Thursday, December 31, 2009

HNT



Happy New Year from Times Square.

Thanks to smalls for steadying the camera and shooing away all the curious tourists.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Six Degrees of Sex

You’ve heard of six degrees of separation, the sociology postulate-cum-parlor game popularized by John Guare’s play of the same name. The idea is that any two people on the planet may be connected by as few as five individuals. Connect yourself to Kevin Bacon and you’ve taken a hyperboost to your connectivity, as he is the apparent center of the six degrees universe.

My friends and I like to play six degrees of sex, which operates on the same principle, albeit in a somewhat sluttier derivation.

As it happens, anyone who plays the numbers with me gets cozy with the King, as I am five degrees of sex from Elvis. I slept with someone who slept with someone who slept with Ann-Margret who slept with Elvis. That’s a whole lot of shakin’ for me to pass on.

I’m fortunate to be linked to a pivot like Ann-Margret, as she’s had many affairs with the loose and famous. Because she slept with Warren Beatty, I’m six degrees of sex to Madonna. Sex with me leaves you seven degrees from Madge, which falls off the chart, but you do get a little shampoo in the bargain.

For a writing project, I’m collecting stories of six degrees of sex. Are you or someone you know six (or fewer) degrees of sex from an interesting connection? Perhaps it’s with a celebrity—hey, play your cards right and I can get you cozy with the King—or perhaps it’s via some other set of connections. Does your six degrees of sex led you circuitously back to a family member? Does it take you down Main Street, from fire department to post office to service station? Or perhaps it takes you back in time—a friend of mine, a gay man in his fifties, can trace six degrees of sex to Walt Whitman.

If you get lucky, you may find a prodigious pivot (like my Ann-Margret) who takes you in multiple directions. Curiously enough, it’s unlikely to be Kevin Bacon: he’s been married to Kyra Sedgwick for twenty years, and while it’s said that the couple likes their sex rough, they also apparently like it monogamous.

Think you’ve got a good story? Drop me a line at onelifetaketwo@gmail.com.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Jonny McGovern



Dirty Gay Christmas


Gather 'round for Jonny McGovern's holiday classic, as well as the new song pimped (by the Gay Pimp) as "an ode to the bottoms."



Bossy Bottom

Thursday, December 24, 2009

HNT



Merry Christmas from Rockefeller Center. And thanks to Meg for crowd control and camera work.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I Kissed A Boy



I Kissed A Boy


I Kissed A Boy is a new anthology of stories about first encounters between men. I contributed a true story about the last kiss I shared with the first boy I kissed. It’s a story about two straight boys in love, and how a love that confused us as teenagers would endear us to one another for life. We were open about loving one another—even now, this strikes me as remarkable, given when and where we grew up—and, as the story relates, our affection was always noted by our friends and families, and even by our future spouses. You'll need to get out your hankies for this one.

The stories in I Kissed A Boy are by turns arousing and moving, and include some great romantic writing. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Upper Floor



Kink.com’s The Upper Floor launched today, building on the narrative developments introduced in Sex and Submission and heightened in The Training of O. For the new site, Kink.com has transformed the upper floor of their San Francisco castle into an Edwardian manor. Slaves trained in the castle’s dungeons are elevated in status to serve in the manor. The emphasis is on protocol; if The Marketplace book series changed the way you think about tea service, you’ll want to visit The Upper Floor.

While we’re talking kink online, have you joined Fetlife? It’s a great free social network for kinksters. Many of my friends and I are members. It’s proven to be a great resource for meeting people and learning about kink events. And do I get play from it? Why yes, I do. You’ll find me here.

Now is a good time to join. As a holiday promotional, Fetlife is giving away up to twenty-five thousand dollars in kinky gifts. Enter to win.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blogoversary

Today is the fifth anniversary of my blog.

Five years ago this week, I had a date with Celia. I had fostered a serious crush on her since the night, months before, she had showed up at my orgy on the arm of a guy I liked. Celia and I planned to go to a gallery and have lunch before her daily yoga class. She never made it to yoga. The date lasted all weekend.

As was my habit in those days, I described our date in a long email to my friend Dacia. The demise of my marriage was fresh, and after fifteen years of generally abstinent monogamy, dating and sex were wholly alien to me. It helped to share my experiences with someone who could relate to the wonder and surreality I felt in being with new partners. I was now free to desire others and, more astonishingly to me, others desired me in kind.

After reading this particular story, Dacia diagnosed me with “blog envy” and suggested I start my own blog. I had little notion of what a blog was; this was two-thousand and four, back when “weblogs” were novel and Facebook and Twitter mere twinkles in the eyes of entrepreneurial undergraduates. Dacia offered to help me get started. One evening over bourbon and conversation, she showed me how to start a blogger account. My email to Dacia about a weekend with Celia became my first post.

When I started blogging, I imagined I was writing into a void. No one I knew read blogs, much less blogs about sex. I was aware of only a few sex blogs and of those, none were by parents, none were by men and none by anyone over thirty. None were primarily focused on nonfiction erotica. I didn’t imagine that I had discovered a niche; rather, I felt like an interloper in an arena in which bespectacled twenty-something women offered sex advice to one another while waiting for the inevitable book deal. I contented myself by regarding my blog as a kind of safe deposit box. I now had a place where I could store the stories of my new life.

It wasn’t long before that perception changed. A reader began to correspond with me and, before long, we had a date. That date lead to love, a sexual relationship lasting nearly two years, and a friendship that endures to this day. Another newly-divorced parent found my blog, started her own, and, despite the twelve-hundred miles between us, we fell in love. People who read my blog also became bloggers. Other bloggers came my way as correspondents and sex partners. Within a year of my first post, I found that the void into which I had written had transformed into a community of friends, lovers and fellow smutmongers.

My writing as “Jefferson” soon became a second career, an adjunct to the work done under my real name. My blog drew media interest and offers to publish elsewhere. I began to teach at public events. Eventually, publicity led to catastrophe. My ex-wife discovered my blog and, asserting that my sexuality as described herein put our children in immediate danger, she sued for full custody. I took down my blog as that case went to court. Adding to my difficulties, covetous bloggers saw my curtailed online presence as an opportunity to promote themselves at my expense. For nearly a year, I kept my life offline as my ex-wife sought to dismember my family and others sought to capitalize on my misfortune.

In the end, I prevailed in my custody case. The State of New York did not concur with my ex-wife’s cynical assertions that my sexuality was in any way detrimental to our children. My family remained intact.

My blog returned and, to the dismay of malicious wags, it continued to attract a wide readership. In seeking to bury me with gossip, they only succeeded in making my story that much more interesting to readers.

Throughout these hardships, I was reminded over and again of the many good things that have happened because I began to put my life online in this blog. My struggle in the custody case was aided by Lambda Legal, The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and The Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund. Throughout my interactions with these organizations, I was supported in the free expression of my sexuality. I was offered daily encouragement by friends I met though this blog, including those who formed The Friends of Jefferson to aid in raising awareness and funds. Readers offered supportive notes and made financial contributions to my legal defense fund; as these donations were anonymous, I can’t thank contributors directly except by offering my gratitude here. The legal defense fund was instrumental in the preservation of my family. Thank you.

Being online and open about my relationships, my parenting and my sexuality is not a decision I’ve made lightly. I am aware of the challenges I risk because I choose to do so. Still, it would be wrong to stop writing merely to avoid conflict with my ex wife—she’s made it plain that she will continue to offer conflict, blog or no blog—or to cede to the bullying of online detractors. It’s gratifying to hear that my blog entertains. It’s inspiring to hear that it encourages others in their own lives.

Each year on my blogoversary, I reprint my original post. (This was unfortunately not possible last year, when I was obliged to keep my sex life offline.) If you enjoy this story, you’re welcome to root around in my Archives for more.

Enjoy. And Celia, I know you’re reading: happy anniversary.

My Celia

It’s been over a year since the break up.

For most of that year, I have hosted sex parties in Manhattan. I suppose I will need to catch you up on how that transpired. I’ve made great friends and lovers at these parties, and yet I haven’t often had the feeling of falling head over heels for someone.

Until my Celia.

I met Celia at a party at my place last spring. She arrived late with a guy who comes sometimes. The regulars were already naked, well fucked and relaxed.

Celia sat on a bed and chatted with us. She was dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt, worn backwards so that the logo was illegible. As we talked, Jane removed Celia’s clothes, and had soon stripped her naked. Jane kissed her torso as Celia leaned back, opening her thighs; we heard her gasp as Jane’s mouth reached her clit.

Being gracious like she is, Jane soon turned and offered me Celia’s body. I set to licking Jane's drool from Celia's labia.

As we fucked, as we did almost immediately, I decided not to stop fucking her. This is not the best form at a sex party, particularly for the host; one really should offer new guests an opportunity to work the room.

I doubt that Celia cared much for etiquette. She had gorgeous hazel-green eyes, focused intently on mine. I kept her gaze, noticing details at the periphery. Celia had a lovely face: aquiline nose, pre-Raphaelite features, framed in long black hair.

I was soon very curious to know more about the woman I was fucking, and so thought maybe we could take a break to chat.

"I would really like to talk with you," I said, meaning "Maybe we can stop and talk."

"Sure . . . what do you want to talk about?" she replied, as if I meant we should have a conversation while fucking. I was willing.

"So, where did you grow up?," I asked. I learned that she grew up in New England, she is an art student, and she would be working on a farm all summer. Within those first few moments, I gleaned that we had art in common, the sex was great, and I wouldn't be able to see her again for months.

I finally let her have sex with some of the others. Later we kissed, as intently as we had gazed. As she left, she stood in the door, giving me long, hungry kisses, as her date waited for her.

As it happened, she had an art show up, and as it happened, I was in the neighborhood the very next day. I was glad to see her art was good.

The summer passed.

Two weeks ago, I got an email from her, saying she was back in town and wanted to return to the sex parties. Cool!

