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     "God dammit son of a BITCH!"
     I winced. My mother was showing her love for me again.
     "Ken," she screamed quietly, "you've got to quit studying so much---you'll ruin your eyes. You waste all this light in your bedroom studying when you should be in the living room watching television with ME."
     "But Mom, I've got a test in Religion tomorrow," I lied, "and I've GOT to study for it." I was actually tracing the outlines of naked bodies from a physique magazine and adding outsized erections to them for my masturbation fantasies, but I could hardly tell her that.
     Before I had a chance to go back to my room, saying that I'd unscrew one of the bulbs and knowing that I could say it just lit up again if she came in and saw all four 25-watt bulbs burning in the ceiling fixture, the phone rang. It was Sister Mary Raymond, my home-room teacher at St. Mary's high school.
     "It's for you," my mother said lovingly, venom dripping from her fangs.
     "Kenneth (I hated my full name), you have to tell Latrobe College tonight that you'll accept their scholarship. I told you before that you should have accepted it right away. Now what do you say?"
     There it was---I had to make the decision I'd been putting off for a number of weeks. I'd taken an easy test with hundreds of other acned pupils in Catholic high schools in about ten eastern states, and I'd come up with the highest grade among the hundreds. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that Latrobe was a Seminary: if I went there, I'd probably end up the priest I thought I wanted to be.
     Yet I'd wanted to be a priest because there wasn't anything ELSE I could think of doing. I didn't want to get married, I did well enough in Latin class, there seemed to be a lot of security in being a priest---though I didn't particularly like the thought of working with kids like me---and I'd sort of forgotten about the child's wish to be a doctor (which frightened me with so much blood, or a dentist, which frightened me because they caused so much pain).
     On the other hand, I didn't know anything about Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Could I sneak out of sports, as I'd become skilled at doing at St. Mary's? Would I have a place to hid my physique books? Would I have such a neat place to jerk off as into the cold-air register beside my bed, which one day would produce a red-faced confrontation between my mother and me, her asking in a screech what the hell all that WAS corroding the metal of the register cover? And I wouldn't know anyone there, since most of my friends were going on to Notre Dame (which was too expensive for me) or to the University of Akron (which was just down the street from where I lived).
     But going to the University of Akron meant staying at home, living with my manic mother and my weepy five-year-old sister, a mistake that was sprung on the family twelve whole years after I was born as an only child. But then a perverted sense of loyalty hit me: if I left home, who would do the cooking for dinner while my mother worked as a secretary? Who would wash, dry, iron, fold, and put away the clothing? Who would dust, scrub, vacuum, and clean the wallpaper in the six-room house? Who would mow the lawn and water the garden and shovel the snow and clip the hedge and buy groceries? Who would keep my sister quiet while my mother napped after dinner until it was time to watch television?
     The last line of reasoning probably tipped the balance: "I'm sorry, Sister, I won't be taking the Latrobe scholarship---but I will be taking the half-tuition scholarship to the University of Akron."
     "But that's a public school; you should be going to a Catholic school---," and as the monologue continued, I wondered why my mother and the nuns couldn't get together somehow. After I'd graduated from grade school my mother had insisted that I go to the public high school within three blocks of our house. There was no tuition, books were cheap, and the Catholic high school I wanted to go to was halfway across town: either two bus rides or two difficult hitchhikes.
     But I insisted: I knew they didn't teach English or mathematics as well in the public schools, and, somehow, I knew that education was going to get me away from a drunken father---estranged from the family since I was five (which is another factor in the unexpectedness of my sister, conceived just after my father returned from Occupied Germany in the spring of 1947), who owned, as he had always owned, an independent grocery in a debt-ridden neighborhood---and a family I had minimal feeling for.
     The best people in the whole family were my two grandmothers, wise and wizened, and the two aunts on my mother's side.
     "No, Sister, I have to stay and help out my mother." Unfortunately, said mother heard this and thumped me on the shoulder, laughing.
     "G'WAN," she said, embarrassed, treating me as a friend. Maybe she wasn't so much manic as schizophrenic.
     I went back to "study," but couldn't even get excited for an orgasm. Did I do the right thing? I knew I wouldn't like staying around this house for another four years, but I felt, emotionally, about eight years old, and didn't really want to get out on my own. My fear was greater than my depression about staying around my mother.

     The next big decision came just four years later. I was content, now, studying to be a physicist rather than studying to be a priest. I still took tests well enough to win a number of fellowships to graduate schools, and I had almost accepted a full-tuition fellowship at the University of Illinois (which had an illustrious Physics department at that time) in 1957. But then the plum fell: the Atomic Energy Commission was setting up a Master's Degree in Nuclear Energy Technology at about 40 graduate schools across the country. Not only would they pay tuition, fees, and books, but they gave an $1800 stipend for living expenses. Of course, Columbia University was on the list.
     The decision was again decided by non-scholarship considerations: if I went to Illinois, I would probably STUDY, thereby ending up a Ph.D. in Physics. If I went to Columbia, I'd be in New York City, the center of the universe. I could explore culture, sexuality, people, museums, and the most exciting city I'd ever seen. The choice wasn't really difficult: I wrote to IBM and said I'd gotten a fellowship at Columbia: did they have summer employment?
     By coincidence, they had just set up a subsidiary called The Service Bureau, which was trying out a summer course for a VERY limited number of people---three of us.
     Contrary to those who say that our lives are totally determined by outside events and previous learning, I definitely felt that I HAD a choice in these matters, that I was controlling the direction I wanted to go, that nobody else could make the decision I had to make. It was a little bit frightening, but I guess I never feared that I wouldn't have the courage to get OUT of something that I really didn't want to continue with.

     The $1800 living stipend made it possible for me to get a room in the most convenient place: John Jay Hall of Columbia University. June 12, 1957, was quite a date: my first full day of LIVING in New York City, and my first typewriter (which I bought that day and wrote letters home on that night). I'd like to be able to say that my room number in John Jay was 1221, the number of the house in which I'd spent all my growing years except the one in California with an aunt while my parents got their divorce, but it was 1231 John Jay Hall.
     Riding the bus to work at Service Bureau was a joy for the first few days, but then it settled into the same routine, and I changed to the subway, where I could read more comfortably on the way to and from work. In a few days of reading bulletin boards at Columbia, I found an apartment to share for $33 a month, and I moved in after learning that my two roommates wouldn't be there most of the time.
     My first night, Monday, was spent in Central Park watching the New York City Ballet, and I was hooked into the cultural possibilities of the city. After the ballet, my friend Chuck took me to a bar in Greenwich Village called Lenny's: I had dreamed of such places---now I was in one.
