Not long ago, at a popular SoHo nightclub, I was having a girl's night out with my friend Lisa. She and her boyfriend had broken up and we were gabbing about men, work, and how cocaine was back in style. She admitted she enjoyed it occasionally, and then she said, "You're straight, right, Amy?"
"Yeah," I said. "I've never done coke. I've never even 'shroomed!"
"No," she said. "I mean, are you straight or bi?"
"Ohhh," I said, feeling like an aging boomer at a hipster party. "Yeah, I'm straight in that way, too. I kissed this transfer student in college, but she acted so weird afterward that it soured me on women."
"Well, I'm bi," said Lisa, "so if you know any cute girls, set me up."
Later that night, after I'd tossed back a few Stoli raspberries, I spotted my friend David with a cute chick in black ponytails. "This is Bonnie McFarlane," he said. "She's a comedian visiting from L.A."
I shook her hand, and she said, "Do you date women?"
I felt like I'd accidentally applied Sappho perfume instead of Allure. "Are you hitting on me?" I asked.
"No. I thought you were hitting on me. You seem to be leering."
"I'm just drunk," I said, " 'cause I don't do coke. Do you date women?"
"Not yet," she said, "but anything can happen in New York."
The next morning, Lisa called. "You'll never guess what happened! After you left I wound up fooling around with Bonnie. It was so hot. I'm really into her."
A few days later, I ran into David. "You'll never guess what happened!" he said. "After you left, I took Bonnie home and we slept together. It was so hot. I'm really into her."
I couldn't believe it. This broad had bagged two of my friends in one night. Was it because she was bi-coastal, or bi-curious?
The next night, I went to see her set at the Comic Strip. "It's hard breaking up with guys," went one joke. "You want to be nice, but a lot of times they just don't get the message. And you have to keep repeating yourself over and over: 'It's not your baby.' " I felt a crush of admiration. After the gig, I congratulated her and we got a cab to the White Horse to meet her friends. "I want to go to a strip club later," she said. "I'm thinking of having two strippers make out behind me during my act."
"We could try Scores," I said. "I've never been."
"Titty bar, here we come!" she cried. She was so carefree and hog-wild. Maybe I'd let my bi option expire too soon.
"So what's the secret to getting laid often?" I asked.
"I don't ever want anything. It's like trying to get tap water. If you're thirsty you find a drink. You don't go out looking for tap water. I know that if I want to get laid, I can just turn to someone and say, 'You.' "
"Did you know New York is in a drought right now?" I asked.
"Also, I go to bars by myself here, so I'm more open to talking to strangers. I'll buy a drink and befriend the bartender, and then the bartender introduces me to people. The next thing you know, you're in a conversation, a fight, or a make-out."
This chick won on every front: Being in a strange place made her up for anything, and even better, she wasn't staying long enough to become a pain in anybody's ass. Plus, because she was interested in both sexes, her playing field was larger, so she didn't inflate men the way I did. As a result, they liked her more.
"And," she said, "I enjoy sex. For the most part, even bad sex has been good for me. Lots of girls pretend to be sexually open but still think that if they sleep with someone then there should be a relationship. Most of the time, I'm trying to figure out how to let him down easy."
I chewed my tape recorder pensively, half hating her, half in love with her. She was like Cybill Shepherd in The Heartbreak Kid, so impermeable it wasn't clear there was anything beneath, but so icy people got stuck on her.
We pulled up to the White Horse and she introduced me to her friends -- Tom Gianas, a director, and Jake Fogelnest, who was the host of Squirt TV, that old MTV show. Jake was scrawny but cute.
"I think I know you from somewhere," he said to me.
I tossed my hair and tried to be Bonnie. "I think you're wrong," I said.
"We're going to Scores," said Bonnie. "Do you guys want to come?"
Tom bowed out. "I can't believe you guys are dragging me to Scores," Jake said, putting on his coat and heading for the door.
Scores was more serene than I expected. I didn't even notice the strippers at first; they were like hobbits hiding in the woods -- hobbits in pastel gowns, with shiny hair and enormous breasts. We nabbed a booth in the back, and a tall southern girl offered Bonnie a lap dance. As the girl writhed, Bonnie's mouth went slack and she threw back her head. She knew how to take it like a man.
After the dance, Bonnie got up to go to the bathroom. I stared at her strong back and low-riding jeans. I had to have her. She was so beautiful and mean.
Jake leapt up and sat in her seat next to me. "You and I are going to become great friends," he said.
"Whatever," I said.
When Bonnie returned, I booted Jake from her seat. Maybe she'd ask me to leave with her. She'd been drinking; she'd been danced on; she'd be easy. "How do you cast such a spell?" I cooed.
She shrugged. "Most people are trying to get laid. I'm always trying not to. Does Second Avenue run north or south?"
"South," I said with a sigh, as she hightailed it out.
I was all worked up; I couldn't go home alone. I peered over at Jake, who was eating a chicken wing. At least I could get some play, albeit with a 23-year-old half my weight.
We paid and hailed a cab. It pulled up at his door, and I started to get out with him. "I don't want to rush this," he said, scribbling down his phone number. "If you like me you should call me."
He got out and slammed the door. It was such a cruel world. The girls were boys, and the boys were girls.