Here is Justin Wilson reciting Tee Jules' (Jules A. d' Hemecourt IV) Cajun Night Before Christmas. Recorded in his memory, Mr. d' Hemecourt passed away in February, 2008. Check out the album Merry Christmas Cajun if you want some more!
Here is Justin Wilson reciting Tee Jules' (Jules A. d' Hemecourt IV) Cajun Night Before Christmas. Recorded in his memory, Mr. d' Hemecourt passed away in February, 2008. Check out the album Merry Christmas Cajun if you want some more!
From the BroadcastMuseum:
On December 28, 1953, Chicago area kids were introduced to the whimsical story of Suzy Snowflake "tap, tap, tappin'" on every windowpane, seen on "Garfield Goose and Friends" then on WBBM-TV. Suzy too was brought to life by the stop-motion animators of Centaur Productions. Norma Zimmer was Suzy's voice and the song was sung by The Norman Luboff Choir, a premier studio group who recorded with well-known artists, such as Frank Sinatra and Harry Belafonte.
It sounds like a pornographic maxim, but it's actually Raymond Carver's axiom about how to craft the perfect short story. Erotic literature, in our lifetimes, has usually fit his bill.
It's short, all right. Sexy stories have typically been told in punch lines, bawdy tales, quickies from a raconteur. I've seen erotic anthologies that proposed to tell a story in under a hundred words, then under fifty. Erotic storytellers have beaten the devil, then the censor, and finally the clock.
"Introduction" by Susie Bright
A couple decades ago, when commercial literary publishers began to produce erotic volumes of their own, they did so with two caveats. First, the movement was led by women, who saw self-defined erotica as overdue emancipation.
Secondly, the offerings were diverse, the essence of a variety pack. No one could predict what pieces would appeal or offend, so the book was full of surprises, and hopefully two or three would entice each reader. Appalled by the whore on page 38? Turn the page and maybe you'll appreciate the strange spinster on page 39.
The "lots-of-variety, nothing-too-long" approach was successful. New male authors joined the female throng of nonapologists. New readers became erotically tolerant as long as you provided them with a diversity of subject and style in each package. It was either that, or you went the porno-niche route and published titles that indicated a single-minded focus: "My Best Friend's Horny Bisexual Wife."
These titles are the very definition of seasoned pulp, but for self-evident reasons, they never were called literary. They relied on stock characters as much as stock titling.
Meanwhile, what did the authors think? Writers love short stories, it's part of our character. Not because we're lazy-- writing an exceptional short story can kill you-- but because the form is classic, demanding, and breathtaking when it works. It makes a big impact seem even bigger because it is accomplished with brevity.
Yet, with so many talented writers entertaining frank and original sexuality, why would longer-length stories not emerge? In the writers' mind, they certainly do.
A few years ago, while editing an edition of Best American Erotica, I realized that I was receiving excellent manuscripts much longer than I could include in a normal anthology. Some of them were so good it was a shame they weren't novels in their own right.
I felt silly telling the author, "Dear Old Thing, Your story is delicious, and could easily be twice as long, but there simply isn't a publishing venue to accommodate it."
Instead, I had to ask myself, "Why not?" Why can't we take a chance that someone has the chops to create an erotic story worth holding a novel's worth of attention?
The three novellas in this book do just that. Tsaurah Litzky, Greg Boyd, and William Harrison are all authors at the top of my list when it comes to prolific, uncorked inspiration. I met them in the course of my work on the Best American Erotica series.
Litzky came to me courtesy of Joe Maynard's Brooklyn zine, Pink Pages, which, in retrospect, divined some of the best erotic writers working today.
And Greg Boyd is a seismic original of California bohemia, whom I first met when we performed on stage together. He had made up his body and costume into two distinct halves, one bearded, one not -- one dark, one light. His performance was perfect erotic schizophrenia, and I made up my mind to read everything he ever put on paper. I felt the same way about Tsaurah and Bill, and none of them have ever disappointed me.
I didn't ask for a particular topic when I called my authors. I didn't say, "Give me virgins-- no, dwarves-- and I want it in Greece." What I wanted were characters and visions that went beyond fable-length proportions. I knew there was an erotic zeitgeist percolating, but it wasn't going to have a facile categorization.
