Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I was more proud of who i was with Meghan than anything i'd ever been. I met her before my final semester of master's study, at an orientation. I was working the table of the newly-resuscitated (by me) Philosophy Club. She was an incoming freshman, incredibly adorable, spunky, smart, and a little hippiesque. She may have been wearing dungarees that day (the only article of clothing i find sexy). She wasn't yet eighteen, but when the semester started she was. We bumped into each other at the first Club meeting. I walked her home, to my old residence hall, Sanderson. Before long, she was hanging out at my off-campus apartment. We were side by side on the couch, watching a movie. I had a slight fever. I brushed my fingertip over her neck and face. She snuggled closer, and i traced patterns below her neck. She kissed my fingers, her mouth parting, and our lips touched…time went into slow motion, and not just because of the fever. I leaned back, and she said "You probably have about ten girlfriends, right?" And it was funny, at most other times in my life, i would have said "no, nobody", but i had to tell her i was sort of seeing someone. I walked her home, and she asked whether i had room for her in my life. I said yes. The next day i brought her the news that i was seeing no one, except her if she wanted me. She laughed, and hugged and kissed me. I took things slowly. For a few weeks we just got naked, kissing and talking and holding. She told me, with strain in her voice, that she'd had one lover in high school. Then one night at her Mom's (i was allowed to sleep on the floor, but in the dark Meghan always said "be quiet and get up here"), she said it had only happened once. She cried, unable to talk. She took a pink post-it, wrote on it, and handed it to me. It read "I was raped". That piece of paper will ever be one of my most cherished possessions. She told me about her date rape, and how most of her friends didn't know the whole truth, but were ready to kill this guy if he ever showed up again. I held her as she cried herself to sleep. Meghan was legally blind, from birth. No sight in one eye, and not much in the other. You'd never know it from the way she acted. So active, always out and about…even biking on narrow, bumpy sidewalks. I remember joking with my brother John, because his own girlfriend had no sense of smell (choose your own punch lines). One of the most amazing sexual experiences of my life came during this period. We were in my bed, naked and loving, having moved into a stage of non-penetrative genital contact. I felt her seize and tremble…and in that moment, i doubted whether any woman i'd ever been with had had an orgasm. The feeling of holding her while she was having one……i can't put it into words. I wasn't reflecting on any of that yet, for after she came my own arrived, and it was stunning, more sustained and shattering than any i'd ever had. Hers was the most profound yet in a series of "baby orgasms". Within the next couple weeks, she said she felt ready for penetration. I waited longer. She said that she was going on the pill to regulate her period, and wanted to leave it up to me whether we'd use condoms. I wanted to give her the best love i humanly could, so…easy choice. No condom. Finally one night in her dorm, her roommate Angela asleep, i couldn't come up with any more reasons to wait. I wanted her on top, but she wanted me there. I gently slid in. Not deeply and not long, because it obviously didn't feel great. She cried and held me tight. I pulled out, and we fell asleep. The next two weeks, each time deeper and longer, her pain faded. A week after that, she had her first penetrative orgasm. After that, her orgasms became more profound and full-body. Once, on my living room floor, she tried being on top, and had an almost instantaneous orgasm. But it wasn't as full as her others, and though i loved it, she said it became uncomfortable on her knees very quickly. I didn't mind, because any position with her was mind-blowing. It was so fantastic that i sometimes came within a minute or so. I developed a technique to deal with this. Knowing her orgasm was usually close by, i would have mine but not slow down. It meant savoring mine less, but it was worth it. Simultaneous orgasms were great, and rare. She learned to come two or three times. Almost invariably, i orally pleasured her. She loved giving it too, but that became rare because i would last so long that she got disheartened (and jaw-tired). We felt like maybe there was some technique she was missing, but couldn't figure it out. She said that others she'd done it for always came quickly. One of my many nicknames for her was "Nic", for nicotine (also Brute, Ruffian, and Meggie-melt...i could never settle on one). Her smoking only bothered me when we met her high school buddies at Denny's, and they'd all puff away. A month into our relationship, she went to visit friends at another college. I dropped her off at the station, and ran alongside the train, waving. That memory left me feeling like the world's biggest fool, when she told me after getting back that she had hooked up. She cried, saying that we'd never said "we are boyfriend and girlfriend, and will be with no one else". She said that all she wanted was me, and prayed that she hadn't ruined us. It hurt, and i told her so. She promised it would never happen again. She asked whether she was my girlfriend, and to please not let this be the end. I was silent, then turned to her and said yes. She and her really cool best friend Gretchen kept "hook-up" journals, tallying the men with whom they'd spit-swapped. Gretchen, a virgin, was in the seventies. Meghan felt insufficient at fifty-something. I told her that she'd far surpassed my own tally. Gretchen and Meg didn't consider oral sex to be "sex", and i tried to instill in them a broader definition. Meghan's Mom Julie was great. Loving and funny, we spent wonderful visits with her. One time Meghan found a lone hair at the top of my back, and wanted to pull it, but i said no (later i relented). I found one hair at the edge of her aureola. After she discovered it and pulled it, she gave me hell for not telling her. I was too much of a nature boy to use deodorant when we first met. After a few months, she mentioned that i was a little whiffy from time to time. Anybody else, i would have ignored, but i started using swedish crystals. I took her to "The Nutcracker" in Princeton. I didn't tell her where we were going (it had been one of her lifelong dreams). I smiled at her wide-eyed delight (especially as she didn't have even one good eye). When i graduated, i began working as the poster boy for the Bucks County Coffee Company, traveling a five-state area in a 1950 Chevy panel wagon, giving away free java. Meggie's friend Loren worked in a Bucks kiosk, and Meghan loved the connection. I'd take Meggie for illegal rides in the truck. I had to live near the Bucks headquarters, a good hour from her. I'd see her on weekends. We got invited to an orgy. At a Native American celebration on campus, i crouched at the perimeter of a bonfire drum circle, head down in a trance. I became aware of a female who was dancing between the fire and me. I never looked up, but we had an energy communion in which she expressed her sexuality and i accepted it. She wasn't a student, and invited me to an orgy. I told her i was with Meg, so she invited us both. Meggie and i talked about it. Though we expressed curiosity, we didn't go, each perhaps wondering whether the other one really wanted to. We had a pregnancy scare. She was almost disappointed when her period finally came, because she wouldn't have minded going through an abortion, as long as it was with me. She gave me a birthday surprise in May that knocked my socks off. She was waiting for me in her dorm room, where she had prepared a candlelit hotplate Ramen dinner. She had written a poem about the 100 things she loved me for. When i walked in, she was wearing denim overalls and nothing else. What a beautiful, amazing night. When we broke up, she half-sadly joked about her future boyfriends not have a penis as large as mine. She loved, i mean LOVED Tori Amos. Gave me one of the most touching compliments of my life when she said that Tori would love to have me as a boyfriend. Do you know what it feels like when somebody "gets" you? She said that in me she finally understood what Tom Petty was singing about in "Wildflowers"...a person unspoiled and free. She saw that in me, even before i showed many of the outward signs of wildflowerness. One of my sweetest memories came the day we moved her mother into a new home. Meghan fell asleep on the couch, her head on my lap. It was so sweetly humbling, holding her like that. One day, i noticed little yellow bumps on my penis. Planned Parenthood told me it was molluscum, a social (non-venereal) disease, a fungus from my previous girlfriend that would go away of its own accord, but faster if you squeezed them. Meggie got 'em too. What was it about us that no other relationship had ever come close to? Healing. The most mutually healing relationship i'd ever known. What brought the end? From the start, i'd been aware of a teacher/student element. Minor, but there. Something in me knew that i couldn't be the last relationship of her life, that she needed to experience a romance which she walked into as an equal. Maybe we'd get together again someday. Sometimes, in the depths of self-analysis, i check myself to make sure that's not just convenient bullshit to mask a deeper motivation that told me my adventures needed to go in directions without her. But that's not entirely fair, as our breakup was initiated by her. Only years later did i think about what it might have been like to stay together. If it took eight years of soul-loneliness to even entertain thoughts of "what if", then it probably had to end. I was very proud of her part in the breakup. After a year together, i was becoming aware that "ever after" was in her thoughts. Then one day she called, and told me we had to break up, because i didn't need our relationship as much as she. I said something like "I love you. Okay." A couple weeks later, she wanted to take it back, saying that there was so much we still had to share, so much to offer each other. I told her that the reasons behind her earlier choice were right, and that we couldn't wish them away. I said that we wouldn't lose each other, and we didn't...until three or four years later when she got engaged and severed ties with me to make her fiance happy. I let her go, knowing i would always be there for her.
(Post scriptum: it's easy to perceive how loving Meghan changed me. I became a man who often slowed down the pace physically or avoided any relationship with obvious incompatibilities. Having had a healing sexual relationship, i never again wanted to settle for less. Did this make me more lonely than i might otherwise have been? Sure. But it also made me more capable of caring for my partner. And also on occasion made me come off as a controller who denies a girl a good [or shabby] lay. Interfere with a woman's prerogative to control the pace at your own risk.)

