Thursday, December 12, 2013


Connie, oh, Connie.
Connie was one of those rare girls who made everyone who encountered her feel special, as though they were basking in a unique personal paradise she had created only for them. She was feral sexuality combined with a sunny innocence, sometimes incredibly transparent, other times full of mystery. She was a delightful and confounding bundle of opposites, with charisma to burn. Men and women alike were captivated by her. She would turn her attention to you like a pair of highbeams, and you'd feel like you were the only person she'd ever cared about. This wasn't something she'd practiced and perfected; it was a fact of her existence, just the way she was. She effortlessly turned men into dopes and instead of inspiring jealousy in other females, made heterosexual women dream of Sapphic encounters. My friend Mandy, a lovely petite blonde, straight as they come and with a serious boy friend, met Connie once at a bar and didn't stop asking about her, with a mix of lasciviousness and idolatry, for the better part of a year.

Connie was completely amoral, but in a childlike way. It was as though her sheer physical magnificence and carefree spirit made everything she did alright. She could’ve been a heartless sexual predator, but she wasn't. Somehow, with Connie, there was no such thing as cheating. It was as though she existed to give everyone pleasure and, becoming involved with Connie, you had no choice but to understand this, as well as go along with it. Not that you'd have minded. I certainly didn't. I couldn't. Being with Connie was kind of like dating a movie star - you had to share her with her public. Once in a while, her innate sense of entitlement could be construed as petulance… and granted, she was spoiled. Imagine Brook Shields in Pretty Baby, and you'll get the idea. People gave things- including their souls- to Connie on a regular basis, like making an offering to a deity.

Connie's origins were somewhat muddy, and no doubt she intended them that way. She spoke with a slight southern drawl, as seductive as a breeze on a Ft. Lauderdale beach during Spring Break. Her speech, though a little trashy at times, had none of that Jerry-Springer-guest or Reality Show harshness. Though she seemed to be lacking in formal education, she caught onto things quickly.  Her mispronunciations and liberty with language were charming, reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot.

When Connie spoke, it was breathy and urgent. It promised good times, wild surprises, unsurpassed adventures. Listing to her talk was like having a lover bathe you. Washing you on a twilight veranda in a huge tub of freshly squeezed lemonade spiked with Southern Comfort, sweet and sticky, lit only by twinkling stars and fire flies. Connie was the type of Southern Belle who'd get invited to the Kentucky Derby and look so stunning in gloves and a picture hat that when she inevitably became confused by the racing form, men would rush to help her place her bets probably paying for them. Having received assistance, compliments, marriage propositions, and more than a few mint juleps, she'd sashay to the powder room to freshen up, then wind up giving a blowjob to a groom under the stands just as the winner (whose name and pedigree she didn't know) crossed the finish line. Even if she'd been gone for a couple of hours, she'd never have incurred jealous wrath, only been sorely missed. If Connie had been an adult in the mid-70s, she'd have been the kind of girl men wrote letters about to Penthouse.

That Connie was gorgeous was undeniable to everyone who laid eyes on her. She had a shiny sable mane which fell in thick tangled waves down to the small of her back. Her hair, usually styled in some sloppy casual take on a French Twist and littered with glittering ornaments, was always coming down. It gave the impression that she'd just stepped off a yacht, or come in from a windblown motorcycle ride, or maybe woken up from a prolonged erotic encounter with a rock star, spilled Crystal champagne still damp on the high-thread-count Egyptian cotton linens, the pillows littering the floor smeared with Connie's lipstick.

Her face was amazing, with a well-defined jaw line, the sweeping planes of cheekbones setting off a tiny, perfect nose, smoldering dark eyes, and a large, lush mouth. Her pearly teeth arced in a slight overbite, and the right front tooth had a small chip, which added a charmingly human touch in the midst of her preternatural perfection.

Tall and lithe, she gave the appearance of being a Vegas showgirl turned expensive hooker or maybe a Victoria's Secret lingerie model by way of Tijuana. Her wardrobe leaned heavily towards chandelier-like earrings, oversized designer knock-off tote bags, as well as tawdry, barely there wisps of clothing in a palette that went from Day Glo to sparkles and back again. She loved to show off her ass, which was an artful, impossible architectural wonder on par with the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty, and did so often with Spandex hot pants or thong bikinis. She stood over six feet tall in the platforms she was never without, even poolside or at the beach. Practically the only time she removed her heels was when she put on her roller skates. Pristinely white and covered in snowy glitter with shocking pink pom-poms, the skates made Connie almost 6'4" of heavenly legs, slim hips and cafe-au-lait skin.