When I received the final stories, I got my first picture of what it was all about: Three the Hard Way. Each story is led by mature protagonists, characters who go through a personal sea change-- and not without a struggle. They aren't ingenues, and this isn't anyone's first time. They are actually antivirginal, a stake against superficiality.
No spoon-feedings here, or games of "let's not and say we did." My friend Jackie Strano came up with our very apt title. This is the terrain where authentic sexuality is more memorable than a quick tease. These three gave me a tussle and a surrender that was mercifully...drawn out. I lingered, and I loved it. I'll be grateful to them, always, for fulfilling my jumbo-size imagination.
Continued in Three The Hard Way
Photo: Honey Lee Cottrell
I'm the woman who loves mail too much. In porno parlance, I'd say I have a big blue box with a red flag that begs to be stuffed. Bills do not count. Flyers offering me 4.9% interest for six seconds or season-end catalogs for ladies' cotton underwear also do not count. I hate that trash.
"Introduction" by Susie Bright
Best American Erotica 1999
What I like, and fortunately what I get nearly every day, is a letter from a stranger telling me what he or she thinks of my work.
Sometimes it's one of those reader surveys tucked at the end of this volume. Other times people have the urge to go beyond those tiny sheets and send me a full page of opinion.
I bask in their praise. I also seem to soak neck-deep in their criticism until I turn pruney. I am driven to hear my critics without flinching, to have the fortitude to say, "You're absolutely right, and I'm going to change this."
Yet I do have rebellious moments when I want to turn the tables, and say, "Oh, shut up."
I guess this introduction is one of those moments.
The number one peeve in my complaint box is, "Why aren't there more stories in The Best American Erotica that get me off?"
I've written down the entire list of demands I've received on this count, including:
"No more stories about gays,"
"No more stories about weirdos,"
"Lay off the S/M,"
"More lesbo sex but drop the fags,"
"No yucky blood,"
"Can the fatties"— and,
"Please, no more men with big throbbing thighs."(That was Robert Crumb, who at least made me laugh. We both have pretty broad erotica collections!)
I have also noted the reader outrage that certain types of sex are not well enough represented in The Best American Erotica, to wit:
"normal heterosexuals" (I'd like to see Exhibit A on this one),
"lesbians who are really lesbians" (panty check?)— and,
"men with extra-large penises" (who's measuring?)
I would say the most popular story I ran in the last edition was certainly not about "normal intercourse," but it was the hands-down crowd favorite: "She Gets Her Ass Fucked Good."
I couldn't pass up a story with a name like that either, and it was a thrill for me to finally find authors with the proud butt-sense to write a story where a woman thrives on anal sex instead of being disgusted.
In The Best American Erotica edition the year before that, "The Hit," by Aaron Travis, was the favorite. It's got blood, S/M, nasty gunplay, and an all-male cast, and it is also one of the best erotic crime stories I've ever read.
I wondered, after I stopped screaming at its climax, "Will this be too much for BAE?" But I've learned over the years that if a sex story is so riveting you can't put it down, it doesn't matter what the content is, the reader will be captivated. It turned out "The Hit" was the most frequently praised story in that year's collection, and I'm certain that none of the fans who wrote me have experienced anything "normal" in real life like the Mafia hit job that author Travis described.
One of the first stories I ever published, early in my erotica career, was a story called "Rubenesque," by Magenta Michaels. People still write me about this story ten years after I edited it.
In it, a woman with an ample figure and, in particular, queen-size thighs, finds herself at a literary luncheon where she gets eaten out underneath her heavy tablecloth by one of the hotel workmen. Now, this whole business of under-the-counter cunnilingus is not new, but this character's voluptuous innocence was so poignantly and sensually described that the story was irresistible-- to the slim as well as the fat.
I never tell people ahead of time what the "content" of my erotic collections will be. If I tell you I have fifteen heterosexuals, nine and a half lesbians, six men who may or may not be gay, and a partridge in a dildo harness, what does that tell you about whether it's hot or not?
Likewise, I could testify to the number of come shots and detail the positions-- but who's to say any particular cock and clit will make music together? The best kind of sex writing takes me on an adventure I'd never dream of myself, and at the same time, gets me exactly where I live.
