Getting Down, Going Home
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom
Going to Bed with Gill
Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire. The emotion derives from a double contact: on the one hand, a whole activity of discourse discreetly, indirectly, focuses upon a single signified, which is “I desire you,” and releases, nourishes, ramifies it to the point of explosion (language experiences orgasm upon touching itself)…
- A Lover's Discourse, Fragments, Roland Barthes -
Friday the 13th, October, 2006, New York City:
Tonight I went to Bed with Gill—literally, alas, not figuratively.
My friend John Davis, impresario of a well-known DJ group called Body & Soul, is now the resident DJ at Bed, located in the pit of New York City’s club row, 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. He was kind enough to invite me to check out his new gig. And so, I invited the lovely-lovely Gill to come and check it out with me.
The evening began at my apartment with a few glasses of vodka and OJ to nurse the ailments that ailed us. We listened to some of the new music I had recently cut for her. I played one of her new favorite songs, In a Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, over and over again.
Apparently, this made us hungry, so after rummaging through the cupboards for lil’ sumthin’-sumthin’ to snack on (By the way, I learned an important lesson—“Never-ever get between a girl and her snacks.”) I found a brand new bag of salty nuts that I had bought an evening ago. Saline and quite crispy, because they I had stored them in the fridge for whatever strange, spontaneous reason, they seemed to satisfy our urge, our sudden hunger pangs, at least, for a while.
At midnight, we jumped into a cab and headed downtown.
As anticipated, the lines were a mile long. I reminisced a bit about my pushes at the velvet rope during my younger years, basking in the glory of what a little feigned hubris can do for a man, which is essentially the equivalent of what a little leg can do for a girl.
John had given me a specific name to mention when we got to the door, but of course, I had completely forgotten it. So, although we were legitimately on his guest list, we didn’t know the magic words that would afford us that coveted smooth passage inside.
Thus, for a moment, we were ushered aside, into the longer line.
Unsettled and unwilling to succumb to such circumstance, for a long moment Gill and I futilely stumbled at remembering, “Was it Paul? Jake? Matt?”
Ultimately, I goaded Gill into working her wile, to ask them about “Paul.” Although, it was really “Matt” after all, somehow that guess sufficed, and we were immediately transferred to the other side, to that place where the chosen ones get to go, to wait and ride the magic elevator.
We entered onto the first level and were immediately lavished with the plush sound of house atop a swath of hip-hop, complemented by a festoon of flashing lights in deep, dark hues, hinting at coupled revelers dancing in the dark.
Bed is one of the newest clubs to rock NYC. Replete with king-size cushioned canopied platforms that resemble beds, the in-crowd now has yet another venue to play in, whenever they feel like spending a ridiculous amount of money to have a few drinks in the lap of luxury.
Being that neither Gill nor I were inclined to recline as such, after a while we moseyed on up to the rooftop in search of John. We discovered that while the kids were really jumping downstairs, upstairs was apparently where us old folks go to pasture.
We immediately found John tucked away in his booth.
A gentleman nonpareil, John greeted us with a smile, his charming British accent and two complimentary drink chits. I gratefully thanked him and we sauntered on over to the bar.
We ordered Mojitos. Ever since this Cuban drink of rum, seltzer, sugar, lime and freshly crushed mint became the hit cocktail of last summer, I’ve had quite a few, surely enough to acquire a good sense of what makes a good one. Thus, I must say that Bed’s Mojito last night was definitely, if not, absolutely, one of the best I’ve ever had.
Slowly sipping our refreshment, we toured the rooftop a bit, and took a few photos of the moon over Manhattan, until we decided to embrace the spirit of the evening by returning downstairs for a bit of dancing.
A little Latin pop, Hip-hop, mixed in with sum bumpin’ Reggaethon got us quickly in the groove.
Reminiscing upon that moment, it is easy to see why Cahn and Van Heusen wrote “What is Dancing, but making love set to music playing..." in their hit Sinatra song Come Dance with Me.
We ended this special evening, the night I went to Bed with Gill (God, I love saying that…as empty of an allusion it really is…), by going to the Empire Diner on 10th at 23rd, for some killer late-late night potatoes and eggs.
I think my momentary obsession with my lurid allusion is simply sparked by the fact that I am such good friends with Gill that there is an inherent thrill with being on the edge of spoiling amity with lust, of blurring the lines between trust and desire, of lighting the fire with the flame that sustains our wonderful amistad.
Besides, why would a man in his right mind want to spoil all that just because he’s a man, just because men are all the same, just because we all just want one thing…
It is no irony, that earlier in the evening, at the apartment, we had debated the age-old question: Can a man and woman just be friends?
