I used to get so mad at school.
The teachers who taught me just were not cool.
“Class,” Mrs Petite says, “today is our first day of sex education.” We snicker. We’re in sixth grade. Of course we snicker.
Mrs Petite frowns. The worry-lines across her forehead deepen. Her voice is clipped, terse. “Before we begin, everyone in this class will be required to say aloud the following words without any laughter: Sex. Penis. Vagina. Breasts.”
“Say, Sex,” she tells us.
“Sex,” we say.
“Okay, class. Very good. Georgie, that was especially good.”
From Mrs Petite, I hear for the first time the words I’ve come to know, so well, as an adult. I never even crack a smile as I go on.
“Penis. Vagina. Breasts.”
Dick. Pussy. Tits. Cock. Cunt. Noonies.
Twenty years later, the word “breasts” still whistles through my teeth as I struggle to make it plural.
“Breast-ts-ts-ts,” I say. And I’m back in sixth grade.
“Always use a condom,” Mrs Petite says.
“Always use a condom,” The class repeats every word in unison.
I’ll never forget: Always use a condom.
The best feeling occurs during the times I realize I can be completely happy without the people I thought I needed the most.
A Man Ahead of His Time
I collected my first porn when I was nine. I pilfered it from my father’s closet. My Pops had nothing but triple-X stuff, real hardcore, crotch-shot porn. Nothing nice. Nothing tame. No Playboy, no Penthouse--straight to Taboo and Cherry Poppers--a sticky, dog-eared copy of Anal Amateurs.
At 10 I was determined to buy my first X-rated magazine all by myself, using some of the Christmas money I’d saved up from my Aunt Beatrice.
So, one day, I ditched recess and the whole elementary school thing. Instead of playing Kickball or Asses Up with the other kids, I rode my BMX to the Quik Fix on Maple and Fourth. Stepping inside, I saw that the place was basically empty, and nobody too scary was working at the counter. It turns out to be Randy, some 19-year-old kid, with acne scars and an “I don’t give a shite” pose. He’s the most promising for me of all the employees I’ve ever seen there.
“Hey man,” I say, looking around. “Cool.”
I tell him I’m 18 and I’m there to buy a magazine.
(Parenthetical Pet Peeve) Using size six models in magazines and plus size catalogs.
“Hustler,” I tell him.
“Yeah, right,” he says.
His breath hits my face. It’s rank, sick, stinking of coffee and cigarettes. So I pull back.
“Tell you what,” Randy says, a smug smile on his face. “If you can reach Hustler, you can buy it.”
I can’t reach Hustler, but I can easily reach Genesis, and it’s mine--just like Randy promised. I pay for it, I roll it up, I stick it down the front pocket of my jeans, and I pedal back to school just in time to march inside with the rest, post-recess.
Gay love exists in over 1,500 species. Gay hate exists in only 1. Is that so? I think so.
Boy Scout Brothel
A year later, the three of us (Lonnie, Andrew, and I), we organize a sex club, a little kiddy brothel. We set up inside the built-by-Boy-Scouts tree house in Lonnie’s backyard. We play tame, safe games there, like Truth or Dare and Spin the Bottle. Then we play nasty, kinky games. We try to get the girls to act out the scenes from our forbidden magazines and videotapes.
Several girls (our age and younger) let us finger-fuck them. They make us taste their bubble-gum cum off of our dipping fingers. We call it “hitting third base.” Then we hit second next. We take first last. We like going backwards like that--starting at third, working our way back to something tame. Once you’ve “made out” with a girl, you’re officially “going out.”
We have a pee-pail up there, and we watch Kathy Friedlander, the girl I’m going out with, pee sweet-n-easy. Then she wants to watch me. I had asparagus for dinner, probably every night for the last two weeks, for that matter. So, I gladly take Kathy in private to the bathroom downstairs, near the garage. I sit down to pee. I know the asparagus will make my pee smell funny. But Kathy isn’t too thrilled.
(Parenthetical Pet Peeve) Men’s poor bathroom “aim.”
“No,” Kathy says. “Don’t make pee-pee sitting down. Stand up, so I can see.”
