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The fARM

Male Bag

This column is devoted to love letters, hate mail, and other correspondence from guys that I've saved over the years. Names have not been changed to protect the innocent.

By Tina Dunlap

I met Jason W. during the summer of 1993. I had graduated college the previous winter and was living in the suburbs with my parents. I was working as an editor for a trade magazine about nuclear power plants. I was 22. Needless to say, I was a bit stir crazy.

As a result, I was driving into the city three or four nights a week to this cheesy nightclub called Kaboom. Jason was one of many losers I met there, but he was the only one I ever dated seriously. Our meeting was a cliché. We saw each other across the crowded dance floor, our eyes locked, and we started moving to the music together. I don’t know what attracted me to him. He wasn't really my type: bald head, big nose, bad teeth (see the self-portrait at the bottom of his letter). I think I hooked up with him that night to piss off another loser at the club, a guy who I later saw with his mom on a Jerry Springer show entitled "My Son Treats Women Like Dirt." But that's for another column.

Male Bag

Jason had no job. He was an illegal immigrant—from England, of all places. (I think it was the accent that reeled me in.) He supposedly had a job before I met him, as a line chef at Charlie Trotter's, but they fired him after they found out he had no social security number. And he was constantly on the verge of starting this job as a "personal assistant" to some guy named Bob that he mentions in this letter, but it never materialized. Very shady. But even shadier was his alleged involvement in the robbery of an armory, which was discouraging other potential employers from hiring him—even illegally.

But it wasn't like he was trying real hard to get a job. Like he says in this letter, his ambition was to be a "hedonist" and co-write an "errotic masterpiece" with me. He wanted to be the British Henry Miller and make me his American Anais Nin. I would have thought he was using me for my money, but I was only making $18K. And besides, he was already getting money from another woman—his estranged wife (his June, so to speak).

Jason was married. Well, technically he and his wife were separated. Well, technically I'm not sure if they were ever really married, given his illegal citizenship. He'd met her after he first moved here from England, at the same cheesy nightclub. Even more ironic was the fact that I knew her—she was a big goth queen who graduated from my high school a couple years ahead of me. Did I mention that in the summer of 1993 I had eggplant-colored hair and wore nothing but black? Hmmm….

He told me that the marriage was doomed from the beginning because they were too young and they didn’t know each other well enough and her family never accepted him (gee, I wonder why). But ultimately he blamed their separation on an "accident" he had. I say "accident" because I never really believed this story, but here it goes.

Jason was impotent. He told me he had lost control of his bicycle and crashed into a chain-link fence. He said this accident had left his penis horribly mangled and his wife had dumped him because he couldn’t get it up. I believed him at first because, well, he couldn't get it up and this story absolved me from any responsibility for that. Also, his penis did look weird, although I later realized that much of this weirdness may have been due to the fact that he was uncircumcised (hey, I'd never seen one of those before, OK?).

So in retrospect, Jason's lack of employment wasn't nearly as appalling as his illegal citizenship, his alleged criminal background, his dubious marital status, and his limp dick. But at the time I thought it was all terribly romantic. We spent a lot of time in bed—or rather, a mattress on the floor of his crummy little apartment—kissing, cuddling, smoking, reading. He read me Alice in Wonderland in that adorable accent. He took me for long walks and showed me parks and beaches and beautiful parts of the city I'd never seen.

But there were only so many things that two wanna-be hedonistic expatriate writers could do for free, especially when fucking wasn't one of them. I got restless. I dumped Jason and hooked up with an employed American citizen who didn’t have a criminal record or an estranged wife or a mangled penis. Ironically, it was a guy who had asked me out before and I had turned him down because he didn’t have any money to take me to dinner. And even more ironically, eight years later, I'm marrying him!

The moral of this story—it pays to be a working guy. With a working wang, of course.

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Copyright©2001 by Tina Dunlap.

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