Sexual Real Estate
Houses, Apartments, and Businesses that Provoke Fond Sex Memories and Mortifying Regrets
- Sexual Real Estate: Houses, Apartments, and Businesses that Provoke Fond Sex Memories and Mortifying Regrets
- LAY OF THE LAND: Fremont: Home to: Artsy free spirits, crafty kooks, non-homeless hippies
- LAY OF THE LAND: Ballard: Home to: Aging hipsters with alt-country sympathies, homesick Norwegians
- LAY OF THE LAND: Queen Anne: Home to: Young professionals turned off by the hype and noise of Belltown, professional artsy types drawn into the arts vortex (Intiman, Seattle Rep, opera, ballet, On the Boards, EMP)
- LAY OF THE LAND: Capitol Hill: Home to: Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendereds; artsy straights who don't mind being sexual minorities (or at least equals)
- LAY OF THE LAND: Downtown: Home To: Out-of-towners, noisy street revelers, colorful hobos
- LAY OF THE LAND: Belltown: Home To: Sexy upper-income city folk, and the sexy hipster workforce staffing their cafes and boutiques
- LAY OF THE LAND: U-District: Home To: The young and horny; the aged and predatory
- STDs, Babies, and Rape: Where to Turn When Things Go Wrong
You're walking or biking or boarding down a street in summer. You look up, you see a house, an apartment, a business, a bar, a bush. Suddenly the memories flood back: "Hey, I got laid there once...."
The longer you've lived in one city, the more places you've had sex there. The more places you've had sex, the larger your personal portfolio of sexual real estate. In this very special issue of The Stranger, staffers and freelancers share stories about our sexual real estate--the places we've lived, places our exes lived, sites of one-night stands, dorm rooms in which we were thwarted, dicks we did or did not suck (on), and rooming houses in which we spied on sexy neighbors. The pieces are unsigned for a couple of reasons: The first is to protect the innocent... and the guilty. We wanted the writers to be honest without violating the privacy of their partners or themselves. The second reason is far more practical: No one wants to imagine Stranger writers having sex--Stranger writers included. Since the stories are unsigned, you're free to pretend that the sexcapades described below are being had by beautiful movie stars.
In her book, Sex and Real Estate: Why We Love Houses, Marjorie Garber claimed that as we get older, an obsession with land holdings eventually supplants our obsession with lust. "What do college students talk about with their roommates? Sex. Twenty years later, what do they talk about with their friends and associates? Real estate. And with the same gleam in their eyes." In this issue we prove that you can be obsessed with both. After all, you gotta have sex somewhere.
In addition to the house and apartment listings, we walk potential tenants and homeowners through Seattle neighborhood by neighborhood, describing the hot spots in each district. But it's not all fun and games: We've included a list of resources for STD testing, birth control, and rape crisis in this issue. (A nod toward "redeeming social importance.")
We hope you enjoy our memories--our triumphs, failures, and fantasies alike--and the specific apartments, houses, parks, bars, cars, riverbanks, and public bathrooms that trigger them. Once Seattle reads these capsules, we expect property values around town to skyrocket.
CAPITOL HILL/ FIRST HILL/ CENTRAL DISTRICT
CAPITOL HILL/ FIRST HILL/ CENTRAL DISTRICT
Stranger Offices Part I
1535 11th Ave E, Capitol Hill
I know for a fact I wasn't the first to besmirch the foul carpets of this newspaper's HQ, but after two years of working here, it seemed like my turn. It was also the only safe place to carry on with this particular girl, who had slept with most of my friends (and several of my enemies) and was, at the moment our cell phones connected, doing karaoke at a Pike St. lesbian bar. She slipped away from her friends and met me at the stairwell door. She was exactly drunk enough to be uninhibited, but not so sloppy that I had to feel like a psychotic episode, as I had during our one prior "date," which mainly consisted of me watching her drink, and her reverting into some primordial madness. But did that stop me from calling again? Has it ever stopped me from calling again? When she sat down a few steps above me, I learned that she wasn't wearing panties. Had she removed them on the way, or was she a full-time cowgirl? I never asked, but moments later, upstairs, when she pulled me down on top of her, her skirt hiked up to her luscious hips, her bare ass unapologetically planted on the musty editorial floor, my pants clumsily around my ankles, I had forgotten the question. I no longer work at the paper or know where the girl is, but I wish I did, on both counts.
The Garden Behind Harborview Medical Center
325 Ninth Ave, First Hill
It was a particularly hot evening and I planned a simple picnic, innocent enough, behind my hospital with its view of the bay. Her husband was in Germany for a month and she needed some conversation and cheer. We drank cold white wine from paper cups and spoke of dreams and politics as the sun set. I noticed her white dress was sheer just before the light faded. At one point I saw her shiver slightly and asked her if she needed my shirt. She shook her head no but then crawled closer and unbuttoned it anyway, giving me the kiss I'd been imagining for the better part of a year. There may have been words exchanged, protests even, but the deep chop-chop-chop of the airlift helicopter coming to life and eventually, gently, lifting off is the only sound in my memory.
1820 16th Ave E, Capitol Hill
It always struck me funny that my apartment building looked just like my junior high school. Then, even in my first few nights there, I realized that the building was similar in more ways than one. I had moved into the Home of the Horny Teenager. More specifically, the Home for Horny Teenage Girls. My almost exclusively female neighbors aren't literally teens--quite the opposite. Most of the women in my building are in their 30s and are extremely creative people: artists, writers, independents. They're also the hottest, craziest, and sexiest women I've ever met. And the LOUDEST. I've never heard so much sex in any apartment in my entire life. From the moans and groans and actual bed frames breaking and crashing onto the floor in the apartment above me to the tantric, mind-blowingly long sessions in the apartment next door, this is one randy establishment. I even eventually struck a deal with one neighbor wherein if I played really loud Eminem on my stereo, that meant she was groaning too loudly. My own "friends" have acted shocked at the noise during their "stays," but I just laugh, because when in Rome....
His Mom's House
23rd Ave E and Mercer St, Central District
Midway through my senior year of high school, in a sartorial expedition I'm now unable to explain, I took to wearing my grandfather's old cowboy boots. (He had small feet for a full-grown man; I had large feet for a 17-year-old girl.) Around the same time, my sidekick and I determined that we did not wish to take our virginity to college with us, and, teen-movie style, made a pact to lose it before the last day of school. We each acquired, in a timely fashion, slightly hoodlumish boyfriends (mine did a beer bong in the Oak Tree Cinemas parking lot on our first date); then, in a timely fashion, her boyfriend's mother went out of town. Our double date at the parental-guidance-free house involved much drinking (at which we were already skilled), an attempt to make spaghetti (at which we were entirely incompetent), and, later, our dual deflowering (which very well may have occurred at precisely the same moment). We conferred, jubilant, in the bathroom afterward: The deed was done, it hadn't hurt, and we weren't covered in blood. She wore only a pillow, clutched to her chest cinematically; I wore only my grandfather's cowboy boots.
