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.