Chapter 26 – A Bitter Sweet Chapter

By this time I was shooting for almost every modeling agency from NY to LA, as well as some of the most elite models from all over the world. I was living in Hell’s kitchen and just getting to know the city. Other than family events, or as a child, going to work with my father, I didn’t know Manhattan. For the first time in my life, I was learning the streets of New York. Not just as a passenger in my father’s car, or a school field trip, but by living and working in the city. It was a virtual playground with huge nightclubs and millions of women from around the world. I was in a single man’s paradise, as there was a plethora of opportunity and a smorgasbord of women from just about everywhere. That is why I found it so strange that I was falling in love with a shy coal miner’s daughter from Allentown, Pennsylvania.

I don’t understand how I could fall in love so often, or why certain women immediately triggered that love at first sight switch in my brain. But those love hormones, like dopamine and all the others, would simply drive me wild at times. I would experience these amazing floodgates of love for certain women. She was one of them. After our first shoot I thought we would spend a lot of time together. It was a simple shoot. She modeled in a torn pair of jeans and a ripped t-shirt. She was slender and much cooler looking than most models. She carried herself like the main character in the feature film “Flash Dance.” That was the style at the time. She was definitely a tomboy, but shy. Acting and modeling was drawing her out of her shell. She had long curly brown hair. Not naturally curly, just part of the act. Kind of her unique style. She was very fashionable. She wore outfits that looked like they came out of Vogue or Elle’s sportswear section. She came off as a sexy, hot, jock, dancer chick.

By this time I was shooting for almost every modeling agency from NY to LA, as well as some of the most elite models from all over the world. I was living in Hell’s kitchen and just getting to know the city. Other than family events, or as a child, going to work with my father, I didn’t know Manhattan. For the first time in my life, I was learning the streets of New York. Not just as a passenger in my father’s car, or a school field trip, but by living and working in the city. It was a virtual playground with huge nightclubs and millions of women from around the world. I was in a single man’s paradise, as there was a plethora of opportunity and a smorgasbord of women from just about everywhere. That is why I found it so strange that I was falling in love with a shy coal miner’s daughter from Allentown, Pennsylvania.

I don’t understand how I could fall in love so often, or why certain women immediately triggered that love at first sight switch in my brain. But those love hormones, like dopamine and all the others, would simply drive me wild at times. I would experience these amazing floodgates of love for certain women. She was one of them. After our first shoot I thought we would spend a lot of time together. It was a simple shoot. She modeled in a torn pair of jeans and a ripped t-shirt. She was slender and much cooler looking than most models. She carried herself like the main character in the feature film “Flash Dance.” That was the style at the time. She was definitely a tomboy, but shy. Acting and modeling was drawing her out of her shell. She had long curly brown hair. Not naturally curly, just part of the act. Kind of her unique style. She was very fashionable. She wore outfits that looked like they came out of Vogue or Elle’s sportswear section. She came off as a sexy, hot, jock, dancer chick.

She took the train from Allentown to the city. She would stay with me as often as she could. We always shot at sunset. There was a beautiful golden glow emanating from the windows. The entire floor to ceiling wall of windows, facing the sunset, was the reason I sublet the place to begin with. That wall of light was my first natural light studio. She would come by unannounced. I was always happy whenever she buzzed up. It made the apartment start to feel like a home. She was generally in the city for casting calls and to see her agent, so I was pretty much last on her list. But I was a steady stop. She had a boyfriend back in Allentown, which is why, at first, we never became more than, friends. We would order in Chinese food or pizza and hang out. She was very affectionate and was always hanging onto me. I loved that feeling.

What we became is rather difficult to describe. I did have that initial love at first sight feeling, but it took so long for us to become intimate, that I was screwing around with a lot of other women. Plus, I had to control my feelings, because she had a boyfriend. It was an entirely different story after she broke up with him. We would have sex every time I saw her, even though I was screwing around with everyone else. So as much as I began to love her and build on that incredible, love at first sight feeling, I was in a strange place, juggling many women at the same time.

I may have had many chapters of love, but I did love every woman I slept with. I have chosen to love them all, almost as a religion. I often think that love is the universal foundation of any religion or society. Even though we had great sex, often in front of those enormous windows, we were never exclusive. Oh yes, the windows. At first we thought the coating on the windows would prevent people from seeing in. Later we learned that at sunset you could see everything. We were more careful after that, but we were certain scores of people had seen us.

It must have been very erotic for our neighbors whose windows faced ours. There was a month we were going at it almost every day while we were playing house together. Sex with her was almost always the same. We would shoot at sunset, smoke some herb or hash, put on Cat Stevens and screw. Most of the time we would just strip in front of the windows and make love standing up. I think she got off on it. Outside of photography and sex, we didn’t speak about too much else. We had three to five hours for each other at a time and then we were both off doing our own thing.

Eventually she started getting a lot of attention, becoming quite a bit more polished, but had less and less time for me. When she wasn’t there I hooked up with other women, but I always hoped it would be her who rang my buzzer. I started to feel I was as much a hotel room to her as I was a fun hook-up, but nothing more. Over time, we drifted apart, but occasionally, we would meet for lunch. Our relationship turned into more of a friendship again. We just hung out instead of hooking-up. We never discussed why. It just changed. I had a feeling she was seeing someone else in town. I wasn’t jealous. I was kind of relieved, as by that time, I was hitting everything that moved. She became family to me. I loved her like I would if I had grown up with her as a neighbor, or true friend. The city was no bed of roses. I started to see the real underbelly of New York City, especially with what was about to happen to her. It was a playground, albeit a dangerous one.

She didn’t know where she was or what had happened when she awoke, naked in a strange bed. She had no recollection of how she got there. She knew she had been violated. She was terrified. She saw guys with guns standing outside the doorway of the bedroom she woke up in. She heard a voice she thought was her agent. She told me she never trusted him. She said there was something creepy about him. Somehow, she got caught up with some bad business dealings and now she was paying the price.

When my phone rang, I didn’t know who it was at first. The woman on the other side of the phone was crying and absolutely terrified. She sounded familiar, but as she was whispering I thought it might be a crank call. But, the crying was too real for it to be anything but a call for help. As she started to calm herself, she told me everything she knew. What she couldn’t tell me was where she was. She was terrified of the guys with the guns. She saw them on their ankles through the doorway that was intentionally left open. As she became more lucid, I could tell it was my friend. She told me she had been raped and she was afraid to get up and leave. She was afraid the guys with the guns would kill her.

Since she thought she heard her agents voice I told her I would call him and to hang up and not say a thing. I told her to call me back in a few minutes. If she didn’t hear a phone ring she would call me back, or the police. As soon as she hung up I called the agent. He picked up as if nothing was wrong. I asked him if he had seen her because I had a booking for her first thing in the morning. It wasn’t unusual for me to call him, as I originally booked her for a gig through him. He started to get suspicious but I played it cool. I could tell he was lying when He said, he would have to make a few phone calls to find her.

Then the impossible happened. She picked up the other phone and started dialing me. I couldn’t believe it. She was dialing as I was speaking to him. Now, I was terrified for myself as well. If he was a rapist and killer, he would come for me as well. She heard my voice and said “John, Is that you?” I played it so cool. I couldn’t believe I thought of this. I said “yes! I was just asking for you. I have to come pick you up right now. We have a shoot at dawn.” I acted like I had no idea she was in trouble. She just kept saying, “Ok. Ok. Ok,” to everything I said. She couldn’t say much more. I said she sounded tired and she took the hint. She said she had fallen asleep and asked me what time it was.

The agent thought he had gotten away with it. He said he would send her down when I got there. When I got there, she was a mess. They did a job on her. Her makeup was running down her face from crying so much. I said, “oh man you look drunk. Are you drunk again?” They fell for it and let her go with me. I saw the guns and knew that if anyone said anything about it, we were both dead.

I took her home to my apartment and bathed her as if she was my child. She cried a good part of the night. Later, she admitted that she had taken advances from the agency to pay for her family’s food and other bills, thinking that she had a huge booking coming that would pay for it. I had no idea her family was having such a tough time of it. I began to realize that the reason she started spending time with me was that her agent wanted her to. When she stopped being his eyes in my apartment, he punished her.

Apparently, all the hash and herb we were smoking was stashed in my sublet apartment. She was picking it up and transporting it to him to pay her family’s bills. I was the fall guy in case the place was raided. He was also using her to make sure none of it went missing. The very night she came back to my apartment she asked me for a pair of socks. I didn’t have any so I went to my roommate’s drawer to borrow a pair. He was never there, so I didn’t think he would mind.

When I opened the drawer, I saw at least a hundred kilos of Lebanese brown hash. I was done. I knew I had to get out of there. I told no one what happened and that I just had to move downtown for work. My roommate helped me find a place downtown. I learned later that there was more of a connection between my roommate and the agent than I knew, but it took months for me to find out. When I left her at the train station we both said we were going home, never to return to the city. She left. I stayed, but I never spoke to her or her agent again. Her last words to me were that the only reason she slept with me was because she wanted to and that she loved me. No matter what she did, or how she deceived me, I loved her and was devastated by what happened to her. It taught me how dangerous the city could be. I thanked God my father taught me how to survive challenging situations.

Later, I learned the rest of the story. She took an apartment from her agent on credit. He promised her she was going to get that big break and threw phony contracts at her to convince her she was going to be rich and famous. He advanced her money for her fancy outfits and she got lost in the dark underbelly of the industry. She was a great friend and a unique chapter of love. If it were not for her getting into that trouble and me learning from it, I could have been next in line, as there were so many notorious people working within the entertainment industry back in the 80’s.

 

Chapter 19 The Kiss That Broke My Ribs

I went to Switzerland to test my heart while it was still freezing in the Swiss Alps. At the time, I was living in Southern Florida. I had to leave New York, despite my life-long love for the city and the beaches of Long Island. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I was depressed, lonely and lost, as I knew no one and nothing about Florida. I did know it was over eighty degrees, year round- It was the perfect climate for walking, but it was the most boring place I have ever lived. It was like being stuck in a perma-vaction nightmare. Granted, if you were on vacation for a week or even three months and living as a snowbird, it was paradise. But to give up everything and everyone I knew; friends, clients, family, to live in Naples, was nothing short of waiting to die in paradise. I was deathly homesick.

I left New York knowing that the cold winters would kill me if I stayed. I cheated death so many times, despite the fact the surgeons couldn’t fix my heart completely for almost fifteen years. I was walking a marathon (26.2 miles) every two days, seven days a week, for almost six months. I recently learned, when one has stents inside failed stents, the arteries become less flexible. When it gets cold, there is more pressure. You can feel it because the walls of your arteries do not give as much as they normally would. It could cause a heart attack. So, when I left Florida for Switzerland, I did not know if I would survive. A heart attack was a distinct possibility. Yet, this was a rare opportunity to live on a farm in the countryside, so I packed my three hundred pounds of production gear and computers and was on my way. At the very least I would know if I could move back to New York, or if I had stay and try to build some kind of life for myself in Naples. Or even more concerning, If I could survive in the cold again at all.

I was going to stay with one of my best friends. I photographed her for years. On her birthday, she would always fly to NY, without her husband, to shoot with me. She did this for eight years. She extended an invitation to stay with her while we looked for backing for a feature film we started in Florida, months earlier. It was definitely an experiment. My friend was a world-class model, but I didn’t know if she would to be able to develop her acting skills fast enough to pull this off. I cared about her and we were very close, but we never crossed that line. She was married. I thought that there might be something between us, but I would never lure a married woman away from her husband, no matter how beautiful she was, or how close we had become. I had been in love, with creating with her, for at least five of those eight years.

I went to Switzerland to test my heart while it was still freezing in the Swiss Alps. At the time, I was living in Southern Florida. I had to leave New York, despite my life-long love for the city and the beaches of Long Island. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I was depressed, lonely and lost, as I knew no one and nothing about Florida. I did know it was over eighty degrees, year round- It was the perfect climate for walking, but it was the most boring place I have ever lived. It was like being stuck in a perma-vaction nightmare. Granted, if you were on vacation for a week or even three months and living as a snowbird, it was paradise. But to give up everything and everyone I knew; friends, clients, family, to live in Naples, was nothing short of waiting to die in paradise. I was deathly homesick.

I left New York knowing that the cold winters would kill me if I stayed. I cheated death so many times, despite the fact the surgeons couldn’t fix my heart completely for almost fifteen years. I was walking a marathon (26.2 miles) every two days, seven days a week, for almost six months. I recently learned, when one has stents inside failed stents, the arteries become less flexible. When it gets cold, there is more pressure. You can feel it because the walls of your arteries do not give as much as they normally would. It could cause a heart attack. So, when I left Florida for Switzerland, I did not know if I would survive. A heart attack was a distinct possibility. Yet, this was a rare opportunity to live on a farm in the countryside, so I packed my three hundred pounds of production gear and computers and was on my way. At the very least I would know if I could move back to New York, or if I had stay and try to build some kind of life for myself in Naples. Or even more concerning, If I could survive in the cold again at all.

I was going to stay with one of my best friends. I photographed her for years. On her birthday, she would always fly to NY, without her husband, to shoot with me. She did this for eight years. She extended an invitation to stay with her while we looked for backing for a feature film we started in Florida, months earlier. It was definitely an experiment. My friend was a world-class model, but I didn’t know if she would to be able to develop her acting skills fast enough to pull this off. I cared about her and we were very close, but we never crossed that line. She was married. I thought that there might be something between us, but I would never lure a married woman away from her husband, no matter how beautiful she was, or how close we had become. I had been in love, with creating with her, for at least five of those eight years.