I also like to be selfish sometimes, and it's taken a hell of a long time to admit it. I think the worst personal criticism I ever heard as a child was, "You're nothing but the worst sort of selfish." I wanted the first slice of every birthday cake, and mourned for my toys and books when I was supposed to be doing the laundry. All of these were likely to get me branded with the big "S."
Now that I'm a mother myself, as much as I vowed I would never use that label on my daughter, it has come to haunt me-- the innocent audacity with which children will tell you just exactly what they want-- and that, by the way, they want it now. How can they be such thoughtless little pigs!
In due time, I learned as an adult all the vile niceties about how to say what you want... without really saying it. When that failed to make an impression, I blamed myself for daring to have a preference in the first place.
It was the burden of my first years as a lover that I never revealed what would make me have an orgasm, I never touched my clit or asked for it to be touched. I wanted someone to just look into my eyes and turn on the magic. To say out loud how I wanted to get fucked would have been so humiliating!-- that is, until finally I got so frustrated (or was it just old enough?) that I blurted it out.
I had no idea that it was a turn-on to tell my lovers what aroused me -- now that was magic. The way they reacted to my trust and confidence could easily be the most passionate part of our time together. I simultaneously realized that being chastened for my fantasies by a lover was worse than a cold shower for ruining any chance we had for erotic chemistry.
I actually have two sets of ideas about erotic self-interest. If someone tells me in bed that they like it missionary style, I'm thrilled to know the details and I'm more than ready to pray and play. It's good for people to know what makes them come alive, and I envy those who know themselves without apologies.
But outside the bedroom negotiation, if that same selfish little brat tells me that I'm supposed to make an anthology of The Best American Erotica out of their strict formula -- well, I'm afraid that's where you have to learn to share. When erotic fantasy becomes literature, there has to be a spirit of generosity and adventure to keep the artistic momentum alive. This is a group experience.
The Best American Erotica isn't one of those handy stroke zines or Special Prosecutor Reports where all the juicy parts are labeled by page: "Cigar fantasies, pp. 5-7."
When I was a kid, exploring my first erotica, this is what I was familiar with. It was so exciting to read something forbidden in my repertoire that I couldn't read enough, and I followed the signs and page numbers to all my favorite taboos.
Until, one day, to my amazement, I realized that the same page number over and over again was not enough-- there had to be something in the writing to elevate me past the expected. I wanted to be surprised.
The Best American Erotica, I'll confess, truly does have an agenda. It isn't a dial-an-orgasm collection. The stories have to pass the wet test, but they don't aim for the broadest common denominator-- if there even is one in human sexuality.
This whole business of defining what is "average," or worse, "normal," in erotic fantasy is a losers' game. We may have plastic surgery to make everyone's noses and tits look the same, but psychologically our erotic profile is unique, and there's no messing with it.
Instead, I like my Best American Erotica stories to be a portrait of the times we live in. I have daydreams of aliens discovering The Best American Erotica collection a thousand years from now and saying, "So this is what turned the earthlings on." I hope they have more tolerance and curiosity than the critics who write to me now and say, "If this is sex in America, then I'm a duck."
The doubters might as well start quacking -- or get out of the house more often. You better believe this is sex in America -- and if we weren't so pruney from our own long soak in censorship and shaming, that fact would be perfectly obvious.
Continued in Best American Erotica 1999
Photo: Ah, the old days at the Mitchell Brothers dressing room. Bob Callahan gave me this, I don't know if he snapped it.
In Times Square Comes Alive, a perky white couple who perform in the love act booth talk about how they keep a variety in their act, and then show the camera a robust performance.
My own experience in 1984 was on the other side of the moon. My five women friends and I each paid twenty dollars at Show World to walk into a small, dark room with an eight –foot round platform in the center surrounded by a few folding chairs...
[The "sex act" commences...]
A moment later the male lover withdrew, completely soft again, and whoever was playing the R&B oldies abruptly dragged the needle off— sccrratch! End of show, folks. I guess the song is only as long as he can hold it up. We applauded in a daze and folded our chairs.
Outside, we found the star smoking a cigarette at the cash register he also operates.
