Did You Know You Can’t Tickle Yourself?
A NEW NOTEBOOK in hand, a small case filled with Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2 pencils, my Buster Browns polished to a high gloss, trembling with fear. Wait. That was kindergarten. This is a first date. I should have brought flowers, not pencils.
Why did I call that 900 line (the one GENRE would never print)? You’d think I’d have learned from past experience. I called a 900 line once before. I gazed deeply into the eyes of my teddy bear as I imagined hands trailing lightly over my body, tickling those intimate spots. Did you know you can’t tickle yourself? It’s impossible. I opted for a dial tone and a cheese sandwich.
It’s been a summer filled with exploration. I set out to find love, amour, romance, eros, lust in the dust. I saw my first robin of spring on April Fool’s Day. It should have been a clue.
Recent advertisements in my collection of gay publications offered workshops to improve my love life. I could truly experience my inner self, my higher self, my lower self, my spirit, my free spirit, my gayness, myhumanity, my global oneness, and even achieve universal consciousness. I would take responsibility, enter my inner realm, find my hidden power, become my power animal, drum on drums, chant chants, and maybe (did I dare hope for it?) release my spirit energy.
I could do this in weeklong retreats, weekend enlightenments, or two and a half hour breakthrough workshops. I would be taught by such masters as ex-door-to-door salesmen, penny stock and junk bond dealers, holdover drug addicts from the sixties, and even one actual, real, authentic guru, with turban, and, I was assured, the cost was less than a trip to Tibet. Not.
Advice from my parents rose, unbidden. My mother advised, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” My father, every hopeful, “Marry a nice Jewish doctor.” According to my husband of May, (a nice Jewish doctor), it is anatomically impossible to get to a man’s heart through his stomach. I suggested an anatomical impossibility of my own.
A friend once insisted that I never date a man who, A, lives with his parents, or B, sleeps in a twin bed. I had to investigate. A and B do not cancel each other out. This insight was ascertained during a particularly festive weekend with Mr. June. Ma June brought us breakfast in bed. Pa June mowed the lawn. I kept falling off the edge of the bed.
My ex-boss came to the rescue in time for Independence Day. “It’s just as easy to marry a rich man as it is to marry a poor man.” She’s divorced from two rich men, so she should know. I borrowed some preppie clothing and headed for a swank party. Champagne flute in one hand, canapes in the other, oohing and ahhing over bombs bursting in air.
Fireworks of another sort started with a corporate comptroller. He offered to whisk me away to a penthouse suite. He was everything a boy could want. Well, actually, he owned everything a boy could want. The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” began playing on my internal jukebox. I returned the chinos to my friend and slipped on a pair of well worn jeans. There’s no place like home. I signed on to a computer bulletin board. A self-described nice young man offered safer sex by modem. He sent me lovely strings of asterisks, exclamation points, and little oooo’s.
Which brings me to the 900 line and the potential Mr. August. He sent me a picture: Bronzed from the summer sun, pumped from the gym, faded button-fly’s, steady job wiht decent income. Movies, walks in the rain, Star Trek, he even reads! He probably leaves the cap off the toothpaste. I ring the bell, No. 2 pencils in hand.
Genre is a gay “lifestyle” and travel magazine. It was launched in 1992 by three entrepreneurs, two of whom shortly thereafter left to found QSF magazine. I went with them…