Another from the journal bin. Here’s what happens when a fella gets a little long in the tooth but hasn’t married yet. Also, here’s what goes on at those fancy benefit dinners.
March 22, 1995
I got uncharacteristically drunk after the theater with Bob last Friday night. Not fun drunk. Drunk enough to be sick the next day. We started bar hopping at 11:00. After 2:30 we couldn’t find any more open bars. City that never sleeps, my ass. We got a bag of McDonald’s cheeseburgers and sat in Times Square and ate them. That’s on top of a belly full of scotch. No wonder I was so sick. I got home at 3:30.
He told me his friends think I’m gay. I’ve noticed that gay people like to do that. They like to say that you (or so-and-so) are gay, but you/they don’t realize it yet. I think they do it to swell their ranks. I’m not the least bit insulted and kind of suspected they thought as much for a while. Believe me…if I were gay, I’d be gay with a mad vengeance. There’s no shame and I wouldn’t hide from it. But it’s not my thing. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to experiment over the years but it’s not something I’m curious about. Kissing someone with whiskers sounds about as erotic as swallowing my own vomit.
I spoke at length about this to Velma [Note: a therapist I was seeing at that time]. I asked what would make someone think that. She suggests I have a chameleon-like tendency to emulate the people around me and that I could subconsciously pick up gay mannerisms in an effort to fit in. Makes sense, I suppose. I do have a lot of gay friends. She said I should make hay with it and take a few acting classes. The only thing I’m upset about is that fact that there might be women out there who think, “Gee…what a great guy. Too bad he’s gay.” Do you think that’s possible?
Ann took me to a benefit dinner for the Institute of Asian Studies. It was formal. I clean up pretty good for trash. It was a seven course banquet with entertainment that cost $200 per plate but we didn’t pay for the tickets. Her boss gave them to her. He’s a curator of Asian art and owns a gallery on the Upper East Side. It was a cash bar but I didn’t mind.
I was the youngest person there by several generations. Think about it. Who goes to these types of benefits? People who have a lot of money and free time. And who, generally, has money to burn and time to kill? Old people. Towards the end of the evening I looked around the room and about half the audience had nodded off. I’m sure that people who saw Ann walk in with me on her arm understood right away what the deal is. She certainly isn’t as old as they are, but she ain’t exactly my contemporary, either.
It was an elegant restaurant next to the United Nations. I met some very, very wealthy Asians. They support their own. They served four courses and broke for entertainment. A beautiful Japanese girl in a kimono performed on a koto. Another girl in a kimono played a bamboo flute. Then the girl playing flute did a beautiful dance while the koto player sang. There’s something about the way their hair catches the light—the color and texture of it—that goes right through me. It fed my every Asian fantasy. I might insist that Ann dye her hair jet black.
We were assigned to a geriatric table. I quickly eyeballed the guy who looked like he could sustain a conversation and not die before desert and grabbed the seat next to him. His wife looked barely alive. I shouldn’t judge because that’ll be me one day, but since that’s a long way off I’ll have a proper laugh.
He was an interesting dude. He grew up in Williamsburg but bailed out for Long Island decades ago. I waited for, and finally got, the stories about how New York used to be a great town but not anymore. It’s all relative. [Note: I’ll say it is.] He knows all about my neighborhood and told me about the Yiddish theaters that used to be on Houston and up 2nd Avenue.
While I was talking to him about the good old days, Ann slid her hand up my leg under the table and was playing around. What an uninhibited little minx she is. If she had mistakenly done that to the old codger sitting next to her instead of me, she would’ve been brought up on murder charges. At least he’d have died with a smile on his face. By the time we got back to her apartment I was out of my mind. We never made it past the living room. I assaulted her against the baby grand piano. Neither one of us can play a note but we finally found a use for that thing.
I’m worried about [my sister’s] impending visit. What’s going to happen when she sees my street is lined, not with flower pots and bunting, but drug dealers and junkies?