Young and oh so clueless in the ways of love

When I think back on it, the breadth of my cluelessness regarding the science of love during my early conquests is almost too astonishing to be believed. I was quite awful at it. I knew nothing. The group of guys I hung out with weren’t exactly lady-killers, so there was no talk about what to do or not do. It was a painful, embarrassing learning process.

For a good long while, I thought that you got a girl to kiss, and then sleep with you, through insistent begging. I thought the game of love was to wear down her resolve until she finally capitulated. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that haranguing was not an element of a seduction.

* * *

The first time I had sex, she said, “You can do it,” but the DIRTY DEED had already been DONE. Admittedly, an inauspicious debut.

The first girl I slept with had the temperament of a sea monster. She kinda looked like one, too.

* * *

With my first regular lover, I used condoms that were about as thick as a garden hose. I didn’t know anything about lamb skins and sensitivity. I was mortified that I had to buy them. I just wanted to get in and out of the drugstore as quickly as possible without asking (or being asked) any questions.

The condoms robbed me of all sensation. So much so, that I often couldn’t finish. So I would occasionally pull it off just so I could finally climax. In retrospect, a terrible idea.

I remained in my semi-clueless state for a couple years. During that time, I missed a lot of signs and opportunities. I was unaware of how many women were willing to sleep with me. But I realize it now.

When I think of all the unprotected sex I had, it’s a miracle I’ve never had to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. Or worse.

* * *

I once read an article by a woman who said her boyfriend was so emotionally overwhelmed by sex that he routinely wept afterterwards. She found this romantic and touching. So the next time I slept with my girlfriend, I tried to cry but my heart just wasn’t in it. It sounded fake and ridiculous and insincere. My girlfriend asked if me I was having a mental breakdown.

* * *

Once upon a time, I was making out with a girl. I got up and put a Kenny G album on the stereo. Personally, I didn’t like the guy all that much but I thought it would be romantic. About two songs in she stopped kissing me, sat up and yelled, “Would you PLEASE turn that OFF!”

* * *

I faked an orgasm once. The sex got to be so tedious and went on for far longer than it should have, so I decided to end it by faking an orgasm. I believe she was equally relieved it was over.

* * *

Many years ago, on a warm summer night, I made beautiful amour in a roof garden atop a brownstone with the nighttime Manhattan skyline as the backdrop.

I thought I’d end this with a fond memory.

Analyzing the lyrics: not always advisable

At the gym I attended in the city, they played a steady diet of hip hop, house, trance and club mixes, all of which I cannot stand. Club music is an insult to musicians. THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP, etc. But I wasn’t there to listen to music. Just exercise.

The gym I now attend in the lily-white New Jersey suburbs plays the lily-white classic rock hits of the ’70s and 80’s. Sometimes, I miss the THUMP.

I was doing my warm-ups and dissecting the lyrics of the awful Good Lovin’ Gone Bad by British dinosaur rockers, Sad Company. Oh, excuse me. I mean Bad Company. Towards the end of the song, Paul Rogers sings:

Good lovin’ gone bad
And baby, I’m a bad man

Ooh. But earlier in the song, he belly aches:

‘Cos I’m a man
I got my pride
Don’t need no woman
to hurt me inside.

Don’t need no?! What the fuck is don’t need no?! Isn’t that, like, a quadruple-negative? Good-bye, English language. And which is it, buddy? Are you a bad man or a girlie-man who walks around with his broken heart dripping off his puffy white sleeve? Make up your mind.


* * *

I almost got into an auto accident. I was in the Costco parking lot. I came to a full stop, looked right, didn’t look left, and hit the gas. The car approaching from the left didn’t have a stop sign. I locked up my brakes and he missed me by inches. It would have been my fault, too. Christ, it’s the absolute worst feeling in the world.

You might not like it, but you won’t forget it

I saw the Marina Abramović retrospective at MoMA. Oh, LORD what an eye full of daring art and crap-ola! As with most performance art, there’s probably some deeper meanings within these pieces that went way over my head, but I enjoyed the them, nonetheless.

Abramović is a performance artist and MoMA is replicating many of her pieces from her 40-year career. The exhibit includes video installations and living, sometimes naked, human beings. Live! Nude! Girls! (And guys.)

Imponderabilia, from 1977, requires that you squeeze through a very narrow doorway between two naked people. They (the performers) have cast iron guts, because you can’t get through the doorway without brushing up against them.

Photo: Joshua Bright for The New York Times

When I first got there, the doorway was manned by two dudes. I prefer my naked performance art to be somewhat titillating so I browsed around the video installations until shift change and there was a girl present. Tee-hee.