     Beautiful tanned men stood around in tight-fitting blue jeans and muscle-outlining tee-shirts, shouting to be heard over the noise from the jukebox and the chatter of dozens of conversations in the tiny basement space. I'd read about gay bars but had no idea how to find them, and now Chuck had brought me to one. Oh, I guess it was clear to him that I was gay just as it was clear to me that he was gay. Who else would talk about painting nude men, the fact that Gide masturbated with scissors, and the life of Heliogabalus, the transvestite Roman emperor who may have been fucked to death at 18 or so?
     I didn't understand anything of the mores of this group, but the fact that the group existed was enough for me. I wasn't alone anymore: I had a place, at least one, in which I fit, belonged. Chuck excused himself and I stood in a corner, trying not to look wide-eyed and innocent, and of course looked wide-eyed and innocent.
     No one talked to me; I didn't talk to anyone. I didn't know the ground rules. Chuck came and went, and after a couple of hours we left together to return to Columbia, where he was entering his fifth year as a floor book-checker in Butler Library. He read economics books, Kant, Finnegan's Wake, Hobbes, and other totally unknown authors during the long hours of sitting, flicking a counter for the number of people, and confirming that books had been checked out.
     Training for computers was exactly my metier. I had a memory for the details of the instruction formats, could flowchart processes that took care of all the exceptions almost by instinct, and could understand the logic of the computer almost from the first day.
     It fit into one of my pet theories which has never been proven wrong: anything, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a series of steps that can be understood by absolutely anyone. The computer just happened to be a supremely fast anyone who could only count from zero to one before going back to zero again, who could only decide yes or no without a shadow of a maybe, and who would never forget anything that it was told.
     Not that computers didn't appear to be human. Stories about "it" were rampant, but I can attest to only a few. The most memorable computer story happened in the following way. I was working in Poughkeepsie on a new computer: this was the only working model of the IBM 7090. It was given a set of instructions, and then told to execute these instructions by means of a "GO" card. This was literally a card that was punched with an asterisk, telling the computer that this was a special kind of command, and the two letters GO.
     Since every program had one of these cards, they tended to get rather frayed from overuse. My program was run in; it didn't work. We looked at the GO card and decided to reproduce it. Asterisk-gee-oh. Try again. Still no go. Try again. No go. Study the card: asterisk is that hole and that hole and that hole. G is that and that; O is that and that. All OK. Try again. The operator is contemplating declaring that the machine is "down---" a word that means the same as sick, not feeling well---and inoperable. Then I had a flash. The frayed GO card had had a green edge. The new GO card had a yellow edge. Laughing, I punched up a green GO card and put it in the deck. With a whir and a flash of lights, the computer took off and executed my program. I don't know why, but the computer obviously wanted a green GO card.
     I discovered the Thalia theater, then in the middle of their legendary summer festival. With my student card, before 5PM, I would be admitted for a quarter. Sous les Toits de Paris, Carnival in Flanders, Sadko, Potemkin, Strangers on a Train, Pather Panchali, the list of movies seen that summer would fill pages. Then came Cinema 16, and special films in Columbia auditoriums. Shakespeare in the Park, ballet in the theaters, free tickets to Happy Hunting with Ethel Merman filled my nights.
     Except for weekends. Then I'd go back to Lenny's. The second time, I went again with Chuck. This time I spoke to someone: two people, in fact. I couldn't decide which I wanted---they seemed to be agreeable to anything---so I invited them back to my apartment on Second Avenue for my first threesome. Another incredible discovery: people could PLAY/HAVE FUN while having sex---make jokes and sarcastic comments while twiddling erections and kissing necks.
     Now, at home, I discovered the joy of WATCHING people having orgasms, feeling their muscle tone increase as they reached their peak of sensation, looking as their faces became transformed by their feelings. I think we must have shared about eight orgasms among us.
     The next day, Chuck said, "You left. Were you angry?"
     "Oh, no," I said, "I wasn't angry." But the unwritten rules of our relationship forbade my saying that I went home with someone. It was just "an interesting place with interesting people." I kept running into Chuck, never at Lenny's, during the next few years. After about the sixth meeting, his jaw dropped when I said something about homosexuality, and it seems a tiny bit more than coincidence that I haven't seen him since. But I did hear through a mutual friend that he'd had the same lover since he'd come to New York. At least Chuck had THAT down OK. In the early 1970s I saw him and his lover watching the Christopher Street Gay Parade from a West Village curbstone. At least he was still in New York.
     My third time at Lenny's I met one of the universal characters in the homosexual scene: the auntie. Julian was of medium height, tanned from his rented house in Cherry Grove, and had a Bostonian accent that was often interrupted by a stuttering, tittering laugh that tutted through his teeth. Liking his sense of humor, I said "Why not now?" when he suggested that I should visit him sometime. But he took care to take me uptown by cab to a local bar to talk to me longer before allowing me to enter the sacred Park Avenue Apartment.
     "Oh, you're so KISSY," he said as I tried to prolong our approach to anticipated delicious orgasms by necking. He gave out a gourmet-like hum of pleasure at coming, as if some incredible chocolate mousse were sliding down his throat at the same moment his vanilla cream shot from his cock.
     By coincidence, that autumn, when I was looking for an apartment close to the IBM office, I found one on East 61st Street, right across from the Colony (which disturbed me with its doorman whistling for taxis in the early morning) right around the corner from Julian's on Park.
     He, like most aunties, gave rich presents, one of which was a slightly used blue cashmere overcoat. When I wore it home that Christmas, my grandmother stroked the sleeve and said "Mm, it's velour," just after I said that a friend had given it to me. My mother grinned evilly and said "It must be nice to be so CUTE." I'm sure I turned red; I couldn't respond. At that time, my mother repeated Liberace jokes with obvious nonunderstanding, and I'm sure she didn't know exactly what she was saying. It would have been too uncharacteristic for her to know what she was saying.
     Julian was my first name-dropper: Johnny Kriza paid numerous visits to his apartment, Julian's father had been Ambassador to the Court of St. James, and he preserved an old clipping of some cotillion at which he had escorted Barbara Frazier, who was "the" debutante of that year.
     We met, on and off, for a couple of years, until a horrible gaffe on my part iced the relationship. He'd forbidden only one thing to me: that I accept an invitation to Regent's Row, "the" restaurant at the time, from anyone else but him. That wasn't difficult, since no one else I knew could AFFORD to go there, let alone invite anyone. I never saw the checks, but even my naïve tongue could tell me the food was mediocre.
     My gaffe came the first time he invited me to one of his parties. There I had my first introduction to the hired bartender who stood around looking unconcerned while the most outrageous conversations were batted back and forth under his nose. I met two people there who seemed terribly elegant and desirable, and from both of them I accepted little slips of paper with their names and telephone numbers.
