Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I boarded the 1 train this morning, and found myself in the garden of soft men. Boy/men glad in skinny jeans, expensive outerwear with smart looking snaps ‘n’ buttons that went well beyond what was required to close it from the cold. One hundred and twenty dollar haircuts, book bags that went way beyond their nylon everyman counterparts made clear by the organic dyed canvas and thick expensive leather straps from which they were hewn. The Soft Men are wired to soundtracks of social events unfamiliar to me, at venues I‘ve never heard of nor would be ever allowed to enter. Sexuality ambiguous to me, these Soft Men all seem to have a disturbing glisten just above their top lips, no doubt from some exotic form of chapstick purchased at The Soft Men Specialty Shop. Expensive elfin shoes donne their slender feet, and plant parallel on the floor, knees pressed together, think: young girls attempting to hide their panties from view.

Yet another Soft Man entered the subway car, his vivid white hair swept playfully across one eye, his 9 foot striped scarf wound tightly around his impossibly thin neck - protecting his one hundred and twelve pound body from the draft of his subterranean travels. His Lurex pants hugged his branch-like thighs and twig-like shins which appeared to be in immediate danger of snapping. But the accessories took an abrupt turn for the unexpected, for attached to his right hand was a pretty young girl, his smidge more feminine doppelganger. She held on to him, expressionless, as they floated to a cozy corner of the subway car to garner warmth from each other’s painfully thin frames.

There is just no telling who the “Real Men” are. The girl he was with would make any macho man’s heart go pitter-pat, yet the man who won her heart was lovely and lithe. So what’s with my “Real Man” ideal: men that are strong, drive pick-up trucks or Harleys, men with deep commanding voices, who own tools or weapons. What would it feel like to be held by a Soft Man in his sinewy arms? Perhaps he would be better at expressing his feelings, calling when he says he will. Would he buy me little thoughtful gifts, like pretty scarves, or the bath oil version of the scent I like, and perhaps even borrow it? Chances are, I’ll never know the joy. Maybe I’ll go for a man who falls somewhere in the middle. Maybe he doesn’t own a motorcycle jacket or a weathered Carhardt , maybe he wears a freshly dry cleaned ¾ length wool coat, and carries The Times, an umbrella, some English breathe mints and a PDA. One can dream.

Would I then retire my leather, my denim, my motorcycle boots? Go back to curling my eyelashes and re-up my collection of pink and peach lip glosses. I’d have to watch my P’s and Q’s, never say “fucker”, and retire my blog. Maybe I can just be the “better half” of that odd couple, the couples you see that make no sense. Then I’d finally know the true meaning of the phrase, “You complete me!”

But in the meantime, I swim upstream in The River of The Soft Men. I can’t look away from the sheen that settles in the cleft of their top lips, I covet their fine features and wonder how they keep their figures in check. But most of all, I marvel at their incredible bravery. Everyday, they travel on the New York City subway with legions of workmen, construction hulks, policemen and fire. They own it, they work it, they make no apologies – and the ladies seem to like it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Lately, he had been calling me a lot to bounce ideas around about opening a restaurant. Big plans for a 25 year old – it’s just a crazy fantasy, I thought,I wondered where he would get the backing. “I saved 18 thousand dollars in the last two years,” he said, nodding. “Goodness! How’d you do that,” I was all ears. “I don’t ever pay for drugs or bitches.” “Annd it’s working!” I was impressed. Suze Orman would be hard-pressed to find as lucrative a plan as Joe’s No Pay for Drugs or Bitches Policy.

The rum was going to my head, Joe was bouncing off my terrace walls with future plans of restaurants, cohabitation, and the possibility of the two of us making a baby. It was better than being carded, I supposed it was still possible, as was getting hit by a meteor. He was fun, I was huffing his boy energy - he was built and handsome. He had come over one night a few months ago with a big bag of weed and a bottle of tequila. He was the second boy I had hung out with that rolled a Philly Blunt, a gansta style splif that I wanted no part of. He smoked the blunt, we did a couple of shots, and talked just talked until 4 in the morning. Now he was back, standing over me, his arms on the arms of my cast iron chair, enclosing me. As he moved his face towards my mouth I heard the sirens of the Pedophile Police in the distance.

I popped out of my chair, he followed me back inside to the kitchen where he proceeded to expertly clean my kitchen along with blow by blow commentary like he was broadcasting live from The Food Network in the'hood. Which dish detergent to use, the best way to load the machine, how to dry an entire night’s worth of dishes with a single sheet of paper towel, complete with the folding, unfolding of the aforesaid paper towel with the precision of an origami master. The night's entertainment continued with menu plans for future romantic dinners he would prepare for me, I was getting hungry at the thought of him cooking with all of that testosterone. “Claud, I really think it would be cool if we got married and had a baby,” he said offhandedly as he gathered his stuff to leave around 2 AM. “OK, sweetie, I’ll text you tomorrow from work.” I washed my face and brushed my grin and went to bed, what WAS he thinking, I giggled audibly there alone in bed. What was I thinking, he had moved to the top of my list of untenable would be boyfriends.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I met Michael at The Goodwill Store in Allston, Mass. He worked there, behind the counter. I was a sophomore at B.U., he was in and out of high school, about 6’3”, extremely handsome, so much so I forgave him his Keith Partridge shag-doo.

I would frequent The Commonwealth Ave. location in my quest for vintage wear. At first, I was just scouting for pencil skirts and angora sweaters for myself, but pretty soon I would scour the place for anything cool and saleable. I had started a business hocking clothes to the other kids in the theater program, I was affectionately known as “Five Dollar Schwartz”. I would approach one of my fellow thespian/students and show them something that I thought would work for their collection, they would ask “how much?”
Whether it was Levi’s, a leather jacket, a vintage camisole, the answer was always the same: “um, five bucks?” The price point worked for my target audience: broke-assed college students with enough money left over from their monthly stipend – after books, basics, beer, and weed, I would take what was left. I was stylist and personal shopper to the rag-tag bunch that made up the B.U. theater department: closeted homosexuals, Jewish Princesses, borderline mental cases that presented as extraordinarily gifted. Business was good, and it was in no small part due to the help of Michael at The Goodwill Stores store.

I started to gain access to the back room of the store. The dusty goldmine where they delivered all the stuff before it was put out on the Formica tables on the main selling floor. I scored a pristine pair of 50’s lawn chairs for my living room. A brat-pack leather jacket that I rocked with a pair of authentic Ray Bans I had paid full price for to complete the look. There rest of the plethora of vintage finds found their way to the hallways at the theater school.

I knew what days the stuff would come in from The Goodwill Stores central location, and would always show up right on time. At first, Michael would be reticent to give me back room access, he would kid about how he was spoiling me, giving me first dibs on everyone’s cast offs. He would pick and choose when he would allow me behind the “red rope”. Pretty soon I would stroll in, give him a wave and a wink, and glide to the back room uninvited - to pick through the piles of gold before the public had at it.

Michael was a good honest kid, not much younger than myself, he charged me for every item I took from the store. He came from the bad side of town and you could tell, he was rough around the edges, but extremely sweet and kind. He had teen idol good looks, even without the Keith Partridge hair. Straight white teeth, blue eyes, a shy smile – he was starting to grow on me more each day. He hand delivered my set of two 50’s lawn chairs to my basement apartment 12 blocks away – both at once, one on each arm.

He put them down in my subterranean living room, and washed his hands in my tiny fluorescent lit kitchen. When he came back, he looked at me expectantly, like he was waiting for a tip, he looked smitten. I had grown up in Connecticut, I had never had anything to do with boys from the wrong side of town. There were some in my high school, they were called “The Greasers”. They smoked cigarettes and rode old motorcycles to school to cut class. My parents told me that most of their fathers had jobs driving the big trucks that collected the garbage from our street at 5 A.M. Michael was from Dorchester. I didn’t know much more about him, only that he was Irish, he didn’t like to talk about his parents much – and he was one of the 4 kids in his school who were white. A man of few words, Michael ingratiated himself to me with his generous spirit, typified by the affordable pricing of the brown paper grocery bags full of clothes that I would haul out of there. He would guess how many items were stuffed in there, like a kid guessing how many jelly beans are in the jar. Now we were standing face to face in my apartment. My roommate would be painting stage sets for hours - and here was Michael so handsome and tall with his hands freshly washed. He took a step closer and leaned down to kiss me. I could barely feel it, the kiss was so soft. I was used to more aggressive boys, I had lived in the dorm the year before, my room on the same floor where they put most of the B.U. Hockey Team. Michael was so gentle, he didn’t kiss like a boy from the wrong side of town would kiss, I imagined. Soon, we were on my bed, a mattress and box spring on the floor, lying face to face. It never escalated to full make-out steam. His tenderness crescendoed into barely audible cooing sounds that escalated into waves of urgent wimpers. I didn’t know if he was in love, or injured.

I sent him on his way back to Dorchester. I didn’t see us as a couple. He was a step up from my last boyfriend, a boy I had met in the theater department who turned out to be gay. Still, I had hopes for someone who had some sense of culture, the arts, who read beyond a 6th grade level. But I felt bad, he was nice - I went back to The Goodwill Store the next day to let him down easy. His girlfriend was there, she had been crying - he had broken things off with her, the situation clearly out of control. My sweet deal at The Goodwill Store had to come to an end. “Five Dollar Schwartz” was no more. I never went back to the back room after that, and never saw Michael from Dorchester again.

