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Making the trip worth it

I hope Shannon doesn't mind that I plan to have sex with her husband. It should help that it won't be actual physical sex, but rather florid imaginary sex, the kind that involves, like, I don't know, harnesses and stuff. Not that harnesses are all that floridly imaginative, but I'm a bit rusty at imaginary sex these days.

That's why I'm glad Shannon's husband Mike has enough imagination for everyone in the room. For instance, you'd need a lot of it to come out on stage in a Japanese kimono and kabuki make up like he does sometimes, all 6'4" bald-headed, 250 pounds of him singing "Lonely Guy" in a baritone when he heads the band KingSized. You really seriously have to wonder about a guy like that, and one of the things you wonder about is whether he'd be a blast in the sack. It is not even something I can control. The thought just pops into my brain like a craving for nicotine.

"I could climb him like a jungle gym," I keep thinking, and I have to slap my brain back because I, like, know his wife. But Jesus God, what is a girl gonna do? Let's not forget that I've seen him naked, I'm pretty sure. I still don't know if that was my own imagination or what, but I could have sworn he flashed the audience some full frontal the last time I saw him onstage at the Laughing Skull Lounge, where he headlines the "Showbiz What Sizzles" burlesque show with the Dames Aflame. It was quick, and there wasn't exactly a spotlight, but I swear I saw it and I say that right there makes the trip worth it. It also probably explains why a big chunk of the audience at these shows is female, which you wouldn't normally expect at a burlesque show, even a damn classy one with sequined pasties like this one. So if Shannon doesn't want women to have imaginary sex with her husband, she ought to tell him to stop making their imaginations go wild with all his onstage antics, because it's not like I can control myself.

In fact, because of Mike I'm in grave danger of revisiting the horniness of my post-adolescence, which was when my head was full of the crap-packed pages of all the epic romances I read – all those images of cleavages bursting with yearning and groins that detonated with desire. I must have spent years sitting around all day imagining passionate love-like stuff with French noblemen or whatever, which evidently entailed a lot of fainting into their arms, because for some reason these books made fainting into a man's arms sound like the sexiest thing a girl could do.

But reality wrecks everything. For one, I really don't faint that easily. Until then I had only a few times come across any actual fainted people -- once when I accidentally walked into a public toilet at a Tijuana market to find a man passed out in a pool of sewage -- and it was not sexy at all, but fantasies die hard. In the end I figured I could force the sexiness from the pages of the chick porn and into my real life, figuring once I lay there all helpless in a boy's arms he'd glimpse the curve of my neck and thus cue his groin to commence detonating.

But I picked the wrong boy to practice on. First, he did not even hold his arms out to catch me, and second, no matter how enticingly I exposed my nubile shoulders, all he did was grumble at me to get my stupid ass up. Looking back I have to be thankful my ploy didn't work, because if it had I shudder to think how I'd have been trained to garner male attention in the years to come. I might have turned into someone like my Dad's drinking pal Rosie, who had skinny legs and a barrel belly, and who used to ask the neighborhood boys to come in and help her with hard-to-reach zippers and such. Instead I got my stupid ass up, and now I am nothing like Rosie.

But I am also alone and dateless and I've been this way for a super long time, so it really doesn't do me any good to go to a burlesque show to imagine acrobatic sex with Shannon's husband all over the place. Or maybe it does, who knows. Maybe it will open the door to something other than imaginary sex with someone else some day. I hate to even admit that, because the last thing lonely people like to confess is that they long for something different for fear that their longing will wear like warts on their skin and repel people. But maybe it's not the end of the world to let go and be carried away, to fall into the arms of your own imagination and see where it takes you. And if a big guy in kabuki makeup brings it out in you, then I say that right there makes the trip worth it. Shannon will just have to understand.

Attend the book launch party for Trailer Trashed! Aug. 5, 7-10 p.m., at Paris on Ponce, 716 Ponce de Leon Place. 404-249-9965. For more info: www.hollisgillespie.com.

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