The latest woman of my dreams had just
dissed me. . . and slammed the taxi door in my face. I had caught
a glimpse of heaven and was dumped in the middle of Amsterdam
Ave. I guess I shouldn't copy that line from "Bitter Moon,"
but then again, that movie sure doesn't seem to be irrelevant.
It is the movie I saw with Sarah on our first date. I figured that this woman who I met
in, of all places, a strip bar, had to see this movie which I
thought seemed to mirror her life so well. I thought of that
movie in the middle of the first conversation I had with this
angel who made me horny after just catching a glance of her from
across the room:
The green eyed woman was slowly walking my way. I couldn't help
staring at her as she walked towards me. I wasn't sure if it
was her outfit- she was wearing a black low cut top and a leotard
bottom with black stockings- or her sexy feline walk, that made
me instantly think of Catwoman from the Batman movie. Wow. This
woman is heavenly, I thought.
"How you doin'?" I said as she passed in front of me.
My heart stopped beating as she smiled and sat next to me without
a word. "I'm fine, how you doin'?" she said. Did I
make good eye contact? Shit Dylan- relax.
"Now, I'm doing great," I answered. "You're beautiful,"
I said, fully meaning my words although I was sure she thought
I was just trying to be smooth.
"Thankyou," she said with a smile. I'm in love!
"Where are you from?" Heck, I can do better than that.
Why not just ask her what's your major? trying to figure out
where her accent was from. "I've been all over," she
answered in a voice that sent chills down my spine. [Not that
it takes a lot for that to happen] "But, originally, I'm
from England, "she said.
"You sound like your from down south," I say.
"Well I'm glad you think so, because I actually lived in
Alabama for a couple of years," she says.
I soon found out that she, like myself is an artist, and works
with sculpture. I told her I do photography but I am taking a
sculpture class next semester. She explained to me that she almost
went to Brown on a writing scholarship, where I almost chose
over Columbia, but decided to go to Parsons, an art school, instead.
After the small talk went on for a while, somehow, and I don't
remember how, had gotten to talking about sadomasochism. I mean,
here I was in a strip bar, talking to a woman about sadomasochism.
And I seemed stupid next to her. If only Rabbi X could
see me now.
"Or you a sadist or a masochist?"
"Oh, I'd say I'm a sadist," she answered.
"Interesting. . . I'm a masochist," I said with a grin.
[Probably the single stupidest thing I ever said in my life.
. . sort like telling a cannibal-witch I taste great and would
love to offer my testicles for her dinner.
"Cool- You know I used to work down
at the Vault," she said with a smile.
"The Vault, what's that?" I asked. I wasn't sure if
this woman was making me more horny or scared.
"Oh, its a S&M club down in the village. I got to whip
people and poor hot wax all over their bodies," she replied
with an erotically scary expression. I wasn't sure which sensation
was stronger, but I did know that this Catwoman was making me
horny as hell. At least I thought I was horny, but I didn't have
a hard on. It was more like the a sick type of instant obsessive
infatuation. Like a bad acid trip or something. looking in her
eyes felt like looking in a distorted mirror of the worst kind.
What I saw was frightening but held my gaze like a bad car accident.
She then started to nonchalantly tell me her life story. When
she casually mentioned that she is a bisexual, I asked her if
she saw the movie Bitter Moon, recognizing her eerie resemblance
to the star of the movie, a stunningly gorgeous bisexual French
woman into sadomasochism and sweet appearances.
"No, who's in it?" she asked, as she let her thigh
rest on my leg seductively.
"I don't know, but its one of Roman Pilanski's films,"
I said. Am I too nervous? . . no my eyes seem to be O.K. the
Kolonopin/beer combination seems to be working well. . . Man
she has a nice body. . . .
"Roman Pilanski- I stayed in his mansion in California-"
"You stayed in Roman Pilanski's mansion?" I asked,
not sure if I should believe this woman who had already told
me some of the most bizarre things I've heard outside of a movie
theater. Like me, it seemed that her life is weirder than any
Hollywood movie. I mean who would guess that me- a woody allen-virgin-upper-middle-class-jewish-sophomore-at-Columbia-
University-on prozac- would end up swapping life stories with
a beautiful woman in a strip bar. The absurdity was more obvious
than any of the strange combinations of people and objects I
could create in my photographs. The old man looking frightfully
at the young black man peering into the sights of a bazooka in
front of an army navy store in Chinatown, an overweight black
woman staring at a poster in the middle of the Broadway street
fair of a beautiful naked couple having passionate sex, and a
porno theater superimposed over butler library. Yes my photographs
create some ironic situations, but none as amusing as those that
occur naturally in my life. "Comic juxtaposition,"
is probably what the bullshit shadow intellectuals here at Columbia
would call it. God sure has a good sense of humor as he is writing
my life story. Or else he is drunk. Real drunk. . . . [Or maybe
"Yeah- back when I was dating Trent Reznor we lived in Roman's
mansion for a month while he was in Europe shooting a film.