“Hey, you have a nice body, why don’t you do something with it?” one of my outspoken friends asked him. “How can your erection be so important when the rest of your body is ignored? Your partner strips and shows the pleasure of her body, but you can’t even be bothered to get your trousers untangled from your ankles!”
He was a little taken aback by five lesbians taking him to task for a lack of masculine sensuality. “Hey, I do this seven times a day, you know. The earlier show is better.”
I think that what Times Square Comes Alive got was the very early show– it was so early that no one has ever seen it except for the camera.
Read the whole story in "Susie Bright's Erotic Screen, Volume 1"
*free on Amazon this weekend
That's what I believed when I first considered my bisexuality. I was sixteen; I had just been kissed, and in my case, it was a two-headed introduction. Sitting on the next-door neighbor's bed, I kissed my best girlfriend, and then, turning my head to the other side, I kissed him. Then all three of us made love. I was so pleased with myself you'd have thought I'd just baked two perfect cherry pies.
My first time was very much in sync with my political ideals. I thought that if everyone would get into a big waterbed, smoke a joint, and rub noses, we could live in peace, tranquillity and a perpetual state of arousal— my solution to world strife. This was before I had my own nose rubbed in that jealous, selfish pot of piss called human nature.
I came out as bi before there was a "bisexual movement" as such, before the B-word was attached to the Lesbian and Gay Freedom Day parades, community centers, and racquetball clubs. When I was sixteen, I would have gleefully joined them all and been pleased to find a political program that matched my bedroom behavior.
You've heard what the bisexual movement has to say about "bi-phobia." Behavioral scientists know that human sexuality spans a spectrum from very homo to very hetero, and most folks fall down some weird crack in the middle. Accused of being infantile, or "fence-sitters," described as traitors by the gay world and perverts by the straight one, bisexual activists have told the status quo on both sides of the argument to grow up and get real.
Fifteen years after my coming out, when the banners started waving for bisexual recognition, I nodded my head in robot-like agreement with the ten and twelve-point programs, but I didn't join up. You didn't see me in the contingent; I wasn't on the float. The bisexual movement, as such, leaves me cold, as does much of the political gay movement it comes from. How can this be?
When I first proclaimed my bisexuality in the early seventies, I was very intimidated by my lesbian elders who pointed a blunt finger at my transgressions, damning me to the Judas seat of heterosexual privilege. I hadn't even had the "privilege" of having a relationship with anyone yet, and I had only had sex a dozen times. Yet I was loyal to the principles of feminism and gay liberation. It tore me apart to think that I would ever do anything to hurt our cause, in or out of bed.
I look at my sexual history today and see that my relationships have more often than not been with people who were secretly attracted to my bisexuality rather than repulsed by it. Some of them were leaders and some of them were led by me. I was intimate with people who wanted understanding for their capacity to love more than one person at the same time. I was cherished by men who desired other men and who desired their own womanliness. I was treasured by women who valued my appeal to men, because those were the same qualities that moved them as gay women. My lovers have been butches, perverts, bohemians, philanderers and Johnny-come- latently bisexuals themselves.
I used to get in a tizzy because I wanted a written proclamation from gay society saying that bisexuals— in fact, all sexual deviants— were welcome and considered family. I even wrote a platform statement expressing those sentiments for a gay convention, held in 1980 to fight the Moral Majority. I was all but thrown bodily out of the room.
Guess what? No one gets a proclamation. If you want to be in the gay life, then you sit your ass down in the middle of it, and you don't just get up and move because someone doesn't like you. Gay life isn't a cherry pie; it's a fire walk.
The political urge to wed gay rights to the rights of sexual minorities in a genuine sexual liberation movement has made for strange bedfellows. It's straightforward enough to ask for an end to prejudice. It's preposterous to ask sexual beings to stuff ourselves into the rapidly imploding social categories of straight or gay or bi, as if we could plot our sexual behavior on a conscientious, predictable curve.
A true sexual liberation movement does not simply deal with pride. Sexual liberation challenges our hearts with unbearable feelings that no one is proud of: jealousy, sexual shame, and the uncontrollable attraction to risk. Bisexuality adds a brutal twist to these subjects only because it confronts all the prejudices between and among men and women.