When I went to Switzerland to meet with potential financiers and investors, I knew it was a long shot, but I needed something to believe in. I was lonely and depressed. Traveling with her, dancing with her and creating with her, gave me hope. She even walked with me. Even dreaming that our friendship might turn into something more was a dream to hold onto. This trip was different, as I could tell that she was no longer in love with her husband. She was dropping hints and suggested that I should move to Switzerland and continue to create with her full time.

Florida was not anything like I expected it to be. Not that I had a choice. I needed someplace warm to live while I was recovering from numerous surgeries. I had a multi- foot bypass surgery on my right leg that not only saved it, but also relieved the agonizing pain of intermittent claudication and from the gigantic aneurism that went undetected for so long the main artery in my leg was 100% blocked from my hip to below my knee. I was in agony for over ten years before they diagnosed it. That damaged artery was causing intermittent blood clots in my calf, so walking was extremely painful. At times, I could barely walk. Before I left for Naples, the surgeons finally fixed my heart, both of my legs and removed a golf ball sized blockage in my abdomen. The surgeries were so painful I was traumatized. I was not only in Florida to avoid the cold and lose weight; I was there because my brain was as fried as my body. I needed to get my body back and I needed to be out of pain. If I continued to suffer, even my children wouldn’t be enough motivation for me to continue to fight. I would have thrown in the towel. I just had enough.

Being on massive amounts of painkillers was not an option. It was an absolute necessity and a recommendation that ultimately saved my life. The surgeries were done at a time that I was in so much pain I stopped eating. I would rather have died of starvation than be in pain any longer. I was either going to lose the weight and make it through the surgeries, or die trying. I quit working, other than writing my memoirs. I quit everything. I gave up medical coverage, my home, everything and just started walking. I had walked for many years prior, but nothing like a marathon every two days. It was a pace I didn’t think anyone could sustain, let alone a guy with 27 stents and a three-foot bypass in his right leg. Not to mention, complication from the other surgeries that caused me to bleed profusely, on and off, for years. I was walking every day post-surgery. I even walked home from the hospital after my heart surgery. I walked everywhere and even gave up my car to make sure I had no choice but to walk. The painkillers did their job, or there is no way I would have survived. I hated the feeling of being on heavy pain meds. It affected my memory and caused me to constantly repeat things. The greatest side effect was that it acted as a truth serum. I started writing emails to everyone I knew. I said and shared things that were best left unsaid. And for the first and only time in my life, I became angry that I was suffering so much, not grateful for more life. I believe it was a side effect from the prolonged pain, as MRI studies have proven that pain over long periods of time will change the way your brain functions.

Tramelan, Switzerland would be the place I either got back my life, or died. I had to put some space between myself and my children and everyone else I loved. I had been an athlete in my youth. Years of disease had ravaged my body and I wanted it back. Even at the expense of going bankrupt, losing everything and temporarily leaving my children. I truly owe my life to my children. They were the only reason I could endure the years of pain and push on. Everyone wants to live. I decided life was not worth living if I was disabled and useless to my family. It was time to kick the painkillers before I moved back to Long Island. If the cold was going to kill me, it was not going to be while I was with my children. I wouldn’t allow them to see me suffer or die in front of them. I didn’t want them to be traumatized, so Switzerland would become my test.

So, with that, I flew to Geneva. There, I walked to the train station and took a several hour train ride to the country farm I was to live on for the next three months. I had three one hundred pound rolling suit cases with me, so it was a small miracle that I managed to traverse my way around, pulling all that weight.

I was walking every day in the Alps, often alongside my friend and her children. It was reminiscent of The Sound of Music. Beautiful snow-covered mountains complete with the smell of cow manure in the fields. They were adorable black and white cows. They would run to greet you, carefully avoiding the electric fences. And yes, I did get shocked once while photographing a model. As I tried to duck under the fence, my arm hit a wire and I was knocked on my butt. It shocked the hell out of me, but acted as sort of stress relief. It reset my “fear factor”. It was a hell of a jolt. The cows knew not to greet me when I was too close to the electric wires. They also had natural stone barriers to keep the cows corralled. They were much like giant dogs, very affectionate and so much more intelligent than you would think. Keep that in mind the next time you eat a hamburger a.k.a. a cow burger. It was at that time I decided to become a vegetarian. For the most part I have maintained that diet ever since. I do eat burgers and steaks occasionally, but I always think of those beautiful cows and feel guilty about it. So, on those rare occasions, I only eat grass-fed, humanely handled, animal products.

I would walk for miles in the freezing cold. I couldn’t believe I was surviving. Not only was I surviving, I was doing well. I still had to deal with the effects of withdrawals from three plus years of taking strong painkillers. I did not take a single pain killer with me. In fact, as soon as I called my primary care physician and told him I was now walking a marathon every two days he said to throw the painkillers out and get ready for all hell to break loose. AS is evident from all the data out there, getting off pain killers after that prolonged a period was going to have side effects. Going cold turkey was going to complicate it even further. Before leaving for Switzerland I threw them in the toilet, took a photo and sent it to my doctor. He was very supportive and literally put his medical license on the line for me knowing that it was my only hope. With that, I was prepared to go through everything I had seen in the movies about going cold turkey and the horrendous withdrawals that came with it. They were horrendous, so I will spare you the details. After living through it I understand why even the strongest willed individuals become heroin addicts when they can no longer get pain killers. I was never going to be one of them. I went through withdrawals over the next year, while I was in Switzerland and couldn’t get more pain killers anyway. Well, not easily. As you will read, I could have gotten them for my two broken ribs, but I chose to suffer without them rather than extend my addiction to them.

I made a great deal of progress. It was also apparent that my life would no longer be the same in winter. The arteries in my heart would forever be somewhat stiff. Still, it was better than being three hundred and fifty pounds and alone, basically in solitary confinement. Apparently, I could tolerate the cold, even though it did slow me down. The next challenge was to see if I could shoot in the cold. Would my heart hold up? Did all the walking and resistance exercises grow enough new arteries? If so, could I start over with nothing but my health? The only way I would know was to try. I had tried for decades and it was not possible. I was always limited, even disabled. I prayed for better results and the opportunity to rebuild my life so I could leave something to my children. During this period, I wrote my memoirs. Often I would post excerpts on social networks and man did I piss a lot of people off. When I was on painkillers, even my emails were six pages long. The first draft of Chapters of Love was a mess. It was over nine hundred pages long, most of it written on my smartphone while I was walking. I was seriously lost.

I vomited daily as my body went through withdrawals. In retrospect my doctor really should have put me in rehab as we both knew I would become addicted taking pain medication for over three years. But back then the pharmaceutical companies campaigned heavily that Oxycodone was safe, but that was a joke. I managed to keep it a secret, but it was ugly. I started to shoot and promote my production company as if I was already in New York. I was again walking and shooting for free to build a reputation in Switzerland and test my heart. My friend was a huge help. To return the favor, I made her the focal point of my photography. Years earlier she was hit by a truck and had to go through a tremendous amount of rehab to get her life back. I always did what I could to help her. Love is not always about sex. It is often about unconditional compassion, loyalty and giving. She was the object of my “paying it forward” when I had nothing to give but my photography. I was hoping to somehow help her build her career to the point she could live her dream of acting in a movie. Soon after arriving and reviewing her screen tests, it was obvious that she had made little progress. She could speak five languages, but she could not remember her lines or express herself in a role. I didn’t know how I could help her. It was then I decided I would dedicate the rest of my life to paying it forward, with my camera, to everyone I could, as I had done so many years prior while walking the country and living in an RV; even for hundreds of charity events.

I came up with what I believed to be a brilliant Idea. I was going to shoot, write, edit, and do the layout for an international magazine that recognized model citizens. I bought the domain ModelCitizensMagazine.com and was on my way to becoming an international publisher. Within days of sharing the first layouts on Facebook I had hundreds of models contacting me about being in the magazine. Since this was about my friend, I put her on the cover and made her the focus of the entire 110-page issue. I included her family, friends and clients. When I saw how hopelessly in love her husband was with her, I knew that despite our chemistry and her assurances that she wouldn’t be with her husband for long, we were never going to be a couple. Neither one of us wanted to cross that line even though at times I was tempted. I am sure she was as well. After all, she lived with me every time we shot, no matter where I was living. She even came to stay with me in Florida, all the way from Switzerland.

I was proud of myself. I again turned downtime into something productive. After a while, many of the top models in Europe were coming to shoot with me. I was humbled by the experience. I also loved the Swiss people and their culture. I was fortunate to see how the farmers lived, while at the same time working with some of the most attractive and charismatic models and actors in Europe. Most importantly, I realized although limited, I could manage my life in cold weather again. Life was by no means perfect, but I was no longer disabled, even though I was still quite handicapped. I could no longer carry my own equipment. Nor could I shoot every day. Photography was no longer going to be my career. It was going to become a compliment to my writing. I had been writing most of my life. Most people seemed to think I was pretty good, so it was natural to blog and to write copy for social networking and web sites. Model Citizens Magazine was a way to help her and of course test myself. What it became was an artist’s dream. I have so much gratitude to the incredible models and people who came together to participate in the very first issues. I was writing about them, showing them love and was sharing their stories with everyone back home. I was honored.

One of the shoots was with a young lady who had not always had it so easy. She was a recovering heroin addict. I wasn’t aware of her past when I agreed to photograph her. After she modeled nude, on the train tracks and in the forest, she told me how much the photographs meant to her and how much it meant for her to be featured in the magazine. It touched my heart. We shot together many more times. Once she brought me some medicinal herbs and wax to help when I fell down a mountain and broke two ribs. Yes, I fell while filming on the side of a mountain. That fall would set my health back years, as nothing can be done to fix broken ribs. They heal, but slowly. I refused to take narcotics of any kind, as fate had it, I was literally still going through massive pain killer withdrawal at the same time.

I was only in Switzerland a month or so. My plan was to stay the legal limit before I had to apply for a work visa. I had approximately three months. When I took that bad fall, I was not photographing the model with the past heroin issue. It was another model who excited me even more. She was the reason I fell. Not only did I fall down the mountain, I fell for her. I had met her online. She was coming to shoot with me in Tramelan. She was gorgeous. She didn’t look Swiss at all. In fact, she looked Italian. She spoke Italian quite well and seemed to have an Italian accent. However, I was no expert in accents.

We shot, after my friend did her hair and makeup in her downtown Tramelan salon. Then she drove me to a lake. On the way, we stopped for bread, cheese and wine. The bread was fresh baked. And, everyone knows the Swiss reputation for great cheese. We drank both bottles of wine in about an hour as we shot on stone stairs that were on the side of a mountain, overlooking a beautiful lake that in the valley below. The stairs that went up to that hill were very steep. They were carved right into the stone hillside. The scene was straight out of a French magazine or postcard. It was there she took her shirt off and posed. I had thousands of watts of portable strobe lights on her. The shots were magical. She was magical. After a while I realized that she was not just posing, she was flirting. When we finished shooting by the lake, we went to another mountain, which was much rockier and steeper. We drove around until we found a perfect view. I could photograph her with a majestic view of the snow-covered peaks of the Swiss Alps in the distance. It was a winter wonderland paradise.

We were now finishing yet another bottle of wine and I think we even had some champagne. She was so European. Her accent was driving me crazy. When she spoke, she was very expressive with her hand gestures. She would gently touch me. I liked it. My body was responding to her touch. The more she touched me the more I wanted to see if it was just flirting or she had something more in mind. Out of nowhere I had a rather impulsive thought. What if I asked her play the role in the film I wanted to produce with my friend? Maybe she could be the lead and my friend who was not doing particularly well as the lead, could play a supporting role? Maybe that would get us funding?

I asked her if she had a monologue and she said no. That burst my bubble because I realized that she was a model, not an actress. If she couldn’t improv a monologue I doubted she could carry a film. So, with that I said, “You’re not an actress, we’ll never pull this off” and went back to our photo session. What happened next was quite unbelievable. I was photographing her. She was in lingerie and out of nowhere she walked directly over to me and kissed me with the most passionate kiss I ever had. It warmed my entire body as if I had been injected with passion. I kissed her back and we kissed again until we were enthusiastically making out. Then she put her finger to her mouth and made the shhhhhh sign, literally communicating that the kiss was just between us. With a wink of her eye we were back to shooting. My heart was beating so fast; I could barely focus. The adrenaline was rushing through my body. I was so dizzy I literally fainted and fell to the ground like a shy teenager and knocked her down the side of that mountain. She fell right on top of me.

I didn’t pass out, but I did go down hard. To protect my camera, I did what any red-blooded photographer would do; I held it up and sacrificed my body. I broke two ribs. Her elbow was bleeding; despite the fact she fell on top of me. That didn’t help my cracked ribs. If I wasn’t buzzed I would not have been able to continue shooting. I was in so much pain. To top it off, I was still in the middle of going through pain killer withdrawals. All I could think about was that amazing kiss. For a brief moment, I believe the cracks in my heart started healing and love flowed throughout my body. Endorphins were washing into my brain. Was this love? Was this somewhat famous, younger, gorgeous model my soul mate? Or was I just dreaming, or even worse, did I have a cardiac event or a stroke?

