L.A. makes me feel sexually frustrated.
Henry asks if I’d ever put a finger up someone’s ass. We haven’t slept together in over a year.
Yes, I say. No one’s let me yet. I tell him I’d do it for him; then offer to pee on him if he ever wants to experiment—not because I have an intense desire to pee on anyone, but because I want to know what he’ll say.
He contemplates this offer. I think that’d be good. I trust you. Shit, that’s kind of hot.
Julian is willing to be peed on, provided it’s in a tub.
I ask Dmitri where he wants to come most. Deep in your throat or in your ass, he says. I was hoping you’d say on my face.
I’ve learned that men tend to be too careful, until they realize that you aren’t made of glass. Then they simply have no idea how to scale back. I tell the journalist from London I like it rough. The next time he pulls my hair it’s so hard we hear the bones of my neck crack. He leaves a purple bruise on my throat that I try to hide with concealer.
As I write this, there’s a retrospective of the artist Elaine Sturtevant at the Museum of Contemporary Art in L. A. It consists entirely of copies of works by her contemporaries, almost all male artists, the names a 60’s circle-jerk of relevancy: Warhol, Haring, Duchamp, Oldenburg, Gonzalez-Torres. She’s used the actual screens Warhol used in his prints—there’s Marilyn, there are flowers. Walking through the show is like playing a who’s who of Pop Art, the art history brat in me smarmily satisfied at recognizing a Stella from 40 paces. But every piece is a little off. A mimic of the thing: Stella’s style, then. That’s the point, I suppose, that Stella’s work, anyone’s work, could be made as well by anyone. What’s valued when the artifice becomes genuine? Who cares who made what?I walk through vertiginous hangs of Lichtenstein crowded next to Haring next to Johns and my only rational thought is, so what.
I’m giving the show a lazy read, but it’s because I’m scared of Los Angeles. I feel alienated. I don’t like not belonging to anyone. I leave and walk around downtown, thinking about how my friend Kris told me rats live in the palm trees. I’m staying with a friend who’s getting his MFA at USC. His couch is starting to smell like me. I go back to his apartment, and because he’s at class I jerk off in the bathroom, quick and sticky, my middle finger applying firm pressure to my clit the way I’ve done since I was twelve. The moment after I come I feel terrible. I wash my hands.
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