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Love and Air-conditioning

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My Dealer’s Girlfriend
By Richard Hell

Summer romance sounds so romantic—wistful and innocent, passionate and irresponsible. Mine was like that, too, even though it was about sadism. Drugs also played a role. Specifically methedrine.

It was the later part of the seventies, and I was in my later twenties. My dealer’s girlfriend was the sweetest-smelling, quietest, loveliest, palest, thin-voluptuous blonde F.I.T. student you can imagine. She was always poised and preoccupied at the edges of his loft, like a moth. The dealer was kind of slimy, cultivating downtown-nightlife figures because he thought they brought him status. I was a downtown-nightlife figure, and one night, after partaking of his product, I resolved to exploit his weakness and take his girlfriend home with me. He more or less allowed it.

It was a sweltering night, and the moment L. and I got inside my apartment we started shedding clothes. Speed, like all recreational drugs, reduces inhibitions (if for no other reason than one knows one can blame the drug). She’d told me she liked to lose control during sex. That seemed fairly innocuous, until I realized that she meant she liked to be dominated. I was game.

I had no idea how complex and interesting it could be to agree to accept those extreme roles. The first thing I realized was that by designating herself as submissive she actually got control of the situation. I was new to this, and I was a romantic, in a broke-down way, and, though I relished being her dominator, I knew that it was in the service of her pleasure, and I had to continuously improvise activities and, more challengingly, render psychological contexts for the activities that would excite and satisfy her. I was making art in the medium of sex. It was a revelation, and the summer romance of all summer romances.


Richard Hell is the author of the novel Godlike.


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