I tell her I can’t see crap when she’s sitting down, squatting over the flower pot, up in the tree house. But hell, I stand up anyway--I’m a gentleman. And pretty soon, I’ve lost all fear of my semi-public pee. We make out and end up fucking through high school, but we don’t tell a soul because she’s not a popular girl and I’m a fucking computer geek, Math League contestant, and teacher’s pet. It’s like we’re adults trapped in our little-kid costumes, acting out our early childhood sex-kicks, our little kiddy child porn roles, for whatever creeps and pervs and child molesters might be watching in the invisible audience.
And it all started out, like I told you, at our little wilderness in our secluded clubhouse where porno was preferred to pussy footing. I did other things those years too--stuff for school and sports and shite. I was a multi-talented individual. You know?
I look back fondly on those times when we were all invincible. Our fathers, brothers, and cousins never knew where their stacks of Playboy and Penthouse disappeared to. Or maybe they knew, but didn’t care. Or maybe they knew and, well, you know. We knew exactly how to access them. We just borrowed them like we were at the library, and the clubhouse stayed full of variety and bulk material.
And latex condoms, too. We kept it safe. We kept it real. As real as big-time, grown-up adults playing at little kiddy sex can ever be.
When I’m in seventh grade, my father drops a box of non-lubed rubbers on my bed. I think he’s discovered our little sex club in the backyard and he’s encouraging me. He isn’t, though. He’s just covering up for himself. In case I get in trouble, maybe.
“Always use a condom, Georgie. Double up if you have to,” Pops reminds me, so candidly. “I left a lifetime supply in your bedroom. They’re pretty self-explanatory.”
“Huh?” I say, embarrassed.
“Your business is your business,” he says. “Just use them and use them well.”
“Don’t worry, Pops, I will.”
“No babies, and none of that hokey-pokey stuff, ya hear?”
“Of course, Pops. I know.”
I open a couple samples of the latex condoms along with Webster’s Dictionary. I know we can have a better supply for the tree house at our fingertips, but I decide to keep these for myself. It’s time for research.
I check the dictionary.
La-tex: a milky liquid or usually white sap in certain plants, such as the poinsettia
Con·dom: a thin sheath, usually of rubber
I enjoy feeling the complete covering of my private part. That smooth, baby-soft sheath is just like heaven to me. It reminds me of those stress squeezer balls you find in novelty gift shops. Or whatever substance it is that fills the inside of that elastic-y action figure, Stretch Armstrong.
As an adult, I pleasure myself with latex wrapped around me--snug, warm, wet with saliva. There’s no mess to clean up when I’m through.
As Real As
That’s right, I think, as the saliva of other women and their vaginal juices complement my less frequent sexual experiences, later on in my 30s. That’s the way to do it. And I invite any woman who has a fetish for latex herself to share that desire with me. Her looks don’t matter all that much. Something can always be done about that. I have a lot to cover up myself. And what I need is a partner with enough dignity to hide her flaws as I do, with a second skin. I have issues in my adult life, like a real fear of getting somebody pregnant. I fear big responsibilities, since I was never brought up with any. Responsibilities, I mean.
Looking back, all my sexual preferences seem to have been selected with such divinity and such a sense of appropriateness. Maybe the “Divine Force” was watching out for me there, too. I go for older women who already have kids or can’t have kids or don’t mind the balloon. It’s even better if they prefer it. I go for a clean woman, a safe woman, someone who doesn’t make demands or ask for commitments. But a wild party is always welcome, especially if she makes the first move and happens to live right next door. I really go for women with issues.
Women like Claudia, who loves latex not on her lover--only on herself.
Claudia Nesbitt must have been the daughter of a 1960s feminist who taught her to hate men. And somehow I was just the man to fulfill her hate. So, when Claudia and me got together, it was a marriage made in hell for the both of us, I guess.
Whatever else, she sure wanted men like me to suffer, and she used her limited charms to lure the bottom-feeding, desperate, love-starved men of our culture (men like me) into her web. Regardless of how susceptible I was to her seductive temptations, Claudia cast me as a victim of conspiracy in her own private persecution fantasy--her perverted sadomasochistic sex play.
(So what happened, Dr C? How did I ever get into this mess? I was such a good little kid. Really.
“If you got yourself into it, Ben . . .”
Yeah, I know. I ought to be able . . .
“To get out of it.”
So I’m trying, already. I’m trying.)