I felt goose bumps spring up all over my neck. Trent was the
lead singer of Nine Inch Nails, one of my favorite bands. Now
this is getting intense!
"Are you serious? You were living with Trent Reznor?"
"Yeah but I would rather not talk about it. I'm actually
living in hiding now." She said with her crisp British accent.
She looked away. "From who?" I asked genuinely confused.
"From Trent. He was convinced I was cheating on him with
his bassist. He had a temper tantrum, and said he was going to
Her story just got weirder as she revealed to me that a 60 year
old man named Rolie, a wealthy Swiss businessman, says he loves
her and wants to marry her.
"You have all these men fighting for you- you know something-
I should call you Helen of Troy- your the kind of woman men die
for," I said, images from my Literature Humanities class
still fresh in my mind. She laughed. I quietly laughed at myself.
. . .
"Listen I could talk to you all night but I have to work.
I am staying at the Carlton Arms Hotel. Give me a call- we should
go out for fun sometime," she said.
"Definitely," I said, as I tried to convince myself
that I wasn't dreaming. . . this was too good to be true.
"God bless," she said and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
I stumbled out of the strip club like I had just walked away
from a car accident unharmed. Back to Columbia, 20th floor of
East campus, with my psycho suitemates. I spent the rest of the
weekend telling myself I should really study for Music Hum final
on Monday, and finally got myself to start and cramming Sunday
afternoon. After my final I finally saw Dana and her friend,
Dana. That's what I call fun- hanging out with two Israeli women
named Dana. We spent the entire evening talking about Israel-
how much I miss the place and how much I love the Mediterranean
sea, and everything else about the place. . . . I explained to
them my philosophy of the new and old Jew:
The old Jew is the Jew with European Jewish ideals- he values
intellectual study, has a close knit sheltered family and community
and raise his sons to be doctors and lawyers. These are the people
who founded the state of Israel. But when they arrived in the
Middle East nearly a hundred years ago, they quickly shed their
old values and evolved into the "New Jew." Nature,
farming, sports, self reliance, and physical well being, replaced
the Talmud, law, and medical books. The people of the book became
the people of the land; and returned to the lifestyle that was
originally characteristic of the Jewish people- two thousand
years ago- when we were still in Israel before the exile. But
in the exile, Jews have never been able to shake off the lifestyle
of the Old Jew. Today in New York- in the upper west side of
manhattan- Jews are running around as doctors and lawyers; and
still, despite assimilation, maintaining the traditions of the
old Jew in their spiritual sub-conscience. Like I wrote in my
letter to Prof. Heise, none of my judgments are being based on
my readings- these are my life experiences. Last year I spent
a year in Hebrew University. Absorbing and adopting the lifestyle
of the new Jews- the Israelis- around me. Now, I have just finished
my year at Columbia University- one of the capitols for the elite
of American Jewry. With Jews making up at least 40% of the student
body, Columbia is a major factory producing the next generation
of Jewish doctors and Lawyers, and other rich people. And here
I am "in the middle of things," as my father likes
to say, again soaking up the ways and lifestyle of those around
me. And by the end of the year I fit in great. Here I am on Prozac,
and wandering the streets of New York like a regular Woody Allen.
The New Jew moves to Israel, eats falafel and works on a kibbutz.
The New York Jew studies medicine and chugs down Prozac by the
jarful. I think its time for me to go back to Israel. . . I'll
let somebody else have my space in the Woody Allen fan club.
But meanwhile I have two more years before I graduate from Columbia
(talk about irony) so I better get comfortable. And I was stressing
out. I was not in my natural habitat. And I guess that's how
I ended up at the strip bar. . . .
Tuesday I called up Helen of Troy, who I had not been able to
stop thinking (obsessing) about for the entire weekend.
"Why don't you come by the hotel?" she asked, with
her charming British accent. When I got there an hour late, she
was lying in her bed with a nightgown on. "Hold on, I'll
get dressed," she said.
"Should I leave?" I asked uncomfortably
"Its not like you haven't seen me naked," she answered
with a smile. There was something in her mannerisms that made
her extremely mysterious. . . and sexy. . . and very familiar.
Maybe it was because she seemed almost as messed up as me. [remember
my last note about the heroin? : )]
So she got dressed- so casually that I had to wonder if she knew
I was in the room. Strippers do not tend to be very shy about
nudity. . . She was rambling about something- I don't remember
what- too mesmerized by this strange creature to focus on what
she was saying. I still can't pinpoint what it was that captivated
me. [ITS THE HEROIN, DUMMY. . . .] It was not like she was the
first woman I had seen naked. But something about her seemed
to be entirely new, fresh, and pure. . . and then I reminded
myself I had met at Runway 69.