I suggested we get together, and proposed we go check out the new Museum of Modern Art on opening day, as I had special tickets. It turned out she did too.

Later, we learned that the opening day was free to the public. So much for special access.

We decided to meet at an exhibition by Barbara Nitke at Art@Large gallery, get lunch, and see the museum--which we knew would be hellishly crowded. Nitke’s photos have to do with sadomasochism (SM). While not into SM herself, Nitke has an empathic insight into the lives of those who are. There is a strong sense of intimacy and care in her photographs.

Celia was late for our date, which was fine with me. We saw Nitke's work together. Celia says she knew many of the images, having seen Nitke lecture at the Eulenspeigel Society, a New York based organization for those into SM.

(I catalogued those details—Celia already knew Nitke and the Eulenspeigel Society?)

We lunched, and talked about out first encounter. It was her first sex party, she said, and her moment with Jane was her first encounter with a woman. She liked it, but she was taking downers at the time, which she regretted.

I referred to this as a pretty unusual second date. She agreed: first sex, then a lunch date. We were doing it backwards. She says she is surprised that she feels so shy.

She talked about her gaggle of girlfriends, and how she makes nude films of them, but can't imagine sex with them--though she really wants to be bisexual, as it's hip (it is?) and of course, there are more options for sex if you are bi.

She opines that the MoMA is going to be crazy crowded, and maybe we shouldn't go. This leaves her with two hours to kill before her yoga class . . . what can we do? Well, I suggest, we can go to my place and kiss. She looks at me like she can't believe I suggested this. I can't believe it myself--I am really getting bold.

"Okay," she says, "but I really am feeling shy about this. Is it too early to drink? Do you have any bourbon?"

"A girl after my own heart." I actually said that out loud.

Soon, we are at my place, on my couch, sipping bourbon. Soon, we are kissing. Fully clothed. For a long, sweet time.

Soon we are nude, in my bed, kissing. Touching. For a long, sweet time. She is so into gazing, touching, kissing, and I am melting, melting, melting. As the time passes, and her yoga class approaches, I think it will be wise not to start fucking. But I do go down on her. And she cums. And she cums again as I kiss her and hold her very close.

I should mention that she does intense yoga five times a week. And she is a semi-pro athlete. She has a strong, lean body. When she held me firmly, she knocked the breath out of me. Mind you, I was pretty breathless.

I tell her to go, it's time. She declines to leave. We fuck. Like all the foreplay, it's slow, and intense. At one point, I'm on top of her, holding myself up with my arms at full length. She is about to cum. She sits up, putting her arms around my shoulders. She lifts her ass from the bed. She is clinging to me, hanging from my body in air, pushing herself down on me. She cums. I can scarcely believe she made my body work that way.

We are back to kissing, touching . . . she discovered my sensitive nipples, and slowly tortured them. Exquisitely.

I am laying on top of her, tracing a finger along her nose, her lips, her cheeks. I take a breath. "You are really beautiful," I say. "You don't have to be. I would be nice to you anyway. But it helps that you are."

She looks down at me. "Are you bi?" she asks. I say I am. "I do well with the bi guys," she says. Why is that, you think? "Must be my physique," she says, flexing a bicep that would give pause to Charles Atlas.

She said she was hungry. I went to the kitchen and produced Spanish rice, steamed shrimp, and fresh calamari sauteed in garlic. We eat nude.

As we eat, we talk about the Nitke photos. She mentions liking one in which a man is fully bound to a flotation board, adrift in a pool. I say that there was such a sense of risk in that position. She says she likes the feeling of being bound.

I recall how she came when I was holding her, on top of her, as she pulled me closer to crush her.

"I can bind you," I offer. She produces rope and ankle bracelets from her bag, saying they were intended for a possible film shoot later that night. I dig up handcuffs and other stuff. She is soon strapped to my bed on all fours.

I torture her nipples. I tell her I am going to verbally abuse her. "Yes," she murmurs. I ask her why, with all that we've been doing, she has not sucked my cock? "Are you bad at it or something?" I ask. She opens her mouth, wide. I feed her my cock, and fuck her face hard. She can take it very well, so I commend her. Then I slap her for making me wait for that.

We had already established that she is an ass virgin, and so I take her to task for this. How can I let her fuck my friends if she can't even do anal? So I move around and give her a hard spanking. I lick her hole, and blow air in her. She moans. She can't help but fart. I spank her for this, and do it again. "This will burn, but only for a second," I warn. I take a sip of bourbon, and blow it up her ass. I plug it with my thumb, and then a butt plug.

I fuck her pussy.

"Can you take candle wax?," I ask. Never tried it, she mumbles. I drip wax on her back and ass for a very long time. She squirms until I tell her to be still. (Later she asked: was I making too much noise? I can try to be less responsive. Oh no, I say. You did very well.)

In time, I release her and take her to the shower. I wash her body, and flake off the wax. We go back to bed and it's tender again. She falls asleep. I read.

We woke up entangled, touching . . . her fingers are never still when they can be caressing. We spend the morning in bed. There was a joy in this, so palpable, for me at least, that I had to take care lest blurting out, "I am so in love with you."

I had to remind myself, I really don’t know Celia so well. Not yet.

I make her breakfast—bacon, eggs, and her first helping of grits. We were both very sated. We talk about how she just broke up with her boyfriend, and she had broken with her other two lovers in the last month. I say I am hers, when she wants me. Her eyes fix on mine. “That’s right,” she smiles.

My friend Todd calls. He reminds me that we are going to fuck this woman from Texas that night. I had offered to host, and said I would line up some others to join us. I had invited Thomas, that was easy, but I was so busy with Celia all weekend, I didn’t do much more.

I asked Celia if she wanted to do a group thing that night. She pondered it but declined. She was already well sexed. So was I, really.

Around two or three, I kissed goodbye to my Celia. I had a gang bang in a few hours. I would spend that time in the thrall of my Celia, picking up flecks of candle wax, and writing to my friend Dacia about her.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Nippelettes Vibrating Clamps



Nippelettes Vibrating Clamps


She wrote to ask for my advice. She was in a slump with her boyfriend and curious about many things she had never tried. How hot is voyeurism, really, she wondered? What’s the best way for a straight woman to find female sex partners? Submission sounded like something she might like to try, but then again, so did domination. If someone was interested in group sex, should she try a threesome first?

Also, she wanted to know, what’s the deal with nipple clamps? She liked having her breasts kissed. Her boyfriend had even pinched her nipples a few times, and that was arousing. But wouldn’t clamps hurt? Did they require much preparation?

These were all subjects ripe for discussion. We traded a few notes and decided it might be easier simply to talk in person.

After we had fucked for a couple of hours, she reminded me about the nipple clamps. “Let’s see what you keep in your toy chest, Jefferson,” she said, turning on her hip. “I need a minute to get my legs back anyway.”

I retrieved a chest. I dug past dildos and butt plugs to get to toys more geared to sensation play—sharps and such—trying a few on her flesh to demonstrate their various uses. Finally, I arrived at an assortment of nipple clamps. I handed her a pair to examine.

“Before you shop for nipple clamps,” I began, my tone switching to demonstration mode, “You may want to try playing with your nipples with things at hand. Touching and pinching yourself, for example, or asking your boyfriend to do so. You might also try using clothespins. It’s easy to try out sensations before you shop for toys, and smart, too. That makes you a better consumer, because you have a clearer sense of what you like.”

“I never even considered using clothespins!” she said, weighing chained clamps in her palm. “You're like the Martha Stewart of sex. Clothespins have never seemed sexy before now.”

“Clothespins are great fun, though once you try them, you realize the benefits of clamps: clothespins don't have variable settings. It’s handy to identify pervertibles,” I nodded. “So many common things can be converted to perverted uses—hence, ‘pervertibles.’”

“Pervertibles,” she repeated. “I get sex and new vocabulary words. Nice.” She twisted a small knob on the clamps she was holding. “I was totally unaware of the different settings on nipple clamps. How do they work?”

“Here.” I picked up a pair of Nippelettes Vibrating Clamps. “I think you’ll enjoy these. They vibrate—see this button on the bottom? That turns them on and off. Here, give me your hand.” I turned on the vibrator and put a clamp in her palm.

“Ooh, I do like that!” she smiled.

“Nice, right? They get power from watch batteries. This set came with extra batteries and so far, I haven’t yet needed to replace them. Here, let’s try them out. But first, let’s get you ready.” Tacking back the clamps, I switched off the vibrator and leaned forward to take a nipple in my mouth. I held it lightly in my teeth, flicking my tongue rapidly over the small bit of trapped flesh.

“Oh!” she responded, surprised by my unexpected attachment to her breast. She relaxed after a moment. “Damn, I love how that feels.” I took her other nipple between my fingers and squeezed. Her back arched, lifting her small waist under my arm. I pressed back, holding her firmly in place. Her nipples grew hard from my attentions and my resistance to her movement.

I pulled back. “Oh, that’s nice,” I said, admiring her eraser-shaped nipples. “Now, the adjustment mechanism is pretty simple. You just squeeze the handle to the preferred length, twist the knob a little . . .” I attached a clamp to her breast. “ . . . and then tighten again once it’s in place. See? How does that feel?”

“Hmm. I can take a little more.”

“More pressure? Okay.” I tightened the knob until it pinched more firmly, and then turned on the vibrator. “Okay, how’s that?”

“Damn.” Her head fell back slightly. “Oh, that feels good.” I repeated the steps with her other nipple and watched as her body stilled and relaxed.

I put a finger between her legs. “Say, you do like this, don’t you? You’re very wet.” I kissed her belly, then lowered my face to her pussy. I lapped slowly before building speed, matching the movement of my tongue on her clit to the sensation on her breasts, imaging my mouth an extension of the mechanical clamps.

She came quickly. “Oh shit, Jefferson, that was so intense,” she sighed. “I really needed to come like that. It was so, um . . .”

I lifted my tongue from her clit. “Intense?”