In other words, “Can a man just keep his hands to himself?”
“Uhhh, no,” was my immediate answer, “Not if they are attracted to one another.”
“Okay, let me modify that slightly. Not if the man is attracted to the woman. Because men are plain and simple, men are wild beasts at heart, and all you have to do is pass a pair of legs before him and you’ve got trouble in River City.”
“We leave all the high-minded stuff up to you,” I added. “For women are the idealists; they are the evolved ones, the true intellectuals. The only reason men are scholars and bankers and lawyers…and photographers, is because they need to pursue other things in order to get our minds off what they really want, at least, for a while.”
“You see, women came first, and because you were the original creators, you have the power to purport and fathom and sustain lofty ideas like “friendship,” “companionship,” “partnership,” “cooperation,” “forever,” and of course, that most divine of all ideals love.
“The appeal of the good is rational, that of the beautiful is passionate. Friendship is human, while love is divine.”
- Love and Friendship, Allan Bloom -
I continued by adding, “If you left it up to us guys, we’d all be war-mongering—all the time, pounding our chests, and hanging from trees still….Gill.”
“Yes, men love too. But often they love because they lust first. Which is why women need to tame us first, civilize and subdue us, bat us down, before we can actually behave a while, just long enough for us to share a nice, quiet meal together. That is, at least, until the wine kicks in, and you let go, and then, well than—we’re back to being animals all over again.”
“So, let that empower you. Know that with a mere flash of skin you can wield the world if you want to, make men slaves with a wile of promise and hope and desire fulfilled. Keep us on a string, a tether that you pull every once in a while, so that we might follow you, wherever you might want to go.”
“So, you see, its really all too simple. Men are simple, hopeless creatures, we’re still hairy primates at heart, and there ain’t really nothing you can do about it Gill. Like Billy Joel says, just accept us just as we are and be empowered by this truth. This is the way it has always been, this is the way it will always be. The Beauty and the Beast living together happily, as long as she holds it all together with a little bit of love and a lot of good lovin’.”
Gill just rolled her eyes, for although she seemed a little surprised to hear me say that men, in truth, are such simple creatures, it seemed that in the tick-tick-tick of her mind her myriad experiences were verifying what I was saying.
Alas, as crass of a purview onto mice and men as my opinion-rendered might be, might have been, by evening’s end I was softening up.
Weary and worn down by my trials and errors, I was beginning to see and understand and feel how it is that men are felled down from their mountaintops and are dragged through the valley of desire-cum-love. As Roland Barthes once wrote, “My language trembles with desire. The emotion derives from a double contact: on the one hand, a whole activity of discourse discreetly, indirectly, focuses upon a single signified, which is ‘I desire you.’”
Thus, my blather. Thus, my self-effacing wit about me and all that I am and all that the lot of men are prone to be. Thus, the babylon, the noise and the trouble men make—all subterfuge, all signs, all spew, indicating how weak we truly are.
Thus, four hours later, with the Pisces now piqued in me, I was in that sentimental brood.
So, as we sat on the edge of once-drunk and tired after another long week of working in The City That Never Sleeps, I merely smiled at Gill, as we scraped at our meal—a perfectly sized plate of lightly scrambled eggs, a delightfully browned and smothered-with-butter English muffin, beautifully-barely crisped potato chips, and a couple of strips of a little-crispy, a little-greasy bacon.
We both reveled in the fact that for a few dollars we were having an awfully delectable meal in the middle of Manhattan, at 3 AM, on a Friday night.
At one point I wrote a few thoughts upon my napkin—“Years,” I wrote. A moment later adding “I lament time, when it feels as if it is all that lies in between.” I sighed, and then I shyly smiled at Gill. She asked me what I was thinking. I puttered, I pattered, but eventually I told her.
All night long I had been looking her straight in the eye, proud to be blunt, proud to speak the truth as I saw fit. This time though, I was compelled to look slightly askew, awry enough to appear and feel a bit demure.
There happened to be a piano player on hand to abet this suddenly reflective, suddenly affectionate, suddenly sullen, suddenly sleepy-eyed mood I was in.
Thus, toward the end of our mutual indulgence, I got up to place a dollar in player’s cup, and asked her if she knew In a Sentimental Mood. She said she did, and proceeded to play it as her closing number.
It was the perfect way to end another memorable evening with Gill—the night I went to Bed with her—if only in my dreams.
“Justice is loveliest, and health is best, but sweetest to obtain is heart's desire.”
- Ethics, Aristotle -
Note: All the photos in this set were created collaboratively. Some were taken by Gill, some were taken by me. Gleefully, we passed the camera back and forth, to and fro, in a frenzy of creative undulation all night long.
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