*happy hump day!!

The first time I had an orgasm I was twenty-three, and while I may have had other orgasms previously, I suppose, I hadn’t really had all that much sex, let alone great sex, by that point in my life, so who knows? In other words, I wasn’t sure. This one, however, was so big, so much the mythic Holy Fuck, that I couldn’t not mistake it for anything other than what it was. Unfortunately, it came at the hands of a lying sack of shite, but I didn’t know that then, although it would be made clear not long after the Big Oh, when he finally, finally invited me back to his swanky, rent controlled apartment on 86th street between the park and Columbus Avenue, which apartment he shared with an ex-girlfriend, now just a non-sexual pal. You understand, right? Yes, sir, absolutely, sir (subtext: can you do that thing with your tongue again?!!)! The arrangement with his ex was made clear soon after he and I met and started frisking around one another. The apartment was a three bedroom, you see, and they paid very little in rent; both he and ex/pal were visual artists, and neither was willing to give the place up even though they were no longer a couple, and so it goes. In any age in any large, crowded city, and certainly in New York City, real estate can collide with love, thus this ‘situation’ was completely within the realm of credulity. My realm, for sure, as I was both young and dumb. And, he was very, very sexy. That orgasm, JHFC, life forms on Mars might’ve seen or felt its vibrations.

However, it turned out this story of his was absolutely, no question, a load of horseshit, total fucking fiction. Non-sexual roomies? Living together as exes and good friends? Sure, pal. We’d finished playing tennis on that fateful day (*not the day of the Big Oh), on the courts in Central Park, (*tennis is a great game for meeting and frisking if you’re into or looking for that), and Mr. Big Oh/Lying shack of shite said he wanted to show me his place. Okeedoke! Thought bubble: tennis then sex? What could be better? Not much. Yay.  

Great space, nice building, impressive – I’ll give you a tour. Sure! One of the bedrooms was his sculpture studio, the other was her painting – wait. The other was her painting studio?! But. Suddenly, I was walking in fog, brain fog, my stomach down around my feet, slightly nauseous. Stunned. I kept walking, to the third bedroom, which was huge and flooded with light, facing the street, and nicely furnished with a king-sized bed, the only bed I’d seen so far. Harumph. Full length mirror in the corner, check, and dresser, check – complete with a bit of feminine mess, as well as a framed photo of the schmuck standing next to me embracing a woman not me (obviously) on its surface. There he proposed – y’know, that we engage in more co-ed wrestling. I thought you were friends, that she was your ex, you said she was just a friend. He laughed, shrugging his shoulders. Well, then, fuck no, asshole. I actually did that, although I didn’t say asshole or fuck no, I mumbled and bumbled and got out of there PDQ. I was young and dumb, but I wasn’t a total dope, although he sure made me feel like one, in that moment, in their bedroom. Their bedroom. Ugh.   

Look, he was a sculptor who did odd jobs – one of which was maintenance of a cemetery in the Bronx, fixing gravestones and time worn statuary, and another of which was teaching tennis. I didn’t know this then, how could I, but common wisdom says that tennis teachers, especially at the casual play level, y’know, just for fun and exercise, are generally rabbits, as in they’ll fuck everything that moves, so yes, find your frisk there with another player/student, but don’t fuck the instructor unless it’s purely to burn more calories, no strings attached. 

We met playing tennis in Central Park; I was twenty-three, looking for friends, real friends, in NYC for the first time, having left the east village for greener pastures, or so I hoped. I was working at a bar a bunch of tennis types frequented, Hanratty’s on Amsterdam and 96th. I’d played tennis in high school, not too seriously, but was pretty good, so, sure, I’ll play! Hanratty’s, by the way, had great food, and was always busy, yet I was consistently the only waiter who made money there, which confused me. It took me several years to figure out that this was because everyone else who worked there was spending their tips on cocaine. Young, and dumb. And, for three years at that point, not drinking, or doing drugs. Nope. Sober as a judge, yet none the wiser for it. So, basically, I was missing a lot of signs, all over the place. (psssssst: if they don’t take you to their apartment, rather insisting on meeting elsewhere, they def be married or attached, GF!!)     

Mr. Big Oh/Lying Sack of Shit was good looking in an untypical way, in great shape, with lots of hair, and he was funny, smart, interesting, different. He pursued me in a way that was pointed but subtle, if that makes sense. He was also good friends with a couple I was trying to befriend, two classically trained, college educated pianists who had apartments in the neighborhood. She worked at Hanratty’s with me, and gave music lessons, while her boyfriend taught both tennis and piano. They were several years older than I was, and Matt, Mr. Big Oh, was in his thirties. Surely, if he was lying to me about his relationship, one or the other of my brand-new forever friends would say something? Surely, they would? Ah, no. Nope. That’s on you, new kid in town. And maybe they didn’t know? They knew. She did say something, when I questioned her, afterwards. FEH.

