Before we begin, I need to find my Dashiell Hammett hat. Ah, here it is. Now I'm ready.
Its a dark and foggy night. On my way to the club, the proverbial question “why do I live in fog-ridden San Francisco?” courses through my mind like a racecar circling the track. The club in question is a hole in the wall joint on Potrero Hill, one of those places that just by its presence makes a desolate neighborhood seem even more desolate. But I’d heard it was a place where DJ’s spin dirty, filthy funk. On this particular night, there’s nothing I’d like better.
I have to wake up the doorman so that he can do his job. Startled out of his 11 pm nap, he issues an automatic “Its five dollars, and I need to see you’re ID.”
“What did you say?”
Groggily impatient, he repeats “Five dollars and I need to see you’re ID.”
“That’s not right”
"What’s not right?”
“You said ‘you’re’”
“Yeah, its YOU’RE ID, I need you’re ID, not some other guy’s, YOU’RE ID”
“Look,” I said, “I don’t mean to be a jerk, but if you say ‘you’re’ instead of ‘your’ it has a completely different meaning. What you said suggests that you want to verify that I am a certain thing . . . an ID, an identity, apparently . . . which raises a whole host of issues if you really dig into it, I mean, like what my identity really is, and how that’s determined, or else instead of ‘I-D’ you really meant to say ‘id,’ which could be some kind of Freudian slip, I suppose.”
His eyes have glazed over. He’s not the intimidating kind of security guy. Not one at all, really. More like a laconic, faded-out musician who hangs onto the club scene because its where he’s most comfortable.
”Open your wallet,” he says. “There should be a little plastic card in there with your picture and some writing on it. That’s what I need.”
Inside its dark, and therefore inviting. Sho 'nuff, funk music issues in syncopated pulses, permeating my body in both waves and particles. Several people are scattered about the room, and the looks they give speak an easy acceptance as if to say “we don’t care whether you leave or stay, so you might as well stay.” There’s not much movement except for a woman in glasses and mickey mouse shirt out on the floor, dancing with gravity, enclosed in her own little cone of groove. She’s a bartender, it turns out, and she returns to her post to satisfy my demand for vodka.
I feel a surge of energy in the room. A group of eight women has trounced in, already well on their way to wasted. They walk and talk like San Francisco women -- confident in their sexuality, dressed in a style that says “though I could fuck you into next week, and though I’m not going to, I thought you should see what you’re missing.” This is familiar to every sf guy. That’s always the first card played, the opening bid. I know I hold a trump card, namely, that truly decent-but-fun straight guys like me are rare in this city. But you can’t play that card until much later in the game, and decency isn’t what keeps you in the game. Its a paradox. More like an enigma, really, but that word sounds too much like “enema,” and I’m not into that sort of thing, so I say paradox.
More female eye candy arrives. I’ve made a good choice. I’m in a special place. But its becoming a dilemma, because there’s too few men. The chemistry of the room is going awry. Maybe not a dilemma really, more like a conundrum, a problem to be solved. I’m struck by a compulsion. The room chemistry has to be set aright before I can relax. There’s three guys over at the bar, obviously charmed by the women, and if I can just get them to mingle . . . They look not to be complete clods, so there’s hope. I try talking to them. They’re clods. Two more guys walk in. Alpha males with pampered musculature straining against tight polo shirts. Not very funky, but at least the numbers are evening out.
I decide to try a reverse strategy, to get one of the women interested in the guys. I sidle up and say “see those guys, one of them wants to dance with you. You could really make his night.”
She just smirks and says, “No way! Not with that looser.”
“What did you say? That what?”
“Looser. He’s a looser!”
“You mean he’s a loser.”
“No,” she says, condescendingly slowing her speech “He’s . . . a . . looser.”
“But that has a different meaning,” I protest, “unless what you’re trying to say is that his shirt is too tight, like he’s trying too hard to prove something; and if it was looser, you might be attracted and dance with him.”
She gives me a blank stare, and then her interest wanders and so does she, closing our conversation in a tired sing-song voice. “He’s just a looser!”