     Both were disasters. One invited me at 9PM, when any sensible person (from Ohio) would have been finished with dinner, so I had an enormous dinner beforehand. I got there to find he'd prepared some ornate chicken dish that I could only get half through before I had to admit my previous meal. The situation didn't improve in bed. He wrenched at my balls until I shouted that he let go, and he drunkenly said, "You can't take it? You're supposed to be a MAN, not a woman!" That didn't seem to be the point, and I got out of bed and dressed before he was quite certain that I was leaving.
     The other was almost worse. He looked even more slender and attractive in his apartment with his very tight trousers and fitted shirt, and I was all eager to get down to sex. I tried necking with him, but he didn't seem interested, so I unzipped his trousers and tried sucking him. Tried! After a few moments, when he didn't stir, I stopped and felt his breathing get more stertorous. He had fallen asleep. Knowing I was a total sexual failure, I dressed and let myself out.
     I didn't hear from either of them again, but I heard from Julian that one of them, probably the former, had spread the word around in the most indirect way back to Julian that he'd gotten me into bed. Julian, hurt, said that he hadn't told me NOT to do anything like that because he'd assumed I was intelligent enough to KNOW not to do it. Doubly hurt, I questioned my mentality and understanding for a moment, then buried it by deciding that I really didn't care for Julian that much, anyway.
     He introduced me to Fire Island in an uncharacteristic way. Since summer came after my gaffe, he had determined not to have any visitors to his house when I was there, so I remember long quiet evenings sitting on the beach, alone (while he read in the house), and then going back to the eternal dampness to try and get interested in his flabby body.
     At one point, in his apartment, he snapped a polaroid shot of me coming out of the shower. I was horrified; he insisted he'd destroy it. Occasionally I fantasize that that photo, and dozens of copies of it, will surface one day to my embarrassment. Except that I hope I would have outgrown such embarrassment by that time.
     I met Julian again, six years after our first meeting and three after our last, on my first trip to Europe. I took off from the group and was wandering Florence, and who was sitting eating in the Piazza della Republica when I came back to check up on the statue of David but Julian Gerard! We chatted as if we were old friends, which hardly described the relationship, and I've never seen him since. Somehow, I don't know why, I have the feeling that he has since died.
     Other tricks came and went. I had little choice of partner---most of the time I was too shy to strike up a conversation with anyone who hadn't been drilling holes through my face or my crotch for the past half-hour and who obviously wasn't going to turn me down when I talked to him. Most of the contacts, true to the stereotype, were one-night stands, but some went on three or four times before I felt them wanting to get too close, and I would back off, invent excuses, blame things on myself, and drop the person.
     Work was more than satisfactory. I was put on a project that involved simulating the defense against a conventional or nuclear rocket attack against the United States cities. Though I probably would have termed myself a pacifist, had the term been current then, I felt no qualms about programming routines that would lock radars on targets, send up missiles, and, with a random number generator and a table of probabilities, would either kill the target or allow it to proceed to the point of destroying the city. The project was so complex and so long that I was involved with it enough to advance from the bottom-most coder to a supervisor of the entire project, reading other programmers' codes to make sure they had no clerical errors in them. I felt important, my salary kept increasing, and an enormous feeling of respect for people developed.
     This was probably the first time that I felt myself in a group of equals. Through grade school and high school there was never any doubt that I was smart: I might not have been first all the time, but if I wasn't first I was surely second. And I hated those who were better than I, even though I had the satisfaction to see them goof up later. Larry Pamer, better than I in grade school, did poorly in college, running with a delinquent gang and sassing the nuns. Bill Wehner, who got the full-tuition scholarship to St. Mary's when I had to be content with a half-tuition scholarship, went out for sports and spent so much time there that his grades suffered. I hated sports, liked books, had no trouble with any subject.
     In fact, that was how I was steered toward physics when I turned down the chance to go to Latrobe. My counselor in high school, a priest, said that I was intelligent enough to be challenged, to take the hardest subject there was. What was that, I wanted to know. Physics. So I decided to become a physicist. Anyway, the name was nice to say. "I'm going to be a physicist!" What? Then, in college, I hated it. The University of Akron had a physics lab that looked like Faraday and Helmholtz may have worked there. Meters never worked---yes, I KNOW that a voltmeter shouldn't be connected in series, but it didn't seem to be working BEFORE that, either---and wires were never available of the right length.
     Mr. Fouts, who reminded me of my father, chanted mantras from his notebook and was usually greeted by two of his four advanced students falling asleep in his overheated classroom. There, I had the chance to hate Masako Fujita, who seemed to know everything without difficulty. And she was CHINESE! [sic!]
     Money was always a problem: I could buy a new suit for graduation from high school only because I won $100 from the local radio station by winning a series of debates. But I was lucky: I had to say "No" to the fact that we were becoming a socialist state, that Alaska and Hawaii should be admitted to the union, and that the St. Lawrence Seaway should be built. Since the obvious answer to each of the questions was "Yes," I impressed everyone by coming up with enough facts and figures to actually make them QUESTION their preconceptions. So I won $100.
     That made up for my losing out of attendance at the local Spell-down. The day I was scheduled to compete, my mother went to the hospital to have my sister, and I couldn't get ANYONE to say that it was OK for me to go to the contest. I didn't like my sister much for the first few months.
     Then my mother got me a job on weekends in the union office in which she worked. All day Saturday I would go in and dust the desks, empty the wastebaskets, and buff the floors. There were two doctor's offices in the building, and their wastebaskets were the most fun: graphic color photos of bloody operations and tumors, free samples of medicine with the directions for all the uses, and slick-paper publications from drug firms. I liked working there because I was on my own; I could jerk off when I wanted, stare down at the sexy guys hitching rides on the street---some of them were there every week, and I began to remember their schedules so that I could be at the window to look at them in their crotch-delineating blue jeans. I collected carbon papers from between sheets that had been thrown away---though I never used them. I made games out of buffing the floor: that the buffer was some ultimate catastrophe wiping out all the land area on the floor, forcing people (bits of dust, sometimes---excitingly---ants or spiders) into a smaller and smaller area until I wiped them all out as I buffed the last bit of unslick floor.
     At times, people would come in: Mrs. McGill who had the idiot son, and seemed extra-gentle as if making up for the tortures she had to endure; Mr. Jackson the treasurer, who was probably gay and would stand me in his doorway for hours listening to his gray-headed stories. Mr. Schaeffer the vice-president, who would mention my mother, who was his secretary at times. Sometimes I would find foreign stamps in some of the wastebaskets, since this was an international union. I suspect I worked somewhat less than half the time.
