More Erotic Tales From My Debauched Youth

I am far too busy feeling sorry for myself to write a fresh post. It occupies all of my free time. You’ll have to make do with another journal entry from 1992 when I first arrived in NYC. I was young, full of hope and not angry at the universe. The good old days.

July 14, 1992

Joan and Joel [Note: An older, wealthy couple who “adopted” me. Long, separate story.] took me out for my birthday to a nice restaurant on 89th and Broadway. I forget the name. They both keep telling me I’m working below my potential. What the hell am I supposed to do about that?! I don’t know how to do anything! After dinner we took a cab across Central Park to the East Side and went to their apartment for drinks. It’s spectacular. You can see the Park from their dining room window. There’s a baby grand piano in the living room and Joel played Duke Ellington’s Satin Doll while I drank a tumbler of scotch. It was a great birthday but it got better.

I was standing on the corner of 72nd and Central Park waiting for the light to change. I looked to my left, then to my right and guess who was walking towards me? Bonnie! How weird is that!? Her mouth dropped open in dramatic fashion when she saw me. I told her Joan and Joel had just treated me to dinner for my birthday. She wished me happy birthday and kissed me. She tasted like wine. She insisted on buying me a birthday drink at Café des Artistes, so we walked there and sat at the bar. She introduced me to some producers and theater people. That woman knows everybody in this town! I had another scotch and she had red wine and ate an artichoke.

We left, hailed a cab and as soon as we gave the driver our destination (her apartment) we fell into each other’s arms. We banged our teeth together when the cab lurched forward. It hurt but we laughed. She was in the Times yesterday about doing the new façade of Town Hall and was leaving on Thursday to supervise the landscape installation at Calvin Kline’s Long Island estate. I told her she should take me with her and she said, “Believe me, I thought about it.” But she said she’s got a lot of work to do and wasn’t sure it was appropriate. I told Ellis about all this and he said I should marry her.

Bonnie might be older but, boy howdy, she’s spirited. Every time I fool around with an older woman I’m astonished at how willing and knowledgeable they are as compared to the pretty, young, reserved waifs I’ve been involved with who know NOTHING about the science of lust. We rolled around on the sofa for a few hours. We’d stop and watch the Democratic National Convention for a bit, make fun of the speeches and then get back to work. I like how she wraps her body around me. She’s small so I can toss her around like a toy. She said she likes how I “handle” her. It was refreshing to have a hand down my pants that wasn’t my own. I almost finished during Mario Cuomo’s nomination speech but I made her stop because I didn’t want to make a mess all over her nice, leather sofa. I wish women were as easy to please as men. I did my best but she never got there. We were dressed and about to leave and I grabbed her, bent her over the drafting table in her living room and rubbed against her. It was fun. Like an amusement park ride. She didn’t seem to mind although I kind of wish she would’ve put up a bit of a fight. I’ll have to ask her how she feels about that.

I was there pretty late. She said she really enjoys our time together but we both agreed that as soon as we found someone in our own age bracket, the party would be over. I’m in no hurry. More birthdays like that, please.

July 18

I went for a bike ride over the Brooklyn Bridge, across West Broadway and into Tribeca. I love riding around Tribeca. It’s all warehouses and butchers. It reminds me of Cleveland and dad. There’s no traffic and the streets are still paved with cobblestone. It’s tough on my bike but it’s such a nice, quiet, empty neighborhood on Saturdays that I can’t resist. The bad part is that there’s nowhere to buy a Saturday New York Times. They should get some Bodegas down there!

[Note: 1992 was long before Tribeca became a highly desirable neighborhood. The real estate vampires hadn’t gotten their meat hooks into the meatpacking district yet.]

I rode north into Soho and finally found a newspaper. Soho is utterly confusing to me. I get lost all the time. I found a sidewalk table at a cafe on West Broadway, ordered a beer and shrimp salad with Thai dressing and read my paper. Halfway through my salad, Klinger walked by. He had mentioned that he was going to Paris this week. I said, “I thought you were in Paris?” He looked around, threw his arms up and said, “I AM in Paris!” See that…it’s all about perception. That guy makes me laugh. He was on his way to Fun’s apartment and couldn’t stay. She’s pretty. I wouldn’t have stayed, either.

I finished my salad and bummed a cigarette off the waiter. Austin and Ed walked by when I was halfway through my cigarette and the editorials. Austin said, “I thought you quit smoking?” I said, “I DID quit smoking!” I think those guys think I’m an idiot. A group of pretty, spoiled, rich girls sat at the table next to me so I had to stay longer than I had planned to eavesdrop on their conversations.

