Love and Sex in the 1980s– “Barely Legal” Meets “Older Women”

If you’ve read my piece about learning about sex and love in the 70s, then you know things began with me learning about sex from stone-age things like magazines and of course I did the usual experimentation with a couple of girlfriends in high school.  I’m still debating whether to tell any of those stories since we were minors (although what the hell–It’s not like I’m going to live forever!), but I feel a little safer in the modern era where information never dies talking about my two girlfriends from the 1980s when I had moved to Arizona at age 21. 

If you’ve read my story “No Guts, No Glory” then you already know that I met both of my serious girlfriends Cindy and April on the dance floor at clubs listening to live music.  One thing that was very cool about both of them was that they were real music aficionados like me.  We all liked real music played live by real musicians.  None of this crappy “dance club” plastic pop music would cut it for any of us.  I was literally out at clubs listening and dancing to live music 3-5 nights a week for most of my 20s, and I played in bands as well at times. 

I met April first because we used to follow a reggae/ska band with a rock edge called The Effects.  There were a half a dozen other bands we followed as well, but this was the favorite for both of us.  As I said in my other essay, we met on the dance floor constantly, and she was a cute Asian chick so I was definitely interested!  I was only 21 at the time, and I really couldn’t tell her age (not that Mr. WTF would have cared anyway!), so I did my best to flirt and hit on her.  What I didn’t know initially but she eventually told me was that April was 36 at the time!  She didn’t look it but certainly got plenty of attention from guys more in her age bracket.  Actually, she was quite the outgoing type and got plenty of attention from everyone!  But I remained undeterred and continued dancing and hanging out with her, and I was the only guy who could keep up with her on the dance floor.  We were both WTF types who just liked to have fun at the live music clubs.  I tried for at least several months to get her interested in more, but we remained just dancing and partying buddies for the time being.

As I said in my other story, I met Cindy at a Big Pete Pearson show because we were both big blues fans.  Cindy was somewhat serious about school and not quite the party animal I was, and she was actually 27 when we met at Tony’s New Yorker.  That said, she loved music and dancing too, and she ended up making the first move by having our mutual friend Harmonica Bob introduce us and buying me a beer. (One of the reasons I love older women–They weren’t shy back then.)  We danced the rest of the night away and ended up spending the night together at her house (lucky me!!!) 

Cindy must have woken up before I did and was probably looking at me sober in the morning light thinking: “Holy shit—Is this guy even 18?!”  I did look really young for my 21 years, and even a 6-year age difference is already a big deal when you are in your 20s.  (FYI–The drinking age in AZ at the time was only 19, so anything was possible.) Cindy apparently had to be sure I wasn’t lying about my age, so she went into my wallet and pulled out my driver’s license while I remained blissfully unaware sleeping in her bed.  She lived in a house with 3 roommates and took my license out to the kitchen so they could all have a look in the daylight.  Now it’s important to know that in those days (1984) an Arizona driver’s license was filled out by hand in one’s own handwriting, signed by you, and then scanned, printed, and issued to you by the DMV.  Well, my birth year was 1962, but a piece of the “f” in my last name below the year extended into the “2” in the year making it look like it could be a “4.”  I had never thought about it before, but when I looked later I had to admit you really couldn’t be sure either way. 

By the time she came back in the bedroom I was starting to wake up, and we engaged in some morning after small talk before she “popped the question.”  I must admit I was rather shocked when she simultaneously showed me my license and asked whether that was a “2” or a “4!”  I told her truthfully that it was indeed a “2” and explained that I had simply signed the “f” in my name so that it accidentally looked like a “4” and I could understand how she might think what she had.  At this point, I had woken up enough to begin wondering what the hell she was doing in my wallet without asking in the first place, but I can say that I was in no mood to start a fight with a sexy older woman who took me places a mere few hours ago that this 21-year-old had never been before—Hahahaha!!  If she was a little nosy, I sure as hell didn’t care as long as I could get another date with her! 

Fortunately, I had passed the age test, and Cindy & I started dating on a regular basis.  I did find out a few weeks later though that her roommates’ secret name for me had been invented that morning and I henceforth became known as “Barely Legal” to them—Hahahaha!!!  I was jealous of Cindy’s roommate Chris who gave me the nickname because his nickname was “The Centurian.” Chris claimed to have banged over 100 women in his 40-some years on earth, and judging by the parade in and out of his bedroom across from Cindy’s I couldn’t call him a liar!  In my young mind his nickname should have been “The Inspirer!”

Blackface Jim (you sure couldn’t do that today–Hahaha!), Cindy the Witch, “Mr. Barely Legal” Me the Bee, and “The Centurion” Chris. I wish I had more pics of us, but it was a different era!

Cindy and I hit it off quite well, and in a few months or so I asked if she wanted to be my girlfriend.  I was honestly shocked when she said “no” but that we should continue dating, be open to dating others, and see how it went!  We got along great, loved the same music, always had a blast hanging out, and the sex was definitely happening for both of us, so I was somewhat confused and frankly a little hurt.  But I got over that fast enough—It wasn’t like the fun or the hot sex slowed down, so what the hell?  I was young and just wrote it off to me not understanding “older women.”  Maybe I was just a fling for her, but what 21-year-old could bitch about that?

The beauty of this scenario was that I was still free to date other women, so of course I redoubled my efforts on April, my other favorite party girl!  Well, April knew I was dating Cindy, and I’m not really sure why, but she eventually decided that if some other “older woman” liked me that I must be worthy for some reason and wanted to at least give me a try.  Sooooo…One thing led to another and before long this young dude had a 27-year-old and a 36-year old showing him the “ways of love!”  And I don’t need to tell you how grateful I was to have not one, but two super fun, sexually experienced women keeping me busy almost 7 nights a week.  Talk about nirvana!!!

