Dancing Bare

by Rigby Taylor

Chapter 10

Dance and Sex and …

Live bands in a large cellar on Kings Road drew dancers with their excellent Rock 'n Roll and Twist. Unlike in many of today's clubs, dancing was a social occasion as well as a meat market, because megawatts of amplification didn't prohibit conversation and endanger hearing.

I would arrive as the band was setting up and dance till midnight without stopping; often with Suzie who had three excellent attributes. She was slim and attractive, a natural dancer, and had a boyfriend who didn't dance but sat at the bar and watched us. One night we found ourselves alone on the floor bathed in a spotlight dancing to Twist and Shout. Synchronised footwork, Suzie's neat athleticism and my 'shake' – a rigid quivering of the entire body that occasionally triggered orgasms, earned us applause and free passes for the rest of the month.

We'd been dancing for a couple of weeks when Suzie asked me to partner her to her sister's wedding in Ipswich. I was to pretend to be her boyfriend because, instead of living with a nice Jewish boy, she was shacked up with a snub-nosed, well-hung, French Catholic. Her mother could tolerate her living in sin in London, but not with a goy! Using my maternal grandmother's maiden name, Godber, Suzie presented me as the boyfriend. After handshakes and embarrassing embraces, parental curiosity was fortunately interrupted by an incomprehensible wedding ceremony.

I remember almost nothing about any of it, not even the food. We had to stay the night, but fortunately, fornication was not permitted in the Karabovsky residence, so I shared a room with Suzie's absurdly handsome eighteen-year-old brother. He sat on my bed in nothing but his underpants asking questions about London, the scene, if he could get a job there, was it easy to pick up girls... So innocent, so desirable, so heterosexual, so frustrating! Still, better than a night with Suzie; that would have been a nightmare.

Back in London, Suzie and her boyfriend started inviting me to their parties. I think he was becoming jealous and hoped to offload this apparently eligible bachelor onto one of the multitude of predatory single girls who continued to descend on London from the counties in search of paradise. Concocting excuses why I couldn't take them home became an intolerable burden, so before unpleasant rumours began, I found another place to dance.

Meanwhile, back at the Hockey residence, one of the Scottish lassies had taken to flashing large, perfectly toothed smiles. Heather wasn't merely pretty, she was beautiful, with smooth olive skin, clear brown eyes, and black hair: the inheritance of centuries of Spanish sailors shipwrecked on the rocky shores of her homeland – the Outer Hebrides. Her gaze was direct, smile guarded, interests intellectual, and speech enchanting. Her friend was plainer, smaller, chattier and sillier, and had therefore already ensnared a boyfriend.

We began bumping into each other in the hallway as I was going out; as I was coming in; as I was going up; as I was going down… and always Heather was ready with a cheery word and an invitation to chat. I tried changing the time of my arrivals and departures but her doorway was usually ajar and her window faced the street.

One evening, I ran out of excuses and we went to see the musical, Carnival. It had received poor reviews, which I thought served them right, as it was this very theatre, The Lyric, from which I'd been ignominiously expelled a few weeks previously. I remember nothing about the performance except that I fell in love with the red headed puppeteer and, until his face faded from memory, thought it the most wonderful show I'd ever seen.

My Achilles' heel is a powerful disinclination to hurt people's feelings, so instead of just telling her I wasn't interested, our outings, in which we shared expenses, continued. Mischa Ellman gave a cello concert that pleased us both. We wandered the Tate Gallery, agreeing Francis Bacon was a con man. After a week of platonic pleasure in which she proved to be excellent company, I wondered if perhaps I'd found the only girl on the planet who simply wanted friendship. Foolish dreams.

Frankie Howerd's over-acting in Something Funny Happened on the way to the Forum triggered an extraordinary reaction in Heather. At least I can think of no other reason for the sullen and silent journey home, after which she pushed me roughly against my door and demanded, "Am I ugly?" I assured her she was the opposite.

"We come home together," she hissed, "we get to your room, and you just say, 'good night'! You don't do… anything! Why don't you kiss me? It's insulting!"

Unwilling to shatter her self-confidence by explaining that the thought of kissing her was as alluring as kissing the banister, I stuttered and stumbled and mumbled about always being tired… didn't realise she felt like that… did she… want to come in… now? Despite my obvious lack of enthusiasm, a wide smile tinged with a trace of triumph lit Heather's handsome features and before I had time to wash my hands, a naked, perfumed body was curled up in my bed. I dislike perfume, so held my breath and slithered in beside it.

"You can do anything you like," she whispered.

Big deal! There was nothing I wanted to do except have my bed to myself and wank, as I'd been doing every night since arriving on this island.

