memoir News North Country Girl Personal Essay

North Country Girl: Chapter 71 — Me and the Other Guy

Girls wearing Penthouse shirts and shorts

Homosexual Haubner is taking a hiatus from her weekly collection. Search for occasional updates in the future. For extra about Homosexual’s life,  learn the different chapters in her serialized memoir.

1980 was the winter of my discontent. I had a dream of a life in Manhattan, barely working at Penthouse journal, having fun with my very own expense account plus our advertisers’ largesse, and going residence at night time to Michael, my artist boyfriend, to social gathering in our personal tiny condo, or out at bars and golf equipment with a slew of musician, artist, and author associates. However inside me there was a gnawing worm, a niggling “What if?” that had taken root once I turned down a suggestion to hitch the crew of a Mediterranean yacht as prepare dinner and bottle washer.

The place in the world would I be if I had dared to simply accept that job? What adventures, what fascinating males had I missed out on? Who would that woman be if she had walked the gangplank onto the yacht with nothing however her passport and a handful of pesos, leaving her New York Metropolis life behind? I rode the subway to work, turned in my journal copy, kissed Michael good night time, and rued that smart choice to remain in my enviable rut.

I used to be a latent dumpster hearth in want of a thrown match. The spark that blazed my life to the floor was lit at a celebration at the condo of the Penthouse manufacturing supervisor, in the midst of a mass of people that had collectively reached that degree of inebriation the place everyone seems to be dancing. Rockpile’s “Girls Talk” was blasting at a quantity of 11 and I used to be swirling in the arms and trampling on the ft of a wiry, bushy-haired, Brooklyn-tinged man from work, a type of cute Canarsie youngsters who can move for Italian.

I wasn’t positive what Jeff’s actual job was; I knew him as the coach of our Penthouse Pet softball group, which had recruited me to pose as a pretend Pet, barnstorming throughout New Jersey and Lengthy Island. I performed left subject like Ferdinand the Bull, smelling the flowers whereas floor balls and popped flies handed me by. It didn’t matter. These have been charity video games towards the Elks and VFW and Rotary Membership, groups made up of civic-minded suburban dads, good clear Penthouse enjoyable for good causes.

Girls wearing Penthouse shirts and shorts

The Penthouse softball workforce (Homosexual is second from the left).

My softball coach’s arms wriggled down to seek out my ass, a transfer which may have been trigger for a lawsuit 30 years later. We have been each out of our minds, bordering on blackout unconscious, however I felt lips and scorching breath on my ear and heard phrases that singed me: “I could really go for you Gay…if I didn’t like your boyfriend so much.”

It felt like one other door closing, an alternative choice minimize off…as a result of I had a boyfriend.

The subsequent weekend I rounded up a bunch of my Penthouse buddies for an evening out at the notorious, ridiculously common Mudd Membership. The Mudd Membership was the final hurrah of NYC punk tradition; it had its personal obliging PR agent. “I’m calling from Penthouse magazine, we’re interested in doing an article on the Mudd Club,” I had fibbed on the telephone. The PR man assured me my identify can be at the door and requested what number of. “Oh, there’ll be a few other people from editorial,” I stated.

Plauque

Plaque in entrance of the Mudd Membership. (Wikkey, Wikimedia Commons)

We confirmed up at the Mudd Membership at midnight: me, my boyfriend Michael, six individuals, not essentially editors, from Penthouse, their dates, my softball coach and dance associate, Jeff, and random buddies we had picked up earlier. I wormed my means by way of the crush of punk hopefuls to the Bluto in control of admittance, who, mirabile dictu, discovered my identify on the visitor record. I waved to my associates, shouted, “Come on!” and was swept inside on a wave of shoving, thrusting our bodies.

The door slammed shut behind me. It was as darkish as a mine and I used to be at the middle of a throbbing mob, unable to see if everybody had gotten in with me. The entire place was a dirty mosh pit, flooring so sticky you possibly can barely transfer your ft, every part, even the ceiling, painted black and coated with graffiti, ear-shattering music that made dialog a daft concept, an environment tinged with piss and sweat and spilt beer.

A robust hand grasped my arm and pulled me over to the wall. Jeff handed me a Rolling Rock and a Quaalude, by no means my favourite drug however an previous pal from Mexico. I took them each. “Who else got in?” I yelled, and Jeff shrugged.

Then we leaned again towards that dirty brick wall and we have been kissing and arms have been maneuvered inside clothes and Jeff and I have been doing every little thing outdoors of precise intercourse, which at the second appeared like the most applicable factor one might do at the Mudd Membership, like snorting coke at Studio 54.

The hour we spent in fervent frottage wasn’t sufficient. “What time do you have to be at work Monday?” I requested when Jeff let me up for air. He seemed puzzled; have been we going to do that for the subsequent 36 hours?

“Ten?” he answered.

