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A number of years ago, I gave one of my books the subtitle "The Adventures of a Mildly Perverted Young Writer," and ever since, I've been the recipient of quite a few interesting invitations. I'm no longer young, but I am still mildy perverted, though with less energy. Most recently, I got an invitation from a company called Metro Event Planners to attend, for free, a class they were offering called "Sex Tips to Drive Women Wild."
I decided to accept this offer, thinking I might learn once and for all where the clitoris is, was and has been located since I first lost my virginity twenty-five years ago on December 31, 1981. Of course, I would also learn where the clitoris has been located long before 1981, if I was to regard the history of female genitalia from a less self-centered point of demarcation.
There was a brief period in 1990, when I was twenty-six and read a book on the female orgasm called For Yourself, that I had, momentarily, a firm idea where the clitoris is, but it was some kind of high math, and my mind couldn't hold onto the information for long. I was like that character, Charlie, in Flowers for Algernon, possessed with great knowledge, but only for a limited time.
So for years, I've been pretty sure that the clitoris is this bump I feel at the top, and it seems to please women when I stroke it, but I'm never fully confident that I'm in the exact right place. It's kind of like that F. Scott Fitzgerald notion that there's always a better party than the one you're presently attending. Thus, I often wonder if I'm touching the urethra or a swelling in the labia, and just by chance happen to be brushing the clitoris, and that's why the young lady feels good. Who knows? Also, whenever I perform oral sex it's usually quite dark and I can never see what the hell is going on down there. And then when the lights are on, which is rare, I tend to close my eyes and just let my tongue communicate my ardor.
You see, I'm something of a gentleman, even if I once labeled myself perverted, and it never seems quite proper to stare, like a stamp collector, at your lover's vagina. Somehow it's not respectful. So I sort of treat the vagina like a solar eclipse, and just try to glimpse it from an angle. I do like unabashedly gazing at a woman's bush when she's standing up and we're getting dressed in the morning. I've always been more of a Playboy kind of guy as opposed to being a Hustler sort of fellow. Unfortunately almost all bushes seem to have disappeared. I don't know if it's Chernobyl or some other ecological disaster, but I haven't seen pubic hair on a woman in years. Well, that's not entirely true. There are a few bushes left, but not many.
The sex class was held in a large building in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. I had been directed to go to the sixth floor and to tell the receptionist that I was there for the Metro Planners course.
The sixth floor, it turned out, was in the business of renting studios to various dance troupes. In the lobby area, when I arrived, there were about a dozen women in tights flitting about, and there were three African men carrying drums. I wondered if I was in the right place. I approached the receptionist — a young, disinterested blonde.
"I'm here for the Metro Planners class," I said.
"Take a seat," she said, deeply bored. She was staring into the blue glow of her computer screen. "Someone will come find you."
I squeezed past some sexy girl dancers, took a seat on a battered couch and wondered, as a dancer bent over to stretch, if this was the right kind of place for men who needed sexual help to be taking a class. A musical-theater group came out of a studio, and some of them were still singing a showtune. It was all very festive. An adorable brunette carrying a clipboard then stood in front of me: "Are you Jonathan Ames?" she asked.
"It depends," I said.
"I recognized you from one of your books," she said, smiling. "I'm Blaire Allison. I run Metro Planners. I'm the person who wrote to you. There will be two others taking the class with you, so you won't be all alone."
"Are you teaching the class?" I asked not without hope — I thought she was awfully cute.
"No, one of our erotic educators will be leading the class," she said.
"Oh," I said, trying to hide my disappointment.
"I'll come back for you in about five minutes; we'll start at eight."
"Okay," I said, and she disappeared down the long hallway.
Then a man in a dark suit, wearing a black wig, approached the desk. He had yellow coloring and noble features. As a bald man, I am an expert at spotting wigs, which, as in this case, give themselves away by the manner in which they ride up their owner's neck. He was a handsome fellow, but the wig was a mistake. Nevertheless, I can appreciate the desperation and the loss of judgment that losing one's hair can cause. For years, I had a comb-over, which I was in denial about, until one day I attacked my head with a pair of clippers like a prison guard working over a new inmate. This man looked around the crowded lobby, and then mumbled to the blonde, trying to affect discretion: "I'm here for the eight o'clock class."
"Which class?" asked the blonde, not taking her eyes off her computer screen.
"The eight o'clock class," the man mumbled again.
"Which eight o'clock class?" exhaled the blonde with annoyance.
I could see the man with the wig faltering. He had forgotten the necessary password: Metro Planners. And he certainly didn't want to tell this young girl that he was there for the sex class. He muttered again, uselessly, "The class. . ."
"Which class?" she repeated. I couldn't take it. This was torture for me and for the man in the wig. I had to jump in and save the fellow.
"He's in the Metro Planners class," I said, which could have been wrong, but I was sure I was right — the wig, the embarrassed eyes, I had seen these exact symptoms in my fellow men in peep shows before Mayor Giuliani destroyed Times Square.
"Have a seat," the girl said to him.