Perhaps if she had taken a healthy interest in my body. Maybe if she'd told me I was handsome and desirable. Conceivably, if she'd said I had sexy legs and bum. If, perchance, she'd stroked my chest and cock while writhing and squirming in anticipation. Or if she'd laughed a little while flirting with fellatio, something might have stirred in my loins. After all, it was she who was lusting, not me! Instead, she lay like a log. A blow-up doll would have been more responsive.

It wasn't entirely Heather's fault. The Church of Scotland kept its adherents pure with threats of fire and brimstone, and it would be another ten years before popular magazines contained detailed instructions for women on how to pleasure their man, and vice versa. Like every woman foolish enough to drag me into bed, she simply lay on her back as responsive as a mattress.

From what my friends told me at the time, that was the norm. Girls thought all they had to do was open their legs and, hey presto! Lust would fill their lover's loins. Even for heterosexuals that doesn't always work, so I've been told.

I drew a deep breath and while she gazed in quiet contemplation at the ceiling, played with her tits and bits, spread her legs, peered at all the odd wet folds that were growing fatter and darker and hotter; located the right hole with an unwilling finger and, by pulling the shaft of my penis back hard, managed to make it stiff enough to pop the knob in. Even then there was no reaction from my listless lady.

A modern miss would at least have grunted and flexed her vaginal muscles. Bravely, I wiggled the poor thing around; petrified it was going to pop out again. After an age, I closed my eyes and thought of Suzie's brother undressing and… a rush of blood and I pounded away, just in time remembering that this was how babies were made. With only seconds to spare I whipped it out, shooting a string of pearls onto breasts and belly.

If Heather gained any pleasure from the event, she didn't let on. There were no gasps and cries of anguished exaltation during the exercise, and afterwards she wiped herself with a moist flannel then dressed calmly, wearing that irritatingly smug smile women put on when they know something you don't.

Sheer relief that it was over made me imprudent and I kissed her for the first time. She responded by thrusting her tongue deep into my mouth. I gagged, said I had to get up early, helped her to the door, locked it behind her, gargled with a strong salt solution, and washed every part of my body with freezing water.

I have to be in control of my life. No one else's, just mine. I didn't want to live at the Hockey's any more. I felt violated. A new place would cost more and I hadn't saved anything. Living hand-to-mouth as I'd been doing was stupid because it makes you dependent on others in emergencies. In the bank there was enough money for the boat fare back to New Zealand, but that was for a real crisis – untouchable. And I was hoping to go to the Continent in the summer.

At work I couldn't forget the previous night's humiliation and hated every woman I met. After Poppy dropped me off I couldn't go home – Heather would be waiting, wanting another fuck.


I'd made a firm decision after the fiasco with the South African woman never to sell my body out of desperation. However, I wasn't really desperate, was I? The guys looking for sex I'd seen at Piccadilly Circus were mainly in their 30s and 40s, and some didn't look too bad. And if Mik could do it …

After all, if I could make in one evening as much as I was getting selling central heating in a week, then I'd be pretty stupid not to try. Wouldn't I?

I wandered aimlessly into town, but not to the toilets in Piccadilly Circus. The idea of finding a sexual partner in a toilet, no matter how clean, repels me. Because of the need for secrecy and fear of exposure, married men who wanted man-to-man sex would 'take the dog for a walk' in the evening to a park or public toilets known as 'cottages,' for anonymous encounters with other lonely, sad and horny men. It was very dangerous. Queer bashers knew these places and frequently maimed or murdered anyone they thought might be queer.

Policemen made up their arrest quotas by entrapping men in toilets, and there must have been a disease risk. I was sickened and angry at queers for 'cottaging'. I'm certain it delayed by decades the repealing of homophobic laws. But what else could they do?

When things are going well I'm hyperactive, but sluggish and depressed when I feel I've lost control of my life. I'd sure lost control, so I did what I always do – walk and walk and think and think until the facts can be rearranged to seem better. Coventry Street, Leicester Square, Wardour Street, across Shaftsbury Avenue, a street of cheap strip joints with loud-mouth bruisers promising weird and wonderful sexual delights to every passing male if they'd only step through their garishly lit doors.

It was about seven o'clock and already several drab and sad 'exotic dancers' in shabby raincoats were lugging their suitcases from club to club. The girls worked for eight hours at a stretch, doing up to ten shows a night in half a dozen clubs. Some also turned tricks afterwards.

