Monday, November 14, 2005

Richard and I.







I don't wish to reveal too many secrets of the male brotherhood, but since Kyle Smith in his recent novel Love Monkey, has informed the world that most men, at some point, have a conversation with an important part of their anatomy, I suppose there is no longer any violation of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) involved in my admission that I too have engaged in an occasional philosophical dialogue with my penis.

I am afraid that our most recent chat ended badly, however, so that we were not on speaking terms for a while. I fully expect that we will always resolve our differences, since neither of us is the same without the other.

I admit that my penis is much better educated than I am, having completed the famous Philosophy, Politics and Economics program -- known as PPE, no pun intended -- at Oxford University. He is British, for some reason, sounding exactly like Richard Burton in his prime. In fact, my penis (who insists that I call him "Richard" and will not answer to the obvious abbreviation), claims that he is in his prime right now. If only I could say the same.

It is certainly true that he has never let me down. Perhaps this has to do with his British sense of duty. Thank goodness he is not German. After all, there can be too much of a good thing. Or maybe not?

At the most embarassing moments, Richard is apt to recite -- in a full, rich and theatrical baritone -- Shakespeare's Sonnets or monologues, Tennyson's poetry, or parts of great political speeches having to do with conquest. Fortunately, I am the only one who can hear him. We have different literary tastes. I enjoy a good mystery, whereas Richard likes Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence and Erica Jong. His favorite biography is My Life, by Frank Harris.

For several weeks now he has been driving me crazy about "pursuing an advantage" with the blond who lives on the sixth floor in my building. Her name is Marilyn. We share the elevator at times and have been very friendly on occasion. Marilyn had a few drinks some days ago, came home late and placed her hand on my shoulder in the hall, as she laughed at something that I said.

Suddenly, Richard's voice boomed in my ear something about "England and St. George" from Henry V. He was furious with me, claiming that I do not take him out often enough. He insisted that, if I had been just a little sharper, we might have prevailed in our skirmish with the blond in the elevator.

The next morning, in the shower, he insisted on singing "La Donna e Mobile" (full voice), sustaining the high C at the end, as an indication of his readiness for battle, I guess. And every time a woman approached my office, I could hear his insinuating, silken intonation of -- "My dear lady, how wonderful to see you again ..."

He is really insufferable, single-minded, impossible to deter from his quests. Anyway, he suggested a brilliant approach to our blond neighbor that I planned to "spring on her," as it were, this Friday. Yesterday, when I came home, she was smiling at me when I took the recycling materials down to the basement. She apologized because she was only in a short, white bathrobe and those furry slippers, with a kind of rabbit on them or something. Her make up was perfect, however, and her perfume was great. Strangely, her casualness seemed almost studied.

Marilyn invited me over to her place to meet her pet Hamster, named "Fifi." I had never met a Hamster wearing a little pink scarf. She (Marilyn, not the hamster) asked whether I wished to stay for dinner. I accepted. One thing led to another, and the evening was -- shall we say -- a complete "success." We both decided to stay home the next day, spending the day with some old movies and inventing all sorts of ways of keeping each other amused.

Richard has been uncharacteristically polite and pleasant ever since. He has purchased a new cravat and a homburg hat, since he is taking a new friend -- she is Marilyn's pet -- to the Opera. He has been singing to himself all day. Marilyn tells me that she has similar troubles with her little friend, who loves Richard, and has acquired a Beret for their outing.

I guess that we're just typical New York pet owners. How banal.

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