I watched as she put on her black leather biker jacket. It was
weathered to the pint where it was almost brown; just like mine.
And my mind. (19 but feel like 90, what with finals, no Ethiopian
Woman, vision quest, and all). Running on empty, but still kickin.
Something about her made me think her mind had been as trampled
on as my own.
Walking down the street, she immediately started rambling, talking
quickly while staring at the pavement with wide open eyes, looking
up occasionally to focus on some invisible point in space. I
was lost in my own thoughts and only picked out pieces of her
monologue. And when I was listening, I was concentrating more
on her intriguing British accent than what she was saying. But
I could tell that she was highly intelligent. I smiled to myself
as I realized she was talking to me the way I talk to most people.
All my ideas already digested in my mind, and throwing them out
in dialogue more because I wanted to hear them spoken than to
listen to my listeners opinions. Most people just don't understand
what I am saying. It was eerie thinking how similar Sarah seemed
to be to me. Finding somebody with a mind as messed up as mine
is certainly not very common . . . .
She soon was talking about Trent Reznor again. When she mentioned
that he was Jewish, she got my attention.
"Yeah, he's Jewish- Trent Reznic [Or something like that]
is his real name. For some reason I am attracted to Jews. The
last four guys I dated were Jewish," said the blonde haired
green eyed exotic dancer. "Yeah I think I am attracted to
Woody Allen types," she said. I laughed. I looked into her
cat green eyes. She looked into my eyes for an instant and than
looked away. Shit I have to chill.
We spent all of Tuesday hanging out in the park. We drank a bottle
of red wine.
I told her I want to be her slave and to worship her. I said
I should call her Isis, goddess of cats. She told me to shut
up. We walked down the street, sharing our philosophies of life
(although it was mostly her talking, I was riding off raw waves
of Sarah energy).
And then we went to a peep show. Yup. We were walking down 8th
street when I noticed her looking across the street. I followed
her gaze and saw the big XXX sign in the window, and "Jack's
Adult Entertainment," written in neon red letters.
"Lets go," she said grabbing my hand and pulling me
across the street. So I walked into the porno store, ignored
the dozen horny middle aged men staring at me (at Sarah would
be more accurate) as if they never saw a woman before. . . or
at least in a porno store. We walked to the back of the store
where there were booths with VCR's set up, and stumbled in, giggling,
enjoying the absurdity of the moment. The wine helped too. She
put in a quarter and switched to a lesbian movie. I think she
was getting turned on a lot more than I was, as I wondered what
a nice Jewish boy was doing with a stripper in Jack's Adult Entertainment.
But I guess meeting a girl in a strip bar tends to loosen inhibitions for the fist date.
. . .
Walking down the street we noticed
a dime bag of pot just lying on the sidewalk. Sarah picked it
up, and we kept on walking like it was normal to find bags on
marijuana on the street.
That night, she said: "we're going to the club." The
one Sarah was telling me about the night I met her. The VAULT.
I told her I was scared. THIS IS DOLPHIN 1. HELP!!
"We'll smoke this and you'll be fine," she said, pulling
the dime bag out of her jacket pocket "If you really want
to be my slave, than that's the place to do it," she added
with authority, arching her back like a cat as she slipped out
of her clothes and walked topless across the room. As I looked
at her I was sure that I had never been alone with a sexier or
more beautiful woman in my life. The only thing preventing me
from getting off my seat on the bed and embracing her was my
inhibitions (not anywhere near full Dolphin yet).
"Do you like this?" she asked pulling a flimsy black
vinyl dress from her closet. I think my tongue getting rug burn
on her carpet let her know I did.
"We need some rolling paper," she said. "Why don't
you go across the street and get some." I obeyed as if it
were an order. [as well as later in the middle of the night to
get cat food.]
When I got back she was sitting on the bed in her black vinyl
dress, caressing Tabitha, her cat. A bright halogen light in
the room (for some reason those lights always make ordinary scenes
transcendental for me) illuminated the two felines- Sarah and
Tabitha- like they were posing for a photographer's portrait.
If only I had my camera to capture this cat goddess on film.
Sarah put on her fake leopard skin coat and her spiked heels
and we were off. Before we stopped a cab, Sarah paused to flirt
with an admiring homeless man.
"How are you this evening?" she said in her crisp British
accent after he whistled at her. This chick is not to be messed
"Baby- you is lookin' FINE!"
"God bless," said the Catwoman with cold eyes, and
we walked away.
We took a taxi to 10nth Ave. and walked down some spooky side
street. We stopped and asked some dock workers where the Vault
was. They said they didn't know. When we found the club, we were
told it was men only night.
So we went down the block where we had noticed a couple of drag
queens and other interesting looking people standing in line.
