Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Forbidden Passages: Tales from the Editorial Spike

Journalists call it the “spike”—the decision to not publish a story for reasons of its truthfulness, incompleteness or other political sensitivity. I used the spike on thousands of words I could have included in my dating book. Even after years of polishing and considering materials, I had to decide what to include and what to delete up until the end. The book could have topped 250 pages had I opted to throw in every pearl of wisdom I’ve ever scribbled on dating topics, or topics completely unrelated to dating.

In some cases, I spiked episodes that I ultimately did not feel comfortable seeing the light of day (at least under my own name). They were just too personal, revealing more than necessary about the inner workings of intense relationships. I decided to leave in related but shorter or milder material that made a point without drawing blood. And in some cases, I think I’ll save the material for either a novel or another try at the New York Times’ “Modern Love” column. Something may be too personal for a book, but just right for Modern Love (as I’ve said at times in my life, I’m corruptible).

Still, no harm will come from a peek at what’s not there. So, here, free of most context, are snippets of what I call the Forbidden Passages—Tales from the Spike. Feel free to create your own imagined stories about them.
She had said I was a pain in the ass for never calling, just doing IM. "That's not true!" I protested. "As soon as Helga gave me her phone number I called her." Ingrid was stunned by this—she never knew I had actually talked to Helga. I had behaved the same with Ingrid—when a woman gives me her phone number, I call.
A 37 year-old Catholic lawyer of Lebanese background in Latin America, Judy immediately attracted passionate attention from men who loved her glamorous profile and pouting, voluptuous photograph, remarkably similar to Latin TV star Ninel Conde.

In fact, the woman in the picture was Ninel Conde. The profile was a fake, a lark invented by a friend to assemble all the stereotypical themes of a glamour-girl profile. Then the lie became a kind of truth. My friend turned to me, as co-writer, to help figure out what to do with the emotional mess that her sexy monster created.
For months I chased Sandi even as her yes/no/maybe-so ambivalence made the pursuit as futile and maddening as Captain Ahab’s quest for Moby Dick. I knew this opportunity would end badly, but my back muscles strained and my hands and heart bled as I plunged my emotional oars into the churning, blood-chilling waters of romance with Sandi. . . . Then, Sandi flipped her cruel, mighty tail one final time and smashed my pathetic little whaleboat of love, ending contact between us.
Vera says: Come to see me
Van says: That's a long haul, a big step. Will you be in the US at any time?
Vera says: No, I prefer you come  ladies first choice
Van says: I see. Too bad about all that water in the middle.
Vera says: Bye
My favorite venues have been the Essensuality “erotic expression” salons and the monthly Wide Open Wednesday at the Museum of Sex, where performers gather in the Oral Fix CafĂ© for a rollicking, unpredictable time. I’ve had to go deep within to find my own performing style and material. From the start, I knew I had to connect to audiences with my words, not my looks; unlike some performers, I’ll never wow anybody by stripping down to my skivvies. What, I thought, could I possibly say compared to talented performers like Bikini Bondage Babe, Little Miss Orgy Organizer, Gay Phone Sex Dude and Brooklyn Transgender Birthday Gang Bang Guy?
We were in our 40s and used my classic Corvette Stingray to get away from our kids. Better late than never!

Did I say “Corvette Stingray”? I meant my “Hyundai Elantra.” But it thinks it’s a Stingray.

Car Stories

[For an open-mic performance of this essay, follow this link .] My name is Van. I’m named after a car, the 1950s British racecar called ...