i was a 'ho in hell lay/my sex and dating protocol to follow

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JANUARY 21, 2009 8:55PM

I was a 'Ho in Hell Lay/My Sex and Dating Protocol to follow

Okay, I've edited and I'm reposting Parts One and Two of Losing My Looks/I was a 'Ho because I have many more friends now and because they are preludes to My Sex and Dating Protocol, which I will post tomorrow. That is where I actually talk about sex, so it's not for the prudish/Monte.


“Joke ‘em if they can’t take a f***.”
Robin Williams
“Bisexuality doubles your chance for a date on Saturday night.”
Woody Allen 

My love and sexual history was already lengthy and complicated by the time I arrived in Hell Lay. I’d had way more than my share of conquests. I wasn’t even remotely healthy about men, dating, sex, about any of it, until my early to mid-thirties. Most people who come from extreme dysfunction have some trouble being intimate. I never quite grasped the whole delayed gratification concept – sexual tension made me nuts and I felt compelled to act on it immediately -- so I accumulated way too many male data points over the years. Now I tell people I’m a Recovering Ho, and they laugh because I’m so un-ho-like now, but I was a real player back in the day. L.A. was a major enabler for me. So many gorgeous men. So little time.

I was thirty-three when I moved to L.A. from the San Francisco Bay Area. Still an accountant, not yet in recovery.

I’d had my nose done, finally, partly to get a break from the hell that was the Big 8 accounting firm, but I was also burnt out on being called the girl with the big nose or hearing “you’d be exquisite if you just got your nose fixed”. And more than one guy at U.C. Berkeley telling me how much it sucked that there were no attractive women in our MBA program. “How terrible for you,” I’d say ironically, since I was technically still a woman even though twenty percent of the S.F. population was gay and I’d begun to say that I was getting a “Much Bigger Assholes” degree since at least eighty percent of my colleagues fit into that category. In my not-a-fan-of-Reagan opinion.

I believe strongly now that Asshole should be in the DSM IV or V, right under agoraphobia and anxiety. And that kind of asshole did not find me any more sexually desirable than the huge gay male population. They preferred waspy republicans.

So I’d had the rhinoplasty and was working in finance at Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios and having multiple brushes with greatness. I loathed my work but was thrilled to run onto the Solid Gold set beside Ted Danson to hear Julian Lennon – I also sneaked on to the Cheers set as often as I could. Access was easy when you wore a suit and looked dull. My downwardly mobile instincts were already in place, of course. So I was rude to a very hairy Martin Scorcese and didn’t let him use my phone right away, thinking he was a go-fer with a film canister under his arm.

And I took way too much of Sherry Lansing’s time – she later became head of Paramount – when I saw her under the dryer at the chi-chi salon. Both she and Marty could not have been kinder or more pleasant. Bolstering my theory that truly talented and successful people are cool. It was the social climbing Protestant wannabes from Des Moines who’d given me the hardest time when I was at Harvard. Back when I was so smaht, as they say in Boston, but, sadly, a Jew.

My finance job at Universal was even more hideous and dull than my Paramount one had been and I’d only lasted there for four months. So I decided to take a break and get liposuction on my upper thighs. It was not yet clear to me that I was exorcising my real estate developer and future ex-con mother  from my body. I wanted to fit into the slimmer-silhouette pants that I coveted. I wanted to Fit In.

Actually, my plastic surgeries are two of the least stupid things I’ve done in my life. Which is saying a whole lot. Clothes fit better. I felt prettier. I truly had solved some appearance issues.
“What kind of a nose would you like?” asked my artistic surgeon.
“Well, I don’t want that tiny nose. The one my cousins and Joan Van Ark all have…”
“Honey, you can’t have a small nose,” he said, not at all unkindly, “You have an enormous nose for your face.”

“Did you have something done to your eyes?” my lovely chiropractor asked a few weeks later.
“No,” I answered pragmatically. “You can see my eyes now."
He nodded, clearly pleased for me.

“Pull down your pants,” my shorter and even more saddle-bagged sister demanded when I was back east on business, dragging me into the hotel bathroom to see the fantastic results.
“Wow,” she murmured. “You don’t have to wear bell-bottoms anymore.”

My sister was practical about everything in life. My envy of her nature and her closeness with my mother knew no bounds. Her view was that if we’d been stretched on a rack, we’d have the perfect body. She did leg lifts religiously but, having the adoring husband and new baby, she felt none of the stupid urgency that I felt to try to be beautiful.

Of course no matter how lovely you feel or become, in L.A. you are average at best. Which was actually okay with me. It had been so long since I’d had any positive attention from men, from anyone really, since I was not popular among either the MBAs, the accountants or the financial analysts, that I felt like I’d been re-born.