“I’ll be at your place at nine,” I stated, extracted myself, and discovered my means outdoors, virtually sure in my addled state that my boyfriend Michael would nonetheless be hanging round. He was at residence, rightfully livid, and consuming straight from a bottle of Jack Daniels. I used to be tousled and plastered myself as I apologized and informed untruths about how I had searched the Mudd Membership for him, sure that he had been proper behind me, and then couldn’t discover a taxi.

The precise, actual, illicitly thrilling intercourse occurred Monday morning; then Jeff and I cut up a cab from his condo uptown to the Penthouse workplace. We rode in silence. That was enjoyable, I assumed, it’s good to get it out of my system, as soon as was definitely sufficient.

As soon as was not sufficient. I didn’t escape from my good life on a yacht or a aircraft, and definitely not on a practice to glory. I climbed right into a handbasket to hell. I plunged into a unclean affair, heated even hotter by our wrestle to seek out someplace to do it: Jeff’s roommate regarded Michael as his good good friend, as did everybody I had ever launched to Michael.

I imagined our affair as a stain on a shirt, I simply needed to hold placing it in the washer till the stain was gone and the shirt was wearable once more. However there was no out for this rattling spot.

As all profitable cheaters do, I turned an completed liar, particularly to myself. However now I can see the terrible fact. It was enjoyable. It was a champagne fizz of emotions, a flip-flopping abdomen, pores and skin able to burst into flame at a contact. Even my eyesight sharpened; it was like getting my childhood once-a-year glasses improve, the world in high-res.

And my listening to was dog-pitched; each bar and restaurant I went to, each automotive radio that handed was tuned to the Miscreants station: “Me and Mrs. Jones,” “Dark End of the Street,” and “If Loving You is Wrong” on repeat throughout New York Metropolis.

Michael didn’t appear to note that I used to be being invited to extra nighttime press occasions, even when these occasions morphed into weekend affairs.

My job had all the time offered me entry to check drive automobiles, a perk I had by no means taken benefit of, Michael being utterly disinclined to go away the metropolis for the wilds of upstate New York or Connecticut lest he be misplaced in the woods, eaten by a bear, or greater than a block from a bar.

Jeff and I took stolen weekends in borrowed Datsuns and Subarus, headed for the houses of associates of his who had by no means met Michael, so Jeff might cross me off as his girlfriend.

A Sunday night time, we headed again from Windfall, Rhode Island, ostensibly visiting considered one of Jeff’s highschool buddies, however spending most of the weekend in the pal’s basement visitor room. We have been on an virtually abandoned freeway that stretched forward of us in the darkish, an extended method to New York Metropolis, a very long time for me to ponder my sins.

I’ve to do one thing, I scolded myself. I really like Michael, I can’t go on like this. In the meantime the a part of me that wasn’t mendacity knew I definitely might till one thing made me cease.

The only automotive in entrance of us accelerated and started to swerve from one lane to the subsequent. I had been so quiet for therefore lengthy that I couldn’t discover my voice to cry “Watch out!” not that Jeff had a clue the place to steer to not be in the path of this lunatic, who now sped throughout all 4 freeway lanes and side-swiped a sixty-foot floodlight. In what appeared to be sluggish movement, the streetlight pitched in the direction of our automotive like a felled redwood, hit ten ft in entrance of us, took a bounce, and landed inches in entrance of our loaner, a factory-fresh Nissan 280ZX. The flashing lights of the freeway patrol appeared in the northbound lane, coming for the responsible events; Jeff inched our borrowed automotive onto the shoulder and round our brush with a well-deserved dying.

Nissan sportscar in a parking lot

A 1982 Nissan 280ZX. (Wikimedia Commons)

A believer in indicators and portents, I virtually noticed the mild. “We can’t do this anymore,” I stated to Jeff after we dropped off the automotive at the dealership, even whereas we have been in a clutch that made passersby both grin or avert their eyes.

My resolve lasted a few week, till I noticed that I had an out-of-town journey in my future, a Penthouse expense account junket to the Electronics Present in Las Vegas, Mecca of the soiled weekend, a metropolis made for dishonest hearts. “This is really, really it,” I fooled myself, “three nights with Jeff in the Holiday Inn, clean sheets and towels, room service…it will be the perfect ending.”

Holiday Inn

Vacation Inn, Las Vegas.

In fact it wasn’t. However the champagne was dropping its fizz, my responsible conscience turning vinegary.

A couple of weeks after Las Vegas, the Penthouse editorial employees was summoned by our boss, Jim Goode, to his workplace, all the time an evil omen. “Caligula,” intoned Jim. “It’s finally going to open.”

Caligula movie poster

Film poster for Caligula. (Wikimedia Commons)

Caligula was the fabled, virtually legendary movement image that we had been listening to about ceaselessly, a cinematic epic that includes Bob Guccione’s penchant for pretend Roman something, large-breasted women partaking in deviant intercourse, and out-of-work British actors, wooed by outsized checks. The journal had already run dozens of articles hyping the movie, in addition to a number of pictorials of “The Girls of Caligula” taking off their togas to veni, vidi, vici. (Uncovered by Penthouse have been the lawsuits from each screenwriter Gore Vidal and the unique director desperately making an attempt to extract their names from this pornographic debacle.) From the tales and film stills, it appeared prefer it was as if it wasn’t sufficient for the Roman Empire to fall, Caligula needed to kick it in the nuts on its means down.

