About this time, I discovered the “beat generation” and read On the Road and The Holy Barbarians. I had a new religion. A boy in my class was also into it and so I was into him. I tried showing off my knowledge of the beats but he never bit. I also discovered Henry Miller who became my guide and idol. The beats were in the Village which represented everything forbidden, gays as well as beats. I figured the best way to meet them would be to pick someone up and fuck him. That way I could get rid of my virginity and break the ice at one time. But the guy I picked up was a disappointment as was the sex I had with him. It did de-virginate me as the blood mixed with semen gave evidence.
At 16, a kid is legally allowed to quit school and get a job. I decided that was what I wanted to do. I figured the worst thing my parents could do to stop me would be to have me arrested and put in a youth house. But they would lose me anyway. So I figured they wouldn’t do it. And I was right. I announced my plans and quit school. My father persuaded me to go to a business school for a few months. I did so but spent all my time in the girls bathroom, hanging out with the other “bad girls” and never learned comptometry which I was supposed to be studying and which bored me. I finished school and was ready to try my wings.
I got a job as a file clerk making minimum wages, a dollar an hour, $40 for 40 hours a week. I got an apartment in the Italian part of Mott Street where I had wanted to live for years. My apartment was in a renovated tenement. It was tiny, like a monk’s cell which was cool because, by this time, I had already discovered Zen Buddhism a la Alan Watts. My parents donated a beautiful, round, wood table and one chair. I took the mattress from my bed and was ready for my new life. My bookcase had copies of Evergreen Review, On the Road, The Holy Barbarians and Alan Watts. I moved in before the electricity was turned on. With candlelight, I felt very ascetic.
Life on my own was not meant to be monk-like, however. I knew people from the nuthouse and they knew other people. I was soon going to parties every night. I also experimented with sex but none of it really worked well. Although my hyman was gone, my body was smarter than I was and refused to let these guys enter. We thought it was because I was still a virgin but I never did bleed again when I finally successfully had intercourse. I hung around with this guy, or, rather, he hung around with me. I got my first bennies which I had read about in On the Road. I loved the high. I was with Tom who I necked with all night because I had dry mouth. When I wasn’t mouth-to-mouth with him, I was drinking beer.
I wanted to try pot in the worst way. They was what my reading convinced me was the holy grail. I was convinced that pot would make me a great writer. Tom and I went out to score one night. It took the entire night to connect. But the adventure was fun. We met lots of people along the way. When we finally found the pot, I recklessly spend an entire week’s salary on it. We went back to my “pad” to smoke it. The next day, we wandered around the East Village which my heightened imagination helped me pretend we were in an exotic foreign country. It was really great but my real love was for the stimulant high. I graduated to meth amphetamine, courtesy Tom, and went to see these people he wanted me to meet.
It was my most amazing experience and the real beginning of my sex life. First I saw a bare-chested, tattooed guy named Turk and a plump, dark-haired girl named Paulette. Turk had been holding forth about how “drugs are good for you,” when Tom tapped my shoulder. I turned to meet Jim Kolb. My first thought upon seeing his face was of O’Brian, the man in Orwell’s 1984 who seduced and betrayed the main character. The trait that registered in my conscious mind was intelligence. But there had to be darker traits lurking beneath the surface of my awareness. Mesmerized, I did not look away from his eyes all night, except to do art with him. By morning, we were fucking. We did that all day. I know because I noticed the day gradually getting dark. At evening, he offered me a capsule which he called a “goofball.” Jim told me, “You will feel this in your clit.” I had read about goofballs in the beatnik literature so I had no qualms. But I’m pretty sure this was something else. From that moment, my memory was only a few disembodied moments. “Now I’m going to kiss your eye,” he said in a challenging voice as if I would have resisted. “Go ahead,” I said in a sexy voice. Then my memory was static. The next day, my eye was bloodshot. I’m wandering across a dark room and bump into furniture. Extreme pain, not what it would feel like to bump into something. I hear a scream, like a wild animal. I knew somewhere that the scream came from me.
I woke up slowly. A together looking couple sat around calling Jim “Jive Motherfucker.” I wondered what was the difference between them and myself. They were together. In control. I was anything but. Why? I woke more fully a few hours later. Jim smirked at me and said, “I had to spank you last night.” He went on saying I was moving so much he had to stay inside me just to hold me down. “Then you started getting sexy saying, ‘Hit me! Hit me!'” I was shocked, devastated. I wanted to feel good like the day before but I felt spaced. I still planned to live there. Tom suggested I go back to my apartment with him to get my things. We we got there, a whole bunch of my friends were there. They bathed me. I started to feel myself. “I don’t think I’m going back,” I said. I heard a sign of relief. I found out I had been “victimized.” I had second degree burns on my body, together with bruises, the bloodshot eye and a rash on my scalp. Tom described things he said had been done to me, depicting himself as an innocent, of course. My friends rallied around me and persuaded me to kick Tom’s ass to the curb. I was very confused because I was starting to fantasize about the whole event. Here they were defending me and I was liking it. I decided I wasn’t ready to go on living on my own and I went back home to my parents. By this time, they were living on Long Island. I went back to high school and spent a winter considering all that had happened. I got Masochism in Modern Man by Theodore Reik and examined my sexuality in light of my new information.