Her belly trembled under the flat of my palm. “Uh, yeah,” she laughed. “That’s the word.”

“I’m glad you so enjoyed the clamps,” I sat up, taking each clamp in a hand. “Now, let’s get them off. I should warn you though . . .” I opened the handles and waited a moment. She gasped. “It can feel even more intense as the blood rushes back.”

Her hands quickly cupped her breasts. “Oh yes, it does!” she exclaimed.

I reached for a condom. “Fun, right? Now let me enjoy how much this all affected you.”

A few days later, she had a date with her boyfriend. In the interim, she had picked up a pair of nipple clamps like those we had used. “He’s very excited about trying these,” she told me. “Thanks again for the advice.”

“My pleasure,” I replied. “Maybe you’ll even get to try them on him.”



Friday, November 20, 2009

Training of O



Calico

Jefferson Bites

Jefferson Bites is my new Tumblr blog, providing a bite-sized companion for One Life, Take Two. Please add it to your feeds and blog rolls.

Jefferson Bites


In One Life, Take Two, I’m concerned with such literary devices as character development, story arcs and thematic continuity. My stories tend to be long and, as a result, I sometimes post at a glacial pace. I’ll continue to write sex in this blog, of course. But whereas here I also address such themes as parenting, divorce, custody and online behavior, over there, it’s all smut.

Jefferson Bites provides a site for short erotic vignettes. In my Tumblr blog, I won’t bother introducing characters or take much time in setting scenes, though certainly characters and scenes may recur in either blog. As in this blog, the stories are autobiographical. They are all true. The stories are simply shorter and less complex, so hopefully, I’ll post there with more frequency.

Think of it as the down and dirty side of my blog. Give it a read and enjoy a wank.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lolita



If you want a hint as to why I am so in love with this woman, and so grateful that she entered my life, you can ask me. Or ask The New York Times.

Congratulations, Lolita. Well done, Times. And hi, Nayland!

One In Eight Million

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Feel Just Like A Child



Devendra Banhart


Some people try and treat me like a man
I guess they just don't understand
Some people try and treat me like a man
They think I know shit
But that's just it
I'm a child

Thinking of you, Marc and Mickey.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Big Talk (Sex)



The cover story of the November issue of Time Out New York Kids deals with the “big talk”—teaching your children about sex. It includes the advice of such experts as Jessica Valenti, Laura Berman and Amy Levine, as well as first-person stories from parents including Nikol Hasler, host and co-creator of the very entertaining Midwest Teen Sex Show, and Saul Goode, who talks about his son, the dress-up princess.

For the issue, I participated in a roundtable discussion with other city parents—and such cool company it is! As we compared notes, I realized that I was the only parent of children over the age of seven. As a result, our discussion largely centered on early childhood, though I did talk a bit about raising tweens and teens. Along the way, I suggested there needn't be a "big talk" so much as an ongoing dialogue that may not always be guided by parents. Here’s a selection of my participation, as well as a link to the entire feature.

“You want them to know they can come to you and say, ‘What is this thing?’ or ‘Explain this thing to me.’ But sometimes they may get themselves in a jam. They may need to take a pregnancy test. I grew up with people who were afraid to go to their parents, kids who went and got abortions without their parents ever knowing about it. I would rather not have my children in the same situation.”

Parental Guidance Suggested

Hi-Fi Goon



Throw Me The Statue

Friday, November 06, 2009

Calendar

We egotists are often accused of thinking that everything is about us. And yet it’s hard to beat that mindset when every now and then, we are proven to be right. So it is with the story of how a special calendar was created to provide me with three hundred and sixty-five days to rue having become Tess’s obsession.

It all began with a rivalry.

My girlfriend Dee hated my girlfriend Avah. My girlfriend Avah hated my girlfriend Dee. They had never met, but they hated, hated, hated each other.

I got both ears full of their rivalry.

Avah hated Dee because I spent so much time with her. Dee hated Avah because she was convinced that Avah was behind a series of awful anonymous attacks on her blog. To Avah, I explained, “I know you don’t like it, but I can identify with her situation. A bad marriage is rough.” To Dee, I deflected, “I don’t know who’s attacking you, but it’s not Avah. I know her very well. She would never do that.”

Each was jealous of attributes she ascribed to the other, aspects each was anxious that I might find attractive at her own expense. Dee was older, a parent and had money enough to take me on trips. Avah couldn’t aspire to those things. Avah was young, pretty and kinky. Dee would never be any of those.

Neither would stop complaining to me about the other. Avah referred to Dee as “that old cunt rag.” Dee referred to Avah as “that crazy blogette.” I listened, hoping they would eventually tire of potshots. Surely, I thought, they each appreciated that putting me in the middle of such bickering did not endear either party to me.

Dee alluded to Avah in her blog, but generally saved her complaints for emails and conversations that came to feel more like confrontations. One morning, I woke sick. I had plans with Dee, so I sent a note to cancel. She preferred to come anyway, saying that she wanted to take care of me. She brought chicken soup. I propped myself up in bed and listened as she complained about Avah. I could see a clock behind her. She complained nonstop for over two hours. I managed the occasional “uh huh” or “okay.”

By contrast, Avah complained about Dee in her blog and in emails to me, but rarely brought her up in person. When we were alone together, Avah was sweet and fun to be around. I couldn’t reconcile my kinky girlfriend with Dee’s mean-spirited attacker. At any rate, Avah denied making the attacks. Her assurance was all I needed.

Then, however, it became apparent that Avah was lying. Dee watched her Statcounter like a hawk—I now realized that if Dee was not asleep, she was online—and she repeatedly traced the anonymous comments to Avah’s IP address. Finally, after six months of lies and attacks, Avah admitted the truth. She had allowed jealousy and frustration to guide her to deliberate cruelty. Faced with this, I wondered if our relationship was still healthy. I didn’t want to make someone so unhappy she would act out in so mean a fashion, nor did I want such strong resentments in my life.

As my relationship with Avah faltered, Dee couldn’t contain her delight. Her insistent complaints and online vigilance had helped to eliminate her rival. Yet Dee seemed unaware of the cost to our own relationship. She hadn’t realized just how unpleasant it was to listen to her repetitive complaints against someone I cared about, or how controlling it was for her to fixate on severing two friends from one another.

As our affair continued, it became increasingly clear that Dee was intent on controlling me.

Dee found me through this blog, so she had always known that I had sex with other women. Yet once she knew me and came to care about me, she began to ask intrusive questions about my other relationships. I don’t like to reveal intimacies—protecting the privacy of myself and others has been a delicate balancing act of blogging—so I avoided saying much more to her than I said in my blog. She only asked about the women whom she read about in blogs; I offered nothing about other relationships that happened off-blog.

Dee read other blogs for any sign that anyone received from me some benefit that she had not also enjoyed. When Dee read that I had made post-coital scrambled eggs for Cody, she was irate. Why had I never offered her scrambled eggs? I could never anticipate what might anger Dee, but I began to see a pattern to her upset: she was primarily angry about younger women with whom I seemed to share genuine affection.

Whenever she fought with me over this, I tried to help her calm down. I understood that this was all very new to her, and by this time, I had a good deal of experience with the hazards of living a public sex life. I reassured her, but also reiterated: if this isn’t working for you, I would understand if you no longer wanted to see me, or if we remained friends in some other capacity.

Fights usually led to gifts.

Dee observed that I’m not that interested in shopping and not particularly acquisitive. One day, she told me I needed a new pair of shoes. “No, I’ll just get these resoled,” I said. “I’ve had these shoes forever.”

“They’re cheap shoes,” she said. “Just replace them.”

“Nah, they’re okay,” I said, wiggling my feet. “Anyway, this hole isn’t even that big yet.”

“Don’t be a dumb ass. Shoes aren’t expensive. I can find you some great shoes on sale. What’s your size?” I told her I wore a size ten-and-a-half, but really, I didn’t need new shoes.

Dee immediately barraged me with links to shoe sales. Which style did I like? Why did I always wear black shoes? What did I think of the brown ones? Look at the shoes at the first link I sent; I think they are cheaper in the link I sent a minute ago. Answering Dee’s questions about the shoes she wanted to buy me online took up the better part of an afternoon I had set aside to write. But how could I object? It was nice of her to buy me a pair of shoes.

She told me I needed sneakers. I haven’t worn sneakers since God knows when, I said, but when I last wore them, I wore black Converses, standard punk issue.

She didn’t answer for some time. I went back to writing. “I personally don't like Converse sneakers except on teenagers,” she finally replied. “Now, seeing you spend quite a bit of time with twenty-year-olds, maybe you do need them.”

I had tripped over her sensitive issue. I didn’t want to muddy the waters. I let her pick my new sneakers. It was her dime. I received several pairs of new shoes, a few dress blacks and a pair of gray Skechers I would never wear. I put the Skechers in a box with the brown Polo shirts and khaki pants she had given me after previous fights, all destined for charity.

I thanked her for the gift. “You are going to have to pay by the orgasm for each pair of shoes,” she replied. “Think you can handle that?” I felt up to the task, glad the fight was past. She wanted more from me. “Four pairs of shoes might cost you an entire weekend at some point,” she warned.

I knew how that worked. Some people give you things because they want something in return.

Dee and I had been dating for about six months when I needed to move. Since the end of my marriage, my children and I had been living in an apartment owned by my ex-father-in-law. Now, he wanted us to leave. I was concerned about finding a place I could afford that could accommodate a family of four, without causing the kids to switch schools.

Dee offered to help. She researched realtors and found a good company with plenty of apartments in my price range. Our dates now included tours of walk-up apartments in pre-war tenements. Dee always asked the realtor about proximity to parking garages, as she wanted to be sure my new home would be convenient for our dates.

As we looked at one apartment, the realtor noted that the front door lock had been incorrectly installed and would need to be replaced. “Look,” he said, “It locks from the outside. That would only be good if you were keeping a prisoner.”