Two years later I was waiting for a rental car to be vacuumed and brought around front. My boyfriend Philip was sitting there next to me in The Budget Rental Car waiting room, we were heading out of Boston to go to The Cape for four days. He was perfect. I had met him on an Amtrak train. He looked like John Cougar Mellencamp, had graduated from Tufts. He was cool, a painter, he wore vintage bowling shirts and took me out to fancy dinners at great restaurants, and knew what wines to order. He read big books. I planned on marrying him - our trip to The Cape was merely a stop on the way there. I picked up a copy of The Boston Herald that was lying there next to me. There on the cover was a huge picture of Michael, his handsome face staring back at me in black and white. The photo looked like it had been snatched from his yearbook or possibly his Massachusetts Driver’s License. The headline read: Tragic Death of a Hero (story on page 6). Michael had walked past some boys mercilessly beating up a young man in the park. He came to the boy’s defense and tried to break things up. The gang turned their efforts on Michael and chased him on to the highway where he was struck by a car and killed instantly.

Just then our rental pulled up, Philip said, “come on, this is us”. He grabbed both of our bags, I put down the paper and picked up the maps we needed for the trip. “Is anything wrong,” Philip asked from the driver’s seat, his eyes steady on the road. “Nah, still asleep,” I said from my trance. I didn’t want to start our trip with a tale about me making out with the murdered boy who had made the cover of the morning edition. We were headed for the beach, we would be eating raw clams, 2 pound lobsters, and staying at a quaint motel with clean starched sheets. I took a napkin from the Dunkin Donuts bag on the floor and rubbed the newspaper ink from my hands.

Monday, September 7, 2009


When I was a child I had dreams that I could fly. Sometimes it would be a low hover over a grassy field, other times I would suddenly find myself at high altitudes over a metropolis. Sometimes I would dream that I would lift off the ground to barely escape danger. I would always fly at gentle speeds, no big g-force moments, no near misses of tall buildings, just a steady drift, me-powered, landing effortlessly on two feet. That exquisite feeling gone moments after I awoke.

I got on two wheels to get that feeling back again. But when I started riding something wasn’t quite working. When I got my first scooter, I would seek out the roads the crotch rockets travel. I would hear the Ninjas searing the pavement from my window - on this road that runs along the highway that has no lights or stop signs. Those first few days, I would push the little audacious scoot to it’s limit on this daredevil straightaway, feel the thrill that is one part “wheee!!” and two parts fear. I started thinking about getting a motorcycle, a sport bike, along with some comprehensive medical coverage.

Then I experienced a shift. I had doubts about my 1st scooter, but a motorcycle wasn’t the answer, so I purchased a second scooter. It felt a bit more grown up, a lot more stable, and it lead me somewhere that took my entirely by surprise: The Slow Lane.

Very quickly things went from “how fast can I push this thing”, to “how slow can I go.” The scooter felt steady, like it had everything under control. I could relax a little, sit back a bit and enjoy the show. Instead of seeking out Crotch Rocket Road, I spent more time cruising the tree canopied streets of Brooklyn Heights and Ditmas Park – sauntering down those historic lanes, lulled by the hum of the low rev of my scooter, the slow scroll of gas light landscapes became my new rush. Today, riding along the water in Red Hook, I took the long straight stretch of road at a crawl - this is when my flying dreams came back. The gentle endless glide, the body’s subtle steering of it, the cool air lapping at my face and neck.

When people talk about ne’er do well RPM junkies who leave coffin lids fluttering in their wake they say, “he was really flying!!” But they’ve got it all wrong. It’s when you back off the gas, coax that throttle ever so gently, that’s where the wings are.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


He squatted down next to my chair and got his face very close to mine. The intense eye contact was overkill, given that he was simply taking my order for a glass of pinot gris and pulled pork. It was my birthday, he bought me a piece of key lime pie with a candle in it, and took a bite of it using my fork. As we were leaving he handed me his number on the back of a waiter’s check. His name was Shawnee Cloud. He was raised by hippies somewhere in California. He was 27. He was my second 27 year old in a week to ask me out. My friend Lynda told me I was her hero. She had been out with me before and seen two very young guys hand over their digits, once at the hardware store, then later at dinner, and now this. So why am I so discouraged.

I just want a boy my age to play with. A cool middle-aged guy who still has some life in him. Who’s not weighed down with all the crap that’s happened to him, like an ex-wife, cardiovascular disease, or his inability to make successful art.

Where are the good middle-aged guys? Are they with all the 27 year old girls that the 27 year old guys aren’t dating? Are they all married? I know of couple of them in my neighborhood, the ones that never seem to date anyone. I never see them with new platinum bands on their left hand ring fingers, or women with unwashed hair on a Sunday morning at the diner, or even a half a smile on their face. Have they given up on love? Sex? Holding hands? Do they watch the Playboy channel, or order “Girls Gone Wild” on VHS? Or is the History Channel their porn?

I haven’t given up, Lord knows I should at least give it a rest. Most of my single friends have resigned themselves to the fact that men are, well, “difficult”. They don’t spend a lot of time focusing on them. Me, I like dating. I am enticed by all its inherent bumps in the road. I’ve dated commitment-phobes, sociopaths, fringe criminals, and psych ward detainees; they’ve all lost their luster. I know that “normal” doesn’t exist, we’re all somewhere on the curve of “crazy”. But are there some reasonably sane men out there that are actually trying to have sustainable intimate relationships with women? Would I know what to do with them? Is there a stable man that could keep my attention? Do middle-aged single people ever hook up and live happily ever after? I saw one couple in an Eharmony commercial. Where do the all meet? In church? At The Learning Center? At a BDSM mixer?

I went out for my birthday, wondering what this year would hold. Would I meet a guy who would capture my heart? My imagination? And also pull at my vagina strings? I blew out my candle on my Key Lime pie and made a wish. 15 minutes later I got the number from the 27 year old raised by hippies. It’s still sitting on my dresser, crumpled up, I took it out of my jeans pocket along with some loose change. I haven’t thrown it out yet, but I haven’t called. It actually says “text me”. A nice middle-aged guy would have said “call me.” More likely he would have said, “why bother” to himself, and gone home and watched The History Channel. All I need is one middle-aged man with the balls of a 27 year old. Big Pharma, are you listening?

Monday, August 17, 2009


A half a baseball-sized lump suddenly popped out of my leg, but had now almost disappeared into the amoeba of yellow/green skin on my left shin.

I dropped my scooter the first week I had it. I was teaching myself how to ride in the Ikea parking lot, I took a turn too wide, hit the break and grabbed the throttle toward me in my panic - I crashed into a curb, the sea grass planted there softening my fall. At the time my knee was slightly skinned, I got off easy, I thought. My scooter wouldn’t start, I could smell the gas - I knew it was flooded. I finally gave us both a breather, went in to Ikea and had a lovely breakfast overlooking the parking lot. There stood the scooter alone, all triumphant at 9:30 in the morning. I knew everything would be alright. It was a right of passage to drop it. Well fed on powdered eggs and turkey sausage, I went out to see how she was feeling, she started right up and we continued to ride for another couple of hours. They say “when you fall get right back on the bike.” This time it wasn’t a metaphor.

When I woke up the next day, I had difficulty walking. I had a nice limp going. Day three post drop I was sitting at my computer and felt a strange tightness on my left shin. I peeled back my pant leg and saw the half a baseball.. My girlfriends had warned me, begged me not to do this. I was wondering what it would have looked like if I had dropped a 600 pound motorcycle – glad I started small.

I would do it all over again. Buying the two wheels, taking the fall, temporarily screwing up my leg. It’s been over a week, and I’m getting better everyday. The baseball is more of a hard-boiled egg. My circles in the parking lot at Ikea are perfect, my figure eights are spot on. My heart is no longer in my throat in heavy traffic. This is what happens when you get right back on that bike.

When I was a kid, I had a bad fall on my bicycle. I chipped my front tooth, the right side of my face was taken over by a giant scab. I was full of fear after that. A couple of decades later on Fire Island, I went over the handlebars missing a turn, I walked that bike back to the rental house on the beach, shaken. A year later, I bought a mountain bike, my first day out someone opened a car door in my path. I gave the bike away the very next day.

Now, you couldn’t get this scooter away from me, no matter how hard you tried. Throw it at me, the baseball, the drunk driver honking and tailing me one night on Henry St., almost forcing me off the road. The homeboy that pulled a startling swerve around me to run the red light. The car service driver full force on the horn, coaxing me to pull across into heavy oncoming traffic. The anorexic cyclist who decided to take his chances, speeding across my path as I rounded the corner in a pee in your pants near miss. None of this makes me want to turn my keys in. My past fears are no more. My fear now is of life passing without the thrill of riding on two wheels - the “wheeee!” sensation traded in for an AARP membership card. It’s not about risk taking behavior. I’m stopping at yellow lights, enrolling in Motorcycle Saftety school, purchased a full face helmet - in spite of the fact that feels like a plastic bag being slowly tightened around my head. I do want to live – emphasis on LIVE. I want to fly on my scooter, maybe one day ride a motorcycle, own a Harley, BMW, maybe even a Moto Guzzi. By then I should have an AARP card in my wallet - I'm hoping it will get me a sweet deal at the Ducati dealership.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I don’t think I know myself very well. When I was in my twenties, I thought I was a lesbian. My mother said, “I know you, honey - you’re no lesbian.” But she’s my mom, I thought, “she’s biased.” I was telling my friend Amy about outing myself to my mom. “Come ON, claud, I know you. You are NOT a lesbian. It was settled. I was no lesbian, just ask the girls. I was confused about my sexuality, but they knew better.