It was going to take much more than two broken ribs to stop me, so I continued to shoot the rest of the day. The following morning, after she spent the night in the country house with us, we drove to a smaller more intimate lake that had a winding path around it. It was cold and foggy that morning. We were going to shoot video to see if she could act. That one passionate kiss motivated me to see if she could pick it up quickly. I had already started writing Chapters Of Love and thought it would make a great screen play. I used a working title, “Chasing Sunrise,” but never let anyone see the story. I didn’t want anyone to steal it. I also didn’t know if I had the health or the courage to ever share it, so I used that working title while I tried to recruit both investors and actors.

She was a model by profession, not an actress. But, the Italian looking Miss Switzerland runner- up was a natural. All it took was that one kiss and she touched my heart. I thought to myself, maybe I could start my life over in Switzerland, publish a magazine and produce another film. If I had to, I’d shoot in Switzerland, where I was becoming more and more popular. The people in town were treating me like a movie star. That kiss was making me think of all kinds of ways to try to co-mingle our lives. I had very little money left. In fact, I had practically nothing. I had just enough to fly back to New York and with some luck get a place in in the city. I was simply not thinking straight. Her kiss had totally taken over my heart.

When we went to the lake the next morning, we filmed a great amount of video. All I had her say was, “I love you.” This was a directorial technique I used many times to judge the ability of an actor to make me believe what she was saying even though I knew she was just acting. By the end of that days filming I did not believe it was acting. I believed she loved me. She wanted me to believe and she wanted the part. I wanted her to have it, but I had to find out if she was going to be truly dedicated and if we could raise money with her in the lead role.

I thought that putting her on the cover of Model Citizens Magazine might give her the credibility we needed, but I would never take my friend off the cover. So, after thinking about it, I came up with the idea to publish another issue at the same time. It would be the Italian version of the magazine. She agreed and said she would help me write it and translate it into Italian, as my fifty-fifty partner. I agreed. A few weeks later, despite my broken ribs, the three of us flew to Venice to shoot “Model Citizens Magazine Italy” and give her a real screen test. She would start by hosting a travel style magazine, both for the issue and for a video version of it. We booked a tiny hotel room and started filming every day and drinking Prosecco every night. The hotel was giving us as much as we wanted gratis because they were thrilled with the publicity. Both models were pretty much becoming local celebrities as we shared the photographs with the merchants who supported our efforts. Within hours of our arrival, I was getting hit on by dozens of women. It would start almost as soon as I put my tripod out in the square and started shooting.

But something had changed with both models after our arrival in Venice. They were no longer competing for my attention, or even camera time. They started hooking-up with each other and were falling in love. They tried to keep it a secret, but it soon became obvious. Later, my Swiss friend’s husband told me it was the reason their marriage ended. It had nothing to do with her obsession with my photography any longer, or our almost ten year friendship, that extended a bit beyond. It was because she was expressing more love for a woman than for him. Venice was the most beautiful city I had ever seen. The people were so warm. I felt love from everyone; the shop owners who donated clothing for our shoot, to the restaurateurs who comped almost every meal. It was like being a celebrity, if even for a few months. We left Venice a few days later. We would never kiss again, nor would we make the film. My photographs put her on the map and her career skyrocketed within days. She was not supposed to use them before the issue came out, but did so against my wishes. She became quite the diva. It became rather apparent that the kiss was strategic and not the least bit authentic.

When we got back to the farm my dear friend was a mess. Her marriage was falling apart. She was miserable, no longer in love with her husband and totally obsessed with her new girlfriend, who was hooking-up with everyone, both men and women. Each of them were the object of so many admirers’ obsessions. It was not surprising they became the object of each other’s. My friend was building a small house in the country, on property given to her by her mom. For a moment, I thought, maybe I would stay. She wanted me to. They both did. They were both bi-sexual and thought we might live out a three’s company kind of arrangement. It was very tempting, but nothing was going to keep me from my children and my true home on Long Island. Not even the thought of building a publishing empire in a European paradise, while engaging in a modern family with two of the most beautiful women in Switzerland.

I left Switzerland with three issues of Model Citizens Magazine and very little money. But, I had proven to myself that I had my health back. I also was fortunate enough to go to Paris and Stockholm where women were much more sexual and free spirited than they were even in Switzerland. I knew my career as a full-time photographer was coming to an end, no matter how much I loved it. I also knew that my heart was healing in more ways than just physically. The crack in my heart was on the mend. That single kiss, gave me hope I could find my true soul mate and could love again. I had finally started to heal and was ready to look for true love. That passionate kiss that broke my ribs was one of the most romantic and passionate kisses I ever was blessed with. When I am asked, “was it worth it?” I always say yes. I was in Switzerland for only a few months, but I experienced some of the most creative and romantic experiences of my life. I am sure if I took them up on their invitation to stay that we might have all shared a very long and modern chapter of love. I just could not keep my heart from wanting to go home to my island, Long Island so I left as soon as I was healthy enough to fly back.

 

Chapter 18 – Natasha

When I met her, I didn’t know she was involved with someone, nor did I want to ask. I just wanted to get to know her. She was the embodiment of fashion and beauty, white gloves and all. I was bartending at Pierre Cardin’s extravagantly expensive Maxim’s, one of the world’s most famous French restaurants, located in the Helmsley Carlton House on 61st and Madison Ave. in New York. It was an outpost of the famous Parisian belle époque cafe founded in the 1890’s. It was a weekend and she was alone. I had never seen a woman of that beauty, dressed so formally, alone at a bar. I was waiting for the plethora of men who would soon line-up to capture her attention. I was trying to play it cool, although I could not take my eyes off her. I was pathetically shy. She had such an effect on me that I became clumsy behind the bar. I was ogling her and she liked it. I am sure she was taking a good look at me in my tuxedo as well.

The patrons were extremely wealthy. Most dressed as if they had just come from the opera. Many had. Occasionally, mere mortals, from the middle class would come in. This was generally for special events such as engagement parties or anniversaries. While I was bartending I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge in the culinary arts. I would skip my lunch and dinner breaks to take lessons from the French chefs in the kitchen. I had often thought I would open a restaurant, so whenever I wasn’t bartending, I volunteered to work with chefs, for free on my lunch an dinner breaks. I probably have more kitchen hours logged than many chefs. I have mastered numerous cuisines. I can really cook!

But this chapter is not about cooking. It is about this incredible woman. I wasn’t even thinking about sex when I first met her. I just wanted her to agree to pose for me. I couldn’t wait to get her into my studio, which at this point in my career were primarily the South shore beaches of Long Island. She was a work of walking art from head to toe. As I learned shortly after meeting her, she was a model, designer and also, a fine artist.

When I met her, I didn’t know she was involved with someone, nor did I want to ask. I just wanted to get to know her. She was the embodiment of fashion and beauty, white gloves and all. I was bartending at Pierre Cardin’s extravagantly expensive Maxim’s, one of the world’s most famous French restaurants, located in the Helmsley Carlton House on 61st and Madison Ave. in New York. It was an outpost of the famous Parisian belle époque cafe founded in the 1890’s. It was a weekend and she was alone. I had never seen a woman of that beauty, dressed so formally, alone at a bar. I was waiting for the plethora of men who would soon line-up to capture her attention. I was trying to play it cool, although I could not take my eyes off her. I was pathetically shy. She had such an effect on me that I became clumsy behind the bar. I was ogling her and she liked it. I am sure she was taking a good look at me in my tuxedo as well.

The patrons were extremely wealthy. Most dressed as if they had just come from the opera. Many had. Occasionally, mere mortals, from the middle class would come in. This was generally for special events such as engagement parties or anniversaries. While I was bartending I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge in the culinary arts. I would skip my lunch and dinner breaks to take lessons from the French chefs in the kitchen. I had often thought I would open a restaurant, so whenever I wasn’t bartending, I volunteered to work with chefs, for free on my lunch an dinner breaks. I probably have more kitchen hours logged than many chefs. I have mastered numerous cuisines. I can really cook!

But this chapter is not about cooking. It is about this incredible woman. I wasn’t even thinking about sex when I first met her. I just wanted her to agree to pose for me. I couldn’t wait to get her into my studio, which at this point in my career were primarily the South shore beaches of Long Island. She was a work of walking art from head to toe. As I learned shortly after meeting her, she was a model, designer and also, a fine artist.

The food and atmosphere at Maxim’s was always refined and world class. A string quartet would often play on a mini cabaret style stage. We all wore tuxedoes. Patrons would come similarly dressed. Some even wore top hats. Other than in the movies, I had never seen anything like it. I had never even been to a black-tie event prior to working there. As for the food, the duck was incredible, as was the chateaubriand in a demi-glaze. I would eat there most nights when I bartended, right in the kitchen with the chefs who were training me. I spent very little time with the head chef. Usually, I trained with one of my friends, who was the fourth or fifth chef. He was the one who introduced me to the restaurant management. He was also instrumental in helping me get the bartending gig there. In all, I was taught by about four of their top chefs who appreciated my interest in learning French cuisine. When I was bartending I would make them cocktails and sneak them into the kitchen. That was totally against the house rules, but I paid for them out of my own pocket so I didn’t see the harm in it. They weren’t supposed to be drinking on the job, but they also weren’t supposed to be teaching me how to cook the entire menu either. My manager knew. As long as I kept ringing up more sales than any other bartender, he looked the other way.

After a quick dirty martini, she ordered beluga caviar and Cristal. This was far too expensive for me to comp or buy for her. She asked for two glasses and two plates, so I assumed she was waiting for a guest. She seemed to be as enchanted with me as I was with her. I have never been particularly fond of any body type or figure other than totally fit and she was as fit as any fitness model I had ever seen. Her accent was intriguing, different than anything I ever heard. It was the glamorous way in which she presented herself that made her so irresistible and alluring. This was amplified by the fact that she did not stop staring at me.

Her accent was Eastern European, but I don’t recall where she was from, other than I don’t believe it exists anymore. As she was waiting for her champagne and caviar she perused my portfolio and told me that she was also an artist. She wanted to paint self-portraits from photographs I would take of her. She loved the way I used natural light and the reflections from water to create glowing, golden, bodies with dynamic highlights. This was my style of shooting for both headshots and body shots. I was starting to gain a reputation for showing the human figure in this way, in contrast to so many photographers in the eighties who were using the new Speedetron studio lights. I always brought my print portfolio to work with me. I never knew when I was going to meet someone who was interested in shooting with me. I always recruited none agency models and actors to shoot with me, even if they were not pursuing careers any longer or never had. Often I would use photography as an icebreaker and very often because I loved the human figure. She was mesmerized by my work. She couldn’t believe that with such talent, I was a bartender. It was obvious that she came from money. If not, someone was paying for all that beluga and Cristal. Someone with lots of money!

Although I was more than willing to photograph her without any fee, as I often did for others, she offered me an enormous retainer. As I served her the Cristal and the waiter brought the beluga, I realized that she ordered the champagne and caviar for the two of us. I immediately asked for the rest of the night off. It was the only time I ever asked and the manger agreed to let me off early. He knew what was going on. Despite the fact we were not allowed to socialize with the patrons, he looked the other way. We shared several bottles of Cristal. The caviar was new to me. The champagne was delicious, as was the caviar. To me it tasted like a woman, so I thought that must be why it was so expensive. I didn’t understand why a woman would like it. I wondered if it was a universal aphrodisiac. It definitely was to me!

This would be my last bartending job. My life as photojournalist, portrait and event photographer had begun. It was not until later in life that I became educated in software development methodologies, telecommunications, data mining and analysis. Careers I became very accomplished at for a short period of time.

She would top tiny, crispy crackers with caviar, chives, and other accompaniments. She would feed me one, eat one herself and then we would both toast with Cristal. We went through several bottles. I knew the tab would be over a thousand dollars. Later, she asked me if I needed a ride home. At this point, I was living at my parent’s apartment, while I was looking for an apartment in the city. She thought I was living in the city when she offered. I told her I had to go to Long Island to get my equipment out of storage. She suggested that we take her car. I was taking trains and commuting, so this was all new to me. Before we left, she ordered more caviar and Cristal to take with us in the limo. At that point I shouldn’t have been surprised that she also purchased the silver crystal caviar plate and mother of pearl spoons as well. But, I was.

While I believed that she had her own car parked in a lot nearby I found out shortly she had a limousine with a driver. She directed the driver to take us to my Long Island apartment. The entire trip she flirted and poured glass after glass of Cristal. I ran in, retrieved my equipment and we went right to the beach. It was as if I was dreaming. This was not what a woman of her stature was supposed to be doing with a middle-class bartender who was driving a Plymouth Duster. We didn’t need any clothing for what was going to be an abstract and implied nude shoot, although she had an entire wardrobe in the trunk of the limo. She had it converted into what appeared to be an upscale portable closet, so she must have owned the limo. So, no clothes were needed. All she needed was a towel, which she did not have, so I took two from my parent’s house. Her only requirement was that I give her all the negatives. She offered me five grand for the shoot so I didn’t care if she took the negatives and a pint of my blood. But, as we became more and more flirtatious she became just as important as the money and the shoot itself.

