Friday, April 9, 2010

The Remaining Twelve Things

13.  I carried on an affair with a man I had no respect for because he had two polo ponies from Argentina and I wanted to help train and condition the horses over a winter and spring.  I kept having sex with him through the polo season so I could learn to play polo.  Then he went on a vacation to South Africa. He came back telling stories about how inept and corrupt the blacks in the government were compared to the old Apartheid regime.  Then I dumped him.

14. When I was twenty-one I spent a year in Italy modeling.  I became the darling of a very famous group of artists.  I also had an affair with Nino Cerruti.  He was such a lovely, sexy man.  I was afraid I'd fall in love with him, so when he invited me to his birthday party I lied to him and told him I was going to the country house with Arnaldo Pomodoro and Toni Del Renzio.  I was always invited to spend the weekends with Arnaldo and Toni and the rest of the artists in the group.  But the real reason I declined Nino's invitation was the fear of loving him.  Loving a man has always frightened me.  It's all about fear of rejection, fear of abandonment.  What a shame I've deprived myself of love.

15. Truth is, I've been happiest living alone.  I have no family.  Only a dwindling few friends.  Death is stalking us all.  But I live my life the way I choose.  There is no one telling me I should or shouldn't do this or that.  There is no one monitoring my every purchase.  There is no one trying to coerce me, or trick me into doing what I'd rather not.  There is no one to fight with over control of the remote.  There is no one to do the things that I think men ought to be able to do.  I miss this aspect of having a relationship with a man.  I can cook, but I can't install a programable thermostat or fix the broken dryer.  I can paint the walls, but I can't paint the ceiling.

16. I've had the strangest weakness for bass players.  I lived with a very talented bass player for twenty some years, off and on.  I had an affair with an Italian bass player in 1965.  His name was Toio.  Sad I can't remember his last name.  He too was very talented.  He was also a patient and skilled lover.  Actually, except for the symphony bass player, my bass player lovers have been spectacularly good in bed.  Something about the hands.  I love the look of a man playing the stand up bass; it's shaped like a woman, and I especially like to watch the fingering.  Don't care that much about the bowing.  Maybe that's why the symphony player wasn't that good in bed.  He couldn't improvise like the jazz bassists.

17. I've had a strange sexual reawakening lately.  I thought I was through with all that.  I'm not actually engaging in any sex with a real person in the flesh.  But I've had a lovely flirtation with man I've admired for a long time.  I've never seen him. I very likely never will.  And most likely if I did meet him, it would ruin everything.

18. And while I'm on the subject of sexual fantasy versus reality...  I've always believed one of the differences between men and women is that men try to live their sexual fantasies. This often results in unintended consequences.  And it also lessens the power of the fantasy.  I think most women know the value of fantasy as fantasy.  It has real power so long as it remains a fantasy.  Nothing can ruin a good fantasy faster than reality.

19. I've become nearly invisible in my old age.  This happens to all of us as we age.  At some point you notice guys are no longer checking you out.  I found this very liberating. Now I rarely wear make-up.  About the only concession I make to pulling myself together for the public these days is to wear a bra.  I don't really give a shit how I look these days.  Having spent my life having to look good and then hating the attention that it drew, I now luxuriate in my invisibility.

20.  I think beautiful women are given a power that always becomes problematic.  Someone once said to me that great beauty is like great inherited wealth.  You did nothing to earn it or deserve it, and you'll never know if people love you for just your looks or just your money.  The beauties often feel like objects. It's not a good feeling.  For some men a beautiful woman is a great accessory.  Beautiful women are a challenge to a certain kind of man, kind of like prey. The nice guys don't tend to court the beauties.  I'm not sure why.  And very few women really like the beauties when they show up at the dinner party.  They too objectify the beauty and dismiss her.  How could it be possible to be that pretty and be smart and funny as well?  Where's the justice in that?  The beauty is often seen as a threat. I'm no longer a threat to anyone.  It's nice.

21. I have a temper.  I will no longer muzzle myself.  Good thing I live alone.  I'm probably a lot nicer to animals than I am to people.

22. I lived an interesting life in interesting times.  It was not easy.  But now I have a great deal of material to write about.  For me the real challenge is to use the material less as memoir and more as fiction.  The new book is fiction.  The characters are drawn from life, but I have taken great liberties with them.  Like they say, "The characters in this book are not based on any persons living or dead." And whenever I see that disclaimer, I think, 'sure they aren't.'

23. I'm addicted to twitter.

24. I've smoked cigarettes since I was five.  My heinous mother taught me to smoke and mix simple cocktails. She thought it was amusing to have me smoke and tend bar at her parties.  I had a very strange childhood.  I've smoked pot since I was eighteen or so.  My doctors are amazed that my lungs are clear.  My lungs are huge, but clear.  Suck on that haters.

25. It's been so long since I've been held or felt naked skin on naked skin, I have skin hunger.  I'd like once more to be held in a naked embrace by a man I trust.  I think it isn't likely to ever happen again.  So living in my head is the next best thing.  Now I'm writing about being held in a naked embrace.