Don't talk to me about gay pride or bi pride. Love has no pride— that's the banner the real world marches under. When I was young, I was very hurt by political ringmasters who said they wouldn't talk, fuck or work with me because I was bisexual. Now that I've worked, fucked and talked with them all, I'm not hurt anymore, because I knew their secret. They desire what they condemn.
The first time I spoke to a group about my bisexuality was in 1978 in a Cal State/Long Beach class called "The Lesbian." My hands shook as I addressed the circle of twenty young women. The Cal State Marching Band played "America the Beautiful" on the quad just outside our door.
No one said anything after I finished my speech. Finally, the most articulate student in class, "The Lesbian" to end all lesbians, a redheaded grad student with peerless feminist credentials, raised her eyebrow, and delivered my death sentence:
"How do you justify giving wimmin's energy and lesbian knowledge to our oppressors," she asked, "and then expect any principled lesbian-identified woman to trust you?"
I stared at her like a rabbit caught in the middle of the road. I did not know the answer to that question. Tears came to my eyes. I didn't expect anyone to trust or love me. My sexual confidence was all on paper. I had only been to bed with plain ole teenage girls, who probably thought I was the only principled lesbian feminist between us. When we made love, my mouth was full of their honey, wet from their lips and their cunts. The world of our affection and romance seemed very distant from this fluorescent-lit inquisition.
I could not have predicted at the time that one day I would be a lesbian sex expert and that this very same redhead would be living with her husband and two kids in a suburb outside of Chicago.
My politics at the time did not allow for the most important principle of all: Shit happens.
As wounded as I was by gay accusations, I was sensitive myself to the daily grind of heterosexual arrogance. I never liked to tell people that I was bi. Straight men took it as a come-on line, an advertisement. Better that they should have seen my dyke button a mile away. Dykes took it as an indication that I was playing games. Wrong again. Latent lesbian girls took my bisexual admission as some sort of invitation to them to rag on about how repulsive real man-hating lesbians were.
"Oh, I'm sorry," I wanted to say. "You misunderstand me. I'm a man-hating bisexual. "
But I didn't say that. I told all but the most sincere that I was gay. It hardly seemed to matter. For ten years, my live-action sexual encounters with men were few, far between, and rather odd. One time, I fucked the Christmas UPS man who made deliveries at my boring job. Another time, I spent the night with one of my childhood political heroes, an old man of sixty-eight who once led a waterfront strike, but as an old man, had heart trouble anddiabetes. He couldn't get an erection and felt very badly about it.
"It doesn't matter," I told him. "I'm a lesbian, I don't expect it... I just want to be with you." His intimacy was a privilege for me.
I understand now that a mouthful like "heterosexual privilege" doesn't have anything to do with the luxury or honor of bedding down with my oppressor— or my mentor. It's just an academic way to describe the flat-out devastation of losing your woman to a man. I've played every humiliating soap opera scene in that book. I've woken up next to women who couldn't look me in the eye after clinging to me all night, and I've watched them run to their boy friends so fast they tripped over their shoelaces.
One memorable evening at a drunken party, I watched my lover, Sherry, disappear behind a bedroom door with one of my roommates, a big blond man a foot taller than me. I pressed my ear against the door and blocked out the B-52s album blaring in the background. I heard him humping her. I couldn't believe it.
Why don’t you dance with me? The B-52's were blaring through the house speakers.
I was so shocked that I was bold enough to open the door and walk in. "Sherry?" I called out to the long hair trailing over the bed. Her tiny body was covered by his. I was so close to them, it was remarkable they didn't notice me at all.
I finally left them, closed the door, and resolved to wait there, all night if necessary, to confront her when she walked out.
At 4 AM, some fresh arrivals rolled in the front door with a new keg. "Hey, your girlfriend just jumped out the bedroom window," one of them said to me. "What's her problem?"
I ran outside, but the only bit of Sherry I found was the soft spot in the grass where she'd landed.
Everybody goes to parties, they dance this mess around....
Nowadays Sherry is a butch working on the Manhattan stock exchange, and she has lived with the same woman for ten years. But that was one bad night.
I need to find the redhead, "The Lesbian," and tell her this story. Sherry betrayed me, not homosexuality, not the lesbian empire. She spread her legs for that man; I stood motionless and watched them; she flew out the window; I cried, and then we started all over again. We are capable of every betrayal and every forgiveness that follows.