So you see, Dr C, how I overcome Claudia’s sinister man-trap is what matters the most to me. And when I’m freed from her at last, and I’ve discovered the real me by discovering the real her . . . .
(“Will you be free, then, Ben? Or just caught in another trap? A sinister man-trap of your own device?”
Well, I don’t know. At least it’ll be my own trap then, huh, Dr C?)
But getting back to Claudia and me: Claudia had a thrilling personality, always upbeat and perky. She spoke in short sentences. She got right to the point. Her otherwise pale face was always decorated with glitter, like an adolescent princess, and her arms were covered with the “Temporary Tattoos” of Lucky Charms’ marshmallows.
Claudia lived for Harley Davidsons. She never owned one, but she dated guys who did. But then, she dated a lot of guys. Her favorite summer vacation pastime was Six Flags Magic Mountain, or Six Flags Over Texas, or Six Flags Over Georgia. Mostly though, it was Magic Mountain. Vintage wooden roller coasters satisfied her lust for things fast and chaotic. So did her men--and that led to her dangerous affairs, not just with men, but with women, too. Strippers, hookers, bikers, dykes--and then the drugs-hard liquor, pot laced with angel dust, and the occasional visit to King Arthur’s Strip Club in the San Fernando Valley, with the older women who swooned over her. That was Claudia’s wild life, away from Georgie and me.
She never paid for a thing. She only had herself to offer, and her package always seemed plentiful. Those naturally luscious lips that others would pay thousands to own didn’t need surgery, and her oversized, natural pear-shaped breasts, which I could make out only by the stretch and pull of the second skins that covered them, were perfect, just like they were. There was always some sweet mama or sugar daddy to pick up Claudia’s tab. And when Claudia rode double, the ride was always free.
(Parenthetical Pet Peeve) People who are obsessed with knowing whose fault something is, instead of working to find a solution.
When she lived across the street, her original handwritten diaries detailing her adult sex life were placed open on the living room coffee table. A jumbled collection of toys, costumes, and a wardrobe of textiles were stationed throughout the rest of her house. Her favorite pornographic apparel was a blue latex jumpsuit with fluorescent-green latex boots, along with a matching two-inch thick green belt with an orange buckle, black gloves, and a black cloak. It spelled C-O-V-E-R M-E U-P. All of me.
Claudia was the type of naughty next-door neighbor you find in your favorite wet dream. She had a slightly sagging ass, but it sagged in just the right sexy way, like a real woman’s. I stared at it when she stepped out for the mail in her terrycloth bathrobe and her wet, just-washed hair. She’d answer the doorbell in skimpy latex lingerie, sometimes a smooth rubber bra or sometimes just with black electrical tape crisscrossing her relaxed, puffy nipples. She sucked fire out of the mailman’s breath any time there was a special delivery that wouldn’t fit in her mailbox. She illuminated temptation like a big neon sign.
Otherwise, Claudia was always pretty quiet and subdued--a secret control freak. The way I see it, doc, her visual cues and her visible charms provoked the subconscious mind’s ability to make fantasies perfect. She’d fall asleep in her first-story bedroom with the blinds open, a nightlight on the wall, and glow in the dark stickers of the stars and planets on the ceiling.
She lived alone and often woke up for a midnight snack. I watched her from my place—through the windows, through the walls. Her refrigerator was covered with pictures of herself all shot by herself--in some pictures she was sticking her tongue out, in others she just showed off her paint-covered feet, or maybe an obscure angle of what I figured was her vast beige areola. The cockpits of her nipples had wrinkles and folds that became geometrically complex when she was aroused, even slightly.
Unfortunately, what I got were only snapshots, just pictures of the real thing--never the thing itself.
What could she be hiding? I often wondered. She was never seen in her naked element. But she was mine. She was all mine, I say--and she’ll be mine, all mine, again someday. But then again, maybe she never was really mine at all.
Anybody who experiences Claudia loves to hate her, unless they enjoy self-deception. She’s a manipulative she-devil in disguise. She is a Mrs Jekyll inside a Dr Hyde. Her Jekyll-side bursts out when she slithers into that second skin, which covers up her all-too-sinful sexual nature and her prize-winning ethics. But whatever she wears, she doesn’t fool me. Not anymore.