My nirvana continued for a couple of months, and April knew I was also dating Cindy (April was dating other guys too, including her 18-year-old neighbor half her age!), but Cindy didn’t know I was hanging with April as anything more than a dancing friend at the live music clubs.  But to be clear—I wasn’t cheating or anything.  I had asked Cindy for an exclusive relationship; she had said no to that, and that it was fine to date other people.  So I wisely kept my normally big, honest trap shut for a while and went along with the flow.  There was one Saturday morning when April and I were out having breakfast and shopping on Mill Ave. and we almost accidentally bumped into Cindy though.  April came rushing nervously back to me after wandering into a store telling me that Cindy was in the same store!  My response was to shrug and point out that nobody was doing anything wrong, but I guess women have an intuition about these things that I sure as hell didn’t at the time.

That incident did get me thinking though about whether I should tell Cindy or not.  It’s my nature to be honest and I would have felt better with everyone knowing what the score was.  And it was getting steadily harder to schedule two women every week without complete transparency all the way around.  So after a couple of months of nirvana, Mr. Dumbass blew it and casually let Cindy know about April one day when we were scheduling our upcoming week of fun at the clubs.  Cindy was a bit of a “hippie chick” in those days; she hadn’t mentioned my exclusivity offer in the several months since I made it, so I mistakenly assumed that it just wasn’t important to her and I honestly thought it would be no big deal.  Boy—was I wrong—Hahaha!!  It just goes to show how naĂŻve a young guy can be and how little I really knew about women.  The minute I opened my mouth and inserted my foot, I got an earful about “how could I do that, and with HER?!!” and a bunch of other stuff I won’t go into detail about.  

The end result was pretty good though—Cindy immediately changed her mind about my boyfriend/girlfriend offer, and we moved in together in short order!  We actually were quite a good couple at the time, and we continued our fun life together sharing musical stuff, hanging out and partying, and of course the loving got even better as we became more intimately acquainted.  We both had such large record album collections that when we merged them together, it took up half the living room!  Fortunately, neither of us gave a shit about television and didn’t own one, so we spent a couple of years going to school, working, and having lots of fun together! 

My current music collection, but mine and Cindy’s was about like this (minus the CDs of course!)

Cindy used to live in Flagstaff and took me on several trips up north for my first experiences in the beautiful mountain woods.  She had a nice Ford F150 pickup truck, and I can still remember camping on a mattress in the back of the truck in the open air.  We eventually broke up when Cindy graduated and got a job in Sedona but continued to reconnect every once in a while for some friendship and fun (lucky me!)

In the meantime, April had gotten serious with a guy close to her age, they had a son Alex together, and she dropped off the radar as my club dancing buddy.  She had taken it well when Cindy gave me the ultimatum.  I think she pretty much laughed at my youthful stupidity, and she wasn’t in love with me or anything.  We certainly did like each other, but we were pretty much party friends with benefits.   

Fast forward about five years (I was about 26 or so by then), and I ran into April with her man at one of the old clubs we used to frequent.  I knew him from the old days too (his name was Michael and he was in The Effects, one of the bands we loved), so we all just started talking and rekindled old friendships.  It started slowly at first, but I had graduated from college in a pretty crappy economy and was just starting to write term papers for a living (see my piece called “Do You Have the Term Paper Blues?” if you’re curious…) and was also ( believe it or not!) a babysitter for another friend’s kids on the side.   April mentioned that they sometimes needed a babysitter for Alex and voila!—Our friendship was ramped up initially because of Alex and my “babysitting skills”—Hahahaha!!!

Unbeknownst to me initially, April and Michael were having some issues, and I eventually became more her friend and confidante than Michael’s.  I won’t get into the gory details on a public blog, but I will admit that April and I started rekindling the old flame, and I am ashamed to this day that I did that to Michael, who was also my friend at the time.  I had been cheated on, and I already knew that it didn’t feel very good, and I’m still very sorry I did it to someone else.  That said, I think I was a “soft landing” for April to get out of a bad relationship, and we ended up as boyfriend and girlfriend for about a year and a half.  We moved to my home state of Wisconsin for a year, and it was April’s first time in her 44 years living in a snowy climate!  While we were there, I joined the best band I would ever be in, and April went out to many of the Brave New Groove gigs and danced for us all night long. The gringo Polacks in Cheeseland didn’t know what the hell to make of April! Some things never change… 🙂

I’ve never had my own children, and it was very cool for me that Alex lived with us for that year in Wisconsin.  He was about 3 at the time, but he knew me quite well since I had been babysitting him since he was about 9 months old.  That part was pretty chill—It wasn’t like he moved in with a stranger, but things were a bit difficult for him because he was uprooted at such a young age and I know he missed his dad.  I doubt he remembers a lot of our year together, but I certainly do and I am grateful for it to this day.  He taught me (at age 3-4!) how to play some primitive video game called “DigDug” I think!  There aren’t a lot of photos from the ’80s era with Cindy and April, but fortunately April saved some pics of Alex, and they bring back some great memories of all the fun things you do with little kids. 

Eventually, April felt a little bad for Alex because he missed his dad (and I honestly don’t think she was all that fond of the Wisconsin winter!), so she decided to move back to Arizona after a year or so.  I moved back about 6 months after she did, but the gap in time had made things a little weird and it didn’t really work out on a permanent basis.  I started working in film and photo production shortly after I moved back to Arizona (see “It Beats a Real Job” if you are curious about how that 28-year accident changed my life!), and I met my future wife Sandy on a fashion shoot in 1992. 