“No, let’s keep that,” Dee said. “That way, I can lock him in and no one else can get at him.” She laughed as the realtor and I looked at each other uneasily. He must have assumed I was Dee’s kept man. Dee liked the joke so much that she repeated it over and again.

Dee sent me links to apartments as she had once sent me links to shoes. She made it plain that I shouldn’t look at apartments without her, as I was a dumb ass who couldn’t be trusted to ask the right questions about parking garages and so on. Quietly, I looked at other apartments on my own and with other friends. Lynsey joined me to look at places in Queens. Tilda looked up places in Brooklyn. Madeline suggested options I hadn’t considered. Pretty soon, I found a place on my own. Dee gave me some money to help with the move, but beyond that, she had no claim on my new home.

Once I had moved, Dee expected a reward for her help. A couple of months after the move, Dee and I had a date. It was our last before I took a two-week vacation with my children. We were relaxing in bed after sex, her head on my shoulder.

“I’ve been thinking,” Dee said. “I was thinking I could change my day off at work so that we can get together on Tuesdays instead of Fridays.”

“Oh yeah?” I asked. “Why?”

“Oh, you know. Your Fridays are weird. One week you’re free all day, the next week you have to go get your kids from school. You never have your kids on Tuesdays. This way, we can be together all day and sometimes, all night. Maybe I can get a hotel room near me and we can stay together until you get your kids on Wednesday.”

“Sure, I guess that would work,” I said, wondering when I would write and what I would do with my other dates if I lost one of my free weeknights. Dee had already expanded our Friday lunch dates to include some overnights at a hotel near her home. I would drive up after taking my kids to school, join her for lunch and sex, stay in the room while she returned to her family for dinner, and then have more sex with her back in the room. Afterward, I’d either stay in the room or drive back to the city.

“It will work, babe,” she said, running her finger over my chest. “And I was thinking, see, you know I like to beat traffic, so I could come in early.”

“Uh huh.” I readied for the conclusion of her plan.

“So I was thinking, I could be here around seven or seven thirty in the morning. I know, that’s early for you. But if you gave me a key, I could come in and just get into bed. You wouldn’t even need to get the door.”

“Right. But you know, my two weeknights without the kids are Monday and Tuesday. So I’d have to be sure any Monday dates were over by seven in the morning?”

“I was thinking,” Dee whispered into my shoulder. “That you wouldn’t see anyone on Mondays. I want you to be fresh and ready for me when we get together.”

“At seven on Tuesday mornings.” I shook my head. "And you'll have your own key."

“Now, come on. If you fuck some blogette on Monday night, you’ll be tired on Tuesday morning. I want you to be ready for me on Tuesdays.”

“You want me to avoid sex on Mondays so I can be waiting for you to let yourself in at seven on Tuesdays mornings and stay over until Wednesday.”

“I can’t always stay over,” she said. “But sometimes. Or you could come to the hotel near me.”

“I have to say,” I said, stroking her hair. “I don’t think this is such a great idea.”

She slapped my chest. “Yeah, you don’t want to give up a night of fucking some blogette for me?”

“It’s not that,” I said. “But do you hear what you’re saying? I have two free nights each week. Your proposal has me giving you both nights. You do know I have sex with other people, right?”

“Yeah, don’t rub my face in it,” she said, her voice growing sour. “Now you’re going to fuck up my other question, dumb ass.”

“Which is?”

Her body relaxed. She nestled back in the crook of my arm. “I want to be the first person you have sex with when you come back from vacation,” she whispered.

“That’s a nice thought,” I said. “But, thing is, I get back on a Tuesday night. We wouldn’t get together until Friday. You want me to wait a couple of days without sex? Just so you can be first?”

“Yeah, come on. You can manage a day or two.”

“But why? What’s the point? I mean, I could tell other people I can’t see them and wait, but what would that prove? I know I can go a few days without sex. My marriage proved I can go months without sex. Shit, it proved I can go years. But why do you want me to abstain? Why do you need to be first?”

Dee pulled away. “Never mind. Don’t do me any favors.”

I sat up on my pillow. “I don’t mean to make waves, but . . .”

Dee turned away. “Tess was right. You can’t even do this for me.”

My brow furrowed. What did Tess have to do with this? “Look, I’m sorry, it’s just that . . .”

“Don’t worry about it,” Dee interrupted. “Just fuck that new blogette. Have fun.”

So that was it. Dee was upset about Mariella.

Mariella had contacted me that spring. She was about to turn twenty-one and she wanted to lose her virginity. She had the summer off between semesters and thought it would be fun to have some adventure. After we took care of her virginity, we chased other cherries. She started a blog to chart our stories. I linked it. Her blog was smart, funny and full of literary allusions.

Dee barely had time to be satisfied with the demise of my relationship with Avah. Now, along came another lover. Another woman who was young and pretty. Another woman who read books. Dee wasn’t young or pretty. She didn’t read books.

I had discussed this with Dee. There was no reason for her to compare herself to my other partners. Besides, I added, Mariella only wanted a fling. She was going back to school in the fall. We might have eleven or so dates before she went back to her life and I went back to mine.

“Eleven?” Dee said. “How about nine? Or eight? Are any of those dates on Fridays? I bet they’re on Monday nights, right?”

Dee was annoyed. Avah was out and another girl was ready to replace her. Dee felt she would never be able to rid my bed of pretty young women. I felt bad that Dee was hurt by reading about my sex life in blogs.

That afternoon, we put aside our disagreement and had sex again. We didn’t leave time for lunch. When we parted, she pushed herself close to my chest. “I love you,” she whispered. “And one day, you’ll feel the same. I want to be here for you. I want to be with you and your children.”

I didn’t know how to respond. I kissed her head. I told her it would be okay. But as she drove off in her SUV, I knew we would need to have a talk when I returned from my family vacation. I wasn’t in love with Dee. We had never talked about love. She was never going to meet my children. What was she imagining? She was a married woman with three children of her own. She was cheating on her husband. Did she harbor thoughts of divorcing him to be with me?

I had a nice vacation with my family. On the night I returned, I left my children with their mother and had a late night date with Lynsey. We had drinks and sex at my new place. She stayed over. I cuddled close to her soft body as we slept.

Two days later, I received notice that my ex wife was suing for full custody of our children. She had discovered this blog. My sexuality, as described in this blog, was the basis of her motion.

I received notice of the custody suit on a Thursday afternoon. As my ex-wife had filed on an emergency basis, there was a hearing scheduled for the following morning. I wasn’t sure what to do. A friend who is a lawyer advised me not to go to court until I had representation. I needed a lawyer, fast.

I had a date with Dee planned for that Friday. I contacted her to cancel. She was upset by my wife’s filing and wanted to come to see me anyway, to take care of me. Remembering her care of me when I was sick, I declined. I needed a day of clarity to make phone calls, to do research and to find a lawyer. I couldn’t deal with Dee being around all day, needing attention for her own anxiety about my case.

Dee instant messaged Tess about our canceled date. Tess urged Dee to come to the city anyway. They would meet for lunch. When Dee showed up at Tess’s office, Tess handed her a remote. It controlled the vibrator Tess had inserted into her vagina. Tess had arranged a lunch date with a sex writer named Rachel. Dee had first met a published writer when she met me. Now, Tess offered her another. Over lunch, Tess encouraged Dee to tell Rachel all about my case, reminding her not to leave out the stuff about my new blogette.

As I began to work on my case, a group of my friends organized an ad-hoc committee to help with fundraising and to lend me supportive ears. All were mature career women with whom I had, at various points, enjoyed sexual relationships. The “Friends of Jefferson” worked well together and offered their expertise in law, publishing, information technologies and other areas involved in my case.

I researched resources available to those involved in legal disputes based on their sexuality. Lolita Wolf, among the Friends of Jefferson, steered me to the Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund. Valerie White, a community activist who served as the organization’s Executive Director, explained to me that she could only recommend the creation of a legal defense fund after careful consideration of my case. The organization’s board would need to review the motion against me to be sure it qualified for their support.

I had been told to expect that the case would cost me around twenty thousand dollars and I would need that money quickly. My ex-wife had already spent over twenty-five thousand dollars in filing the motion; the expectation, clearly, was that I would be unable to keep up financially. Valerie appreciated that time was of the essence. I made copies of the motion—which was as thick as a phone book—and overnighted them to her. The board reviewed the documents and as the motion was entirely concerned with my sexuality as described in this blog, they supported the creation of a legal defense fund. Once that was in place, I posted an appeal on my blog.

Tess was outraged. It was already unfair that my blog was widely read. It was unfair that I was popular. Now it seemed that my readers would be supporting my efforts to win a custody case. It angered her to think that a community could be formed around someone to whom things seemed to come so easily.

Meanwhile, Dee had made an awful discovery. While reading Mariella’s blog, Dee followed a link to her Twitter feed. There, Dee began to investigate all of Mariella’s followers. She clicked through to their Twitter feeds and read their blogs, following trails thought their blogrolls. Dee wasn’t interested in new reading material. She was stalking quarry. Her obsessiveness paid off when she found a fresh blog. It revealed that I had had sex with someone new. Someone young and pretty.

Dee wrote me furious emails. I responded for a while and finally gave up. I was far more concerned with my custody case than with Dee’s perennial upset about my public sex life. If her love for me was so wrapped up in her jealousy of others, we were likely to break up in time. Perhaps, in light of my other concerns, now was the time.

Certainly Tess felt it was time. “That’s it,” Tess told her. “You can’t see that dickhead any more. We’re going to fucking destroy him.” Tess’s obsession now went for the jugular. She realized that in order to take me down, she needed to eradicate any support for my custody case. My blog was down and on good advice, I was largely silent about the case. Tess would fill that silence with another narrative. My custody case had nothing to do with my sexuality, she maintained to others over cocktails. I was at risk of losing my children because I drink. My claims otherwise were simply lies. I lied, Tess told people, because I was not just a dickhead and an alcoholic. I was also a sociopath.

