Saturday, April 12, 2014

Crushes, And "Nice Guy" Syndrome

I have never obsessed or gotten worked up over "celebrity" women.... With two exceptions.  The two women were Wendy O. Williams (of the Plasmatics) and Lois Ayres (of the adult film industry).  Wendy O. was definitely my thing when I was fourteen or fifteen: I liked aggressive women (and the use of electrical tape over nipples in lieu of a shirt); Wendy O. created an obsession with mohawked women that lasts to this day.  Seriously, I think women with mohawks are drop-dead sexy.  (It's been thirteen years now; my wife still refuses.)

There was a bit of irony in my Wendy O. Williams crush.  At fourteen, Plasmatics album covers were as close to porn as I could find.  At seventeen, a running joke among me and my friends was a porno movie called Candy Goes To Hollywood.  A bunch of us, boys and girls, would sit around Eric's house (it was his parents' movie) and make fun of it, Mystery Science Theater style.  It has the requisite sucking and fucking, but was so cheesy we couldn't treat it as anything but comedy.  Even at that hormone-soaked age, I doubt a single one of us got any kind of jolly out of watching that movie....

.... And years later, I found out that Wendy O. was in it.  She was credited as "Wendy Williams," and had a full head of hair.... I guess.  I don't think you ever saw her head.  She was.... Ah.... performing an "act" involving ping pong balls for a sexualized spoof of The Gong Show.

My hang-up for Lois Ayres came about working in the adult book store.  I had a crush on her, big time, and it had nothing to do with the action on the screens.  I mean, I was totally inured to watching videos of people suck and fuck --- to this day, I don't give a shit about porn, it bores me because I've seen it all before --- and it's not like Lois was doing anything different.  It was just.... To me, she was genuinely beautiful, naked or clothed (she could have done a film wearing a skier's powder suit the entire time and I'd still have watched it) and her smile.... God, she smiled, and it lit up a room.  Hell, her smile could light up a city.

She also seemed genuinely friendly (and was, I'll get to that) on screen, easygoing, and appeared to enjoy her work.  By that I mean she took a pretty lighthearted attitude towards production.  Lois didn't have the primadonna 'tude that some stars would get back then ("I refuse to do the anal scene until I get two bottles of Evian, an order of braised prawns, and more cocaine!") and that came through in her films.  It's like she knew that deep down, porn is an odd, bizarre, strange, and slightly silly industry, so she'd relax and have fun --- and not the sex, the sex on a porn shoot is actually really lousy, excluding a ten second span for the male, but just in general --- and through her good attitude and comfortable behavior in front of the cameras, she became one of the bigger stars at the time.

(This is back when there were such things as genuine "Porn Stars,"  carrying contracts with the studios, making impressive money --- not anymore: these days you do porn to make decent money quickly, but not to get rich --- doing video signings, and being recognized on the street.  A strange source of fame, but fame nonetheless.)

So you can imagine my unbridled joy when I found out our store was having a video signing, and one of the performers was... Lois Ayres.  Vanessa Del Rio was another one, and I'll be damned if I can remember the third performer.  The signing was going from 7:30 to 9:30.  My normal shift was from 11:00 to 6:00, a graveyard, but I managed to con my way into an extra-long shift by pointing out they'd need extra security, crowd control, and just someone to act as a general gofer and support type guy.... Not to mention setting up the tables, working out the routing of the line so that customers who didn't give a shit could come in and shop, but no one would have the opportunity to cut in line, moving the chairs (nice cushy ones, no folding metal crap for stars), putting up the signs outside, going out to buy extra pens, and a whole shitload of other things.

They arrived nearly ninety minutes early via stretch limo.  Along with the three performers, there were two suits from the studio who looked like aging surfers dressed like mafioso, and their own two security guys. Fucking gorillas.  I was 6'1" and about 190 lbs., and these dudes could have picked me up and used me as a baseball bat.  It made sense: any fan who got too enthusiastic and considered launching himself across the table would be dissuaded by the very presence of these guys.