This club was mostly gay, we were told, but come on in, it was
only five bucks. We squeezed our way through the blockade of
mostly tall muscular topless men- half of whom were hugging and
dancing passionately. We found our way to a coat check where
Sarah checked her fake leopard skin coat, and to the dance floor
where music was pounding violently. She led me to the front,
confident as if she had worked there for years, and right next
to the stage where a man was dancing naked with a foot long plastic
penis hanging from his crotch. At least I won't have to worry
about any other guys hitting on Sarah at this place. I bought
her a drink. She threw salt at my neck, licked it off in her
catlike way, and downed her tequila as if it was water. I wanted
to kiss her, but my Old Jew self consciousness was still in control.
We squeezed our way between drag queens and wildly dancing men
to the middle of the dance floor, and started gyrating to the
strong beat. I looked around, and almost fainted when I saw the
massive sign hanging on the stage. O.C.D. NIGHT it read. There
was an almost naked man in chains on the stage pretending to
be counting the grains of a large pile of sand. A drag queen
was proudly carrying a banner with PROZAC written in bright red
letters. Is this a frieking nightmare? God is obviously laughing
hard. I go to Israel , f ind the waves and the New Jew and realize
I am home. In New York I end up fitting in at friek Prozac-fest??
get me out of this cave. But then my eyes were back on
Sarah's sexy body and my mind was in the present.
"Here hold this, she said," pulling off her black wig.
It was hot and we were both sweating. What am I going
to do with this ? I stuffed the wig halfway down my pants. .
. and was too drunk to notice when it fell out and got lost in
the mob of dancers. But so was Sarah so I was O.K. (Later she
noticed she was missing a wig, so I bought her a new one.)
Back at her motel, Sarah led me into her room acting as casually
as if she were in Runway 69 leading me to the back for a lap
dance. On her bed, she said her back was sore.
"Would you like a massage?" I asked.
"That's what Trent said the first night we slept together,"
she said, once again bringing up the man who I was becoming less
and less fond of despite never having met the guy.
"And then you were with him for the next four years?"
I asked. She nodded. "Well that was some long back rub,"
I said with a grin.
She took off her clothes, looked at me with her cool green eyes,
and said "but I'm not going to have sex with you."
- sex with Isis
I was hurt. I awkwardly got
under my small share of the covers and stared at Tabitha her
cat as I listened to Sarah snore. I couldn't fall asleep for
a while- partly because I still felt uncomfortable like the way
I was when we she tried to watch me piss, but also because I
was still overflowing from the manic energy generated from my
obsession over this woman. I looked at her as she lay sleeping.
She was beautiful. But something didn't feel right. This catwoman's
bed was a long way from the waves off Tel Aviv. And I was a long
way from home. . .
The next day, as I woke up and looked at the angelic figure at
my side I wondered if I was still dreaming. (I think I've been
dreaming the last six years . . .) That morning we took a bath
together, and went and saw her friends Adam and Rich, the musicians.
Sarah and I ate Chinese food. I went back to Columbia, to catch
up on my work for The Daily Spectator,
while she stripped at Runway 69.
Ariana, the overzealous Asian news editor, wanted to know "where
the hell" I had been. I went to work interviewing James
Lynch, the director of investigations for the Columbia Security
Department. There had been an intruder who had been entering
the rooms of female students for nearly six moths. Lynch thought
they had caught the guy. The Spectator editors were convinced
I was their ace investigative reporter, so they wanted me to
get the scoop. James Lynch, a black big six foot two former NYPD
officer, was told to expect some college reporter for an interview.
Little did he realize that he would end up having to talk to
some nut who is convinced he is the next Jesus with an obsession
for truth transcending rational behavior. I stared him straight
in the eyes. My wild look obviously made him uncomfortable. I
went to High School in Milwaukee, buddy. Don't give me any shit.
By the time I asked a few really harsh questions, he was really
pissed off. I think I have a talent for getting people to this
"I don't think this should be tried in the student press,"
said Lynch, after a particularly pointed question.
My questions only got more offensive. When I played back what
he had said five minutes earlier on my tape recorder, pointing
out a discrepancy, his face turned purple, and he punched his
"I know you reporters- trying to distort what I say- taking
it out of context.
"Listen, I think students living in the dormitories have
a right to know about the intruder, and if their security is
in jeopardy," I said with the tone of voice that gets my
father to call me a wise ass.
"Too many times newspapers blow things out of proportion."
"Listen, Mr. Lynch- I'm not getting paid for this. I do
this because I enjoy it. Believe it or not, I'm on a search for
truth. That's all I'm after. I want the truth. And if I don't
get from you, I'll get it from somebody else," I told him,
Double Mirrors in the back of my mind
©Dylan Tauber 1994-2018.
All rights reserved.