“And…” right here Jim appeared completely defeated, “we all have to go to see it.” Everybody in that room out of the blue developed plans for his or her remainder of their lives, however there was no escape. The staffs of Penthouse, Omni, Discussion board, and Variations (actually, actually deviant junk) have been marched up Third Avenue like POWs on their approach to Bataan, solely extra sad. At the door to the Trans Luxe Theatre, re-christened the Penthouse Theatre in honor of its round-the-clock showings of Caligula for the subsequent six months, come hell or excessive water or the Catholic Legion of Decency, was a stern-faced lady taking names.

I managed to nap by way of the unsimulated intercourse scenes, however was woken by the sound of gagging. I caught a soul-scarring glimpse of an early Roman bulldozer shearing off the heads of vertically-buried slaves, earlier than snapping my eyes shut once more. My greatest pal Annie, seated subsequent to me and in peril of getting the gagger behind us puke on her, bravely stood and headed up the aisle in the direction of freedom, tailed by the lady with a clipboard.

I discovered Annie outdoors on her tenth sanity-reviving Newport and we headed again down Third to P.J. Clarke’s and the aid of alcohol. I felt as dirty as I had again once I was modifying Penthouse letters. I used to be worse than Caligula’s sexy cousin, Messalina (a task performed with the talent of a potted plant by Penthouse Pet Anneka di Lorenzo, who later turned one other litigant towards Guccione, then drowned underneath suspicious circumstances); at the least she was an trustworthy whore. I cracked.

I put my arms and head down on the bar and wept. I bawled, “I’m a horrible person! I’ve been cheating on Michael for months.”

“I know,” stated Annie, and patted my again. “With Jeff.” Wait, what? The tears have been sucked again in and I straightened up.

“You know?”

Annie sighed, “Gay, everybody knows.” I began crying once more.

“What do they think?”

“They all think you’re an idiot.” Annie answered. “I think you better move in with me.”

A coward to the finish, I didn’t inform Michael why I used to be leaving. I referred to as him from Annie’s that night time. “I’ll come by tomorrow to pick up my stuff.”

My stuff was ready for me, strewn about the courtyard, slowly being coated by a freak late October snowfall. It seemed like the crime scene I knew it was. My garments have been heaped in a pile instantly under our bed room window. It was more durable to seek out my jewellery, which had sunk into the snow; my foolish “Gay” necklace from Mexico vanished endlessly. Michael had tossed the LPs he determined have been mine like Frisbees from the second flooring; a few of them have been intact of their soggy cardboard sleeves. He appeared to have aimed my cosmetics at the iced-over concrete fountain in the middle of the courtyard, which was spattered with damaged glass, lotions, and lotions; there was nonetheless fragrance in the air. I picked up a silvery canister that had survived with solely a dent; it was the scent Jeff appreciated on me greatest, Eau de Charles of the Ritz.

Ultimately certainly one of Michael’s multitude of pals let the fact slip. I’m grateful that Michael was not a Russian romantic in the Tolstoy custom. There have been no pistols at daybreak, nobody crushed beneath a subway practice.

Annie’s condominium offered solely a restricted refuge for me. Breaking apart with Michael was not sufficient; if I used to be going to be with Jeff, I wanted a clear slate, a special life the place I used to be not reminded thirty occasions a day of what a heel I used to be, how I had betrayed the dearest man alive, whose solely faults have been that he hated the outside and favored to take a drink.

Jeff had a imaginative and prescient quest. He was going to be a operating again with the Falcons; he would practice in Atlanta for a number of months to prepare for the workforce’s walk-on tryouts. Jeff had performed soccer in school, earlier than leaving the program to comply with vegetarianism, the Lifeless, and the Rainbow Household. He had seen Rocky too many occasions. Now he was starring in the position of the contender with coronary heart who simply wants one shot. All Jeff was lacking have been the turtles.

I had no concept what the precise possibilities for fulfillment this plan had. Might a man who topped off at 5’9” and 145 kilos get into the NFL? It appeared no extra unlikely than my very own half-pint stab at modeling. I used to be besotted, determined to make a getaway, and Atlanta began to sound romantic; like “Lolita” its three syllables tripped from my tongue like a kiss.

We purchased a pick-up truck for $600. I loaded my surviving possessions on prime of Jeff’s issues and we headed south, in search of all the world like the Clampett household, particularly after the gale-force gusts on the Pulaski Skyway ripped the tarp masking our worldly items free from our amateurish knots. I rotated and by way of the small window in the again of the truck watched the sq. of blue plastic sail off into the sky, whereas the dreaming spires of Manhattan dissolved in the mist.

Homosexual Haubner is taking a hiatus from her weekly collection. Search for occasional updates in the future.







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