But, let’s get to the first time certified Big Oh, and put his lies aside for now (mostly). He pursued, we frisked and flirted, played tennis, and drank with his friends (he’d known the couple for at least five years to my three or four months) at the bar at Hanratty’s, him drinking booze and me drinking seltzer, or water. And, he lied, he lied like a dog, no one challenged him or warned me, and I didn’t, ever, question or challenge him because – naïve. And so, one hot afternoon in July, my birthday month (he was a Pisces, another water sign, compatible! and of course I remember that, along with his full name), we had sex in my apartment, dragging one another gleefully up five flights of stairs to my futon covered captain’s bed. 

What happened next? Oh, the usual. Shorts, tee shirts, undies flung hither and yon, saliva swapping, hands everywhere, breath all breathy, and the absolute pure joy and fun of skin on skin contact with another human being. My. Favorite. Sport. Sex. So great. And at one point, Mr. Big Oh was eating our heroine out, and here it is, the Big Oh, like a train boom appearing in a tunnel and I am right smack dab (legs spread!) in the middle of the tracks. Run. Me. Over. 

How did I know it was an actual, real orgasm? Well, lemme tell you – the blood rushed through my body so intensely, so bigly, so overwhelmingly, I was at first, whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa, shaking and quaking and then, well then I was alluvasudden unable to move. What the what is this?!! Paralyzed. I could not move. For several very long moments, I was immobile, and, because nothing is ever uncomplicated – I went right to the lane of, ‘Oh fuck, this is how I die, or I remain forever paralyzed, and my parents find me, naked, spread eagle on my bed in this shit hole apartment?!! The little – literal – death, or disability, from orgasm, from pleasure!?!! Waaaaaah!!’ He didn’t notice (he was busy), but, and, however, after a few very long, long beats, movement returned, as did my sense that that, why that sure was something special! Was it ever. 

Since then, I have to admit, I have never had such a booming orgasm, one that paralyzed me again, and that’s okay by me. I have had many other orgasms, big and small, and all points in-between. I’ve also slept with men who could not find my clitoris or make me cum for love or money or anything else. And that’s okay, too. Even mediocre or bad sex is sex, right? Maybe. Sometimes it’s just a kind of bandaid. One fellow I was involved with while my dad was dying was so frustrated by my lack of orgasm after the first night we spent together – when I’d had several – I knew I was withholding, but his style in bed sucked, and truth he was a bandaid, a tourniquet, merely, a night out, a sex break while I watched my dad fade away. Not my best moment, although I had had high hopes when we met and started seeing one another. Ultimately, though, I just didn’t like him, so his frustration was fine by me. He wasn’t a nice guy, too controlling, and much too angry, especially at his soon-to-be ex-wife, and the way he operated in the world was how he was in bed: a dull, one note, buzz saw of a battering ram. Foreplay, fun, connection – all of these – are essential, imo, to having great sex.  

Fifteen years after my revelatory afternoon in the three-bedroom apartment on 86th street, I ran into Mr. Matthew Big Oh in the post office on Columbus and 90th street, a long narrow space where it is impossible to avoid anyone, regardless of who they are, or were, to you. Oh. Matt. Although at first, I thought, wait, no, this cannot be him?! He was being led, almost as if on a leash, by a woman who was probably my age, possibly younger, and he looked old, and worn out. His expression was the most perfect representation of hang-dog (Miriam-Webster: sad, dejected, sheepish) I’ve ever seen – it was almost as if he couldn’t raise his head above the level of his girlfriend’s nose, and she was short, people. Oh Matt. Karma Baby. Not my problem, and thank goodness for that. I was just another score for him, I think, one of many; who knows how many tennis students and their friends, how many women, period, he picked up in Central Park during his prime years, long gone. Good for him. Whatever. I’m simply sorry I fell for his line, but sure, you do you, Matt. 

At the time I saw him again, I was working for a writer in my neighborhood, another one of those part-time jobs I took while trying to figure my shit out, contemplating leaving NYC to write my own stories, instead of helping a dilettante with hers. Running into him was a little like watching an old journal go up in smoke: satisfying, a cause for reflection, a letting go, grateful to put a pin in it, done, over. This is not mine, not me, not anymore; this represents another life, another world, another brick in the wall of life’s experiences.