April wanted to remain friends but that didn’t really work as Sandy and I got together, but 20 years after that, April and I became friends again, and we are still friends to this day! Cindy and I are still friends as well, and I’m very grateful to have both of them as friends to this day.  I don’t think there are a lot of guys who can say they are still friends with their girlfriends from decades ago unless they have kids together.  Cindy and April have both reached out to me with kindness and concern since I became ill, and April and I have even enjoyed a few music shows together like the old days.  We also went out to dinner with Alex and his girlfriend Sami, and I’m glad to say that he turned out to be an awesome dude! I’m a lucky guy in so many ways…

Living in Both the Low-Tech and High-Tech Eras was Amazing!

I actually started out writing about this topic before and got sidetracked into how we learned to drive back in 1975.  So the first couple of paragraphs will be similar, but I’m not going to talk about driving much at all.  The basic point about driving and technology was that in the low-tech “olden days” you had the freedom to go anywhere you wanted because nobody was tracking you with GPS devices, etc.  Hell, they didn’t even have cameras on the roads back in those days, and the best anyone could do was check your odometer (assuming it worked, and that was pretty easily remedied if you were inclined to!)  The downside was that there was no Uber or Lyft, and if you were out partying you damned well better have great DUI skills because that was the only way you were getting home. (I’m contemplating that essay right now, but my thoughts on that topic will piss a lot of people off in the high-tech era!)

That said, I’m actually quite grateful to have grown up in what were really two distinct technological eras.  The reason for that is that both eras have allowed me a great deal of freedom though in considerably different ways.  Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a freedom lover, and I’m going to do my best in any era to have as much freedom and fun as humanly possible!  I’m also kind of a Taoist at heart, and there is always going to be a balance between the positives and negatives of any given thing or situation, and technology is certainly no exception to that.

Of course human technology has always been advancing, and things were obviously different between birth and death for our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, but the rate of technological acceleration seems to have gone off the charts in my lifetime.  I’m amazed at certain things, and I’ve probably said to at least 1,000 people that if you had told me when I was 25 that I would be able to hold a tool in my hand (as I wave my iPhone around) that can access almost all of the world’s knowledge and communicate with over a billion people via the spoken word, the written word, photography, video, music, and ALL PRETTY MUCH SIMULTANEOUSLY, I would have thought you were crazy.  And all of this for under $1,000 and about $50/month.  Wow…Talk about freedom!

The interesting thing about the technology of the 1960s-2000 and 2000-present is to me the way it has impacted the amount and types of freedom I’ve experienced in my life.  Back in the “old days” of the pre-PC era, there was a great deal more personal freedom in many ways because nobody could “track” you, and there was no digital history of what you were doing.  It’s been said that once something is online it lives forever, and I think that’s going to be pretty much true until the world as we know it ends or changes in some very drastic way.  On the other hand, the ability for immediate personal expression and connection to virtually half the people on the planet is a hugely liberating thing that gives even a lone individual degrees of freedom nobody could have imagined before the modern technological era. 

When I was growing up in the low-tech era, there was so much anonymity that I could easily afford to have a WTF attitude and take more risks in a variety of ways.  You could get drunk and say whatever the hell you wanted, and the only people who knew about it were your friends and other people who were actually physically present.  And if you were at a party or a bar where more off-the-cuff conversation and behavior were likely to happen, chances are that the others in the room were in a similar state and would either laugh at or join in any stupidity you might exhibit, or at least wouldn’t remember it very clearly the next day!  Hell—even if you offended 100 people (and most of them probably wouldn’t even know your name), in a week or two all would be forgotten and perhaps most importantly, THERE WERE NO CAMERAS IN EVERYBODY’S POCKETS AND HANDS to provide a permanent record of any stupidity you may have committed.  Not to mention, there was no internet to post it on so that your stupidity (or even just outside-the-box self-expression) could INSTANTLY BECOME VISIBLE TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE FOREVER. 

The worst that could happen in the “olden days” was that a small circle of your friends would remember “the X story” and every once in a while you would have to hear something like: “remember when Eric said or did such-and-such to so-and-so, and the other person did this or that?”  And everyone in the room might re-live a laugh at your expense, but that would be the extent of it.  Hell—My attitude was and is so WTF I actually enjoy making other people laugh, even if it is at “my expense.”  I’ve told some of those stories here, and I want you to get a charge out of them and think, “that dude is kind of crazy—I would never say or do that!”  (But I’ll bet some of you wish you had—Hahahaha!)

Now think about the old days relative to the all-knowing modern era for a minute.  I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all heard stories of people who did one thing that wasn’t necessarily even “wrong” in everyone’s eyes had their entire lives negatively impacted by one foolish moment or even worse, a false accusation.  I have a friend whose son was falsely accused of something sexually inappropriate by a crazy young woman who has accused at least 4 others (that I know of!) because she likes the attention of being a public “victim.”  He was temporarily banished from his college campus and only his parents spending over $50K on a really good lawyer got him back in school.  And he went through a shit ton of emotional trauma that he didn’t deserve and could negatively impact his psyche for life. If something like that had happened to me at age 18, I sure as hell wouldn’t have had my WTF attitude and nearly as much fun in life!

