Bad Sex with Neal Pollack

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I hope my last column didn’t leave anyone with a false impression of my erotic self-esteem. For the record, I don’t consider myself a good lover. At best, I’m mediocre, and reasonably attentive when sober. I do attempt to make improvements. Currently, I’m exercising my PC muscle three times a day in search of the male multiple orgasm. I’ve also recently rediscovered that a well-timed application of cunnilingus is the fastest escape from the doghouse. But my sexual history isn’t one of graceful movement. The incident I describe in today’s story is typical of the way things usually turn out. Enjoy. — Neal Pollack


When I was a reporter in the 1990s, I would sometimes visit various
easy-to-reach foreign locations under the impression that I was pursuing a "story." Thus,
I spent many delightful weeks in such hotbeds of international news as Montreal
and the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala. Once upon a mid-decade, I found myself
in Toronto with a night to kill. My "sources" had crapped out on me.
already been to see three European movies, eaten at several low-priced neighborhood
ethnic restaurants, and browsed through every thrift shop, record store, and
independent bookstore in town. Nighttime conversations in bars were going nowhere.
For my first time ever as a proudly independent, not to mention cheap, traveler,
I was damn lonely.

   Naturally, as is wont to occur when one travels alone for a
week in a foreign country, my thoughts journeyed sexward. I turned to the only
place a horny young traveler man could turn in those days: the back pages of
the local alternative newsweekly. Perhaps some hot young woman had posted a classified
ad about her immediate desire to fellate a penniless American writer. No such
luck. The prospects were equally thin in "Friends Seeking Friends" and "Other." Swingers
clubs only met every other week. I’d sworn off phone sex after an operator
laughed out loud when I told her about my Wonder Woman transformation fetish.

   For the first time, I considered hiring a prostitute. The escorts in the ads looked very pretty, but probably charged upwards of $250 an hour. Some companies made it look affordable, but I refuse to frequent the types of sexual businesses that offer discount rates. My only option was

fifty dollars, I’ll get naked," she said, "but no penetration.
We’re not licensed for that."

one of approximately one thousand "massage

   I called the one with the biggest ad. A young woman answered the phone.

   "Helllllloooooo," she purred.

   "Hi," I said. "Are you closing soon?"

   "We won’t be open all night," she said. "You’d better get down here as soon as possible."

   "Will you still be working?" I said.

   She said, "If you hurry."

   I was there in fifteen minutes, on foot. The massage parlor
the second floor. I walked into a nondescript waiting room and up to the front
desk. A panel opened in the wall. There sat a somewhat Rubenesque woman with
eyes that could slay a deer.

   "Are you the guy that called?" she said.

   "Yes," I said.

   She glanced behind her, leaned forward and whispered,

   "You’re lucky I answered the phone. The rest of these women are crack whores."

   "Well," I said. "I guess I am lucky."

   She brought me to her massage room. On her instruction, I took a shower and applied scented oils to my body. I left my bathrobe open and lay on the table. The lights dimmed. Soft music started playing. She walked in.

   "Did you have a nice shower?" she said.

   "Oh, yes," I said.

   "Mmmm. That’s nice. Do you mind turning over so I can start rubbing your neck?"

   "Not at all."

   I felt like that was a good moment to introduce myself.

   "So what are you doing here in Toronto, Neal?" she said.

   "I’m a writer," I said. "Looking for a story."

   Generally, when I tell strangers that I’m a writer, their
first response is, "What kind of stuff have you written? Books?" But
my randomly chosen "massage therapist" in Toronto said, “A writer,
huh? Interesting. I just finished my master’s degree in literature at the
university. My thesis was on, oh, I can’t remember his name now. Isn’t that stupid? He wrote White Noise and that book about Lee Harvey Oswald."

   "Don DeLillo?" I said.

   "Yeah!" she said. "DeLillo. That’s the guy. Do you write anything like him?"

   "Actually," I said, "I feel that my best work is an aesthetic reaction to DeLillo’s worst excesses…"

   She and I spent fifteen delightful minutes talking about contemporary American literature. We argued, laughed, teased, and flirted. It would have been a great conversation in a bar, or on a date. I found myself in the odd position of developing a genuine crush on my massage therapist. Man, she was cute!

   A timer went off.

   "You have to decide," she said.

   "Decide what?" I said.

   "What you want to do now?"


   She suddenly looked bored.

