Bad Sex With Neal Pollack

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For several years in my early twenties, I wore
the same crappy Halloween costume. I took a foam bike helmet that had long
exhausted its utility, put it on my head, donned a hooded sweatshirt, stretched
the hood over the helmet and caked my face with baby powder. The result
was something I called “Scary Helmet Man.” This led to a number of conversations
that went thusly:

   “What are you supposed to be?”

   “I’m Scary Helmet Man. Bleeeeeh! Aren’t I scary?”

   My Scary Helmet Man persona was endemic of something deeper
than slack. In junior high, I once dressed as Dr. Who, realizing my mistake too
late. A high-school
talent show found me in a gold lamé
jumpsuit, singing “Great Balls Of Fire.” In college,
I stalked around my dorm in a green rain slicker and black mask, pretending to
hero called The Green Hood. At thirty, I conducted a reading at a venerable
Seattle bookstore while in a Superman costume.

   Decades of narcissistic exhibitionism led me to discover something about dressing up. If used properly, it can get you laid. Halloween was for me, as it is for many people, a rich vein of sexual ore. But nothing worked better than Scary Helmet Man.

My greatest creation made his debut in 1991. I went into the city with some friends
to a non-college party. My friend Ben drove; he gave me his keys to put in
the pocket of my hooded sweatshirt. Within an hour, I was steaming drunk and
by comparison, whose only costume
was a New York Yankees cap she’d cutely cocked.

   “Who are you?” she said.

   “I’m Scary Helmet Man,” I said. “Bleeeeh! Aren’t I scary?”

   Soon, I was making out with Yankee Girl, and soon after that, she was inviting me home with her. We necked furiously in the cab. As we were getting out at her building, I heard a jangle in my pocket.


At some point during the night, she jerked me off. I considered this liaison a success.

“Oh, no,” I said. “The keys!”

   My friends won’t be able to get home, I told her. I’m really sorry. Just go upstairs and get in bed. I’ll be back soon.

   She rolled her eyes, having realized what a liaison with me involved.

   “Can I borrow some money?” I said.

   An hour later, I arrived panting at her door. It was open a crack. In the dark, I found her bedroom. She was naked, and very asleep.

   “I waited as long as I could,” she said.

   At some point during the night, she jerked me off. In the morning she made me coffee. Based on my past sexual history, I considered this liaison a success.

Two years later, I traveled on Halloween to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where a friend
had taken a job at the local daily newspaper. My Scary Helmet Man getup came
with me on the train. That night, Scary Helmet Man went to a party.

   There, in another kitchen of another Midwestern rental apartment,
met a woman with a sly Southern accent and a nervous attitude. She’d recently
hired as the paper’s youth columnist, which meant she trafficked in celebrity
gossip and snide pop-culture commentary. This was of less interest to me than
the fact that her fiancé was out of town for the weekend.

   “I’m Scary Helmet Man,” I said. “Bleeeeh! Aren’t I scary?”

   We got amazingly drunk, and then she took me for a drive. In a high-school parking lot, she attacked me with a fervor usually reserved for guys shipping out to war. I responded accordingly with flaring tongue.

   “Oooh, I can feel your cock, Scary Helmet Man,” she said. “It’s so haaaaaaaard.”

   This was my first experience with dirty talk, but I liked it. So I responded in kind.

   “Oh, yeah, baby,” I said. “I wanna fuck you so bad.”

   I’ve said sexier things on the phone at telemarketing jobs, but it seemed to work. We had, I believed, a profound, even primal, physical connection. The next week, when I was home, I called her.

   “I’d sure like to see you again,” I said.

   “Ehhh,” she said. “Probably not.”

   But, she said, getting together with me had caused her to realize that she didn’t really like her fiancé all that much. When he’d returned home from his trip, she’d broken it off. I was so encouraged by my newfound status as a homewrecker that I looked up Yankee Girl in the phone book and suggested we have dinner.

   A week later, at an inexpensive restaurant of dubious quality, Yankee Girl and I reacquainted. A big bowl of Everclear punch might have helped. The Halloween magic didn’t work in November. Without Scary Helmet Man, I was a neuter.

   The bill came. I put down half.

   “You invited me,” Yankee Girl said.

   “Right,” I said. “I can pay you back as soon as we get to my place.”

   I have yet to pay her back.

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.