The weekend I pretended to be her boyfriend

Here’s another ALL-TRUE story from my distant past. More sordid tales under the Memoir category.

December 8, 1993

Diane asked me to come up to Boston and be her beard for her office Christmas party. She said she’d fly me up, provide my tux and put me up at the Copley Square Hotel.

[Note: beard [beerd]: slang. Any opposite sex escort taken to an event in an effort to give a gay person the appearance of being out on a date with a person of the opposite sex.]

I got a cab from Logan Airport and the driver was a Rastafarian blasting reggae so loud I had to repeat my destination three times. When we got to the hotel, I realized I only had $6.50 on me. I forgot to go to the bank. I told the driver I was broke. He laughed and said I was a true New Yorker, which I think is an insult. I called Diane and, fortunately, she had an account with the cab company, so everything worked out.

I checked into our suite and first thing I noticed was that there were separate beds. I guess the ruse is over once we’re behind closed doors. The party was in the Copley Square ballroom, so that was convenient. I could anesthetize myself against all those corporate stuffed shirts and not have to worry about wrapping the car around a tree while driving home.

My tux was waiting for me. I had sent my measurements earlier in the week and those idiots sent the wrong shirt. I have a 16½ collar and the shirt they sent had a 15½ collar. I made jokes all night about how I couldn’t swallow my food because my esophagus was squeezed shut. The shirt had studs, not buttons. After putting them in, Diane chuckled and said they were in backwards, so I had to take them all out and start over again. What a fucking rube. The cummerbund was easy enough, thank God. You should see me in black tie. For a peasant, I clean up pretty good.

Diane arrived and got dressed. She was wearing a sequined gown. She looked so beautiful! What a shame. She asked me to zip up the back of her dress, so I grasped the zipper with my thumb and middle finger and ran my index finger up her bare spine. It gave her a chill, which was very sexy. We went down to the packed ballroom at 7:00 where the festivities were well underway.

I was mesmerized by the ostentatious show of wealth. I haven’t seen that many jewels since I visited the Tower of London. These are people who made it and aren’t ashamed to show it. I drank Chivas and soda and Diane drank Johnny Walker Black—all night, all for free. Not only did I not embarrass myself by saying something stupid, people seemed genuinely amused by my well-rehearsed bon mots. Food was everywhere. All you had to do was stick your arm out and you could grab shrimp or lamb or chicken or crab or beef. I tried steak tartare and didn’t like it very much, but it was the first time I tried black caviar and that was lovely.

The room was thick with New England, blue blood accents. I think some of the women were flirting with me but, Jesus, what could I do?! I was with Diane and THEY were there with their husbands/ boyfriends! I strayed away from Diane when she discussed business because I found it so insufferably dull. One time, she asked me to excuse myself from the conversation and later that night she told me they had to discuss firing someone the following Monday. Right before Christmas! How heartless. I chatted with the Head of Marketing and his charming wife for a long while. I told them I was a writer and only working in graphic design until I’m published. That was one of the MANY lies I told that night.

I walked outside onto a grand balcony for a cigarette and met the sons of the owners of the [redacted] and [redacted] football teams. I mostly observed. They were saying terrible things, asking each other if their wives still “sucked their cocks” and saying, “Hell no, are you kidding?!” Then they were bragging about the “great fucks” they’ve had in the owner’s box at the stadium “where [team owner] takes a shit.” THEN they were complaining about the blacks who were admitted to their country club! At first I thought they were kidding around but they were serious. It was like an evil Saturday Night Live skit. One by one, a wife would come out to fetch a husband and when they were out of earshot, they would comment on what a battle axe he was stuck with. It was just awful.

We finally rolled up to the suite about 12:30. I took my jacket off and threw it across the room, sat on the sofa, untied my bow tie, threw it in the opposite direction, undid my shirt collar and exhaled. Diane walked over and sat next to me on the sofa. We gossiped a bit about stuff we overheard and then she lay down with her head in my lap, reached up and pulled my mouth on top of hers. It was a lovely surprise. She tasted like red wine. We kissed for a long time and I started to get frisky so she said that was enough. How do women do that!? How do they just come to a dead STOP?!  Karen does that to me, too.



varvatosGentrification has always been with us and it always will be. Complaining about it is so boring. CBGB’s was over when I was going there but those were some of my best years. And walking past there the other week gave me the blue blues. It made me so sad. I guess I’m just a sentimental fool.


Yesterday was our 15th wedding anniversary. That’s right. Our anniversary is 9/11. Thanks, terrorists, for fucking-up our special day. Oh…AND my city. When we got married, I thought the confluence of numbers–9/11/99–was a fortuitous thing.

We didn’t get married on THE 9/11. That’s how we spent our second anniversary. We were both working in Midtown Manhattan and living on the Lower East Side. All hell broke loose and we had to walk home. My Bride was seven months pregnant. She was wearing heels that weren’t suitable for a 45-block, four-avenue walk so we stopped into the Duane Reade and bought a pair of plastic flats. It took all day to get home because we had to stop for frequent rests. By the time we got home her feet looked like pieces of raw meat. I remember it being really pretty outside. Azure sky and cool temps. 100% clarity. The focus was sharp.

