Saturday, October 29, 2005

strangeness (and sex) in the city

Yesterday a woman sang lines from Meatloaf's "I would do anything for love (but I won't do that)" in the kitchen near my desk at TimeInc (I hope it was on some bad radio station she was listening to and not her iPod playlist). Maybe it signaled the start of the Halloween weekend and things going a bit to the strange. But not for me, it had already gotten weird way before that.

The day before I smelled the sweet scent of caramel everywhere I went. Or was it butterscotch? I thought perhaps this was one of those strange but oh so true symptoms of a brain tumor or a rare disease. You know how there are weird clues to run-of-the-mill illnesses, like you smell almonds when you have a heart attack or is that you smell apples when you have gangrene?

Anyway, I smelled it on the train. I smelled it in midtown and I smelled it uptown. But I had no one to ask if they smelled it too, Patricio had left that afternoon for Clemson for the weekend. I was tempted to stop a group of Barnard girls but what exactly do I ask? "Does it smell like burnt sugar to you? Is there an incredible scent of gooey sweetness, or is that just me?"

But, wait, it was already strange even earlier in the day. I took the day off to catch up on some writing assignments and on my way back a man joined me on the train and began to fondle me behind the cover of his briefcase. (Yes, I thought the train advances had stopped, but now I know it's just timing, or something). Later at the gym, a cute young student also made eyes until I followed him into the showers to soap up. Then yesterday at work a guy in the mailroom made me quite uncomfortable with his long, hard stares and walks to the men's restroom.

Do I have SLUT stencilled on my forehead or is it some Halloween full moon? Well, to confirm that I am indeed a slut, I answered my first "Men seeking Men" Craigslist (am I nerd for wanting to put an apostrophe in there?) ad to get an invite to a private sex party -- I mean after all that arousal and near action I needed something to ease my ache. So last night, (after hearing someone in the gym talking to his friend about how the entire city smelled like maple syrup yesterday -- see! I wasn't crazy!) I headed over to the party.

I wasn't going to write about this but after reading TrayB's Michael Musto interview and the mention that there's nothing sleazy left in the city to witness, I thought I'd refute that statement and add: there is plenty of sleaze, it just doesn't involve celebrity; instead, direct your attention to craigslist.

The party was in someone's real apartment and they apparently take place every Friday. I was handed a white garbage bag and told by a naked man in an apron to please put my clothes in there. Afterward he put a label with my name on the bag and stacked it in the closet. It was a morbid sight, a closet full of labeled bags, as if our bodies were chopped up and stored for later and added an unintended but gruesome detail to the halloween decorations and theatrical fog and strobe lights. There were probably about 50 guys in various states of undress being sucked, fucked and fondled. I walked through the two rooms, avoiding the fog machine and smirking at the ovesized, moving tarantula on the ceiling, to see who had also shown up to experience the pleasure pad.

In Spanish there is a word that P loves and that can't be translated into English well: autogestion (sorry Spanish readers, don't have the accents available). It means self-management or self organization and it's something that New Yorkers have always been famous for. As I walked amongst the little men, big men, black men, white men, husky men, slim men, asian men, I was impressed by the fact that a normal, sweet natured guy had decided to open up his place once a week for others to get their groove on. He had buckets of condoms and lube, spiked punch and paper towels. Even quick AIDS tests. It wasn't fancy but it was sweet. It renewed my faith in Americans. Who needs expensive, exclusive, obnoxious restaurants and bars? If the government restrains liberty, who's to say we can't find a loophole in the law and organize our own good times. Too often people feel helpless instead of empowered by their own imagination and possible answers to problems. Glitz and glamour? Sure, if you want. Or just forget it all, embrace the strangeness of the city, and do it yourself.

(addendum: after a full and lively day of interviewing a guy in Williamsburg, hanging with friends, meeting up with an old college friend -- Tharius -- I got on the train at 72nd. When I transferred at 96 a guy smiled, got on the train, talked and gave me his number and told me to come over tonight. I mean, there's something totally GOING ON that I don't understand!! -- I didn't go, I'm having a quiet night at home. Even I have limits. I think.)


At 12:25 AM, Blogger klahd said...


Your experiences in the city are the complete opposite of mine. Clearly my forehead says "Misanthrope".

At 4:32 AM, Blogger Guillem said...

I guess the "autogestiĆ³n" thing (see, I have accents) regarding sex parties may have something to do with the lack of saunas in NYC? I mean that apartment was like a steamless Sauna Casanova, wasnt it.

As for your slutness, it's not you. It's that city of sin that offers sex everywhere. You're only aware that this is happening and pick the fruit when offered. I would do the same.

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Gayest Neil said...

Did you hear? The caramel smell was a city-wide phenomenon that NOONE has yet to explain?

Several people reported it smelling like "Brunch" or "French Toast" all across midtown. Infact terror squads and the EPA were brought in to determine if it was a chemical attack of some sort!

OH... and you are a slut.


At 5:44 AM, Blogger Jerry said...

I read about this doc: "Gay sex in the 70s" talking about sex on every street corner, "it was like manna" a man states.

I was born in the wrong decade.

Or I'm just the messenger to bring joy of sex back to the gay world. Think of me as a sex prophet.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Dee said...

*wiping tears of mirth from eyes*

Yes, yes, I see it, now . . .

Hail, Prophet Portwood!


Pick the fruit when offered!?


Jerry, I'm catching a flight to NYC, immediately.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Dee said...

BTW, that was me in the apron.


You missed my spatula, too.


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