What struck me first was how tired the girls looked.  They told me later they'd left L.A. that morning, and this was their third signing.  I introduced myself, welcomed them, and told them if there was anything they needed, anything at all----
(Lois, can I do anything for you?  Back rub?  Drugs?  My car?  A prolonged half-hour orgasm?)
---- to just let me know.
Vanessa spoke up immediately.  "Can you get us some food? We're all starving, I think."  Lois and the other girl agreed.
"Not a problem.  Um, I can do Chinese, Mexican, gyros, there's a burger joint called Boll Weevil that does fantastic hamburgers..."
They conferred and said burgers sounded great, with onion rings and a couple sides of chili if they have it.  Drinks?  There's a liquor store up the block, they should have anything you want.
Vanessa and the other girl both asked for a couple bottles of diet whatever each.  Lois said, "I don't know if they'll have it, but if they have San Pellegrino water I'd like a couple bottles of that."
"Ooo-kay. If they don't have the San Pellegrino, what would you like instead?"
"Two large Perriers."
"No problem."  I stepped over to the gorillas, who had positioned themselves back a few  feet from the other end of the table.  "What can I get you gentlemen to eat?"
The one further back didn't seem to notice me at all.  The closer one looked at me in utter confusion, as if I'd asked if his penis changed colors like a Lava Lamp.  His brain finally processed what I'd said, and he replied, "We have food in the car."

It was my turn to be confused, but let it slide.  Given the appearance of these mutants, they probably had a half-dozen thermoses of Mega Blast Protein Super Shake in the trunk, and were happy with that.

So I went out to pick up the food, and hit the liquor store.  I grabbed the bottles of diet soda, did some searching, and YES!!  San Pellegrino, nice and cold!  Then I remembered my small cooler was in the trunk of my car, so I loaded the drinks in and poured a small bag of ice on top.  Then back to the shop.

I was greeted like The Savior returned.  All three of them really were hungry: they tore into their burgers and onion rings practically before I'd finished setting the bags down.  I set the cooler down between Vanessa and Lois and dispensed drinks.  Upon seeing the San Pellegrino, Lois nearly shrieked with joy; I cracked it open for her (as I'd done for the other girls) and she hugged me around the waist briefly (oh my God Lois Ayres is touching me oh god oh god) and said, "Oh sweetie, you found some for me!  Thank you thank you!  I get so dry----" (give me the chance and I'm sure I could make you very wet Lois darling)  "---- and this stuff really hits the spot."

What wanted to come out of my mouth was, "Lois, run away with me, I'll treat you like the goddess you are.  I'll see to it you never want, in life or in love."  Fortunately what came out was, "No problem, it's what I'm here for.  Remember, if any of you need anything at all ----" (like if Lois needs to practice her oral sex skills, practice makes perfect) "---- just have someone come and get me."  Then it was time for me to set up the ropes.

There was twenty minutes to go and everything was ready.  The line was out the door, and blocked off about ten feet from the table.  Generally speaking, it seemed like those in line for the signing were the same sort of nebbishes that made up our customer base at any other time: uncomfortably quiet, staring at their shoes or the product they had in their hand (the signing was for a new video release.  You bought your video as you walked in past the register, and then waited in line), dead silent.  I always wanted to yell, "You dickheads are all here for the same reason, quit being so goddamn nervous!"  They behaved as if they spoke, God would hear them and smite them where they stood for engaging in lustful thoughts or whatever.

With the line backed up the way it was, there was nothing for me to do.  The district manager (geeked out of his skull on cocaine, courtesy of the studio suits) was outside glad-handing the non-speaking customers and jabbering how he'd seen a pre-release of the video, it's the hottest thing this year, yes, Lois, Vanessa, and _______ are inside and looking gorgeous.
(The girls' look was more classy than risqué.  Yes, they looked quite sexy, but it wasn't in a sleazy sort of way, they just looked very stylish and a tiny, tiny bit naughty.  The only one whose look screamed, "I am orgasm in human form!" was Vanessa.  If you've ever seen pictures of Vanessa Del Rio, you know two of the reasons she was successful in porn. I mean, those things needed their own zip codes.  Still, what's she gonna do, show up to her own pornographic video signing in a turtleneck sweater?)