Claudia is drenched with forbidden qualities and secret temptations. But as the puny, pathetic, desperate, wimpy horn-dog across the street from her, I was attracted to Ms Nesbitt because I could piece together from each piece of her puzzle, things I once enjoyed or things I could never have (the forbidden kinds of things I just didn’t have the balls for.) And Claudia was the best piece of all—the puzzle piece that put it all together. And besides, we both had a thing for fabric--certain kinds of fabric.
Claudia seemed, at least at first, the complete antithesis of my mother, who was strict and abusive, both at once. Since my mother learned things the hard way, by force, so would I. She, like my schoolteachers, taught me to be faithful, to practice safe sex, not to be gay or sexually ambiguous, and to be normal. (Whatever the hell normal means.)
“Act like a human being,” my mother would yell at me. “Ya look like a damn zombie half the time, Georgie. Fuckin’ smile! Be excited.”
“You’re obsessed with sex! Don’t dwell on sex,” she’d constantly demand, slapping me across the face or screaming over the telephone.
She’d already found out about our sex club in the tree house by the time I left home for boarding school.
“Don’t do drugs. Don’t drink. Don’t cheat. Don’t pretend. Don’t worry about everything all the time,” she commanded me.
What did she expect? What did she want from me? An angel? A virgin? Whatever she wanted, it sure wasn’t me.
(And what did Claudia want from me? I’m still trying to figure that one out, Dr C.)
Partway through my college years at NYU, I started to see a shrink. My first shrink was a proper sweater-wearing old lady doctor who gave me the creeps. If possible, she was even more controlling and critical of me than my mother was. Dr Jenny Danielson. That was her name. Dr Jenny was certain that I had a lot of letting-go to do. She said that I wore a mask over my face. Literally—that my goatee and mirrored shades were a disguise. She’d tell me, “Take those sunglasses off and shave your beard. Let us see the real you.”
But I never showed her.
(Parenthetical Pet Peeve) Patting around on the rug looking for a lost pair of glasses. Worse, hearing a “crunch” while looking for them.
Claudia, on the other hand, was a perfect match for me. We were two doomed, tortured souls. She had many relationships, gay and straight, even with married men and married women. She said she questioned her affairs sometimes, but since they made her feel good, she held onto them. Claudia did drugs. I didn’t. I had a problem with drugs and quit. Claudia didn’t think she had a problem with much of anything. And she never quit. I had to run 5 miles a day to just barely keep in shape. Claudia didn’t have to work out, and still she maintained a perfect body. She was poor and I was rich, and so I thought maybe I could spoil her unlike anyone else--but no.
Claudia practiced unsafe sex. I preferred rubbers. She was 40. I was 30. She was a ball of chaos. And I have this rage for order. She was a big bundle of contradictions. She was a marriage counselor who had never been married, a parenting educator who never had kids, and a rehab counselor who never quit. She was a walking oxymoron.
But what bothers me most about Claudia Nesbitt is that after she lured me in the first time, any time after that, when I’d call her or want to see her, or fuck her with a rubber, I’d have to wait a lot longer than my cock could bear. I just kept on getting let down. I wasn’t allowed to make out with her in the middle of our street because her sugar daddy or her sweet mama might show up any minute and blow her whole setup. So she’d swap spit with married men right there on the sidewalk by my kitchen window, but she’d rarely lock lips with me. She said she couldn’t love me. She was just using me, and I knew it. But when she did use me, when I told myself she really did use me and made myself believe it—those rare moments were holy and divine.
To put it simply, Claudia Nesbitt was, and is, a no-win situation for me, or anybody. But when she climbed into her latex gear and refused any rubber with me, she was simply incredible. I couldn’t, I can’t, get her out of my mind. I lost my dignity for her. I became sensually (or sexually) obsessed with her. And I was always dying to see her naked. You could say, I guess Dr C, that as a masochist I was in the perfect relationship. I loved everything about her, but I could never have a healthy relationship with her. Everything was strained and stretched to the breaking point. And as I became obsessed with the agony she caused in me, my character deteriorated. I became a much less dignified person as time went on. I lost all self-respect.
I started to not even like myself much. As if I ever really liked myself, from the get-go, anyway.
The last night we were intimate, about a month after the time we’d last been together, we proved to be inseparable--until our second skins came off and we had to really look at each other stripped naked as we were. As we weren’t--and this is how it began:
Just when I think I’ve had enough torture and emotional abuse from Claudia Nesbitt, I discover a small handwritten note by my front porch.
