Recently I’ve taken to googling people with whom I’ve had affairs with in the past. I’ve stopped doing it, though, because I’ve been discovering, shall we say, UNSAVORY THINGS about them. There are six people I could mention whose “Google turn-up” caused me to recoil, but I’ll just mention two of them for the sake of brevity, both of whom I knew when I lived in NYC.
One, I discovered was a Catholic priest. Yes, a priest, and WAS a priest all during the time that we were rolling under the covers doin’ da nasty. I defrocked a priest. I was aghast. How could I have suspected it, though? He was so young, so cute…black-haired with such beautiful, creamy-white skin; a really stunning, exquisite complexion, like marble. He had photos of himself with Mikhail Gorbachev; they had worked on environmental issues together as part of an international problem-solving group. How could such a gorgeous/intellectual specimen be a priest? So what if he’s Italian. They’re not ALL hard-core Catholics.
The worst of it, though, wasn’t that he was a priest. The worst of it was that I discovered that he had also died. That was the news that had me panting in shock before I even confronted the fact that he was a priest. It was such a tragedy. He was in a fatal car crash in August of 2001, and died at the age of 38. Which brings up another issue…for about three years after he died, I, not knowing he was dead, would daydream every so often about our “getting back together” even though we were never really “together”. I’d imagine us running into each other on some Manhattan street…“Hey! How have you been?” I’d tell him that in the years since I saw him last, I had learned to speak Italian (which I had). I’d then switch over into Italian and shock the socks off of him as I told him in fluent Italiano that I had dated an Italian for years and lived with him for a time in Milan, thus my surprising fluency. My virtually flawless Italian would impress him… Un Yankee che parla italiano? Notevole! He would invite me to dinner at a nice trattoria in the Village, and over a bottle of Sangiovese, a romance would begin. Well, little did I know that not only was this an impossible fantasy because he was dead, it would still have been impossible had he not died, because he was…a priest. What futile daydreams I had.
The second guy was not Italian, but Russian. Unlike the priest, he was not a gorgeous, stunning, intellectual specimen, but rather plain in looks and personality. Okay, I won’t mince words. He was not remotely handsome to me on any level. He wasn’t brilliant, either. But he was tall, and very kind, and thoughtful, and took me for drives out to the wineries in Long Island, and gave me as a gift the official wristwatch of the Soviet Union. I still wear it; it’s very retro. Despite what a sweet, kind soul he was, I ended the affair because I just didn’t find him attractive enough, sexually.
Well, I looked him up on Google and found out that…he had been sentenced to 7 years in prison for visa fraud and extortion. He had brought young women illegally from Russia and forced them to work in New Jersey strip clubs for free while he and his accomplices would take all their money. He enslaved young women. He was a “white slaver”, as they used to say in the 1920s. I asked myself, “Was he a slave trafficker when we were going out? While he was wining and dining me in furthest Long Island, did he really have enslaved Russian girls with fake visas stripping for free in JERSEY??” How could someone be so nice, so generous, so thoughtful, so soft-spoken, so earnest, so forthright, and yet traffic in human flesh? How could he treat me to a fine dinner in a restaurant, while some poor Russian girl was gyrating half-naked around a pole in some Jersey strip club for free? Was the money those girls earned paying for our dinner? Because I only ever paid for our waiter’s tip…
As you can imagine, the thought of it makes me shudder, and I have decided to stop googling ex-lovers.
So then yesterday was Superbowl Sunday, and I don’t watch football. I hate football. I went to the movies instead. I saw “The Reader”.
In this movie, during a courtroom scene that takes place in the 1960s, the protagonist (David Kross) discovers that the older woman with whom he had his first affair (Kate Winslet) was a member of the Nazi S.S. during World War II…that she worked at AUSCHWITZ no less…that she participated in a death march…and that she let a bunch of Jewish women burn to death in a locked building that was on fire. The moment he hears the word “Auschwitz”, his face dissolves into an expression that says, Oh NO, not THAT. He then slowly lowers his head and closes his eyes, most likely thinking, Oh SHIT.
Later he realizes that in addition to her Nazi past, she’s also completely illiterate, adding insult to injury.
I dunno… that movie, despite its depressing subject matter, made me feel a little better about myself. Because although I have had sex with some very… let’s say, “special” people, I have NEVER had an affair with an ex-member of the Nazi S.S., and in addition, everybody I’ve slept with has been able to both read AND write.