The girls had finished their dinners. Like, completely finished them.  I'd ordered for myself and they finished before me.  I thought that was really awesome: for people whose very livelihood was based on their nude physical appearance, they seemed to have no issues with food at all. All three girls put down quarter-pound burgers, plus onion rings, plus chili... And I hadn't heard any "Ooohh, this is gonna go straight to my thighs!" bullshit.  (Nor were there immediate trips to the bathroom to purge.)  They were hungry, so they ate a good meal.  Hell yeah for them.

And I was having the time of my life: I was hanging around with Lois Ayres!  Really, all the four of us were doing was chatting about this and that; I purposely avoided any talk about the industry, and I think that was appreciated more than they let on.  Especially in the setting, just a friendly chat about car troubles, idiot landlords, really cool beaches north of Santa Barbara, pets, and stereo shopping was most comfortable.  We knew in twenty minutes we'd be swamped by neurotics, some of them barely able to mutter their own name ("Who should I sign this to, honey?"  ".......David.......") while others would drop to their knees and loudly propose marriage.  Seriously.  A couple might try to go over the table; the gorillas the studio brought along would go to work, removing the overexcited fan.  "Airborne" was how those fans would leave the store.

Every so often, some guy would step up to the table for his signature and.... Act perfectly normal.  "Wow, Ms. Del Rio, Ms. Ayres, Ms. _________ , I've gotta say, I'm a big fan. I want to thank you all for coming down and doing this signing."  The video box would be signed, and the guy would give the box a big cartoony kiss: "Mmmwah!  Heh heh.  Anyway, thank you again ladies, I love your work, and you're all really wonderful.  You're just what I need when I get off work, haha!"  Dudes like that, relaxed honest fans, were a breath of fresh air alongside the creepy near-mutes or the "marry me!" psychotics.  Never did figure out what the goal of the ones climbing over the table would have been, and never got a chance to find out.  Those gorillas may have been a little dim ---- who am I kidding, they were both thick as shit --- but they did their job well.

In the meantime, we just shot the shit and (oh my god this is so fucking awesome I'm having a conversation with Lois fuckin' Ayres if she touches me or hugs me again I'll probably have an embolism on the spot) and made jokes.  I noticed some hostile looks from the guys at the front of the line: here they are, herded behind ropes like cattle waiting to creepily interact with three women they probably viewed with a combination of fear, lust, and confusion, and here's this punk rock thug asshole talking and laughing with them, totally relaxed --- he ate dinner with them! --- and acting like they're normal people.  What sort of shit is that?  Goddamn, life isn't fair.  I'm a nice guy, why doesn't Vanessa Del Rio or ________ come over and talk to me?  Instead of that weirdo?  Whatever, they're all sluts anyway, look what they do for for a living.

Uh huh.  Well, you're right, life isn't fair....  But that's a generalized statement, not how you think it's unfair, Mr. Highly-Conflicted Nice Guy.  First of all, I'm over here because I work here.  I'm just on a bit of down time before I have to start herding you mooks like sheep.  Second, and this is the cruncher, I'm talking and laughing with the three stars you're here to see because they are normal people.  All three were (and certainly still are) friendly, intelligent, well-mannered, well-spoken women who just happened to work in a very strange niche of the entertainment industry: earning a legitimate living with one's genitals does rank high on the Very Unusual scale, but all of you in line make it possible.  I've just spent ninety minutes with them, and if you somehow feel threatened or cowed by these three perfectly nice women, dude, that's so your issue, and it sure as shit isn't their fault.

And incidentally, you think that female porn performers are sluts?  Seriously?  I can't decide what bugs me more: your ignorance, your hypocrisy, or your misogyny.

Obviously any of these dudes giving me the stink-eye weren't about to find out what I just told you:  It's a video signing, so there just isn't time.  But maybe --- just maybe --- if they dropped the deer in the headlights look and behavior, and used the fifteen seconds they got with each performer to speak clearly, thank them for coming down, and basically exude even a tiny bit of self-confidence, they'd feel better about themselves, and not have the performers mentally file 'em away under "Just Another Creep."