Now I’m certainly not saying that all accusations are false (but I know this one was—I’ve seen the digital evidence!), and there has already been a ton of stuff written about this topic online, but think about how modern technology has negatively impacted one’s propensity to take a chance and have a WTF attitude if you don’t even have to actually do something for someone else to say you did in front of THE ENTIRE PLANET.  That’s a little scary to me.  If a future employer can “Google” your name and find out about something foolish, wild, or a little “outside the box” (or untrue!) decades later and not hire you, I would say that definitely inhibits one’s freedom to take some risks and enjoy life to the fullest.  Fortunately, a lot of people are actually human and regularly say WTF anyway.  Modern technology just makes the risk that much greater.

Another area that has been impacted by modern technology for both good and for ill is creative license.  The propensity for good in the high-tech era can be found in the freedom to create whatever the hell you want and make it available to the world on a moment’s notice.  Back in the old days, to make a video, record a song, or write a book and make it publicly available took a huge amount of time and money, which meant that corporate interests tended to exercise much more control over the creative process.  And you generally couldn’t get it done without a pile of money! Although this was the case, corporate interests like record companies, etc. really didn’t care about the content itself as long as it sold and made them money.  In a way, this gave the artists a lot of creative freedom to say WTF, because they knew their audiences and what they liked.  And the old cigar-chomper guys in the office didn’t really look too closely at the creative content while they counted their coin…

Of course there were certainly do-gooder censorship types who would raise a stink in the local media or in Congress once in a while (anyone remember Al’s wife Tipper Gore trying to rate/censor “obscene, violent, sexist, insert your evil adjective here rock music in the mid-1980s?).  My idol Frank Zappa actually went in front of Congress during the hearings for Tipper’s bill (and she wasn’t even a legislator, but her husband was a senator, so I guess that was close enough to censor rock ‘n’ roll!)  But the end result of this was kind of ho-hum, and a few heavy metal albums were rated as “nasty” in some form.  Sure, some parents probably became more aware of what their kids were listening to, but most parents in that era didn’t like rock music so they would pretty much ignore it.  Mine sure did even though I played it constantly.

Here are a couple of songs with lyrics by a couple of my favorite artists that were released in 1968 and 1978 respectively.  The first one is the Rolling Stones’ “Stray Cat Blues.”  The gist of it is that the protagonist Mick Jagger is trying to entice a 15-year-old girl and her friend to “come upstairs” to his room for some wild sex.  In the live version of the song, Mick changes the girl’s age from 15 to 13.  Somehow I can’t see this happening today without a huge amount of instant outrage on social media, etc… (On second thought, perhaps all those wealthy executives and powerful politicians who hung out with Jeffery Epstein on his “kiddie island” might not object to it. Or to Hitlery killing him either–But I digress…) 

stray cat blues – – Video Search Results

The second song is Frank Zappa’s “Bobby Brown,” and the gist of this song is that some arrogant jock dude (Bobby Brown) “fucks this dyke” who cuts of his balls and turns him into a “homo.”  FYI—I bought the Rolling Stones’ record when I was about 15 and the Zappa record when I was 17 or 18.  Ahhh…The creative freedom of the ancient age when nobody was the wiser… Have a listen if you dare. But be prepared to be “offended” even though the song is intended as a complete satire on arrogant Joe Jockstraps, who are certainly a safe target these days–Hahaha! Hell–I even played this song in front of audiences a few times in a band…

youtube bobby brown frank zappa – – Video Search Results

Now, I’m not of fan of most modern music (mostly because they play it with computers instead of real humans creating a real groove with real instruments, but hey—I’m an old guy who used to play actual instruments…), and I’m guessing that equally nasty lyrics abound and you can find songs like that on the internet.  But, much like the person who holds back from saying something “offensive” or having a WTF attitude, I think that the threat of instant backlash on the internet is going to create a lot of self-censorship even as the songs are being written, particularly if the goal is to sell as much music as possible in whatever format they sell music in these days (digital downloads?)  

I’m guessing this self-censorship is similar to the person at the party who doesn’t want to take a risk because everyone has a device connected to the internet, and one mistake could ruin a career or at least one’s social life.  I think this is especially true in the current PC era where every snowflake wants to have their 15 seconds of fame on the internet signaling their virtue and being “offended” by something racist, sexist, misogynist, ad infinitum, ad absurdum…  Feel free in the comments to point out that I’m completely wrong though.  I would love to hear some edgy new stuff very soon!

And finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for—Dating in the low-tech and high-tech eras!  The first (and rather obvious) thing I must point out is that the advent of modern technology did not eliminate the old school ways of dating and mating in any way, shape or form.  The great news is that even with Match, Tinder, Bumble, Fumble (yeah, I THINK I’m kidding on the last one—Hahaha!) and 100 other dating sites and apps, you can still meet new people the old-fashioned ways at work, at bars, on the dance floor (one of my faves!), in a store, anywhere else in person, or being “fixed up” by a mutual friend (how I met my last girlfriend Sherry if you read our stories in “Imagine”).  So technology hasn’t really detracted from the dating scene at all but only added to it.

I’ve done my fair share of dating over the recent years when I was single, and I’ve met fun, interesting, beautiful women in both low-tech and high-tech ways. They both seem to work pretty well.  Obviously, the advantage to low-tech is that you usually meet in person first, so you already know if there is a physical attraction at least.  Photos online aren’t always accurate (often by design, and I worked in advertising so I ought to know!), and people can spend a lot of time tweaking their profile so they sound more attractive than they really are. 