When word of Tess’s claims got back to me, I was stunned by her vindictiveness, but moreover, I worried about the possible effect of her gossip on my case. I knew that her claims were simply factually inaccurate. Tess had never read the motion against me. She had no idea what it contained. The motion had been reviewed by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, the Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund and by the individual members of the Friends of Jefferson. It was clear to all that the case was based entirely on my sexuality.

Despite my request that bloggers refrain from writing about me during the duration of my custody case, Tess and Dee made every effort to get gossip into ears and online. They did this knowing my ex-wife read their blogs and might use their gossip against me in court. In fact, Dee had supplied me with my ex-wife’s IP address; Dee’s relentless monitoring of her Statcounter had revealed that Lucy read her blog.

Concerned about the possible impact on my case, I shared their blog entries with my attorney. After she read the links, we discussed them during a meeting at her office.

My attorney shuffled the print outs on her desk. “So you say these people were friends of yours?”

“I thought so,” I shrugged. “I mean, to varying degrees. I was chums with Tess, and I was having an affair with Dee.”

“Dee’s the married woman cheating on her husband?”

“Well, they both are. Dee is the one who was cheating with me.”

“Ah, right. Well, I’ve looked this all over. It’s nothing.”

“Really?” I exhaled. “Good. Why?”

“It’s just hearsay and gossip,” she said, dropping her palms to her desktop. “See, the court is concerned about you as a father. It really doesn’t care if your ex-girlfriend doesn’t like you very much. It doesn’t even care if your ex-wife doesn’t like you very much. That’s where Lucille often goes too far, which I think will hurt her in the end.”

“Yeah, she does want the courtroom drama of having a judge condemn me as an asshole or something.” I indicated the blog excerpts. “I seem to inspire melodrama in people.”

“Apparently, huh? But it doesn’t matter.” My attorney stacked the papers neatly. “Lucille’s tantrums have already shown the judge that part of her character. As for this stuff, the blogs, none of these people are relevant. Do they have anything to say about your children?”

“No.” I shook my head. “None of them has ever met my children.”

“Very wise,” my attorney nodded.

“So Lucy can’t use any of this, huh?”

“Well, Lucy can use whatever she wants. But I can tell you, this gossip is just that: gossip. If Lucy tried to use it, we’d just subpoena these two women—what are their names? Tess and Dee? Are these their real names?”

“No.”

“Do you know their real names?”

“Sure.”

“Well, we’d need to have them come to court to testify under their real names. If they have evidence that your drinking or whatever affects your parenting, they would need to offer it. If they don’t have any evidence . . .” She shrugged. “Look, I know this kind of thing is upsetting, but don’t let it bother you. Still, word of advice?”

I shifted in my chair. “Yes?”

“You really should avoid these types of people.”

I laughed. “You think? Well, who knew they would be so mercurial? So vicious?”

“Well, not every married woman wants to fly you to the Caribbean for a second date, right?” She bobbed her head slightly. “Given the way it turned out with Dee, maybe that was a sign that maybe she was a bit . . . ?”

I nodded. “Yeah, it’s all clearer with hindsight.”

My attorney was right. I needed to just tune out the nonsense with Tess and Dee. They would eventually have to tire of gossiping about me.

As I focused on my case, Tess and Dee continued their campaign against me. One afternoon shortly after my first court date, Tess had lunch with our mutual friend Elizabeth. Tess unloaded the dish on me and gradually, talk turned to another topic. Wouldn’t it be fun, they thought, to create a pin-up calendar featuring New York City sex bloggers? Elizabeth and Tess had come to know many of them though Viviane’s tea parties and readings that Rachel organized. The calendar would be a nice promotional tool and if it sold well, it could generate revenue for some worthy charity.

Tess was inspired by this idea. A calendar would be fun, as Elizabeth suggested, but more, it would serve two of Tess’s main goals. Tess would limit participants to those people she wanted to impress and thereby create a new cohort—or, as she called it, “a secret sex blog cabal”—with her at its center. If calendar sales raised money, so much the better. It didn’t matter what charity benefited, so long as it wasn’t my custody case. The calendar would be a great distraction from the attention I received.

Dee was excited about Tess's scheme. She continued to send me emails deriding me for the end of our relationship. She told me she could have given me twenty thousand dollars with no problem. She could’ve funded my case for as long as it took. Instead, I had fucked some blogette. Did I expect some young girl to help with my legal bills? Who? Avah? Mariella? This new slut?

Now, by helping to raise money with a calendar, Dee would demonstrate just what I had thrown away.

Neither Tess nor Dee had any charity in mind. Dacia suggested they donate funds for an organization she was starting, focused on raising media awareness of sex workers’ rights. Neither Tess nor Dee had ever given a thought to sex workers’ rights, but supporting Dacia was a good move for Tess’s plan: Dacia was a popular sex blogger who had been close friends with me. Drawing Dacia into her new cabal, Tess knew, could get her into cool circles while having the added benefit of being seen as a snub to me.

Tess built her cabal over lunches and cocktails. She had met many female bloggers through Viviane’s tea parties and now she found many of them willing to take part in a pin-up calendar. She fueled her appeals with gossip about me, supplied by her private source. Dee usually picked up the tab.

Pretty quickly, though, Tess saw the limits of Dee’s information. We had only dated for a short time, and mostly, we had just had sex and eaten cheeseburgers. Dee’s knowledge of my other lovers was largely limited to what was already published on blogs. There were only so many times Tess could repeat stories about me having sex with someone young and pretty. Everyone already knew that I had a lot of sex. That really wasn’t news.

Even Tess tired of listening to Dee prattle on about me. Dee became anxious: she needed Tess to make her feel interesting, and in order to interest Tess, she needed fresh gossip about me. Finally, she recalled a fresh lode of unmined gold.

Avah.

Dee despised Avah, but she knew my ex-girlfriend was upset with me. Avah’s blog was filled with moping about the end of our relationship. We had dated for a couple of years; surely, Avah had information to share.

Dee sent Avah a note, introducing the concept of the calendar. Avah was surprised to hear from Dee, but glad to learn about the calendar. Dee told Avah she had never really been all that interested in me. Avah said she felt the same. Dee said I was not even all that attractive. Avah LOL’d her concurrence. Dee said she thought I was a dickhead. Avah agreed.

The two fell into an intense correspondence.

Over the course of the next two weeks, they traded dozens of notes. Dee’s emails were very long, offering paragraph after paragraph of complaints about me. Avah responded to Dee’s themes, sometimes adding some of her own.

I read the correspondence in its entirety several months later. It took seven hours to read it all.

Dee was glad to have Avah’s interest as she unpacked every moment of our relationship, hoping Avah could help her to see how it had all been terrible and all of that entirely my fault. Avah had once been fixated on my relationship with Dee. She couldn’t believe how much information Dee now made available.

First of all, Dee needed to find more gossip for Tess. She told Avah that it was very important that she post stories about me being drunk. Avah said she didn’t really have any. Sure, Avah had attended parties with me for a couple of years and I drank at the parties, but she could only remember one time when I seemed drunk. Dee encouraged her to post that story. They needed to show I was an alcoholic and the only story Dee had was useless. We had gone out with friends so that Dee could have her first martini. Tess had come along and got wasted. That story wouldn’t work.

Dee outlined Tess’s plan for her cabal and the calendar. The goal, she said, was to raise at least twenty thousand dollars. Dee wanted the satisfaction of showing me that she could’ve paid all my legal bills out of pocket or through fundraising.

Dee reported that Tess was dividing the sex blog community Viviane had worked diligently to foster. The community was now to be comprised of those loyal to Tess—with Dee as her support—and those who no longer mattered.

It was important for Tess and Dee to believe that anyone who agreed to work on the calendar hated Jefferson. Jack and Sinclair were designing it because they hated Jefferson. Elizabeth, Jamye, Dacia, Rachel, Calico and others who modeled did so because they hated Jefferson.

In the new order of Tess’s cabal, it was not enough that people enjoy Tess’s company or care about raising money to promote awareness of sex workers’ rights. As Dee expressed it, they must also hate, hate, hate Jefferson.

Dee boasted of a great victory: even Jefferson’s stupid new blogette Mariella was in the calendar. Dee loved that. Tess had really scored by turning Mariella against Jefferson. Dee was sure I must be heartbroken about that.

Even prior to reading Dee’s correspondence with Avah, I had caught wind that Tess’s sights were set on Mariella. When Mariella told me that she had been asked to be a model for the calendar, I said this was a great idea, given Mariella’s love of the art. Classic pin-up art was evident in her blog, where each post included a vintage sample.

Not long afterward, a friend wrote me. “Are you okay?” she asked. “I hear you are pretty torn up about Mariella.” Puzzled, I asked how she knew this. I had barely stopped laughing when Mariella answered her phone.

“I just wanted to let you know,” I said. “I forgive you.”

“Oh, good,” Mariella sighed. “What did I do?”

“I hear I’m heartbroken since you dumped me.”

“Yeah, look, I’m very sorry about that,” Mariella said. “Wait, when did I dump you?”

“I’m not sure, but Dee says you did, so it must be true.”

“Oh damn, I hate that you heard about it this way. Well, at least it’s out.”

“And I forgive you.”

“You are a big man, Jefferson.”

“I do what I can, heartbroken and all. So, how’s it going with your boyfriend?”

“Which one?”

I wondered, in reading Dee’s boast, how this must have sounded to Avah. She was a long-time sex blogger who looked plenty cute in a corset. She was an avid amateur photographer who had apprenticed to a professional. Surely, she would have relished being asked to be on either side of the camera for the calendar shoot.

Apparently, it never occurred to Dee to ask her to participate. Of course it wouldn’t. Dee hated, hated, hated Avah.

Now that Tess had taken things to a new level, Dee gloated to Avah, who was left with Jefferson? Just some young blogettes and the Friends of Jefferson. But who were they, anyway? Dee said that most of them were “nobodies.” Viviane was a “has been.” Lolita was a “troll.”