So were all these guys waiting in line creeps?  Hell, one of the reasons I'm writing this is to maybe sort that out.  They weren't the standard porn-hounds we were used to.  A serious porn junkie rents films, he doesn't buy them at thirty bucks a crack and he sure as hell doesn't wait in line for an hour to get the box insert signed by the stars.  These guys were genuine fans....  But of what or who I'm not sure.  Presumably at least one of the performers really floated their boat, and with my wobbly-knee'd crush on Ms. Ayres I was in no position to criticize that.  But Christ!  I've seen happier processions at the DMV.  There's a good chance at least some of them were collectors: some people collect comic books, these guys collected porn ephemera, getting signatures from stars was a score, and for all I know, that damn tape never actually went in a player at all.

I'm afraid that many of these men were terribly conflicted, both emotionally and morally.  (In fact, that could be said of our day to day customers, too.)  I won't bring up the specter of "pornography addiction" here: too off-topic, and would take too long.  Suffice it to say, the guys in line for the signing weren't addicted to pornography.  Our regular customers, the ones who would rent seven titles every two days....  Yeah.  Dudes walking around with a single Popeye forearm.  And those guys were actually pretty friendly; when returning videos they'd give us reviews of the different titles, letting us know which ones were awesome and which ones sucked, or didn't deliver on what the box art promised.  The Siskels and Eberts of smut.

I didn't expect that night's herd to understand the industry.  I was just learning some aspects of it myself; it would be a year before I would be involved in the nuts-and-bolts of production.  However, I did have a basic grasp of the industry, including production.  The assumptions about how hardcore is made were so ridiculous they may as well have said that mystical porno elves did the video shooting.

The longer I go into this, the less guilty I feel about calling the customers that night "creeps."  Eavesdropping on muttered conversations, it became clear that these were self-appointed "Nice Guys," a.k.a. hypocrites that blame their single-ness on women (who of course only date assholes), and not the fact that they refuse to take even the slightest proactive motion to date a woman.  Nice Guys expect women to come to them, because they're so nice, and get pissed off when women date the guys who actually asked them out.  Nice Guys cannot be friends with women.... Not genuinely, anyway.  Their friendships with women are ploys, schemes to make the woman think that this Nice Guy is really wonderful and I know, I'll reward him with sex.  You can guess how successful that is.  So when it becomes clear that they're going to remain Just Friends, the Nice Guy reacts with passive-aggressive hostility... Especially if the woman has the unmitigated gall to start dating someone.  Any time you've ever heard some half-drunk guy in a bar muttering about how "they're all bitches," you're hearing the words from some manipulative Nice Guy putz whose scheming didn't work out.

And no, Nice Guys cannot be friends with women for the sake of friendship.  With Nice Guys, there is always ulterior motive.

So for our Crew of Creeps waiting for signatures from porn stars, I'd say a good 80% were old hands at being Nice Guys.  You didn't need to get 'em drunk to hear them talk about how "they're all bitches," because it had become a mantra for them.  Quite possibly, that explains why they were collectively so terrified:  no strangers to porn, they now found themselves in the living breathing presence of the women who has provided countless hours of sexual fantasies for them.  Finding out the women were actual people was something they couldn't deal with, so they shut down psychologically.
(What would have been awesome --- and actually would have endeared the guy who did it to the girls --- would have been a guy stopping in front of Lois and saying, "Ms Ayres, I have masturbated 1,328 times to your videos.  I counted back, and yeah, 1,328."  That would have brought on a genuine laugh from all three stars, and a truly sincere "Well, thank you!"  C'mon, that's what porn is for.  That would be rather flattering....  And that night would have been 1,329.)

That's probably what ticked off the guys who had been giving me the stink-eye earlier.  I had demonstrated that these two-dimensional images on their TVs, sexy images that sucked cock and fucked in various positions and took it in the ass and moaned and panted and talked dirty and let men come in their mouths and on their faces, these images that performed sexual activities they possibly had never done in their lives.... I'd inadvertently shown them to be normal people, perfectly nice women who talked and laughed and joked and ate onion rings.  Their two-dimensional sex fantasies were real people, and nice ones at that.  Wait.... If they're people, that means they're accessible....