On the other hand, the high-tech method of meeting potential dates is that you  literally have the opportunity to meet 1,000 times more people than you would just going about your day, and you can pre-screen people based on 50 different characteristics.  I was always very open-minded in terms of age, race, occupation and stuff like that, but I did prefer women who were really into good music or had other common interests like hiking and the gym.  Even though you won’t hit it off with the majority of on-line dates, I liked the social WTF nature of meeting new (and potentially “strange”–Hahaha!) women for happy hour (always my first option!)  I can say that many people tend to overthink this aspect of things in terms of putting too much emphasis on what a person’s online profile says.  Live a little and just say WTF, for Chrissakes!  Life is short–What have you got to lose by taking a chance and meeting someone new? 

OK—You asked for it.  Below are a few G-rated photos of some of the interesting and beautiful women I was lucky enough to meet using both low-tech and high-tech realities in recent years.  But I’ve gotten plenty of X-rated ones over the years too which I never once asked for. (I certainly love a woman who shares my WTF attitude in the modern era! But I won’t post them–Scout’s honor…) So now you know why I’m damned grateful for living in both eras.  Talk about the best of both worlds!  And thank you very much ladies for saying WTF and wanting to meet me.  I really enjoyed your company on a date at the very least and sometimes we hit it off!  What more can a guy ask from life?

I met Marie the low-tech way while I was out walking the Scruffs in our ‘hood wearing nothing but tiny running shorts. She told me later she had seen me before and thought I was either European, gay, or some combination thereof–Hahahaha!!! Our dogs hit it off and then it was our turn!

And if you’ve made it to the end, I’ll point out that with only two exceptions all of these women are all in my age bracket (around 50). (And if you try to guess which ones, you’ll probably guess wrong!) I can honestly say that I felt so lucky to have experienced the “dating life” in the modern era with so many sweet, fun, beautiful women my age. And since I was no longer a boy or somewhat clueless young man, I had the time of my life and I think all of the girls enjoyed themselves hanging out with me. At least I hope so because the real beauty of the man/woman thing for me as a straight guy was the yin/yang vibe of hanging out with awesome girls and simply enjoying some time and life together. (Disclaimer: To each his or her own and no judgement express or implied regarding the sexual preferences of others–Hahaha!!)

Eric the Nudist–Chapter 1

What’s been interesting about my current situation is that when my old friends have come to visit or have reached out to me via email, etc., they remember old life stories that I had forgotten about.  My friend Dano came to visit a month or so ago and reminded me of something that happened when we were about 17 or so, and I can definitely say I was grateful for this fun experience that had completely slipped my mind.  It’s nothing deeply meaningful in a cosmic sense, but I think it is funny and does once again demonstrate the WTF attitude I had once I hit puberty. 

Dano was lucky enough to live in an awesome house right on Lake Michigan in our idyllic town of Mequon, Wisconsin.  We used to have campfires on the beach and party there and in his boathouse all through high school and college.  Where Dano lived though, the house was actually about a ÂĽ mile from the lake itself, and you had to climb up a wooded path through the lake bluff forest to get between his house and the beach.  Dano liked to fish, and one summer day he had inflated his large rubber raft, dropped it on the beach, and returned up the wooded path to his house to get his fishing gear.  That took about 15 minutes or so, and when he returned he was pleasantly surprised (I assume!) and certainly shocked to discover two completely nude girls about our age casually lounging in his raft which they had launched into Lake Michigan!  Boring rural Wisconsin had somehow transformed itself into a sexually liberated place like the south of France (or at least Southern California—Hahaha!) 

The girls invited him to join them in the raft, but they explained that the raft was now a “nudist raft” and that he would have to “drop trou” if he wanted to get on his own raft—Hahaha!  Well, Dano is half Korean and comes from a very socially conservative family so he wasn’t about to do that, particularly in his own back yard!  But being the good friend that he is to all his buds, he decided to hike up the bluff again to call his close friend Phil who only lived about 5 minutes away and tell him about the new status of his now “nudist raft.”  Of course this was in the old days of hard wired home phones only, and when Phil didn’t answer the phone, Dano had the good sense and kind heart to call his good friend Eric (or “Crickey” as I was known back then) and offer him the opportunity of a lifetime (at least where we lived!)  Fortunately for me, I was home and answered the phone on a Saturday afternoon that summer day. 

What’s funny is that Dano didn’t tell me anything about what was really going on, but simply asked me what I was doing right now.  I replied, “not much, what’s up with you?” or something similar, and he said: “You need to come over to my house RIGHT NOW.”  I naturally wondered what the hell was going on and asked if everything was OK with him, and he said: “Oh, it’s more than OK—Just trust me on this and get your ass over here right now before it’s too late.”  I’m sure I made another comment, but when he told me again to just “trust me on this one,” I hopped in my car and took the 15-minute drive over there.  Dano wasn’t the kind of guy to BS you about anything, so I was game for whatever he thought was so important.

When I pulled into the driveway, Dano had this shit-eating grin on his face so I knew at least everything was OK in Danoville.  Of course, I asked what was going on and he still refused to tell me, but said that all would be obvious once we got down to the lake.  I must say I was rather intrigued but had absolutely no idea what to expect.  When we finally got to the beach, the nude girls waved at us and asked us to join them on Dano’s “nudist raft.”  I was beside myself with equal measures of surprise and excitement, and the first thought that went through my head was: “Are you freaking kidding me?!!” and the second was, “Oh, hell yeah!”  I started taking off my clothes and was pretty much expecting Dano to do the same.  I’m not sure if he expected me to be all in so quickly, but my mind was filled with possibilities, and I had to play this thing out.  I’m sure it crossed my mind more than once that these two girls wanted to mess around with we two guys, etc. and that some kind of sex fest was indeed quite possible. 