She had her driver drop us at the beach. We were going to shoot and then sleep on the beach. It was late fall, but it was unseasonably warm. There was no one on the beach that morning. The sun was rising over the horizon and the first bits of sunlight were peeking through the clouds that were low in the sky. The gulls were scarce, yet somewhat audible with their chirping. The tall tufts of dried sea grass were gently rolling in the breeze, on the dunes, beside us. The rest of the sky was golden. Her skin was glistening in the orange glow of the morning light. The wind was gentle and soft. It cooled our skin as the sun warmed it. It was a beautiful day to be at the beach. Truly, a beautiful day to be alive. I felt as if I was living in a fairy tale. It was all so surreal. The water had turned from a green tone to a cool reflective blue, as the sun rose higher in the sky. It wasn’t the mild chill in the air that gave me goose bumps. It was the sheer magnitude of her beauty, as she slowly undressed. She did not rip her clothing off and change behind a towel, as many models did. She turned it into an art form. She took her sweet time, knowing that she was seducing me.

She was wearing a long black gown. There were many buttons on the side of the dress. She slowly was undoing them, one at a time, as she looked over her shoulder at me. I was in a black turtleneck with my black photographer’s vest and black jeans. I always wore black when I was shooting. She had a confident smile on her face, mixed with a look of satisfaction. As she laid her dress on the sand I could see that her body was even more sculptured than I imagined. My heart started to race. Under that gown, she was wearing black garters and lace lingerie.

She removed the garters very slowly. Every few seconds she would look back at me and smile. Each time she did, I became more and more entranced by her seductive striptease. She took off the garters and gently laid them on top of her dress. Then she took off her bra and put it on top of the garters, while carefully covering her nipples with one arm and hand. She was staring at me each time she turned and was intentionally keeping enough to my imagination. I was hypnotized by her grace. Then, she sat down onto the sand, facing away from me and slipped off her panties, using her feet to kick them away. She was on her side facing away from me, acting very modest. That combination of grace and pure animal sexuality totally stunned me. I couldn’t bring myself to start shooting. I stood there gazing at her for what seemed like an eternity.

She rolled onto her stomach with her arms still covering her breasts. I could see her back and the curve where it met her buttocks. Her dimples were as perfect as were her curves. She was lightly covered in a thin layer of sand. I fell to my knees and started shooting. Back then we used motor drives to advance the film. We were engulfed in silence, broken by only the occasional high-pitched screeches of the gulls, the surf, the sound of the shutter and the camera’s motor drive advancing the film. I was shooting faster than I had ever shot in my life. It was instinctual with her. I didn’t have to pose her. She would turn gracefully while covering her nipples and vagina with her hands. The sand would stick to her body and fall off as she moved. It was getting much warmer as the sun rose higher above the horizon and I began to sweat, so I took my vest and shirt off.

I switched to a telephoto lens, to blow out the background and put the 300 2.8 on my camera body, so I had to move far away from her. Before I did, I walked over to her and dropped to my knees, as she was lying on her back. I moved the few strands of hair that were in front of her eyes. She reached up to me and pulled me towards her to kiss. It seemed as if that kiss lasted for minutes. I felt as if I was floating. It was a gentle but passionate kiss. I was the modest one, but I hadn’t expected it. I starting to mount her, but she pushed me away, covered her breasts again and with a nod of her head let me know the kiss was as far as it was going. She was shy despite her courageous posing. It might have been the Cristal, or the moment. I have no idea what prompted the kiss, but the goosebumps were again moving up and down my body. I was rock hard. I knew she was checking, as I caught her staring as I was getting up. First it was my groin and then directly into my eyes.

I put the camera on my tripod, to keep it steady, as my hands were shaking. I was about thirty yards from her. As I continued shooting and directing her, she took her arms off her breasts and vagina. The distance and the kiss had emboldened her. I was lying with my head practically in the sand to get a low angle. I could feel my erection against the cool sand, which made it even harder. I thought I was going to cum right there. She waved at me to come to her. This was it. She wanted me

I closed my eyes and lowered my head. My heart started beating even faster. Before I got up I took one last look through my lens. All I saw were legs… hundreds of legs. There were hundreds, maybe thousands, of marines in full battle gear, running between us. There were so many I lost sight of her for a few seconds. Then as gaps between them opened, I saw her rolling into the water, trying to hide herself. We both were so focused on each other; we never saw them coming, until they were directly between us.

It seemed to take forever for them to pass. When they did, I ran over to her and gave her my vest and shirt. She was freezing. The water was cold. Her mouth was wide open the entire time, as if she was in shock. As our eyes met, I wrapped my body around her to warm her. She did not put her dress on. It was far too expensive to come in contact with wet sand and salt water. It didn’t belong at the beach. Once she stopped shivering, she looked into my eyes and we both burst out laughing uncontrollably. She asked if I took any photographs of it. Of course, I had. That excited her. Her body was amazing. She had a look almost identical to Natasha Kinski in Richard Avedon’s famous snake photo. That shot inspired me. When I saw the actual photo, it was startling how much she looked like her.

We walked back to the parking lot quickly, as she was freezing. It was empty, as the beaches were not open that time of year. Not even a single marine was anywhere to be seen, as they disappeared into the distance. To their credit, not a single one broke formation, said anything, or stopped running. Within thirty minutes her limo was back at the beach. She dried off and cleaned herself up in the car. I called a friend to have him bring my reflector, which I had forgotten. The sun was now too high above the horizon to shoot without it.

We shot in the sea grass with him reflecting light for us. At this point she was not willing to do nudes. She was too rattled by the sudden appearance of the marines. Utilizing her wardrobe, we shot all day, through sunset. My friend swore she was the real Natasha and always told that to people. I never could confirm or deny that it was, despite the similarity. Just before sunset, we asked my friend to leave, as we were done shooting. We made love on the beach until it was dark and so cold we were both shivering.

We cleaned up so her driver wouldn’t suspect anything and went back to the limo. She asked her chauffeur to drive me home, but on the way, we were feeling so close we didn’t want the day to end. She didn’t want to go back to the city, so we handed him the film to take to the lab and she gave him the rest of the night off. I was embarrassed, but I drove her to a hotel, yes the infamous Bethpage Hotel, in my Plymouth Duster. It was the same place I had gone with the cadet. It was the only hotel I could afford, especially since the processing of the film was going to cost almost as much as the Cristal. At this point I had decided not to accept her offer of the five-thousand-dollar fee. I checked us in and as soon as I set up my strobe lights we were going at it again and taking photographs as well. She was getting so turned on, she coaxed me over to the bed with my camera in hand. She was rolling around in the white sheets and alternately hiding and exposing different parts of her body. Later, after we slept a bit, she went into the shower and posed erotically behind the shower curtain, to seduce me to join her. I couldn’t resist, even though I was exhausted.

The next morning, we went to the Empress Diner for breakfast and then to the NYC lab to pick up the film. I mostly shot black and white, as per her request. To say she loved the photos was an understatement. Back in the limo, she kept hugging and kissing me. Suddenly, her mood changed and she started to get upset. I asked her what was wrong and she admitted that she was involved. Her driver met us at the lab and handed her an envelope when he first arrived. She hugged me and gave it to me. As she left, I could see tears in her eyes. I teared-up as well. I knew I would never learn her name or anything more about her. I would never see her again. I knew it and of course I was correct.

About a month later, I found a roll of film with a frame or two shot from my “Natasha” shoot. I cherish those two shots, as it is all I have to remember her by. She was my Natasha and I will never forget the day a thousand marines crossed our path in the middle of a shoot. For weeks, I was heartbroken and shed a few tears every time I thought of how connected we were. She was committed to someone else. That someone else was the one who paid for the caviar, limo, dinner and my $5000 fee. It was painful, but gave me hope that I would find my true love one day. Even if she was not my soul mate, we did have an amazing chapter of love.

 

Chapter 14 – Monkey Business

I was in elementary school. After a sixth-grade graduation, I managed to convince the principal to let me have the flower arrangements at each end of the stage. I combined them into one nice bouquet and left them outside the classroom of a, very cute, girl who I was taken with. I included a note. It worked, for soon afterwards we were experimenting in my tent, playing Spin The Bottle, or Truth Or Dare. Each of those games was a popular way to tempt girls into fooling around, while at the same time being somewhat innocent. But, by this time, I was not sure how innocent I was.

I had already gone through communion class. I figured I was going straight to hell for having gone all the way with my babysitter. I believed it. The nuns at church solidified that belief when I hinted I was not a virgin. There was something about going to confession I could not stomach at that age. I was not about to ask for absolution from fucking, when I was ten. It just seemed a bit much. Since I was going to hell anyway, I said screw religion. I do not believe in a God that would condemn me to hell. But, all the same, it was always in the back of my mind. I went through communion, but as soon as it was over I never went back to church again. Well, at times I had to and I always sat in the back and never ever went for confession again. I had not real mentoring when it came to religion as my father rebelled against the catholic church for beating him while he was an alter boy in a Christian boys home.

We would mostly pick Truth Or Dare. We would play with other kids who knew we were fooling around. Word spread like wild fire. Not only were we the first kids in the school to be dating, we were the youngest. None of the sixth graders were dating. Most were feeling the first throngs of sexual awakening, but had no concept of what to do about it. When we started to get nervous about fooling around in my backyard tent, we thought that we could use a secluded area of the park. At first, we were going to use that same tent for privacy, but tents were not allowed. So, we improvised and took our bicycles and a blanket to the park.

I was in elementary school. After a sixth-grade graduation, I managed to convince the principal to let me have the flower arrangements at each end of the stage. I combined them into one nice bouquet and left them outside the classroom of a, very cute, girl who I was taken with. I included a note. It worked, for soon afterwards we were experimenting in my tent, playing Spin The Bottle, or Truth Or Dare. Each of those games was a popular way to tempt girls into fooling around, while at the same time being somewhat innocent. But, by this time, I was not sure how innocent I was.

I had already gone through communion class. I figured I was going straight to hell for having gone all the way with my babysitter. I believed it. The nuns at church solidified that belief when I hinted I was not a virgin. There was something about going to confession I could not stomach at that age. I was not about to ask for absolution from fucking, when I was ten. It just seemed a bit much. Since I was going to hell anyway, I said screw religion. I do not believe in a God that would condemn me to hell. But, all the same, it was always in the back of my mind. I went through communion, but as soon as it was over I never went back to church again. Well, at times I had to and I always sat in the back and never ever went for confession again. I had not real mentoring when it came to religion as my father rebelled against the catholic church for beating him while he was an alter boy in a Christian boys home.

We would mostly pick Truth Or Dare. We would play with other kids who knew we were fooling around. Word spread like wild fire.   Not only were we the first kids in the school to be dating, we were the youngest. None of the sixth graders were dating. Most were feeling the first throngs of sexual awakening, but had no concept of what to do about it. When we started to get nervous about fooling around in my backyard tent, we thought that we could use a secluded area of the park. At first, we were going to use that same tent for privacy, but tents were not allowed. So, we improvised and took our bicycles and a blanket to the park.

Because we were so young, we had to tell our parents exactly where we were going. Beyond that, we were worried that someone would see us under the blanket. We had decided to stop with the oral and hand experimentation and go for it. We searched for a private spot, but there weren’t any. People were playing tennis, basketball, football, running and jogging. It seemed that every single sport in the entire world was going on around us.

I was not particularly nervous about doing it again. In fact, I had a major case of blue balls. They were aching like crazy. In between the babysitter and my new love interest, my doctor told me, that I had to rub one out. Truth was, I was rubbing one out at least once a day anyway. I was using my gym socks as a repository. Unfortunately, I was running out of gym socks. Interestingly, they were never as soft afterwards. No matter how many times they were washed, they would always be crispy in places I came. I thought I had super sperm.

I was determined to start the sex games I played before I moved back to East Meadow, a year earlier. We found a few spots that had vegetation so we could crawl in between the plants. Although we could hear everyone and they could hear us, no one could see us. But time and time again, footballs were tossed close to us and joggers would almost be looking down at us as they ran by. If they were walking, they would have seen everything. So, we packed up our bicycles and went to the lake. The lake had many pine trees and hills. It was infamous as the “make-out lake” by most of my older friends who would talk about such things in front of me.

I decided to tell my friend that we were going to take a bike ride by the lake. He was tagging along waiting for his girlfriend to show up. He knew what we were up to and was acting as our look-out. For him, it was more like a spy game than romance. For us, a look-out as we were afraid of getting caught. So, we took our bicycles and rode to the lake. There were couples on blankets making out behind every bush, so there was nowhere for us to go. Eventually, we found a large group of cypress trees with branches that were low to the ground. We rested our bicycles up against the tree to block the view. But we knew we weren’t hidden enough, so without saying a word we looked at each other with a mischievous smile on both of our faces, and then we both started climbing.

The tree had large branches. They were all parallel to the ground, so it was an easy climb. The branches were almost like stairs to a tree house. As we climbed higher and higher, we realized that the foliage around us was so thick that we were well hidden. I was about half a body length above her. I dropped my shorts to my ankles. Without saying a word, she went down on me. I remember the tree was sticky with sap. Everything was sticking to everything. Her hand could not slide over me because it was so tacky. I think that was the only reason she agreed to use her mouth. Even though we kept half joking about going all the way, we were both very nervous.

Shortly after she finished going down on me, she climbed a bit higher and I started on her. She was either shaving or she was bare down there, so it was clean. I enjoyed it immensely. Then, she hung her pants on a tree branch and lowered herself onto me. We were going all the way. We did this for just a short while. My lookout friend was fixing his bicycle chain under our tree, probably sneaking a peak. As fate would have it, the wind started blowing. This was a scenario too inconceivable for anyone to write into a script. The wind was moving the branches so we could now see the ground. We also realized that anyone on the golf course could also see us. I called down to my friend. When he looked up, the wind blew and there was a perfect opening for him to see me still inside her. He was shocked that we were actually doing it, started laughing uncontrollably and then just took off on his bicycle. We dressed quickly and went after him. Don’t ask me why. It seemed like he was upset and the wind was getting stronger.