In the new order of Tess's cabal, it was not enough to destroy Jefferson. As Dee expressed it, anyone associated with Jefferson must also be discounted. Beyond holdouts perceived as too loyal, Tess and Dee wanted my friends to turn on me, just as the two of them had.

“What’s up with this Dee asswipe?” Wendy wrote to me. “She says you’ve been talking shit about me, but that doesn’t sound like you.”

“Sorry about that,” I replied. “She and Tess are trying to destroy my relationships.”

“Why should they bother?” Wendy said. “You can do that all by yourself!”

“Exactly!” I replied.

Marcus called me. “Do you know this Dee person? Did you fuck her or something?”

“Yes, unfortunately,” I said. “She’s the one who took me on the cruise. Remember? I think I told you that.”

“Huh. No, I don’t remember, Jefferson. I can’t keep track of every woman you fuck who takes you on a cruise. Anyway, she sent me some email asking me to buy dates on a calendar or something. I was like sure, whatever, and she begins going on and on about you, about how this calendar is all about destroying you.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah, I don’t get how a calendar can destroy someone, but whatever. I told her I wasn’t interested—you’ve been one of my best friends for over twenty years. Why would she think I would want to destroy you?”

“That’s creepy, right?”

“She told me I was drinking Kool-Aid. Jefferson, are you running a cult or something?”

“I only know what I hear,” I said. “I gather Tess and Dee consider me to be quite the Svengali.”

“No, your only superpower is using your dick to find crazy people.”

“Yeah, I’m gifted like that.”

Dee was frustrated that people who loved me so stubbornly refused to hate me. She had far better luck running me down with people who didn’t know me. Still, she couldn’t get new dirt from them. Keeping them interested would require even more gossip. Dee and Tess fretted as the taps went dry. There just wasn’t much more to say about Jefferson.

Dee lost interest in Avah. Tess lost interest in interrogating my other friends. The focused on going to bars and tweeting to make new contacts with distant bloggers and online sex celebrities who didn’t know anything other than what they were told about Jefferson.

Meanwhile, I was offline, trying to keep my family intact. The new “Jefferson” concocted by Tess and Dee was largely theirs to define.

All of this drama had subsided by the time I read Dee's correspondence with Avah. By that time, it was clear that Tess and Dee had failed to have any impact on my custody case. They had done all they could to make people hate me. Reading how important that had been to them, in Dee’s own words, seemed pathetic and appalling, but, in terms of its impact on my real life, not all that important. “Jefferson” had served his uses to them as a straw man. None of it had much to do with who I am, or who my friends are.

I noticed that in the course of the correspondence, Dee explained to Avah how she could track my custody case through online documents. My attorney had previously pointed out the irony of this; in filling her motion, my ex-wife had unwittingly outed me. I was not at all surprised that Tess, Dee and Avah would uncover that trail.

Reading Dee’s instructions to Avah, I recalled hearing that Dee and her husband had separated since our own break up. Good for her, I thought. She was really unhappy in the marriage. Based on what Dee had told me, her husband seemed like a real jerk who didn’t care at all about their children. I now realized that in following Dee’s instructions, I could also find out online if she was getting divorced.

I found the documents in no time. Dee had not filed for divorce; her husband had. Though Dee had said he didn't care for their children, he sought joint custody. The case was still in court and would be for months to come.

Apparently, Dee’s husband had no knowledge of his wife’s affair with me. He didn’t know about the money she had spent on me, nor had he discovered her blog or her current fascination with sex work.

The online documents included the names of each party’s attorneys. A quick search and I had contact information for Dee’s husband and his attorneys.

Dee had spent a year trying to ruin my reputation. She had repeated gossip on her blog, and encouraged others to do likewise, with the stated hope of interfering with my family and my custody case. Dee had done her best to sabotage fundraising for my legal defense fund. All because she loved me and I had sex with other women.

How easy it would be to repay her in kind. One phone call and her husband’s attorneys would have Dee’s blogs, outlining her affair in her own words. They could find photographs of Dee in a calendar supporting sex workers. If he wanted, Dee’s husband could show up at any of the events Dee now attended with Tess, to see her socializing with a whole range of people involved in sex in various ways. Dee's children could attest that she had introduced them to sex workers. What sweet vindication there could be in giving Dee a taste of what she had served to me.

But who wants to live that kind of life? Who would do such a thing, particularly when someone else’s family is involved? Tess and Dee, certainly, but would I?

I may have been alarmed by Dee’s behavior, but revenge is not in my blood. I figure given time, Dee’s character will be revealed to those she uses as an audience for slander. They may tire of her. They may not. It’s not my concern.

In the meantime, I could be sure her divorce would be fraught with bitterness. After all, she had rehearsed it with me.

Not long after her husband filed for divorce, Dee sent me an email, apropos of nothing, to say that a blogger named Nikol Hasler hated me. “That might have more meaning,” I thought, “If I had ever met Nikol Hasler.” The real meaning seemed to be that Dee continued to derive satisfaction from encouraging strangers to dislike me.

By that time, I hadn’t seen Dee in nearly a year. I didn't respond to her note. I hadn't responded to anything from her in a very long time.

The other night at a party, Selina brought up a mutual friend. “John was really sad to hear you don’t like him,” she said.

“I like John,” I said, surprised. “Why would he think otherwise?”

“Dee told him. She said you just don’t like him.”

“Ah,” I nodded. “Well, if Dee says it, it must be true. Please give him my sincerest distaste.”

“Guys, I can’t believe they are still so obsessed with you,” Viviane said. “The other night, Tess cornered my friend Tom to ask him what he knew about Jefferson. He answered honestly that he’s never met you.”

“Let’s face it,” I shrugged. “Evidently, I’m pretty fascinating.”

Selina laughed. “Such an egotist.”

Viviane joined along. “No, he’s a dickhead.”

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Training of O



The Training of O


My pal Calico modeled for one of my favorite Kink.com sites and aren't the results dramatic? And, um, hot?

Calico says they had to use a lot of body make-up (which reads here as dirt) to cover the bruises sustained in her own real-life play. Showing up to a shot already bruised? Bad fetish model!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tess's Obsession

On a warm summer evening, Tess joined friends at Bryant Park to watch a free movie. Onscreen was Harold and Maude, a film about a poor little rich boy who falls in love with an eccentric seventy-nine-year-old anarchist. Completely comfortable with her advanced age, the older lover offers a peculiar kind of love and wisdom well tailored to the needs of her twenty-year-old suitor, who had previously staged suicide attempts to get attention.

Tess’s company that night was comprised of women a decade or two or three younger than she was. She had met most of them a year before, when she made a dramatic and ambitious effort to recast her social circles. It was the biggest change to her life since she had started having sex outside her marriage and blogging about it. Tess’s blog was primarily concerned with a dominant lover she called Victor. The lover made her happy. Better still, the blog got her attention.

Now, sadly, she knew that the relationship with her lover was ending. The night after Harold and Maude, Tess had a date with Victor. She showed him a story she had written about him. They made love for what would be the final time.

A couple of days later, Tess was depressed about the loss of her lover. She moped through her workday. Normally eager to Twitter about her outfits and lunches, she managed only to write a sorrowful “life goes on.”

That evening, Tess eased her pain by doing something that had long brought her pleasure. She anonymously attacked me online.

I’m not exactly sure when I became Tess’s obsession, but it seems to have begun shortly after we met. My friend Viviane had decided to bring together sex bloggers based in New York City for monthly tea parties. Tess and I were among those invited. Never having read Tess’s blog, I checked it out. The prose was deep purple, for my taste a little too steeped in a “give to me your leather, take from me my lace” sensibility. Still, she had a good story to tell about discovering herself as a sexual submissive in middle age. I could identify with a narrative about reasserting your sexuality in adulthood.

The blog may not have been my cup of tea, but upon meeting Tess, I found I liked her enormously. She was funny in a catty kind of way, and her vanity was pure camp. She kept her graying hair dyed red and pushed her plump tits forward with the shameless aplomb of a drag queen. She flirted constantly and despite her diminutive stature, she could easily drink me under a table. If I were to open a saloon in the Wild West, I’d have hired her to keep the cowhands happy and buying rotgut.

The feeling seemed to be mutual. She even arranged a date for me with a woman she referred to as one of her “bitches.” The woman and I saw quite a bit of each other for a while, and I thanked Tess for making the connection. It’s nice when friends do things like that for one another.

Some things came to be traditions with Tess. After a few drinks at Viviane’s parties, Tess could be counted on to stand up and loudly ask the room, “Am I the only woman here who hasn’t fucked Jefferson?” I would always laugh, but nervously, aware that the question hung uneasily in the air. I had, in fact, had sex with nearly all the women in that circle, but not all of them wanted this known or wanted to contemplate specifics about my other partners. For Tess, though, her question was a way of distinguishing herself from the group, which she apparently saw, at least in part, in terms of each person’s relationship with me.

Tess enjoyed gossiping with Viviane and between the two of them, it seemed they knew everything about everyone who had a sex blog. They talked about me a lot, but I suppose I did generate a good deal of stories worth gossiping about.

Over lunch one day, a fellow sex blogger warned me to be careful of Tess. “She’s a viper,” I was told. “I’ve only had conflicts with two sex bloggers and with Tess, it got personal and nasty very quickly. Things I had told her in confidence were being spread everywhere. And it was all over some ridiculous competition in her mind: she was interested in some guy who was interested in me. I didn’t care about him—she could have him, so far as I was concerned—but she seemed to need to destroy a competitor. It was all very primal and, frankly, unnecessary.”

I nodded along politely, thinking my friend was being overly dramatic. I liked Tess. Anyway, it wasn’t like Tess and I would ever be in competition over some guy.

