The Pallbearer, the Professor and the Possible Italian
The bisexual club did not seem to exist. We drove up and down Route One North six times, finally stopping at the dirty bookstore to ask directions. “That’s it,” the man said, pointing at what looked like a bombed-out hotel. “You’re there.”
Inside looked much like the outside. The walls, ceiling and floor were black and crumbling. I spotted three people less than four feet tall in my first survey of the room, one of them a woman in a Bledsoe mesh football shirt, breakdancing. She was very short but very, very wide, and her flexibility amazed me. Most of them male and female looked like retired hunters. A guy leaning against a garbage can, smoking, stood out from the crowd. He wore what I can only describe as a Victorian pallbearer’s coat, plus leather pants with Prince silver studs down the sides, and a black shirt unbuttoned to his naval. He looked at Dave and me and did a shooting movement from the hip, first one index finger at me, then the other hand’s finger at Dave. You could tell he was thinking, “At last, some of my kind”; Dave and I were mostly in black also, and the three of us were the only skinny people in the room. What if we were his kind? Had Dave’s tight silky shirt crossed the line from suggestive to totally gross? Were my plastic pants really cool (like I’d believed when I’d put them on), or did they belong in the same category as the pallbearer’s coat?
On the dance floor, Mr. Pallbearer insinuated himself between us, grinding and winking and forming different shapes with his mouth, keeping up the pointing action all the while. Frightened, Dave and I sat down. Mr. P. returned to his garbage can and his lonely, predatorial stakeout. Some of the male couples were making out while they danced, and Dave blocked them out with a voluminous newspaper. He read by the light of a big screen TV playing a video of men in underwear. This was their club, no one forced us to come. I told Dave he was uptight and mean.
“Lisa, I’m heterosexual. I don’t want to watch men tonguing each other, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Quit picking on me.”
“Dave, denial is boring. You’ve had dreams about sucking cock and you know it. A throbbing, blood-filled, hard, demanding thing in your mouth . . . When you saw that hairy old naked man with the semi-erect penis in the locker room at Planet Fitness, you couldn’t stop thinking about it
“It wasn’t semi-erect. It was limp. It was just big. And . . . puffy.”
“The point is, David, when you are blessed with a gift, it’s your responsibility to share it. You get hard in two seconds, you have 98 fingering techniques, you have a dirty movie going in your head all day long starring everyone you’ve ever met. If you were a genius at math, you wouldn’t refuse to solve certain math problems, would you? Well, you’re a genius at sex. You could be having so much fun right now.”
Dave looked out at the dance floor, looked back at me and lifted an eyebrow.
“Oh don’t be snobby. Who cares if these people aren’t models?”
“Lisa, half the people in this room are dwarves. Don’t you think that’s a little odd?”
“They’re not dwarves they’re in proportion. And so what if they are? Dwarves are famous artificers. Just look at their mouths. I bet they fasten them on anything. These people probably look so awful because they don’t have time to exercise or shop for new clothes they’re too busy having orgies.”
Dave lifted his newspaper and rustled it.
“Don’t rustle at me!” I growled, and poked his paper. “Closet polymorph.”
I, too, was having a hard time with the reality of the bisexual club, I just didn’t want to admit it. I had imagined bisexuals to be elegant and mysterious. I had thought we’d walk into this club and everyone would look like Catherine Deneuve or David Bowie. Instead, the dance floor was dominated by women in graying tank-tops, flannel shirts, olive pants and shitkickers. You know those girls in high school who smoked in the bathroom and you were scared of them? Well, these girls had that hair, the same blank yet somehow threatening facial expressions and the same lethargic movements, like bears. But at least the bathroom smokers wore cherry lipgloss and sparkly socks once in a while. What’s the use of adventure if there are no careful preparations to destroy? No diaphanous dress to be torn by the fence you jump, no lipstick to be messed up when I take your hand and we run into the night?
I chewed on my lips for a while, sitting next to the newspaper surrounding Dave. I decided to pick the most incongruous person in the room, and get their story. I settled on a professor type in the corner. Leather elbow pads on corduroy blazer, reddish beard, glasses. Sipping a brandy. Now what was this fellow here for? I approached his table and sat down before he could send any “Don’t sit here” signals. “Hi,” I said. “I was wondering if you’re a professor.”
“Oh. What do you do?”
“Really? Just like Harrison Ford.”
He let that pass. “I have another job.” He leaned forward, I waited. Does he whip boys for the clergy? He cleared his throat and looked away. “I cook.”
“Oh really? What kind of food?”
Huh. He cuts and cooks. Either this guy is really Zen, I thought, or really dull. Or maybe he was talking in code? His name, I learned, was Jim. I asked him what was the most amazing thing about him. He looked like he’d been waiting for someone to ask him that all night. “I’m going through a divorce.”
Oh god. Trying to escape boredom, I had delivered myself straight into its clammy hands. “See that fellow over there?” I said. “That’s my husband. Only three months we’ve been married, and he hasn’t looked back once to see if I’m doing something inappropriate with you. Do you think he’s secure or just doesn’t care?”
Jim said, “Hmm.” I moved on to the dance floor.
I noticed a girl dancing opposite me, kind of copying my moves. She hadn’t been here earlier in the evening. Neither pretty nor ugly, neither fat nor thin, she was probably somewhere between 19 and 38. The music switched from diva remixes to electronica. The singer whispered what sounded like “fiber optics, fiber optics” over breakbeats, then the backup singers weighed in with what might have been “salami, salami . . . salami, salami.” I slowed my moves down and leaned into the nondescript girl. “Is it my imagination, or is this song about fiber optics and salami?”
“I think it’s your imagination,” she said. She smiled, got even slower than me. Then she said, close to my ear, “But now you’ve put it in my imagination and I can’t get it out.” She had black-seeming eyes. Italian? I took her face in both my hands and kissed her. It was nice. I grabbed her upper arms and pulled her into me. New lips always give me a swirling feeling. Hers were big and soft. She led me off the dance floor, and leaned invitingly against a half-wall that I guessed had been erected to hide heating pipes. I asked if she came here often. It was her first time. She’d come alone. “I’m married,” I told her. She looked shocked.
“You don’t look old enough to be married,” she said.
“Oh, but I am. This is my second marriage, actually. I like being a wife. See that curmudgeonly guy behind the newspaper? That’s him. I have to go ask permission.”
I tapped Dave’s newspaper. “Can I fool around with that girl over there?” I asked. The newspaper went down.
I turned around; she was gone. Dave accused me of making her up.
I was depressed on the drive home. Almost nothing has worked out right. I never got to have sex with Matt, my dildo wobbled, now this lady ran away. I think she was offended that I would kiss her in front of my husband and not tell her I was married till after; I think she wanted no part of swinger action. I think this wasn’t a bisexual club at all it was a gay bar. These people were no more (or less) bisexual than the ones you find in a straight bar. Do bisexual clubs actually exist? What bumbling swingers Dave and I have turned out to be.
Lisa Carver and Nerve.com, Inc.