I asked Dano why he wasn’t getting naked to join the girls, and I think he said something about not wanting to have any of his family see him if they should wander down to the lake by chance.  I certainly understood that, and tried to act as cool and nonchalant as possible to impress the very free-spirited girls at this point.  I got on the raft with them and tried not to stare at their nubile young bodies, which was pretty tough for a young guy like me!  But I knew I had to “act cool” like this was no big deal or the girls would think I was uncool and wouldn’t take things any further. 

What was interesting was that as we got to relaxing and talking for a while, the thought of sex as a goal or outcome gradually went away and it became clear that the whole nudist thing wasn’t really about sex at all.  Being a young man, I certainly enjoyed the view (and I hope they did too—At least the lake wasn’t too cold that day—Hahaha!), but I started to understanding the psychologically liberating nature of nudism as a concept.  Dano stayed in the water on the side of the raft and was involved in the conversation while navigating the raft and making sure we didn’t end up too far out into the lake.  He did his best to act cool and not stare at the girls.

I think we were all chilling and talking for about an hour when Dano & I noticed a rather large, athletic teenage dude standing on the shore only about 50 feet from us in the raft!  Dano later said the guy reminded him of Lou Ferrigno, the actor who played “The Incredible Hulk” on the TV show from that era, and I have to admit there was certainly some resemblance. The dude looked like a high school football linebacker, and I was just a skinny, long-haired guitar player!  The girls had told us they were guests visiting family friends a few houses down the road from Dano’s, and when we saw him I thought I was in serious trouble.  The first thing that ran through my mind was that one of the girls was his sister, the other was his girlfriend, and I believe that actually turned out to be the case! 

But when he shouted out to the girls quite casually that they better come back to the house because it was getting close to dinner, I started to relax a little.  I wasn’t going to relax quite yet, but one of the girls (the sister, I think) calmly told Dano to bring the raft to the shore, I started to settle down.  At that point I felt a little weird, but as we approached the shore and “Hulk, Jr.” could see I was naked, he didn’t bat an eyelash.  We all got dressed, said goodbye, and I never really did find out whether these people were tourists from SoCal or just a family of touring nudists.  It was an eye-opening experience that prepared me for some later adventures in life…  I was grateful at the time for the liberating experience, the lesson that nudism didn’t necessarily mean sex, and even more grateful about 40 years later for the lesson that it could be about sex depending on who the “nudists” were!

Learning about Sex and Love in the ’70s–Chapter 1

I guess this story really begins when we had a puzzle at home featuring Connie Kreski, Playboy magazine’s Miss January 1968.  I’m not sure how it ended up under the Christmas tree (it was a gift to my Dad from one of his friends, I’m guessing), but as a 6-year-old boy I loved puzzles, and one with an image of a “naked lady” was an extra special treat!  I saw it in the round can and I’m sure I didn’t know ahead of time that it was a beautiful topless Playboy centerfold, but as you will see below, things were pretty tame back in those days. 

A few days after Christmas I dumped it out onto the formal dining room table (where we did all our puzzles) and got to work.  About halfway through, I realized it was a “naked lady” puzzle, and I was wondering how my parents would react.  Not that this stopped me from continuing—I really wanted to see what a beautiful semi-nude woman looked like.  Just about then my Mom came in and saw me working away and was starting to scold me for taking out a puzzle that wasn’t mine.  My Dad overheard the conversation and stepped in to say that it was fine with him if I did his gift puzzle—I think he kind of gave my Mom a look as if to say: “Don’t worry—He’s supposed to like “naked ladies”—It’s perfectly normal!”  I think my Mom realized the truth of this sentiment, and after all this was the “sexually liberated” 1960s.  Of course, that was nothing compared to what kids see today in the age of the internet!

In that same vein, I rather suspect that both my Dad and my next door neighbor’s dad made it relatively easy for their sons to find the current issues of Playboy and Penthouse magazines that came out every month.  From ages 8-12 or so, my neighbor Chris and I would sneak peeks at the current issues in our Dads’ nightstands and get our first shot at a sexual education.  Although we technically grew up in the era of “sexual liberation,” our parents were a little too old to be fully invested in it.  But I think it did influence them to at least be open minded enough to expose their kids to nudity and sexuality without having to address the subject directly.  Hey—If Hugh Hefner and Bob Guccione could do the uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing work for them, why not take advantage of it! 

Besides the obvious idea of Dads of that era wanting their boys to grow up to become straight dudes who liked girls, there was also an interesting facet to Penthouse that was advantageous to women as well.  They had a column we read every month titled “Call Me Madam” by Xaviera Hollander, a Dutch call girl and madam who had written a book called “The Happy Hooker” before she was hired by Penthouse to write their column.  Xaviera’s column was great in several ways—First, it focused on the idea that men needed to know how to please women sexually.  Until that time, I’m guessing the prevailing attitude was that a woman’s satisfaction was irrelevant and sexuality was all about the man getting laid. 