A Catered Affair

-fall 1991 to winter 1992
Charlie called, he was putting up a murder mystery dinner theater show with his N. Charles Leeder Productions. It was a show he had written and produced before. Full of one-liners and stereotypes, about an Italian-Jewish marriage. People start dying, the audience is given clues, many flashbacks to the No-Tell Motel…my character was assistant detective Norman Ginder, a classic square. I get bumped off just as i'm about to reveal all. I had a female detective partner, and she was great. It was a good group. Charlie acted, and so did a great guy named Jeff, who had done the show before and told me i was the best Ginder ever. Linda Rossi played the Italian princess. We did a couple of shows at fancy restaurants in New Jersey. Linda was still with her old boyfriend, and she and i were friendly, but not as close. It was my first paying job ($40 per performance). Tired of the fat jokes in the script and sad about Linda, i asked Charlie to replace me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


For another month or two, i'll enjoy the summer...trips to Long Beach Island, the Poconos, Florida, and New Hampshire. Expect breaks in my posting. I'll take special joy in these family moments, for i'll soon be leaving the northeast, perhaps forever, taking my weary heart to places unknown. There are pieces of my spirit i need to lay to rest...and find out who i am on the other side. I'll start with some long-overdue trips to friends in Utah, Maine, and California. Then...walk the land. Or some such. I've had the idea to go on some grand quest, like seeing 48 states in one year. I thought i might get one of those year-long Greyhound passes, but they've discontinued them. Train would be so sweet. Perhaps bike (with sponsorship by Huffy, of course).
My cricket knows about the batterings in my spirit these past few years. This journey was already planned, but moved up when my fall plans didn't come together. A script of mine was rejected by the NY Fringe Festival, so i was going to go to FL to make a movie of it, with one of my most beloved friends and acting companions. Last year, she had been eager to come to NY to put on a stage production of it. But despite an easier schedule and no travel, she can't commit. Is it a change in her life, or a change in her feeling for me? The thought of doing the film with another partner feels wrong, i think her non-presence would cast a shadow. This turn of events has made me realize that there are not one, but two long-cherished corners of my spirit i must let go of.
The first piece is the thought that i'm going to have children. Sadness descends on me when i think about this. I rule nothing out...but i've traveled two adult decades without ever once coming close to having a mate, so i need to come to peace with a childless future.
The second piece i must let pass is the sacred place my FL friend has held in me. For ten years, my soul has been ready for a day when our lives might intersect. It's been hard to be what she's needed, or even know what that is...especially when she herself has perhaps never known. She's the first person i ever fell in love with (and the third), but being her friend forever true has always been more important than anything. I also love the life she shares with a dear friend of mine, and cringe at the thought of disrupting that. If you've wondered where my dreams of one woman with two men have been sourced...
It's not that i need to stop loving, but there can be no more waiting.
So whither shall i wander? And under what motive power? There is something grand about this, and something sad too. Which is, perhaps, an adequate description of the history of human conceit. The grand part is obvious, the sad part is in the image of the solitary stranger. Perhaps it's not enough to have felt like a stray for much of my life...perhaps i need to fully feel that weight for once.
May i tell you something? I've never hitch-hiked. Not once. In two days, that changes. On Sunday, i'll be the one at the I-95 on-ramp in Yardley, PA, holding a sign that says "FL (to see Mom)". If nothing else, the experience may give me focus on my coming walkabout. When i get back, i'll travel to Maine by bike, a journey of hundreds of miles. My previous longest bike excursion was less than thirty miles.
If you're on the road, i'll be the one with the grey mountain pack.