I pick up my bible, Roland Barthes' A Lover's Discourse, or "Lovers Disco," as I call it.
"The sentiment of amorous suffering explodes in this cry: 'I can't go on...
But you do.
"Nothing works out, but it keeps going on."
I did not imagine I could go on after Sherry left me. Losing a woman to a man is as close to the burning sensation of childhood ridicule as one can experience. You feel incompetent, unable to compete, yet it makes you sick to even think of comparing yourself with that... thing. Not even that thing between his legs, but that thing between his ears that makes every man think that he's God.
When *I* left *my* girlfriend because I fell for a man, the harshest thing she said to me was an accusation thrown at my back, screamed as I climbed up the hill to my car filled with my half of the household furnishings.
"Have you fucked your boyfriend yet?" A direct hit.
Yes, I had fucked him, and I would do it again and again. I wanted to yell back, "You don't understand, you'll never understand."
Had she never been engulfed with desire so extreme as to spit in the face of all her principles, beliefs, morals? Of course she had. She was twelve years older than me. She understood, but I didn't.
To submit to lust is to declare a panic, a state of body emergency. My shame at leaving my girlfriend, who had fucked me in the ass with her arm, who had tasted every fluid in my body, who had brought me to the brink again and again and loved me so well— how could I do this to her?
Just watch me— and then watch yourself follow in my footsteps, the steps that lead so faithfully into every dark alley we take such pains to shun. I did not want to be straight. I had been content with my bisexuality only as long as men were tangential to it. When I fucked this man, it was an act of greatest perversion.
In my shame I picked up Lovers Discourse once again and sat down on the toilet:
"I am reduced to endurance.... I suffer without adjustment, I persist without intensity, always bewildered, never discouraged. I am a Daruma doll, a legless toy endlessly poked and pushed, but finally regaining its balance, assured by an inner balancing pin.
"But WHAT is my balancing pin? The force of love?
"...Such is life, falling over seven times and getting up eight."
Intellectually, we always favor those of our own sex, even if they're not our sexual partners. Bisexuals are the same as everyone else in this regard; we just get more opportunity to view the spectacle. To be with the opposite sex is never "better;" it's a classic compromise, however compelling.
Some think that it is "feminism" for women to prefer women and "chauvinism" for men to prefer men. But the prejudice is older than that. You are always a little disdainful of your opposite. I am capable of believing in love, certainly lust, but never in equality between the sexes.
Jealousy, however, is the great equalizer. Security and exclusivity— promises broken as often as they are offered— are high on every lover's list of demands. I despise jealousy. I control it only with discipline; it is like a skin I cannot shed.
I search for the lovers who won't consider my bisexuality a de facto threat, who will not fear that to love me is to be in perpetual competition with their sex. That fear is the true reaction to bisexuality, not political epithets. Accusing a bisexual of being a traitor reveals one's desperate, and quite human, fear of rejection. I can barely accept that feature in myself.
Let me be honest with you, and let me be shameful, as it seems so essential to my discipline: I don't want to hear that you’re "bisexual" either, especially just after you've fucked me blind. Don't tell me who you are. I'm a mere mortal, jealous and vulnerable, and I might fall for you in a big way. Show me what you can do.
If you succeed in blinding me, I will follow you, potentially into loss, betrayal, into the fire walk. It will be personal; it will not necessarily be principled. In the moment after orgasm, this is what is memorable— and for many moments after.
From Susie Bright's Sexual Reality, free on Amazon this weekend
Photo: A Place in the Sun, Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift
Best American Erotica 1997
Other stories in BAE 97 by: Thomas Roche,Eric Albert, Bob Vickery, Tsaurah Litzky, Michael Lowenthal,Simon Sheppard, Joe Maynard, Bill Brent,Lucy Taylor, and M. Christian
By Lisa Palac
Best American Erotica 1995
The first time I tried answering a personal ad looking for a blue-moon girlfriend, I was single and I didn't have very good luck. I wrote a short letter giving my name and phone number and enclosed a picture. It was one of those black-and-white photo booth prints of me dressed in black, smiling. I hand-colored it, made it kind of arty. I never got a response. Maybe she chickened out. Maybe she thought I was a dork. I tried again with a different ad and ended up meeting this softball chick in a sports bar. I knew it would never work. I hated sports. Plus she had bad skin.