The Views at Madison
1823 E Madison St, Capitol Hill
While on the phone late one recent afternoon, I absentmindedly stared out my window, across the noisy canyon that is Madison Street, at the newish apartment building that faces mine. While ordinarily a bland, quiet building--with the exception of several obnoxious children who like to scream "Mamaaaaa!" from the sidewalk, two floors below their mother's closed window--that day two residents enhanced the view. In a top-floor bedroom, with the bed apparently tucked right under the window, an adorable guy was lazily fucking his girlfriend. Slender legs, stretching to the ceiling, were the only bit of her visible from my vantage point. Until she climbed on top of him, her long hair brushing his face as she leaned forward, and quickly finished what he had started. Sadly, that window has been empty ever since.
Bathroom 925 E Pike St, Capitol Hill
Yeah, I had sex in this bathroom. Who didn't? It was 1998. The sex was mediocre at best. I was mainly concerned about hygiene and not touching the toilet with any part of my body. My boyfriend was on coke and could barely keep it up. Sometimes I think ARO.space was the closest I ever got to Studio 54.
A Parked Car
16th Ave between Cherry St and Jefferson St, Capitol Hill
We had met two hours earlier, at a club downtown where an acquaintance I barely knew was performing in a show that bored me to tears. (Some horrible synthesis of fashion, music, and, though I shudder to admit this, fire.) Alone, more miserable than usual, and with no one to talk to, I downed shot after shot of tequila and sulked in the corner, feeling at a loss in more ways than one. He avoided me at first, he told me later, because he could tell I was "trouble"--a fact that would later seem highly ironic when I couldn't get the calls, or the e-mails, or the "surprise" early-morning visits to my house to stop. I coaxed him into my car, and then, gripped by a sudden squeamishness at the prospect of bringing him home, ended up parking in a quiet spot, miles away from anywhere where anybody knew me. We fucked in the front seat, incautiously, in a space that would have been in full view of probably dozens of residents of the quiet street--if any of them had been awake to see us, which they weren't, because it was a weeknight and 3:00 in the morning. Even with the seat pushed back all the way, the car was dirty and cramped and, in late June, insufferably hot. I drove him home as the sun came up, thinking happily (and incorrectly) that I would never see him again.
Another Parked Car
13th and Harrison St, Capitol Hill
It was a hatchback and we would have been wise to pop it, for our brief tangling proved ridiculously cumbersome and often painful. The emergency brake was up--the small of my back found it. The steering wheel was obtrusive--her leg became gnarled around it. The horn protested. The seats groaned. The driver's side seat belt briefly became a noose. When it was all over, the car itself seemed violated. A few months later it became a heap. We may have killed it
Broadway Espresso Roma (RIP)
Broadway Ave and John St, Capitol Hill
My girlfriend at the time was the manager of Espresso Roma. I was on a three-year bender and was "between apartments" for much of that time so I spent many hours there reading the newspaper and writing in my journal. She kept a box of Total cereal behind the counter so that I could have a good breakfast once in a while, and I often showed up, drunk, at closing time to "help." One night she was in the back doing the books and I was helping her by rambling humorously on a variety of topics so that by the time she was finished it was very late. Rather than walk back to her apartment we decided to cuddle there on the old, green couch. Soon we were undressed and making love in full view of all the late-night pedestrians on Broadway, but we were in the back and no one saw. We were deeply involved in what we were doing and suddenly we heard a key turn in the lock. We froze, totally naked, as the delivery guy from the bakery brought in three boxes of pastries for the next day. There was nothing to say but "Hi."
Playground at Volunteer Park
1247 15th Ave E, Capitol Hill
The first time I had sex after moving to Seattle was in Volunteer Park. The only reason this is in any way out of the ordinary is that I am not a gay man. As a straight woman, newly arrived, I didn't yet know the reputation of the place, the fact that it is cruised by men in search of a little rough trade, and also equally cruised by the vigilant police trying to deter them. I simply like to have sex outside. However, since I'm not a fan of pinecones on a bare ass or grass and twigs where they oughtn't be, for this encounter I chose a platform on the playground equipment. Our sex was appropriately lighthearted, playful, and athletic. We managed to avoid the police, but only just. As we left the park, we saw two cop cars cruising slowly with high-powered beams on the bushes. After that close call, sex in Volunteer Park is not something I'd risk again. But that just adds to my feeling about that night, the sense of innocence, youth, and fearlessness that it had--a freedom I'd like to recapture, but that continually eludes me.
Peeping Tom Condo
22nd Ave and E John St, Central District
When I moved to Seattle a decade back, I was a sad little boy from NYC, wore nothing but Brooks Brothers, and proceeded to place my sheltered, hapless ass in a condo a block from Oscar's. Next door to this condo was a decaying Victorian house full of modern primitives, with a junked-up VW bus in the front yard and a makeshift hot tub in the back, in which a seemingly endless supply of dreadlocked, tattooed girls and boys (but mainly girls) would giggle, smoke weed, and get it on. They signified liberation from my conservative matrix. They seemed without the cares of people with jobs. And they fucked like wronged angels. I would watch them from the window--a bespeckled, buttoned up, all-but-in-name Republican--and ferociously, sweatily, and joyfully beat off all the livelong day. Years later, when I shed the awful clothes and started getting laid for real, enough that I could actually pick and choose a bit, I always went after the girls with the whalebones in their noses, and my skittish, ashamed, and happy voyeurisms achieved a joyous closure.
15th Hole Gazebo, Broadmoor Golf Club
2340 Broadmoor Dr E, Broadmoor
I wore my shortest skirt and brought devilled eggs and my summer fling to a croquet party at Broadmoor. Everything was overflowing--food on the tables, cigarettes in ashtrays, booze in the coolers. By the time evening came, everybody had broken all the rules several times, even the most important: Don't set your drink down. We kept playing in the dark, stumbling over wickets and swinging our mallets every which way. He and I eventually made our way out to the gazebo, our hands and mouths sticky with mint juleps. I sat on his lap and watched the house, all lit up and blurry. Somebody was cleaning up, somebody else was calling our names, saying "Where'd they go?" "Off to do it," somebody else answered. Looking out over the shadowy golf course, I had no idea he'd stop calling me a month later and leave me with a really bad case of crabs.