My brother Rob called me on it recently. He noticed that I never made a decision without consulting everyone around me. He said I exhaust all my resources, leave no stone unturned. Do I do this because no one knows me better than them? Where are my instincts? Have I made so many mistakes that I just don’t trust that inner voice? Truth be told, there is no one voice, there are many, and they are often speaking over each other.

I’ve been obsessing about buying a vehicle on two wheels. A motorcycle. A scooter. Motorcycle. Scooter. I finally settled on the scooter. Then I asked my friend Brian. I consult with him about all things major, we used to date – on and off for years. He knows me better than I know myself. He’s my go-to guy on all things ME. But today, my mind was made up when we spoke. I was set on the scooter. I simply had to decide between The Vespa or The Buddy. “You’ll never be happy with a scooter, Claudia - get the bike.”

“LIAR!!!! LIAR!!!!!!!! PANTS ON FIRE!!!!!!!!,” my friend Mel responded to an email that I sent her, explaining that I had no feelings left for someone I had broken things off with. It rang true, but I had wholeheartedly believed what I had said. How did she know me better than I knew myself? I hate and love her for her ability to call me on my self-deception. This much I know.

“Why do my friends and family know me so much better than I know ME,” I’ve keep wracking my brain. I’ll just call Brian, IM Amy, or email Mel. They’ll know.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


He was lying face down on my floor, and I was staring at his plumber’s butt. No, I say this literally, and for the first time favorably - he is actually my plumber. And I have a crush on him as big as a Home Depot.

He wasn’t showing crack, just some grey cotton briefs, like a generic Calvin Klein. They were peaking out of his big and tall denim jeans. Well, ‘peaking’ is kind of a diminutive descriptor for a man who probably weights near 300 lbs. He’s a big one, possibly 6’4”, reddish hair, stocky and solid. There he was in my kitchen with his head under my sink, he came right over when I called him. Came over in a flash, with a smile on. Free of charge. He had hooked up my new dishwasher and it was running perfectly, only without any water. He called me two minutes after I left my damsel in distress message, showed up downstairs 45 minutes flat. The electrician had twisted the hose when he slid the unit back into place, my plumber said with a wink as he hopped up to stand like a somewhat cumbersome Jack In The Box.

The first time he came over to give me an estimate I was quite taken. He looked like the kind of guy that you’d see in shop class when you passed by there on the way to Home Ec. Blue eyes, uncombed wild hair, handsome. Denim on top, denim on the bottom. He probably owned a Camaro at one point.

One time I busted him checking out my ass when I turned around suddenly. After that, I imagined him pinning me up against the wall. Putting his wrench down and putting his largeness against me full force. Taking care of all of my plumbing needs, gratis. My leaky shower, the broken handle on my terrace faucet, maybe even installing one of those removable shower sprays and getting creative with it. Then we could order an extra large pizza and watch WWE championships on the tube and cuddle. He looks like he’d be the best cuddler ever.

I do have some more projects around the house that I could give him, legitimate reasons to call him. But I’ll never have the courage to tell him how I feel. How comfortable I am around him, how he makes me laugh with his everyman stories. How it makes me blush when he undercharges me. He’ll never know how I’ve thought about being held by him, wondering what his deep voice sounds like in bed, would he talk dirty, would he talk sweet, or would he be guttural. I guess I’ll never know.

It’s weird. I’m usually not shy. I’ve smirked at bikers at gas stations, flagrantly flirted with Sergeants on duty. Yet this plumber leaves me dumbstruck. How I’d love to make him pot roast. Reward him for changing a light bulb with magnificent head. Order him a pizza with four different meats: pepperoni, sausage, buffalo, and wild boar. But my plumber will never make it to my bedroom - never step naked into my shower stall – at most he’ll fix a drip fully clothed, charge me too little, staying forever frozen in my mind, lying there face down on my kitchen floor.

Monday, July 20, 2009


They should have a calendar of them: “The Christmas Tree Men of Carroll Gardens”. Each and every month would be December, each one better than the next.

They ascend on my neighborhood every holiday season. These guys that sell trees to all the people here that live in historic brownstones. It seems like there’s one on every corner, filling the neighborhood with holiday cheer, the verdant scent of pine and testosterone. They come from upstate, Vermont, or Maine. They sell Scotch Pine and Douglass Fir and sometime maple syrup. They have big shoulders, nicely weathered skin, beards or goatees. I wanted to purchase one of them, put him in the corner of my living room and light him up for the holidays.

One of these guys set up shop right across the block from me. He was just my type, looked like he could bench a Poplar, had a closely trimmed beard, and shaved head. He didn’t have the tallest trees, or the widest trees, but they were very nice trees, indeed. He had a warm smile and a ready ‘hello’ every time I passed my corner. I found myself looking for reasons to go out in the cold, I started to take only 20’s from the ATM just so I could pass his spot with more frequency.

That Saturday night I went to dinner at the restaurant on the corner right across from his tree depot. It was my neighborhood place, I knew everyone there. I could go and sit there at the bar, have a glass of wine and some food and feel right at home. I walked in around 9 and alas, he was there at a table, sitting alone. He had treated himself to a big steak, and was drinking a glass of wine. I took a seat at the bar, and pretended not to notice, I couldn’t believe that he was actually there - I didn’t want to seem all excited. The waitress took my order, we chatted a bit. I was taking him in out of the corner of my eye. He had finished most of his steak, and was standing up. A little holiday depression washed over me, my timing had been off - he was leaving. But he walked over to me, and said, “do you mind if I join you?”

His name was “Tom”. He put down his wine glass next to mine, they looked so pretty sitting next to each other on the bar that way. He excused himself and grabbed his plate, and sat himself next to me. He was wearing Levi’s and a white cable knit sweater. He smelled like fresh snow and maybe Merlot. He ordered a bottle of wine from the waitress. She gave me a “well, look at you” look, before she went off to fetch it.

“Merry Christmas to me,” I thought. He was handsome and seemed kind. And he wasn’t from upstate, or Maine, or even across town. He lived on Sackett Street. A half a block from me. Turned out he spent half the year in Florida, the rest of it, in my home sweet neighborhood. He seemed bright, earnest, he was into wines, golfing, and he said that he dedicated most of his time to being a fine arts painter. It was his passion. He lived in a brownstone that he owned, lived in two floors, and rented out the other two. He sold Christmas trees to round out his income. I thought he was just lovely. We chatted for a couple of hours, I picked at my salmon, I was more taken by his unusually clear blue eyes. The wine was washing over me, it was going to be a great holiday, it seemed, even though my family would be spending it in California, and I would be spending this year’s holiday alone. But things were shaping up nicely, it seemed. He was single, outdoorsy, owned a beautiful home, and had dedicated his life to Christmas trees and painting in oils. Around midnight he excused himself, he said he had to get up early. I imagined him going deep in to the woods, snow crunching beneath his Timberlands, axe in hand - returning with all 15 trees over his shoulder, throwing them in to one of those old station wagons with the wood paneling on the side. He said, “I’m sure I’ll see you very soon,” kissed me on the cheek, drained his glass, and went out in to the cold.

I thought of us a year from now, opening gifts around the perfect tree. He would choose the best one out of all of the trees in the woods for me, we would trim it together. He would climb the ladder to put the star on the top, where I would have a bird’s eye view of his perfect Levi’d butt. We would drink hot cocoa that I would make from scratch, I would have to find out how to do that. We would make homemade waffles together, and pour his syrup generously over them, then kiss, wonderful maple syrup kisses, sticky sexy and sweet.

I waited until after 2 that day to leave the apartment, I didn’t want to seem all anxious to see him. I stayed across the street on the way to the ATM to get my 20, he saw me, and we waved, and he winked. I hung out inside the bank vestibule for a while, warming up, trying to calm down, I was planning to walk on the same side of the street of his tree stand. I prayed that I would time it right, that he wouldn’t be hocking pine to a woman that hadn’t been fucked by her husband in a long time, there were a lot of them in the neighborhood, and they tended to spend a lot of time lurking around these Christmas tree men.

But Christmas Tree Tom was there alone, rubbing his gloved hands together, trying to stay warm. He threw me a big “HEY!!” as I walked towards him, I got a cold kiss on my cheek. We made small talk, and then the Christmas miracle I had been praying for all year long came true. He asked if I would like to come over to his brownstone and see his ‘work’ and have a glass of wine. The man wanted to share his passion with me, he wanted me to see his paintings, to open his soul, a bottle of fine wine, maybe he would make a fire, who knew where the night would lead! He told me to meet him back at that corner just after 8. Then Christmas Tree Tom and I would head down the block to his cozy home and live happily ever after. “Yes, I would love that,” I said. The holiday’s rock, I thought, like I’d never thought otherwise.