Connie, though she seemed ladylike and even fragile at times, sometimes alluded to the face that she'd once been in the roller derby. It seemed more than likely this was fabrication, but she seemed to have run her way through quite a number of glamorous and slightly dangerous jobs before giving them all up to concentrate on her career as professional party girl. Willowy as she was, it wasn't hard to imagine her on a catwalk, though in truth, she never could have really been a model because she was kind of clumsy and ungainly. To imagine her competing in roller derby, a sport that demanded more prowess and coordination than polishing one's nails while sipping a cocktail, would've been unthinkable...although maybe she was telling the truth, and that's how she'd chipped her front tooth.

With Connie, it was hard to tell where fantasy left off and reality began, or vice-versa. Apparently she'd gotten the moniker "Connie Rubbermaid" from some previous acquaintance or lover. Along with the skates, her closet held a wealth of fetish clothing; mermaid costumes, cheerleader uniforms, a couple of satin clown suits. Hidden in the back, she had a huge carton full of skimpy little French Maid outfits, nothing more than lingerie with some microscopic lacy aprons, really. I never asked why she had them or what they were for, I just knew she looked absolutely adorable in them when she wore them, which she frequently did to clean house. Connie, if lazy about other things (like returning phone calls and paying her bills) was fanatically neat. She particularly liked tidying up by skating around her loft, daintily waving a cartoon-like baby blue feather duster over her many kick-knacks and beauty accoutrements. Actually, now that I think about it, I did see her skate a number of times, but usually the only maneuver she could really manage was stopping, and this she generally accomplished by grabbing the nearest innocent bystander, more often than not knocking them over and winding up on top of them.

During our relationship, she gave herself wholly to me but there was an unspoken understanding that even though she was mine, she was kind of in public domain. This never affected my feelings toward her or hers towards me, and she was always very generous with her affection as well as material possessions.  We shared everything: clothes, make-up, our bed, and our bed with others, lovers of both sexes. Making love with her was always wonderful, and it carried over into everyday life, too.

Public displays of affection between us were a common occurrence, and we both took to wearing earth-toned lipstick, so as not to have smeared clown faces after smooching in public. We literally couldn't keep our hands off each other. We had a magical thing going on, and everybody who witnessed it wanted in on it. We'd be out on the town somewhere, I'd get up to go to the bathroom, and when I came back, she'd usually be cuddled up on someone's lap. This didn't phase me; it was standard operating procedure.

 If Connie had been a creature on a wildlife show, that would've been her natural habitat … Somebody's Lap.

The provider of the lap was only too happy to buy both of us drinks, just to be able to bask in Connie's glow.  Whenever we went out, people were constantly asking to take our picture.  More than a few times, people offered to pay to watch us have sex with each other. Always the lady, Connie just laughed.

Connie loved Vegas and we took trips there frequently, causing a huge stir at every casino we went to. Jaded, middle-aged cocktail waitresses would rush up to us, tray in hand, and shyly ask Connie if she was "an entertainer." Players would ask Connie to blow on their dice for good luck (probably secretly wishing she'd "blow" on something else) and high rollers would move aside to make sure she had a good spot at the table. One time, at the Hard Rock, after posing for innumerable photos with delighted tourists, Connie went to a roulette table, put her last few dollars on red ( because it matched her Wet-N-Wild lipstick), won big, and immediately conned a woman into taking us to a shoe store so Connie could buy ridiculously impractical high-heeled Mary Janes with her winning. This same woman later gave Connie many pieces of expensive looking clothing right out of her closet, including a raw silk, hot pink vintage '60s sheath dress trimmed in marabou feathers. Naturally, it fit Connie as though it'd been made for her. Connie, when she actually wore clothes, wore them well.

A few weeks later, just before Halloween we were in San Francisco with our friend Steve Heck, at the Hotel Utah bar celebrating Connie's birthday. Connie looked incredible and edible in the pink sheath, attracting stares from all over the bar. The barback practically dropped a case of beer while watching Connie saunter over to the jukebox. Steve was flirting with her, plying her with Jagermeister shots, while Steve's girlfriend played with Connie's hair and rubbed her shoulders. Steve presented Connie with a birthday gift of a Halloween costume, labeled Adult Gypsy. The woman on the costume's package bore a striking resemblance to Connie, which was why Steve had gotten it. At the stroke of midnight, with a war whoop, Connie did another shot, then stripped off the pink marabou dress and tossed it skyward, where it got stuck on the antler of a stuffed elk mounted near the ceiling. For a few moments, time stopped in the bar as Connie stood there nearly naked except for a pink G-string. She then donned the Adult Gypsy costume and, as everyone in the place screamed encouragement, jumped onto the bar and did a wild mazurka.

