The next morning I got up early and finally dragged Geo out of bed. We had to talk. I couldn’t put it off any longer. I was leaving for San Francisco the following week, and I’d looked at the scene descriptions for today. I was supposed to get shaved, a full body shave. I didn’t figure there was any way I could hide that from Geo.
I poured him a cup of coffee and laid out the four words every lover hates to hear, “We need to talk.”
“Okay....? What’s up?”
“It’s my new job. It isn’t exactly what I told you it was. And I’m sorry for not telling you the truth right away.” Jeez, this was going to be hard, I thought, but full steam ahead!
“I kind of figured that. And I don’t even know why exactly. I mean the guy buys all your ‘stuff’ and then hires you for an IT job? I figured him for a first class pervert. And what first class pervert has the money for all that shit.”
“Well, I know at least the four hundred guys who subscribe to his service have that kind of money. Four hundred first class perverts with lots and lots of money. ” I was already on the defensive.
“Look, it pisses me off that you classify anyone who is into leather or rubber as perverted, because when you talk about him that way, you’re also talking about me. Okay? I admit I’ve got sexual fetishes. Most of the world does as far as I’m concerned.”
“Yeah, but they don’t waste all their time and money indulging that crap.”
“Yep! You’re right! I’ve wasted a lot of time and money. But only because it was wasted on you! I’d wear that ‘crap,’ as you so nicely called it, every single day if I could. I’m sorry you don’t get it, but I’m tired of pretending that it’s not important to me. ”
“I sort of hoped that your agreeing to sell all this shit meant you had gotten over your stupid little fantasies and games. I guess this argument means you’re not.”
“Great! So now not only am a pervert, I’m a stupid pervert. Thanks! And I love you too, asshole!” I hadn’t meant to yell. This was not going at all like I planned it.
“Oh fuck, I’m sorry, okay.” Geo’s apology was sincere. The problem was I could still see that he was looking at me in almost a condescending, sympathetic way, sort of the way you look at someone who tells you he’s dying of cancer. “Tell me what is going on. Just tell me.”
And I laid it all out for him. Every last bit. Even the rubber suit with inflatable tits. Even that. And my reaction. He didn’t interrupt, but he put his hand over his mouth about half-way through my story and turned a deathly gray. Not a good sign. When I finished my revelations we just sat for several minutes, breathing quietly, not really looking at each other.
“Are you done?” I nodded that I was. “I want you to quit. Today. I don’t care what kind of contract you signed, it won’t hold up in court, because it’s a contract written by a pornographer and pervert. No judge will listen to his side of arguments. Just quit. Give the signing bonus back. Whatever. Just quit.”
I knew Geo would not be happy, but he also didn’t seem to care that I was happy. It’s like he hadn’t even heard that part of my story. I simply said, “No.”
“What do you mean, ‘no’?”
“I mean I’m not quitting.”
“Yes, you are.”
“Please don’t do that. You are my partner and lover, and you can express how you feel, express what you think, but please don’t just unilaterally tell me what I can and cannot do.”
“We’re not talking about whose turn it is to do the dishes! We’re talking about this fucking perverted thing you’ve gotten into. You have to quit!”
“No, I’m not quitting. And if you call me a pervert one more time.....”
“What?” he demanded.
I took a long time to respond. “I have spent 25 years with you and I love you very much, but there is a huge part of me that you don’t understand and don’t seem care to understand. I have tried to entice you to see sex from my point of view and I appreciate it that you tried a few times. But right now I feel like you’ve shoved some sort of unspoken ultimatum at me—Quit or else, seems to be the message. Well, I’m curious, what the ‘or else’ is.”
He also took a long time to respond. “I won’t have it. Knowing you’re going off to some perversion parlor, being filmed for some sick guys who have lots of bucks to watch you prance about in rubber and leather, well, I just won’t have it. I don’t know how I’ll manage financially, but I’ll move out. We can sell the loft under market value, pocket whatever little profit we might get, and go our separate ways.”