“Do I have something yucky on my face?” I asked my two gay and San Francisco-familiar male friends. “People are staring at me.”
“Noooooo. they howled. “They LIKE women here!”
They were delighted for me, so I joyfully returned to being the Ho I’d been before business school. It was time to date again, to have enjoyable sex. Which did not turn out to be a challenge despite my not being a Perfect Blond.

I had traffic-stopping red hair. A homeless man actually ran up to me when my car was stalled at an Arby’s near Hollywood Boulevard and yelled, “I could see your hair from all the way down the street!” And a strange woman accosted me on  Venice Boardwalk, desperate to know my formula. They were not exactly my target market. i miss those days of knowing exactly how you were doing (Portlanders are all about Early North Face/Early Wilderness Expedition and never give compliments, which can really suck when you are older and invisible.) But a compliment means something in L.A.. I had a buff body, finally was at my fighting weight and a very slowly burgeoning screenwriting career since a TV movie I’d written with a partner was being optioned by NBC.

The relief I felt at being able to answer “I’m a writer” to the “what do you do?” question was palpable. When you say you work in finance, the other person’s eyes glaze over, It's painful when you know in your gut that you are more interesting and certainly much funnier than what you do implies.

There was no arrogance or attitude in my saying that I was a screenwriter. I felt buoyed by the knowledge that there was something I loved to do, at which I might possibly also make a living. I was naïve and had no idea about the angst-ridden years ahead, but that was a blessing and I had the glow of someone who’s learned that life might have positive possi-bilities.

So I had the glow and the vitality that made me feel radiant and irresistible. I was told over and over again that I looked like (pick one)Diane Wiest, Marsha Mason, Melissa Gilbert, Fran Drescher, and when I was blondish and in a dark Irish pub, Stephanie Powers, by both strangers and pals in the Industry whose job it is to know who people look like. Two visually impaired people insisted I looked like Sandra Bullock.
“But you can’t see,” I blurted, ungratefully, and then, "Thank you so much."

At the time I knew I must look like some celebrity whom people liked. A lot. It was so much fun. Strangers waved at me from their cars. Offered me free food in restaurants.
“Good luck on the Emmys,” said the ticket booth woman at the Beverly Connection Cineplex.
“Thank you,” I replied, modestly.

“Are you anybody?” asked a tourist, rushing up to me at  Farmer’s Market next to CBS Studios
“No. No, I’m not,” I’d say truthfully, the first few times it happened.

But they’d look so crestfallen, and, after all, technically, I was somebody. So I’d say, very humbly of course, “Yes, yes, I am.” And they’d run off shrieking to Harold or Irving that they’d just met ______. I never bothered to find out who they thought I was. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t about being famous or being taken for famous. It was about feeling visible, vital and viable in my life again.

Thankfully, there was no way to know then that my life would change so much after the riots and the earthquake and, well, everything that followed, and it warms my heart to know that I knew I was attractive and appealing and alive when that was going on. One of the cherished time periods that I don’t look back on with wrenching regret.

I’ll get to the marathon dating and to the sex in a minute, since I’m not a relentless tease. But first I need to describe what I was up against. How amazing it truly was that I was able to hold my own in that social scene and how satisfying it was, as superficial as it sounds now, and how much I sometimes miss it all now that I have lost my libido and my looks. After all, I had just found my looks and it was thrilling. Especially considering all the perfectly stunning blond actresses who always insisted on sitting next to me in bars and nightclubs since I was so scared of women (see above description of my "mother") that I had no desire whatsoever to compete with them.

So there I's be in a fabulously funky bar or dance club in Hollywood or on Melrose Avenue or the 3rd Street Promenade. The glow I felt gave me the confidence to go anywhere and everywhere by myself. Music and dancing, almost any kind, made me hugely happy. Jazz and blues were my favorites but the most fun venue was the Crush Club, where people of all ages could gyrate around by themselves, if they wanted, to Motown and 50s and 60s rock’n’roll.

There I would contentedly be, all ho’d up for the night, and in would walk a Perfect Blond. I’d smile at her instinctively, which she would inevitably misread as an invitation and sit down next to me.

“You are gorgeous.” I’d say, because it was so totally true.
“Thank you,” she would reply and be relieved and delighted that I didn’t seem to loathe her, which I didn’t. I was another species entirely, with my large pores – well, any pores at all because the Perfect Blond didn't have any. Well, I was human, and she was NOT.