I had to pass through the Chrysler Building the other day. It’s ground zero for the art deco movement. Just look at these elevators. They’re spectacular works of art!


According to the literature, they’re inlaid with Japanese ash, English gray harewood, Oriental walnut and Cuban plum pudding wood. Do those woods even exist or did they make all that up? It’s no matter. They’re lovely.


81 thoughts on “More Erotic Tales From My Debauched Youth

  1. No way this is your life. I feel as if I just read a Woody Allen movie script. Really. Awesome. Stuff. I miss when NYC was a more interesting place. Thanks for the memories…

  2. Your memoirs are more than less than zero.
    One of my favourite memoirs is “Memoirs of Montparnasse” by John Glassco. He was a Montreal kid who took off to Paris in the 20s (and in his 20s) where he bumped into Fizgerald, Hemingway and that crew, wrote poetry, caught VD, etc. I read it in my own 20s and dreamed of following in his bohemian footsteps. Instead, I went to Toronto…

  3. I am still loving these stories.

    I don’t care for all things Art Deco, but those elevator doors are amazing.

  4. Excellent memoir extract as always. I particularly found this amusing “Every time I fool around with an older woman I’m astonished at how willing and knowledgeable they are.” I wonder now what age range these older women were, care to share?

    • I didn’t have the gall to ask and can’t speculate now. I mean…it’s not like I was 21 and they were 63. It wasn’t a Mrs. Robinson kind of thing. But they probably had a solid 15-20 years on me and when you’re young, 15-20 years seems like a lifetime. I’ll never know for sure.

      Did you see my last post about Macbeth? It’s an actor’s delight.

  5. Mario Cuomo! What ever happened to him? He was supposed to run for president but never did for some reason. A resident of New York told me that when he ran against Koch for mayor, his supporters were saying “Vote for Cuomo, not the homo.” Do you remember that? People could say bad things in those days.

    Bonnie not having an orgasm has given me a peculiar feeling of anticlimax. Did she tell you what to do? Older women usually know what they need.

    • Mario Cuomo’s son, Andrew, is currently the Governor of New York State! It’s true! A pretty good one, to boot. The Dems have him earmarked for the presidency, just like his father. The Cuomo dynasty begins.

      This entry is from early in our affair and I was eventually able to deliver the goods. But, as I stated above, I wish it weren’t such a mysterious process. We’re automatic!

  6. “the science of lust…” Yes! You have a certain flare for a certain kind of writing, whether “accidented” or planned..
    And you do know, don’t you, that that is my favourite ‘scraper.
    Jesus! Mark, you need to get this edited and published! I’m serious.
    Oh, I also love Pepys.A bawdy fellow, but sharp as a tack and had the ear of several important men.

  7. This is the first memoir installment I’ve lucked into. I choose that phrase to match the feeling you give for what you were hauling in from your Manhattan net during this phase.

    I’m in.

    Too bad you describe yourself as so bitter and sullen now, pal. But I think I get it. Business life …

    • The bliss of your formative years is almost impossible to replicate when your old. No disrespect to my wife or daughters but those were electric years. The journal makes me melancholy but I can’t bring myself to burn them.

      There’s a tag in my sidebar for other journal posts I’ve done.

  8. “I had another scotch and she had red wine and ate an artichoke.”
    “I’m astonished at how willing and knowledgeable they are as compared to the pretty, young, reserved waifs I’ve been involved with who know NOTHING about the science of lust.”
    “I AM in Paris!”

    This is so much better than my Biker’s Wife of Bath post(s).
    (But then, I am sucker for anything NYC)
    Love the comment someone posted about Woody Allen too.
    Bravo Once Again!

    • Thanks, Lance. It’s all true! I would have had to live it because I’m not smart enough to make this stuff up. I’m a sucker for this town, too. It’s not for everyone, but I like it just fine, despite the glaring flaws. And stop comparing. This isn’t a competition.

  9. This is delightful, Mark. It reminds me of a sitcom or a Woody Allen movie, yes! What a charmed life. I love the biking on the cobblestones, reading the editorials with the shrimp salad, not to mention your wealthy couple friends and your lustful adventures. How can I do this?! I hope your new job is going well.

    • It may SEEM charmed but I’m cherry-picking these entries. I’m not going to post any of the endless pages of loneliness and whining. The long, LONG time between relationships or all the friendless nights. I prefer to give the impression that my early years here were like a Gershwin song.

      The new job is fine. The good outweighs the bad and that’s all I can really hope for. The people are nice. They’re not a malicious bunch at all and that counts for plenty. How are you? It’s Friday. Where’s the fiction?