Find your costume and just show up. Your unexpected entrance last month was morning bliss--until today. Having not seen you in some time, my affection toward you has cooled to mere fondness. I’m becoming indifferent. I don’t want that. We’ve been separated from each other far too often even though you live right next door. I want to see you again, Georgie. Tonight.
I gasp, chewing a bite out of one of the homemade oatmeal cookies she’s left with the letter. I continue reading:
As you know, Georgie, my house was robbed last week. I have no erotic products left in any of my closets. Some pervert must have ripped off my skins and toys. But I’ve changed since then. Come over and see for yourself. I’m sorry for otherwise completely amputating myself from your life. I didn’t have time. But now I must have you. I require your services, tonight. Come to me, Georgie.
Immediately, I grab an orange jail jumpsuit from last Halloween (I was an escaped convict at the big party) and I storm over to her place with the cloth and cuffs in my hands. I have a box of rubbers clenched between my teeth as I run across the street. I am in such a hurry for love, lust, and submission that I leave the keys to the handcuffs in the bedroom closet, along with my unmentionables (I’m not sure we’ll need the keys, anyway.)
I don’t know what to expect. Do I hope to see Claudia in the flesh?
The door slams shut behind me.
“No condom tonight, baby boy!” Claudia’s voice calls out from the bathroom. “Throw them in the fireplace before I come out.”
I keep a couple in my pocket and drop the box into the blaze. Claudia steps out, fully nude, to watch the sizzling cardboard disappear in the blazing fire.
“The fire that keeps your house warm might eventually burn it down,” Claudia says seductively.
I gaze at her pale flesh.
“You’ve changed,” I say. “You’re perfect. You’re even more perfect than you were before.”
“I’m doing the best that I can,” she sings quietly in her best Beatles’ imitation.
There are no drugs, no other lovers present, no tattoos, no secret diaries, no makeup--not even any jewelry.
Finally, Claudia is nude, completely nude--completely naked before me. She has not the slightest blemish on her skin to ponder. There should be celestial music playing to the gentle beats of her all-natural angelic presence.
No sooner does this idea come to my mind than she turns on the CD player.
It must be one of her Beatles’ days, I think.
“Woman, I know you understand, the little child inside of the man,” they sing.
The window shades are closed. We’re sharing a private wilderness.
Claudia lights a few beeswax candles and pushes the coffee table over to the side of the living room. Cautiously, she bends over and covers her eyes. She spreads herself wide open, gaping for me. The abstract pulp of her pussy is tucked snug beneath her dark pubic Hitler ‘s tache.
What the hell is this woman thinking?
I pause, spellbound, mesmerized, and stupefied. Claudia starts dripping ever so slightly onto the hard wooden floor.
I’ve been erect for about 5 minutes. I roll down my shorts. I decide to secretly double up, fearing the worst.
Watching her loose lips dangle like the beads of a pearl necklace, loose, free, and liberated, I enter my covered key into her flesh machine, the forbidden gates of a hell I’ve never seen before.
The smell of perfume pervades the room. The sound of moist suction has the fibers in my mind vibrating until any sense of control is lost.
(Parenthetical Pet Peeve) When people wear perfume or cologne which smells like Raid. Worse, when such perfume makes me sneeze. Even worse is when the “Smelly One” walks by and I can actually taste the fragrance.
“Harder,” she cries.
I fuck her harder.
“Deeper,” she says. “Don’t stop, Georgie!”
The condoms are on, but she doesn’t seem to notice.
“I’m so wet,” she cries again. “I’m so wet because of you.”
More fleshy friction makes the slurpy, slushy noises of a sensual circus. I reach around and index her erect little clit.
“The clit is so important, so-o-o sensitive,” Claudia moans. “Put your spit on it, hurry.”
I reach around and underneath. I rub her swell in small circles with two fingers, then three. I massage her pronounced outer labia back and forth as it twitches. She’s throbbing quicker than the beats to John and Yoko’s Double Fantasy album, which is still on repeat—track ten: “Woman.” The taste of grapes dipped in corn syrup, that’s all I can think about.
I’m about to erupt, but I hold it as long as I can.
“I’m so close, Georgie,” Claudia reveals. “I love you, baby. I fucking love you.”