When summer came, I was sufficiently recovered and informed enough to go back to the city and have new adventures. This time, I didn’t get a job or apartment. I crashed around with friends. One of my friends knew Jim Kolb socially. She saw one of my burns and exclaimed that it was in the shape of little bamboo shoots he used to paint. I spent a lot of time with him so I could talk about him. Some guy organized a vigilante committee to avenge Kolb’s victims (there were more than just me). I felt in a really false position with all that. But the thing I wanted most came to pass. I ran into him again and resumed our relationship. This time, he was homeless. That made two of us. But we still managed to fuck in other people’s apartments. I wanted him to beat me so I could know if I was really a masochist. But he wouldn’t do it. We saw each other off and on and I considered myself in love. But I went back home in the autumn to continue high school.
Time went on. I finished high school. I read Ayn Rand and adopted her philosophy. Until then, I had been a default leftist. I believed in those values without giving it much thought. Atlas Shrugged confronted me with right-wing ideas for the first time. I had never thought about it before but it made perfect sense. Furthermore, I saw this as a way to finally become a member of society instead of an outcaste. I joined some groups. Young Americans for Freedom was happening. I subscribed to National Review, enjoying Buckley’s snarky wit. The Conservative Party wanted to run candidates against the liberal Republicans. I ran for New York State Assembly. I was now in college. One of my proudest moments was participating in a debate against the three other candidates (Republican, Democratic and Liberal). The debate was covered in the school paper. As far as becoming a regular member of society, forget it. Before, I had been too far left. Now I was too far right. “Normal” people just went with the flow. I would never be normal.
While in college, I developed a new interest. Richard Wagner, in particular, and German culture in general. I choose German as my language requirement and took many elective courses. I also took many electives in philosophy as well as Greek theater, no doubt under the influence of Neitzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy. Later on, I went to the Bayreuth Festival. While in Bayreuth, I audited the classes Friedelind Wagner gave in the various theater arts, appropriate since Wagner considered his art a Gesamtkunstwerk (a work that combined varied disciplines into one masterpiece). Then I got a job teaching English in four German high schools. I stayed in Germany for a year and two months. I had my appendix out. With the advantages of socialized medicine, it didn’t cost me a penny. I almost got married to another teacher who married one of his students instead and became a missionary. Obviously, not a good match for me but it really hurt to lose him. Pictures of me at the time show how happy I was while we were together.
When the job ended, I traveled around Europe for a bit. I took a week’s class in Wagner’s Ring in a castle, went to Venice and visited a friend in Alsace and then went to Paris where I felt lonely and sick. I would have gone to Lourdes but there was a railway strike. I finally went home again.
College graduates in New York had a great deal working for the New York Department of Social Services. A new graduate could start with no prior employment experience and get a four week vacation the very first year. The salary was awesome after having worked at minimum wage until then. It was the end of the 60’s and, despite my other interests, I couldn’t stay oblivious to the changes once I was back in the USA. Of course, being me, I glommed on the darker aspects. The Manson trial was taking place and I managed to strike up a correspondence with Sandy Good.
More importantly, I finally had the opportunity to explore my true sexuality. There were rags out like Screw where people could place uncensored ads for, well, whatever. I was looking for a sexy sadist but I also noticed an ad from someone who wanted to start a liberation group for masochists. Why not? There were liberation groups for everyone else, gays, women, even mental patients. I contacted the man and we had the first ever meeting of The Eulenspiegel Society, or TES as they prefer calling themselves today. I have to laugh at the way I inflicted that name on them. (If I had a conscience, I’d feel guilty.) But I was thinking of the traditional way liberation groups start with esoteric names and only later come out with names of what the group is really about. The first gay liberation group was called The Mattachine Society and the lesbians called themselves Daughters of Bilitis. Anyway, we expected to fit right in as another liberation group. Wrong. The Village Voice, which was very welcoming of the others refused to even accept our ads. This led to a whole campaign. The activist in me was in her element. We picketed and I got an interview with Howard Smith and later wrote my own article which was published in the Voice, Masochists’ Lib. Even after all of that, getting ads accepted was an uphill battle. A battle that we finally won. Pat Bond, the man who placed the initial ad in Screw, and I are now in The Leather Hall of Fame .
It was great but also kind of alienating. I was alone. Later, the members decided to open up the group to sadists. When I returned from my wandering, I found a far more liberating organization than the one I had started. But that’s for later. Meanwhile, I turned my attention to psychedelics. One of my best friends lived upstairs from a chemist who also dealt really good quality ACID. I read Timothy Leary and realized that this was something I just had to get in on. So I did. It was a revelation, a discovery of a whole new world. The beat generation had been awesome but THIS, the hippie world was a genuine counterculture. My third trip was a really heavy one in which I saw myself in Hell. A guy was actually wearing a flowing robe and the walls of the apartment clashing colors so, when the lights went on, it looked like flames. But, at the same time, I realized that Hell was loneliness. I needed something new.