   "It’s fifteen dollars for a hand release," she
said. "For thirty dollars, I’ll get on top of you with all my clothes

The hand release happened quickly. She brought me off with warmth and technical skill.

fifty dollars, I’ll get naked, but no penetration. We’re not licensed for that."

   What I did next, if I may say so myself, took balls.

   "What are you doing tomorrow?" I said.

   "Nothing," she said.

   "I’ve got two tickets to a baseball game. Let’s go together. And afterward I’ll buy you dinner."

   She giggled.

   "Okay," she said.

   The hand release happened quickly. She brought me off with warmth and technical skill. I showered again. She came back in. I tipped her plenty.

   She kissed me on the cheek and batted her eyes.

   "We’re not supposed to kiss the customers," she said.

   "I appreciate your willingness to break the rules," I said. "See you tomorrow."

   "It’s a date," she said.

   The rest of the night, I walked around thinking to myself:

   Pollack, you’re a motherfucking stud.


   She got to my hotel room an hour and a half late. The owner of a biker bar was stalking her best girlfriend. That morning, there’d been a "situation," which she described no further. She took a look around.

   "This room is horrible," she said.

   "It’s all I could afford," I said. "But it’s got a view of the lake."

   We got on the bed and started kissing. It didn’t go very far. She sat up.

   "I’m sorry," she said. "But your hotel room just doesn’t do it for me."

   Apparently, the Toronto SkyDome was more her speed. We sat through a few innings of a desultory Blue Jays/Twins game. Later, we played some pool, an entertainment actually open to the public on the mezzanine. She tried to flirt with the door guy at the Stadium Club, but apparently he didn’t care that she used to date one of the players.

   After the game, we went to an absurdly trendy pan-Asian bistro and got shitfaced on premium sake. She urged me to try this one dish, which was the hottest thing she’d ever tasted. I like spicy food and didn’t want her to think me unmanly, so I ordered it. There were several tiny peppers strewn around the plate.

   "The spice is in the seeds," she said.

   Almost subconsciously, I split one of the peppers open and fingered around the inside.

   "The seeds, eh?" I said. "Very interesting."

   Two hundred Canadian dollars later, we took the subway to her townhouse, which was lavish and gorgeous. I’d never seen such gleaming kitchenware! And those lush rugs! Those sofas! The paintings alone must have been worth $100,000.

   "You’re rich!" I said.

   Not really, she said. She explained to me that the house was her ex-boyfriend’s, but he’d let her keep it because she knew things about him that might interest the cops. Hers was an odd circumstance indeed: A half-kept woman

she’d jacked me so efficiently the previous day, I wanted to return
the blessing.

of property so broke that she had to work at a skeezy massage parlor.

   The bedroom was sumptuous. Her bed would have swallowed a dozen
men. The carpet was so soft and thick that you wanted to pass out drunk in it
for a week. Best of all, the master bath had a two-person hot tub. It was time
to get down to business.

   With some effort, I pulled her to her knees and pushed her
shoulders against the floor. We kissed briefly, but this was no time for kissing.
After she’d
jacked me so efficiently the previous day, I wanted to return the blessing. Like
a master locksmith, I quickly unzipped her pants and inserted two fingers. They
began to wiggle around, seeking land.

   "Oooh," she said. "Ooooh, boy."

   "You like it?" I said.

   "Phew," she said. "Oh gosh."

   I looked up at her face, which showed no ecstasy.

   "What?" I said.

   "Did you wash your hands after dinner?" she said.


   "I think some of that pepper juice is still on your hand. It might be burning up my vagina."

   "Oh," I said. "Do you want me to keep going?"

   "That’s sweet of you to ask," she said. "But I don’t think so. Hoo! Gosh!"

   Thank God she was Canadian. They’re so polite.

   She writhed on the ground for a bit, then limped to the bathroom for a nice cold douche under her hot-tub faucet.

   "It still burns!" she said.

   About a half hour passed before she could walk without pain. The zip had gone out of the evening. I took a bath. She gave me another hand release, which was dull, quick, and passionless. We exchanged phone numbers and I promised to tell her the next time I came to town. She called me a cab and told it to hurry.

   It had been better when I’d paid.

Bad Sex With Neal Pollack appears monthly.

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Neal Pollack


Neal Pollack is the author of The Neal Pollack Anthology Of American Literature, Beneath The Axis Of Evil, and Never Mind the Pollacks: A Rock and Roll Novel. For a daily dose of his satirical brilliance, visit his website, He lives in Austin, Texas.