      • Well, it was lovely, Mark, like a Gershwin song. Love that! I guess life is always a mixture of things. We wouldn’t know good if we didn’t have bad, right? Okay, that’s the best I’ve got right now.

        A little late with the fiction. I see you found it. Thanks!

  10. As I’ve said previously, I love these glimpses into the past you. I know that if I delved back into my dairies it would be full of banality and which boys did or didn’t fancy me and how much I hated my best friend. I really wish I’d kept a diary (aside from my blog) in my early London years.

    • I’m very selective about what I choose to post. There are pages and pages of nothingness. There were months, and sometimes years, of crushing boredom and loneliness. Lots of poor-me that would be of no interest to anyone. Having said that, I DID luck into some pretty interesting situations.

      Start your private journal today. Who knows if you’ll stay there forever? It’ll be nice to have a record of your early Switzerland years.

  11. Have to agree with the Holden Caulfield contingent… this is a good read, and not just because you had good material. Probably a good reason to hang onto those journals a little longer… you can leave instructions to burn them and toss them in the hole with you after you’re gone…..

  12. Brilliant— I like the idea (although not the practice, as Daisy said) of nearly coming during a politician’s speech. Bonnie sounds great fun to be around. I also had (have) a predilection for older women for the same reasons — I can’t be doing with the shyness and self-consciousness of young women, and they’re far, far better at sex.

    Very interesting Mark as usual. Are we allowed to know why you’re feeling sorry for yourself?

    • This “older” woman was probably around the age I am right now. Everyone is older when you’re a kid.

      I am tormented by a lot of little things. Thank god, it’s nothing cataclysmic like cancer—everyone is healthy—but Nietzsche spoke of the death of 1,000 pinpricks.

  13. I’m with Fay, your life seems cinematic to me. Like Holden Caulfield, actually, running about trying to figure it out, not knowing that he’s inspiring the next generation of serial killers. I like Bonnie. She seems like fun. So I wonder, maybe the reason I write fiction is because I don’t have really even a single story that is real and quite as good as this; I mean, I have stories, but they’re so fucking weird that I don’t even know how to tell them, and I have a slight fear that they’re utterly dumb. Anyway, whatever.

    Shit, I just read the comments and saw Guap making the parallel to Mr. Caulfield. Interesting. I am in Paris… I think I may be in Paris too. I’m sure of it.

    • I’d like to inspire more readers! I still haven’t reached that Zen place where I can sit back and fully enjoy a post that was well-birthed. I still want more eyes.

      Bonnie was ferocious. I learned a lot from her and I think it’s on her that I enjoy New York as much as I do. I had just arrived and wasn’t sure this place was for me. All I saw was the scary part. She pointed out the beauty. Everyone needs a teacher.

      Trent, I have tried and tried and TRIED but I simply cannot write fiction. It’s not in my skill set. My ‘stories’ have no direction. They just lay there with no momentum. I’ll leave that stuff up to people like yourself who have the vivid imagination to pull it off, thank you very much. In the meantime, I will continue to mine my past.

      • No worries, just keep issuing it out. And one day, we’ll chat over beer about how you might let me fictionalize your life, either that or I’ll get you drunk enough to commit to a memoir.

        Here’s my obligatory “I love your city” remark. But I do.

      • My wife and I spent Saturday night in city. We hadn’t done it in YEARS. We spent the afternoon walking from Chinatown up through Little Italy and then to our old apartment on the Lower East Side. The Dominican barber who cut my hair for years saw me on the street, put his scissors down (a customer was in his chair!) came out of his shop and gave me a big hug. He had us both come into his shop and he opened a bottle of wine. We talked about the days of junkies and gypsies and marveled at all the trust fund kids who took over. Last night, the The Billy Joel @ Madison Square Garden tickets that my wife got for Christmas came due. I’m not a huge fan—he’s okay—but I almost lost it when he did “New York State of Mind.”

  14. I love the art deco. And your journals– it still amazes me that you wrote that way. And I kind of feel like I was reading something that should have required my credit card to finish.
    I jest.
    With double entendres.

    I went to a David Sedaris reading a little while ago and he read from his journal. Totally made me think of you, actually.

    • I have a brag. And you have to allow it and not think I’m putting on airs because my life is so ordinary and mundane (commute in/commute out) that when I DO have something to brag on, you have to forgive me for it.