Stranger Offices pt. II
1535 11th Ave, Capitol Hill
We had nowhere else to go. His name was Greg and he was in town on business and his business friend was with him. The business friend had the rental car, and they were staying in a hotel on the Eastside. I wasn't about to go to the Eastside with them and I wasn't about to invite the business friend back to my place, because the business friend was a wall of a man, and smelly. Greg was thin and sexy in a Wes Bentley sort of way. Since my office was right around the corner, I told him we could mess around while his friend waited for us at the bar. I remember we were both wearing yellow T-shirts. This was last summer. We took each other's clothes off and he gave me a blowjob. He said he wanted me to fuck him, and bent over and pressed his face to my desk. I held his ass in my hands but I did not fuck him. We both eventually jacked off onto his chest, in the indirect light of a streetlamp that poured into the office through a far wall of windows. He was from Florida. I never saw him again.
DENNY REGRADE/ LAKE UNION/EASTLAKE
Olive Way and Boren Ave, Denny Regrade
After one life-changing evening of Dina Martina's mind-blowing cabaret at Re-bar, I and the fella with whom I had just eloped on Coney Island were feeling frisky. Staggering up Boren, we noticed a small gate (unlocked), and beyond, a dark slope of ivy. I spread out my faux fur coat under a tree and proceeded to alight upon my dewy young husband. In the throes of wedded bliss, I began to hallucinate flashes of light--I had never experienced climax like this before. When we were finished, I rolled onto my back and gazed up at the night sky, only to be confronted with the extreme proximity of southbound I-5. As I realized that some of the orgasmic strobe effects could have come from the many, many cars and trucks blatting past, my love-saturated stallion's arch of post-coital urine sparkled in a semi's headlights. Casting about for my hastily discarded panties, I thought about my white, ripe, writhing bottom and how it must have caught the light. While we were groping in the bushes, my diaphragm sat, all alone, in its box in the medicine cabinet at home. The resulting daughter performs high-camp musical theater every day.
The Abandoned House (now Arion Court)
1814 Minor Ave, Cascade Neighborhood
In the big, dirty East Coast city where I come from, abandoned houses are as common as crack vials in the gutter. But here in the fresh new West, a derelict building is a rarity worthy of real estate fetishization. Some poor souls are turned on by the oddity of amputees or vaginal Ping-Pong ball juggling; I was once seized by lust at the sight of a decaying apartment complex. After a long evening of earnest drinking with a fondly remembered ex-paramour at a Capitol Hill dive, we started the journey home. Our stumbling took us right past this hulking wreck. We approached. The ex-paramour peeled back the plywood membrane that boarded up the door and I squeezed through the opening. We were in a filthy foyer with a crumbling staircase. The light from a streetlamp streamed weakly through a small window 20 feet above us almost illuminating the trash at our feet. I shuffled gingerly up the stairs. I stopped at the first landing and gripped the banister with two hands. I turned my head, "I need the crack so bad tonight, baby. I'll do anything for it… anything." And then, I did do anything. This old house has since been thoughtfully rehabilitated into low-income housing.
2027 Eastlake Ave E, Eastlake
I was a single girl working as a temp, so I compulsively perused Nerve.com. I sent a photo to "Lone Lobo" taken when I was at my skinniest. He e-mailed back and mentioned his Pee-wee Herman lunchbox, so I was intrigued if not aroused. Collector guys are all alike. They're more in love with their Stretch Armstrong dolls than they'll ever be with any woman. Still, I met him at the Lava Lounge and we drank. His "pad" looked like a bomb shelter decorated with paint-by-numbers sad clowns. He pulled a Frank Sinatra record out of its dust cover and mixed me a drink in a collectible shaker. "I really consider myself the missing member of the Rat Pack," he confided. Later, as the thin blue light of dawn trickled into the bedroom, I gathered up my clothes and quietly slipped out the door. Across the street, the door of my crappy car hung open. A prowler had tossed my belongings into the street in his futile search for something of value. As I bent to pick up a dubbed Smiths tape in a shattered case, the effort cracked my heart in two.
Eastlake Ave E, Eastlake
I was pretty stunned to find myself having sex with this girl, for several reasons. The first was: she was super foxy, with perfect, heaving breasts, jutting hips, and slim, powerful legs (gymnast). The second was that we had only just met a few days before. She was the roommate of a friend, and we shared the backseat of his car on a road trip to Portland. Then, we got home, and I asked her out, and she said yes, which may not sound like much to you, but for me it was like learning to shoot lasers out of my eyeballs. Anyway, the date was just a pretense for going back to her place, so we skipped dinner and wound up in her very sweaty bedroom, listening to skater punk LPs and grinding our way to oblivion while I pretended not to be put off by the crass, dumb things she kept saying. Then, naked and on the verge of making things literal, she asked would I like to take my dick and just "stick it in there a little, right in my twat?" "Twat" did it. I almost couldn't follow through. But then I did. Three times. And never called again.
Elliott Pointe Construction Site
2226 Elliott Ave, Belltown
Belltown once welcomed struggling artists, career alcoholics, and people who just didn't like working very much. It's true! Rents were cheap and community was practically a verb. My ex, a quiet, kinky boy given to wearing a leather corset beneath his clothes, lived in a legendary loft called 66 Bell. Day and especially night, this building teemed with talented weirdoes until late one afternoon when bulldozers rumbled us awake and began tearing the blackberry tangle out of the empty lot across the street. As we watched in horror, men in hardhats erected the stark plywood skeleton of a soulless condominium where just moments before, giant and gentle wharf rats had happily gamboled among the thorns. What could we do? We pondered lobbing a Molotov cocktail into the construction site, but we knew that progress would simply rise from the ashes, cash the insurance check, and build again. Times were changing and there was nothing we could do to fight it except wait until night, sneak into the shell of the unfinished building, and let nature take its course. So hey, if you bought one of these antiseptic new "view" condominiums, I want you to know that I fucked in every room of your house.
The Old Shoe Building
151 S Jackson St, Downtown
The space was little more than a hovel: no kitchen to speak of, a bare-bones bathroom, a small bedroom/loft made out of kindling. Sex was something we fumbled our way through as quietly as possible, lest we disturbed her burned out "roommate" whose pot-induced wheezing we could hear through the absurdly thin (and surely unstable) plywood ceiling separating us from his filthy futon. It was a descent into squalor every time we touched each other--both in our surroundings and the relationship as a whole--but it was not without a moral: The "artist lifestyle" is complete bullshit.
2213 Eighth Ave, Downtown
This is the location of a one-night stand I had in the '90s with the bass player of a band on tour from Belgium. After he played, we made out backstage and decided to take it back to his hotel: the majestic Travelodge. The room had fluorescent lights and the focal point was a brown and yellow bedspread, which I removed immediately. He had arrived prepared and showed me a selection of condoms. I didn't know if I should feel relieved or concerned by his preparedness. He was thin and tan and took off his glasses to fuck me. He made a lot of noise and his theatricality bothered me. I did manage a few orgasms. I woke up early and called a taxi. He did not offer to pay for the cab. I haven't thought about it in years but hear his band occasionally on the radio. I can't remember his name. I'd rather not.