     Which was as nothing compared to the schedules I got in with at IBM: we used to joke about them outwardly and feel guilty inwardly. We were supposed to come in at 9, but rarely got in by 9:15, and then there were the people who brought in their morning coffees: we could chat over this until at least 9:45 and sometimes 10. Then a bit of work, no more than half an hour, before the coffee lady came around at 10:30, killing time until 11. Then about an hour's work until people started going out to lunch. Then there was the line of "be back at such-and-such" and "we're going to do so-and-so's for lunch" and we knew we couldn't call anyone during lunch hour. So I'd get in some more work, unless I was watching one of the chess or bridge tournaments. Then I'd go out to lunch about 1:30, getting back at 2:30 or 3 for another hour's work, and then it'd be time to chat during the afternoon break---sometimes people sent out for coffee in order to survive---and then we'd be getting ready to leave for home quite a bit before 5. Maybe a MAXIMUM of four hours' work during the day---that is, when we weren't talking about the latest department reorganization or rumors about the newest line of computers, attending departmental meetings, or keeping up with the flood of mail and phone calls. Not to mention letter-writing and filing. Toward the end of my career at IBM I became inundated by what was then called the "paper blizzard," when by the close of the day the only best thing I could say was that I gotten through it without falling behind. Didn't DO anything, but I didn't fall behind: kept up with the letters and phone calls that kept coming in and out, dealt with the people and the latest emergencies, talked about the latest opera and ballet performances, and kept my head above the rising waters of the avalanche of bond paper, onionskin, and xeroxes.
     Back at the union, however [not a little bit of gathering-together needed HERE!], they finally got so used to having me around that when the black three-finger-amputee (I used to shudder to have to shake hands with him) came back from his vacation to take over the job of janitoring, I was put to work filing and alphabetizing cards. My mother had taught me to type, and they were just putting the membership file onto flexowriter cards made of metal which were punched onto paper tapes that curled out of the flexowriter. My mother got me a job doing this during the evenings and on weekends, permitting me to earn more money than I'd ever had before (except for one time when my father gave me a job of collecting old bills from some of his favorite customers that he wouldn't have the nerve---or the desire---to dun himself: he gave me 10% of what I collected, and when I got someone who gave me $50, the $5 pay was almost more than I could BEAR!). I started off rather slowly, until I got the fingering of the numbers down automatically and located all the special stops on the keyboard and learned quickly and easily how to erase errors on the output tape. I was so slow and careful that I very rarely made any mistakes, and when someone CHECKED the racks of cards that I would have done, they would find only one or two errors in hundreds of cards, which made everyone happy and gave me my first real taste of approval from the real world.
     When they trusted me even further, they let me oversee the punching of the metal plates themselves, on two adjoining machines that ran at different rates of speed, so that it was necessary to take the elevator many times up and down between the second floor where I worked and the basement, where the machines were. I enjoyed perfecting my typing touch (was probably better then than I am NOW), looked out the window when there was anything to see (liking the summer better when the nights were brighter later), and sat for hours watching the metal output plates slowly fill up the cartridge and gently nudge the off button when it was totally full.
     To stimulate my mind, I would make lists of names that I thought were funny---still have them way up in the closet in a box marked "Personal Souvenirs," since I could never think of a better name for them. In there somewhere---to change the subject---are my pubic hairs from the first time I decided to shave them off. Have done it about three times, and it never fails to stimulate me. NOT my mind.
     When the typing ran out and I had to go back to janitoring, I felt that I was somehow sinking below my level. But I know what it's like to be a janitor, even to the scrubbing of the ladies' room and emptying out the smelly containers for the sanitary napkins, making sure that the dispenser was filled and that bags were available for their disposal. But I'd sit in the john for minutes on end, jerking off slowly, using the various mirrors, sometimes risking using the mirror, full-length, in the ladies' room for a real turnon---though a few times I was panicked by a door-slam which gave me only a few seconds to grab back my clothes and face them, red-faced. Mr. Jackson caught me a few times like this, which led me to suspect he might be actively trying to catch me sexually, if not merely malingering.
     I'd go back to the office at times when I was visiting home, and the old ladies would still smile up and ask how I was doing. Many had relatives in foreign countries, so I'd get packs of stamps from Col0mbia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Morocco, and other places. When they changed presidents, there were always enormous packs of good bond paper, letterhead, to be thrown out, and more than a few thousand pages of this diary was typed on the back of such paper, in which I had to laboriously punch holes so that they'd fit into the binders.
     Those binders grew large enough to build an eight-story office building, and the smaller building looked insignificant next to it, but many hours of my young life were spent there, and I still remember it with pleasure. How many pounds of semen were spent in its orange-brick walls?
     Also back in school I had a job teaching physics lab [Oh, forgot that my mother's belonging to a union gave me an almost unique chance to apply for a Rosenblum Scholarship of $500 open to children of union members; I won it, cherishing the money], which was daunting because many of the students were veterans from the Vietnam war, much older than I was, who were obviously much smarter than I was, too. But I think I mentioned this before. Lots of editing needed here.
     Work at IBM was ever changing. Thanks to working at the Service Bureau, the jobs I had were never longer than a few years, and there were always times when a salesman would need a technical person to go along on a customer call and I'd be pulled off a project to go along with them. I got to enjoy these trips: I never knew whether the customers would know what a computer could do or not, whether what they wanted was well-defined or not, whether they were ready to be sold or not.
      Sometimes there was travel connected with these, too. I'd always been interested in travel, ever since I went across the country in a fast five-day car trip with my aunt and uncle to Salinas, California, when I was a junior in high school. The spectacle of the mountains, particularly the Wasatch, and the grimness of the Donner Party story stayed with me for years. IBM would let me ride on trains up to Poughkeepsie, and I enjoyed coming back at night when they'd have a dining car and I could eat dinner in luxury while coming back to New York, knowing that I was getting paid overtime to eat an expense-account meal in a flashy setting. The Bell Laboratory building in Holmdel, New Jersey, was particularly impressive: its mirrored walls reflected the outside, keeping inward the sight of the greenery and flying walkways of the atrium-like inner court. Baltimore experienced a rare snowfall when we were working at the Martin-Marietta Company on a special project, and we got to see that city in the confusions and humors of having three inches of snow that it had no machinery to cope with. I even got to Houston to enjoy its version of Brennan's and its incredible Bananas Foster for a SHARE meeting, though the flight back remains in my memory as one of the worst in a series of jolting, jerking, wings-MUST-be-coming-off landings in New York that have helped make flying such a fear for me.
      In this framework of jobs and sex I settled into a number of apartments. First I found the rear apartment of 35 E. 61st Street, two tiny rooms in a quiet rear that I didn't have a chance to appreciate. Since it was furnished, I had to put up with horrible furniture, though I enjoyed the skylights above the standup kitchen and piss-in bathroom. When I moved to the front, for the bargain rent of $68 per month, I had to endure the not-understood complaints of Mrs. McGeogh who lived downstairs in fading glory with her grand piano, who said that every step I took was a torture to her. Only now do I understand THAT.