Second, it was an advice column that taught men specific aspects and techniques about how to please women sexually.  Those of you that know me know I’m an avid reader who loves to learn, and I am eternally grateful to Xaviera for wiring my young mind correctly and teaching me enough “how to” stuff to at least get me started off on “the right foot” (so to speak—Hahaha!) once I became a teenage boy.  We didn’t have the internet in those days eons ago, and our parents weren’t going to teach us much about sex even if they knew it!  Who better than a hot Dutch woman who had sex for a living for decades?  Thanks so much, Xaviera!  (And the women in my life thank you too…) 

In addition to our fathers’ monthly stream of Playboy and Penthouse, we were fortunate enough to have a family of slightly crazy people who lived in a Victorian mansion in the woods about a half mile away from us.  They were part of the original farming family who owned the land and built our idyllic neighborhood one house at a time.  Aunt Sylvia was a complete wacko (think “crazy old spinster” right out of Central Casting) who lived with her parents at age 50, and she enjoyed having the neighborhood kids in to hang out, play pool, do whatever else, and basically roam their giant “Munsters Mansion” at will.  Well, one of the things Chris, Tom and I discovered while roaming the mansion was grandpa’s gigantic stash of Playboy, Penthouse, and a few other more extreme mags that he had virtually filled an entire cabinet with.  Unlike our fathers who read and tossed the current issues, (and I will admit to finding a few in the trash and hiding them under my bed–Wink!) Gramps (or maybe even Aunt Sylvia—It’s not like we asked whose mags they were, and in hindsight Aunt Sylvia may have liked girls) saved everything, so we had a virtual sex “library” at our disposal anytime we were there.  I do remember Gramps catching and scolding us once, but we all agreed not to tell our parents and the library stayed open—Woohoo!!!

Thanks Dads, thanks Aunt Sylvia, and thanks Gramps for giving the young boys the knowledge to keep their future women as happy as possible!

“Imagine”–In Eric’s Words

Gina and Sherry–Doppelgangers indeed…

As Sherry said in her post, we were introduced by our mutual friend Gina, and a HUGE thanks to you Gina for being an old-school “matchmaker” from the word go!!  In the modern era of impersonal dating apps and such, your personal interest as a friend who thinks and cares about your friends was something I am more grateful for now than ever.  Let’s face it—The odds of Sherry and I meeting on a dating app or at a bar, etc. were slim to none, and there is nothing as essential as a personal touch in most aspects of life.   I sent Gina a few pics to forward to Sherry, and I guess she went with the “Paul Weller” one Sherry liked (see Sherry’s post), and I was lucky enough to get a date!  Below is one of the pics Gina sent me, and it’s worth at least a thousand words.  What man in his right mind would say no to a smart, beautiful artsy-looking chick in an artsy-looking photo, especially given what you all know about me!

Gina sends me this pic and asks if I would be interested in meeting her friend Sherry. Seriously?!!! I assumed it was a rhetorical question of course…

As Sherry pointed out, the timing was prophetic in terms of our first date with being the best “birthday present” I’ve ever received in my life.  The entire “fixing up” process was fast, furious, and destined to be when it began on October 5 with a phone call from Gina; I sent an email with several pics the next day; Gina chose the right pic to send to Sherry; I got a positive response from Sherry on October 7, and I crossed my fingers while deliberately scheduling our first date for my birthday, October 9.  Of course, I got lucky in several ways…  First, October 9, 2015 just happened to be a Friday, which is definitely increased my odds of getting a date that day and not being rushed by Sherry having to work on a Saturday.  I think we set a record for a first date and spent 5-6 hours together talking nonstop!  Second, I had a good feeling about the fact that I had no birthday plans and that my last-minute birthday date with Sherry was really a form of destiny.  Third, the fact that it was my birthday in the first place made the date extra-special, and Sherry pointed out how it came up in the conversation.  And the confluence of timing continues to be extra-special to this very moment for both of us…

As Sherry mentioned, we liked to talk about every topic imaginable, but we also loved the outdoors, the gym, concerts, restaurants, traveling, and we were never lacking great things to do together which we both enjoyed very much.  And as Sherry said, the conversations about people, philosophy, religion, atheism, music, humanity, truth, science, health, politics, health, medicine, social mores, family, the future, life, love, and death never stopped.

Being compared to anything associated with John Lennon, much less his greatest song, has to be the greatest compliment I’ve ever been paid.  I’ve certainly been told many times I “looked like” John Lennon (I don’t think so, but I’ll take it!) or “reminded” someone of John Lennon, but being told I was like the existentialist ideal in Lennon’s greatest song (whether anyone agrees with every idea in the song or not) is about the highest praise I can certainly think of!

Besides the deep stuff though, I’m going to post some photos to remind me of all the fun places we went while we discussed the meaning of life.  We went to some really cool places and had some interesting experiences both during and outside of our conversations as the world and life came to us!

Sherry & both knew lots of people and did tons of fun stuff together. And no, we were not the models although Sherry certainly had the brains for it–Hahahaha! See below…

For Sherry’s birthday, she wanted to go to Palm Springs and stay at a place called “The Parker.” It was a really cool resort where apparently all sorts of interesting people from SoCal went to get away from it all. I knew she was onto something as soon as we were checking in. The guy in front of me turned around and it was none other than David Spade. An interesting portent indeed! (And no-I don’t have an iPhone selfie of that…)

We spent most of our time chilling at the gardens, the pools and the bar/club talking to various SoCal peeps. The one thing I certainly won’t forget is being hit on not once, but twice by other couples in less than 48 hours! It’s my guess that The Parker was kind of a SoCal Swingers (or “Lifestyle” if you want to use a more discreet term for polyville!) getaway. One couple were a very attractive married couple close to our age, and the other was actually two women! You would have thought it was my birthday instead of Sherry’s–Hahahaha!!! We weren’t feeling quite that adventurous although I can say that it was still quite flattering to be asked by the “beautiful people…”

Of course we had to do a sunset at the ocean…

Hiking was probably our favorite pastime together, and I think Sherry is still out there 4-5 times a week. Man–I really miss those beautiful trails together, and we took every chance we got to try them all out. When we stayed at Sherry’s, we would do the North Mountain/Piestawa Peak trails. When we were hanging at my house, we would do South Mountain. And wherever we traveled, we were always on the lookout for scenic trails.

