I put this story here cos it kind of has to do with relationships. I felt every second of this and I suspect that many of the guys here will relate in some way to this story. He approached me. It happened in the crowded cafe on 8th Avenue with flashing disco lights and pounding wordless music. I'd stationed myself in the back with a book as if to read even though the concentration of laughing and chatter made it impossible to connect words and higher meaning. He stood in front of my table with a rude smirk. My chair was wedged against the wall and I couldn't move. Mr. Casanova, dressed in a tight v-neck shirt and crisp jeans that hugged his thighs, grabbed the other chair and sat down before I could say no. "Don't you want to tell me your name?" he asked. "I'll tell you mine. It's easy. Ken, like the doll." Ken had a long pointy nose. His dark blue eyes pinned me to my seat. He grinned just wide enough to show off his sparkling teeth, which stood in even rows like Marines in their dress uniforms. "What's the matter?" He reached across the table to touch my average-sized, not abnormally large hands. "Are you shy?" "Not shy," I shot back. "Just tired." "That's your name? 'Just Tired?'" He grinned again. "You want to go for a walk with me, Just Tired?" My father was a great believer in walks. He called them "constitutionals." How could anything constitutional have been immoral? My parents used to host our family's Passover seders, and after we ate my father insisted on leading all the men folk around the block to digest our food. I always lingered in the back of our troupe with my older cousin, who embarrassed me with his boasts of bobbling Jewish girls' bazooties. "I don't know if I'm up for a walk," I told Ken. "Come on, before I take it back." He stood up and waited for me. My stomach rumbled like when I ate spicy food. I took extra time leaning over the side of my chair to zip up my bag because I could feel what one old boyfriend called "the Monster" and another, "Your Big Fat Earthworm," stir in my pants. I tried counting to ten backwards to make it go away. I knew gay guys who went through men like potato chips. They were always catching eyes with someone walking his dog, across a crowded bar room, at the gym. Hey, want to come up? I was the only one who was embarrassed about what those words could have meant when I knew perfectly well what they meant: you win a free trip to Disneyworld. And why not go to Disneyworld, unless you had something to hide? I'd spent months in that cafe next to a cup of tea, my nose buried in the same copy of Anna Karenina as if I were absorbed in some higher calling, some great literary study. I usually chose tables near the door, to keep hasty exits possible, but today the place was so crowded I had to sit in the back. My eyes darted up enviously after the steam from my innocent tea that floated without shame through the dark heart of the room, its mysterious corners, behind men's ears, up their nostrils. We picked our way to the door through a maze of men with sculpted hair. They were dressed in tank tops and soccer shorts and they'd jammed their tables together in the center of the room. A few of them fanned their necks with glossy gay magazines. As we passed a big blond, built like a star quarter- back, I sucked in my stomach and stood on tiptoe so my crotch wouldn't graze the back of his neck. I'd seen him in the cafe a few times, but I had sense enough not to dream about him. Outside, the sun hurt my eyes. Ken linked his arm through mine and my penis stiffened again. "I bet a lot of guys come up to you like this. Is that why you go to Big Cup?" His shiny boot heels ground out a barbarically thrilling beat against the sidewalk. No one seemed to take any special notice of us. I tried desperately to recite the alphabet backwards and cursed my stubborn penis. The stupidest things made it grow: a man slipping off his shoe or licking ice cream off a spoon or rubbing his hand over his chest while deep in thought. Innocent things like that. "I don't meet so many guys," I said simply. "Many" wasn't so different from "any." It sounded more professional, as if sex was something you made an appointment to have done right after getting your tooth drilled. "You're not going to meet many guys if you don't tell them what your name is." Ken clicked his teeth and winked. "So how old are you?" he asked. "Thirty." I added a few years, hoping to come up with the correct answer. "You?" He clicked his teeth again. "You don't need to know how old I am." "Then why did you ask me?" I tried to giggle. "I think you're feeling uncomfortable," he said. "Don't you like talking to me?" "It's not that I don't like talking to you, it's just that, well, yes, I do feel uncomfortable. You're making me feel uncomfortable." "I'm very sorry." He winked and clucked his teeth. My penis bobbed up again so I took off my back- pack and dangled it in front of my waist. We stopped at the street corner to wait for a red light. I took the opportunity to hitch up my pants and re- arrange the tumor swelling behind the zipper of my pants. "We're not far from my place," he pointed out. "No pressure, of course." "Fine!" I burst out without thinking. Silver duct tape buffeted the cracked glass in the front door to his building, next to a Chinese laundry. "Tell me you like me," I whispered to myself as he led me up a flight of dusty stairs. "Kiss me quietly. Hug me in the dark place under your covers." He lived in a one-room apartment with dirty dishes piled in the rusty sink and garbage and old clothes spread over the bare floor instead of a rug. The walls were stained with mysterious spots. I sat on his mattress, which was barely covered by a dirty sheet. Ken yanked at my belt. "What have we here?" he said. I moved my hips to hide my mid-section. "Can't we turn out the lights?" He hiked down my jeans and boxer shorts at once. "Jesus. That is one big dick." His icy fingers fluttered over my penis, then pinched it. "Yes." Ken pulled down his pants with one hand. He wasn't wearing any underwear. His dick wasn't the size of mine, but it was fairly large. "I've always thought mine was nothing to sneeze