When we caught up to him she asked if he was upset that his girlfriend hadn’t shown up and if he wanted to go up the tree with her. I said that I didn’t mind. After we discussed it for a while, we decided against it. For me this was like a sport and had nothing really to do with love. There really was no love involved as I did not know her long enough to love her. Although any time you are intimate with another person, I think it is accompanied by a feeling of love.

She was a virgin and was pretty sore, so we walked our bicycles home. Although she did not bleed during, she did bleed a lot afterwards. I didn’t know to be gentle with her, as I too was so inexperienced. We just wanted to do it. She was a tomboy. We played lots of sports together. She was very taken with the time I gave her flowers. The entire school was gossiping about us. That made her happy. She wanted everyone to know that she was with me. I didn’t want her to tell anyone about our tryst in the tree. I thought we would be marked with a scarlet letter. You just knew that sex at that age was not supposed to be happening. We didn’t care enough to abstain though.

Later that evening she called and said that she was sticky and itching all over her vagina. She thought she caught a venereal disease. The next day the skin on my penis started to bubble up. In places, the skin was peeling off. We thought we were doomed, that the devil had given us venereal disease. I made her swear not to tell her mother or anyone. She agreed. The next day was really tough. I was afraid to even take a bath. The skin was bubbling up all over my body. She was suffering the same fate. We were convinced it was God’s wrath. What else could it be?

Finally, she told her mother. Her mom took her to the hospital. They found she was covered in a poison ivy rash. We both were. I found out that I was also allergic to sap, so I was in much worse shape. Her mother and father were livid. The next time I called she told me I was not allowed to call her anymore. We were not allowed to see each other. I cried privately for at least a week and was singing sad songs. I could not tell anyone my heart was broken for a second time. I thought she was just a friend but I really did get attached to that cute tomboy. I think if not for poison ivy, we would have been together for a very long time. Fate stepped in that same year as we both went off to different junior high schools.

Years later, in high school, she came back into my life again. We talked for the first time in years. There definitely was a connection. But, that connection was based only on our shared intimacy. She chose to be with women for the remainder of her junior high experience. By the time we reunited it was clear that she only wanted women. I was shocked. I never told anyone, as she asked me to keep it a secret. We formed a genuine friendship, but every time I saw her I could not forget making love to her in a tree, in broad daylight. At my sixteenths birthday party, my “lookout” and best friend, who was still a virgin, gave everyone at the party a silk-screened shirt that read “Do it in the TREE’S.” With the cat partially out of the bag, he told the story to all my friends, even my girlfriend at the time, who said she wanted to do it in a tree with me too. . So, we did. Only this time it was a much larger tree with no sap. It had fallen behind the school, next to the Wantagh Parkway. I usually rode the minibikes I built there, but this was considerably more fun.

 

Chapter 13 – Ménage A trios’

The sun had barely risen. It was a golden haze partially hidden by the morning fog. As we walked through the sea grass, the morning dew was cold and wet against our ankles. We were approaching the shoreline. The waves were lightly rolling in. They were large enough to create the beautiful white and blue highlights that compliment my swimsuit and body shots. The seagulls were flying low across the horizon. It was a typical, tranquil, sunrise on Jones Beach. I was quite young and would often shoot at the fields I grew up on, field 3 and 4, sometimes the West End and Robert Moses. She was a native Long Islander. Despite the fact I was now living in New York City, I continued filming on the beaches, as I have most of my life.

I was not making a lot of money as a photographer, but I was making a living and meeting women from all over the world. It was unusual that this model was from Long Island. She was gorgeous, very sculptured and European looking. She was a tall blonde. For a model, she was exceptionally well endowed. When she took off her top, it became evident as to how curvaceous she truly was.. She was a teen model who just turned eighteen. I was only a few years older. I had shot hundreds of models, but I had never photographed anyone with breasts of that size. Most models were considerably less well endowed.

I never understood why models loved to get naked when we shot. Later, I learned that they are just as free spirited as I am. For them, it made the shoot more fun and fulfilling. Despite what people might think, every one of my chapters of love was a beautiful experience, even the ones that began quickly after meeting. I never judged any of the women I was with, at least I tried not to. My father once told me, “For every willing guy there is always a willing girl. What makes you think women are any different than us?” He was right, but I was still very naïve when it came to women, what they wanted and what they were willing to do to get it. This was despite my obsessive sexual appetite.

The sun had barely risen. It was a golden haze partially hidden by the morning fog. As we walked through the sea grass, the morning dew was cold and wet against our ankles. We were approaching the shoreline. The waves were lightly rolling in. They were large enough to create the beautiful white and blue highlights that compliment my swimsuit and body shots. The seagulls were flying low across the horizon. It was a typical, tranquil, sunrise on Jones Beach. I was quite young and would often shoot at the fields I grew up on, field 3 and 4, sometimes the West End and Robert Moses. She was a native Long Islander. Despite the fact I was now living in New York City, I continued filming on the beaches, as I have most of my life.

I was not making a lot of money as a photographer, but I was making a living and meeting women from all over the world. It was unusual that this model was from Long Island. She was gorgeous, very sculptured and European looking. She was a tall blonde. For a model, she was exceptionally well endowed. When she took off her top, it became evident as to how curvaceous she truly was.. She was a teen model who just turned eighteen. I was only a few years older. I had shot hundreds of models, but I had never photographed anyone with breasts of that size. Most models were considerably less well endowed.

I never understood why models loved to get naked when we shot. Later, I learned that they are just as free spirited as I am. For them, it made the shoot more fun and fulfilling. Despite what people might think, every one of my chapters of love was a beautiful experience, even the ones that began quickly after meeting. I never judged any of the women I was with, at least I tried not to. My father once told me, “For every willing guy there is always a willing girl. What makes you think women are any different than us?” He was right, but I was still very naïve when it came to women, what they wanted and what they were willing to do to get it. This was despite my obsessive sexual appetite.

As the sun rose higher and higher, we started to get tired. It was about an hour or two after sunrise. We had been shooting for hours. We were near a lifeguard stand. I liked to use them as props and it also allowed me to shoot from the God point of view, almost directly above a subject. As usual, I brought a bottle of champagne. Champagne was a great prop that would never go to waste.

We started drinking directly from the bottle before it was even eight in the morning. We laughed and said it was noon somewhere. Soon those tiny beach flies materialized out of nowhere, millions of them and they were biting us. They have a nasty bite. It was getting worse and worse, so we took a sheet and covered ourselves. After the champagne, she attacked me. I thought she was an innocent young lady. Maybe, she was. She told me she was with her boyfriend for almost seven years and never had an orgasm. And now, she wanted one.

We started going at it and she had plenty of orgasms. In fact, I would go so far as to say that she may have been the most orgasmic partner I have ever been with. After about an hour of non-stop pumping and cuming, I suggested that we take a nap. I was dead tired. She agreed. She lay in my arms and we fell asleep with the sheet still covering us. I woke with my penis inside her mouth. She was trying to get me going again, but I was so tired. After a while I was ready. She rolled on top of me, inserted me inside her and started to grind. We were both sweating and came together. This time she really came. She started to scream. She grinded and milked every ounce of cum out of me she could.

She was dripping sweat onto my chest. It was hot, so she threw the sheet off us to get some air, bugs or no bugs. As she did, we realized that we had fallen asleep for several hours and there were thousands of people around us. Everyone saw the entire event, even the lifeguards who were only a few feet away. They were watching us while we were under the sheets. When she threw the sheet off we were completely naked. We couldn’t believe that we didn’t hear the crowd around us, but we were in our own world. While it excited her, she wanted to leave the beach immediately. She was so embarrassed. We drove to a local bar and had raw oysters and a few beers. The drinking age was eighteen back then and it seemed like the thing to do. Neither of us was of a mindset to continue the shoot, plus the sun was too strong and the angle too high. I figured we would have lunch and shoot at sunset. She had a different plan. Of this, I was unaware.

She dropped her swimsuit bottoms at the bar without me seeing and suggested that we play a game of pool. When the bartender was busy stocking the bar, she bent over the pool table to show me show me what was, or in this case, wasn’t under her short skirt. Before I knew it, we were at it again, this time at the side of a pool table in a bar. It was dark for a bar. There were no windows, just faint light emanating from the entrance and a dirty bulb over the pool table. She started to scream. The bartender came up from the basement to see what was going on. As he got to the top he saw my gestures to get lost. You should have seen the look in his face when he spotted her amazing breasts. He was very cool about the whole thing. He knew me, as I had been to this bar many times before. When we were done, she wanted more but I couldn’t perform. I was raw and tired. Every muscle in my body ached. She had worked me all morning and rode me all afternoon. I was shot. The shy innocent girl who showed up for the shoot was, in reality, a firecracker, maybe much more. When I refused to do it again she took off her shirt and sat at the bar. We were the only two people in the bar except for the bartender. He was loving it. I didn’t really know her, but I was getting jealous. I had already assumed that we were going to become boyfriend and girlfriend, or at least something more than how we started out.

She was trying to coerce me into doing it again. She said she was going to screw the bartender if I didn’t. I refused and shortly afterwards we left, but she was angry. We went to shoot at the relatively new EAB plaza in Uniondale. Fifteen minutes later she was going down on me. When I again refused, she got upset. I asked her how many times did she think I could do it. Her feeling was, she waited years for the right guy. When they did it, it was lousy. I was going to be fortunate enough to get it. But, she was insatiable.

I wanted it as often as possible as well. But, a man can only do so much before he can’t go any more. Her break-up was just a day or two before, so she wanted it again and again. She decided before the shoot that she was going to have me. I didn’t know what to do, so I took her back to my apartment. On the way, I left messages for two of my friends to call me after they got off from work. I invited them over to meet my new friend. It seemed as if they got to my apartment before we even hung up the phone. One of my friends put on a suit and tie. It was hilarious. By this time, I knew she was a nymphomaniac. I was never going to be able to keep up with her so I invited them to help. My message was “I’m with a super-hot model. I can’t handle her. Please take a shower and meet me at my apartment.”

They arrived separately. As each knocked on the door she greeted them nude with a juicy kiss. Five seconds later they were all over her. She refused to do anything unless I was in bed also, so I joined them. One of my friends was going down on her. I thought to myself, if he only knew how many loads I dropped into her. Then one moved up to her breasts and was sort of motor boating with his lips. My other friend went down on her and was sucking on her vagina in the weirdest way. I could barely keep from laughing, even when she went down on me, as I was standing by the side of the bed.

It was just too funny for a young man like myself. They were going to have sex with her at the same time. It was too dirty for me. I had no interest in doing it again, especially not in the presence of two of my friends. I was raw and hurting from all the earlier sex. Even my tongue and mouth were sore, as I went down on her for hours over the course of the morning and afternoon. With that I burst out laughing and left the room. They were both with her all evening. They thought I was the man. Of course, I never had the heart to tell them what had transpired earlier that day. The next day, I bought each of them a bottle of strong mouthwash.

They looked at me strangely. I simply said, “don’t ask, just use it liberally.” I did see her many times over the years but she became markedly more conservative. Even when I saw her at Penn Station once or twice over the years I never said anything about that crazy day at the beach. I could tell she appreciated the confidential way I kept my chapters of love. I was only too happy to see that her modeling career was taking off and she was working consistently. For years I saw my photographs on her comp card. That short chapter of love was very satisfying in many ways, both creatively and passionately. Of course my two high school buddies always thought I was the man because of that one day they hooked up with a beautiful model because of me. It would not be the last time I introduced my friends, even my friends with benefits.

 

Chapter 9 – My Rock Star Fiancé

I wrote several songs for my rock star long after we broke-up.” Tomorrows not so far away, she’ll come back and she’ll come back and stay. So, close your eyes now and go to sleep and pray to god her soul he’ll keep… “The first couple of lines from one of those songs, “Tomorrow,” which still resonates deep within my soul. I have sung that song for other chapters since then. Love with my rock star was an organic reaction. It was a reaction I have felt and shared so many times. I still do not understand it, despite the scientific evidence proving love at first sight is in fact, a legitimate and very real phenomenon.

There is no explanation for it, but some say they fell in love the moment they first laid eyes on one another. If ever in my life I was so smitten, she was the one. I had not heard her voice in over twenty years, but after a single word “, John,” my heart started beating uncontrollably and I felt the love as strongly as I did the last time I saw her. It was decades ago and it was a true heartbreak. Until I heard her voice again, I did not realize I was carrying the loss with me for all that time. She was my rock star.

Anyone who looks back on his or her chapters of love knows that love can ignite in a millisecond. It doesn’t always grow stronger over long periods of time. Nor does love have to last forever to be true love. Or does it? In this case, we were together for years. We planned on spending our lives together. I had just moved back to Long Island from New York City. Not long afterwards I met her on the Long Island Rail Road. I was recovering from a relationship with my NYC neighbor that taught me a lesson about love or what I thought was love. As such, I was not looking at that moment. When I saw her, I was stopped dead in my tracks. I mustered up the courage to speak to her, as I was quite shy despite the act I put on. I do not know why she even spoke to me. She was not just pretty, but stunningly beautiful. Men would constantly stare at her. I was no exception.

