Lesbians, Homosexuals,
And My Book Party

by Jonathan Ames

I went on an excursion to Fire Island with my friend the painter, Patrick Bucklew. Bucklew is famous for three things: his ingenious paintings, his sexual exhibitionism, and his prosthetic leg.

Our trip to the island began at Penn Station early Sunday morning. While waiting for our train to Bayshore and drinking two large cups of coffee, I noticed that there were many beautiful girls who weren't wearing bras. The shapes of their breasts were lovely and their little nipples looked so nourishing and inviting. It was incredible: just a layer of cotton between those nipples and the world.

I wanted to fondle myself right then and there, which has been happening all summer. I walk down the street and see all these lovely half-naked girls and I want to commit onanism every ten paces. It's maddening. But I don't think the solution is to cover women the way they do in Muslim countries. Rather, I should be blindfolded and given a seeing-eye dog. I love dogs almost as much as women, and so I could play with my dog and take out my sexual frustration by wrestling with my canine friend.

"Look at all these girls with breasts," I said to Bucklew. "What's going on here?"

"It seems to be a trend," said Bucklew.

We got on our train and we were both admiring a beautiful fifteen year-old Indian girl with a luscious, swelling bosom.

"Like the many and varied spices that their land is famous for," I said, "I think Indian women are the most beautiful in the world because they seem to have the ingredients of every race."

"How so?" asked Bucklew, engaging me platonically.

"Well, they have the delicate, bird-like limbs of the Asians, the handsome straight noses and high cheekbones of the Caucasians, the dark brilliant hues of the Africans, the chaste and mysterious expression to the eyes of the Middle Easterns, and the full hips and breasts of the Nordics. Yes, I believe Indian women are the most beautiful. I wonder if it's because of their country's geographic placement - the center of the world, the bridge between the East and the West. Or is it because they burn all the unattractive ones?"

"I don't know," said Bucklew, and we both pondered in silence the profundity of my speculations. Bucklew was wearing shorts and I glanced meditatively at his flesh-colored prosthesis, which goes from the knee to the foot of his left leg, and I wished I could strike his prosthesis with a stick of some kind to test it. "Where are the handsomest men in the world from?" Bucklew then asked, reviving our discourse.

"There's no such thing," I said. "All men are intrinsically ugly. That's why God created Woman, to compensate for the ugliness of Man. He screwed up with the first sex and improved with the second."

"Do you really believe everything you're saying?"

"I don't believe anything I'm saying. I only spit out what others have said and written, namely the Bible and Bukowski and Wilde, but in slightly different syntax so that it all sounds mildly original and we can pass the time pleasantly on this over-crowded train. You should know by now that I don't believe anything I say. How can I believe anything when I don't know anything? I only know one thing - I feel nervous most of the time. I am nervous, therefore I am."

The two cups of coffee were causing me to pontificate and I apologized to Bucklew for this. He accepted my apology - he's very tolerant of me. Then across the aisle from us a fat man with a bald head began to kiss his chubby middle-aged girlfriend. I assumed that it was his girlfriend and not his wife because of the passion they were exhibiting. And it was uplifting to see two older members of the society enjoying the pleasures of the flesh, but the man's kissing style was too much. His mouth was practically devouring the woman's whole face. "It looks like he's eating a piece of watermelon," I whispered to Bucklew.

"You don't see that every day."

"You certainly don't. I may have to complain to the conductor."

Much to my relief, the two lovers eased up and ate bagels that the woman had packed. I stared at those bagels with envy. The two cups of coffee had dug a deep hole in my stomach.

So we made it to Bay Shore and then took a ferry to Fire Island. We were seated next to a nuclear family of four, who had a beautiful Golden Labrador Retriever. I nuzzled and made love to the dog and he responded happily, and his owners didn't seem to mind. The dog sported a pink hard-on and I sported one too, but it was in my shorts.

We disembarked at Ocean Bay Park and went to Bucklew's summer abode, ate a quick lunch, and changed into swimming trunks. Then we took a water taxi to Kismet, which has a famous nude beach. Bucklew enjoys nude beaches as a healthy expression of his exhibitionism.