      But they tore down 35 E. 61st to put up the elegant Regency Hotel, so that I could say that I used to live where Liz and Dick have stayed; and I had to look for another. That took about six months, but I finally found one that wasn't TOO distant from my work at 61st and Madison, with some times at 59th and Madison: that at 320 East 70th, between Second and First Avenues. It would take me a quick 15 minutes to walk to work. Here I had the luxury of a REAL two rooms, though the bedroom didn't have the luxury of a window. To obey the law, there was a forced-air shaft in that room that made it reasonably cool in the summer, but I first learned there how it was to live underneath females who lived on the top floor and thus had no interest in keeping quiet for the ones beneath them. More than a few times I lay awake and cursed the squeaking bed (and sometimes floor) of the nurse's daughter and her boyfriend, and more than once I thought they were probably responsible for the robbery of my apartment, since the thieves got in through the fire escape and left through the front door without anyone seeing them.
      Then the IBM Service Bureau office moved from 59th and Madison to 55th and Sixth, and it was a pain to walk so far, though the walk through Central Park, past the zoo, on pleasant mornings was charming; it just took too much time. Then when I transferred to the Time-Life Building at 50th and 6th, I decided that the 25-30 minute walk was too long, and started another six-month search for a new apartment, this time coming up with 309 West 57th, which I moved into without realizing what a racket there would be from the street. But at least it was the top floor, which I had demanded, and the noise from the outside prevented me from hearing all but the loudest sounds from the two adjacent apartments, and the only time I was really annoyed was when the fellow through the living-room wall played Marlene Dietrich records early Sunday mornings.
      That apartment was the epitome of New York living: top floor with three connected windows looking south, letting in hours and hours of brilliant sunlight (when the windows weren't frosted with ice in the winter from the blasts at the height of the 17th floor, or crudded with the auto deposits that seemed as common 17 flights up as it did on the ground floor), with sweeping views toward the RCA Building and the other towers along 6th Avenue down to the twin bulks of the World Trade Center, with wide strips of New Jersey and the intervening Hudson River between. Some days I would look out and see what appeared to be a moving block of buildings, but it would only be another liner sailing slowly out to sea, peeking in and out among the buildings between 42nd Street and the Battery. The Empire State Building loomed directly in the center of this panorama, and I could get stoned and watch the flashbulbs popping ludicrously off its 85th floor observatory as people expected their Brownies to light up the entire city for their photographs.
     The story of the move from 57th Street to Brooklyn Heights is better told in "John" than here.
     All the while I tried writing; all the while I read book after book after book. All through this time I kept up with the entertainment life of New York: I practically lived at the Thalia's summer movie festival until I could scan through their listings (before they closed down) and make sure they weren't showing any double features with two films that I'd missed. Soon, it seemed that I'd seen every old movie that I wanted to see expect for the strays that remained from my list of Academy Award films, and at last count there were only three of those left, which gained the Best Oscars for Emil Jannings, Helen Hayes, and Mary Pickford. Interestingly, the first is silent, which might explain why The Way of All Flesh isn't seen so much; and both old ladies are still alive and sitting on their films, so it'll be only after their deaths that I'll ever see Coquette or The Sin of Madelon Claudet.
     I went to the Metropolitan Opera scantily at first, then got into it through Marty; until finally I could say from year to year that I would go to see the productions of opera I hadn't seen before and that was all. Dance came somewhat later, but even that came to the point where I'd scan the programs to find an evening that showed something I hadn't seen, or at least something I hadn't seen with something I'd care to see AGAIN. It's only in the mid 1970s that I finally feel that I don't HAVE to keep up with everything: fat lot of good it did me when I DID!
     At least the books stayed with me: physically, too. Finding it difficult to throw away books, I actually decided to keep a list of those that I DID throw out, just to let me know about my temerity. When I'd find an author I'd like, I'd read all that he'd written, until finally I had as complete a collection as possible of the top twelve: Aldous Huxley (23), Isak Dinesen (9), Ray Bradbury (19), J.R.R. Tolkien (6), Robert Heinlein (36) (thanks to a trip around the world that gave me the opportunity to finish HIM off), Herman Hesse (15), Philip Roth (7), James Purdy (8), John Updike (14), John Barth (6), Robert Sheckley (17), and Kurt Vonnegut (8).
     Authors of the "second twelve" were harder to exhaust, though I had great quantities of their writing: Arthur Clarke (27), John Wyndham (11), Immanuel Velikovsky (5), Virginia Woolf (9), Jiddu Krishnamurti (6), C.S. Lewis (6), George Gurdjieff (6), William Golding (6), Donald Bartheleme (6), Alan Watts (6), Harlan Ellison (4), Olaf Stapledon (4). The names aren't nearly so impressive as the number of volumes I have of the winners: 36 of Heinlein, 27 of Clarke, 23 of Huxley, 19 of Bradbury, and 17 of Sheckley, though I would LOVE to get enough more of Clarke to put him on top and enough of Sheckley to put him in third.
     I have 197 [168 of people] (as of 8/26/75, sure to go above 200, of the top-volume 12; 271 [264], sure to go above 300, of the top 24 [96 of people]; and have grossly outdated 320 [331] down from the top 36 [67 of people], which is more like 350 by now and will probably go over 400. The authors of the "third twelve" would include those I've missed so far, among them: H.G. Wells (8), Theodore Sturgeon (7), William Burroughs (4), Joseph Campbell (4), Edward Durrell (4), John Fowles (4), Carl Jung (4), Idries Shah (8), Peter Ouspensky (3), Marcel Proust (7), Phillip Wylie (9) and Shirley Jackson (4). The NEXT 12 would include Algernon Blackwood (4), Loren Eiseley (2), Albert Camus (3), Sigmund Freud (3), George Gamow (3), Karen Horney (3), Bertrand Russell (3) [not including Principia Mathematica which lists Whitehead first], T.H. White (3), Fyodor Dostoevsky (3), Ernest Hemingway (3), James Joyce (3) [not counting The Skeleton Key, which, now that I think of it, could count either for Joyce OR for Campbell!]---actually, Thomas Pynchon should be in the FIRST 12, since I'd rank him there, but he's only WRITTEN 3 books---John Rechy (3), J.D. Salinger (4)---someone "borrowed" my Catcher in the Rye---should be somewhere else, too, since he's only written those, Leo Tolstoy(3)---a total of 15 people. Actually, Ouspensky should come OUT of the third 12 and Salinger should be promoted, and Eiseley can come out until I get MORE of him, so taking out, say, Camus (who has one in fiction and two in nonfiction) will leave THAT at 12. [HOW'S THAT FOR A DIVERSION??]
     If I collected books and performances avidly, I collected people even more avidly, even keeping a list of them that I finally typed on DIARY 4400-4403. Jim S., Billy W., George M. and Danny S. more properly belong to "Earliest Memories," and Joseph M. was the one in the New York magazine article. Walt N. and Jerri G. were recorded just after they happened, so I can better REVISE those pages than write new ones. Julian G. has already been studied here.