at, but I'm embarrassed next to this masterpiece. You've got a big dick. You know that? Allow me to honor your hot dog." I squeezed my eyes as he swallowed my penis whole and hum- med like a hungry man tearing through doughnuts. I first became aware of my big dick when I was twelve and my older cousin made me strip for him in my bedroom after one of our seders. "Jesus, that's one hell of a package!" He grabbed it like it was a firehose and twirled it around while he mas- turbated. After, he threatened to tell the family I was a nymphomaniac homosexual who wanted it if I said anything. Who would they have believed, he said, the sports-playing, good-looking sixteen year old or the hook-nosed wimpy pre-pubescent shit with white skin and red freckles who still read fairy tales for fun? Before his holiday visits, I'd shut myself in the bathroom, curl up on the tile, and clutch my stomach. When his parents moved to Florida unex- pectedly, I should have been relieved. But when I lay in bed waiting to fall asleep and my fingers found my penis, I dreamed about him, dressed in his Pass- over suit. In high school, I went on a date with a Jewish girl. She kissed me and I gagged. I went to the University of Michigan and spent two years escorting young ladies with milkmaid skin to movies in exchange for chaste hugs, and then I fell. I kissed the chubby guys and the depressed guys with funny eyes or computer nerds with pimples left over from high school. In the middle of the sloppy kissing, when my big, fat dick popped up, they couldn't help making some stupid comment and they'd grab it. I let them, as their reward for kissing me, for telling me they really liked me. Before I came out, I used to wonder how you crossed that line from going on a date with someone as if you were just two people who enjoyed each other's company to full-blown kissing, or even holding hands. When I started seeing men, I never solved that mystery. Instead I transformed from a sexual non- entity to an over-sized head, shaft, and testicles that loomed over someone's hungry mouth. The men who gave me blow jobs were so un-used to something that big in their mouths, their teeth scraped my skin. It wasn't their fault. They'd tell me how lucky I was to have such a big penis, how lucky they were. I'd let them blow me for weeks, even months at a time, just to prove it wasn't about lust. After they spent the night, I walked bow-legged across campus with cotton balls stuffed into the crotch of my underwear. When I graduated, I moved to New York to meet Prince Charming, who lived there I heard. I found my job as a paralegal at Kamisky and Klein and embarked on a course of self-improvement, visiting art museums, theater, and art galleries, taking a French class. Once I went to one of those big New York clubs, paid my twenty dollars, frowned on a stool at muscle queens groping each other with their shirts off, and left after an hour. I visited another bar where this time I frowned at lecherous old men. I went back there a few times, just to sit in the corner and nurse a drink and watch the older guys flirt. In a restaurant, a handsome waiter asked me to meet him when the restaurant closed. The waiter held my hand in a bar and extended his foot under the table to rub my big, throbbing dick. I wouldn't go home with him. He promised to call and didn't. He was too good-looking. I thought about visiting one of the sex clubs described in the back of the bar rags under the heading "Getting Off", but the day I decided to go, I caught the fleshy underside of my penis in my zipper. The mishap left an oval-shaped pink sore that made it painful to masturbate. I never thought of visiting a sex club again, even when the wound healed. "Get off me, please," I whimpered to Ken. He pulled my dick out of his mouth. "Did I hurt you? You know your hot dog's so big, it's hard to open my mouth that wide. I promise to be more careful." "No, no, no," I whined softly. "I want something else. Where are my pants?" "No one's forcing you here. What do you want? Make up your mind and quit leading me on." Ken ran his fingers through his black hair, glossy with gel. "I'm sorry. You should know, that's one hell of a... I never saw anything like it. I mean it." He pressed my hand to the mattress. "Lie back a second. I promise not to suck it." I sat against the wall. Ken smiled, then reached through the slit of my boxer shorts and pulled it out. "Nice and hard. I'm going to beat you off. Is that okay?" It wasn't bad. His hand swung up and down gently enough. I screwed my eyes shut. "Yeah," I admitted. "It's alright." "Yeah," he teased and grabbed his own penis. "It's alright." I came first. "That's nice," he said. "Nice." Then he squirted a few spurts of juice and handed me a towel. "Hey, I'd invite you to hang out, but I'm on my way..." "Sure," I said. He pulled on a pair of white briefs with some designer's name on the label. They stretched over the curve of his hips and hugged his normal-sized penis. Everything was moving too fast now. Ken liked me, enough to pick me out of a crowd, to invite me back to his own bedroom, to beg me to stay just when I said I wanted to leave, to make me come. I turned my head everywhere, desperate to memorize details of the room, inside-out socks flung into the corners, hollowed-out envelopes torn open, a bicycle leaning against the wall, the wadded-up come rag by his bed. Ken reached for his pack of cigarettes and tapped it impatiently against his thigh. I scribbled a note on the back of a receipt for Chinese food he'd already eaten. "Here's my name and number." "Great," Ken said without making sure he could see where I'd left the note or make out my hand- writing. He led me out the door. "It was fun. And again, real nice dick." "Thanks," I said. My hands shook so badly I balled them into fists. "As a matter of fact," I added, "I made it myself." "Oh, yeah," he replied and closed the door in my face. And then I was free. There was nothing left for me to do there, but I stood for a while in the hall, alone, with dust settling on my shoes. I wanted to figure out what, if anything, I was supposed to learn for next time. "Be Cool and Play Safe"