I wrote several songs for my rock star long after we broke-up.” Tomorrows not so far away, she’ll come back and she’ll come back and stay. So, close your eyes now and go to sleep and pray to god her soul he’ll keep… “The first couple of lines from one of those songs, “Tomorrow,” which still resonates deep within my soul. I have sung that song for other chapters since then. Love with my rock star was an organic reaction. It was a reaction I have felt and shared so many times. I still do not understand it, despite the scientific evidence proving love at first sight is in fact, a legitimate and very real phenomenon.

There is no explanation for it, but some say they fell in love the moment they first laid eyes on one another. If ever in my life I was so smitten, she was the one. I had not heard her voice in over twenty years, but after a single word “, John,” my heart started beating uncontrollably and I felt the love as strongly as I did the last time I saw her. It was decades ago and it was a true heartbreak. Until I heard her voice again, I did not realize I was carrying the loss with me for all that time. She was my rock star.

Anyone who looks back on his or her chapters of love knows that love can ignite in a millisecond. It doesn’t always grow stronger over long periods of time. Nor does love have to last forever to be true love. Or does it? In this case, we were together for years. We planned on spending our lives together. I had just moved back to Long Island from New York City. Not long afterwards I met her on the Long Island Rail Road. I was recovering from a relationship with my NYC neighbor that taught me a lesson about love or what I thought was love. As such, I was not looking at that moment. When I saw her, I was stopped dead in my tracks. I mustered up the courage to speak to her, as I was quite shy despite the act I put on. I do not know why she even spoke to me. She was not just pretty, but stunningly beautiful. Men would constantly stare at her. I was no exception.

She was my rock star. She was a creative, musical genius, who played many instruments. I should mention that she had the best rhythm of any lover I have ever been with. We would literally plan our social life around sex and would engage in sex at the most inappropriate of places and times. We would screw around in the basement of her parent’s home. In the midst of this, her dad would wander downstairs. One Thanksgiving, during dinner, I went to use the upstairs bathroom. She followed me upstairs. She was wearing a short jeans skirt and tight white shirt with no underwear. She coaxed me into doing it right there. Everyone must have heard her moaning. It was virtually impossible that they didn’t. She was bent over the sink. I was behind her. Her skirt was lifted just above her waist. I can envision that moment in my mind’s eye to this day. We would do it in her above ground pool, even when her parents were home. We did it in my small apartment in the lower level of my parent’s house. We did it everywhere. We went on many camping adventures and just hung out, mostly with her other girlfriends. She never knew it but they all hit on me. I thought that if I went for it, she and her girlfriends would have wanted us to all be together…group sex therapy of sorts. I never accepted her friend’s offers, but they were there.

She had absolutely no idea I was diagnosed with a terminal condition, nor was there any reason for her to think that a man in his twenties was sick. She simply thought something changed when I drove her away. That was possibly the most life changing decision I ever made. I went for what was supposed to be a routine physical. My blood tests and EKG came back abnormal. When I didn’t pass the physical I was shocked. I was even more shocked to hear a diagnosis that included, “don’t make any long-term plans.” I was terrified. We were to be married in a year.

I had to find a way to break-up quickly, without self-destructing and without breaking her heart. I decided to move our plans up so drastically she would reject the idea. I figured forcing the issue, of marriage and immediately having children would damage our relationship and she would bolt. We were young and both nervous about marriage as it was. This was despite the love we had for each other. The reality of it was that it did not take much for her to leave. Aside from the passing of my father, I never cried so much in my life. At the time, I was not sure if it was for her or the fact that my life literally did “flash before my eyes.” It was bad. I started to self-destruct and sabotage our relationship within days of my diagnosis. I was put on one of the first anti-depressant medications, which only made things worse. It made me feel invincible and I went into denial about my condition shortly afterwards.

Despite the fact I thought it better to drive her away than to leave her a newlywed widow, I was torn. I loved her too much to just leave her. Driving her away would protect her from going to my funeral either just prior to or just after we would marry. I knew something was wrong long before we broke off our engagement. I was constantly getting pains in my chest and arms. As a life-long athlete, that was simply not supposed to be happening. A misdiagnosis of possible asthma was the only thing that made me believe things weren’t as bad as they felt. Maybe I wanted to be fooled, but with symptoms like mine, one knows something is very wrong.

For twenty years, I thought she left me far too easily and the never tried to reach out to me. So, I always felt I loved her more than she loved me. After all, why did she run away so fast when I gave her the opportunity? I am sure that seeing me in tears when we were together caused her concern, but she never spoke about it. It was humiliating. I never explained, so she must have wondered what the fuck was going on. I know I would have freaked out if the roles were reversed.

I loved her more than I had loved anyone before and I never thought I could love anyone more. It also meant I would die alone. I would die without leaving my bloodline intact. It was a devastating thought to believe that I would die before even starting my life. But, it was what I was told and what I believed. Back then, doctors were considered gods and we never questioned a diagnosis. You just accepted it as a fact. What saved me was that medical science developed one step ahead of my demise. I was told walking would help, so prior to that, I compensated by walking three to five hours per day, waiting for the next breakthrough.

When we met for lunch she was as beautiful as she was the last time I saw her. It was if she lived in a time warp. She did not look a day older. She was as “Jessica Alba” gorgeous as she was when we were together. Twenty years later she was just as hot. The sexual tension was unbearable.

She learned about my condition from an actress whom I was producing an entertainment series with. One night, my co-producer asked me who the love of my life was. She was curious as to who was” the one that got away.” It was a question no one had ever asked me. Most assumed it was my former wife. At that moment, her name came into my heart. I told my co-producer the story. All of it. How I drove my former love away without telling her about my death sentence. As fate would have it, my co-producer would meet her years later and tell her. When we met, the first thing she asked me was why I never told her. I said I just did not have the heart to leave her as a widow. It was a powerful emotional moment. I never thought I would see her again. My co-producer had other ideas.

We started seeing each other again. She was, for the most part single .Getting together not only provided some closure, but also the opportunity to share romantic moments again. She swore her husband had a girlfriend who he was in love with, so it was morally acceptable to me. Our sexual encounters were just as special as they were when we first were together. I gather sexual compatibility does not change, even over decades. We continued to see each other for quite some time, but we both knew that we could not turn back the clock and erase all that had come between us. Once, while she was going down on me in my car, I wondered if I died and went to heaven. I dreamed of that moment for decades. I do not know that I ever loved anyone with as much passion. She was a tremendously talented lover and just as passionate as she was decades earlier.

We drifted apart again eventually. I probably would have married her if she were open to it at the time. I was helplessly in love with her. She had become so much more of a woman than I ever imagined she would be. At the time, despite decades of surgeries, I was still waiting for the final surgery that would give me back my life. I didn’t think it would be fair to have her fall in love with me again, as my life was still in jeopardy. Funny how life repeats itself, Actually, not funny at all.

At one point, she admitted that the cash she had generating from a small business I helped her build, was going towards some pretty serious drugs. This was while we were engaged. I lost a lot of respect for her. It took the steam out of our renewed relationship.

Afterwards, I accepted the fact that she was not the woman I thought she. At one point she came to my studio with a male musician. She said that he was a potential client and was buttering him up…flirting furiously, even taking her clothing off for some shots. I thought she was trying very hard to hold onto me, but it became very apparent that we were long past a lifetime of love. Our chapter(s) of love were over.

I thought I knew everything about her. I didn’t know she was freebasing cocaine. That was something I would never tolerate. I have often thought that if she were in a better place when we were younger and my diagnosis was not so severe, we would have married. Fulfilled destiny is not something you often find, even with those you love. I know in my heart that I will always love her and I hope she has a happy and fulfilling life. She is a musician, an extremely talented one. Perhaps one day I will be the subject of one of her songs, as she was the inspiration for many of mine. I truly considered our chapters of love as memorable as any I have ever shared.

Chapter 7 – Runway Modeling

When I walked the runway for Macy’s in Roosevelt field, I thought I was acting quite professional and looking supremely confident, but it scared the shit out of me. At this point in my life I was no performer. I was still growing up and becoming comfortable in my own skin. Being the subject of cameras or on a runway, in front of so many people, frightened me. But, modeling was proving to be a great way to meet gorgeous women and to score great clothing for free. I was building my wardrobe and getting paid! I couldn’t believe people were willing to pay me to stand in front of their cameras.

But walking down a runway in front of hundreds of women was embarrassing, especially because I had a hard-on the entire time. And it showed. I did not model for long because I was shy and I preferred photography to modeling. But for a moment, I was modeling professionally. At first, it was kind of an ego thing. It felt good that professionals wanted to photograph me and pay me for it. As happens with most who model, it gave me a confidence boost and of course it was profitable.

I had a pup tent in my pants every time I went behind the runway to change. Backstage there were always ten naked, beautiful older, well-developed models. They were exceptionally beautiful women. Two of them were assigned to undress me and re-dress me super-fast. So fast, that they did not have time to get dressed in between walks. So, they were nude. They were models. They were beautiful. And there I was, naked, in a small tent like changing area with them. To top it off, I was the only guy in the fashion show. The music started and every time one of the females was walking the runway, two of the models were ripping my clothing off and quickly getting me into a new outfit. They did not want me to wear underwear. Looking back, I believe they knew what they were doing. The pants were designed to show the male anatomy quite effectively.

When I walked the runway for Macy’s in Roosevelt field, I thought I was acting quite professional and looking supremely confident, but it scared the shit out of me. At this point in my life I was no performer. I was still growing up and becoming comfortable in my own skin. Being the subject of cameras or on a runway, in front of so many people, frightened me. But, modeling was proving to be a great way to meet gorgeous women and to score great clothing for free. I was building my wardrobe and getting paid! I couldn’t believe people were willing to pay me to stand in front of their cameras.

But walking down a runway in front of hundreds of women was embarrassing, especially because I had a hard-on the entire time. And it showed. I did not model for long because I was shy and I preferred photography to modeling. But for a moment, I was modeling professionally. At first, it was kind of an ego thing. It felt good that professionals wanted to photograph me and pay me for it. As happens with most who model, it gave me a confidence boost and of course it was profitable.

I had a pup tent in my pants every time I went behind the runway to change. Backstage there were always ten naked, beautiful older, well-developed models. They were exceptionally beautiful women. Two of them were assigned to undress me and re-dress me super-fast. So fast, that they did not have time to get dressed in between walks. So, they were nude. They were models. They were beautiful. And there I was, naked, in a small tent like changing area with them. To top it off, I was the only guy in the fashion show. The music started and every time one of the females was walking the runway, two of the models were ripping my clothing off and quickly getting me into a new outfit. They did not want me to wear underwear. Looking back, I believe they knew what they were doing. The pants were designed to show the male anatomy quite effectively.

They would quickly restyle or change my hair, tuck my shirt in, never thinking twice about what else they were tucking in. Most of the time they were doing so with little or no clothing on. So, when it was my turn to go back out onto the runway, I was erect and there was not a woman in the audience who didn’t notice. There was no fucking way I could turn it off or tone it down. This went on for about thirty minutes when I was on the runway, but it seemed like hours to me. I pulled it off because I did not have time to think about it. If I knew what was coming, I would never have done it. I only did runway work one other time in my life. Before the fashion show every model was drinking. Afterwards as well. It was very free spirited for such a corporate event. Later I realized that most of the runway modeling gigs, no matter how large or corporate, were always the same. I would go so far as to say that the few models that were helping me dress were intentionally fondling my package, not because they wanted the pup tent for the fashion statement, but because they wanted me.

After the fashion show I wanted to bolt. I was so embarrassed. I did not want to see any of the females who were in the audience. As I learned from the models, no one pays attention to such things. Half the models had their breasts showing through the outfits. That was considerably more suggestive than a pup tent. Given my age and my rather shy ways back then, it was all too unbelievable. As the show ended the models quickly dressed and prepared to leave. I had no idea that one of the models who was dressing me had other plans for me. I was quite happy she did. We went back to her apartment, which was nearby, in Garden City. Before we even had our coats off we were going at it. She was about ten years older than I was, tall and slim the way most runway models are built. There was not much more about it I remember, other than the fact that she was not from the US and was one of the first older women I was ever with. Frankly, it ended almost as soon as it started as I almost came in my pants several times during the runway show itself. The only really unique aspect to the encounter was the mask she wore while we were fooling around. No one really ever did that before other than Halloween.

We kept in contact for a short while but it was obvious that this was just one of those casual hook-ups that happen in the entertainment industry. The age difference made it awkward, other than when we were in bed. This was to be a very short but memorable chapter of love for me as well as a very funny event in my life. But not nearly as funny as the next time I did runway, which was my last. At the time, New York City photographers started booking me more frequently. One of them was publishing a book about lifeguards and Chippendale dancers. He was looking for one more male runway model to walk the runway at Studio 54. It was a world-famous nightclub, even though I did not know it at the time. I was to be paid a grand cash, which was more money for a one-hour gig than I was making in a month. Of course, I accepted. I didn’t even know where it was, or how to get there, so the model from the Macy’s runway show drove me there. She dropped me off backstage where the models were meeting before the show. She parked and went into the audience. It was the last time I ever saw her. I was too embarrassed to call her or even pick-up the phone when she called me. Here’s why.

