The first thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a pizza maker. The second was a hooker.
In 1981 I played an orphan in the Broadway musical, Annie. I was nine years old. The commute to New York City from our hamlet in Bucks County, Pennsylvania meant hours sitting in the back of my family’s Plymouth Volaré, waiting out post-theater Lincoln Tunnel traffic and watching the “beautiful ladies” who lined 8th Avenue. They beveled on every corner in tight mini skirts and fishnets, perched on platform stilettos, décolletage framed by fur shrugs and sequined boleros. Long-chained purses bumped hips and car doors, dangling from one shoulder as they leaned in through passenger windows to tease and negotiate. Myself and the other kids I shared the stage and the commute with used to take bets on which beauty would return to the sidewalk and which would go for a ride.
Consequently my best friend and I played prostitute the way other little girls played house. We’d set up chairs in the middle of my bedroom that functioned as the front seat of a car. One of us would drive and one would be sexy on the sidewalk.
That same friend was a compulsive liar who disappointed other neighborhood kids when they found that her father was not actually the owner of Benetton and was not actually flying anyone in his private jet to see Live Aid. The day she told me how babies are made, I reported to my mom, incredulously, “You’re not gonna believe what she dreamed up this time!”
I can’t give all the credit for my precocious libido to Times Square. I’ve been thinking a lot about it and can remember some crazy things like being stimulated by an interaction between and man and a woman on Sesame Street. Sesame Street. Crazy things like being able to give myself an orgasm when I was little just by squeezing my legs together tightly in a cold swimming pool. At the time I was scarcely old enough to read and I knew nothing about sex yet I made a connection and called the sensation my love feeling.
I was born a little excited.
My whole life I have been titillated. Most of my choices have been based on love and made on sex. To tell the story of my loves is to tell the story of my life. So I’m gonna.
Based on my picture book, Upping My Numbers, I am writing an indie-rock, indie-folk, indie-soul musical that looks back on the impact my sexy-time partners have had on my self-esteem and sense of humor. It all takes place in my bed, backed up by a band of boys. Joe McGinty is composing and we’ll begin trying out material around town very soon.
In the meantime I'll be telling some of the stories here. You don't need to wait for a ticket. You can get into bed with me now.