“You’re very pretty too,” she’d say, because she was not unkind, had no reason to be, as the bartender drooled nearby. “Well, thank you for saying that,” I’d demur. Then take a breath and a beat.

“This is awkward but do you think you could sit somewhere else?” I’d ask the PB very politely. “I won't meet anyone with you here." Not mentioning that I was in heat or what a giant ho I was. The PB would nod knowingly and move on to another bar stool or table where she would be most welcome if there were no other women around.

These kinds of interactions became second nature. But this pattern did come to a ridiculous head, even for me, one night in the hip and trendy Ladies Room of a hip and trendy restaurant in Santa Monica. I was washing my hands and blotting the sheen off my post-rhinoplasty nose in the strategically and fashionably oddly-angled metal mirror and feeling particularly okay about myself since I was on a date with a very cute guy who looked like he might be able to both pay for dinner and be a lot of fun later on.

So, of course, in walked a Perfect Blond. She was a brunette actually, but she was so stunning that she might as well have had the golden locks. And she was crying. Not the full out ugly cry, of course. But there were tears.
“My boyfriend doesn’t like my new dress. He says I look hippy.”
I stared at her in the mirror, mesmerized. She didn’t have any hips to speak of. She was perfect. The designer dress was cut just right. She was beyond gorgeous.

I’ve always wanted to write a play called the Ladies Room where there are women looking in the mirror and talking to each other while they polish themselves, but then there are women on the other side of the glass who are the ones truly doing the talking. Since women never look at each when they talk at the sinks. Their reflections do the speaking and the listening. And women bond in those rooms in ways that men and children will never ever understand. Maybe because we don’t actually look at each other. Our reflections do it all for us and that makes us feel safer.

“Your boyfriend is an asshole,” I said, with complete and total conviction. “You look perfect. You could not look better if you were framed on a wall. You are beautiful.”
She smiled at me, hopefully. “You think?”
“I know,” I said, wishing I didn’t have so much more faith in other people than I did in myself, as much as I actually did like myself in those days. “I do some screenwriting. I’ve worked at the Studios a bit. Seen lots and lots of amazing-looking women. You’re right up there. Tell him to fuck off.”

She wiped off the tears. Re-applied her lipstick.
“Thank you so much.” And, then, on her way out the door, “You’re very pretty, too.”

When you find yourself comforting PBs in the Ladies Room when you are not remotely that way yourself, that should be a sign that it’s time to move on. Up, up and away from L.A. I did do that eventually, only got myself an hour and a half north, but it felt at the time like a whole other world. But I was still in L.A. and I was intoxicated with maybe being somebody. I had just found my looks and I wanted to make use of them. 

Which all led, inevitably, to the dating and the fabulous dysfunctional sex…


Okay, so I was talking about my version of the rules. Over time I developed Rules for dating and for sex. Certain patterns began to emerge as I went out and about. One night at the Crush Club, my girlfriend and I were ecstatically dancing to Shout. "A little bit faster now…", just having a blast. Very young men kept cutting in and my gal pal began to notice a pattern.
“The guys that like you keep getting younger and shorter. Does Michael J. Fox have younger brothers?”

Hence, My Rules: Older men and even some around my age didn’t have much stamina or ability, so the rule was that they had to invest in Viagra when things were not looking up, shit, if it was even around back then. And older guys were always looking for my goddamn G-spot. As close as I could figure it, my G-spot was in Mexico somewhere, having lunch. Taking a long vacation. It STILL calls me occasionally, from the Yucatan Peninsula, just to say hello. I say, "Hi, G. How's it going? Use sunscreen."

The much younger men did have energy and it certainly was flattering (although some of it was just about my being 5'3" and them being shortish -- ditto with some older guys, of course.), but many of them didn't know anything about female anatomy (the non-G-spot spot), and I was no Dr. Ruth. Not to mention that I had another strict rule: I wouldn’t date anyone I could have given birth to, no one who could have been my son. That just seemed very tacky.

My other rule, it being L.A. and the film and tv industries and all, was that I wouldn’t date anyone prettier than me. Please, I did not want anyone using the mirror more than I did. I broke this one more than I'd like to admit. I enjoy beauty as much as the next person. Well, maybe even a bit more, and there were so many pretty pretty men back then and there. (More about this later. Probably in Part Three. I know, I'm a huge tease.)


All of the dating and sex and sharing my space crap brought up for me the sanctity of sleeping alone. My bed was my favorite place in the world and still is. It wasn’t a safe or secure one for me when I was a kid. Too much chaos in the house. It was more of a target zone – a place where they could find me and flip out about whatever or do whatever. Since then, it’s been a major refuge and hang-out. It’s got to feel like home with a capital H.