I went down a couple minutes after 8, after trying on several - I’m sexy, and ready to look at your oil paintings and maybe make out under the mistletoe - outfits. He looked cold, and happy to see me. He locked up the gate that held his inventory, and we walked up the snowy sidewalk, he opened the cast iron gate to his house, it was so pretty. Charming, with antique shutters, snowed over flower boxes at every window. He opened the door to his first floor apartment - the floors were dark stained and welcoming. The living room had only a grand piano, and a very large Christmas tree, already lit, throwing color all over the freshly painted walls. There were grand, 20 ft tall pocket doors at the end of the vast room, he gestured towards them and said, “Come. See my work.” He ceremoniously slid them open and proudly walked through. They were everywhere, lining the walls, on multiple easels. The most horrifyingly bad paintings I had ever seen in my entire lifetime. Each of them a portrait, ugly, immature, inexcusably bad; garish colors, unskilled, no sense of space or dimension. Paintings you might expect to see at a garage sale marked one dollar, still there at the end of the day. I didn’t know where to look. I couldn’t look at the canvases, I certainly couldn’t look at him, I looked at the floors, covered in muslin sheets, paint splattered, no indication that only a fraud traipsed them.

Christmas fucking sucks, I thought. I had to get out of there immediately, go home and cry - then maybe go out for a bite to eat. Christmas Tree Tom was beaming at me, arms open, gesturing towards the dreck on display. “They’re incredible. Absolutely unbelievable,” I responded to his unfaltering grin. I told him that I was late, that I had to meet friends for dinner. There were no friends, they had all left for the holidays with their boyfriends to meet their families. We walked back out through the room with the perfect tree and the mahogany grand piano, thank God he hadn’t offered to play, or worse, sing. His gift for the arts promised to be disastrous in every medium.

I saw him the next day on the corner from across the street. He still looked very handsome, but now different - sort of like when you see a mentally disabled guy who is blessed with really good looks. I felt a little sad for him. I gave him a little wave, and headed on down the street to my corner ATM. I took out 200 dollars this time and headed home to hunker down for the long winter ahead.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


She was so pretty. I met her on Craigslist. Just sitting there on the bench outside the bakery, all blond hair, sundress, flash of perfect white teeth. I was selling a little antique diamond ring - she adored it. Somehow, by the end of our exchange, she was holding my hand, the two of us bonding over finding work during these crazy times. She was an advertising photographer, she promised to help me find writing work.

When I returned home, there was an email waiting there for me. She sent me her website, it was elegant, like her. I sent her mine back – it was straightforward, like me. We complimented each other's sites, and started talking in emails. She was in the process of stacking diamond rings on her finger, her engagement ring felt lonely, she said. There was a vision in her head, and wondered if I could help. She was hoping for another diamond ring to flank her engagement ring, one that would go with the one she had just purchased. Her instincts were right. I did have another ring similar to it, one that my first serious boyfriend had given me on our first trip to England. I felt comfortable selling it to Annabelle, I liked the thought of her having something personal of mine. I felt like I’d known her my whole life. She wanted to ride her bike over to my house that moment, she didn’t realize that the skies were about to open up and explode rainstorms all over the borough. She emailed me a half hour later, and told me to go outside, that it was a sight to see. The misty pre-storm demeanor of the night was magical. I stepped out to the terrace, and we shared it from our far corners of Brooklyn. She was so cool, this Annabelle. She even had a cool name.

She emailed me again just after noon the next day, she wanted to meet up, and see the England ring. We met inside Trader Joe’s, next to the free coffee. She was flush from walking, wearing a lovely little linen dress, she kissed me hello. God, she’s perfect, I thought, taking in her beauty. These women that are so perfect, how do they do it? Blond hair, lovely skin, perfect tits, and a husband that proposed to her with a lovely antique diamond ring, the one she was now wearing with the one she had bought from me the day before. Surprise! A precious little white dog popped his head up out of her little black bag.

I asked her about her husband. She said that he was an alcoholic, and they had separated. He never loved her the way she had loved him and just before his year anniversary of sobriety, he had asked for a divorce. Her white Maltese puppy had an incurable life threatening disease, she didn’t know how long he had to live. We talked about dating, she said she had met someone – they’d been together for four months, and in spite of her bipolar disorder, it was still going well. She thought that her recently discovered mental disorder might have been related to her MS that she had been diagnosed with 7 years ago, but she would never know for sure.

She took the ring off my finger and slipped it on to hers. It looked perfect with the other rings on her beautiful slender hand. She pulled four crisp fifties out of her bag, and tucked them into my hand, like a best friend passing a secret note in class. She kissed me on the cheek again, she smelled so good, it wasn’t some perfume, it was shampoo, or just her, I couldn’t tell. She took both my hands in to hers and thanked me, and skipped off into the day. Her blond hair bobbing against her athletic tanned back, her long legs gilded in strappy gold sandals – my God, I thought, she really is perfect.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I made Sunday Breakfast on Thursday. The link sausages surrender under the squeeze of my fork, the maple rising up, having it’s way with me. Divine, and simple, I haven’t had these in months. The kitchen is in. The fire is up on two burners now, eggs crackle and snap on browning butter, sour dough toast to sop running yolk. Sitting at my new kitchen island, eating all of this, the cruise ship my morning view. All the passengers, I imagine de-embarking. Home from a glorious cruise to who knows where. Going back to their jobs, setting their alarms. But I’m having Sunday Breakfast on a Thursday, living large, being all laid off.

It’s been months, and it never gets old. I can’t do this forever, but I get it while the going's good. 2 hour walks, meandering to The Promenade, enjoying the late cool of the afternoon. Taking joy lessons from my dog, Rosie – idiot grinning the whole way – pulling me towards pretty girls and strong handsome men.

Cold streams travel down my arm from my glass, joy rivers my throat – pink lemonade on ice, vodka greedily taking up the space to rim. It’s Thursday evening, from the high point of my terrace; the sun is pink and being pulled somewhere else. A roast chicken is in the oven – chicken broth fattens basmati rice, greens soon to yield to olive oil, lemon, and mustard. Maybe I will fire up the ice cream maker. Stay up late.

It’s Thursday night, and I’m unemployed. Time to celebrate.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I was having an issue in my life, the subtleties of which my friends and family couldn’t understand. I was in a relationship with someone who was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and it was starting to affect my mental health. My friends couldn’t understand my inability to extricate myself, so I turned to the web for insight. I read numerous threads, immersed myself in websites, trying to understand what was happening to him, happening to me. But I needed to talk to someone else, someone who had first hand, hands on experience, so I turned to the ultimate random sample of a support group: Craigslist.

I posted in Boston, in the relationship section. I wrote a simple post, asking anyone with experience dating folks with bipolar to drop me a line. I needed to move on with my life, but wanted a push from people that had been there and done that.

The response I got was incredible. I got words of encouragement, specific advice, stern words of warning from a slew of significant others. I also received a fair amount of emails from those diagnosed with the disorder, which was fascinating and touching. But one letter moved me to the core. It was from a guy who had gotten out of 2 relationships with women who had BP. His letter had a grace and eloquence about it that was startling. His advice was succinct and unfaltering. His command of the subject, through personal experience resonated with me to the core. His email was compelling, insightful, and ultimately motivating.

Who was this guy, I wondered, as I hit reply. He seemed absolutely incredible, kind, and brilliant. He wrote back immediately. We exchanged a couple of more emails about our experiences with our BP relationships, he soon attached a photo. He was as handsome as he was brilliant. 32 years old, goatee, jeans and t-shirt, petting a Golden Retriever, I had struck gold. I sent him my photo and it was on. He lived in Boston, but visited friends New York every 2 or 3 months. He was raised not far from where I lived. After exchanging a few emails, I was smitten.

The next morning I woke up, and saw another email from him, I couldn’t wait to read it. I got my coffee, I could see it was a nice long letter when I opened it up. He shared loving details about his parents, how the art of great writing had been instilled in him from an early age – that he was now a writer by profession. His eloquence was evident in every sentence. His goateed image was imprinted on my mind, I could hear the pant of the Golden Retriever in my ear. He had attached some more photos, ones he said I had inspired. I looked forward to seeing him in another jeans shot, perhaps in front of a quaint barn somewhere, or on a motorcycle, or at the beach. I scrolled down the page and was startled by the unmistakable color of raw flesh. I scrolled apprehensively – it soon revealed the head of a penis. I scrolled further, to reveal the shaft. The penis head was interestingly shaped, not really bulbous, and it was attached to a delicately thin shaft. It was simply that, a penis, it was floating in mid air, not even attached to its owner. I was dumbfounded. But wait, there were 3 more images. I continued to scroll down the page. Alas, the second photo celebrated the same penis, from a differently skewed angle, redundant at best. The third photo, yet another glory shot of the same penis. Again, completely isolated, not attached to a person, a hand, or presented on a velvet pillow. Yet there was one last photo that had yet to be revealed. As I slowly scrolled down the page, the image appeared to be different, it wasn’t flesh colored, it was something else. The image was of me. It was my photo, the photo I had sent him, with the aforementioned dick poised at my mouth. He had taken my tiny jpeg, blown it up on his computer screen life sized, took out his erect Johnson, placed it at my mouth, and snapped the pic. I was dumbstruck and revolted, all my dreams of having something meaningful with this guy, dashed in a couple of dick shots.