After I started seeing Greg, I decided to try it again. (Greg was the first guy I ever watched a porn movie with, and every one we rented was a "lesbian" one. He was an all-girl action connoisseur. He never picked a tape that had any guys in it, and I can't say I minded. Women turned me on and besides, who wanted to see a bunch of ugly guys with nothing going on but big dicks?) One night, after a sweaty session in front of the VCR, he said, "I'd like to see you do it with another woman."
Now some women might interpret such a fantasy as the product of a selfish, macho mind, doped up on too much fake lesbian porno. But I thought of it more as classic, bedrock eroticism. I know that watching two women fuck each other is no doubt the number-one hetero male fantasy, but I like it, too. Until Greg's brilliant idea, I'd slept with one woman, and it was a lot less gymnastic than any porn video. I was amazed by how soft her skin was; it really was like silk. While we were doing it, I kept thinking, "Girls are so soft. Do I feel that soft to her?" I was drowning in her silky water. I liked feeling her nipples in my mouth, the way her cunt smelled. Her body was peculiar and familiar at the same time. And I liked the challenge of figuring out how to hold it in my hands and make it work, how to make her come, even though I'd spent hours toying with my own circuitry! Greg's interest was a green light for me; he encouraged my desires. So rather than accuse my boyfriend of having a sick, Bruce Seven-induced fantasy, I decided to live it out.
Finding a woman who will just go home with you and your boyfriend, who, depending on the angle looks like either Jeff Goldblum or a demented rabbit, isn't the easiest thing in the world. It's not like in the movies where everyone just wants to fuck and suck at the drop of a hat. Greg and I spent lot of time in bars saying, "She's cute" or "How about her?" but that's as far as it got. I got restless waiting for that perfect pick-up moment, where she'd start rubbing my thigh and I'd let her mess up my lipstick while Greg silently paid the tab and guided us to his apartment. Deep down, we were both nervous and neither one of us had the courage to act.
So I wrote another letter. I picked an ad where having sex was clearly the goal. I laid it on thick this time, but didn't send a photo. I hated giving away good pictures of myself that I never got back. A few days later, Cheryl called. She had this cigarette-smoking, tough-girl voice, but it was sexy, and she was very matter-of-fact. She was young, early twenties, same as me, and she gave me a detailed physical description of herself (height, weight, bra size, always emphasizing very attractive) and let me know that fucking "her old man" was out of the question and she wouldn't lay a hand on mine. We arranged to meet at my favorite snotty art bar, the New French Café. "You'll know me because I'll be wearing a black jumpsuit," she said. Jumpsuit. My heart sank a bit. The only place you could get a black jumpsuit was at the Army surplus or Frederick's of Hollywood. I imagined her to look like one of the go-go dancers on Laugh-In: big hairsprayed curls and mondo cleavage stuffed in a low-cut, bell-bottomed spandex capsule.
I wore black, too: leather jacket, dark sweater, jeans. And I think my hair was black then, fashionably unbrushed and matted with gobs of gel. Greg showed up in his usual plaid flannel shirt over some rock T-shirt, which may have been "The Cramps: Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?," his long dark hair equally shocked with styling goo. He had "I can't believe you're doing this" pasted on his face. I ordered a glass of Côte du Rhône; he had scotch. It was a late afternoon in winter, still light out. I usually tried to wake up before the sun went down again.
I picked out Cheryl like a cherry when she walked in. Cleavage and everything, just like I pictured it. And she was very attractive in a working-class way. Her sexy outfit was expected but sincere. She wore dark eye shadow and bright pink lipstick. I watched heads turn, not because she was that beautiful, but because nobody would come to the New French dressed like that. When she sat down, I wanted to reach over and touch her downy, powder-puff skin. Her man, on the other hand, was a greaseball. He had a bad haircut and a big gut and a mustache. Let's call him John. I was very thankful for the anti-cock swap arrangement.
Just like on the phone, Cheryl got right down to business. She basically said that she and John, let's call him, answered a lot of ads and were always looking for new thrills. She wanted the four of us to go out to dinner one night, to "get to know each other," and then we'd go back to their house and do it. Greg suggested he bring along something from his girl/girl collection. "But he don't touch me and you don't touch him," she reiterated. Thank God.