     John and Jack were the twosome described in the New York magazine article, and then I come to B.J. S., who now reminds me very much of Peter R. with his cocksure "That's OK, buddy" attitude toward anything, which seemed to mask some deep-seated hostility than they themselves would have admitted to. Ray Haddad is memorable only because he had a cock bigger than I could do anything with: even to open my mouth wide enough to get the HEAD in made my jaws ache, and I couldn't hope to suck without severely lacerating his flesh with my teeth.
     Ralph G. was the next "big" affair. Met him in Riverside Park, which was a nice cruising ground back in the late 50s, though even then there were rumors of rumbles, of gays getting beaten up by teenagers looking for kicks and kicking for them, and of strange people like the fellow with the coat with a zipper in the back so that he could get fucked easily. Ralph lived in a new section for me, up at 183rd near the Hudson, an older neighborhood of highly decorated under-priced apartment buildings that afforded layouts like his: I never quite knew which door led where, but there were rooms beyond rooms. We used mostly the kitchen and the bedroom, and I attributed his pale thinness to the diet of cheese that he ate almost exclusively. He'd whip me up a couple of eggs if I wanted, but he hardly ever ate meat. His thin body had a nice cock, but I was so shy about my fantasies about cock that I was greatly surprised, when we were breaking up, that he observed, "You know, Bob, that you never ONCE touched my cock? Is there something WRONG with it, for heaven's sake?" I may have WANTED to, but the typical sexual mode for us was to lie on the bed and he'd come by rubbing against me, and then he'd roll off while I masturbated with his semen. I never liked the idea of him lying above me, his wide-set eyes looking down at me unblinkingly as he'd rub toward climax, I got the idea of some triangular mantis-head watchful to devour its sexual partner.
     Henry was the first of the two I'd met through Julian, and Angelo M. was the second. Roger B. was softly handsome, as I remember, and when relationships seemed to divide into "I want to see him more than he wants to see me," and "he wants to see me more than I want to see him," he was certainly in the first category. I never had trouble with the supposed "unfriendliness" of New Yorkers in the gay life: I knew that when I was given a phone number that I WANTED to call, I called until it was quite clear that the other person didn't want me---and sometimes BEYOND that, hoping to literally push myself where I wasn't wanted. But I got a far greater number of phone numbers where it was a convenient way of saying goodbye painlessly---implying more an "Au revoir" than a "Goodbye." I never used those. I'd accept phone numbers hoping to get rid of people, and I also GAVE them hoping to get rid of people: if they had the nerve to call, it was far easier to say "No" over the phone (particularly pleading that I had to study) than it was to say "No" in person.
     Come to think of it, it was hardly ever a chosen "no," it was a "sorry, I'd like to but I just can't." If I really WANTED to, of course, I WOULD have.
     Dick P. was a rather sad cutie, as I remember, but nothing ever clicked.
     Barlow W. could have developed into something better, but here again there was never a definitive enough click. He lived just two rooms down from me in the hall, and I met him when we went to the john together and actually started rubbing feet under the john stalls! Having checked out the other person at the washbasins or urinals first, naturally. We had a few very good sexual encounters, and would talk for hours about the creeps and better-looking people in the hallway, including the one muscle-builder who could have been Dick Stark for his physical and facial beauty, but I hardly ever saw him, and he seemed to have the place perfectly staked out so that when he used the johns, showers, or even hallways there was NO one else around. Like the fatty who lived three or four rooms the OTHER direction, who always gave me the most piercing-possible look whenever we passed in the hallways, and when he'd come into the shower I'd leave whether I was finished or not.
     Frank T., the erotic painter of the T. Gallery down on Cornelia Street for so many years, took me in one New Year's Eve to look at some porno (I bought the classic "Boys in the Barn" set of drawings in 8 x 10” photos once, but I threw them out in one of my cycles of "getting rid of the porno so I wouldn't come so much so that I'd get more cruising and writing done") and invited me up with his thin roommate, and this was the sequence that struck me so forcefully: that the roommate did me and then passed my come to Frank when they kissed. Didn't seem exciting to me then, but it's had its moments since then.
     John C. was good for a wide-timed sex: if only he'd lived at 57th and 9th when I lived at 57th and 8th, and if only I'd pursued him more avidly before that marvelous Ivan got him, the story might have been different. He was the only person who was as openly fascinated by cock as I was, though his demands for constant verbalization were a bit wearing. He loved looking at people coming, though there was no concept of playing around at the point of orgasm: "When I'm ready to come, I wanna COME," he would say, widening and rolling his eyes and literally licking his lips in a heartfelt self-caricature. He always worked out, and I always had the impression that his cock was smaller than usual until it got FULLY up, at which point it was as nice as anyone's. He also liked groups, until Ivan put a stop to THAT.
     Bruce T. was another, like Jerry G. and Jim C., that I kept up a correspondence with---in fact, we fell in LOVE through our correspondence, in the best Hollywod style, and then when we actually got to bed, he wanted to fuck or be fucked, and it just didn't work out with the two of us, though his body was exceptionally beautiful. Never found out what happened to his budding acting career, but I have the feeling he put more of his energies into his private life than he ever would have on stage.
     Carlo glowed whenever he saw me, and I could never figure what this quintessential Puerto Rican (short, built sturdily with a cock that was always hard and lips that were always affectionate) liked about me, but whenever we got together it was heaven. His was the only cock that I could make come almost by looking at it, and he seemed to respect this power over him that I had. He'd remember me when I wouldn't have remembered him (and I now think back that I USED to pride myself on remembering the names and looks of everyone I'd been with---could hardly say this NOW), and we had a number of wonderfully warm sessions.
     My ass attracted Jim A., and when he found it wasn't available, he lost interest, not even liking what I did with his exceptional body when I played with it. He had one of those impossible-until-you-see-it bodies that had shoulders literally three times wider than his hips, without waist suppression at all, making it look like he'd had his hips pared surgically. Huge tits, perfect definition, always a distinct swimsuit-line that separated his orangish tan from his blue-veined flesh---but he didn't care to neck, didn't take much interest in my body, and never called back, so the twice we were together was thanks to my pushing him.
     I couldn't believe Jack V. each time I had him: he was probably the least-gay person I'd gone to bed with, and I remember with pleasure the glow of pride I felt when I told Frank K. how affectionate he was, and Frank could hardly believe me because Jack had always been nothing but trade. I'd always given Carl S. credit for teaching me how to handle these supposedly straight numbers, and it worked more than a few times: just put your cock where they can get at it, and you'd be surprised what they'll do. I added to that technique of getting them to the point of coming and then easing off, keeping them at the peak for long periods of time, so that their built-up frustrations would have to come out in some ways, either by trying to bring themselves off---which I had fun thwarting---or by trying to bring ME off so I'd finish them off, or by responding to my kissing of their necks and cheeks and chins until they'd turn THEIR lips into mine and we'd go off on another plateau of good feeling. Jack would suck on my cock avidly when I wouldn't let him come, and he'd stand and rub my body up and down when I made him hot with the same maneuvers. He liked to talk on the phone, too, and I would have never had the courage to suggest that we jerk off together on the phone, but as advancing age makes such thoughts more palatable, I might miss the chances for great experiences like those I may have had in the past.
