Bad Sex with Neal Pollack

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One spring evening in 1993, a community newspaper I was working for sent me to
cover the 100th anniversary celebration of James G. Blaine Elementary School,
on the far North Side of Chicago. This wasn’t the sort of assignment I’d
imagined for myself when I’d received my Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism
one year previous. But I’d begun to accept the fact that I wasn’t exactly
what Tina Brown was looking for at The
New Yorker
, or, in fact, what anyone was looking for anywhere, so I’d resigned
myself to covering dog shows and neighborhood meetings about sewage abatement.
It was the least sexy job in the world, until that evening.

   I talked to a couple of teachers, took a seat on the aisle in the back row, and began to view the assembly with a bemused critical eye. The principal gave a speech and then there was a musical performance. I tried to fool myself into thinking this scene might make a good “Talk Of The Town”-style piece. A few rows ahead of me, I saw the profile of a young woman, blonde curls spilling down her neck. The sight soothed me, like a nice fountain in a Japanese garden would have. I willed her to turn around.

   She did. I liked the cut of her mouth. Her blue
eyes had a slight otherworldly sparkle to them. She saw me. I raised my
eyebrows, to indicate I recognized the absurdity of our mutual presence
at a musical celebration of the life of a guy who lost a Presidential election
to Grover Cleveland. She seemed to find that amusing. In fact,

I mouthed a kiss. Astonishingly, she mouthed one back.

she mouthed
for me to stop. That gave me the encouragement to continue. She kept looking
back. I kept making silly gestures. Toward the end of the show, I took
an enormous risk and mouthed a kiss. Astonishingly, she mouthed one back.
It was just like Waiting
for Guffman
, except that in this version, someone might be getting laid.

   As the assembly ended, I indicated to her that I was going
outside and that she should follow. She did. I put my hands on her hips and leaned
in to kiss. She returned the kiss, a little.

   “Are you a reporter?” she said.

   “Yes,” I said. “Yes I am.”

   “That’s amazing!” she said.

   No one had ever found my work amazing before. I pressed her
for information. She was only at the assembly, she said, because her mother taught
at the school. We exchanged names. She told me she worked days as a secretary
at a high-end law firm and worked on getting her Master’s degree at night, but
she could have been a professional cat skinner for all I cared. I wanted her.

   “Let’s get out of here and go somewhere,” I said.

   “I can’t,” she said. “I have to help my mother. But I really want to.”

   “We need to get together soon,” I said.

   “I know,” she said.

   Phone numbers passed hands. In my life, I’ve often been reduced
to Cream of Wheat upon meeting a woman, but this one was different. I felt overwhelmed
with helpless lust. I wanted to rub her all over.

   “Soon,” I said.

   “Soon,” she said.

   And then she went back inside to her mother.

About a week later, we met at a bar. I quivered with desire so intense I could
barely speak. She fared little better. After an hour, she drove me back to my

   We went up to my room, though “room” is a generous word. At
the time, I lived in a semi-communal hippie apartment. During a drunken party
one night, some people hammered in a few sheets of drywall, dividing the living
room in two, and then painted on it a mural that wouldn’t have passed muster
at a community center for troubled children. I got the short half of the divide
as my bedroom. My lone window overlooked a brightly lit parking lot, and beyond
that, Lake Michigan’s ugliest beach.

   I drew the curtains and began kissing her neck. Her skin was surprisingly rough; she must have had a condition. But at least it wasn’t flaky. Moving on, I absorbed the warmth of her tongue and I wanted to lick her legs. I bid her undress.

We wheezed in ecstasy and grasped at each other.

   “I want to get to know you a little better,” she said.

   My boner was nearly splitting open my jeans.

   “Oh, definitely,” I said.

   At the time, the kinds of women I knew were only unavailable
from 4 a.m. to noon, but this one had a busy schedule. She got up early, worked
all day, and studied all night. I had to work at an office ten hours a week,
and spent the rest of my time (in descending order of how much I enjoyed them)
masturbating, reading, freelancing for local business magazines, and doing improv
comedy. Because of her commitments, it was ten days later before I saw her next.
We’d talked on the phone a few times. At some point, we declared that we were
in love.

   For our second date, we met at the Three Penny, a little independently-run revival movie theater in Lincoln Park, to see The
Maltese Falcon
. We sat in the back row. As the opening credits rolled, we began pawing each other. Our jaws unhinged and we kissed so deeply that little puffs of air blew out the spaces where our lips didn’t touch. It was as though we were sucking the breath out of each other. Together, we made a deep, guttural sound, something like “huuuuuuuuuuuuh, huuuuuuuuuuuh.” She was soaking through her skirt and, as always, I stood at full attention in my jeans. By the end of the first reel, we were in her car.

   Traffic was heavy on Lincoln Avenue. We wheezed in ecstasy and grasped at each other. A car roared in the opposite direction, hit us head on, backed up, and kept driving forward. My head smacked against the side window. Her forehead hit the steering wheel. She looked up. There was some blood. I felt dizzy and my neck hurt. Fortunately, she drove a 1981 Lincoln with a real schnozz of a hood. The grill had been crunched halfway to the windshield. I’d been headed home for the hottest sex of my life. But now my only thought was: God fucking damn it! I don’t have any health insurance!

   An ambulance took us to the emergency room. Her mother, a small
woman gone sour from decades of Catholicism, came in. She looked at me like I
was a vagrant on her stoop that she was going to chase off with a broom. I introduced
myself and could read her thoughts: My daughter is gallivanting with a Jew.

   “What a shame,” I said. “Your daughter and I were just going to have a cup of tea somewhere.”

   “Mmm-hmm,” said the mother, as though she knew that by “cup of tea,” I meant “full-on all-night cunnilingus.”

   At that moment, the ER called my name. I drifted back toward
the doors, and could see nothing before me but the lust of my life, shining like
an angel in the midst of waiting-room dreck. She gave me a wink that sent ninety
of my blood supply flushing into my crotch.

   “We’ve got to get that cup of tea,” she said. “Real soon.”

   To be continued

Bad Sex With Neal Pollack appears monthly.

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©2005 Neal Pollack and
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.