Suddenly, at the point of no return, both of my rubbers snap open at once. We hear a light, defeated, clicking sound. The first break is followed immediately by the second. My sperm explodes through to her pussy-haven, unable to withstand the bliss.
Claudia’s personality shifts instantly. She becomes her old self so easily. “Oh, great.” She sighs.
I extricate myself from her and squint down at the floor.
“I think something popped,” she says. It seems like she’s glad it’s happened. “I think you doubled up on the pleasure I asked you to get rid of.”
I can’t say a word. I’m shattered in a million pieces. All my dignity is lost. Claudia is the missing piece.
“Are you on the pill, Claudia? Please say yes.”
She shakes her head no, and smiles slightly.
I remember the time I told her I never wanted to see her again.
She kisses her fingertip and brings it to my lips.
“I’m not letting you go that easily.”
I still want her, of course. If I had the choice at that moment never to see her again or to marry her, I would marry her, no questions asked. I am just so sure she is the woman of my dreams.
“I’ll be raising my baby with another woman,” Claudia says.
“What about me?” I argue.
“I never really loved you, not like that, but I know you’ve fantasized about this for some time. Admit it. You enjoyed yourself.”
“You’re crazy!” I holler.
I have been obsessed with her. I admit it. Now, in an instant, I know I’ve been wrong about her, all along. She isn’t the woman of my dreams. It’s the idea of her that fascinates me. Not the Claudia in the flesh, but the Claudia in my mind.
For me, Claudia was The Idea made flesh--an Idol, an Icon--a Living Colorful Beauty, a more-than-incredible phenomenon. And now the perfect, pure, beautiful woman I idolized becomes all-too-human, all-too-real, for me.
Likewise, the real me emerges the following week. I am ready to be an adult for once in my life, I tell myself. I am ready to have some responsibility. I try to convince myself I’d be the perfect father for Claudia’s baby. I would have someone to love, my own kid. We’d raise a child together, Claudia and me. And I would face the brutal consequences and heart-wrenching fears of my self-exposure. I need to grow up, fast. That’s for sure.
My moment of clarity comes when Claudia and I meet for coffee in town that week. When we meet, Claudia uses the longest sentences she’s ever used, with me--or anybody. She talks on and on about nothing. Until she finally gets to the point.
“I can’t have kids, Georgie.”
“My tubes are tied,” Claudia says, “I just wanted you to be honest with me. I like you. I fucking love you. I do, Georgie. I don’t want to be such a crazy girl anymore. I just want simplicity.”
And then it strikes me--I know she’s lying. There’s just no way that she loves me. Maybe she’s always been lying to me.
I never knew what a wake-up call was until this afternoon, over a particularly strong cappuccino. The blend is just as sweet, seductive, addictive, stale, pungent, and dark as the person I used to be and the person Claudia Nesbitt would always be. (In my mind, anyway.)
All that time, I was trying to be safe, and doubling up meant security to me. And Claudia blew the whole thing in one climactic moment of self-exposure and embarrassment, ridicule and humiliation.
I moved out of town a few months later and never saw Claudia Nesbitt again. She fucked me, and she fucked with my head. She fucked me up, bad--still, I loved her. I still love her in my own twisted way. She won’t really ever change. And maybe neither will I.
Wait a minute! Who am I kidding? The affair I had with Claudia caused unbearable confusion in me. Especially looking back on the things that might have happened, what might have been. Claudia took everything worthwhile out of the past 30 years--my whole lifetime--and I blame her for scrambling my self-esteem.
I’m in a stupid metamorphosis. Shite, I’ve exposed myself to you now, haven’t I, Dr C? And finally, now, you can hate me for it. Like I said you would. And by the time the demons overcome us, you will know for sure that we, that Georgie’s, disintegrated more than you might have imagined. By the end, when you’re still wandering and wondering, What has happened to you, Ben? Something terrifying and blissful will have happened to Georgie--a daydream will have been fulfilled for him, a reward will have come true for Georgie and for no one else.
To the fans of Georgie Gust: We love you. You’re our heroes.
I wish people would speak for me, and others who cannot. Someone, like myself, who’s often so defenseless or just not able to communicate effectively; ugh, I just wish that other people could speak up and speak out when I need help. So I continue writing with the occasional cigarette break.
Jonathan Harnisch, author
Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia