3. Love (Senility)

B: Why didn't you show up last night? You've been in a funny mood lately.

A: It's just—I can't meet new people. I'm too tired.

B: Well, these were old people and you didn't show up. You shouldn't watch so much TV.

A: Oh I know.

B: Is that a female impersonator?

A: Of what?

A: The most exciting thing is not-doing-it. If you fall in love with someone and never do it, it's much more exciting.



Love affairs get too involved, and they're not really worth it. But if, for some reason, you feel that they are, you should put in exactly as much time and energy as the other person. In other words, "I'll pay you if you pay me."

People have so many problems with love, always looking for someone to be their Via Veneto, their souffl6 that can't

fall. There should be a course in the first grade on love. There

should be courses on beauty and love and sex. With love as the biggest course And they should show the kids, I always think, how to make love and tell and show them once and for all how nothing it is. But they won't do that, because love and sex are business.

But then I think, maybe it works out just as well that nobody takes you out of the dark about it, because if you really knew the whole story, you wouldn't have anything to think about or fantasize about for the rest of your life, and you might go crazy, having nothing to think about, since life is getting longer, anyway, leaving so much time after puberty to have sex in.

I don't remember much about puberty. I probably missed most of it being sick in bed with my Charlie McCarthy doll, just like I missed Snow White. I didn't see Snow White until I was forty-five, when I went with Roman Polanski to see it at Lincoln Center. It was probably a good thing that I waited, because I can't imagine how it could ever be more exciting than it was then. Which gave me the idea that instead of telling kids very early about the mechanics and nothingness of sex, maybe it would be better to suddenly and very excitingly reveal the details to them when they're forty. You could be walking down the street with a friend who's just turned forty, spill the birds-and-the-bees beans, wait for the initial shock of learning what-goes-where to die down, and then patiently explain the rest. Then suddenly at forty their life would have new meaning. We should really stay babies for much longer than we do, now that we're living so much longer.

It's the long life-spans that are throwing all the old values and their applications out of whack. When people used to learn about sex at fifteen and die at thirty-five, they obviously were going to have fewer problems than people today who learn about sex at eight or so, I guess, and live to be eighty. That's a long time to play around with the same concept. The same boring concept.

Parents who really love their kids and want them to be bored and discontented for as small a percentage of their lifetimes as possible maybe should go back to not letting them date until as late as possible so they have something to look forward to for a longer time.

Sex is more exciting on the screen and between the pages than between the sheets anyway. Let the kids read about it and look forward to it, and then right before they're going to get the reality, break the news to them that they've already had the most exciting part, that it's behind them already.

Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.

I love every "lib" movement there is, because after the "lib" the things that were always a mystique become understandable and boring, and then nobody has to feel left out if they're not part of what is happening. For instance, single people looking for husbands and wives used to feel left out because the image marriage had in the old days was so wonderful. Jane Wyatt and Robert Young. Nick and Nora Charles. Ethel and Fred Mertz. Dagwood and Blondie.

Being married looked so wonderful that life didn't seem 'livable if you weren't lucky enough to have a husband or wife. To the singles, marriage seemed beautiful, the trappings seemed wonderful, and the sex was always implied to be automatically great—no one could ever seem to find words to describe it because "you had to be there" to know how good it was. It was almost like a conspiracy on the part of the married people not to let it out how it wasn't necessarily completely wonderful to be married and having sex; they could have taken a load off the single people's minds if they'd just been candid.

But it was always a fairly well-kept secret that if you were married to somebody you didn't have enough room in bed and might have to face bad breath in the morning.

There are so many songs about love. But I was thrilled the other day when somebody mailed me the lyrics to a song that was about how he didn't care about anything, and how he didn't care about me. It was very good. He managed to really convey the idea that he really didn't care.

I don't see anything wrong with being alone it feels great to me. People make a big thing about personal love. It doesn't have to be such a big thing. The same for living— people make a big thing about that too. But personal living and personal loving are the two things the Eastern-type wise men don't think about.

I wonder if it's possible to have a love affair that lasts forever. If you're married for thirty years and you're "cooking breakfast for the one you love" and he walks In, does his heart really skip a beat? I mean if it's just a regular morning. I guess it skips a beat over that breakfast and that's nice, too. It's nice to have a little breakfast made for you.

The biggest price you pay for love is that you have to have somebody around, you can't be on your own, which is always so much better. The biggest disadvantage, of course, is no room in bed. Even a pet cuts into your bed room.

I believe in long engagements. The longer, the better.

Love and sex can go together and sex and unlove can go together and love and unsex can go together. But personal love and personal sex is bad.

You can be just as faithful to a place or a thing as you can to a person. A place can really make your heart skip a beat, especially if you have to take a plane to get there.

Mom always said not to worry about love, but just to be sure to get married. But I always knew that I would never get married, because I don't want any children, I don't want them

to have the same problems that I have. I don't think anybody deserves it.

I think a lot about the people who are supposed to not have any problems, who get married and live and die and it's all been wonderful. I don't know anybody like that. They always have some problem, even if it's only that the toilet doesn't flush.

My ideal wife would have a lot of bacon, bring it all home, and have a TV station besides.

I was always fascinated when I watched old war movies where the girls get married by proxy over the phone to husbands across the sea and they'd say, "I hear you, my darling!" and I always thought how great it would be if they just stayed that way, they'd be so happy. I guess they wanted the monthly check, though.

I have a telephone mate. We've had an on-going relationship over the phone for six years. I live uptown and she lives downtown. It's a wonderful arrangement: we don't have to get each other's bad morning breath, yet we have wonderful breakfasts together every morning like every other happy couple. I'm uptown in the kitchen making myself peppermint tea and a dry, medium-to-dark English muffin with marmalade, and she's downtown waiting for the coffee shop to deliver a light coffee and a toasted roll with honey and butter—heavy on the light, honey, butter, and seeds. We while and talk away the sunny morning hours with the telephone nestled between head and shoulders and we can walk away or even hang up whenever we want to. We don't have to worry about kids, just about extension phones. We have an understanding. She married a staple-gun queen twelve years ago and has been more or less waiting for the annulment to come through ever since, although she tells people who ask that he died in a mudslide.

The symptom of love is when some of the chemicals inside you go bad. So there must be something in love because your chemicals do tell you something.

I tried and tried when I was younger to learn something about love, and since it wasn't taught in school I turned to the movies for some clues about what love is and what to do about it. In those days you did learn something about some kind of love from the movies, but it was nothing you could apply with any reasonable results. I mean, the other night I was watching on TV the 1961 version of Back Street with John Gavin and Susan Hayward and I was stunned the whole time because all they kept saying was how wonderful every precious moment they had together was, and so every precious moment was a testimonial to every precious moment.

But I always thought that movies could show you so much more about how it really is between people and therefore help all the people who don't understand to know what to do, what some of their options are.

What I was actually trying to do in my early movies was show how people can meet other people and what they can do and what they can say to each other. That was the whole idea: two people getting acquainted. And then when you saw it and you saw the sheer simplicity of it, you learned what it was all about. Those movies showed you how some people act and react with other people. They were like actual sociological "For instance"s. They were like documentaries, and if you thought it could apply to you, it was an example, and if it didn't apply to you, at least it was a documentary, it could apply to somebody you knew and it could clear up some questions you had about them.

In Tub Girls, for example, the girls had to take baths with people in tubs, and they learned how to take baths with other people. While we were doing Tub Girls. They met in a tub. And the girl would have to carry her tub to the next person she'd have to take a bath with, so she'd put her tub under her arm and carry her tub . . . We used a clear plastic tub.

I never particularly wanted to make simply sex movies. If I had wanted to make a real sex movie I would have filmed, a flower giving birth to another flower. And the best love story is just two love-birds in a cage.

The best love is not-to-think-about-it love. Some people can have sex and really let their minds go blank and fill up with the sex; other people can never let their minds go blank and fill up with the sex, so while they're having the sex they're thinking, "Can this really be me? Am I really doing this? This is very strange. Five minutes ago I wasn't doing this. In a little while I won't be doing it. What would Mom say? How did people ever think of doing this?" So the first type of person— the type that can let their minds go blank and fill up with sex and not-think-about-it—is better off. The other type has to find something else to relax with and get lost in. For me that something else is humor.

Funny people are the only people I ever get really interested in, because as soon as somebody isn't funny, they bore me. But if the big attraction for you is having somebody be funny, you run into a problem, because being funny is not being sexy, so in the end, near the moment of truth, you're not really attracted, you can't really "do it."

But I'd rather laugh in bed than do it. Get under the covers and crack jokes, I guess, is the best way. "How am I doing?" "Fine, that was very funny." "Wow, you were really funny tonight."

If I went to a lady of the night, I'd probably pay her to tell me jokes.

Sometimes sex doesn't wear off. I've seen cases of couples where the sex for each other didn't wear off over the years.

Couples do become like each other when they're together for a long time, because you like the person and you pick up their mannerisms and their little good habits. And you eat the same food.

Everybody has a different idea of love. One girl I know said, "I knew he loved me when he didn't come in my mouth."

Over the years I've been more successful at dealing with love than with jealousy. I get jealousy attacks all the time. I think I may be one of the most jealous people in the world. My right hand is jealous if my left hand is painting a pretty picture. If my left leg is dancing a good step, my right leg gets jealous. The left side of my mouth is jealous when my right side is eating something good. I'm jealous at dinner that somebody else will think of something better to order than I did. I'm jealous of somebody's blurred Instamatics even when I have my own sharp Polaroids of the same scene. Basically, I go crazy when I can't have first choice on absolutely everything. A lot of times I do things I don't want to do at all, just because I'm on stand-by jealousy that somebody else will get to do it instead. As a matter of fact, I'm always trying to buy things and people just because I'm so jealous somebody else might buy them and they might turn out to be good after all. That's one of the stories of my life. And the few times in my life when I've gone on television, I've been so jealous of the host on the show that I haven't been able to talk. As soon as the TV cameras turn on, all I can think is, "I want my own show ... I want my own show."

I get very nervous when I think someone is falling in love with me. Every time I have a "romance" I'm so nervous I bring the whole office with me. That's usually about five or six people. They all come to pick me up and then we go to pick her up. Love me, love my office.

Everybody winds up kissing the wrong person good-night. One of my ways of thanking the office for coming with me to chaperone is to make myself available to chaperone their dates. One or two of them like to take advantage of that service, because one or two of them are a little like me, they don't want anything to happen. When I'm there, they tell me, nothing happens. I make nothing happen. Wherever I go. I can tell when one of them is glad to see me walk in the door, because something's happening and they can't wait for me to make nothing happen. Especially when they're stranded in Italy, because you know how the Italians like to make something happen. I'm the obvious antidote.

People should fall in love with their eyes closed. Just close your eyes. Don't look.

Some people I know spend a lot of time trying to dream up new seductions. I used to think that only the people who didn't work had time to think about those kinds of things but then I realized that most people are using somebody else's time to dream up their new seductions. Most of the people in offices are actually getting paid while they day-dream up their new seductions.

I believe in low lights and trick mirrors. A person is entitled to the lighting they need. Plus, if you learn about sex when you're forty, as suggested earlier, you'd better believe in low lights and trick mirrors.

Love can be bought and sold. One of the older superstars used to cry every time somebody she loved kicked her out of his loft, and I used to tell her, "Don't worry. You're going to be very famous someday and you'll be able to buy him." It worked out just that way and she's very happy now.

Brigitte Bardot was one of the first women to be really modern and treat men like love objects, buying them and discarding them. I like that.

The most fashionable girls around town now are the girls of the night. They wear the most fashionable clothes. They were always behind the times, looking old-fashioned, but now they're the first ones on the street with the new clothes. They wised up. More intelligent girls are girls of the night now, too. More liberated. But they all still use those ugly shoulder pocketbooks.

Sex-and-nostalgia is funny to think about. I was walking on the West Side in the Forties, around the honky tonks and I was looking at the 8 x 10 glossies of girls that they put out front. One window-case display had a very 50s look but the pictures weren't yellow with age or anything, so I couldn't tell if those exact girls were inside right then or if that was an old picture left over and the girls inside, instead of being Mamie Van Doren types, were tired ex-hippies. I didn't know. The establishment might have been catering to a crowd who were nostalgic for all the girls they'd tried to pick up in the 50s.

With everything changing so fast, you don't have a chance of finding your fantasy image intact by the time you're ready for it. What about all the little boys who used to have fantasies about girls in beautiful lace bras and silk slips? They don't have a chance of finding what they'd always looked forward to, unless the girl had just made a trip to the local thrift shop, and that's worse than nothing.

Fantasy and clothes go together a lot, but the times and mores have thrown that off, too. When clothes-makers were making good clothes out of good materials, an ordinary guy who bought a suit or a shirt without giving too much thought to anything except "Does it fit?" would be likely to come away with a nice-looking suit with good detailing out of a nice piece of material.

But then labor got expensive and the manufacturers began giving a little less good workmanship for the money every year, and nobody really complained, so they pushed— and they're still pushing to the limit—how little they can give before people will say, "Is this a shirt?" The moderate-priced clothes-makers really are giving people junk these days. On top of the awful way the clothes are made—long stitches, no linings, no darts, no finished seams—they're made out of synthetics that look awful from the first to the last wearing. (The only good synthetic is nylon, I think.)

No, a person has to be very careful about what he's buying these days or else he'll wind up buying junk. And paying a lot for it too. So this means that if you see a well-dressed person today, you know hat they've thought a lot about their clothes and how they look. And then that ruins it because you shouldn't really be thinking about how you look so much. The same applies to girls but not as much—they can care a little more about themselves without being unattractively self-interested, because they're naturally prettier. But a man caring about how he looks is usually trying very hard to be attractive, and that's very unattractive in a man.

So today, if you see a person who looks like your teenage fantasy walking down the street, it's probably not your fantasy, but someone who had the same fantasy as you and decided instead of getting it or being it, to look like it, and so he went to the store and bought the look that you both like. So forget it.

Just think about all the James Deans and what it means.

Truman Capote told me once that certain kinds of sex are total, complete manifestations of nostalgia, and I think that's true. Other kinds of sex have nostalgia in varying degrees, from a little to a lot, but I think it's safe to say that most sex involves some form of nostalgia for something.

Sex is a nostalgia for when you used to want it, sometimes.

Sex is nostalgia for sex.

Some people think violence is sexy, but I could never see that.

"Love" used to have a good number always in Mom's dream book. When I was little Mom used to play the numbers and I remember she used to have a dream book and she'd look up her dream and the book would tell her whether it was a good dream or not, and there were numbers after it which she played. And "Love" dreams always had a good number.

When you want to be like something, it means you really love it. When you want to be like a rock, you really love that rock. I love plastic idols.

People with pretty smiles fascinate me. You have to wonder what makes them smile so pretty.

People look the most kissable when they're not wearing makeup. Marilyn's lips weren't kissable, but they were very photographable.

One of my movies, Women in Revolt, was originally entitled Sex, I can't now remember why we changed its name. The three female leads were three female impersonators— Candy Darling, Jackie Curtis, and Holly Woodlawn. They played women in varying degrees and various stages of "liberation."

Among other things, drag queens are living testimony to the way women used to want to be, the way some people still want them to be, and the way some women still actually want to be. Drags are ambulatory archives of ideal moviestar womanhood. They perform a documentary service, usually consecrating their lives to keeping the glittering alternative alive and available for (not-too-close) inspection.

To get a private room in a hospital you used to have to be very rich but now you can get one if you're a drag queen. If you're a drag queen they want to isolate you from the other patients, but maybe they have enough for a ward now.

I'm fascinated by boys who spend their lives trying to be complete girls, because they have to work so hard—double-time—getting rid of all the tell-tale male signs and drawing in all the female signs. I'm not saying it's the right thing to do, I'm not saying it's a good idea, I'm not saying it's not self-defeating and self-destructive, and I'm not saying it's not possibly the single most absurd thing a man can do with his life. What I'm saying is, it is very hard work. You can't take that away from them. It's hard work to look like the complete opposite of what nature made you and then to be an imitation woman of what was only a fantasy woman in the first place. When they took the movie stars and stuck them in the kitchen, they weren't stars any more—they were just like you and me.

Drag queens are reminders that some stars still aren't just like you and me. For a while we were casting a lot of drag queens in our movies because the real girls we knew couldn't seem to get excited about anything, and the drag queens could get excited about anything. But lately the girls seem to be getting their energy back, so we've been using real ones a lot again.

In Women in Revolt, Jackie Curtis ad-libbed one of the best lines of disillusionment with sex when he-as-she, portraying a virgin schoolteacher from Bayonne, New Jersey, was forced to give oral gratification—a blow-job—to Mr. America. After gagging and somehow finishing up, poor Jackie can't figure out if she's had sex or not—"This can't be what millions of girls commit suicide over when their boyfriends leave them . . ." Jackie was acting out the puzzled thoughts so many people have when they realize that sex is hard work just like everything else.

People's fantasies are what give them problems. If you didn't have fantasies you wouldn't have problems because you'd just take whatever was there. But then you wouldn't have romance, because romance is finding your fantasy in people who don't have it. A friend of mine always says, "Women love me for the man I'm not."

It's very easy to make faux pas when you're talking to a person who's in love, because they're more sensitive about everything. I remember once I was at a dinner party and I was talking to a couple who looked so happy together and I said, "You are the happiest-looking couple I've ever seen." That was okay and then I went that little bit further to score my nightly faux pas. "It must have been like a storybook dream love story. I just know you were childhood sweethearts." And at that point their faces fell and they turned away and avoided me for the rest of the evening. I found out later that they had deserted their husbands and wives and families to go after each other.

So you really have to watch what you say to people about their love lives. When people are in love all their problems are in strange proportions and it's hard to know when you're saying the wrong thing.

To think about the love problems of people you know is really strange, because their love problems are so different from their life problems.

A drag queen I know is waiting for a real man to fall in love with himI her.

I always run into strong women who are looking for weak men to dominate them.

I don't know anybody who doesn't have a fantasy. Everybody must have a fantasy.

A movie producer friend of mine hit on something when he said, "Frigid people can really make out." He's right: they really can and they really do.

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