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Love and Air-conditioning


How I Met My “Career Pornographer” Wife
By Geoff Nicholson

I guess it was the skintight leopard-skin pants that first drew my attention. And also she was wearing a piece of jewelry that she told me was made from a human knee bone, though frankly I’ve always been skeptical about that. And when she told me she was a “career pornographer” who edited Juggs magazine, among others—well, a guy would have to be intrigued.

I was a respectable English literary novelist at the time, though I had just published a racy novel about foot fetishism, and I’d come to New York to publicize it. I actually met this woman at the launch party for my book, and asking her to go out drinking with me the next night seemed like the right thing to do, but also just a little obvious. This, after all, was the kind of encounter that respectable English literary novelists fantasize about: a reckless, improbable but in a way predictable fling while visiting New York.

And if the story had played out in the obvious way, there would have been a few days of drug-fueled, fetishistic, transgressive sex, and at the end of it we’d have said it was not to be and I’d have returned to England with some bittersweet and excitingly tawdry memories. But it didn’t happen quite that way.

The next night, martinis were duly drunk in a small, dark Spanish bar on Crosby Street, and even though my memories of the occasion aren’t quite as clear as they might be, I do know that at some point I found myself saying, “Look, why don’t you just marry me?”

All too sanely she replied, “But you’ve already got a girlfriend in England. Why don’t you marry her?”

And then I said, “I don’t wish to marry her. I wish to marry you.”

I think she was somehow impressed by my stilted, Noel Coward dialogue. The imagined fling turned into a decade-long transatlantic courtship, with many missteps, many hesitations and uncertainties, endless difficult farewells at airports, reunions that were sometimes even more difficult, and many moments when it just didn’t seem this thing could possibly work. And yet in the end, it did.

Geoff Nicholson is the author, most recently, of The Lost Art of Walking.

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