When I entered Studio 54 via the stage entrance, everything was very dark. We were corralled into a changing room and given tiny speedo like white bikinis. I never wore a speedo or anything like it in my life. My idea of shorts was cut-off jeans that went down to my knees. I was very self-conscious as the bathing suit was small and my package did not fit entirely. I was literally bulging out of the suit. In retrospect, I realized they did it on purpose as that was one of the selling points of Speedo style bathing suits. It was a fashion and sexual statement. I had never seen anyone in a suit like that other than in body building competitions. It was what body builders and professional wrestlers wore not everyday people.

We were brought up to a second-floor stage like platform that surrounded a dance floor we were curtained off from. We lined up around a lifeguard stand and fake beach and were told when the lights came on to start dancing. We were also told, at the end of the show, to follow the guy next to you and jump into the pool. They built a temporary pool on the dance floor. This was a lot more than I bargained for when I took the gig.

The music started and the professional Chippendale dancers started dancing. I felt like a string bean next to them. Not only were they better dancers, but they were much more developed muscularly than I was. I started to dance. The curtains came up, and before I knew it spotlights came on. They were as bright as auto headlights and I couldn’t see a thing. So, I just kept dancing and waiting to follow the guy next to me into the pool. I realized while I was on stage that we were not jumping thirty feet, into a four-foot pool. They set up a slide. But, we were not given proper instructions. It was all happening so fast. The professional dancers/ performers / male models knew what to do. So, as the song was ending, the models began to zip down the slide. Once they were in the pool, it looked like they were hitting beach balls to the crowd. I was trying not to puke from stage fright.

The water was freezing! As nervous as I was, I remember it being shockingly cold. I still couldn’t see a thing, as there was a spotlight on each of us the entire time. It was blinding. When I hit the pool, I was frozen! I quite literally, went into “cold shock” and knew I was going to get the hell out of that pool no matter who was watching, or what future opportunities I might be sabotaging. At the time, I was hoping to get noticed and book bigger gigs.

My eyes adjusted to the light and I started to look for a ladder or some other way to get out of the pool. It was then I was shocked to learn that the entire audience was comprised of gay men! This was Studio 54’s Gay night. I realized I was totally tricked by the photographer. I knew he was gay, as he lived with another man. They would openly kiss. Until them, I didn’t even know a gay person. For a straight guy, from the suburbs, this was humiliating.

I quickly got out of the pool and went backstage to get my pay envelope. The photographer who was the author of the book eventually came backstage with the other models. He and the few male models that knew me were laughing hysterically. I would never have agreed if I knew the audience was comprised entirely of gay men. I got my thousand dollars in cash, left through the back door and totally ditched my model friend out of sheer embarrassment. I never saw her again. That was the absolute end to my modeling career. I was not going to go through that kind of experience again.

How ironic, that years later, the same photographer who tricked me into doing that runway show became my photography mentor. I was working at New York Film Works, the premiere photo-finishing studio in NYC. He requested that I manage his account. My first lighting equipment came from him. Most everything I learned about the technical aspects of photography, I learned from him as well. Ken Haak was the photographer. He has long since passed away. Even back then he was as old as god. Like many photographers, he lives on through his work and the thousands of careers he helped develop.

I am sure the runway model that brought me to Studio 54 got a good laugh that night. I would never see her or anyone else that knew what happened again. I was too uptight about it. Now I look a back on it with great fondness, and think of it as the funniest scene of my life, or at least one of them.

Shortly after the runway show, Gazelle, the manufacturer of the bathing suits booked me and I was photographed and published in GQ Magazine. This was a huge deal for me at the time. There were three of us including the cover model from the Ken Haak’s book “Working Out.” To my disappointment they just used a close-up of our packages in the suits. Our heads were completely cut off. A fitting, and very appropriate end to my modeling career. It was rather uncanny that over thirty years later, I was shooting runway shows for Simon Mall, with some top Macy’s models. Ironically, they had a very similar tent setup. Some things never change.

 

Chapter 6 – Golden Showers

She became a famous actress, but it was long after our chapter of love. Her stardom occurred in her native Israel. When she lived in the America she was a particularly emotional chapter of love for me. She was my first real “international” romance. Reflecting back, I believe the relationship meant more to me than to her, sometimes you never know. We fell in love, even though she was already pre-committed, through family and political arrangements, to marry someone else. It was an old-school, arranged marriage. She kept her commitment. I believe she wanted to stay with me. That would have meant leaving her entire family and everything she knew, for a city she barely knew and for me. It was not a risk she was willing to take. It hurt deeply to lose her.

It was crushing when we split, but I knew it was what she wanted and was obligated to do. Her politically powerful father gained considerable fame by having set himself on fire. He was a formidable man. His political statements were intense and his power base impressive. I could not compete, certainly, not at those levels. Of course, the reality was that it was her choice. For her, New York City was a prolonged bachelorette party prior to the big event.

Ours was a heated sexual relationship. It was smoking hot love and photography. Nothing much else. It was intense and we created beautiful images. She turned her modeling and business trips into quite an adventure. I was a big part of it. She was one of the loves of my life. I cannot even remember how long we were together. It was hot. It was constant. And then, it was over.

She became a famous actress, but it was long after our chapter of love. Her stardom occurred in her native Israel. When she lived in the America she was a particularly emotional chapter of love for me. She was my first real “international” romance. Reflecting back, I believe the relationship meant more to me than to her, sometimes you never know. We fell in love, even though she was already pre-committed, through family and political arrangements, to marry someone else. It was an old-school, arranged marriage. She kept her commitment. I believe she wanted to stay with me. That would have meant leaving her entire family and everything she knew, for a city she barely knew and for me. It was not a risk she was willing to take. It hurt deeply to lose her.

It was crushing when we split, but I knew it was what she wanted and was obligated to do. Her politically powerful father gained considerable fame by having set himself on fire. He was a formidable man. His political statements were intense and his power base impressive. I could not compete, certainly, not at those levels. Of course, the reality was that it was her choice. For her, New York City was a prolonged bachelorette party prior to the big event.

Ours was a heated sexual relationship. It was smoking hot love and photography. Nothing much else. It was intense and we created beautiful images. She turned her modeling and business trips into quite an adventure. I was a big part of it. She was one of the loves of my life. I cannot even remember how long we were together. It was hot. It was constant. And then, it was over.

I have had so many of these short intense chapters of love. I now realize that many women saw me as a sex object. To a degree, I believe she started out using me for sex, but over time fell in love with me. As for being a sex object…it became quite apparent. Models and actresses would come to town for a meeting or for a few days. Inevitably, many of them would find their way to my bar or my photography studio. I was so naïve. I had no idea that they knew each other and told each other about me. Apparently, I was a form of entertainment for many models back then. Later, many of them told me outright that they just wanted to have an affair when they were in New York City. When they met me, no matter what their marital or boyfriend status, they simply went for it.

Often these women would contact me after social networking became widely used. By then, I was older and understood women better. But back then, if you were an artist and bartender you were looked at as a sort of a local personality or entertainer, especially if you were good looking. So, I was just living up to the role and enjoying the lifestyle. All the same, I was looking for my soul mate, while most of these women were looking for a secret NYC one-night-stand. I was young and filled with energy. I was pretty much always ready to go. It was life on constant dosages of passion and endorphins pouring into your system day and night, almost like a drug. I was physically addicted to that passion and the bonding that came with it. I could go and go and go. After all, I was an athlete my entire life. I was in great shape. My body was a well-oiled machine.

I loved her as deeply as I have ever loved. When it ended, it was one of the saddest and most challenging moments in my life. I acted cool and tough, but privately I was listening to Cat Stevens and sinking into a mini depression. But before I mourned the loss of our chapter of love, I first embraced it. I lost myself in the fantasy of photographing and making love to an internationally known super model. When one is young it is easy to become enchanted with someone such as her. She was a cover model and one of a kind. She was very comfortable in bed and very affectionate. She loved the before and the after. She relished the embracing and sweating together while our hearts raced. When they slowed, we would fall asleep to the rhythm of each other’s heartbeats.

I loved photographing her, but even more, I loved sleeping in each other’s arms. I became both accustomed to it and reliant upon it. I felt so loved. It was inconceivable how well she knew me and what I needed. I never had to ask for it. She was as emotionally dependent on my love as I was for hers. The first time we shot together a designer hired me for a Vogue or ELLE shoot. My shots came out great. They were high end photo-journalistic and 80’s model cool. She came out looking both ethnic and European, yet somehow different. Her DNA must date back to Aphrodite. She was a remarkable beauty, somewhat like an 80’s version of Natalie Portman; beauty, talent, and intense sensuality to go with it.

Her agent wanted me to get shots for her portfolio because he knew it would be at least six months before the magazine issues were published. When I arrived at the shoot I could tell right away that she was a higher level of model. She had large, juicy lips, perfect cheekbones and a slim but well-rounded body. That same evening, we drove to a farm in Old Brookville, on Long Island. I shot utilizing the headlights of my car as the only form of lighting. It was the first time I tried that technique. It intrigued her. I drove her back to NYC. She invited me up to her small room in a then, world-famous, commune style actor’s hotel. Once we were in her room she immediately invited me into the shower. We had just met that day, but she was kissing me before we even got to the hotel. I knew she wanted me.

Oddly, she did not have a shower in her room, so we walked down the long narrow hallway with one towel wrapped around the two of us. We entered a small room with a tiny radiator and a shower. The water was cold. She clung to my chest as the water ran down her body and onto mine, slightly warmer as it flowed from her shivering body. Finally, it got a little warmer. Within the first few moments in the shower she began peeing on me. No one had ever done that to me. It was my first golden shower I suppose. It was warm and very kinky. I could see it in her eyes and in her hint of a sneaky smile, that she was getting off on it. She was silently saying that she knew what she was doing was kinky and unconventional, but that it was no accident. She wanted to do it. So, I let her pee on me. She was surprised when afterwards I returned the favor. We both had mischievous smiles on our faces as we embraced under the now warmer water. It was a strange and kinky start to the night. Despite the constant knocking on the door, we stayed in the shower for at least an hour. Many lovemaking firsts occurred that night. Many coming right out of our imaginations. We did everything two people could possibly do with each other and did it over and over, until we finally fell asleep in each other’s arms. We both had shoots the next morning. I left early, but not before she we started where we left off. We continued this for months and months. Not the peeing, but the shooting, sex, showers, and sleeping in each other’s arms.

She left me heartbroken when she told me that she had to go back to her fiancé in Israel. She said, “there’s nothing I can change about my future.” We tried to figure out a way to scrape together enough money for her to stay, but it wasn’t possible. We were young and I had roommates. I didn’t even have a lease in my own name back then. I was subletting, a common practice for many young people. Her politically active father and her modeling and movie career predetermined her destiny. I was not to be part of her future. I was her last affair before she would get married. She was a lot stronger than I was. About a month before she left New York City, she said we had to stop seeing each other, so we did.

Before long I was looking for ways to change her mind. But it was too late. By then someone told her father. He took measures to keep me from seeing her or even knowing her whereabouts. The few times I did manage to see her were brief. I caught glimpses of her being escorted into security driven cars. She would look at me sadly, with longing in her eyes. Often she cried. Eventually, she left New York City for Israel. Despite the distance my heart was with her. But, I would not go to Israel and chase her. She had to follow her path, so I followed mine. After many months of heartache, depression, sadness and literally missing her with every ounce of my heart, I began working at the Palladium. It was during that period I slept with every woman I could, to forget her, but I never will.

Chapter 5- Midwest Farmer’s Daughter

I was promoting a nightclub and bartending in the early eighties. Eventually I found myself bartending at the Palladium, in downtown New York City, the largest and most popular nightclub in the world, at the time. It was an incredible time for music. MTV was all the rage. I was actually featured on the first MTV music awards, drinking champagne and toasting with Mark Goodman. BB King, Robert Palmer, Robin Williams, Andy Warhol and Deborah Harry, were just a few of the celebrities that I hung with at my bar. Hundreds of other celebrities, in the peak of their careers, came to the club and drank with me. In truth, they were not drinking with me, but at my bar in the Michael Todd Room. It was there that I bartended for many celebrity parties. I was in my early twenties and getting bookings that would have me flying around the country. I stayed in places like the Beverly Hills Hotel.

I photographed everyone from Miss Canada to Andy Warhol, Deborah Harry, Mohammad Ali, Brooke Shields, Patty Duke, Tina Louise, as well as other actors and celebrities I had seen on television most of my life. I was even invited to Tina Louise’s (Ginger on Gilligan’s Island) home for tea and to pray with her minister. That same minister invited me to photograph the King of Tonga and to become his personal photographer, offering me an enormous amount of money. I didn’t, because I was concerned about leaving New York City when my career was exploding. My popularity was growing exponentially and there seemed to be a never-ending source of clients who wanted me.

It was a surreal experience. Not only did I tend bar at the club, but the manager and head of security often had me personally work the VIP list and the ropes at major events like the Directors Guild of America Annual Awards Ceremony. I kept a tux in my locker and I was “that guy.” I had no idea that it was such cool thing. I was just working. Initially I preferred to be inside, at the bar, flipping glasses and meeting beautiful women. After a while, I realized that being, the club gatekeeper and holder of the VIP list made me considerably more desirable. Women thought it was a position of power, but I had no power at all. I simply followed the list, except for that occasional hot model who wanted to slip through.