The Edwards Apartment
2619 Fifth Ave, Belltown
It started out as your usual one-night stand, with a random boy I met at a party. His place was a Belltown studio so strewn with dirty clothes and week-old coffee cups and dinner plates piled with cigarette butts that the only way I could carry through was to ignore the surroundings completely. And he never turned on the lights, which is how I failed to notice, until my post-coital trip to pee, some distinctly unmasculine effects--chic but down-at-heel women's shoes, tangles of long black hairs, a pink razor on the edge of the tub. Seems his live-in girlfriend was out of town for the week.
I knew her only by her personal effects, but immediately I felt sorry for her. I considered leaving her a note, perhaps stuffed in her Tampax box, but decided to leave well enough alone. Other people's messes are their own business. The walk home at dawn was hampered by my cruel party shoes, but I was happy--not that I'd seduced her boyfriend, but giddy with relief that hers wasn't my life, that I was free to leave, that I could go home to my tidy apartment, shower, and be done with him.
1510 First Ave, Downtown
Bored of drugs and my usual Saturday night scene, I coerced my shy friend through a creepy maze, past a cheesy doorman, and into the strip club. We sat in the back, but not inconspicuously, as we were nearly alone in the club. The girls performed their onstage acrobatics under black lights and solicited us intermittently. Several sodas and an hour later, I succumbed to a free lap dance offer from a leggy alternagirl. She said her name was Autumn and that she loved dancing for girls. She took my hand in hers, lead me around a corner, and pressed me down onto a gummy pleather couch. She rubbed herself slowly on my face, breasts, and thighs, and she locked eyes with me as I came. She smelled fabulous, like cinnamon and piecrust.
A Contemporary Theatre
700 Union St, Downtown
A fantasy warren of props, costumes, and booze, ACT is a playground for the erotic imagination--and a perfect place for an after-hours anniversary date. We crept to the stockroom for a few cocktails and were soon wandering down dark hallways of wigs, vintage bicycles, mannequins, carpets, end tables, divans. She lay across an old green couch and I sat next to her. She touched my hand, I turned, and soon we were kissing down the hallways, trading clothes for smoking jackets, harlequin masks, and flapper skirts (my favorite memory is of her wearing nothing but black stockings and a tall top hat). She found a riding crop and chased me blindly through the dim corridors until we stumbled into a big rehearsal room coated in mirrors. She slapped my ass and told me to get down on all fours. I did. Bark. I did. Roll over. I did, my ferociously painful erection bobbing. She straddled me and we fucked like crazy people, admiring ourselves from each angle. We tried to retrace our steps and replace our borrowed toys, but my socks and her underwear are still somewhere among the props, waiting to be discovered.
The Alley Behind the Lava Lounge
For reasons unknown, I was asked to do my "drunken word" shtick in the now-defunct downtown Art Bar. Also on the bill was a young fellow reading from his erotic opus about Axl Rose. (What was his name?) Discerning artiste that he was, he took one look at the motley talent assembled and slipped quietly into the night, leaving a gaping hole in the cabaret lineup, which the frantic organizer pleaded with me to fill. My only material consisted of an unfinished poem about having unprotected sex with underage skateboarders. I was terrified. I got drunk. I extemporized for half an hour in front of an audience and I survived. When it was over, I teetered down the street to my favorite watering hole, the Lava Lounge, to continue celebrating my triumph. Clearly, I was destined for greatness. A man at the bar tapped me on the shoulder: "Excuse me, I don't want to intrude, but I saw you onstage and I think you're incredible." Ten minutes later, I was leaning up against the brick wall in the alley behind the bar getting pounded with my first intoxicating injection of fan worship.
1932 Second Ave, Belltown
One particularly glorious night that I treasure as the whitest thing in my museum of recollection took place at the Moore, the night of a Squeeze concert. Squeeze were excellent, but the opening band, whose name shall be lost to history, was a crashing bore. My date and I decided their set would be a good time to explore the nooks and crannies of the great old theater, discovering that if we climbed the steps on the right-hand side of the stage, we could view the show from an old opera box. However, continuing up the stairs, we found another small room, with no lights, no chairs, no view, and bits of debris scattered on the floor. Only by flicking our lighter could we scan the terrain and determine this would be a fine spot for a spontaneous quickie. Down came the pantyhose, and on went the show, to a muffled bass/drum accompaniment. I don't mind saying that I sped across the finish line in record time! As we descended the stairs, patrons in the opera box were pointing our way, seconds from heading up there to discover for themselves what special seats awaited. Concourse Level Bathrooms, Pacific Place 600 Pine St, Downtown My boyfriend and I were Christmas shopping. I was horny and he was game. We took the escalators down to Pacific Place's concourse level, where you pay for parking, and made for the bathrooms. The bathrooms at Pacific Place are elegantly big and clean and have giant earth-tone tiles. I waited in line for the handicapped stall, and when no one was looking he joined me. He stood on the toilet, crouched down, and began to suck me off. It was a perfect, caring blowjob--wet but not slobbery, not too soft but not ravenous, no teeth--and it was silent. The bathroom was packed and we didn't want to be caught, in spite of being thrilled at the possibility. I want to say that he had my come in his mouth as we walked out of the stall together, but he never liked the taste of my come. We're not together anymore.
Theater Eight, Pacific Place Cinemas
Sixth Ave and Pine St, Downtown
We were at the Pacific Place Cinemas for a late movie and were sitting in the first row of seats in front of the middle aisle in Theater Eight. There were about four other people in the theater and, although I had my arm around my girlfriend and we were lightly petting each other, we mostly focused on the show. When it was over we stayed for the credits and started kissing and fondling each other. The rest of the patrons emptied out right away and then the lights came up, but it was obvious that the theater was totally automated and that the lights and projection booth were operated by computer. We both had the same idea. When I got up to check the exits to make sure no one was coming in to clean the place, she scooted in front of me, dropped her pants, and we commenced fucking on the stairs. From her position she could see if anyone came into the room and I could see into the projection booth. We had a leisurely and awesome fuck and then casually strolled out of the theater, startling the two hapless kids who were just setting the alarm.
1426 First Ave, Downtown
I'd seen him around plenty, but always with a girl or several; never approachable. I liked his face and so was relieved to see it when I turned to smack whomever was groping me from behind. The Showbox was at capacity for the reunion of a seminal industrial band and the steamy crowd pressed us together as we stomped and swayed as one liquid mass. I wrapped my arms around him and he moved like melting butter against me. My skirt was short and a wicked little smile flickered across his lips when he found nothing underneath but my thigh-high fishnets and garters. I turned back around to face the stage and arranged my expression into something approximating innocent bliss as he thrust into me from behind.
