into thinking that homosexuality is acceptable.

No, nothing offensive about that at all. He's Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey and we're all fuckin' spinach.

When the gay male bottom finds a top he'd like to attract, he exhibits standardized mating behavior. He opens his eyes widely to show the top he's awake and alert. He tilts his head slightly in a show of submission that's common in the animal kingdom. And he smiles broadly, showing a swath of white teeth, proving to the top that he poses no threat to his dominance and, to a lesser extent, that he keeps himself clean.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dear Right-Wing Movie Critics:

On the surface, you probably think the above comparison is okay. Both are small family films. Both are low budget. Both are fueled by good intentions.

Then we wade in further. In both, a decisive white woman follows her instincts, and the underdog wins big.

When we take that next step, though, and realize you're comparing Quinton Aaron to a brainless, easily-trained black animal, we think maybe you should change your question to "Could 'Secretariat' Win Big At The Box Office?" and hope nobody bombs your church.

Hope this helps,
The management of the Vienna State Opera and its ballet company says it has fired a ballerina for posing in the nude.

Solo dancer Karina Sarkissova was axed Aug. 23 after a series of provocative photos of her appeared in the September issue of the Austrian men's fashion and lifestyle magazine "Wiener."

"Wait," she said afterward. "I'm not supposed to be in 'Wiener'? I thought it was the other way around."

There was the man they called “Bob the Builder,” who wore only a hard hat. There was the naked sunbather who remarked, “Nice day for it, isn’t it?” to a woman taking a walk. And there was the moment, Jules Perkins said, when the dizzying array of sexual forces that have somehow descended on her blameless Surrey village came together all at once, like a scene from a one-size-fits-all X-rated film.

“There were two blokes sitting side by side, watching a man and a woman having sex,” Ms. Perkins said, describing what happened as she strolled with her dog on the hill between her house and the Hog’s Back ridge. “Nearby, there were two men sunbathing together, wearing nothing but tight little white underpants.”

Later, she found a pink vibrator in the bushes.

“I gave it to the police,” she said. “They said, ‘What should we do with it?’ I said, ‘Put it in Lost Property.’"

When I read this article on public sex in Britain, I thought it was a joke. The local residents are reasonable! People are being tolerant! The police are "tread[ing] lightly" because of the "bitter legacy of the time when gay sex was illegal and closeted men having anonymous sex in places like public bathrooms were routinely arrested and humiliated."

“Honestly, it’s been going on for so many years,” said Jennifer Debenham, 71. “I think we should just let them get on with it.”

Are you kidding me? There are reasonable heterosexuals somewhere in the world? In this bizarre parallel universe, in fact, the gays come off as the villains, leaving vast swaths of litter in their wake.

Debris — used condoms, things made of rubber, pages torn from pornographic magazines, snack wrappers, discarded tea cups — littered the area.

Tea cups? Tea cups? That's an unfortunate image. Now I'm picturing pale naked British dudes doing it with their pinkies in the air. Still, leave it to the British to make public sex civil.

MAN #1: I say, Cecil, would you mind particularly if we incorporated a spot of urination into our coitus?

MAN #2: That sounds most enjoyable, Cyril. (PAUSE.) Wait: who's going to be mother?