Friday, September 07, 2001

Crumpled, Dollar Bills - Episodes From My Youth:

Part 1/Part 2/Part 3

Verbally ushering out my courtier with my Greta Garbo-ish cries of "I want to be ALONE!", he exits, his 5'11", anemic-looking frame decorated with a balding crown of white hair and a protruding potbelly distending many inches over his gray, Sansabelt slacks. Normally this person's appearance would elicit a coo of "When are you due??? What trimester??, but he was neither a woman or I in good humor. Fleeing from the room he cried out in pain as he smacked his liver spotted hand against the fastening hook attached to the entry way, his cheap, tarnished wedding ring making a solid "THWACK!" against the solid metal of the hook.

Trapped in my grotesque position - part prayer/part Kama Sutra - I realized I had never secured the "privacy rope". For the uninitiated (but I mean really, which one among you would read me and be that innocent to said subject...baffling) at an adult bookstore, video booths are often given some method of insuring their occupants' privacy - if they so require. Some have doors (decidedly meant only for those who really, actually want privacy and if so, they should invest in a VCR, they're really cheap these days), some ropes, some nothing (this really sucks because you feel like your playing bouncer at the hottest club in town - "Sorry buddy, no more standing room inside...move along, now, move along"). The "privacy rope" is a 3 foot long rope encased in burgundy leather, heavy to the touch, with a dingy, silver hook on each end. Imagine the ropes used to hold off the swarms of press that line the premieres of Hollywood blockbusters and the "in" nightclubs of New York and Los Angeles; this is not that rope, this rope is it's short, weathered cousin, twice removed - through a nasty custody battle - now living in a trailer park in Yuma, Arizona with a malevolent, broken-down Lazy-Boy chair. The hook is meant to be inserted into a fastener attached to the wall - it is all very high tech. The rope is intended to be pulled across the entryway between the two fasteners, thus blocking the entryway. This simple ropes use is encouraged by The Management for your security and protection. Imagine the designer of the privacy rope first attempting to sell these beauties door-to-door under the name "Rope-Ryder 5000" - the ultimate in personal home security".

Necessity was not the mother of invention, she was a drunken sister-in-law who like to call after 1AM.

As I struggle to pull myself free from the flytrap "incident", I realize that the "Rope-Ryder 5000 Privacy Monitor" is only effective if used properly - I had left mine unfastened. Having left mine in the so-called "off" position I breathed a sign of relief that matters had not been worse.

Freed from my predicament I began the unpleasant task of brushing off my knees
- Hey what luck my lost dollar bill is stuck to my pants!.
I quickly fall back on my agnostic beliefs and renounce my so-called promises to better humanity and vacate the booth (yes - I acknowledge that I am by all probability going to hell - my much loved Irish-Catholic boyfriend, mumbles as much on numerous occasions). I wrestle (well, in as much as they really wrestle in the WWF) with my desire to continue my adventure and retain my opportunity to behave indecently. With several pints of Guiness ebbing through my blood stream, I feel my inhibitions still appropriately flattened to continue my quest. I justify staying. I mean really, what a total sense of loss it would be if I walked away in the middle of the riveting plot developments in 'Forest Hump':

Forest has gone to war (Vietnam) where without the oppression of female companionship, the moral weight of societies ethics and norms regarding tolerance of sexuality and minorities, Forest has developed deepened bonds of masculinity and brotherhood during the perils and ravages of war, allowing him to conquer his inner demons and free himself to love.

In other words: Forest is playing bottom to a really hot, black, platoon sergeant. I STAY.

As is with life, is the universe of the adult bookstore: Feast or Famine. This night is feast, but as with most buffets, the more selection we are offered the pickier we become:

"Oh, um - Nah, I'll skip the Blond Surfer, had that for lunch. Do you have any Gym-Bunnies or Discipling Daddy types?"

A parade of "himbo's", some sheep, some wolves come through the entryway of my booth. I am giving a moment to prepare, adjusting the package, checking the stance and perfecting the "rough-trade" stare; each time forewarned by the knocking sound of the unfastened privacy rope. In some ways I run my small time version of the Hollywood premiere after all, but instead of Superstars and Supporting Actors, I'm given Gaffers and Audio Technicians (I would kill for a Best Grip - I don't even know what he does, but I really think I like the sound of it).

As the screen begins to flash, my last crisp dollar buys me only 60 seconds more; a new entrant comes upon the scene. Perhaps he would be a character actor - one without top billing - but notable after the movie. He wouldn't have many lines, but the ones he does are pivotal. He is "Movie-of-the-Week" handsome, Sunday Night, not Friday Night. Think Gregory Harrison: handsome, a little over 40, well built. Somehow like a pair of Kenneth Cole, black, square-toe, dress shoes that you have had for a couple of years - they still look good, but admit it - they've lost their luster. (Yes - I also know, if it is possible - I am going to hell for comparing men to shoes.)

In a bookstore, a bar at closing time or any place in Wisconsin, there is a phrase often used in describing your prospective choice to friends: "Good for Here". I don't waste time with a self-inflicted, psychological interrogation of the morals of right and wrong (22 year olds rarely do), instead I run through a well-rehearsed mental checklist:

  • Am I Single? - check
  • Am I Drunk? - check
  • Am I Horny? - Sheep should be afraid
  • Is he "Good for here"? - Oh Yeah!

    Flashing lights, ringing bells, choirs sing, dogs bark - Jackpot, Baby, Jackpot!"
    I take a deep sustained breath - I smile, THAT smile - and watch as his masculine, tan hands reach to undo his brown leather belt.

    To Be Continued