On this particular night, I had already spent a few hours at my favourite, super-classy, lush, delightful bar called The International. It was always my starting point. I would get there at about 9pm, dressed in all black - slacks, shirt, jacket and (cowboy or motorcycle) boots. I would wear interesting necklaces (purchased from market jewellers in Sydney and overseas), a thick leather wrist band, chunky rings (including a gold one that used to belong to my grandfather). I had long hair and a goatee. I wore a single rose gold encrusted diamond (were they real?) in each ear. Before going out I would have a shower, spray or dab on one or two eau de colognes (Burberry, CK, Acqua di Gio, Hugo Boss... I had twenty or more mini bottles lined up to choose from), blow dry my hair, slick it back a little with coconut oil, and sometimes dab some glitter gel on my temples. For a while there I even took to applying temporary tattoos on either side of my face - simple line motifs a la Mike Tyson. I was not a wall flower, let's put it that way. For me it was theatre. I was playing a role. Romeo, the pirate, the seducer, the poet, the lothario, the lover. Dressing up like this was part of my confidence and my bravado - an identity I could assume; one that made things clear to the women I met: I was available. Fantasies fulfilled - apply here. A sense of danger - but safe. Street - but articulate. Mysterious - but accessible. A dark loner - but not if you join me. Etc.
The International closed at midnight. I knew the managers, the doorman and all the bar staff. I was a regular and a good tipper. Years later, one of the managers told me that I was their best and most regular patron. I had a spot at the bar, right on the corner, just outside the enclosure that became my spot. There was joking talk of putting a plaque there. Drinks were not cheap but they were worth it. Cocktails. My drink of choice was the Cadillac. A margherita base in a heavy tumbler glass, over ice, salt rimmed, with a splash of Grand Marnier. Mmmm... I loved them. Every second or third drink was free - courtesy of the barmen. Although the first one often went down pretty quickly, I paced myself over the three hours. I enjoyed getting to the perfect point, thoroughly relaxed but completely alert. After all, I was on a mission. Sometimes, I would go home with a lady straight from the International after closing, but often, I would, friend in hand or solo, at the Middle Bar - walking distance, at the top of Oxford Street.
There, too, I knew all the staff, and had the pleasure of being able to forego the queue and be waved through by the doorman and duty manager. It's a great feeling, I won't lie. I was sixteen when Saturday Night Fever was released, after all, and Tony Manero taught me how to float on air. So, it was at the Middle Bar, at maybe two or three (closing time) when I sat down on a couch next to the pretty girl in a dress. She had been out with some friends celebrating something. She was a little tipsy and she wasn't ready to call it a night. We connected pretty quickly, effortlessly, seeing in each other a similar need and desire, a way out of the regretful and defeating return home alone when spirits are still high and willing. We held hands as we sat there. It was kind of innocent and almost cute. It certainly felt natural and meant-to-be and yet, at the same time, exciting and promising. We went back to my place, straight to the bedroom, straight into bed. We went from the first kiss to having made love in about an hour. Sex with (relative) strangers is always different. This time was unique in the sense that it felt like we were in high school for some reason. She worked in a bank and lived a pretty straight forward life. She liked going for runs and going to the gym. She liked cooking, too, and invited me to her place for dinner the next night. I accepted. In the morning, she caught a taxi home - she had something to do - and left me sleeping in my bed.
The next week she invited me for dinner at her apartment. We ate and then had sex. Later, her flatmate, came home. It was her twin sister. We were introduced. It was pleasant but there were many unspoken undercurrents. I didn't really think to much about it at the time, but tonight, lying there on my bed, for some reason I thought about it. About twins and their sex lives and how people react to them.
Here's what I was thinking. What I would say to the duplicate diva: For starters, if I am attracted to your identical sister, I am attracted to you. You know this. It's not the first time for you, I'm sure. I'm a decent person, so I surpress any flirting. You love your sister, so you don't flirt either. But, that just makes things more heightened. Our thoughts are naughty. What happens if I tire of your sister and you and I find ourselves alone together? What if you and your sister are well ahead of me and I have already slept with you without knowing? (Unlikely - but what if?!) You are in the next room, while your sister and I are making love. Is that uncomfortable? Are you tempted to ask for a turn? The original sister must know that each of their boyfriends will, at some stage, at least fantasise about being with the other sister while doing it. Is this bothersome? Do you discuss it? I know these thoughts are a bit schoolboy and perhaps unfitting, but I thought them. It is a strange scenario/dynamic. In my case, I didn't stay in the picture long enough for complications to evolve... but part of me wishes I had. Just to experience it. I wouldn't want anyone to get hurt, but I wouldn't have minded seeing what it was like sleeping with a replica.
Of course this all just base level fantasy. It does not take into account emotions and personalities, proper relationship stuff. It was only an extended one-night stand - lasted a few weeks, I guess. She seemed equally un-attached to the notion of longer term and equally as free spirited and promiscuous (that word! Hmmm...) as I was, so letting it fade wasn't an issue. I remember a few details of our union vividly, mostly I have forgotten. Like I said, it was mutual, almost high-school romance like. Better than not doing nothing, that's for sure.
I remember the special moments with each of the women I was with during that period. There was everything: the flirting, the sometimes salacious glory of seduction, the surprising tenderness, desire, lust, fulfillment, connection, thrill, thoughtfullness, playfulness... All the stuff that our sentient species gets up to when they choose to give of and explore each other physically. Most of the unions began after midnight and peaked around 4 or 5am. Some lasted but a night - others for a few weeks. I got a lot from that time, more than memories. For me, it was about the intimacy. Going from zero to, not a hundred, but say eighty or even ninety in a short time. Jumping off a cliff together, into the wild sea. It was thrilling and rewarding. Some say it leaves them empty - but I never found that. I appreciated each person for who they were and felt lucky to go deep with them, even for just a short time. There were no motives beyond feeling an attraction and acting on it. Being bold. Cheeky. Free. It was a mini - sixties recreation! In Bondi. And Kings Cross. At my place and theirs. In the car, in stairwells, in parks, on couches. But mostly in beds. Beds. How great are they, just generally? A place to escape to. And if you can do it with another - with a bit of friction, some fiction, heat and coolness, skin on skin, secretions and sweat.... well, bring it on! Loving is good. Anytime, anyplace. Makes you feel alive.