I got one of those foam mattress pads with the indentations; the ones that look like a bed of nails designed by Disney. It felt like heaven. I bought those wonderful T-shirt sheets in magenta and cobalt blue. The ones that Oprah recommended many years ago. Like sleeping inside a worn-to-silk giant undershirt. Thread count was not my thing, I don't think it was yet a huge deal back then. Thank God for small blessings. T-shirt sheets were affordable and my Companions seemed to enjoy them.

The number of men whom I liked enough to attempt a rela-tionship with who also liked me was statistically insignificant. 'Hos are not that into settling down. It's too bad I'd been alone so long between the being divorced and then being around too many gay men and Much Bigger Assholes because I had "mad skills", as the kids say now, and it would have been kind of cool to share my whipped cream, chocolate sauce, flavored edible body lotions, crotchless panties, garter belts and fishnet stockings with someone I might have actually loved a little. Remember, my body was awesome back then. Even the pretty men thought so, although one asshole, young of course, told me that I must have had a hellacious body when I was 16. I told him, "Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. No woman over 10 wants to be compared to her former body."

There were brief times in my six years in L.A. during which I had twinges about being so "active", especially when I had a bladder infection from too vigorous f---ing or from someone being a bit too well-endowed -- there truly is such a thing, boys. I even went to Sex Addicts Anonymous a few times because a 12-stepper I know kept nagging me, but it was mostly gay men back then, who were literally afraid for their lives, so it was clear it wasn't my problem. 

I considered other options at those times. One day I saw a gang of contented looking and very large dykes at Home Depot -- I was thinking, shit, I could eat what I like and wouldn't have to wear make-up. -- and was propositioned by a cute gay women who called herself Uncle Mary. So I decided to become a lesbian. Didn’t really think it through all the way though, I’m afraid. After two weeks I realized that I’d forgotten to be attracted to any women. Kind of missed the little man in the boat, so to speak. So it turned out I was a complete failure at being a lesbian.

Then there were just the periods during which I didn't meet anyone I desired or vice versa. Thank goodness I believed in being my own best friend, or I'd have turned into one of those nasty bitches whom everyone says just needs a good f--- since I was in heat much of that time. (See paragraph about pretty men. )

Instead I developed a great relationship with my vibrator. We disagreed about politics -- he was a republican and it got really old after a while, but other than that we got along just fine. My poor vibrator. I bought it at the Pleasure Chest on Santa Monica Boulevard when I was researching a screenplay about a woman MBA inheriting a legal brothel in Nevada. Too bad I was never able to sell that piece -- HIV and AIDs were rampant, but shit, the legal places had the girls checked every week. It was pretty clever.

My new best pal was bright red and not anatomically correct. The top was always falling off even though one of my companions supposedly glued it back on. He prided himself on his skill with electronics, among other things.

I've always been very environmentally correct, so I had re-chargeable C batteries. I had to constantly recharge the damn things. And you had to wait until they completely ran out of energy to recharge them, so I was often left to my own devices, so to speak, while that was happening. I should have stopped being so cheap and gotten another set of recharge-ables, but I was in major denial about how much I used the damn thing. I kept musing about Mr. Right: an adorable (not more than me, of course) blind 30-year-old -- I could tell him I was a Perfect Blond and he wouldn't know the difference -- old enough to not be my son, of course, with an exquisite sense of touch and an oral fixation. He'd have had a seeing eye dog, too, of course. I’d loved dogs since I'd known Shady Lady, my childhood pal, even though she got sprayed by every skunk she ever met.

The thing I wasn’t factoring in was the whole Age and Looks issue popping up overnight. I was pushing 40, as my cop brother so daintily put it to me. Fuck him though. I was 36. Then a good friend of mine from back east came to see me , primped her Prada (was there Prada back then?-encased brow-listed-self in the hallway mirror, and announced, “It’s too bad we’re losing our looks."

Fuckin’ A! We? I was not 40. I had not resorted to facial surgery, except for my desperately needed nose job. Plus I was thin, for me, sexy and youthful since I've always been very very immature. (Not to mention that she’d said the same thing to me when we were turning 30; this was getting a little old.)

My friend saying that we were losing our looks could not have come at a worse time. I was enjoying my physical self immensely, for Christ's sake. So I said to my Pucci’d Gucci’d friend, more testily than I’d planned, “I am not remotely ready to lose my looks. Shit, man, I just found them recently!  So you go ahead and “lose your looks” if you want. Just f---ing do it without me.” She just stared at me. Apparently liking myself and the work I was doing and my activities gave me a bit of an attitude.