Alley behind 66 Bell, Belltown
Sex used to seem more important than recreation or even, heaven forbid, procreation. Sex was revolutionary! A way to stick it to "The Man." And the weirder the sex, the more effective its impact on the uptight bourgeoisie. I became the Che Guevara of kink. Without shame, I published shoddily copied zines of angry erotica, shoved my beleaguered breasts into secondhand bustiers and sported fishnets with the comfort factor of chicken wire. I even dated a guy whose idea of a night on the town was leaning me over the recycling bins behind his apartment and boning me in the alley. I remember that while he pounded away, I idly picked at the pink stucco of the condominium and was shocked to watch my fingernail sink into it like it was cake frosting. The surface was pretty, but it was all rotten underneath. Years later, I got a job at a warehouse in that very same alley. During breaks, I used to sit on the loading dock and try to find that exact spot on the wall, but by then it was so dirty and torn up that it all looked the same. I'm no expert, but it seems like that building turned out to be a lousy investment.
The Hideaway (Formerly Sit & Spin)
2219 Fourth Ave, Belltown
During the opening band my friend and I hid in the busiest place in the club, the tiny hallway between the restaurant and the band room. She closed both doors. Finally, we were alone together, for seconds at a time. I noticed her shirt ride up a little and saw the black stretchy thing she had on underneath. I felt unabashedly carnal. The doors kept opening and people passed through, stopping to talk to the two of us in that little square bubble. She shaded her eyes from the rude light bulb. She started unscrewing it, but it was too hot and she had to stop. I finished unscrewing it, letting the bulb burn my fingers. When the room went dark, she said she had performance anxiety. I wanted to lunge for her. It was like watching a dream happen, without that awful thing in dreams where the details are hazy and the time jumps around. The details were vivid and elaborate. Whenever the doors swung open, I saw her leaning back against the corner. She looked like an Erté drawing--totally stunning. We never consummated (I chickened out), but all our clandestine almosts were far better than sex usually is.
INT'L DISTRICT/ GEORGETOWN/ DUE SOUTH
800 Occidental Ave S, Pioneer Square
The Kingdome was an awful place: cold, damp, and uncomfortable. But at the 1981 Rolling Stones concert it felt like Woodstock, at least to a 12-year-old. I told my parents I was staying at Kris' house; she told her newly divorced mother she was at mine. Somehow we had tickets in the stands, but immediately left our seats for the floor, where a sweaty, writhing mass of people sat, lay, and rolled on the concrete as if it were a soft meadow. Drugs were passed like sticks of gum--I still don't know what I did that day. But I remember the guy who grabbed me from behind. He had long dark hair and he put one arm around my waist while he breathed creepy, lascivious thoughts into my ear. Another hand slid under my short denim skirt and he rubbed himself against me. I was just barely scared, but I turned around--he looked ancient, maybe 30--and I kissed him, boldly sticking my tongue into his sickly sweet and smoky mouth. Just as fast, I pulled back and slipped into the crowd, leaving him gap-jawed and looking really stupid. This, I thought, was power.
Hush Rehearsal Studios
1005 Sixth Ave S, International District
When I showed her my band's practice space, sex hadn't even occurred to me. I focused on drawing her attention away from the men's-locker-room-and-stale-beer smell by pointing out the highlights: the drum set, the glowing blue lamp, and the poster of Ian Curtis sitting cross-legged, distraught, head in his hand. She thought of lighter things. The band had only been rehearsing there a short time so she suggested we christen the place. Of course! She unfolded a chair and removed her panties as quickly as I took down my slacks. She gently slid onto me, never losing eye-contact. After a few moments, I became fixated thinking about how many thousands of crappy musicians, how many meathead metal dudes or fairyland keyboardists, had done it right there in that room? Where were they now? She spun around, put her hands on my knees, and faced away from me moving up then down. She whipped her head around to see me, to reconnect. By switching positions she brought my mind back to attention, but only for a while. She was always trying to show me which was more important. If only I'd ditched the band and kept her….
Rainier Brewery (now Tully's Corporate HQ)
3100 Airport Way S, Georgetown
Driving home, northbound on I-5, from an extended visit with in-laws, the brewery's elegant cursive R presented itself to me--nine months pregnant, sober, and uncomfortable--much as the pillar of smoke the Israelites followed through the desert for 40 years. Soon I would be home. Soon I would be a mother. Soon I would bring a cold, cold Rainier tall boy to my lips and empty can after can of that light, slightly sweet beverage of the Northwest into my deflated belly. Soon I would pee. Responding with lightning-quick reflexes, my lover and impregnator steered our car to the closest exit. The parking lot of the brewery in the cover of night provided an extremely comfortable outdoor rest stop. Relieved and grateful, we momentarily toyed with the idea of naming our firstborn after the Northwest's finest. Moments later, as we got busy on the warm hood of our Subaru Justy, the brilliant 1980s television commercials for the beer revved around my head ("Rraaaaaaay! Neeeeeeearrr! Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrr!") as the flexible Japanese craftsmanship responded to my increasing body weight by caving in, permanently. Both the Justy and the glorious red neon R are long gone, but this spot and the smell of hops brewing always fill me with hope.
4700 block, Diagonal Ave
I was leaving town for several months and only had one more night in town. A girl I had been infatuated with for some time wanted to "hang out" before I left town so we went for a drive down Lake Washington Blvd. all the way to Renton, just talking and telling stories. From Renton I drove back through Tukwila and Georgetown and along First Ave. S. and then turned left on Diagonal Ave. to a little park on the Duwamish next to a container yard and a cement plant. We sat looking at the river and talking, hoping to catch sight of an otter, and pretty soon we were making out. We were doing some pretty serious groping and started to feel really exposed (there are tons of weird rent-a-cops down there), so we climbed into the back of my car and started going at it. We had never had sex before but after some girl-drama to the effect that she "wanted to" but wasn't "sure," she decided that she was "sure that she wanted to," and we got completely naked. It was a window-steaming marathon, and now she describes anything trashy as "fuck-me-on-the-banks- of-the-Duwamish."
The Bremerton Ferry
It was years before I realized that her strict Mormon upbringing might have contributed to her feverish sexual recklessness. I thought Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin were responsible--we were in high school at the time. She was a virgin and I just barely wasn't, so when she suggested losing her virginity right there, in the ferry bathroom, I didn't think it was such a bad idea. We made for the handicapped stall and I sat on the toilet while she undid my pants and took off her skirt and shirt. She wasn't wearing panties and I thought it odd that she left her bra on. We had awkward, mutually painful sex and when she asked me to come in her, I couldn't. When she stood, I was silently horrified to find blood in my lap, but didn't try to wipe it away. I saw her again recently and she whispered that it was the best sex she ever had. I thought she was lying, but have since wondered if her taste for perversity and erotic fictions had pushed her definition of good sex in directions I could never understand.