People have gotten a bit too familiar with the performers. There have been at least three instances whereby someone was escorted out of the museum for inappropriate touching, including one old man who was not only thrown out but he had his 30-year membership revoked.

Rest Energy
was a video of Abramović on the wrong end of an arrow. The piece required that someone hold a taunt bow with the arrow pointed at her heart.

Gallery/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

In another video, she sat before an industrial strength air blower. It was turned on and she sat in the wind gust until she passed out. In other pieces, she cut herself and/or allowed patrons to cut her with various sharp implements. When these things are done in a cathedral like MoMA, it’s performance art. To me, however, there’s not much difference between these antics and the ones performed by Johnny Knoxville in the Jackass movies.

Relation in Time requires performers sit for HOURS with their hair braided together.

Photo: Joshua Bright for The New York Times

Nude with Skeleton required a naked performer lie down with a skeleton on top of them. The skeleton was supposed to rise and fall with the breath of the performer but when I was there, the girl performing the piece didn’t breathe heavy enough for the bones to move. She was really pretty, though.

Photo: Joshua Bright for The New York Times

The title of the exhibit, and the new piece she developed for the show, is Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present. She sits silent in a chair in the museum’s atrium and patrons take turns sitting in an adjoining chair. They proceed to engage in a starring contest. All of the live pieces are manned by a rotating cast of volunteers who are relieved at timed intervals. But for this piece, Abramović will sit in this chair, all day, every day, for the entire run of the show.

When I was there, the actor James Franco was participating, thus giving the out-of-towners the double thrill of seeing bizarre New York art AND a bona fide movie star at the same time.

I was kind of pissed because patrons are made to wait in a long line for their turn to sit with Abramović, but Franco was permitted to enter the museum before it opened and take a seat, thus jumping the queue. Not that I wanted to participate, but it seemed unfair to those who did. Goddamn Hollywood fighetta.

The Body of Christ

This weekend, 8-Year Old Daughter received her First Holy Communion. Longtime readers know that I am deeply suspicious of all organized religions. But this ceremony was a very big deal to my family. My sister drove down from Upstate New York. There was a large gathering at my in-law’s house. Pasta was served.

The last time my sister and I were in church together was for my mom’s funeral last year (almost to the day). It was pretty rough stuff. There were some tears. Mom loved the church so much. Not in the unkind “get saved or burn in hell” kind of way. She disagreed with some of its teachings. But she found comfort in the church and if it worked for you, welcome. She would have loved to see her granddaughter receive her First Communion.

I attended a parochial school until 4th grade. My mom and dad ran out of money and thereafter, we were sent to public school. When they first started to teach me about the body and blood and Christ, I was too young to know what a metaphor was. I literally thought that we had to eat flesh and drink blood. I remember seeing Fr. Tully raise the chalice to his mouth, drink, and a trickle of red ran down his chin. OH MY GOD!

I was ruminating with my sister on how each communicant looked like a little bride and groom. She correctly pointed out that this is the day when they marry the church. Can someone please tell me how I should feel about that?

* * *

I recently learned that the name of the city Corpus Christi, TX, means, in English, The Body of Christ.

Are they kidding? The Body of Christ, Texas?! What a terrible name for a town! It’s borderline sacrilege. Is there a sister city called The Blood of Christ, Alabama or Stigmata, New Mexico?

Actually, that would be a cool name for a car. The new Ford Stigmata with all wheel drive.

Pretty yellow dressess strolling in Manhattan

The outdoor art installation season is upon us. The sculpture garden on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the Big Fish, but you can catch performances and exhibits all throughout the city from now through September.

Kate Gilmore’s performance art piece, Walk the Walk, just opened in Bryan Park. It runs for five days during office hours. In it, seven women in bright yellow dresses (when it’s chilly, they don pink sweaters) pace back and forth along the top of a 10-by-10-foot plywood box. It’s suppose to represent a microcosm of the nearby busy midtown intersections. I think. I’m never exactly sure what the deeper meaning is. I just go along for the ride.

The girls randomly stomp their feet and if you step inside the cube, it sounds like a stampeding herd of buffalo. I don’t know if you can consider this choreographed, since the girls are walking randomly. Sometimes, they collide into one another and their energy ebbs and flows.

Does it work? Yeah, I suppose so. It was fun but I got a bit exhausted just watching them for :15 minutes. There’s no real beginning or end. They were pacing when I got there and still pacing when I left. They’re probably pacing as you read this. (I love that I happened to catch a police siren in this second clip. The soundtrack of my city.)