Monday, July 12, 2010


So a woman has to have leprosy to be on equal terms with a man? The shunning these verses mandate is unjust, unconscionable, and ungodly, but progress is progress.
The Bible once more delves into the realm of the atrocious. The idea that a woman, regardless of innocence or guilt, is automatically condemned if the husband even suspects her of wrongdoing, is...well, atrocious. Oh well, at least it keeps Bible-thumpers from adopting a holier-than-thou attitude toward Muslim misogynists.
We have tales of holy fire descending upon those who displease the Lord, but for often relatively minor infractions. We live in a world surrounded by things that would be staggeringly displeasing to this Lord of the Bible, ergo "holy fire" should be a facet of human existence, if these verses be any record of truth. Also, the concept that the Lord wished to punish, but then changed Its mind when Moses interceded, is not reasonable. An all-knowing being could never change Its mind at the request of a human (nor indeed for any reason). Mind you, it is possible that a "god" exists which does not have complete knowledge; as far as any "true" nature of god is concerned, i claim no insight whatsoever. But supposing that god is not omniscient…many people would, in such a situation (and rightly so) feel anxious about what this god might do. Indeed, doesn't it seem likely that an all-powerful but not all-knowing god would make Its presence known in blatantly undeniable ways? And then, i suppose, people might begin to speculate on the existence of another being, one on a higher plane than "god". There is also another possibility: perhaps god, for some reason, wanted Moses to believe that It was being influenced, when in actuality It wasn't. But such an idea would make god deceitful, which is patently unjust indeed.
The God of these verses is either moody and short-tempered, if It decided to kill Its people after giving them the holy feast, or diabolical, if It planned to kill them all along. Either way, none of these attributes can be reconciled with a supreme being.
Non-believers often ask for some tangible proof of God, a "sign", if you will. Often the answer from believers is that religion is a matter of faith, and that the Lord doesn't have to prove Itself, but rather that people must prove themselves. This answer, while not entirely satisfying, is reasonable. However, this chapter says that the Lord is willing to provide a "sign" for those who murmur against It. Therefore, all those who have ever demanded a "sign" have been biblically justified in any and all atheistic conclusions, when no sign was forthcoming.
This verse seems to imply the existence of other Gods, for the Lord "executed judgements" upon the other peoples' Gods. Doesn't something have to exist for a holy judgement to be executed upon it?

Past Perfect

-fall 1991
Mark Cofta came calling again, this time with an original piece for a short play festival in Philadelphia. Based on the sittings Norman Rockwell and John Kennedy did, it was about people from different worlds trying to understand each other. I played Kennedy, complete with Massachusetts accent. The other actor was good, and we had a nice time. We performed in a theater on South Street, the center of Philly arty funkiness, just as the northern winter was coming. So many interesting people there. The other plays were great…