.... Only not to these guys.  They couldn't cope with healthy interaction with the women in their day-to-day lives, the psychological mechanics of even briefly interacting with women whose videos they'd been beating off to for years now just weren't there.  They wanted their fantasies sitting at that table, not three women.  That accessibility scared the shit out of them.... And also made them angry.  The dudes at the front of the line in particular hated my guts, for no other reason than, well, they'd shown up forty-five minutes early for the signing.... Only to have to witness some punk rock asshole, some kid, kicking back and eating burgers and having a good time with their fantasy women, conversing and laughing like the four of us were old friends.  What the hell would these three sexual dynamos, their two-dimensional fantasies, see in that scumbag?  He's a punk rocker, he's probably on drugs right now (actually, I was, but there was nothing new in that: it was a long day, my speed came in handy),  what appeal could that criminal junkie possibly have?

(It should also be noted that I was the semi-self-appointed face of Smut 'N'Stuff.  With the GM hiding in the back office with the suits, trying to snort his body weight in cocaine, and the cashier stuck at the register, it fell on me --- the guy with spiked hair and piercings and leather/stud bracelets and engineer boots and an Exploited t-shirt (at least my pants weren't ripped) --- to act as sort of a valet or concierge for the stars, plus answering questions from the guys in line, and generally put as friendly and welcoming a face on our pit of obscenity as possible.  Assisting the ladies was my own priority: pens running dry?  No problem, here's another dozen.  Lois and _________ have a chocolate jones?  I made a literal run up to the corner for candy bars.  Vanessa wants to have words with one of the suits?  I'd pound on the door until I got a response: "Who is it?"
"It's Lenny, open up!"
The door opened a crack, which was immediately occupied by my boot.  "Ms. Del Rio wants to talk to [guy in a suit]."
"Well.... What about?"
"She didn't say.  How about [guy in a suit] just come up and talk to her?"
"(*sigh*)  Fine, he'll be right up."  He tried to close the door, but my boot was in the way.
The GM looked at the boot, then at me.  "You're a pushy bastard, you know that, Lenny?"
"I believe that was one of the primary reasons you hired me.  I'm damn stubborn, too."
He rolled his eyes, smiled, and said, "Yeah, fair enough."
The requested suit came to the door.  "Yeah?"
"Ms. Del Rio wishes to speak with you, sir.  I don't know what about, but she did have an air of urgency."  (I was engaging in a level of politeness that would have made Stephen Fry as "Jeeves" proud when I dealt with the suits or the customers.  I was purposely relaxed and friendly with the stars; I wanted to be viewed as a calming, friendly influence for them.  Everyone else got formal courtesy.)
We both began winding our way up to the front of the store.  The suit looked me up and down, and asked, "So what do you do here?"
"This evening, or in general?"
"In general."
"My job title is 'stocker.'  I price-tag the novelty items, organize the magazines, keep the rental videos in order, generally tidy, things like that.  I'm also sort of unofficial security, keeping people from cruising the video booths, watching for shoplifters, and on occasion ejecting people causing trouble."
"For the way you look, you sure got good manners."
"Thank you, sir.  I do pride myself on being a gentleman.  The exception to this is when someone comes in seeking child pornography.  My behavior changes drastically."
He gave me a sideways look and asked, "You get heavy?"
"Very heavy, sir."
He smiled and said, "Good.  Fuck those scumbags.  Hurt those motherfuckers on general principle."
I smiled back and said, "I have made sure certain people went to bed that night with a headache.  Ah, here we are."
He and Vanessa began a sotto voce conversation and I made myself scarce: it was none of my damn business.)

And the girls... My God, they're just sitting there talking and finishing their dinners, just like.... Like normal people.  They're not normal, they're porn stars.  They should be making out with each other and sucking each other's nipples and compulsively masturbating, while sitting on top of the table so everyone can watch.  And they're just dressed nice, for chrissakes, they look like they're going to a job interview--- okay, Vanessa had the decency to show off her tits, but still....

Yes, how dare they!  You'd think that their lives didn't revolve around aggressive, energetic sexual activity every waking moment.  They're in porn, so obviously the only things they ever do is suck and fuck.  Don't try to tell us they have hobbies and pets and boyfriends(!), or that their cars break down and their landlord is being a jerk about the leaking faucet, or they clip coupons for when they go grocery shopping, and on days off they'll wear sweats and a t-shirt and hang out with their boyfriend.  Lies, every bit.  How dare you try to humanize them.