      When I got to NYC, right around the time of this journal entry in fact, I took a writing workshop at the YMCA. Sedaris was in the same class. He had just arrived in NY as well. Have you ever attended a writing workshop? They’re awful. Everyone has to read their stuff out loud. Most of it is not very good–including mine. (Actually, especially mine.) But Sedaris would read his stuff and you could tell that guy has a special gift. He was light years ahead of us. A few of the things he read in the workshop wound up in his first book, Barrel Fever.

      Not long after that workshop, I was walking through Macy’s visiting Santaland (as I am wont to do every December). I love it! It fills me with Christmas cheer. I was passing through and felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Sedaris dressed as an elf! We spoke for a while. In addition to being an elf, he was also cleaning apartments to make ends meet. I told him at the very least, he would get a good story out of the elf gig. DID HE EVER.

      • Good lord, I sort of hate you/stand in awe right now. I wish I’d known this story before, I would have casually mentioned it and seemed perfectly stalkerish.

        I’ve definitely never done a writing workshop– everything about that intimidates the hell out of me… though maybe since I’ve started blogging I’d be more capable of surviving such a thing.

      • I would absolutely recommend you try a writing workshop. (Although, blogging seems awfly close to an ongoing, albeit more anonymous, workshop.) My rants aside, it can be a useful experience. Plus, you might meet someone famous!

  15. I have only been in the Chrysler Building twice, years ago, but I immediately recognized the elevator doors. Funny how some art makes a lasting impression in your head.
    I can relate to that birthday surprise. Those encounters happen when you least expect it. Your journals are great. Like others stated above, they do have a Holden Caulfield parallel. Nice!

    • Good, yes. But there were lots of lonely nights, too. But, even those, I look back on with some fondness. They didn’t seem to special at the time but everything is rosy when seen in the fading distance.

      • This comment was SPAMMED! I have no idea why. You’ve gotten through before. I strongly suspect that because you linked to an anti-social media rant, the internet BLOCKED it because the more people who engage in face-to-face communications, the worse off it is for the internet. Is that possible?

  16. I came to NYC in 1991. I bet we rubbed shoulders somewhere along the way. I too remember when the meatpacking district was for packing meat. Don’t feel sorry for yourself! Try the “it could be worse” technique. Imagine all the ways your life could be worse, and you’ll feel better. Art Deco is pretty much the only style from beyond 1900 that I love.

    • Have you walked around in the lobby of the Chrysler Building? It’s a treat!

      I don’t like employing ‘it could be worse.’ Do you know what the other side of that same coin is? It could be better. And I can’t use one and ignore then other. It’s just not possible.

      • True, but one side will drive you crazy and the other side just might provide some comfort. Have you ever read “Adrift” by Steven Callahan, or heard of his story? He survived 76 days adrift at sea in an inflatable raft after his handmade boat was destroyed in a collision. I blogged about it a while ago.

        It’s a great book, beautifully written and illustrated.

  17. Cuban plum pudding wood? I refuse to ask Google if that’s a real thing – I need to believe that it is. I’m sorry you’re feeling sorry. Is it any consolation that present me wants to go back in time and hang out with past you? (When you wrote this, I was eight years old. EIGHT.) Age is a funny thing – y’know, how differences in age telescope down over time.

    • Eight?! That’s some bad math. Youth is a mask that’s not meant to last. You seem to be spending yours as splendidly as I did mine. I was quite an interesting young buck in those years. Fun to hang out with. The thing about that period of time—I always seemed to be broke, but I was never bored.

      • I am patently terrible at math, but so it was. Eight. Sprinklers on the lawn were the pinnacle of joy for me.

        My Nona always said “only the boring get bored.”

  18. These posts make me sad.
    They do. I can’t help it.

    I miss the New York of my youth. I like NY now, but I’m old. When I was young, New York make sense. Going out at midnight made sense. Eating breakfast at Veselka after being out all night made sense. I knew everybody and went to all the clubs and never ever waited outside a velvet rope, ever.

    Now, I’m a tourist when I go there. It doesn’t feel like mine anymore. I have glimpses of it – like when I ran the streets with my college friends last December – but I paid for that dearly. With 3 days of recovering in bed.

    I want to go back in time. I want it to be 1991, and I want to do it all over again. I’d make every bad choice all over again. It was so fucking FUN.

    • Veselka. Did you have to do that to me?

      I do get terribly melancholy when I read my journals. How can I not?! I suppose we should be glad that we had a piece of it all those years ago, but that’s cold comfort when I randomly open a binder, start reading, and the memories well-up and swamp me. We can’t go back. That’s why they call it the past. Because it passed.

  19. Pingback: I haven’t always been this nice. Here’s proof. | Exile on Pain Street

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