By Richard Knight, Jr.
What is it about the heat that makes people so willing to throw both their character and principles right out the window, in exchange for anything from a few minutes to a few months of intense romance? To hell with caution, with the consequences. I once received a letter from a woman who wrote, “I believe that love is what we are here to get”—and that certainly made sense, at the time. But now I wonder if an intense little fling actually offers deeper pleasures. No worries about commitment, no need to drag out the baggage of past relationships, no reason to run a reference check.
Then again, there is the pain. Just a random sampling of the “Romance” section at the video store reminds me what’s ahead after that memorable fling: Katherine Hepburn dumped by Rosano Brazzi in “Summertime,” John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John havin’ summer fun in “Grease,” all of those blanket movies, endless versions and variations of “Brief Encounter”—and of course, “9 1/2 Weeks” the ultimate Cliff Notes romance film. The ice cubes and the riding crop and the department store bed were great. But at the end everyone cries and cries because it’s over, forever. I am reminded of a song lyric by a now-obscure seventies singer/songwriter, Libby Titus: “My mind won’t stop showing those old movies of you.” Now that’s a memorable summer fling.
Below you’ll find a full menu of flings, from a wide range of people. Not everyone I spoke with would agree to give their name for publication—read on and you’ll know why.
His name was David. He was 25, and it was the middle of a hot summer. We met in a bar. I turned to a friend of mine and said “isn’t he cute?” My friend walked over, grabbed him by the arm and brought him to me. He was dressed all in black—in summer! Very tight T-shirt, six foot, 155 pounds. We went to another place and played pool. Then we went back to my house and he showed me how to make a bong out of a Coke can. We laughed, giggled and then went to bed. I saw him every night for the next week. The best was when we were caught in traffic on the way to the airport and we did it in the middle of rush hour. People gave us weird looks as they went by. That was the first moment in my life that I didn’t care who knew I was gay. After dropping him off, I never heard from him again.
One time I flew to Mexico to meet this man who sent a Volkswagen van to meet me at the airport—two Mexican boys picked me up. They let me sit up front. When I got to the hotel I went to the room. I knocked on the door and I was told ‘take your clothes off’ and the voice persisted that I couldn’t come in until I took my clothes off. It made me really mad but it was really fun. We went on the balcony and made love and it was pretty fabulous. I could go on, but I won’t.
Independent Film Producer
It was the summer of 1975. I was 20 years old, and the legal drinking age in Chicago was just raised to 21. Great Lakes Naval Base, where the drinking age was 18, was most inviting to a car full of thirsty young women. The setting: a crowded room filled with clean-cut, suntanned horny sailors in crisp white uniforms and a ratio of about fifty anxious men to every female! There was one real good-looker, Curt. His father was a furrier and he was from South Dakota. We had hand-holding walks along the beach on hot summer nights while toasting our Coors, with Barry White playing in the background; the moon reflected over the water and in each other’s eyes. After make-out sessions we shared a menthol buzz on a Kool cigarette to heighten the afterglow. We never did consummate the relationship, but I still fantasize about that. One divorce and three children later, you can bet I wish I had. Maybe I’ll make the next Oprah show on “seeking old heart throbs.”
Interior designer/Special Events Coordinator
One summer I went on a motorcycle ride with my friend at the time and we came back to days later as more than friends, if you know what I mean—Lots of leather, motorcycles!
singer/songwriter, The Twigs
Last summer a guy hired me to come out to Arizona for a week. When I saw him I thought I should call the paramedics; he was that old. He showed me a room decorated like a kid’s bedroom, with bunk beds. He pulled open a dresser drawer and told me to get dressed. There was a baseball uniform inside. So I put it on, we got into the car and went to the park to play softball. There were lots of kids around and we played next to them. I couldn’t image what was next, but actually, it wasn’t so bad. He had me dress up in different kid outfits; we went on a camp-out and to all those children’s restaurants—Chuck E. Cheese and a bunch of those places. At the end of each day we’d go back to the house and he’d “wash me up” with Mr. Bubble. Then he’d beat me off. That was the extent of the sex. I guess it sounds kinda creepy—but, hell, I came back with $2,000 in my pocket.
I flew into Hong Kong for Tuesday night meetings and arrived Monday night, so I had all day Tuesday to myself. I was in the Hong Kong Bank Building admiring the artwork when I ran into a woman from Australia, very blond and very pretty. She was on her way back from Italy and we spent the day walking around Hong Kong together admiring the architecture. Then we started talking about Botticelli’s Venus and the murals of Giotto and all that very erotic Italian art. I went back to her hotel and I kissed her goodbye and one thing led to another and I was with her until the meeting. I thought the Botticelli Venus thing was pretty cool.
He was one of those surly muscular types.. worked in the deli department at the supermarket where I was working at the time. One afternoon in late June I was hanging Independence Day decorations in the apartment adjacent the deli. He spotted me (actually, it was my legs that he told me he spotted), walked over and asked me for a date. We planned to go for dinner that weekend but before Saturday even arrived, the “hunky” stranger called me late one night and invited me over to watch a movie. Not knowing much about him other than he was a rugby player, I was a little wary. We watched “Cape Fear,” ate a whole bag of Oreos and proceeded to get to know each other pretty well, if you know what you mean.
I have two memorable “Flings”—my dog and the main character in my last novel “Sweet Revenge.” I was in New York doing some research for that book, where I had Fling jumping off a building and then having an open casket funeral. I spent three days with a hunky head of homicide researching the demise of this character. He immediately told me that if she had thrown herself off a building there would definitely not be an open casket funeral. Fling couldn’t fling herself off a building! So instead, I had her fall into the fountain.
Novelist, Civic Arts Patron
I was in Spain doing a photo shoot and I was on the train. I caught the eye of this beautiful woman and we hit it off. We had a very intense physical relationship. I remember one afternoon finding ourselves on a pool table. Hopefully, I’ll be going back to Spain in the near future.
After my fifth year of college in the summer I met a girl named Sheri Mann. Her father was the screen-door king of Elkhart, Indiana. We worked together in a restaurant. The first time we were together she picked me up after work and we drove to this beach down by Indiana University. We lay on the beach all night in the dark until the sun came up and we listened to the Babies, that “hot” seventies rock group. “Back on My Feet Again” was our song. I pretty much lived with her for the next two or three months and I never saw her again.
I was in Jamaica for a little summer vacation, traveling alone. I was walking along the beach, the moon very large and liquid. A tall shadow began to approach from the other direction and soon I could see that it was this very handsome young guy. We didn’t say a word, just stood there for a moment and looked into each other’s eyes. It was, you could say, one of those electrical moments. I think we made love for over three hours. When we were finished, he kissed me and walked away. Neither one of us had spoken so much as a syllable.