It’s not like I’ve never received a dick in an email before. Any woman who’s dated online probably has at least one dick shot to report. Yet, this man, so eloquent, kind, insightful just shooting his dick off to me at the end of an email extolling his parent’s loving upbringing of him. There was no warning, no flirting, no open at your own risk, there was just DICK, times four. The grand finale: his dick forcing it’s way in to my mouth.

I couldn’t let it go. The dick shots had a hold on me, I had to know what he was thinking. So I wrote back and asked him what would inspire him to send me disembodied shots of his Johnson, out of context in a photographic sense, or in any rational sense.

He said that the smirk on my face in my photo indicated that I had a filthy mind, it apparently also implied that it needed to have a penis pressed against it. Given that I lived 3000 miles away, he said he’d thrown caution to the wind (and as a result any chances of getting near me), he then went on to ask me if I happen to wear a very specific sexy outfit: black shiny boots, short pin-striped skirt, and a belted beige trench coat. Why, I just happened to be wearing that exact outfit, or was I simply reading all of this in a t-shirt and jeans – and a big sad look on my face – a hybrid of heartbreak and revulsion.

That was that. I had vowed to see the red flags with any guy I’m considering dating, in this case the red flag was a gently curved, oddly shaped flesh pole.

This man was so “together”, the antithesis of the man I was breaking up with. Yet he was flawed, somehow off – perhaps mentally askew. I wondered what happened to the guy in the first photo, with the kind eyes, the one that was crouched down, patting that Golden Retriever. Does that guy exist? Is anyone ever even close to that idealized image? Do we all have some pathology? Are we all somewhere on the continuum of madness? The guy I had dated existed to the right of the scale, it was sometimes a nightmare, sometimes part of his allure. Me, I was definitely dancing somewhere on the continuum. Dating this man had brought out sides of me that scared the heck out of me, made me question my sanity, my resistance to seeking therapy. Then there was my goateed, Golden Retriever petting dick shot guy. Where was he on the continuum? Did his series of dick shots indicate a lack of mental stability, or simply a lack of judgment? Who could say. All I knew was that his dick was a deal breaker.

As I move forward to date again, I do so with my eyes wide open. I’m looking for the red flags before they sting my face. I know that everyone has ‘stuff’ and ‘baggage’, and it’s tricky to see it clearly at the beginning or to decipher how much you can take. I also know that I bring my own finely honed array of mental flaws, but self-awareness is key. So I gain insight from my friends, my family, those who know me best, but I also garner wisdom from complete utter strangers: the rag tag bunch on Craigslist. I have been moved and motivated by their amazing wisdom, touched by their anonymous support, and yes, consistently appalled by their random and purely unsolicited dick shots.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I found a sub-culture of men on Craigslist that were in need of my services.
They weren’t boys looking for someone to spank, or someone to marry for a green card, or someone to take shopping on Victoria’s Secret in exchange to be seen on their arm at the mall.

These guys were really nice, typically in their mid-twenties, cute, kind, and sincere. These were guys that wanted to propose to their girlfriends. They didn’t have 10 grand to spend on a ring, or 5 grand, or even 500. Their budgets were usually around $100-$400, and I became the girl that could accommodate them.

I found this niche in an odd sort of way, I had listed a couple of rings of mine on Craigslist, some of them with tiny diamonds, and I started to get mail from these young guys. They would ask me if this ring would make a good engagement ring, and they would purchase it, sometimes after making installments of $20 dollars a week. I had a soft spot for these guys, and a need for cash. That’s when the business woman in me rose up and I realized, that there was money to be made here.

So started to troll ebay for vintage engagement rings that I could purchase with enough room for a mark up. A lot of these rings on ebay were expensive, but I soon learned how to search the ones that fell through the cracks, the ones that were dirt cheap, from people that didn’t know what they had, or how to list them with the proper search words.

Pretty soon, I had a vast collection of really pretty vintage engagement rings, and I started to list them on Craigslist for my target market of commitment ready love smitten boys.

The business started to pour in, the guys would come by to our predetermined meeting place, usually the pizzaria, where they had good lighting, which would the diamonds to be shown to their best advantage. In almost every case, the fellow would ask me “the history” of the ring. I started to make up stories, they wanted something to tell their future fiancés, so I came up with one that I settled on. My mother grew up in Dayton, Ohio, a quaint town that’s name had a great romantic, quaint ring to it. So, I said that I had been visiting my dear Grandmother there, and that we had come upon a charming little antique store, and that I had purchased the ring from there, to mark the trip. The truth was, I had never been back to visit my grandmother in Dayton since I was a child, she was a deeply troubled woman who was very hard to be around, I had been reading up on Borderline Personality Disorder recently, and she was textbook. I had gone back to Dayton once since my childhood, to go to her burial, at the request of my mother. There was no cherished Grandmother, no antique shop, there was no ring as a momento of the trip, there was just this story, but minutes after telling the tale to the eager young buck, I would close the sale.

This was over a year ago, I had since gotten out of the engagement ring business, but I had a ring or two left, and I listed one yesterday. It was very similar to one I had sold to a fellow, many rings of this era had a very similar look. Soon, I got an email from sweet sounding girl. It was a nice note, asking politely to arrange to come by and take a look at it the very next day. I responded immediately. As soon as I hit ‘send’, I got another email in my inbox. It was from this guy, “Patrick”. He was panicked. He had bought a very similar ring from me for his fiancé a year ago, he had implied to his fiancé that it had been expensive, although the ring had cost him just over $100. Now this similar ring was listed, at the same price, and his fiancé spotted it on Craigslist. She thought it was the identical ring, that it was a scam, or that perhaps he had paid 100 dollars for her ring, so she told him that she was going to respond to the post. And now it was too late, I had responded, and I told poor Patrick so. He emailed me back, said that he had quickly gone in to her email, and deleted my response, and if he promised to come by the next day by noon and purchase this ring as well, would I promise to immediately delete the posting, and I obliged him.

He came by just now, such a kind, sweet young man, an earnest smile and big blue eyes that never lie. He took a look at the ring, and actually liked it better than the one his fiancé now wore. He joked that he would switch it out on her finger, when she was sleeping, but the truth was, he would now have this second ring in secret, forever. I told him not to keep it in their apartment, that she would surely find it, and then there would be no turning back. He had already figured out a place for it, he would hide it between the pages of a book, in his office, where it, and his secret would stay hidden ‘til the end of time.

He handed me the money, plus a little extra for my duplicity. We talked about his karma around this episode, and I wondered about mine. Was the Dayton, Ohio story the beginning of the spiral downward? Was it wrong to paint that romantic picture for the wide-eyed buyer? Was it wrong for him to exaggerate its value? Was there just no turning back when he went in to her email, and deleted my email? At what point does that white lie turn black - when he snuck out on his lunch hour to buy the twin, when he told her he was just going out to have a sandwich in the park? Lies can start out so small, but you blink, and somehow they multiply and morph in to say, "The Giant Ring That Ate A Marriage". But Patrick and his fiancé are getting married next June, in a barn, out in Connecticut, at least that’s what he said. And me, I still have two vintage engagement rings left to sell. And when I’m standing with that next earnest young man, and he wants to hear that pretty story, I’m going to think twice before I take him back to that little antique store in Dayton, Ohio.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I could have stayed in bed a lot longer this morning. My sheets were new and crisp, the room was cool, the fan was whirring me back into my pillow, but I knew the day had plans to be overtaken by rain – I had to jump on this day while it was still dry and new.

Out on the street, submerged in my ipod, sneakers on, I had the sidewalk solo. As soon as I crossed Atlantic Ave, picking up the pace, the rest of the neighborhood was beginning to wake. Cinnamon, bacon, and toast came in gentle waves; a woman was crossing the street drinking coffee from a porcelain mug, leisurely, like she was crossing her living room.

I took the turn up to The Promenade, and saw the grey, magnificent expanse of lower Manhattan. Other women were rising to the occasion alongside me. Sports bras, ponytails, each of us wired to the same tune, running past the old man in the wheelchair, holding “Awake”, the Jahova Witness periodical, holding it perpendicular to his broken body, he was jumping on the day with the rest of us.

At the other end of The Promenade, the Chinese tourists, a mother, a dad, and a son, taking turns with the camera, to snap the other two. I stopped, out of breath, so they could have a shot of themselves all together – it was selfish, I wanted to take this moment home with me, too.

That’s the thing about odd hours when no one is around – be it that half hour between thunderstorms, or daybreak, or 3 AM. There’s an intimacy about it, you can actually see others, because they’re just on the edge of your solitude.

The Promenade started to thicken with people as I came back from my third loop. A group of Italian tourists now clogged the center of the strip. The men in their cargo vests with multiple pockets, the women with their loafers and cardigans and tasteful gold jewelry – taking in America, me, in a feverish sweat and sneakers, white wires flowing from my ears, I didn’t disappoint. Yet I smile at each tourist as I pass, who am I? The morning has had its way with me.