We looked for sexy women that we could sit next to and ogle and we came across two gorgeous, sleeping lesbians - one was on her belly with her arm draped across her lover, who was on her back. We parked our blanket about ten feet below them. Bucklew stripped down, I didn't look at his penis, and he ambled into the water, prosthesis and all. He's a graceful and courageous man.

I stripped off my shorts and lay on my belly. I looked right into the shaved genitals of the lesbian who was on her back. It was beautiful -- like the folded, purple underside of a conch shell. The world at that moment was a place of great charisma and radiance. Bucklew came and lay down next to me. We admired together that sapphic womb.

After several hours on the beach - my ass got burned - we went back to Bucklew's compound, which has clay tennis courts. We played two sets, I won 6-0, 6-1, though he does move exceedingly well for a man missing half a leg. Then I treated him to a $9.95 lobster dinner.

The next day he had to work as an art instructor at a day camp, and so I, following his suggestion, went to Cherry Grove, the famous homosexual community of Fire Island. Bucklew told me that there was this primeval forest in Cherry Grove where men cruised one another. He had gone there and witnessed many incredible sexual acts. So I walked three miles along the beach and found these woods. It was frightfully hot and I was devastated from my march along the ocean because stupidly I had packed no water. So I staggered around in the woods on these sandy paths beneath the boughs of thick pines, and it was Eden-like in there, but I could hardly appreciate it - I was dehydrated and feeling hysterical.

I would pass men, but I was too scared to look at them directly. I wanted to witness sexual acts, but there was just a lot of staggering going on. Then I got lost in that shadowy, yet hot forest and I thought of Dante and *his* dark wood. And for the first time it occured to me how my mother is named Florence, and was I always wanting to get back to her the way Dante wanted to get back to his Florence? Then I saw a pretty deer go walking by and I wondered if it was cruising for other deer. Then I worried about getting a tick.

All this thinking and cruising was very tiring, so I leaned against a tree, exhausted, and a man approached me. He mistook my heat prostration for a come-hither posture. He was short and dark. He wore sunglasses, covering his eyes, masking his soul. He went immediately for my nipples through my white t-shirt. What was the etiquette in such a woods? How to say hands off? He found no reaction in my nipples; they are notoriously unresponsive. Then he made a grab for my cock, but it receded like a turtle's head. Disappointed with my lack of nipples and penis, he pressed on. With the dog on the ferry I got a woodie, but with the fairy in the woods, my own little dog hid like a pussy.

I made it out of there, and in a blind, confused state of dehydration, like Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia*, I dragged myself for three miles on the beach and made it to Bucklew's. He was back from camp, and after drinking directly from the tap, I told him what had happened. "No one ever touched me," he said, "but I kept moving. You really took a risk."

"That's because I have more homosexual tendencies than you," I said. "But those woods are dangerous. You can get Lyme's disease and VD all at the same time."

That night I returned to Manhattan, sunburned, but quite content with all that I had seen and done. I require varied stimulation. Then two days later there was my book party for my recently published novel. I wore my seersucker jacket (bought on sale in Princeton years ago, though I didn't have enough money at the time for the matching trousers), khaki pants, blue shirt, and my one Brooks Brothers tie. Because of all the sun on Fire Island I had a deep, reddish tan and so my bald spot appeared to be the same color as my hair, which gave to those around me the illusion that I had a full head of hair. Many people remarked on how young I looked. I knew it was the camouflaged bald spot, but also something about my book being published is having a slight Dorian Gray affect on me.

So the party, held in Turtle Bay Garden and thrown by my generous and kind benefactors, was a smashing success-- elegant, glamorous, and crowded. The publisher dropped off thirty copies of the book for people to look at, and twenty-two were stolen, de rigueur at such events, but I also convinced eight people to buy the book from me at a discounted price of twenty dollars. Perhaps this was done in poor taste, but I have been living off that $160 for several days - eating out, taking taxis, and buying espressos. It's a glorious time in my life right now. I almost feel like I deserve to have $160 in my pocket.

This column originally appeared in the New York Press.
Copyright © 1998
Path of Least Resistance