They're just a bunch of sluts anyway.

Yep, there's a special brand of stupid, right there.  Prevalent with Nice Guys, anyway: women who won't date them (because they never ask) but date other guys are sluts.  (While you, Mr. Nice Guy, are a paragon of virtue.  Every act of kindness you've ever done for a woman has had an ulterior motive, of trying to get in her pants.  She owes it to you because you're such a nice guy.)

Several guys did work up the guts to try to ask one of the girls out: "Are you doing anything after this?  Have you had dinner?  We could get something to eat, and have a few drinks...."
They were politely shot down.  "Thanks, that's sweet, but that limo outside?  That's my ride home back to Los Angeles.  I'm so tired I'll probably sleep in the car.  Besides, my boyfriend is expecting me."

I swear, a few of them physically lurched when they heard the word "boyfriend."  But.... But.... Porn stars can't have boyfriends!  You have sex with other people all day!

Dating when you're a performer has its difficulties, male or female.  Most romantic relationships develop between people already in the industry, just because it's so much bloody simpler.  Dating someone outside the industry?  That first date, you have to explain precisely what it is you do, that it's simply business, and if we start going out, jealousy over what I do is a deal-killer.  And believe it or not, I want someone who will hold me close, someone who will be gentle and take their time.  I want to be made love to, not fucked.  Usually.

That would be totally lost on the guys at the signing.  The ones who had been witness to us eating dinner and talking already had some of their illusions shattered, and finding out that a porn star doesn't want to engage in the high-energy, no-holes-barred sex they'd seen on the screen would break their hearts and libidos at the same time.  (Again, not all the time.  Because of how porn is filmed, performers do sometimes like some straight-up fuckin'.  The absence of the cameras and crew mean you can have a wild time.... Without any damn interruptions!  Ride 'em, cowgirl!)

The crowd had thinned, slowly but surely, and we were able to fold up at the appointed time.  I stepped out for a cigarette so I'd stop chewing a hole through the inside of my mouth.  Surprisingly, there were a few guys hanging around outside.  Upon seeing me, one of them swooped down and and asked, "Hey!  You work here, right?"
I assured him I did.
"Did you get to meet the three actresses?"
"Uh, yeah.  We had dinner together.  I picked up burgers and stuff from Boll Weevil, and we kinda hung around together before the signing started.  I didn't have anything to do, so we just, y'know, sat around and talked."
"Whooaahhh.  Um.... What are they like?  Are they stuck up?"
"Oh god no.  All three are sweethearts, and smart too.  Why'd you think they'd be stuck up?"
"I dunno.  Just.... Bein' in that business...."
"Nope.  They are charming, intelligent, clever, and funny women.  I'm glad I got to meet them.  Didn't you go in for the signing?"
"Oh yeah."
"Well, you met 'em then, right?"
"Yeah.... But I asked Lois Ayres out, and she turned me down!  What the hell!"
"Dude, she's got a boyfriend.  Of course she turned you down."
"Wait.... She really does have a boyfriend?  I thought she was just sayin' that."
"No.  She really does have a boyfriend.  Honest.  By the way, why are you still hanging around outside?"
"Oh, I want to buy some other stuff, but with you guys closed for the signing...."
"You kidding?  We never close, sure as hell not for a signing.  We've been open for business this entire time."
He literally whacked himself on the forehead.  "Are you---  Shit, I've been standing out here all this time for nothing?"  He waved his arms at the three other guys.  "Hey!  We can go in, they never closed at all!"  And all four of them hustled inside.

A bit of a relief.  I was afraid they were over-obsessive fans, and were planning some sort of ambush when the girls came outside.  Sure, the gorillas would have wadded them up like paper and thrown them on the roof, but the night had gone nearly flawlessly; I'd prefer it end that way too.  We'd had a few marriage proposals (none on bended knee), several requests for dates (if it was possible to sulk someone into submission, those guys would have gotten their dates), and no one tried to come over the tables.  The gorillas had had a boring night.

I went back in, and just in time.  They needed help schlepping the promo stuff out to the limo.  The tables and ropes could wait, right now there were three porno queens who were up past their beddy-bye time and needed to sleep.  The gorillas, the suits, and the girls were just coming out the back door as I was closing the trunk lid.