"DANCE, GYPSY, DANCE!" yelled two guys who looked like Yuppie stockbrokers, as glasses and bottles, both empty and full, flew in every direction, shattering as they hit the floor.

Instead of 86ing her, the bartender was so instantly infatuated that she rewarded Connie with more shots and told her to watch out for the ceiling fan. That night, Connie left me to go and party with Steve and his girlfriend. She made this spur-of-the-moment decision on the street in front of the Utah, and informed me by jumping into Steve's arms, kicking her heels flirtatiously as he walked away carrying her, hollering over Steve's shoulder in a tipsy falsetto, "I'm going with Steve!"

She drew out his name in italicized letters, as though it was a sinful dessert on a menu at an expensive restaurant. I didn't really mind, I needed my beauty sleep desperately. Connie managed to look gorgeous all the time and keeping up with her was a tough job. Besides, Connie was in good hands. Steve himself was a true gent, and I noticed Steve's girlfriend was dutifully carrying Connie's shoes like a servant, some kind of Bay Area geisha, helping Connie into Steve's battered pick-up truck solicitously, like a doorman at a five star hotel. I went to sleep peacefully that night, knowing Connie's every need and birthday wish - legal and otherwise - would be catered to.

Sometimes when I look back on my relationship with Connie, it seems like a fairytale; it was so good while it lasted. Unlike fairytales, Connie and I didn't live happily ever after.  What happened was a man came between us. Love triangles usually don't work out, you know, and we were both involved with this guy.

His name was Jack; he was a bright, talented, good-looking photographer from the East Cost. Jack decided to pursue his artistic interests and wound up in Hollywood, where we met.We started dating each other, and it quickly turned serious. It's hard to believe, but that point, I wasn't even thinking of Connie. It was a though she didn't exist. One day, after we'd been seeing each other for a while, I looked at Jack, his feline face, long hair, his unintentionally androgynous look and body language, and asked if I could put some make-up on him. He consented amiably. The look on Jack's face as he watched himself in the mirror as I applied lipstick, blush and eye shadow was like seeing someone experiencing a religious rapture...or like watching a junkie's face as the rush hits once the drugs take hold. It was plain to see that this wasn't going to be a one-shot deal.

In that moment, like Venus springing to life fully formed on the half-shell, Connie Rubbermaid was born. To put it simply, the entire time I was seeing Jack, I was seeing Connie, and most of the time I was seeing Jack, he was being Connie.

Even though Jack was a red-blooded, all-American boy, he was definitely a girl when he turned into Connie. Men had no idea that Connie wasn't what she appeared to be and  even hardened bull dykes were fooled. Connie was not a man in drag, she was a totally separate entity with her own distinct personality, voice, taste in music and clothing, even different handwriting. Jack wrote in a scrawl, but Connie's penmanship was fancy and florid, with little flowers dotting the I's like the script of a junior high tramp. Jack drank beer; Connie sipped blended margaritas with maraschino cherries floating on top. While Jack was a laid back behind-the-scenes sort of guy, Connie basked in attention and actively sought it out. Jack was great, in fact, he was wonderful; but Connie was larger than life.

Sooner or later, everything comes to an end, and Jack and I broke up....which meant that like it or not, Connie and I had to break up also. Jack is now married and has children. I'm not sure if Connie is even still around, or if she's laying dormant somewhere, buried behind a tangle of briars a la Sleeping Beauty. Like fairytale princesses - or shall I say, queens – Connie Rubbermaid still lives on, even if it's just in the realm of memory
and in the photographs taken on the many nights Connie was out on the town, her uproarious laughter filling the air, her roller skates knocking over barstools as she climbed into the lap of an unsuspecting and thoroughly enchanted stranger.

Quite some time after I'd broken up with Jack, I went up to San Francisco to visit Steve Heck and he took me the Hotel Utah bar. Immediately, I noticed that Connie's shocking pink sheath dress was untouched. It still hung haphazardly on the elk's antler, exactly where she'd thrown it on her birthday, like Cinderella's glass slipper forgotten on the steps of the castle as shrine the whole staff had left intact like a relic or magic talisman, in hopes that one day, the beautiful and legendary owner of the dress, the only one who could really fit into it, would return to retrieve it.


The story you’ve just read is from my book Escape From Houdini Mountain, which you can purchase here:

My new book, Showgirl Confidential: My Life Instage, Backstage And On The Road, is available here:

1 comment:

  1. I have loved this book forever. Thank you.
    Your book made me feel like my life was normal. Hard to do.