U-DISTRICT/ WALLINGFORD/ LAURELHURST /DUE NORTH
University of Washington Campus
• McCarty Residence Hall study closets (drunk, with an underage skater boy I had just bought beer for)
• Haggett Residence Hall dormitory room (drunk, hit head repeatedly on shelf above bed)
• IMA (Intramural Activities) student fitness center, women's locker-room sauna
• A/V projection booth, Kane Hall 130 (visiting cute A/V boy at work during Saturday performance by Early Music Guild)
• Medicinal Herb Garden (near monkey statue)
• Fourth Floor Suzzallo Library, staff lounge (by the staff candy machine)--take elevator to fifth floor (the Elephant Stacks), take back fire exit stairs down to fourth floor
• Parking garage ventilation shafts' ground-level grating (attempting to have serious relationship chat on acid, overcome by roaring of warm, steamy air)
• Sylvan hidden garden (on stone bench under four Doric columns; several parties were using this outdoor trysting location concurrently at the time)
• Night Ride shuttle service (to Dick's Drive-In on 45th for ice cream afterwards)
1101 NE Campus Pkwy, U-District
I had always thought my roommate was a little odd. He kept more cleaning products in his closet than my parents had in their entire house and every afternoon he watched a fuzzy, D-level porno called Hometown Honies [sic]. I still remember the opening credits--a monster truck rally with a Southern rock theme song. He loved his computer, his television, and his Noxzema, and was generally innocuous until the night he woke me, drunk as a monkey, kneeling by my bedside. "Please let me suck your dick," he said. I declined the invitation. He begged, whined, said my girlfriend wouldn't have to know, clawed at the sheets. I exasperatedly shoved him off and he went to sleep. The next morning, I suggested he head down to the GLBT Center--this was no way to come out to his friends and family. He mumbled no, refused to talk about it, and quickly moved back in with his parents. I shake my head every time I see the dorm, wonder if I could've handled things better, and sincerely hope he's doing well for himself.
1201 NE Campus Pkwy, U-District
The room was a sty, in that uniquely filthy way only college dorm rooms can be. There were mounds of cheese powder ground into the brown carpet from disused Kraft dinners, and papers and dirty clothes in piles everywhere. She had a serious boyfriend who was busy smothering her with his obsessive love (just as I would soon begin to do). The squalid setting was a perfect backdrop for the shameful thrill of infidelity (hers) and infatuation (mine).
The Publisher's Desk, UW Daily
144 Communications Building, U-District
Our college newspaper was entirely student-run, except for the publisher, an old man who read each day's issue with a grumpy disposition and a bright red pen. My peers said he was avuncular, but he and I never got along. I thought him a narrow, humorless old bastard and I'm sure he thought me a stupid fop bound for a frivolous end. One night, we put the paper to bed around midnight and I lingered, hoping the assistant opinion editor would too. We'd had a few beers already and when I opened another, she said she'd stay for a nightcap. We flew from making out to heavy petting--those tiny, beautiful breasts!--and when she asked where I wanted to go, I answered immediately. She laughed and ran into the publisher's office. I lifted her onto the desk and gave her the best licking this college boy could muster. She stood and bent over, and I am ashamed to admit that while we grunted away, my contempt for him and lust for her held my attention equally. As we lay in a post-coital heap, I couldn't resist the temptation to reach, with sex-sticky fingers, for his red pen.
White Rental House
Brooklyn Ave NE, U-Distric
From the moment we met, in a cabin at the foot of Mt. Rainier, it was obvious that she and I should be together. She was adorable and precocious (and hot), and I was just older enough to seem worldly. We both acknowledged it--first playfully and later with mounting frustration--this was definitely a great college love waiting to happen. But it never happened. The right time never arose. It became a private joke, a public embarrassment, and a personal quest. If we couldn't be together, I reckoned, we should at least sleep together.
Years later, she was leaving Seattle, en route to an impressive NYC internship and certain glory (which she has since achieved). Her last night in town, I stopped by, late and unannounced, the wooden porch creaking under my boots. I peeped through the half-transparent curtain and saw her arise, naked, from her bed. She came to the door without covering herself (have I mentioned her perfect body?), and cracked it just wide enough for me to see the guy she was with, also naked, stumbling in the half-lit background, looking for the bathroom. "Have a great trip," I said, like the idiot I'd always been.
Gloomy Basement, Ugly Stucco House
5755 25th Ave NE, U Village
It was my first apartment, and I was happily fucking my boyfriend in it one afternoon when my roommate walked in. Into the apartment and straight into my bedroom without knocking. "You'll never guess what just happened to me!" she proclaimed, apparently oblivious to the fact that her interlocutors were in bed and wearing nothing but awkward expressions. "I got caught stealing cigarettes at Safeway!" I suppose I should have been mortified, or possibly furious, but I was 18 and a bit of a nihilist, and nothing seemed to matter all that much. Besides, my roommate was sensitive, and obviously upset. My boyfriend and I looked at each other, then back at her, and nodded sympathetically. We got the whole story: undercover security, tiny interrogation room, $200 fine. "I can't believe that," we said. "Those bastards." And other such things. My roommate soon wandered off with an odd look on her face, stopping briefly to close the door carefully behind her. Did she know? I never asked. Didn't care. My boyfriend, still hard (oh glorious youth!), gave me a playful shove, and we went back to fucking.
U Village Travelodge
4725 25th Ave NE, U Village
Sometimes I think we did it just to see if it could be done; it was so perfect an illustration of the wrong thing to do that it soon seemed not just tempting, but inevitable that we would finally sleep together. There had been signs of attraction all along--secret glances, friendly hugs that lasted just three seconds too long, "accidental" phone calls--but the fact that we were both involved with one another's best friends (who were themselves good friends), well, you can imagine the cataclysmic possibilities. But there was no cataclysm. Just a long night of wine, cigarettes, powerful orgasms, and talking. Before long, the subject of guilt--and its confounding absence--came up and was dispatched, as if it were just one of those insoluble mysteries of the universe. More troubling was the conversation about why we could never be together. "Too many people would be hurt," I said, as she huddled naked under my flannel shirt, smoking and sulking a little, and the ugliness of the room became so unbearable that we had to fuck again just to have an excuse to close our eyes.
Diving Platform, Laurelhurst Beach Club
5041 NE Laurelcrest LN, Laurelhurst
It was the summer after I graduated from high school, learned to love Schmidt beer, and lost my virginity. I'd been waiting, but he was my first true love so I relented. We got adventurous quickly and the diving platform at the Laurelhurst Beach Club was an obvious choice for taking it outdoors. And it wasn't a one-off. We went regularly. At about 18 feet high, made of concrete and covered in AstroTurf, it's wide enough to easily accommodate two naked people and other necessary accoutrements (towels, and lube, to avoid rug burn being the most important). Every time we went, I was convinced that someone stood and watched us from one of the giant houses on the hill. I wasn't worried so much about voyeurism (I didn't even know what it was) as I was about the cops getting called. He'd tell me everything was fine, I'd finally relax, and we'd get it on. Afterwards, we'd throw ourselves off the platform, into the murky depths of Lake Washington, and gasp--at the cold, at the thrill, at all the unknowns.