"Lenny!"  I turned, and it was my dream girl Lois.  "Here, I know you never got one, so here you go."  I opened the video box.  It had all three signatures, plus lipstick kisses, plus a note in Lois's handwriting saying, "Darling -- Thank you for all your help!  Your [sic] wonderful!  And thanks for being funny -- we needed it!  Love you -- Lois xxoo"

I could feel the embolism coming on again.

I gestured with my arms, and we hugged (fuck the embolism, my head's about to pop off at the neck).  We were still holding slightly when I decided to go for broke.
"Ms. Ayres?"
"Yes, Lenny?"
"May I kiss you?"
Her face got suspicious, then relaxed.   Smiling, she said, "No tongue, right?"
I gave her my best suave smile and said, "Ms. Ayres, despite my appearance, I am a gentleman."
So me and Lois Ayres, the woman of my dreams at the time, kissed.  Not passionately, but not nervous or chaste either.  The 1.5 seconds it lasted was an eternity of joy.  I've had my embolism, my head detached itself..... Now my bones have turned to liquid and I'm a puddle in the parking lot.  They'll need a Shop-Vac to collect me.
As they got in, I said, "I'm glad you could come down!  Please don't be strangers, I'd love to see you again!"
"You too, Lenny!  Thanks for everything, g'nite!"  And the limo pulled onto the street.

I went back inside.  The store was quiet and empty except for myself and my cashier, Wendell.  He asked how the signing went.  "Pretty smooth, actually.  No hang-ups, no problem fans, and only a few marriage proposals and requests for dates."
"And how did things go with you and... Ms. Ayres?"  (Wendell knew about my crush.)
"Oh my god... Wendell, she is so... Fucking.... Awesome!  She's beautiful and intelligent and funny, and she like the onion rings from Boll Weevil, she was dressed gorgeous without looking sleazy, and she thinks I'm funny and all three of them were fun to hang out with before the signing, and she hugged me twice and dude, she kissed me.  She fuckin' kissed me.  Sorry man, but my crush has only been reinforced.  Here, check this out."  I handed him the cassette box.  "Is that just too awesome, or what?"

Wendell read the notes and autographs, and smiled.  "Yes, absolutely precious.  Lenny, tell me something."
"What's up?"
"What if Ms. Ayres decided that a nineteen year old punk rock boy was the man of her dreams.  What would you do?"
"Well.... I don't know.  I wouldn't want her to give up her career, so I'd probably end up moving to Los Angeles, I guess, and get a job up there...."
"And it wouldn't bother you that she spends her days having sex with men that aren't you."
"What?  No!  Dude, it's her career.  So she spends her days getting fucked and suckin' dick.  I'd make her dinner and cuddle with her on the sofa."
Wendell smirked and said, "Making dinner and cuddling.  Leonard, you'll make someone a wonderful wife someday."
"Who knows, maybe hers."  (Wendell was one of a select few allowed to call me 'Leonard' and not 'Lenny.'  I preferred someone calling me 'Shitbreath Dogfucker' over 'Leonard.')
"Yes, well, don't get your hopes up, dear."
"I'm not, I'm not.  It's just....  Meeting her was so fuckin' awesome.  I can't get over how cool she is in person..... Hey Wendell, you ever have a crush on someone unobtainable?"
"Yes, about three hundred straight guys.  And if you mean celebrities, Steve McQueen.  Oh!  He made my heart go pitter-patter.  I didn't care he was straight: you think Lois Ayres could be convinced she needs a punk rock boy in her life, I wanted to convince McQueen he needed a secret gay lover in his.  We all have our little dreams, it's what keeps us going, really.  So what if they're unobtainable?  You'll probably never have Lois Ayres because life doesn't work that way, I'll never have Steve McQueen because he's both straight and dead.  But it's always nice to dream."

What Wendell said about Lois Ayres and me was the dead truth.... But it still made me a bit bummed out for a couple minutes.  I knew he was right.

"Hey Wendell."
"We can't dream right now, we got shit to do.  As near as I know, nobody's touched the return bin all day."
"Oh, mother.  You alphabetize, I'll box."

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