The truth is I wasn’t kidding about enjoying my looks before I lost them. I will always be bitter I had them for such a relatively short time (people still tell me that I'm cute/pretty/beautiful, gorgeous (those visually impaired characters again) but after fifty no one gives you a second glance. Actually, it's even sadder than that. I was walking down the street the other day with my stunningly adorable little service dogs and a guy came by and smiled the smile I used to enjoy so much. I smiled back and then quickly realized that he was smiling at my dogs! God can be such a shithead sometimes. I'd asked him for some attention from single Grandpas.

So the having my looks not so long was another bone of contention between me and God. We are always bickering about one thing or another. After the Pucci'd encounter, I felt like asking everyone I saw, “Have you seen my looks anywhere? Please let me know if spot them.” The way things have always gone between me and God, my Looks were and are probably in Mexico somewhere, having lunch with my G-spot.

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Too much sex is enough sex.

Holy word count - I'm saving this - I like it so far.

Asshole in the DSM IV - (You're a riot) - they have it but it's just criteria. Many people fit.
Looking forward to reading Part 3, Theo!
OMG! You are hilarious! Looks aren't everything.
Humor and health are.
Love your self rant and all the gratuitous sex thrown in for good measure.
Keep writing!!! You are a tonic and gifted writer.
Ooooh, I'm so glad you're writing about sex! I've had a lot of questions about it since becoming single. My h. left me in 2004, divorced in '06. I have been hesitant to get into the game, but seem to have a few interested parties. Hum. Wondering about the whole thing...can't wait for your next installment.
you guys are sweethearts. feeling kind of neglected because i thought this topic would draw more attention.
carol, i no longer have a clue about sex but i did at one time so i'll share what i used to know. i'm so pleased for you that you have two interested guys and so envious. as cute as i am, i'm invisible, except for my wonderpups, and it sucks since i'm an attention whore on every level.
love love love.
Funny stuff dear...with a whole lot of reality buried in there.
Only one thing wrong with this piece, no pun intended, I couldn't take it (no lap-top.... no pun intended...geesh!) to bed with me...n.p.i. to read like I do with my favorite make- me- laugh- out loud- writers..(you know, Anne Lamott type humor) yes! OF COURSE it is a five inch thick n.p.i. foam mattress pad...100% Egyptian cotton...almost tee shirt soft..400 thread count sheets and my Temperpedic special neck pillow...lavender scent (aromatherapy) to spray on all of this foam and cotton wonderfulness and a good book..I would so like you to fit in! GET PUBLISHED!
So enjoyed enjoying this read!
Whoa, Thea, you must really rock a few worlds around that senior apartment complex of yours. This is hilarious and you are my kind of gal. Can't wait for Part III.
wow, you guys, i'm so moved. i've just posted about how exhausted this place makes me and how i'm going away for a while, but this makes my day.
nick -- i know you know your around all things sex, so praise from you is pure gold. love you, dude.
scared grandma, your bed is much more luxurious than mine. much more. god, i love you for saying i could publish. i used to sell screenplays but this is my funniest stuff. i have other pieces i've written and want to share, but i'm hesitant because they are not of this humor quality. i'll friend you now, but i'll be away for a while. very sick and very tired of some shit on here.
love and gratitude,
teddy and the wonderpups
Love it!! As a recently divorced woman of about the same age you're writing about who recently re-discovered her looks and sex drive - I can so relate!!!!
forgot to say - rated. can't wait to read the rest
PLEASE don't go "away for awhile"...this is pure selfishness on my part here, but my mother passed away nine days ago and I need your type of writing, funny or not....I have not been able to really laugh nor really cry! Is that weird or what?
I have some bad behavior stories from the past am can not write them on OS...you made me feel more normal...well, I AM more "normal" than YOU! HA! Oh dear funny lady, please do not go away...did you mean leave OS or your home area?
I feel like throwing a hissey fit so you won't stop posting! HA!
It takes a red-headed woman,
to get a dirty job done.
I too, came here because of your "going away" post. I am sorry it took that to get me here. For what it's worth, I really enjoyed your story and I hope your health stays with you. You did a great job of painting a picture of a life I never could have handled.
Wow Theodora -- How you ended up so far away from "the action" is a mystery - although I just read your bio - now I get it. You are one incredibly open and honest writer, and a great find for me. This is powerful, moving and very funny... keep going (you big tease!)!
"God can be such a shithead sometimes"

Yes, yes he can!! :) I think my mind might be in Mexico too, it left awhile back ,said to go get some smokes. And never came back. The kicker, my mind doesn't smoke! :( ;)

Anyways, loved this. Rated.

Theodora L'Engle

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