Now, raindrops single me out, and preview the inevitable downpour. I still have time to make it home, I am damp from the exercise and the morning that is now thick and wet, I make it upstairs and it is pouring through the open terrace door. The drench is in, I am already in my head canceling my plans to attend The Coney Island Mermaid Parade, I am not much of a mermaid. Perhaps that’s why I took my two feet and jumped on the day.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I’ve spent months explicitly documenting my sexually charged relationship with a biker, did multiple blogposts depicting my encounters with sociopaths, addicts, and cons, and a few wistful pieces about the kind, healthy men that have crossed my path. Months and months of writing, practicing my craft on a daily basis, yet none of this prepared me for what I was now faced with - writing a handful of headlines for a car company’s website.

I was stunned when I first sat down to work. I’ve been an advertising writer since I was practically a kid, I was raised on copywriting – my dad, a superb award-winning writer had supplied the advertising gene, as well as a good dose of encouragement after cutting me off financially the day I graduated from school.

I used to do this stuff in my sleep. Churn it out while watching TV, surfing the web, fulfilling huge assignments on my way in on the subway; successfully tuning out blood curdling religious zealot's rants, clown-faced accordion player’s bombardments, full tilt boom-box accompanied break dancers scrambling at my feet. No problem. People would find out what I did for a living, and ask me about the fear, the pressure, I always told them it was a snap, it was in my blood, it was nothin’ but fun.

But now my advertising gifts were nowhere to be found. I was working on an account that I had already worked on for months back when I had the full-time gig at the ad agency. Now they were asking me back freelance, and I was frozen.

There was a format to adhere to, a sort of fill-in-the-blanks-but-better-be-damn-clever kind of thing. The months I had spent writing free form about desire, illicit behavior, vice and love was of no use to me now. Now that I needed it, now that I was being paid in more than compliments, comments on a thread, or in number of thrusts administered by my narcissistic boyfriend that I often penned about. Now I was getting paid in real cash dollars for a few lines of content, and I was choking.

So I stopped staring at the pulsing cursor on my computer screen, which startled the voice in my head and it’s ruthless chant, ‘The Gift Is Gone’. I thought maybe I should take it out for a bite to eat, get it a glass of wine, and maybe a nice piece of fish. I called my friend Lynda in the city, and see if she wanted to join us, and it was a go.

I showered, got dressed and headed in. I walked up to the subway and put money on my Metrocard, it had been some time since I had taken the train. As a blogger, I usually spent my days local, grabbing coffee at the local bakery, walking around the ‘hood, taking out from my favorite ethnic spots, it was kind of exciting sliding my newly filled card through the turnstile, pushing the metal bar with my hips, I was subterranean again, the train thundered in, stopped, the doors whooshed open, and I took my seat.

I was headed in to Manhattan as others were heading home to Brooklyn, I had the car almost to myself. I sat down as the train lurched out of the station. I did a quick scan of the car, the ads that ran above the windows, the other people in the car. And then it came – almost as furiously as that train had pulled around the bend and into The Borough Hall station: the ideas started to fill my head. All the headlines that had tortured me throughout the day were being solved by some unidentifiable source much greater than the writer I had been an hour ago. I pulled out my iphone and started to type them in as fast as I could. It was hard to keep up. One, then another, and another, and then a better version, and then an alternate, all the headlines seemed to be born of the tremorous rumble of the 4 train.

By the time I reached my destination, I had solutions for every problem I had to solve.
I wasn’t sure I would end up using those specific ideas, but I knew that the voice of doubt in my head was mercilessly squashed under the tracks of that train, I could now have dinner alone with my friend, a great bottle of wine, some good food, maybe we would even go for appetizers, I had found my gift – somewhere there on the tracks between Brooklyn and East 73rd street, and I was in the mood to celebrate.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


It had been a humid Friday. Hours after the sun went down, I went out to walk my dog, it was pleasant out and I felt relaxed. A couple blocks up, I ran into him. This beautiful Italian boy/man I had met in the pizzaria a couple of years ago. I was sitting eating a slice when he came in. He walked in, he was so beautiful, I couldn’t lift my slice to my lips. As he walked towards me, he brazenly attached himself to my eyes, it made me feel almost embarrassed, like my well of hunger was showing. I would run into him occasionally after that, he lived just a couple of blocks from me. We eventually started talking, exchanged numbers, he never minced words, he scared me. It was my raw sexuality daring me to do something awful and wonderful, how could I?

Now, a couple of years later, he was there again, on this sticky night. I was freshly showered and wearing my favorite perfume that I always put on fresh out of the shower, if I have a date, if I’m going to bed alone, even if I’m going out to walk the dog. He was coming down the steps of his brownstone with his beagle, he looked at me with his usual I’d-still-like-to-fuck-the-shit-out-of-you smirk. And at that moment, I thought maybe tonight is the night that I’d like him to yes, fuck the fucking shit out of me. I thought of his taught 30 year old body standing in front of my bed, his cock with an audience of me. Thoughts and images flooded me, my perfume started to intensifying on my chest. I walked past him and started to strategize. I knew where he and the hound would walk, I thought how I could do a similarly timed loup, and find him again and approach him back here on my way back. I started to think about how much time I would need, what panties I would wear, and what I would let him do to me. What his t-shirt would smell like when he would pull me to him, how exquisite his tight chest would look as he pulled it up over his head. I was reeling with images and plans and timing, and that’s when I heard my name being called, it wasn’t the old school macho neighborhood accent of my prey, but of a couple that used to live in my building.

They were rounding the corner, I was immediately annoyed that they had interrupted my must get dirty sex plotting zone. They would throw me off my game, want to chat, blow my timing. I knew that my initial ‘hello’ must have sounded dismissive, it embarrassed me as it escaped my lips. They were a very cool couple. They had once invited me to drink champagne with them on the landscaped roof of my building. I remembered how random it was, and how much fun it had been. So I regrouped, and tried to appear relaxed as they approached to chit-chat. I still had the filthy boy/man’s phone number, if I missed him on this walk, I could still order him up like a pizza, and have him inside me within the next hour or so.

I politely asked them where they were coming from, they had been to Ikea, it had been a scene. They had bought a mattress, and returned some kitchen stuff they had found they didn’t need after all. I nodded and smiled, and said I had heard that Ikea was a scene on the weekends – that I sometimes went on weekdays to eat salad and enjoy the floor to ceiling glass view of Manhattan, having the entire dining room to myself. My subtext, the ripped, olive skinned dirty boy/man, who was no doubt circling back to his apartment by now, at this point I would have to go to plan “B”, and make that booty call. So I relaxed into the mundane Ikea-chat, which meandered into a brief discussion of the wonderful gourmet superstore down the cobble-stoned street from there. The two of them were heading in to the Japanese restaurant we were poised in front of, to have some drinks and a couple of rolls. I lied, and said that I was thinking about taking out some rolls from there, I wanted to throw them off, I was sure that they could see the intercourse in my eyes, my plan to fuck an almost stranger that I could never love.

But my lie turned into something unexpected, an invitation. They asked me to join them for a drink inside. I started to hedge, I thought about the boy/man’s tight stomach, how his Irish Spring underarms would smell tenting my face. “Come on,” the husband said. “Drop the dog home and come back.” His words cleared my head of its filth for a moment, my pussy exhaled and my stomach started to pipe up. “Okay,” I surrendered, “sounds nice,” as I did a 180 back towards my place. I passed the boy/man’s apartment. The lights were on now,
I imagined him up there watching TV and absentmindedly coaxing his cock to full-on hard. He had placed my hand on it once, through his pants, on his stoop one night when we were talking. It was absurdly large. But something else was pulling at me now – my dog and thoughts of sushi, so I put his cock back in his pants, and followed my preemptive thoughts home.

They were all smiles when I returned. I think my mixed signals had been picked up – they looked surprised that I had made it back. I ordered the beer that they were drinking, and he asked if he could order me the same sushi they had ordered for themselves, their favorite pieces at their new favorite place.

The beer was cold and gave me a light buzz, and relaxed me into accepting my high-jacked night that was transforming into something quite pleasant. They were as cool as I remembered from that night on our roof. He was a highly intelligent, well-traveled man who was cynically funny, she was a sweet, open Brazilian women, they had been married 30 years. We talked about all sorts of stuff, travel, tattoos, the fall of banking, his father who had been married 7 times. I looked at the two of them; they seemed to be happy. He was a bit critical of her, but it seemed to roll off her back, she would joke him out of it. 30 years between them, it made me feel silly, my plans to take a seriously younger, educationally challenged boy/man into my home to ride. I wondered what they would think if they knew. Would they find it absurd, or exciting? Would they still want to pick from the same bowl of edamame? It was fun hanging out with grownups. Talking about grown up stuff, eating grown up food. The sushi he ordered for all of us came out, it was fresh and wonderful, every bite felt new, I ate it slowly, savoring the evening, finishing long after their plates were clean. I couldn’t remember the last time I had sushi this good, or had sushi at all – I forgot how sexy it was. A young couple sat at the bar, feeding each other gleaming pieces of sashimi, and making out in between bites, they had rings on. They weren’t fucking strangers either – they would be fucking each other with abandon, as soon as possible after their check was paid.