     (I have the feeling that this isn't getting anywhere, but it's just recording what happened "Between Years," and it MIGHT eventually lead into something better, so I guess I'll continue---until at LEAST I get some of the pressures of the THOUGHTS of this out of the way [and some of the backlog of pages typed rapidly] and then I can spend some time thinking of something more CONNECTED.)
     On DIARY 4403 I transcribed a list of the people I "loved" and the people who "loved me." Even back THEN I knew that love was something quite special. I experienced the first burn when Jerry and I told each other we loved each other after a single sequence of hours in bed. When it came out---and this was the first time---it seemed SURE that this was something the likes of which I hadn't felt before, but from the list of people I'd been with, the best of whom had been Julian G. and B.J. S., it's not hard to see that Jerry represented something different for me.
     The differentness was that (although I realize we hadn't reached that point YET, but I knew for a fact it WOULD happen that way) we could experience a fabulous orgasm and STILL feel like being with each other. With others, it was get the rocks off and then go on to something, or someone, else. With Jerry, it was the feeling that we could talk about OTHER things and think about doing OTHER things together. I would hardly feel like spending a Sunday afternoon in New York together with Julian or B.J., but with Jerry I thought I could---until I tried it.
     Then the impact of his letters and the sheer DENSITY of his desires for me began to smother me, and I began to throw him off as I would throw off superfluous blankets. When my pushing him away only strengthened his pushing TOWARD me, I was actively turned off and wanted to be away from him COMPLETELY, and that was the end of it right there.
     So I had the first taste of saying "I love you" too quickly, and felt disappointed in HIM for wanting so much of me and in ME for wanting so little of him. Then followed the affair with Bruce T., but that only lasted one day: again, until we got our fill of each other sexually.
     Then Hank T. hit me. I first thought he looked like James Dean sitting at the bar in Lenny's. His square handsome face seemed too large for his small body, but when I almost forced him to invite me to his place (on MacDougall Street---I didn't even think people LIVED on MacDougall Street) I found that his body was as seductive as his face. He seemed somehow like a sexy, innocent, open-minded child. He didn't exactly WANT my attentions, but when I pushed slightly, he accepted them and then got enveloped in them. We necked and necked and necked and kissed and kissed and kissed, and though he wanted to fuck me, I managed to make him feel good enough with my hands and body and mouth that he came two or three times, and each time I would get hotter and hotter, wanting more and more of him, and finally, knowing no greater compliment, I said something like "I think I might be falling in love with you," trying SOMEHOW to get even closer to him, to have more of him, fully REALIZING that just as others' saying it to ME turned ME off, my saying to him might turn HIM off. And it did.
     I had a second time with him, but we watched Irene Dunne in Theodora Goes Wild, or something like that---where she's an acrobat "showing the inside of her thigh"---and then got into bed, but though we had sex, it was a if he'd absented part of himself, and I rather knew, with the desperation that Jerry G. must have felt, that the relationship would never go further. I doubt that we could have lived together---it was a totally sexual relationship in which I wanted to DEVOUR his body and cock and come endlessly, and wanted me to be devoured by him. We didn't even sleep during that first evening: coming would lead to kissing that would lead to caressing that would lead to sex-play that would lead to coming all over again. Groans and gasps and cries and tears were all part of it, and even the joke of "who's going to take out the ashes" was shared and appreciated. Like a seamount, the flat peak of our excitement stood far above the level of the deeps surrounding it.
     Nye W. was almost exactly the same thing, only more so. His delicate body seemed to wrap around mine in a most delightful way. Each time (all twice) we had sex it seemed that we wanted strongly to become one body, so that I could sense what He felt and He could sense what I felt. [And the capitalization should stand!] [Amusing to read, after I took it out in 2002!] The first time I managed to keep my feelings to myself, but the second time, realizing that the joys of the first time were repeated and enhanced the second time, I said something like, "I know this is probably the worst thing I can say, but I feel so strongly for you that it might almost be called love," to see if I could get any sort of echoing sentiment from him. Silence. And then I never saw him again.
     But both those times were undoubtedly premature: I didn't know what they were like out of bed at ALL, and had no concept of their beliefs, habits---bad or good---family, interests, jobs---ANYTHING. I loved the experience of being in bed with them, and that was as far as I knew and I was willing to extend it throughout their lives. As a result, it was over ten years before I told anyone I loved them again---ten years that included LSD and Aureon and quitting my job, times which I LOOKED with more knowledge for someone to love, but couldn't find anyone. The next time I told someone I loved them, Bob R., was in February of 1970, and that's not a "between year." He was followed by John A. in March, 1970, and that's been IT to this point.
     Between those two---Nye W. and Bob R., there were a string of five who all said they loved me, and though I felt good with them, I knew enough about love to wait until I got to know them better, and when I got to know them better, they were so pushing on my boundaries, wanting to come into my life so hard, that they pushed ME OUT of my boundaries, so that I could not only let THEM in, but I had to fight to get MYSELF back in.
     Jean-Jacques was perhaps the saddest, leading me to the conclusion that many Frenchmen are masochists and that I had a bit of the sadist in me. He wanted to fuck or be fucked, but quickly found out that I didn't care for that and was content to do whatever I wanted. I may have been the first he really cared for, and from his yearly Christmas messages I was probably the last. He was the epitome of intellectualization, but combined that with a lusty moving-about in bed that made him one of the four people, by rather strict calculations, that I went to bed with the most. But he kept his feelings in because he knew I wasn't interested in hearing that he loved me. He thought to himself, made me dinners, kept in his anger, and put up with my awfulness in breaking dates, telling him about other tricks and not having sex when he wanted to have sex. He would nibble on his fingernails and hack down with his thumb and forefinger on the flesh at the sides of his fingers until they were scabbed and bleeding. He worked out with weights to try to get a good body, but succeeded only in putting mats of muscle under even larger mats of what seemed to be baby flab. He had a marvelous sense of humor and wanted very much to be with me, though the fact that he was very poor in English didn't help: he would try and try to think in English, but had to admit that he was pained by doing it, would rather have communicated in French, and was a very poor teacher of it, since he spoke with the rapid, consonant-destroying patois of the Parisian.
     I think he had too many other problems: with his parents whom he was devoted to though he didn't care for them, and with his brother who was much more attractive than he was---and I didn't help the relationship when I told him that in a moment of stupidity. He went back to Paris and never returned to the United States---getting more and more bald, living in a sterile environment that "agreed" with his pure architectural thoughts, and never becoming the success I believed he wanted very much to become.