One day, I was contacted by an unhappily married woman who read my blog and wanted to get together for sex. This happens in my life now and then, and after some preliminaries, we met. We had fun and she wanted to continue seeing me. For our second date, she proposed flying me to the Bahamas so she could sneak away from a family vacation to have a few hours of sex. That actually doesn’t happen to me often, and being game for adventure, I accepted.

My new girlfriend began reading other sex blogs and soon asked me about Tess. “I really feel like I have a lot in common with her,” she said. “Do you think it would be okay for me to write to her?”

“Of course,” I said. “Tess is great and she’s approachable. Mention that you know me. That should open the door.” They did seem to have things in common. Both were middle-aged suburban moms who were cheating on their husbands. I was pretty sure Tess’s husband knew about her affairs, but, like most cheaters, my new friend Dee was lying to hers. I thought perhaps Dee might benefit from Tess’s experience.

My girlfriend sent an email to Tess, who immediately responded that they should instant message. Dee didn’t know how to do that—she had only discovered the Internet a few months before—so Tess walked her through it. That very night, the two of them messaged until nearly three in the morning. “I love Tess,” Dee wrote to me. “It’s like she completes me. I can’t imagine not knowing her.” That’s great, I replied, glad that they had hit it off so well, and so quickly.

My trip to the Bahamas was to be brief. I would arrive one day, see Dee on the second day, and then head back on the third. Unfortunately, I missed the flight—I made the mistake of taking the A train to JFK, unaware that it was making all local stops. By the time I got to the airport, there was no time to make it through security. I texted Dee with the news. She was understandably upset but decided to compensate by booking me on a cruise two months later. This was also pretty rare for me, so I accepted.

I did regret that I wouldn’t be able to say, “I suppose the first date was a hit, because she took me to the Caribbean for the second.” Instead, I would have to wait until the fourth or fifth date. That’s still a good story, but it doesn’t have quite the same panache.

Tess told my girlfriend that she was making a mistake by taking a vacation with me. She would do better to use Craig’s List to find another man to take on a cruise. My girlfriend had never heard of Craig’s List so Tess sent her a link and instructions on posting.

The next time Viviane had a party, my girlfriend told me to pick up a bottle of Patron tequila to give to Tess. “Tess has been just so great to me,” Dee said. “She stood by me when you missed that flight. She knew all the right things to say.”

I obliged, sending Dee a photograph of Tess receiving her gift. I thought it was a little odd that Tess had recommended that a woman she had never met was better off taking a vacation with a random stranger than with a friend of hers, but, you know, people are sometimes funny like that.

Dee and I settled into a routine. We would meet regularly for sex and afterward we would head to a local diner for cheeseburgers. She picked up the tab. We then went on the cruise she had arranged. It was a Disney Cruise and included a day at Disney World. When she told me how much the trip cost, I said, “You know, for that kind of money, we could go to Amsterdam or Paris or San Francisco. You know, some place real.”

“No, we have to do Disney,” my girlfriend said. “I don’t go anywhere else.”

It was her dime, so I didn’t complain. Anyway, we had a nice time. I hadn’t been to Disney World since I was fourteen. Dee knew the park’s best restaurants. In one, we sat in a booth that looked like a car and ate sandwiches while watching a Fifties science fiction movie, just like a drive-in but indoors and fake. The waiter was nice and kept trying to sell us dessert.

Not long before our cruise, my girlfriend met Tess in person for the first time, after a few months of constant instant messages. They went to a reading by other sex bloggers, most of them friends from Viviane’s party. I was with my kids that night, so I stayed home. It was a fun girls night out for Dee. She was excited to meet so many people. That night, she also braved her first time alone on a subway and her first taste of Thai food.

Tess suggested that my girlfriend start her own blog to write about her sex life with me. Tess showed her how to start a blog and gave it a snazzy alliterative name. “Only, God, don’t make him sound so great,” Tess said of me. “Seriously, I read all these blogs about him and I want to barf.” My girlfriend laughed. She promised to make fun of me.

My girlfriend talked about Tess all the time. One day, as we were lounging in bed after sex, Dee said, “I think the most important thing to happen to me in years was meeting Tess. She’s changed my life.”

“That’s nice,” I nodded.

“I mean, I think meeting you was really only so I could meet her.”

“I’m glad you’re both such good friends,” I said, making a mental note that one day, I should tell her that it’s poor pillow talk to tell a lover that his main contribution to your life was introducing you to someone else.

She turned to me. “Tess likes you. She really does like you. She thinks you’re funny.”

“Aw, that’s nice,” I smiled. “I like Tess, too. She’s certainly funny.”

My girlfriend laughed at a memory. “She is so funny. She knew I was seeing you today so she told me last night that I need to have sex with someone else.”

I filed away another pillow-talk conversation for a later time. “Does she have anyone in mind?”

“Doesn’t matter. Some other man.”

“You mean, instead of me or in addition to me?”

“Tess says she’s going to find me a second lover, a real man like the ones she likes.”

I turned to her. “Dear, you are a married woman who is cheating on her husband. Your life seems plenty complicated already. Do you really think you need to add another layer of complexity?”

“I’m not really going to do it. I’m just telling you what Tess says. She wants me to have sex with someone else. Because then I would know that the sex we have isn’t so great.”

“Oh.” I mulled that over. “Wait, Tess wants you to understand that we don’t have good sex? Do we not have good sex?”

“How would I know if we do? I’ve been married to my asshat husband for twenty years. I’ve never had good sex.”

I caught that Dee now used the word “asshat.” That was a word Tess liked. “You don’t know when you’re having good sex? Well, I think we have pretty good sex. And I’m an expert, you know, so my opinion matters.”

She patted my leg. “Tess thinks you’re overrated.”

“Considering I write my own press releases, that’s entirely possible. But how would she know? Tess and I have never had sex.”

“I know. You’re never having sex with her. She told me the reason, too.”

“Lack of interest, I assume. We’ve never talked about having sex. She’s really into that guy she dates.”

“No, she won’t have sex with you because you’re bisexual. She says that’s disgusting.”

I winced. “Um, last time I checked, Tess was bisexual.”

“Tess says that’s different. Men want women to be bisexual. But no woman wants a man to be bisexual. She says it’s like sex with a gay guy. There's not enough attention on the woman.”

“But that’s . . . “ I stopped at the word “hypocrisy.” I didn’t want to color my girlfriend’s impression of her new friend. “Well, I can assure you that a lot of women do in fact like bisexual men. I meet plenty of women who like that I also see men.”

“Yeah, but you fuck young girls. They don’t know what they want. Tess is talking about grown women, like me. She says you fuck women half your age because they’re easy to get your way with. She says you’re afraid of strong women.”

I sat up on my pillow. “Actually, for the most part, my partners find me. I never need to ‘get my way’ with anyone. And I don’t consider my partners to be lacking in strength.” My girlfriend seemed to be harboring plenty of negative thoughts about me. “Hey, wait a minute. Tess always talks about the twenty-six-year-old man she screws, the guy with the six-pack abs. Isn’t she fifty-two or something?”

“No, she’s fifty-one.”

“Oh, that’s better. For a minute, I thought she slept with men half her age.”

My girlfriend laughed. “It’s different with younger women. Tess says you’re taking advantage of them. But younger men are lucky to be with an experienced woman like Tess.”

“I really fail to see the distinction.”

My girlfriend laughed again. She seemed to enjoy getting a rise out of me. “Come on, you know what she means. Men don’t take younger women seriously. They just use them for sex. Tess screwing a twenty-six-year-old guy, you know that’s great for him.”

I could feel my head starting to ache. “You just said the same thing over again. Basically, if I have sex with a younger woman, I’m exploiting her. If Tess has sex with a younger man, she’s doing him a great favor. And this is true . . . why? Because she’s a woman and I’m a man? Just like her objection to my bisexuality? It’s cool for her to be bi, it’s disgusting for me to be?”

She turned to look at me. “You don’t get it. Maybe Tess can explain it. She’s good at explaining things.”

“Maybe I’ll ask her one day,” I said, not really meaning it. I’d heard all this before; it was typical of glib double standards about gender, bisexuality and age. Those points of view were pretty common among suburban swingers. Anyway, it wasn’t like I really knew Tess. She was just someone I saw socially now and then, someone who now spent an awful lot of time instant messaging a woman I was dating.

My girlfriend and I had sex again before lunch. As sometimes happened, I came on her face. “Oh my God, hand me my phone,” she exclaimed, waving her hand toward her handbag. Still woozy from orgasm, I clambered off the bed to my desk. I handed over the phone. My girlfriend held the phone over her face and snapped a photo. “I have to send this to Tess,” she smiled. “She’ll love the new pearl necklace you gave me!”

“Yeah, that’s funny,” I nodded. I took a few tissues to clean up.

A moment later, my girlfriend burst into laughter. “Ha ha! Tess says ‘Typical, a cheap present from Jefferson.’”

“Cute,” I said.

Dee replied to Tess’s text and waited for a response. I pulled on a t-shirt. “Okay, now she says, ‘Next comes the big spender’s lunch. Both the jism and burgers are on you.’ Isn’t she funny?”

“Yeah, that’s great,” I said. “Can I get you a washcloth or something?”

“Yeah, would you do that? Thanks, babe.” She stared at her phone, typing a reply to Tess as my semen dried on her cheeks.

I returned with a warm washcloth and cleaned her face. My girlfriend looked a bit cross. “Tess says I shouldn’t pay for lunch anymore,” she said. “She said that men are supposed to pick up the check. She’s right.”

I stood back. “Men are supposed to pick up the check? Gee, I must’ve missed that lesson in my gender studies classes.”

“No, I’m being serious.” She stood from the bed and took her bra from a chair. “Come on, you pay for lunch today. It’s just cheeseburgers. I want to tell Tess you did it.”

“Tess is certainly interested in our lunch plans.” I reached for my jeans. “I thought you didn’t mind paying. You have more disposable income than I do. Anyway, we don’t need to go out. I can make something here.”