The three of us at the table split another beer between us, got the check, my new friends insisting on treating. It was a random gesture that felt so good to me, I was ashamed that I had been initially annoyed at their approach, that I had tried to avoid this whole lovely impromtu gathering. This is the stuff that makes living feel special. It doesn’t have to be exceptional, dirty, or illegal. Pleasant, kind, and gentle took the day, and the pay-off was gently satisfying.

We walked out together, and gathered on the corner where the boy/man lived. I felt oddly at peace, almost like the feeling you have when you drift off to sleep in your lover’s arms. I didn’t look up to see if the boy/man’s lights were on, I didn’t give him another thought until I started to write this piece. I kissed both of them both goodnight on the cheek, and headed home, on down the sidewalk of this neighborhood that I’ve loved for decades. This is the stuff that’s good, that’s soul satisfying. It’s not something you do as an addiction, a reaction to something you’re feeling, it’s just an nice impromtu evening that happens if you let it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


We were on the phone until 2AM again, it had been happening a lot lately. He was a guy I had known for years, he was one of my partners back in the day at the ad agency, but lately it seemed that we were riding the line between friendship, romance, endearment, sexual innuendo, the gambit. Recently, in all these ways he was burrowing deeper in to my life. Texting me sometimes during the day just to see how my day was going, or on a Saturday, updates on what he was up to, asking me the same. And then the midnight phone calls came in, and his tenor would deepen. I started to pick up the phone more often lately – it was nice to have the sense that someone thought about you throughout the day, and wanted to hold you close to them at the very end of it.

These late night calls would be different in tenor, I didn’t always know who I would get.
Cliff was a superstar in the world. He was a huge gorgeous black man, with an always at the ready movie star smile. He had VIP Room status, partied with Yankies, people in the music business, and the fashion world. I had recently gone to his birthday party at an elegant club, the birthday boy maximus, a black man in a sea of blonds. I could tell that most of them had their hearts set on finding a slot in Cliff’s world, and I would look at him across the sea of peroxide heads, and he would see me, and in a glance let me know that I was floating somehow above them. About six months before we had run into each other again after not seeing each other for years, and we had begun to hang out a little, going to bars downtown with a couple of other people, until the nights would cull down to just the two of us, sitting alone side by side at the back of the bar, whispering in a simpatico lite beer trance.

And now months later, my phone would ring just past midnight. It would be Cliff sounding like a late night DJ, “hey, baby”… it would be Cliff The Enticer, or Cliff The Player, when he would tell me some recent exploit that read like a Penthouse Forum letter. Or there would be Cliff, the human being, the one I hoped it would be - heart in his hands, his PR agent gone from the building, the 6’5” man, now vulnerable and cupped in my hands. He would talk openly and simply about how he was feeling, and then open his ear to me, his give and take skills rivaling any of my closest female friends. He took my emotional well-being seriously, and would get his back up when he thought that I was being treated less than respectfully. “I have yet to hear anything in the plus column here,” he would firmly say in the space after my exhausting run on sentence justifying my involvement with some ne'er do well. His words, cutting through my mental crap with a cool thug-like delivery, like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction.

His protective instinct towards ran deep, he had come from a family of all women – a patriarchal mom and what seemed to be like 16 sisters, I could never keep track. His fate of being surrounded by females continued when he fathered two girls by his now ex-wife. He knew women well, how to listen, how to care about what he heard, how to nurture and protect them, and I was now one of them, gathered up in his strong arms with the few he held dear.

These days he was opening up to me without artifice, as part of our unspoken contract of care. It was uncanny to me, this man who encountered women on airplanes, hotels, bars, and public transportation who would ask for his email, his phone number, his shirt size, and his hotel room key. This mecca to beautiful women, handing me his soul through the receiver. Coming home after an award show or a night at one of the city’s hot new clubs, he would take off his custom tailored Ralph Lauren suit, his tone on tone silk tie, his 400 dollar shoes, and dial my number.

I wasn’t sure what my relationship with Cliff was headed, I wanted it to stay just so. I didn’t want it to become physical, and cause harm to what we had. I liked how he needed me now, how we needed each other, as friends, souls, kindred spirits, as children finding each other on the chaotic playground. He was my protector, the nightwatchman of my heart, and I felt tiny, yet strong under his watch.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


The heart is trying to keep the cunt down in the hole. The cunt is lurching, in need of a fix; addicted and awake at 4AM plotting.

The heart is exhausted. It's tried to reason with the cunt, comfort it, even take its side- but the cunt will hear nothing of it. The heart wants to be held, make a home cooked meal, to talk about stuff ‘til 3 AM, but there's no one around but that stupid cunt, pacing, choking, and cruel, spewing taunts from the filthy corner of the room. It wants no fucking pot roast and roasted potatoes, it's sickened by reason, it has no fucking problem.

The heart is so tired of living with this insidious cunt, sucking up all the air – refusing to listen to what it might need. The heart is overcome with a sudden impulse to strangle the life out of that selfish cunt – but that’s behavior unbecoming to a heart, the heart remembers and regains composure. Perhaps it could corner the cunt, and after a horrific struggle lock it in a room tied to the bed until the sweats and tremors subside. Could things ever be the way they were between them back when things were good? Holding hands strolling down the street, simpatico – finishing each others sentences? The heart longs to share its thoughts with the cunt, talking to it gently, calling it by some sweet term of endearment, might that put the cunt in a sentimental place, would it then listen to reason? “Aw, to heck with it, I’ll just go for a walk,” thought the heart, as it heard the cunt piping up back there in the other room.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


The scent of the weekend is on me. The air, the ocean, the smell of us pushing ourselves into each other, his chest against my face, his breath swirling with mine – our mouths wide open, pressed together, greedy for oxygen – as though we need it to keep fucking. This centrifuge of combined bliss, the brain tastes it at that moment, I try to hold on to it to reopen it later like some pate you hide in the back of the fridge. But it’s locked there in your subconscious, stubbornly waiting until the day it can spill itself all over that same experience when it happens again that exact same way; the memory attaching itself to that new same moment, multiplying it, amplifying it, the familiarity making it oddly more dizzying.

I am doused in him now, it’s lulling me to sleep – but I will wake and shower, and watch it puddle around my feet. There’s no holding on to this morning, this weekend, the taste of myself on his chin. It will all be usurped by Monday morning coffee, the smell of Tide, the scent of my showered skin. Soon, though, my body will ripen with want as I try to recall how the room filled with us as he pulled himself from inside me, or the essence of his breath as he lay sleeping and spent pressed against my neck. I’ll try my best to remember as I walk down the street, or drive around in my car, or maybe I’ll just wait until I’m naked in bed, nose pressed against unwashed sheets.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The plastic sheeting that separated my demo’d kitchen from my living room is down now. I can again see the lights and the water through the large window. The air from the terrace flows free through the doors and elicits my skin. The cabinets are here, one by one replacing sections of ravaged wall. Each one holding the promise that this will soon be home again. I look forward to friends standing around, the full hollow pop of that first bottle of wine uncorked on virgin countertops; the man that will come from my bedroom, satisfied, naked and hungry, kissing me on my mouth and neck, before the orange juice is poured, before the bacon spatters against the green glass backsplash. Everything will be new here. The wood, the metal, the granite, glass, how I am touched and held, the way his hand will coax a swell between my legs as we face each other barefoot on fresh tiles. The bacon, the eggs and toast preempted by sweat, perfume, and sunburned skin.

All of this is being installed behind me as I write; the cabinets, the gas range, the freshly squeezed juice, the smell of syrup, burnt toast, testosterone, and cum – everything I’ve dreamt of in this new kitchen.

Monday, May 25, 2009


He was the MAN in the fifth grade. It seemed like he was like 47. Michael was poised, wryly funny, audaciously charming, and solidly real, all by the age of 9. I don’t remember ever seeing him in the playground with the little boys – I would sometimes catch him standing alone under a tree, right outside our homeroom, I’d look up to him because he was very tall, and man sized, his proportions weren’t those of a boy’s, at least that’s how I remember him. We’d talk about the records that I would bring to the dance party I was planning for the class. I was on fire about music that spring, but I was captivated by Michael, the Man/Boy. I wanted to be close to him so his charm could rub off on me. I couldn’t get enough of him, and it wasn’t because he was the most handsome boy I had ever seen, there were some other cute boys in my class, but Michael was the first guy to make me feel like I was a big deal.

This weekend, we were riding around in his pick up truck, windows down, his American Spirits scenting my clothes. There were a bunch of us from high school - back in our hometown, for a reunion of our high school drama department. I had seen Michael on and off over those early years, but he seemed to move in and out of our town, like a pre-teen drifter. He went to rehab before I had ever seen a joint, there were rumors that he had moved with his mother at some point, I remember being shocked to hear that Michael even had a mother, he seemed to just come out of the woods each day, like he had raised himself back there, by a stream. I don’t remember seeing him again until we were in high school, both of us rehearsing for a production of Godspell, Michael, of course, was cast in the lead. He was always destined for greatness; he was recently elected First Selectman in the town where he lives.

