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.
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