Paid for Lovin'
My first boyfriend, well, if you can call him that. Let me begin again. The first man I ever slept with in NYC was a hustler. Two months before I came to New York, my first love, my first lover, the one I thought would be my first and my last and everyone in between, left me. He had been in love with me for three years. We were together for eight months. And then HE left Me. Something that no one, I don't think even he, could quite believe.

Not only did I feel betrayed, not just by him, but by the universe-that would allow such perverse reversals of fortune, but I also felt unattractive and abandoned. I hoped he would come back to me. He went to Wesleyan, and I never heard from him again. I went to NYU and sat on the floor of my dorm room and thought, "Perhaps we are both looking at the sky right now." I remained faithful only to him.

By sophomore year, I decided that my first therapist was right. That I should live without emotional love, well, that was fate, but that didn't mean I should deprive myself of the pleasure that a heaping pile of college boys could afford. And really why just limit myself to boys? Why limit myself at all? If the universe had deprived me of so much, it made no sense for me to volunteer to give up even more. In fact, my logic continued, I should take all the pleasure that I could get my hands on-by any means necessary.

And the first man I could get my hands on was Pablo. I am amazed that I still remember his name. He was older. In his mid twenties. My father died and so I was delighting in doing all manner of things that he would have disapproved. Including an older man. And to fuel to the fire, he had a motorcycle. He was dangerous. He was scandalous. He was forbidden.

And me? I was far sweeter and more innocent than any twenty-five year old man in NYC has any right to expect from a 19 year old girl. Only just barely not a virgin ( I had only had sex once). And thus, I was easily seduced by Pablo. Who, if memory serves, was quite pleased to teach me about physical love.

Although I did not love Pablo, I did feel comfortable with him and attracted to him. I do not mean to make our affair seem simply about gratifying lust. Because it wasn't. Well, not entirely. Sometimes it was about eating ice cream and watching movies or riding on the back of his motorcycle or holding hands with him as we walked through the park.

On one such walk, a classmate saw us together. She knew Pablo, they had worked together in a show. And she told me he was a hustler. I didn't quite understand as he had never asked for any money from me and never seemed to hint at having financial problems. So she set me straight, "You don't get it. He sleeps with older women so he can get money and then he takes you out."

Isn't it romantic?

The moment she said it like that I knew it was true, although I would say in retrospect that if I ever pay for sex I will demand much better quality, but I digress. Although I didn't end the affair, it cooled down considerably and during winter break I allowed it to die a natural death.

Last night, my dear gay husband Princeton came to town. "Oh Poodle, we are going to have a wild night. I am going to find rich husbands for both of us." I smiled wanly listening to him on the phone. I didn't even want to meet him. I felt about as attractive and inviting as a port-o-let. Still I got dressed up and put on heels.

In the cab, Princeton told me about his latest love woes and I explained mine to him. That men have come asking for me and I just blow them off. I don't even want to take their calls. In the word of the song, I'm through with love, I'll never fall again.

Until I've had four martinis and end up at a gay bar.

In college, I was rather notorious as being the 12th step for many a gay man to become bisexual. Take me to a gay bar and I garantee you I'll get phone numbers, I'll get drinks, and I'll get laid. And the strange thing is I'm one of the few women in the world who doesn't have that turning a gay man straight fantasy. Some of my gay friends were so disturbed by this trend, I was banned from gay clubs-for in the words of my friend Angelo, "It's not right when you bring a straight woman to a gay bar and she gets far more action than the gay man."

But my days at Splash and running around with Richie Rich at Flamingo East are long gone. Princeton and I have dinner and drinks. Somehow we end up at the Townhouse, a gay bar for older men and the younger men who love their money. Princeton as both young and not a hustler was quickly snapped up by the crowd leaving me at the bar with my martini. I had enough liquor in me to feel be feeling good when I noticed an absolutely ripped man, a man whose shirt, whose leopard print shirt, could barely contain his biceps and heaving pecs, flirting with me.

With me.

Ahhh dear readers. Martinis make for strange bedfellows. Sufficed to say when I woke up this morning I found his card neatly tucked under the corner of my bedside lamp. He has already called and in his broken English (his name is...Antonio) requested the pleasure of my company, emphasis on the pleasure, again tonight. Which I shall probably not grant.

But some times, some times I remember that girl who thought a motorcycle ride was the height of danger and realize that maybe things haven't changed as much as I thought.

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