We also did lots of other things including Vegas, Prescott thrift shopping and football.

And there was always music that we shared in common on more occasions than I can count. I don’t have many pics, but here was one Sherry took of me with the bass player from “Igor and the Red Elvises” at my friend Bob’s club the Rhythm Room. They are probably the most purely fun club band I’ve ever seen in my life! And I’ve seen literally over 1,000 shows in my lifetime.

If you do nothing else in life, be damned sure you see “Igor and the Red Elvises” at least once before you die. Seriously.

As Sherry mentioned in her post, one of our favorite places to go was my “ranch” out in New Mexico. It’s 800 acres of wilderness surrounded by another 3,000 acres of nature on three sides. A perfect place for us to hike, chill, and take beautiful photos. Sherry had quite a natural talent on both sides of the camera, and I chose one of her photos to represent my soul on page one of the blog. You captured my soul perfectly, and I love you for that Sherry…

What means the most to me about Sherry is her jumping in to support me emotionally when I really need it most. I can honestly say that my life is absolute agony and hell a lot of the time with this nasty disease, and Sherry is really the song “Imagine” come to life in a very visceral way. She is a constant reminder and represents all of the awesome things I had in life, and she sure as hell isn’t going to let me forget that! I know it must be very hard on her to see me this way and remember how things used to be, but I think she knows that who we both are hasn’t really changed at all at its core. I may be staring death in the face, but Sherry is there for me in the true spirit of friendship and love as I imagine what might lie beyond and contemplate all the things we have talked about. I think I will forever imagine the image below, which I think encapsulates both of us…

Peace and much love to you too, Sherry…

“Imagine”–In Sherry’s Words

This post was written by my last girlfriend Sherry, and I am so grateful she was willing to share our story in her own words. It really means a lot to me–A lot more than you can even imagine…

Sherry & I on one of our first few dates. We both loved the outdoors together.

In Sherry’s words: On October 6, 2015 I received a text message from Gina, one of my dearest friends on planet earth, asking, “Hey, are you still single?” I replied that I was and then she said she wanted me to meet someone who she knew from the “industry.” Allow me to take a step back to 1994, when Gina and I were in the movie production industry. Both of us were repeatedly approached by people stating we were each other’s doppelganger. Naturally, we had to meet. One of us reached out to the other (I cannot recall if it was Gina or I), and the conversation went something like this: “Hey, so I keep hearing you are my body-double, and people keep mistaking us for one another, so perhaps we should meet.” We met at Rosita’s in Tempe, AZ and that was it. She was working on the film “Waiting to Exhale” (she had been in the industry a very long time) and I was working on my first film, “Flirting with Disaster.” Our friendship remained intact through the years, and Gina remained one of the most real, authentic individuals I had come to know, and she was like a precious gem in my life. So, back to the text message in October of 2015. When I replied that I was single, Gina sent me pictures of Eric.

“He reminds me of Paul Weller, lead man from The Jam, and he seems to have a funky style, so yeah.”

Gina shared our information, and Eric and I met a few days later. During the typical nervous question and answering session upon people meeting for the first time and peeling back the proverbial layers, I mentioned I had just celebrated my 50th birthday, and had just returned from a month-long sojourn in Idaho and Washington where I went to reset after raising my kids. He mentioned was celebrating a birthday soon as well. “Oh really, when?” I asked. “Guess,” he replied. “Today?” I asked.

“Yes, today,” he said.

I thought it was interesting our first meeting was on his birthday (even as I wondered why he did not have other plans). However, as a huge fan of John Lennon, I thought it was cool he shared a birth date with Lennon. I knew this because I had just posted a link to an interview with Tom Snyder and John Lennon earlier that day. John Lennon’s activism for civil and human rights, his creativity and using his fame as a platform to raise awareness and mindfulness around peace, love and understanding always resonated with me. Quite simply, he was one of my favorite artists. I admired his intelligence and the impression he left in his wake.

Imagine, in my mind, was one of the most beautiful, poetic songs ever written, and it inspired a body of work that has continued to inspire millions for decades.

Exhibit B:

But I digress.

Eric and I got along very well, and began dating, albeit we took things slow.

We enjoyed hiking and going to the gym (he became my trainer), taking road trips to his “ranch” in New Mexico and other places, but most of all we spent a lot of time having long, deep conversations about: people, philosophy, religion, atheism, music, humanity, truth, science, politics, health, medicine, social mores, family, the future, life, love and death.

The biggest truth about Eric is: he loves life, more than anything…every moment, every experience. He is a compassionate, libertarian, life enthusiast, musician, activist and existentialist. In our time, he would always say, “I wish I could live forever,” which made no sense to me, because it is illogical (at least in one incarnation – who knows the absolute black and white or the expansive, quantum possibilities when it comes to the existence of the soul). So, discussions around mortality made him uncomfortable and sad, which is understandable (but I am a hard-core realist, so there is that).

But the moral of this story is…we come into this world, have the magnificent experience of life and the opportunity to meet and connect with amazing people who will leave an indelible impression on our lives. What a gift, regardless of whether it lasts a moment or a lifetime, I am so grateful to know and to have shared time with Eric, who is quite literally one of the smartest, individuals I have met.

I love this man, his voice and his passion for libertarianism, freedom, individuality, independence, expression, and LIFE… peace, love and understanding. Eric embodies what the song IMAGINE is about.

Think about it. And when you do, think about him. I do.

This is a picture I captured of Eric in New Mexico and it encapsulates his being and nature, which is beautiful.


Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today (ah ah ah)

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion, too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one