Just then, two of the women start play-freaking on each other. This serves as a sort of catalyst. Chemical bonds are broken and are thus free to form new bonds. The music is like a transparent viscous fluid that fills the room. Dancers drift in the currents, pause in eddies, or paddle languidly upstream. I start dancing, trying to contribute my own catalyzing effect. A woman, one of the eight, locks onto my rhythm and suddenly we’re shuffling around each other warily, curious but reluctant to commit.
That’s when I see her. She’s recently arrived, one of two blonde women accompanying a latino male. She’s tall and slender with just enough curves to suit my tastes. Engrossed in talking to her friends, she is leaning on the bar, shifting her hips back and forth to the music. Her shapely legs extend endlessly below a short skirt. She looks to be about 32. Her face is sculpted, the edges not yet softening, an exquisite compromise of experience and beauty. A knowing temptress. More like a siren, really, with her classical lines. At first glance, not the kind of woman I’d take home to mother. But that still leaves other mutually benefical possibilities.
Suddenly, I’m faced with a predicament. Not a predicament, really, more like a smorgasbord. Too many choices, and I lack information to confidently make the right one. Choosing one tends to rule out the others. Suddenly, it seems like a room full of missed connections, that room being a small fraction of a whole world of missed connections, each of them defined by a distinct degree of separation and impossibility, as if missed connections are all I have to look forward to, posting and posting to no avail. If seven Craigs with seven brooms . . . oh the futility! This revelation leaves me feeling nihilistic. Not nihilistic so much as just not giving a damn. I need more vodka.
I need to think, and then I need to face my predicament directly. But before I can, I’m face to face with the tall leggy blonde, who has apparently decided I’m best source of entertainment in the room. Predicament resolved. At a time like this, I’m a sucker for a cheap thrill, and this thrill looks to be pre-paid. We’re near the bar, a mere breath apart, splitting the difference between dancing and conversing. Our banter about an obscure 70’s song is really just an excuse to keep breathing on each other. My hand, which has been resting on her hip, moves across her waist and then climbs the swale of her bare midrift. My light touch becomes a tester of boundaries, or the absence thereof. She responds by moving closer, so that our bodies brush and jostle against each other at several points as we dance. My knee is pressing against the inside of her leg. She returns the contact, and in that way we find a rhythm that suggests a world of possibilities. We linger this way for either a few minutes or an hour, I can’t be sure which.
“Too hot,” she murmurs into my ear, and with those words and no more we go outside. The mist settles on us, cool but not chilling, as we walk the deserted street. She slings her arm under mine and we curl into an entryway. Her back goes to the wall and I lean into her. Our lips and tongues become a whirl of wet intermingling confusion. Staccato moans resonate inside her, now and then releasing into the night air when our mouths happen to part. My hands have been on the wall but now they find her breasts, and with that our intensity doubles. She pulls at my hips and we strain against barriers of cotton and nylon which is all that keeps me from penetrating deeply inside her. I let a hand drop to explore her slippery heat.
“Not yet, not yet,” she gasps, “keep touching my breasts. Their so sensitive.”
I pause. A semi-lucid thought pierces the delirium. “What did you just say?”
“Oh god, my breasts, just squeeze them. The nipples, their so sensitive. It makes me want to fuck your brains out.”
I’m immobile against her. “You said ‘their’ . . . ‘their so sensitive.’”
“That’s right. Oh god, oh . . . what? What’s wrong? Why’d you stop?”
“You couldn’t mean ‘their.’ That doesn’t make any sense at all. “Their” is the possessive. “Their so sensitive” just doesn’t make grammatical sense.”
With furrowed brow and straightened back, she says “what the are you talking about? Here I thought I’d met a decent guy. Or at least a fun guy. You’re not decent or fun!”
”Look, I’m just saying. Grammar and spelling are important. Nobody around here seems to realize that.”
“Hey, that’s fine, whatever. But I gotta get back to my friends. You have fun in there. Or they’re. Or their.”
And so, gentle readers, we return to the question: can you have it all? Impeccable prose and porn-star sex? What I’m suggesting is that a mind that demands textual rigor is a mind that can’t abide spontaneity, and a person with such a mind isn’t likely to have that transcending hot sex to which we all aspire. I realize what I’ve offered here isn’t a logical proof. Its more of a parable, really. But if you find it compelling, then you must also agree that the choice is yours to make. Yes it is.