My friend Andy gave me a vibrator for my birthday.
It’s a rubber ducky. He’s the one, he makes bedtime lots of fun, I’m awfully fond of him. He sits on the blue bureau when not in use and I blow him kisses. I keep him shiny and immaculate, especially after the time I found a visiting child sucking on his head.
I told you about Andy, my friend I went to high school with? We were in the jug band but I never fucked him? Yeah, him.
Andy would have been perfect for me. He is way cute and funny. But I could never think of him sexually. In fact it was because of Andy that I developed my famous patented armpit-DNA-olfactory test. I just couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t attracted to him, so one night I unconsciously buried my nose into the armpit of his shirt and took a deep snort. He didn’t smell right. Not at all bad, just very subtly wrong. Bubble-wrap, my nose told me. “Um, no,” my vagina said. (Andy’s penis wasn’t enthused either.)
Performing the armpit test is a surefire way to tell if you want to sleep with someone or not. Try it. Get right up into that armpit and sniff like mad.
* * *
Once this comedian who shall remain nameless (Steven Wright) tried to pick me up at Danceteria. (I was wearing a 50s shelf-bra that I got at Patricia Fields. My bosom beckoned. )
Steven ambled over and asked me if I had a cigarette.
Of course I did. I gave him one. He slipped it into his mouth but didn’t light it. Just stood next to me Bogarting the unlit fag.
A promising pick-up, right?
My brain flash-froze.
For I had always been a wild, intense fan in pitiful love with this very same Steven Wright. The man is ideal in all ways. A towering intellect. An insane joker. Adoraable.
(“What’s wrong with you? Talk to him! Ask him if he wants a light!”)
(“He’s my Prince Charming. My tongue is paralyzed!”)
Droplets of drool began forming on the corners of my mouth. I felt as if I might faint. I ran far away. It seemed to be the end of my life.
* * *
A couple years later I was sitting with Sally, my absolutely exquisite Papillon dog, at a little table outside a cafe on Sunset Boulevard. I saw Steven Wright walking toward us, baseball cap pulled low. It happened that my mood was cavalier and insouciant.
“Steven Wright!” I shouted, “Get your skinny ass over here!”
He looked up, blinked, and his walk veered toward our table. He sat on a French wicker cafe chair and opened his mouth.
“I really want to fuck your dog,” he said.
I was captivated.
We got in my car and drove to bookstores and thrift shops for hours.
He smelled of celery. I hate celery. So of fucking course there was no physical attraction!! At all. “Why oh why?” I implored the heavens. My favorite man in the world would never be mine, because I didn’t want him.
We both went back and forth between New York and Los Angeles. Sometimes he joined me on my book tours and we’d do some readings. He pretended he couldn’t pronounce words or understand what they meant. At least I think he was pretending.
When we watched All My Children he would narrate the show from the point of view of a sofa cushion. He liked to try on my dresses and act like a librarian.
When we were in the Cotswolds we came within a hairsbreadth of burning down our holiday thatched cottage.
Once we had a wild party with only the two of us, half a glass of water, and a Dylan Album. I stroked his Academy Award and I wanna tell you that a lot of those Oscars must go right up people’s buttholes, they’re tailor-made.
Offstage he was a total potty mouth. Onstage he was a choir boy. Also he constantly giggled.
We lost touch when I entered an intensely abusive relationship.
* * *
Truly, my relationships never work out. And the more fraught the relationship, the more fragrant to me the armpit. Alcoholics and heroin addicts smell dreamy. My vile, sociopathic husband-for-a-minute smelled like lilacs.
Sad, tragic, the end of the world? Nah. Don’t cry for me Tipitina. I prefer dogs to angst.
My rubber duckie is giving me a come-hither glance. Excuse me.
Cynthia Heimel is a humorist who writes books, columns, and plays. She wrote a Village Voice Column for seventeen years, and did a feminist column for Playboy Magazine (!!). Her seven books include, “Sex Tips for Girls” and “If You Can’t Live Without Me, Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?” She was a contributing editor for Vogue, New York Magazine and Los Angeles Magazine. Her play, “A Girl’s Guide to Chaos,” has been an international success.