I keep telling you how shy I am, and then citing an instance of my having been very bold. Such was the case in the spring of My First Year of Promiscuity, between the first and second live-together girlfriends of my adulthood, when I beheld at a swap meet on Santa Monica Blvd. a leggy blonde goddess in impractical footwear (va va voom!) and a rock and roll coiffure. I blurted an invitation for her to come see Queen's local debut with me, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. (I was A Major Tastemaker, and had tickets — to everything!). She said she would not. I thought maybe my failure to make small talk had been my undoing, but a few minutes later, she drove past in a late-model Porsche convertible with a handsome young man who scowled at me censoriously. As though I’d had any way of knowing about him!
I wound up taking to the concert my first openly gay friend, an elegant and apparently (financially) loaded black man around my own age called Johnny. He seemed, for reasons not entirely clear, to think me a rock star, and I didn’t exert myself trying to dissuade him. It was fairly common in those days for people, on hearing that I wrote for Rolling Stone, to get into their heads that I was one of the Rolling Stones, the Jewish American one never depicted in any of their publicity photographs. Johnny insisted that I drive his Porsche to the gig. It had been a year since my own had died of its owner’s neglect and stupidity.
I loathed Queen, whom I’d expected to love. Specifically, I found Mr. Mercury quite unbearable. Yes, yes, you're the male Liza Minnelli. We get it. I’d had enough after three songs. If poor Johnny was disappointed, he didn’t let on. As I drove us homeward, he tiptoed around the idea of our, you know, getting it on. I gently confided that what I wanted was a girl just like the girl who’d married dear old dad, or at least a girl. He seemed delighted to be able to advise that he knew one I might find wonderfully suitable. He made some phone calls, and appeared pleased with himself. In a couple of hours, I was to meet a Ms. Debbie B— in front of a particular restaurant on Sunset Blvd.
She’d apparently spent the time making herself glamorous. She was wearing platform shoes with six-inch heels. She was around 20, tiny and zaftig — and, endearingly, unashamedly awestruck by me. I took her right home. She didn’t protest. I hadn’t enjoyed a woman so much in months. She was a large cut above the girlies I’d been bringing home from the rock clubs, with a palpable sweetness about her. But she didn’t get a great many of my jokes, and exuded neediness, declaring herself in love with me pretty much immediately.
I was enough of a bastard to feel cheated. I’d have enjoyed an ongoing sexual relationship with her, but knew that if we had one, I’d wind up hurting her more.
A few weeks later, I went to an ABC Records event, and there beheld my future — a vivacious little fox with a gigantic honey-colored Afro. I’d spend the next five years with her. It felt pretty wonderful to come in out of the cold.