She dictated a very particular dress code: "I want you to wear something on top that's tight and really low-cut and a miniskirt with thigh-high, spike-heeled boots. Stockings and a garter belt, of course" Uh, okay. I didn't own any of these items, except the miniskirt, but I didn't want to tell her that. While Cheryl was dressing me up like a total slut, the guys were talking and snorting, bonding in that guy way. I think they were talking about beer. We made plans for the following Sunday.
The next night, I got a call from Cheryl asking if I'd like to come over to their house and spend some time getting to know each other, as she put it. I said okay, but told her that Greg was working and so I wasn't gonna do anything, if that's what she had in mind, without him there. They picked me up and we drove to their Minneapolis suburban home. In the car I noticed that Cheryl was wearing panty hose; not cotton tights or colored stockings, but these No Nonsense suntan-colored panty hose. The dinosaur of hosiery. I felt bad for mentally picking on her panty hose, but they were so strangely out-of-date. I began to wonder if I could really get to know a person who wore beige panty hose.
Their house was tiny with paneling in the living room and a lime-green shag carpet. I sat down at the kitchen table in a chair with a wrought-iron back and puffy, flowered vinyl on the seats. John handed me a Schlitz. He asked me what I did for a living. "I'm in film school," I said. He worked in a factory, I think. Then Cheryl wanted to show me some of the other responses she'd gotten to her ad.
She and I went into the bedroom, and she plopped a big cardboard box on the bed. One by one, she showed me photos and letters from the girls who wanted to play with her. It had never even occurred to me to send a naked picture of myself, much less one with my legs spread wide and a dildo in my pussy. I was shocked, simply shocked, that people would send this hard-core, possibly incriminating stuff through the mail to some stranger at a P.O. Box. No wonder I didn't get lucky the first time around. The letters were just as explicit, outlining how much they loved to eat pussy or how they wouldn't do anal, and of course how disease-free and very attractive they were. Well, who's going to admit their unattractive piggishness, right?
As we were looking through the stuff, Cheryl started rubbing my leg. Her skirt was hiking up her thighs and I now saw that she was not, in fact, wearing panty hose, but flesh-colored nylons and an industrial-strength garter belt. I couldn't decide if that was better or worse than the panty hose. When she saw me looking at her legs, she leaned over and kissed me. Her mouth was soft and I liked the way she kissed. Then, out of nowhere, greasy John appeared in the doorway, hand on his crotch. I gotta go, I said. She reminded me about the clothing requirements for our date. I admitted that I didn't have any thigh-high boots, so she made me try on several pairs of hers. I hoped for black, but the only ones that fit were an ugly tan with a thick broken heel. It was hard to feel sexy in tan boots, but I reminded myself to be open to new experiences.
A few days later I got another call from Cheryl. She wanted to take me lingerie shopping. Immediately I flashed on one of those contrived Penthouse-type letters where two innocent girls are seduced in the dressing room of the bra department by some horny saleslady. But I did need that stocking and garter belt get-up, so I agreed to join her.
We ended up at a suburban mall, but neither Cheryl nor any of the salespeople seemed the least bit interested in attacking me. In fact, Cheryl seemed quite nonchalant about the whole thing. She didn't even ogle as my naked breasts slipped from bra to bustier. She sat on a tiny stool outside the dressing room, dryly indicating her preferences. I picked out a white, lacy set. "Now remember," she said, "always put the stockings and garter on first, then the panties. That way you can take the panties off without having to undo everything." On the way home she told me how she occasionally worked as a stripper, both in clubs and at bachelor parties, and about some of the other personal ad experiences she'd had. "But you know, I'm really just looking for a friend," she said. "Someone I can hang out and do stuff with, like go bowling."
The Sunday of our sordid affair finally arrived. I spent the afternoon...
Continued in Best American Erotica, 1995, edited by Susie Bright
BAE 1995 also includes great literary erotic stories by: Nicholson Baker, Tsuarah Litzky,Susan Musgrove, and Robert Olen Butler.
Photo: Lisa Palac's memoir, The Edge of the Bed
Susie's Primary Sources on Vintage Erotica Before the Internet