“No, let’s go out.” She crossed to press her body to my back. “Come on. Do it for me. I want a cheeseburger. I want you to pay for it. I want Tess to see that you’re a good boyfriend.”

“Okay, whatever,” I said. “It’s just cheeseburgers.” That afternoon, lunch was on me. My girlfriend blogged that I paid for lunch. After that, she went back to paying for our cheeseburgers.

A few months later, I took my children on vacation to visit family. When I returned, my ex-wife filed for full custody of our children. She had discovered my blog and now claimed that my writing and sexuality put the children in immediate danger.

It was an awful moment. I responded as best I could, looking for an attorney and making calls to see what resources were available. Lambda Legal offered pro bono research. The Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund reviewed the motion against me and, as it was entirely concerned with my sexuality as described in this blog, established a legal defense fund for my case. The National Campaign for Sexual Freedom offered guidance and advice. “Above all, you want to keep this case out of the media,” Susan Wright of NCSF told me. “This kind of thing attracts a lot of attention and it won’t help you if that happens. Your only goal can be winning.”

That made sense to me. As my blog was the basis of my ex-wife’s complaint, I took it offline. I asked bloggers not to write about me or my case. My friends complied, expressing their concern for me and my children. By drawing the curtains online, I was able to focus on the more immediate concerns of real life.

Where most saw a family’s private crisis, Tess saw an opportunity for personal gain. She had long coveted what I had, feeling it incredibly unfair that writing and popularity seemed to come so effortlessly to me. With my blog now gone dark, Tess felt that she could displace my popularity and claim some for herself. Even better, with Viviane among those concerned about my situation, Tess could take her down a peg as well. With Jefferson and Viviane down for the count, Tess could position herself as Queen Bee of the New York sex blog scene.

Tess’s simmering obsession with me became a full-time campaign. On her own blog Tess feigned indifference to me, but in reality, she was consumed with destroying my reputation. Every lunch, every meeting for drinks, every day sending instant messages at her boring job . . . all offered opportunities to gather and disseminate gossip about me. Her greatest resource for information was Dee, who was now my ex-girlfriend, having finally heeded Tess’s insistence that she break up with me. No information was deemed too personal or unimportant to share with anyone who cared to listen. Tess gossiped about my sex life, my appearance, my family, my career and my income, twisting everything to depict me in a poor light. She outed me casually, hoping that connecting my personal life to my online life would help to further the impact of her slander. She waded through all the positive things people said about me, her ears listening carefully for anything remotely negative that she could collect and use.

Tess’s behavior cost her friendships, but those she dismissed. Anyone who wouldn’t talk trash about me was too loyal to be of use to her. Instead, she worked on assembling new acquaintances who didn’t know me, or didn’t know me well. She contacted people we knew in common, spreading the word that if they had any grievances against me, she was all ears. Those with blogs were encouraged to post anything negative they could possibly recall, or even dream up. Tess followed the blogs closely, adding comments under her pseudonym or anonymously, egging on others to keep the drama rolling.

I was astonished by Tess’s vehemence. I had considered Tess a friend. We had never been anything but cordial to one another in person. I had considered her conversations with Dee to be simply catty fun. Only now was it clear that Tess was driven by an obsession so intense that it might be considered erotic.

I recalled the warning about Tess that my friend had offered. Apparently, she was right: Tess wanted something I had, and in order to get it, she felt that she needed to eliminate the competition.

Like my friend, I was unaware of any competition between us. If my blog was popular, that was because I worked on writing to the best of my abilities. Tess could have what I had simply by applying herself as a writer. Similarly, if Tess wanted the social position that accrued to Viviane, she could follow her example. Viviane had become a well-regarded figure in the community because she spent so much effort helping others. There was nothing too difficult in doing what Viviane and I had done. We just had to work and care about others. Instead, Tess seemed motivated by covetousness. We had things Tess wanted, so she would take them away from us.

Tess sought out my friends to further two main objectives of her campaign: to collect information to use as gossip and to do anything she could to disrupt my relationships. For many, the effort was comical. Here was Tess suddenly taking an interest in people she didn’t know only to suggest that they end a friendship with someone they did know. But for others, the effort was painful. One friend told Tess intimate details about our relationship and now found, within a day or so, that these details were widely spread among gossipers. Another friend told Tess something she had told no one else in our circle, including me. When we heard it repeated as gossip, it was clear that only Tess could have been the source.

“This is like a sick game of telephone,” I marveled. “If a kitten was killed every time Tess betrayed a confidence, heaven would collapse from the mewing.”

In her blog, Tess described her encounter with a friend of mine.

“I recently met a young woman that has been involved in Jefferson's life for a few years, meeting him at twenty, and has suffered a lot at his hands," Tess wrote. "This young woman was troubled when he met her and had been for many years, as an older person, as the person who held power in their relationship, he should have been seeking to help her and not have a sexual relationship with this beautiful, bright but troubled girl.”

Tess had not simply “met” this young woman. She had sought her out, taken her out for drinks and then presented a carefully rehearsed conversation designed to elicit personal information and to turn my friend against me. Tess began their meeting by speaking in a giddy Valley Girl lingo, apparently believing this would help her to appear youthful. My friend—a brainy punk with an aversion to pretense—asked for Tess’s real name. “Oh, that doesn’t matter!” Tess giggled. “I’m more Tess than that anyway.”

“I’m not calling you ‘Tess,’” my friend said. “That’s ridiculous.” Tess reluctantly relinquished her actual name, dropping the cutesy patter as well. Apparently, my friend wasn’t going to pick up the carefully laid sweets that led into Tess’s trap. Tess adapted. Six rounds of drinks later, Tess had what she wanted. My friend, drunk and in tears, called me from the ladies’ room. “I’m actually hiding in here,” she sniffled. “I don’t know what she wants from me.”

My friend was worried when they parted company, as Tess was unable to walk straight. Tess suggested they meet again soon. My friend would need to meet Dee, Tess slurred, and definitely Dacia, as she was smart like my friend. “You don’t need that dickhead,” Tess assured her. “We can be your new friends.”

The gossip began immediately. My friend was upset to have her intimacies spread, and disgusted by Tess’s self-congratulatory description of their meeting. “Who the fuck is she to say I’m ‘bright but troubled?” my friend fumed. “Well then, I say she is ‘old and fat.’”

Tess’s tawdry betrayal was awful at the time, though we laugh about it now. My friend will complain about suffering a lot at my hands, and I will say that just how it goes when I have all the power in our relationship.

As for Tess’s professed concern for “this beautiful, bright but troubled girl,” that faded with the next day’s hangover. Tess had no further use for her. Tess’s interest in my friends waned once they had been pumped for potential gossip.

Destroying me was an exercise for Tess, her way to bigger things. Tess felt that gossip about me was her entrée into the big leagues. If she hurt someone I cared about, that’s was just collateral damage; she didn’t care about these people. She wanted to be at the table with the cool kids, the young women who dressed well, wrote snarky blogs and knew where the good parties were. If she attained my popularity or Viviane’s connections, she wouldn’t waste her time as we had on little people. She would aspire to schmooze with the A list of online sex. Tess felt that gossip would get her past the velvet ropes, and gossiping was an awful lot easier than writing.

For one red-hot season, Tess could see it all on the horizon. My blog was gone, Viviane was distracted and Tess was drinking martinis with women who wore awesome shoes. Tess could just smell the attention waiting for her. But then she found her spotlight fading. Viviane kept showing up at the parties Tess attended, and people still gravitated to her. My custody case ended and my blog returned. Evidently, I was still friends with all the people she thought she had turned against me. All of her gossip had failed to destroy her obsession. It was all too much.

Tess fumed about me on Twitter, “Anyone who follows that dickhead can’t also follow me.” She was the center of attention, God damn it, and some popular fucking dickhead couldn’t take that away from her. People would have to choose: it was either her or me.

By that time, Tess’s online presence beyond Twitter was mostly limited to videotaped sex toy reviews and pictures of her breasts in different bars. Still, she wanted to defend her turf. She was the Queen Bee of sex bloggers and she wanted everyone to acknowledge that.

As for me, I really didn’t care if my readers also read Tess’s Twitter. I mean, who cares about that stuff?

Tess had only ever been an incidental figure in my life, and by that time, she was just someone I used to know. Her behavior had made her unwelcome at the private parties I attended. I rarely made it to the bar parties she frequented, as they were on nights I spent with family. I hadn’t seen her in well over a year when one summer evening, following Harold and Maude and her break up with Victor, she attacked me yet again.

Tess chose a website where women anonymously complained about former boyfriends. There, she posted the shopworn narrative she had honed in her gossip over countless lunches and cocktails: Jefferson is a Svengali who uses his charm to prey on feeble-minded young women, leading them into lives of white slavery. It was a story rooted in the melodrama that apparently informed all her writing.

The difference this time was that Tess had posted a photograph of my face. Outing me to acquaintances was no longer enough. Now, she needed to out me online. It was as if attacking me was a drug, and she needed to increase the dose to chase the high.

For the first time, my face was online and associated with my blog.

I read Tess’s post, wondering at my impact in the life of someone I barely knew. Apparently, she could not get me out of her mind. After breaking up with a lover who meant so much to her, Tess could think of no better solace than trying to hurt me so I would also feel pain.

But I felt no pain. I’m watching my children grow into the most wonderful people I’ve ever known. My life is filled with loving friends. My writing continues to satisfy my creativity. I’m content.

Tess could take consolation in one victory in her private campaign against me. Dee had been mine, but now Dee was hers. If Tess envied that I had a girlfriend who took me on trips and bought me cheeseburgers, she might have gone out and found her own. Instead, she took mine. Now Tess gets the subsidized trips and lunches that might have been mine.

Of course, Tess also gets the persistent neediness of a high-maintenance sidekick who can’t seem to stop talking about me. Perhaps Tess considers that trade-off every time she picks up a menu and makes a point of ordering the most expensive entrée, privately gloating that her filet mignon is another cheeseburger she has denied to me.