When I got to New York City, I tried not to plan too much. I only
had two days there, and I was determined to go with the flow. But one
thing I really wanted to do was visit the Museum of Sex—MoSex, for
short. Their current exhibits included “Peeping, Probing & Porn:
Four Centuries of Graphic Sex in Japan” and “Stags, Smokers & Blue
Movies: The Origins of American Pornographic Film.”
Yeah, that’s my kind of culture.
But my first night in Manhattan, Ashley took me to a hip Latin joint
called Rosa Mexicano. After a few frozen pomegranate margaritas, I
headed upstairs where I encountered a two-story piece of art by David
Rockwell, in which rows and rows of little human figurines jutted out
as if diving from tiers of miniature waterfalls on a wall of blue glass
tile. To say the least, that’s not what a person generally sees after a
several shots of tequila.
On 9/11, while much of the city was in tribute mode at Ground Zero,
I checked out The Village and developed an eye infection. Naturally,
the best thing I could do with a seeping eyeball was to find a dive
bar, fast. So I groped my way to a place called Doc Holliday’s, where
some guy asked what I thought of a sign they’d made offering a “two for
one” deal, only with a sketch of the Twin Towers as the Roman numeral
I peeked inside and saw a lineup of bikers and the requisite
slouching old drunk in the corner. Cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon lined the
bar top, and a Big Buck Hunter Pro video game sat blinking on the
opposite wall. I told the guy it didn’t look like anyone was offended,
and decided to go in.
I soon made friends with a large, septum-pierced, bald man in a
leather jacket who had just finished a three-month stint on a merchant
ship. He asked if I liked Cuban cigars, said he had just smuggled over
a bottle of absinthe and then bought the entire bar a couple rounds.
The bartender was a charming, attractive young girl gearing up to
emcee an open mic night later. Soon a bespectacled man in his early
40’s with a slight Hispanic accent came in holding a book by Dennis
Prager, called Happiness is a Serious Problem.
“I’m fucking wasted,” said the man. “Sorry.”
Who knew New Yorkers were so nice?
Spectacles then proceeded to tell the bartendress, with whom he
declared he was in love, that he just hasn’t been able to make himself
happy lately. He cited various romantic problems.
“Well, if you can look yourself in the mirror everyday and not spit,” counseled the leather sea man, “you’re okay.”
And then later, just to mix it up a little, I fell in lust with Kiki.
Kiki De Montparnasse is a shop for a “luxury and lifestyle brand
that celebrates intimacy and inspires the romantic
imagination”—basically, an upscale sex boutique. A tall, dark and
handsome man in a three-piece greeted me at the door, and soon after I
was offered assistance by a beautiful salesgirl in lingerie and heels.
My imagination was inspired alright, with stuff like hand-sculpted
obsidian glass dilettos ($1,750), tension set cock-rings with 5mm cubic
zirconia ($795), a sparkling rose quartz anal plug ($795) and a handy
little Sony DVD Camcorder with lightweight tripod ($715).
And the dressing rooms—velvet draped boudoirs, really—came equipped
with three settings for lighting: Before, During and After. Precious!
The next day featured more of the same, and flew by in a flurry of
shops, bars and interesting people. But then I realized I only had a
half-hour to get back to Ashley’s before running off to Philadelphia to
see Jen, who had just moved there.
In a panic, I crammed into the subway at rush hour, and somehow
landed in the middle of a filming of Dancing With the Stars at the
Lincoln Center. Taking a detour in the opposite direction, I stopped to
watch another filming of some sort of cop show.
By the time I got to Penn Station, it was a zoo of untamed
business-attired beasts. In Pennsylvania, Jen’s mom schooled me
immediately on pronunciation—“It’s Lanc-as-TER, not LAN-cas-ter”—and
Jen’s dad drove us by various Amish settlements.
While I was busy formulating my theory that the “tobacco” the Amish
were “drying” in their huge warehouses was something a little more
illicit, Jen expressed anxiety over her decision to move back to the
East Coast. Her brother and I convinced her it was all about
establishing connections again—making friends and all that. Jen was
Later, we sat at the bar of a newly opened, fancy restaurant called
Christopher’s. As her brother and I looked on, a cooing Jen was being
hand-fed what looked to be a rather succulent seafood risotto by an
obliging stranger seated next to her.
Yeah, we’re really worried she’s not gonna be able to make any new friends.
Anyway, I never did make it to the MoSex. And I opted to buy a
fabulous pair of shoes instead of that amazing “upscale” vibrator at
Kiki. But still, I had a fabulous time. And I believe I’ve discovered
three syllables more harmonious than the word “vacation.”
Samantha Campos is back in the saddle again but would love to know where her horse went. MTW