And yesterday, I’m 9 years old again, still looking up at Michael as I sit next to him on the bench seat of his truck. I’m no longer talking to him about dance parties, now I’m about my life as it appears in my blog, of which he says he’s an avid follower. He likes all of it, not just the parts where I talk about masturbation, or fucking, or riding Harleys. He thinks I’m special not just when I’m naked, sucking cock, or being outrageous. But when I’m sitting next to him on the sofa, being insipid, talking about the guy I was dating, how the ride had always been crazy and bumpy. “You never saw THAT coming with this guy,” Michael says looking back at me, as he gets up to go outside and catch a smoke. Leaving me there feeling stupid and loved.

It was a great weekend, Michael was one of many who have my number and make me feel somewhat less ordinary. New friends can think you’re pretty great, but old friends know your history, know all your mistakes, knew you when you were un-cool, or did stupid things, and like you in spite of it. So they follow you through the years, are still curious to know how you’re doing, how your story came out. And that's why we all get together every decade or so.

And as I was driving away from the weekend last night, Michael’s voice was inside of me, deep, wise, kind, and ironic – that voice that he’s had since he was 8. I would follow it into the woods behind school, on to a ferry, across the world, because since I was a small girl, it had this magical power over me, almost making me feel like I was special, or something.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


My friend say’s I’m the least patient person EVER.

I never use a microwave or convection oven in the kitchen, I prefer to wait for the slow cook, the results are so much more satisfying. So why must I force the issue, break up on a dime, insist that a person talk to me when they won’t, rush to resolution? The story is unfolding right now, instead of just being, my finger is on the fast forward button. Pushing it, pushing it, no batteries in the remote.

I like TV, story start to finish in 59 minutes. But in the real world you have to wait to see how it all ends, but wait, there I go – it never does.

I like the idea that the story ark is not about May, or 2009, it’s a whole life ark. It’s a better way to identify algorithms, cosmic messages, or maybe just scrapbook if you’re not that deep.

So what’s the rush? My friend said that the mind abhors uncertainty. But everything’s uncertain. The breaths you take, your next could be it. You could fall in love next week. Your roof could leak next month. One thing is for certain, I am typing and there is satisfaction in that. The plate of eggs and toast in front of you, the certainty that your eggs are over easy, and your toast is a too well done but edible, that is certain and satisfying.

It’s certain that it’s a beautiful day right now. I’m certain that my stomach is growling. And I’m pretty certain that I may be in the mood to make myself cum today, it’s been way too long. But I’m not going to rush to finish, I’ll be the most patient person in the world: enjoy the build, bring myself to the edge, then slow it down, build it up again, just have fun with it – this whole experience is play time.


It was a beige canvas of regulars at the great table we all sat at in my corner bar restaurant, a klieg light of blondness drew my eye. He was 25, startlingly handsome, teeth so white your retnas narrow, the blond hair, the color you usually only see on 3 year old girls. I sat down at the table at the other end from him, everyone else burlap next to this kid. “Hey!” he called down to me. I couldn’t believe it took all of 15 seconds, “That’s Stephen Sprouse.” It took me a moment, I wanted to ride his comment slowly, it took a while to gel. “Your bag!” Oh, yeah, I paid a premium for my tiny Louis Vuitton bag, it was a special edition, The Graffiti Collection, by Stephen Sprouse. This kid had a tough street cadence, an awareness of fashion, apparently, with a voice packing a boom and surprising confidence for a kid his age. He popped up, and scraped his chair loudly across the floor, shoving it into mine. “Hi!” he said smiling, he was all teeth, I didn’t think he moved his lips. He knew he charged me, his face about an inch and a half away from mine. I jerlked my head back with the audacity of it, like he had pulled out his stiff cock. I ordered a glass of wine, he sucked down the rest of his Budweiser, and called out loudly for another. But what was up with the Stephen Sprouse comment, my gaydar wasn’t anywhere near even a low hum. Eddie was a renowned graffiti artist, a “tagger”, as they’re known. It’s an outlaw lifestyle that takes them into the streets, down into subway tunnels, and way up high on the sides of tall buildings. Cops hunt them but rarely catch them; Eddie had only been arrested twice. If it weren’t for my Louis Vuitton Graffiti bag, I’m not sure I would have had an entre into Eddie’s world.

The kid was intense. He had the laugh of a man much older and larger, it made me want to spend a lot of time around him. He asked me if I wanted to get out of there, the beers were too expensive. He grabbed his satchel, It was bulky and weighed down with what I didn’t know, perhaps a human head. I followed him out and down the sidewalk. He said, “wait right here,” like Peter Pan, and ducked into the bodega, and came out with a sixpack of Bud. “Your place is right here, right?” It was. The kid didn’t scare me, he was a good friend of the bar’s owner, I unlocked the door to my apartment. He strode out on to my terrace, uninvited, like the moon was calling. He threw down the six and his bag, paused Zen-fully, raised his arms, inhaled and cried, “FUCK YOU BROOKLYN!!!” It was stunning and scary. He had only been here for 4 minutes. He popped two beers, pounded one, and started the other. We sat cross-legged on the floor of my terrace, he pulled out some of the mystery bulk from his satchel: Kierkegaard, Proust, various notebooks. It seemed that Eddie was a scholar of sorts, and an author. He had written a novel, a book about himself, a more mystical rendition about his life of tagging, the under-worldliness of it, the bigotry against the art form, cops vs. black people (he fancied himself one), evil as good, he outlined the major themes as he downed the six pack. I wanted to read the book, I was damn curious, but he only had two copies to his name, and he made it clear that he never loaned them out. He said that I could have the next printing, I wasn’t sure where they were printed, in his abusive father’s basement, or if he would even live long enough to throw me one, he felt like he might have an expiration date. After his tumultuous confession, the dark blond child stretched out on his back on the pavement tiles, and fell into a deep snore.

I woke up in the morning, he was still out, empty beer cans, notebooks and Kierkegaard keeping watch. “Eddie,” I said after taking a minute to take in his raw beauty. His eyes opened first, his grin flashed a half second after, a virtual “good morning”. Then he spoke from his back: “Claudia. What should we do today.” Where do you take a kid that’s been arrested and taken to Rikers, fought rats for real estate in dark subway tunnels, fucked strippers in back rooms of seedy clubs in Queens? Westport, Connecticut, my hometown on The New England Sound. He’s never seen anything like that in his life.

We sped out in my car around 11, it was a perfect summer day. The car was wide open, windows and sunroof rolled down and back. Eddie was fucking with the radio between being ecstatic, but suddenly yelled, “Here! Turn here. Wanna show you something.” He said it almost as the exit was gone. I swerved, and made it, speeding on, all curious along this unfamiliar stretch of highway. I looked at him, he said, “keep going,” eyes straight ahead, “There! There! That’s me!!” To my right was a huge brick apartment building. The side that faced the road was completely overtaken by Eddie’s vengeful passionate scrawl. It was a Spiderman feat, this renegade installation. It was signed, NOV YORK. “That’s me,” he said seriously, “Nov York.”

Our car sauntered into the quaint beach area in my home town about an hour later. Couples from McMansions were strolling. Wall Street men in expensive sneakers were de-stressing. Dad’s were teaching their kids to ride bikes and rollerblade. Eddie and I emerged from my shiny silver vehicle, I had grown up on this planet, Eddie looked as though he was contemplating taking it over. Pulling his white BVD undershirt over his head, my breath was taken away; he had a huge crass black X tattoo over his heart. It had no finesse, it was stark and pained, it looked as though he had taken a black pen, and repeatedly scratched at his pristine young flesh, until the death X was complete. “This is for my girl. She fucked my friend, and destroyed me.” He looked at me gravely, then broke out into that blinding grin. He didn’t seem the type for prolonged strolls, or collecting seashells, so we reloaded the car, and headed to the local Mexican restaurant.

The nice guy waiter in a polo shirt and Dockers seated us out on the patio. Pink cascading flowers hung from pots over our picnic table. We ordered two margaritas, no salt, the waiter asked Eddie for his I.D. Eddie pulled out his wallet, a rubber band securing a huge wad of cards, none of them plastic. He pulled his I.D. out from the sticky collection, and showed it to the waiter. It was blood stained, a reddish brown amoeba covered the state document, Eddie’s grin on it, a further ‘fuck you’ to the waiter. “That’s OK,” the waiter said, not handling it. “I’ll be right back with your drinks.”

We headed back to the city, Lauren Hill filled the car, Eddie had the seat back all the way in the reclining position. Connecticut had treated us well. Eddie smoked a Philly Blunt, a cigar dismantled, and re-rolled with some of the tobacco and weed, more Marlboros in its wake. He let the CD play without interruption. It had been a great day.

He didn’t go home again that night. I didn’t know what he was avoiding. His drunk daddy, the smell of old frying, all reminders of his less epic days. He fell asleep on the couch, serene and two days un-showered. The intoxicating perfume of young boy filled my 38 year old head. I went to sleep in my room, exhausted and content from the whirlwind of my new friend.

I woke up early, walked out into my living room but Eddie was gone. There, on the coffee table was a book, a copy of Nov York. On the inside of the cover he had scrolled, “To the sexy lady that held me for a couple of days. NOV” His signature, identical to the one tagged on the side of the brick building we had sped by in the Bronx.