The transit system was shut down and the avenues were choked with pedestrians. It’s the first (and only) time I’ve seen New Yorkers inconvenienced and not complain about it. A military demarcation line was established south of Houston St. There was a gauntlet of armor personnel carriers and very large guns. In order to get to our apartment we had to show ID. That went on for three weeks. Once inside our apartment, we had to shut the windows because the air stunk like a combination of an electrical fire and burnt hair. The Trade Center was (had been) just a mile away.

We moved out of the city four months later. Our move had nothing to do with the attack. At that time, Avenue B was no place to raise a little girl. The wheels for the move had already been set in motion. We had bid on a house and were disembarking for the suburbs. I felt awful about leaving. It felt like we were abandoning the city in her time of need.

We didn’t celebrate our anniversary for the next four years. It didn’t feel right. But then we got back on our feet and decided to reclaim what was rightfully ours–just like my shining citadel on the hill did.

15 years is pretty good run. A lot of people don’t make it to 15 months. In all that time, I’ve never once thought of bailing out. Not once! I’m serious! Isn’t that miraculous?

The women I’ve known I wouldn’t let tie my shoe
They wouldn’t give you the time of day
But [My Bride] knocked me off my feet
God I was glad I found her

Rod Stewart
Every Picture Tells a Story

wed 3

Look how black my hair used to be. So sad.


hooke·y (ho͝okē) noun informal.
1. to stay away from school or work without permission or explanation.

I take very few things in life seriously, least of all my work. I’m conscientious about keeping a job. I have responsibilities. Plus, I need to fund the things that DO interest me. But I’ve never been one of those career-driven success stories. I envy people like that. I wish I could have embraced a white collar profession, but things like medicine, law, management and high finance bore me to tears. Those things require a significant time commitment and a lot of personal sacrifice. I have a slacker’s heart.

I called in sick in order to view the Jeff Koons exhibit at the Whitney Museum. I told them I had food poisoning. How immature is that? Try to imagine someone who owns his own business or a senior executive in an asset management firm calling in sick to visit an art museum. It just wouldn’t happen. It’s irresponsible. It’s bizarre behavior for someone my age. Why am I blogging about this, anyway?

However, that being said, the Koons career retrospective is special. The Whitney is closing to relocate downtown and they’re going out with a bang. They turned the entire museum over to Koons. It’s unprecedented. I certainly don’t like all of his work but I thought the show was interesting enough to do something as childish as faking an illness. Kak-kak.

Back in the 90’s I didn’t have a lot of respect for Koons. I thought he was much better marketer than artist. Since then, I got over my bad ass self and enjoy some of his pieces because they’re fun, which is what I think he intended all along.

This is Balloon Dog (Yellow) from the Celebration series of the exhibit. Koons made five of these, each one a different color.

yellow-dog2Last November, Balloon Dog (Orange) sold at a Christie’s auction for $58.4 million. This one is owned by hedge fund scumbag Steven Cohen of SAC Capital.

This is his latest piece, finished just before the Whitney show opened. It’s a giant, steel sculpture of Play-Doh.

playdohPlay-Doh purportedly took 20 years to complete. He’s a perfectionist and was looking for the exact right color and texture. His poor assistants!

Across the room from Play-Doh is Hanging Heart (Violet/Gold), a 9-foot tall polished steel heart.

heartBalloon Dog, Play-Doh and Hanging Heart are all in the same gallery. It’s like walking into a riot of color and over-sized familiar shapes.

About a month ago I did a post that included Split Rocker, the Koons summer outdoor installation at Rockefeller Center.

split-rocker1The child’s rocker that was used as a model for these giant pieces was included in the Whitney show in the Easyfun series.

split-rocker2Koons has a thing with superheros. Who doesn’t? This is Popeye. It was on display in the courtyard just outside the Whitney cafeteria (where spinach isn’t served).

popeye1A version of this statue was purchased this past May by casino magnate Steve Wynn for $28 million. Is that all?

This is Hulk (Organ). It’s a fully functional pipe organ.

hulkIt couldn’t be played because it only has one volume—very loud. The literature said it’s as loud as a helicopter. What a tease!

Speaking of tease. There was a room full of sculptures from his Banality series that included his most famous piece, Michael Jackson and Bubbles.

banalityBefore I saw the exhibit, I was thinking that it’d be fun to bring the daughters into the city and see Balloon Dog and Play-Doh. Then I saw these.

banality2In 2011, the Pink Panther sold for $16.9 million, which was considered a huge disappointment. The estimate had been $20-30 Million. The front of the sculpture can be seen here. There’s some pornographic imagery as well.

crystal-statueThere are also giant prints of Koons nude with his then wife, Italian porn “actress”-turned politician La Cicciolina. Do you think 8-years old is too young to see Koons’ penis? I do.

You may have thought the previous pieces were preposterous but wait until you see these beauties. Here’s a gallery full of vacuum cleaners in lighted plexiglass cases. It’s from his The New series he did in 1980.

vacuum-cleaners2It defies commentary although I’m certain there’s a high-minded explanation for this.

This is from the Inflatables and Pre-New section. They’re…umm…a toaster and a whistling tea kettle mounted on lights. I was sending pics to my friend and he said, “You took off work for this?!”


“I yam what I yam.”popeye2

Me too, brother.