Friday, February 23, 2018

The Foreplayer: Running Out of Alphabet

If they’ve done nothing else, the social media have made it relatively easy to find people from one’s past. At this point, the only former girlfriends I have been unable to contact have been Dirty Debbee — who lived with a big, scarily fluffy cat she called Sweet-Sweet in an apartment on Beverly Glen Blvd, and who shrieked a lot during sex — and several whose names I can’t remember, or was never told in the first place, from my promiscuous rock dreamboat days. 

Just for the fun of it, I last week contacted half a dozen of those with whom I dallied longest to tell me if they remembered our sexual interaction as fondly as I. I’ve always thought sex, along with writing, singing, dancing, graphic design, and basketball, was one of the many things at which I’m unusually good, and was expecting nearly all A’s. I was frankly flabbergasted when what I did in fact get was three C’s, two D’s, and this message from Denise, the department store window decorator I, uh, dated through the second half of 1988: “I thought I made clear the last time you contacted me that I never want to hear from you again. But I guess you were listening as attentively as when I tried to tell you what I’d really enjoy in bed. I can’t give you a letter grade, as we run out of alphabet well before we descend to the sub-abysmal level of your lovemaking. Do NOT contact me again. Ever.”

Erica, the Hollywood H-list sex goddess who wound up paying me in sex after I testified on her behalf on The People’s Court — her publicist was suing her for stiffing him, though that may have come out wrong, and she’d asked me to tell the court he didn’t deserve to be paid because his press releases were grammatically nightmarish — screamed even more than Dirty Debbee, so I always imagined I’d done some of my best work with her, but was apparently mistaken. When I phoned her on Skype to ask why she’d given me a D, she couldn’t believe I hadn’t recognised her shrillness as affected. “It’s what sex goddesses do, you smug, pompous jerk,” she explained. “Have you never watched porn? Do you really imagine those girls, when they’re screaming, ‘Oh, yes, oh, God, yes!’ aren’t at those moments thinking about what they need to pick up at Trader Joe’s on the way home?” 

The other D was from Renata, who in the mid-80s co-managed an English art-rock star. Hiis first day in the mansion in Bel-Air she’d leased for him, he phoned at dusk to ask what he should do since it was getting dark outside. She suggested he turn on some lights, but he didn’t know how — back home in rural Hertfordshire, his mum or governess had always done it for him, and R— had to walk him through first locating and then flicking the little switches on walls throughout his new home. I’d bought her a form-fitting black latex catsuit to wear for me, and she’d looked sensational in it — but so sensational that getting jiggy with her when she was in vanillawear felt like dining at a restaurant at which one’s server didn't, as was de rigueur at the time, come over and ask if one wanted fresh ground pepper. Not nearly as flavourful, you see. “Do you have any idea how hot that thing was?” R— asked, “or that it started to feel it was the catsuit you were fucking, and not me? Why don’t you forget we ever knew each other?”

Jakki, the hotel concierge with whom, after the dissolution of my first marriage, I spent four years that I remembered as very happy, especially erotically, also gave me a D, largely for the same reason. “When you first began asking me to dress as Elvira Queen of the Dark for you,” she wrote, “it was fun, but do you have any idea how much I came to resent having to spend 45 minutes doing my makeup every time we got it on? And I guess there’s no reason I shouldn’t tell you this, all these years after the fact: You were almost inconceivably horrible at foreplay. You seemed not to know Thing 1 about female anatomy — at your age! Why don’t we draw a line under our relationship and agree never to be in touch again?”

Kirsten, the urologist from whom I got one of my higher grades (that is, one of the C’s), made no mention of my deficiencies as a foreplayer, but instead addressed what she thought of as my meagre proportions. “As you can well imagine, given the field  in which I specialise,” she wrote, “I’ve seen male genitalia of all shapes and sizes. I have rarely seen another as tiny as yours. Certainly size isn’t everything, but your combination of physical inadequacy and general ineptitude was fatal. Can we agree that this will be our last communication?”

The Mitsubishi assistant parts department manager S—, bless her heart, turned out to be the most generous of my former lovers. She said, “I know you tried your best, John, but I can’t, in good faith, give you any better than a C. It was fun to hear from you, though.” 

I have changed none of the names. If they're going to be so very, very mean, I don't see why I should conceal their identities.

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