Gay Friends' House
Eastern Ave, Wallingford
Clearly I'm not the only straight guy ever to have been flattered enough by the attention of gays to consider a temporary career as a shirtlifter. Nor am I the first hetero cockteaser ever to be blinded (as in, with fear) by the light of homo lust aimed at me like a, well, like a naked, erect, uncircumcised cock. Still, there I was, in the full throes of heartache, wallowing in the flirtatious attention of the only gay couple I knew, one of whom was a mellow, intelligent musician-type, and the other of whom was a major-league sissy boy. Guess which one made a move. After excusing himself to take a shower, the sissy returned, covered only by a damp towel, and draped himself across the couch while we all got drunker. At length, he began rubbing himself and purring, while I pretended to be totally okay with it (it was the '90s). When the musician went for refills, the sissy produced his (uncircumcised) member, which was now two-thirds hard, and said, "I'd really like to suck on your dick, if you'll let me." I've often wondered if I'd have let him had he not said "suck on."
5433 Ballard Ave NW, Ballard
I was drunk. Some guy was waving me over to his table by the wall. He wanted to know if I was a real redhead, he explained. He was one himself, and he'd always wanted to be with a redheaded girl. "How do I know you're for real?" I asked, boozily. "Show me." I peered under the table, and he showed me a lot more than I expected. "Um, okay," I said.
Two minutes later, we were in a stall in the men's bathroom. Voices came in and out of the small space. "This is my fantasy," said the guy. "Push me against the wall." I pushed him, gently, and he pushed me back. We kissed, just a little. His hands were under my shirt. In my mind, I could see a circle of guys standing 10 feet away, pointing at the feet under the stall door and laughing silently. "I can't do this," I moaned.
"Okay," he replied sweetly. He waited for the voices to fade away, opened the door, and led me by the hand back into the club. I spotted a familiar face by the bar and headed straight for it, without looking back.
Little Park Behind Fred Meyer Parking Lot
915 NW 45th St, Ballard
There's a path leading from the southwest corner of the Fred Meyer parking lot in Ballard that ends in a tiny little "smoke break" park that overlooks the ship canal east of Salmon Bay. I was working nearby at the time and my girlfriend came down for a visit and I offered to "show her the park." The place is totally secluded from the Fred Meyer side, but it is clearly in view of the north side of Queen Anne, the opposite side of the ship canal, the adjoining boat yard to the east, and especially the two-story houseboat that was moored directly to the west. Nevertheless it didn't take us long to decide that it was secluded enough for us to get partly naked in the night air and start humping. We were in full swing and bouncing around the various benches, decks, and underbrush that make up this delightful place when a door opened on the houseboat and a fat-faced little kid about 10 years old came out on deck, not 15 feet from us, and began staring listlessly into the water. Someone on the boat called him back inside and we kept fucking. It wasn't his day.
Marco Polo Motel
4114 Aurora Ave N, Phinney
I had been seeing someone for a few weeks when I decided we should go to the seediest hotel we could think of and fuck. I picked the Marco Polo Hotel for the sign, the location, and the adventuresome spirit of the name. It is also the hotel my family stayed in during our only vacation together. That made it feel dirtier. We paid our $40 and checked right in. The room was dark and smelled like stale cigarettes and bleach. It still had its original wallpaper. The bed was on the small side and I could feel the springs through my back. We did everything any good porno would include and did not stay the night. I limped out five hours later and did not bother to take the soap. That relationship turned out to be short-lived but the Marco Polo still stands, its dilapidated charm and economy prices never wavering. I don't think of it often, but I do remember it fondly.
Easy Chair Outside the Curtiss Bldg
25th Ave NW and 19th St, Ballard
He was tall, dark, and handsome. He was funny and smart and wore Converse All Stars, but still we barely knew one another. We'd shared glances at a barbecue. Traded business cards at a birthday party and exchanged a few flirtatious e-mails, but when he walked in the door of the Lock & Keel, I'd been drinking for hours with our mutual acquaintances, so I hugged him without hesitation. He sat next to me and we bumped shoulders. I told my best stories and made everyone laugh. When I got up to play the jukebox, he came with me. "Wanna make out later?" I asked him. "Richlin's kickin' chicken is delicious and juicy," he whispered back. The party wound down. We went outside and waved goodbye to everyone as they drove away, leaving us alone for the very first time. It was November and the streetlamps gleamed through the dark lace of the bare tree branches. All around us, fallen leaves tumbled and rustled with excitement. I leaned into him and we kissed. I ran my hands up and down his fuzzy sweater. We swooned backwards and suddenly there was an abandoned recliner waiting to catch us. When we close our eyes and kiss today, it feels like we never got out of that chair.
Golden Gardens East Parking Lot
8498 Seaview Pl NW, Ballard
A girl I know was staying with some friends who live in Crown Hill and I stopped by to visit. Her friends were gone for the day and soon we were making out on the couch. We were pretty hot, but she was reluctant to fuck in her friends' house, feeling it would be disrespectful. I "respectfully" suggested that we could do it in their backyard, but again she felt that it would be transgressing, so we jumped in my car and started driving around Crown Hill looking for a good place to park and get it on. Eventually we ended up at Golden Gardens but the beach was crowded so we drove up to the east parking lot above the railroad tracks. She slipped off her pants and straddled me where I sat in the driver's seat but my car was pretty small and her head was bumping on the roof. I had the seat reclined all the way and she had a good idea. She faced forward, grabbing the steering wheel, and "did the driving." Just as we finished, a whole posse of college girls drove in and had a tailgate party while we sat laughing.
Fremont Way and 42nd, Fremont
We weren't really dating, but there was some mild infatuation involved, because we'd met at a party where all my friends had hit on her, and she picked me. She was the kind of girl who was always surrounded by about a dozen guy "friends" whose real intentions (i.e., to fuck her; i.e., the same as mine) were utterly transparent, though she refused to disclose her true feelings about any of them (us), except to say that she loved us (them) so, so, so much and what would she ever do without all of her amazing friends? In short, it was a mindfuck in progress. Still, I persevered, because I am nothing if not a sucker. I finally got her alone in her shabby, underlit studio, with a big bed in the middle of the room, and pictures of her "friends" on every horizontal surface. The sex was lame, but the pillow talk was exceptional. Not long after, we decided to be just "friends," which was obviously code, but not unwelcome. The next time I stopped by, she gave me the blowjob of the century, just so, she explained, I would know what I was missing. Which was plenty.
25 W Highland Dr, Queen Anne
"Do you like my dick? Would you jack me off? That would feel great."