I was promoting a nightclub and bartending in the early eighties. Eventually I found myself bartending at the Palladium, in downtown New York City, the largest and most popular nightclub in the world, at the time. It was an incredible time for music. MTV was all the rage. I was actually featured on the first MTV music awards, drinking champagne and toasting with Mark Goodman. BB King, Robert Palmer, Robin Williams, Andy Warhol and Deborah Harry, were just a few of the celebrities that I hung with at my bar. Hundreds of other celebrities, in the peak of their careers, came to the club and drank with me. In truth, they were not drinking with me, but at my bar in the Michael Todd Room. It was there that I bartended for many celebrity parties. I was in my early twenties and getting bookings that would have me flying around the country. I stayed in places like the Beverly Hills Hotel.

I photographed everyone from Miss Canada to Andy Warhol, Deborah Harry, Mohammad Ali, Brooke Shields, Patty Duke, Tina Louise, as well as other actors and celebrities I had seen on television most of my life. I was even invited to Tina Louise’s (Ginger on Gilligan’s Island) home for tea and to pray with her minister. That same minister invited me to photograph the King of Tonga and to become his personal photographer, offering me an enormous amount of money. I didn’t, because I was concerned about leaving New York City when my career was exploding. My popularity was growing exponentially and there seemed to be a never-ending source of clients who wanted me.

It was a surreal experience. Not only did I tend bar at the club, but the manager and head of security often had me personally work the VIP list and the ropes at major events like the Directors Guild of America Annual Awards Ceremony. I kept a tux in my locker and I was “that guy.” I had no idea that it was such cool thing. I was just working. Initially I preferred to be inside, at the bar, flipping glasses and meeting beautiful women. After a while, I realized that being, the club gatekeeper and holder of the VIP list made me considerably more desirable. Women thought it was a position of power, but I had no power at all. I simply followed the list, except for that occasional hot model who wanted to slip through.

I was living downtown, on Thompson Street, in a third story walk-up. It was in the heart of the art district where all the movie stars lived back then. There was a definitive artsy and gay tone to the neighborhood and it truly was a neighborhood. It made for easy access to the Palladium, which was located between 13th and 14th street, just a bit uptown. Later, I upgraded to a penthouse duplex when the dollars started rolling in from photography and bartending. All in all, it was a wild New York City lifestyle that lasted for over a year, until I moved back to Long Island. There, I experienced hundreds of chapters of love. Far too many to write about. They were typically short in nature. I simply could not keep it in my pants. I would wake up in the morning and go to the beach with 2-5 international models and shoot their portfolios. By dinnertime I would be at happy hour and then work until four AM. I was going 24/7 for the most part, just occasionally coming up for air. We would always be at the beach before sunrise, as that was the golden hour, so I only had to carry my camera and a reflector. There was no need for bulky lighting setups. At times, I would fool around with one of the models at lunch and then with another while I was bartending, or afterwards.

But there was one girl who captured my heart while I was living in New York City. This was despite the fact that I was completely insensitive to her needs. It was the only time in my life that I was with a girlfriend and still living the playboy lifestyle. I simply could not choose between the two. We were neighbors in the apartment building. Since I was living in a duplex, her second-floor door was right at my first-floor entrance. I thought she used that door because she lived on the second floor. Later, she admitted that the only reason she used it was to intentionally run into me.

She was exceptionally cute and the first Midwest farmer’s daughter I ever met. This is no exaggeration. She truly was a farm girl. For her, the city was a circus and she loved it. She would come out of her door at the same time I did and say sweet things like, “hey neighbor what you cooking?” With that, she invited herself for dinner. We hooked-up every chance we could. I had a balcony facing a huge Upper East Side courtyard, a block or two from Central Park. Her balcony was just underneath mine. I would intentionally go out onto the balcony with my guitar and sing love songs until I got a response from her. I would leave my door open and wait for her to enter.

When she did, I stayed right on the balcony. I wanted her right there. It was an exhibitionist thing. Before you knew it, we were both naked on that balcony. If you had a decent pair of binoculars, or a telescope, you could see everything. We pretty much knew it, but that was what made our relationship so unique. We both loved it. It was kinky and outrageous. We knew others were watching. It was a turn-on and an extreme public display of affection. I never did anything like it prior. I have no idea what motivated me. We said we would never fall in love, that we were just neighbors. But, when your hook-up hundreds of times, sometimes several times a day, you develop feelings for each other. That is when everything went wrong.

After bartending, I was bringing models home in limousines. Sometimes, even two girls at a time. We were making all kinds of noise right above her bedroom. Even though we said it was going to be casual between us, it never truly was. She started to get jealous. When I would sing on the balcony she would say things like “can’t you shut that thing up,” or, “do you have a volume control on that contraption.” She would be steaming and I didn’t understand why she was upset. I thought we were just neighbors who were hooking-up. I was also regularly dating other girls. I was naive enough to think that if I kept the music loud she would have no idea what was going on. We never said anything about being exclusive, but man did she get pissed-off when the music started. I would hear things banging downstairs and all kinds of obscure rantings, but she never said anything to me. Every time I saw her, she was that same cute country girl, “hey neighbor, you have any butter?” which was her way of saying can I come in and can we hook-up. It was always something like that; milk or salt or pepper and it always meant the same thing, great care-free sex. She would refer to me, when her roommates were around, as her sentimental fuck… so why would I have thought anything different?

Of course, over nine months it came to mean more than that. Until I was in the same situation, I had no idea what she was feeling. The first time I heard a man’s voice in her apartment and what sounded like sex, I went into a jealous rage. What made it worse was that I thought I knew who the man was. It sounded like my landlord…our landlord. I was upstairs hooking-up with one of my regular girls from the Palladium and she was hooking-up with our landlord, who was thirty years older?

When I saw her and asked if she had a man over, she denied it completely. She swore I was dreaming or hallucinating. She played it very cool, as if nothing was wrong. Soon I was the one yelling down the balcony, as it became a regular event for them. It got to me. Jealously is a much stronger emotion than love. At one point, my landlord, who I was friendly with, invited me to California to shoot for Vidal Sassoon. I went just to get away from it all. I never had any proof and did not want to approach the subject with him, as I was making a lot of money from him and his associates. Plus, I was not exclusive with her, so what could I really say about it? I was staying at the former Beverly Hills Town Hall, which was a mansion.

There I photographed models from around the world and slept with many of them. I even photographed Sassoon’s daughter and yes, we fooled around at her apartment. I was sort of being set-up with her. Vidal made it known that he approved of me. But, I was surrounded by so many models, who were living at the mansion, that I was hooking up with a different one every day. There were so many that I cannot even remember them all. When I heard my landlord force himself on one of them, I realized the kind of shady individual he was. I left immediately. I began to realize he was sleeping with my neighbor to throw it in my face. He did not know that despite my promiscuity, I loved my neighbor, hook-up, and pseudo-girlfriend. I was just realizing it myself. I had to fly back and see if I could rescue the relationship before he took control of it, or even worse, me.

I flew back to New York. When I got back, my neighbor was in my penthouse. She had packed all my things and put them out the door. She made a deal with my landlord that if she slept with him, she would get my apartment. It was a deal he kept. I was out before sunset and back on Long Island. My heart was broken, but I did not understand why. How could I be hurting so much over this hook-up? We weren’t even exclusive! That Midwest farmer’s daughter played me like a fiddle and taught me a lesson I would never forget. Never play with a woman’s heart. Later, I finally understood that you could not hook-up with another human being, hundreds of times, without it affecting your heart. And, when your neighbor comes looking for butter or milk, know it has nothing to do with baking a cake. She could wind up with your rent controlled apartment, just before it turns into a condo.

 

Chapter 4 – My Virgin Babysitter

Obsession is typically defined by a thought that preoccupies or intrudes into one’s mind to such a degree that he or she is powerless to resist the object of that obsession. It is an all-consuming passion that takes hold of your thoughts until you are totally dominated by your compulsion and persistently overwhelmed by your desire. There is no question in my mind, that without ever realizing it, most of my life was spent powerless to my obsession with romance.

I was so obsessed with romance, that for the better part of my life, I spent most every waking hour searching for it. Typically, I would find women who were also obsessed, but most of the time, with me. I would go so far as to say that most of my relationships were based on obsession… not love. I was powerless. I spent much of my time pursuing that obsession. Photography was a means to feed that desire because I would meet thousands of women from every corner of the world. Typically, I would be alone with those women and we would almost always be shooting in the most intimate of settings. I am not sure what came first, the camera or the obsession, but they fed each other. Not that there is anything wrong with a healthy sexual desire, but I was consumed. Beyond consumed. That is one of the reasons I stopped dating. I wanted to break the addiction. But, as hard as I tried, it did not work. I literally had to take medication to stop myself from obsessing so enthusiastically.

Obsession is typically defined by a thought that preoccupies or intrudes into one’s mind to such a degree that he or she is powerless to resist the object of that obsession. It is an all-consuming passion that takes hold of your thoughts until you are totally dominated by your compulsion and persistently overwhelmed by your desire. There is no question in my mind, that without ever realizing it, most of my life was spent powerless to my obsession with romance.

I was so obsessed with romance, that for the better part of my life, I spent most every waking hour searching for it. Typically, I would find women who were also obsessed, but most of the time, with me. I would go so far as to say that most of my relationships were based on obsession… not love. I was powerless. I spent much of my time pursuing that obsession. Photography was a means to feed that desire because I would meet thousands of women from every corner of the world. Typically, I would be alone with those women and we would almost always be shooting in the most intimate of settings. I am not sure what came first, the camera or the obsession, but they fed each other. Not that there is anything wrong with a healthy sexual desire, but I was consumed. Beyond consumed. That is one of the reasons I stopped dating. I wanted to break the addiction. But, as hard as I tried, it did not work. I literally had to take medication to stop myself from obsessing so enthusiastically.

Most men are driven by their obsession with sex. It has been said, “men are dogs.” I was powerless against that obsession, even when I was in a relationship. My greatest fear was that I would not be able to be faithful, as I had so many opportunities and was powerless to turn them down. I do not know when or why my obsession began, but I started young. When I was ten I shared some intimate moments with a sixteen-year-old, smoking hot, cheerleader. I did not know what the word sex was, but when she took off her bathing suit I reacted physically to her. It did not take long before we were experimenting. She definitely knew what sex was and eagerly shared that knowledge with me.

It was not like those romantic moments you see in movies. It was more like a game in which we laughed and touched each other in ways I had never touched anyone previously. Before very long, I figured out what goes where and we were engaged in full-blown relations. No one had any idea that a sixteen-year-old would experiment with a boy as young as I was. I was so enamored with the experience that I wanted to do it again and again. And yes, everything works, even at that young age.

Relations at such a young age are completely different. It is only later that you begin to understand what sex is and all the emotional baggage that comes with it. At that age, you are innocent and pure. Nothing ever compares to that type of connection afterwards. But from the very moment we started to experiment, until she moved and I never saw her again, we would go at it every time we were alone. Of course, we were secretive about it. The only feeling outside of pure ecstasy we shared, was the fear that someone would catch us.

For some reason, even though we did not know what we were doing, we thought it was wrong. We knew we could not tell anyone or get caught. The world was a lot more conservative back then. All the same, as I look back on my life, I know that my obsession started with that cheerleader and continued for the better part of my life. I would even go as far as to say, that we fell in love. When she moved, I was heartbroken for months, maybe even a year. And, I could tell no one. She simply disappeared. When she did, I had a bad case of “blue balls.” Sorry, but there is no other way to explain it. My father had to take me to the doctor to find out why.

Of course, I never told him that I was engaged in sexual relations with a sixteen-year-old cheerleader. It did not take long for the doctor to see that I was, as he described it, “fully mature at only ten.” He told my father and I that the only way to eliminate the pressure was to masturbate. He suggested to my father that he should to teach me how to do it. It was one of the most awkward moments in my life. Dad bought me some Playboy magazines, but before long I was engaging in relations with girls my own age. I did not know why I was the only one doing it. None of my friends were even talking about it.

As I quickly learned, for every willing guy, there is always a willing girl. And, there were many. I was so obsessed that, later in life, I chose to be celibate. This went on for years. Often I would tell potential girlfriends that it was because of my health that I chose not to engage in sex. The sad truth was, I was trying hard to break a lifelong addiction. It was the only way I could try and beat it. But, I was helpless. I became obsessed that very first time and it continued for the better part of my life.

Of course, I would never share any of the names of those I was engaging in relations with, because I am old school. Even then I would never kiss and tell. I would meet a girl at the public pool, or the park and almost immediately we knew it was going to happen. Maybe the world was different back then, but that obsession and the willingness for girls my age and older to just go for it, dates back as far as I can remember. Back to that cheerleader who was babysitting and decided that I was a safe person to experiment with. I do not think that it was that moment that created the obsession within me. That was just the first time I engaged in sex. The obsession grew stronger every year of my life, as did the choices I made. I became a slave to that obsession, choosing it above most everything else.

I never did see that cheerleader again, nor can I remember her name, but I will never forget the innocent and naive way in which we both learned about life and how natural the affair was. I know most people start their experimentation at a much older age. I consider myself fortunate that we met and the chemistry was so intense that we decided to trust each other. I often wonder if she remembers me, or even thinks of me.

There is no doubt in my mind that she knew what she was doing. For me, it was the beginning of a life-long adventure that became a life-long obsession. I have been celibate for some time now, except for the occasional “oops did that just happen’ moments. To this day I do not even know if I have beaten it. Nor do I want to know anymore. But, this I do know. I will not settle for less than my true soul mate and pray that such a person exists.