I took several long breaths. My heart was pounding in my ears. “I want to ask you one question before I tell you my thoughts. How many nights this past couple of weeks were you working late and how many nights did you have little ‘get-togethers’ with some internet hook-up?”
He didn’t have to answer the question. I could see the answer in his refusal to look at me.
“And have I criticized or pulled a power-trip over it? No. Because we agreed that as long as we came home at night and shared our hearts with each other that would be enough. Well, clearly that is not a two-way street.”
I wasn’t getting through to him and I knew it. I could see him taking another breath to start another argument that his blow-jobs and booty calls were nowhere near as bad as my perversions. I wasn’t going to give him the chance. I interrupted his big breath,
“I’m going to go spend the night at a friend’s. I’ll stay away until Sunday night, late. Take anything and everything you want. Leave me a note where I should forward your mail.”
And I turned and walked out.
I walked to the parking garage, got in my car and drove to the warehouse on the west side. I punched my code to get into the gate and pulled haphazardly into a spot. And I burst into tears. The next thing I knew Davey was knocking on my driver’s window.
“Are you alright?” What a stupid question. Of course I wasn’t alright. I didn’t know if I’d ever be alright. My head was reeling with some pretty major questions. Am I pervert? Did I just throw away 25 years of a tremendous relationship because I am a pervert?
“Go away!” I shouted. And started sobbing even more. My chest was heaving. I thought I might be sick to my stomach.
A few minutes later I was starting to catch my breath and the sobs were coming a little further apart. I lifted my head. SirTom was waiting outside the driver’s window. I opened the door and stepped out.
I nodded and he stepped forward and held me close. I started sobbing again, my head against his shoulder. I kept thinking, these tears are going to stain this perfect linen jacket. When I was semi-under-control he ushered me through a private side door, down a back hallway and into his office. A glass of brandy appeared in front of me and without thinking twice I chugged it.
He pulled a chair around to where he was facing me, our knees touching. “Do you want to tell me?”
I replayed the complete scene of Geo and me for him. He nodded.
“I’m sorry,” he said simply.
“For what? You have nothing to be sorry for. It’s my fault.”
“For compromising such an important part of myself for 25 years. For putting my own needs so low on the totem pole. For letting that asshole call me a pervert. I was called a pervert when I was a kid, before I even knew what sex was. My parents called me a pervert when they turned their backs on me. I’ve been in full rubber at the Eagle and had a leatherman, for Christ sake, call me a pervert. Jesus! What is it with people!” I was sputtering now, making a remarkable transition from sorrow to anger.
“I’ve cancelled your shoot for today. Actually I’ve called in a replacement. It’s okay. I only care that you’re taken care of for now.”
“I WANT to do the shoot. Fuck him. Doors have been opened for me the last few days. Major doors and I do NOT want to go backwards and I fucking will not wallow.”
SirTom actually chuckled. “You look like shit. I’m sorry, but you do. And I’m not going to have you do the shoot when your emotions are all over the place. It’s not safe, it’s not pretty, and there is an element of control that is lost. You can hate me, but it doesn’t matter. You’re not working today. The paycheck is already printed, so don’t worry about that. Worry about yourself. That’s all that matters right now.”
I started to sob again. Self-pity, the pity of others, it doesn’t much matter. They both sting. And in this new set of sobs I could feel the desire to vomit come even stronger. I shot up out of my chair and down the hall to find a bathroom. I heaved multiple times, only stopping to sob some more. When I had nothing left to bring up SirTom practically carried me to a bedroom set not being used for the day and laid me down on the bed. A second glass of brandy appeared along with a little white pill.
“Take the pill. It’s okay. Nothing strong. It will just take the edge off. And I’ll stay with you. I promise.”
I gulped the brandy and swallowed the pill. In a matter of moments I was fast asleep.