"I don't know. I thought you said we should just be friends."
"First jack me off, then we can be friends. Oh come on. Why not?"
"If I make you come, you're going to ask me to leave. That's not very friendly."
"You wouldn't have to leave right away. We could watch Conan O'Brien if you wanted."
When he came, it was like being in a hot shower. He came all over my chest and arm, in my hair, on the bed. He went to the bathroom to get a warm, wet towel.
"That's really nice of you."
"Hey, what are friends for?"
He asked me what I thought about his dick. I said it was fine, that it was a little bigger than average, that he seemed like he'd be a good fuck, that he had an incredible loft.
"But how would you rate it on a scale from one to ten?"
"I don't know. A seven?"
"A seven, you say. So that really means a five."
"Yeah, maybe you're right. More like a five."
Mercer St and Sixth Ave N, Queen Anne
My cousin from the rich side of the family was having his wedding reception at the Ruins. I asked a girl from work to be my date to the party. She was a lesbian, supposedly, and lived with her girlfriend but we had crushes on each other and, to my delight, she agreed. There were lots of society people there and we were sitting in a corner, swigging expensive wine and laughing at the "swells." Pretty soon the party was in full swing and she pulled me behind a curtain next to the bar and we started making out. She sat me down on a chair and we started dry-humping like crazy. I couldn't believe my luck. I thought that we were falling in love. She said, "I want to fuck you right now," and in my drunken state I thought she meant she was leaving her girlfriend and we were going to be together. I said, "Yeah, totally," and took a big swig of wine straight from the bottle. She got up and went to the bathroom, and when she didn't come back I went to look for her. From outside the women's room I could hear her sobbing.
Third Ave N, between Mercer St and Roy St, Queen Anne
My freshman year of college, I went to see Proof at the Seattle Rep with a hot upperclassman. He was tall and had really soft skin. After the play, we wound up in his car in the Mercer Garage. My date turned on the radio and opened his glove compartment; it was crammed with condoms and Twinkies. He offered me a Twinkie, which I ate luridly. We then made out to Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle" while I burrowed into his pants. When I came upon his penis, I was puzzled to see it already sheathed in a condom. He had been wearing it for hours. When I asked him about his overzealousness, he whipped the condom off to reveal another layer of packaging, this time a bloody paper towel. He explained that he'd gotten his dick pierced the day before, and it wouldn't stop bleeding. He assured me that he still wanted to have sex, and grabbed a fresh condom from the glove box while offering me another Twinkie. I declined the Twinkie and bloody sex, and took a cab home. Now I cannot see a condom in the street without thinking of that guy, or of math.
Her Parents' House
22nd Ave and Dravus St, Magnolia
Luckily, she lived in an annex to her family's house, with her own entrance. I skipped a lot of classes that fall for our morning ritual: She would pretend to be asleep and I would pretend to be trying to not wake her, creeping up the steps and through her unlocked door. Then I would take off my clothes and slip into bed. She would sleepily hold my cock while we both snoozed. The warmth of her hand and the smell of the sheets are still two of my finest memories. She would let me know when she was ready by gently pulling on my erection and then we were off. She was my first steady partner and we had the kind of long, vigorous sex only available to 18-year-olds: learning to love tweaking assholes, worshipping breasts, the taste of cunt. We screwed like bunnies in puppy love, laughing, talking, and moaning our way through the fall. Things eventually fell apart, but I recently found the house on a bike ride and was surprised by how arousing I found those rotting steps and that chipped-paint door.
A Friend's House
Roy St, Queen Anne
The Ecstasy made the room look like it was under a strobe light. I could only see bits at a time--bare legs on a couch, a girl's head in someone's lap, lines of coke being made and remade with a sharp Visa. I lay on the floor with two friends and just loved them so, so much. We ran soft hands over differently-sized breasts and used a stronger grip between each other's legs, back and forth, up and down, giggling and moaning throughout. We realized eventually that others were watching, but no one dared intervene. We loved each other and only each other. I wanted to see them every day forever. As the sun rose, we untangled our limbs, found our clothes, still smiling and exchanging endless I love yous. Wasn't it wonderful to be such good friends that you could do anything, explore every corner of feeling? But within the year one of us was dead. How could she have had that night and then filled a bowl with pills and eaten them?
Private Home of Gay Couple
Glenn Way SW, West Seattle
These two guys we knew invited us over to see their new house. They were gay, of course, and very bourgeois--we used to refer to them as the gaygeoisie--and they wanted to show us their wine cellar and their restored fireplace mantel and their urns imported from Greece or somewhere. They plied us with a sickening six or seven bottles of red wine in a span of under four hours, during which the conversational subtext became so thick you could cut it with an antique cheese knife, and in short order the clothes came off and one of them, the younger one with the better body, attacked my genitals. He squeezed my sack like it was a stress-relieving toy and sucked dick like a Hoover. I wound up fucking the other guy, the one with the money, and I don't recall how my boyfriend got off. We were so drunk we could hardly see. Afterward, we pulled into the gas station at the corner of Admiral and California, bought Diet Cokes and drip coffee and a handful of salty snacks, and sat there until we were sober enough to drive home. I've had a hard time drinking red wine ever since.
Parking Lot of the Bellevue Uwajimaya
15555 NE 24th St, Bellevue
How was I supposed to know he had a girlfriend? Maybe the fact that we only ever met for lunch and carried out assignations afterward in the car should have given it away. The Bellevue Uwajimaya was close to our work, so on our lunch hour we'd have sushi and a quickie and a bubble tea. When he gave me presents they were Hello Kitty stickers or wooden rice paddles or tiny porcelain chopstick-rests shaped like fish. The relationship was short-lived; I broke it off when I discovered the girlfriend. Besides, there's only so far you can get doing it in a car in broad daylight, and only so many Hello Kitty stickers a grown woman can take.
Borrowed Eastside Condo
1285 Bellevue Way NE #7, Bellevue
I remember a friend remarking, "I don't know how anyone can have an affair in Seattle--you run into people you know everywhere you go." At the time I'd never had an affair. I'd never wanted to have an affair. But I was younger then, and happier, and had no idea yet how lonely a marriage could be. Her words came back to me when I discovered that loneliness, so I conducted my affair on the Eastside. Her in-laws had a little condo near the Bellevue mall that they only used about two weeks a year. On pretense of needing a quiet place to work, I convinced her to lend me the keys.
We only met there once, driving in separate cars, both of us unsure of what we were doing. Because we didn't get caught, I don't regret it (how's that for moral relativism?), but the mistake that it turned out to be has saved me from much future devastation. The affair was unsatisfying, did nothing for my loneliness, and I managed to learn the lesson of how dangerous it is to nurture that dark attraction. I still have the keys to the condo, but it's somewhere I'll never go again.