     Walt S.'s affair is probably completely described in the U.S. Trip book---he had lots of personal problems, too, but if I'd wanted to stay with him in Los Angeles for the rest of my life, I probably could have. Sometimes it seems like it might have been a good move. Because of him and a few others like him, I've always liked Los Angeles better than San Francisco.
     Eddie's love for me wasn't known to me until the day before I left on some trip or other, and he cried and said that he didn't want to see me anymore: "I know that what I feel for you, you don't feel for me." And I felt the impact of his decision for a few days afterward. I'm glad that we're still friends: he's a good guy.
     Rick W.'s terribly sexy person is described during my trip to Ohio---that was the first evening I ever knew what the feeling of having "blue balls" was like. We simply sexed until sore.
     Charles D.'s sweetness is all the more poignant now that I know he's dead. Aside from Don L., he's the second person I know (and had known) that has died.
     More and more and more names on the list, many of whom came during these "between years" and haven't been described, but there doesn't seem to be any point to going on from person to person to person. None of them managed to change me very much: oh, there were times when Allan P. managed to arrange it so that I was fucking him, leading me to think that fucking was a possibility for me---another fellow at Man's Country managed to do that, and then I found myself eager to try Frank G.'s proffered ass, wanting just to be able to look at his fabulous body, see his incredible face as the curved eyelashes closed over those large eyes when he came.
     There were the times that people without names left marks on me that were more painful than anyone I'd been able to meet: men who were so completely, totally handsome and appealing that I could only stare at them with the depressing thought that they were so beautiful that nothing I would ever be able to do in my life would get me one minute with them. Unless I would be totally reckless and simply walk up to them and talk with them like those crazy ladies on the streets will talk with young men that they like.
     This is one of the reasons that I thought it would be good if I had unlimited funds. When someone is rich, it's always possible to be more outspoken: handing someone a hundred-dollar bill, for instance, and saying something simple, like "A small payment to be allowed to look at you," or something equally simpering, would be one way of getting their attention. But I have the idea that they're so totally beautiful that they would appeal to anyone, and they must have people falling over themselves to talk to or get near them anyway.
     Such people seem charmed in a special way: to have such beauty they must also have something inside, such a glorious facade must have SOMETHING beneath or it would crumple under its own glory. They seemed so well cared for that they must have been born rich or immediately have been snapped up by the very rich. It might be a fantasy, but such people simply aren't seen that often on the streets, and it would work the other way from the old people who can't bear to see the beauty that they might want but can't have: they wouldn't be able to bear the looks of desire on the faces of everyone who happened to look at them. And then they would have the added burden of being loved at sight by those who are NOT very intelligent (and that would include many who are also rich), and would have to put up with people who like them ONLY for their beauty. The idea of writing a story about such people is always below the surface of my mind.
     How would they feel walking down the street? They'd have to keep their eyes away from people for fear of seducing them on the instant. How could they apply for a job? They'd be accepted whether they had the qualifications or not. How could they give themselves in love, knowing that the other person was undoubtedly attracted to their looks alone. And how could they face the passing of years, knowing that their looks will pass with them.
     There have been a few magical times (which were horrible), when I would end up at a bar or baths and know for a FACT that I was the most attractive person there. With some of the crowds (AND crows! [echoing a former typo]) that these bars and baths get, that's not as difficult as it might seem. Here I have the experience of being pawed by people I don't care for, and it rapidly becomes so wearing that I choose usually to leave. What can these people do who have such extraordinary looks that they stand out in ANY crowd? The "problem of beauty" has come in for a number of pages in the diary, and it would be nice to get them all together and try to make something out of them.
     At the beginning of these "between years" I made sure that I got home at least once a year. And then my mother and my sister would come to visit me often, too. But then they saw New York, didn't want to live here, and had no great reason to come back, save for me. I'd been to Akron, could see no great reason for going back THERE, save for them, whom I really didn't care that much about. It seems we haven't seen each other in some time now, not since John and I spent Christmas there in---GOD!---1971.
     NOW what is there to write about? Talked of the job, which lasted until I wanted a year off to publish a book, after which I quit and started the diaries. Talked of sex partners until I lost interest in them. Described the background of apartments and bars and baths, and I'm not interested in going any further. Could describe attitudes of mine that have changed in the interim: didn't like baths, now like baths; liked bars, don't care for bars now unless they're orgy bars; remembered everyone, forget most people; went to a few orgies, hold orgies every so often. But I could as well describe things that haven't changed: still don't enjoy fucking or being fucked; still hung up on hard cocks on muscular bodies; still seem to gravitate to people a BIT older than I am, occasionally still by about five years; can't YET get into the very young: they just don't have enough going for them yet; after a couple of years of experience they're much more easy to be with.
     At first I wrote whatever interested me. Always kept a piece of paper to write on: since I didn't read on subways, I had time to observe people and take notes about them. Wrote up pages and pages of jottings. Then when I quit work I began doing pages consecutively, and finally I resorted pages of what I called "Old Diary" and put them into some kind of volume. Then I re-resorted them into the volumes they're in now, all 42 of them---and it's ironic that volumes 38-42, which I produced in order to WORK on them, I haven't touched since I put them into their volumes---oh, maybe I touched the "It" volume at one point, but it didn't get anywhere.
     Was always list-oriented; the first list I started keeping---and am keeping up to date---was the list of movies I'd seen, since I'd been to the Thalia a couple of times and seen a movie that I'd seen before, forgetting the titles of films I'd seen. Since I kept records of almost everything, it was easy to come up with a list of movies. Then I extended the movie list into plays and ballets and operas, until now it seems that I keep a list of almost everything, including the list I made of the lists I kept, which totaled about 65 or so, as I remember. It's all here somewhere.
     And saved ticket stubs for collages or mobiles, programs for reference, matchbooks for a kick, napkins and sugar-cube wrappings when they didn't have matchbooks---until I started saving EVERYTHING, throwing out almost anything with a great deal of surprise.
     Kept issues of Screw when I figured they'd be put out of business, but they're still going. What will I do with the first 40 copies? How long to keep them before the "souvenir" price goes up to the maximum? When and who do I call to sell them?
     Stamps were constant through here: never really debated STOPPING saving them, because I was always too overjoyed when I got any new ones. But when I think of stamps, I think of the comment that poor Madge made: she had a collection that she had to leave behind in Shanghai---since then she can't even THINK about it without getting sad.
     That's something I haven't talked about yet: FEMALES! Working in oh-so-straight IBM there were always females around. Secretaries like Shiela A., customers like Bobbie D., coworkers like Madge M. and Cissy W., oddballs like Norma E., Joan S., and Cynthia T.