If I've repeated myself in this list I apologize.  I'm too lazy to go look at the first list of things to check.


Cleveland Bob said...

Your whole list of 25 was super fantastic. Wildly poignant and funny as shit. It's posts like that that keep the innertubes alive and kickin'.

Have a lovely Spring weekend...

Nan said...

"Nothing can ruin a good fantasy faster than reality."

Sadly true. Whether it's something kinky in the bedroom or a beach house in a tropical paradise, the real thing is never as good as what you imagined.

Tessa said...

I think I was fortunate to be a fairly plain-looking girl and woman. A male friend pointed out to me that if a beautiful woman has a blemish of any sort, it really stands out. He remembered being repulsed by a date who, although gorgeous in every way, had one crooked tooth. He told me that I had thick shining hair and well-shaped legs, so I should learn to play them up and forget the rest of the package, because men are so easily seduced if you use what you have wisely. (He also told me that any man who is worth anything, once he gets past 40, is more interested in good brain than good head!)

I don't understand why publishers are not knocking down your door begging for your memoirs. You've had a fascinating life, but it sounds like you've paid a steep price for it. And I don't think anything is worth a lost childhood.

Fran said...

Wow! You've live quite the life, literally all over the map. Thanks for sharing.

Utah Savage said...

Bob, Thank you for reading and being generous enough to comment. Is always nice to get compliments on one writing.

Nan, it's nice to know another woman who gets that about fantasy. I wonder if men will also agree.

Tessa, I wanted to look average. I wanted to pass for normal. Now that I'm old I get that pass.

Fran, it has been quite an interesting life. I would have liked a lasting love, a loving family, the normal things, but life did not send me on that trajectory.

Gail said...


Your raw honesty fascinates me, inspires me, humbles me, and dare I say, a few excited me. Just keeping it real.

Love you
peace and jazz

Utah Savage said...

Gail, thank you so much for that. I have nothing to lose, prove, or be embarrassed by anymore. So, I can finally be honest. That way I learn something about myself each time I write.

Oso said...

Nice guys tend to assume women are more attracted to the bad boy type, and unfortunately that's often true. Never understood why.

So a beautiful woman would tend to just magnify that assumption, her beauty would make her seem ultra-female.

Women often tend to see nice guys as just right for someone else.

Utah Savage said...

Oso, nice guys never even made the slightest effort. But the line of bullshitting bad boys was long. I had a weakness for bass players. All bass players aren't necessarily bad boys. Maybe it was that bass players had a thing for me. I'm not sure how that worked.

Jennyablue said...

Your stories fascinate me. I am feeding myself a steady diet of your posts. I wish we were in your sitting room, and I was listening to you tell me your tales. That would be so delightful. In my mind, I am there listening, as I read along. ox Thank you

Utah Savage said...

Jenny, what a nice idea.

Jennifer said...

I'm here from Kathleen Maher's posting on FB and I will definitely be back, not just because your 25 things are so interesting, but because of the way you write.

Utah Savage said...

Thank you Jennifer. That was a very sweet thing for Kathleen to do for me. I'm a facebook dolt.

Anonymous said...


Fran said...

Utah~ I went to a parenting counseling session w a large group, they had about 100 people in the room & they asked people to raise their hands if they came from a dysfunctional family.

It looked like about 95% raised their hands!

People go around telling each other "everything is fine", but apparently for the majority, it is actually not.

Now some degrees of dysfunction are quite severe, so the victims are rightfully so keeping that on the down low. Most in passing surface relationships don't delve into deep truth.
But ohh to have a real friend you can tell about what is going on... what a relief that is.

Utah Savage said...

Fran, I'm betting that if everyone wrote honestly about their family history, their adolescence, their attempts to break free from their fucked up families, the guilt, the shame, the disapproval, the sex, the fights, the manipulations, the passivity, the grief, we'd all be a lot healthier. It wasn't until I began writing that I started to heal. Bipolar is another thing altogether. That's a genetic illness that can be made worse by the other crap but can be managed with good care and a willingness to work at it. You have to be a compliant patient to remain stable.

And I think that show of hands was an accurate sampling. We're a very fucked up culture.

Randal Graves said...

So your letter would go like this?

Dear Mr. Fantasy,

Go away.



Dammit, now I want to hear that song. And that's the only honest thing you'll get outta me, copper.

mountain.mama said...

Bass players, interesting. I went through a groupie stage for awhile. The fantasy was definitely better than the reality. Never having been an astonishing beauty I can't relate, but I do relate to fucked up family dynamics and struggles with depression and substance abuse. Our society is in deep shit right now. Very few people are skillful psychologically. I love that you stayed compliant with your bipolar treatment and prevented your past from doing you in. Your writing is spectacular and will last longer than fleeting beauty.

Utah Savage said...

I think writing about my fucked up past has helped me heal in the present.