Other doors held well-worn, over-painted tarts swinging the keys to their upstairs room. None looked healthy, clean or happy. Their clients were ugly, dirty, unshaven, unappetising. And I felt sickened. How could these women bear to let such sordid creatures touch them, let alone fuck them? No wonder whores never kissed their clients – that would be the ultimate obscenity. They're stuck with society's rejects; the men no woman will cheerfully fuck or willingly marry. Good-looking, unhappily married heterosexual males seldom fall into the clutches of prostitutes, because the world is full of women eager to leap into bed with fine specimens of manhood.

With queers, on the other hand, laws that forced young men to marry to avoid ostracism, also prevented well-heeled professionals with too much to lose, from joining gay clubs or picking up guys for casual sex at 'beats'. Unable to find sexual satisfaction with their wives, they were prepared to pay well, and became a valuable source of income for well-presented, discreet young men ready to satisfy them.

I can see no logical objection to choosing prostitution as a job. There's no rational difference between selling one's body as a labourer or dancer, and selling it for sex. If being paid for using your mouth to sing or act is ok, then it's ok to receive money for using it for fellatio. It's only a matter of taste and assessment of risks.

We have Christianity to thank for making the sale of sex a dirty, criminal activity, thus handing it to crime bosses to profit from. Why was it ok for me to have sex with Heather for nothing, but it would have been a criminal offence if one of us had charged? If I could find a man with whom I would enjoy having sex and who would pay me, then I could see nothing wrong.

A few years ago, I corresponded with Noel Virtue, a New Zealand author who arrived in London after an abused youth as a Brethren Boy. He made a living for a while as an 'escort' for respectable, wealthy older men. He has nothing but pleasant memories of the way he was treated, the kindness of his clients, and the insight he gained.

I returned to Leicester Square, by now bustling with crowds queuing for a show at the Empire Theatre, crossed to the darker, southern side and sat on a bench to think. A few well-dressed young men were wandering aimlessly around. Every now and then a man would stop and talk to one of the boys and they'd go off together. My gloom lifted and I laughed aloud… I'd found a pick-up place without even trying. It had to be an omen!

A fat fellow in a tweed suit sat down beside me. I panicked. Mouth dry. A fit of the shakes. He asked if I was ok. I nodded. He shrugged and left me to my seizure. A few minutes later a skinny redhead in an army uniform, with dead white skin and fat lips who reminded me of a kid I hated at school, stood impatiently in front of me and asked how much. A cold dread filled my guts. I needed a shit urgently. Images of gangs waiting around the corner to maim, rape, murder filled my head and closed my throat. I shook my head as if I didn't understand and mumbled odd sounds. He shook his head, shrugged, and wandered over to the normal guys.

A sad shudder shook my bones. I was a wimp. A scaredy-cat filled with admiration for those brave girls taking hundreds of strange men up to their rooms – or going off with them in cars to destinations unknown. And those other boys across the square, some of whom had been off with a stranger and already returned, ready for another client.

Was I too decent, or too cowardly to be a prostitute? A mixture of shame and relief washed over me and I relaxed. I wasn't desperate. I didn't have to do it. There was no shame in having an over-developed sense of self-preservation. With a sigh of relief I stretched and prepared to get up.

At that moment a fellow in a suit; trim, about forty, plonked himself onto the seat beside me, stared into my face and demanded, "Are you a policeman?" It was so unexpected I laughed. "You are obliged to tell me if you are," he cautioned. I assured him I wasn't, so he sat back, crossed his legs, gazed off in the direction of Trafalgar Square and demanded, "Are you diseased? Crippled? Demented? "

"No, I'm healthy."

He leaned forward, cupped his hand behind my neck and before I could object, pulled my head towards him, sniffed my breath, then leaned back as if it was the most normal thing to do to a complete stranger. We sat for several long seconds, gazing into space. Then:

"Do you kiss?"


"Have you done this before?"


"Are you house-trained?"


"Have you eaten?"

"Not yet."

"Do you know which knife and fork to use?"

"Of course!" His serious mien and the rapid-fire questions struck me as funny, so I burst out laughing.

He grinned and stood. "Come on, then."

I followed him to a pleasant restaurant on Charing Cross Road where I ate tossed pork fillets, followed by fried bananas with lashings of whipped cream and raspberry jam, and then coffee. I've no idea what Alan ate. We chatted like old friends. Well, I chattered, he sat and chewed slowly with a bemused smile on his face.

I sometimes think it's my only skill – to fill every silence. I've been told to shut up more times than I can remember. With me around there's never an awkward silence – the odd awkward conversation perhaps, but never silence.

The only time Alan became animated was when I told him about Heather. He barked a short laugh then leaned forward and confided that he lived in Hampshire where he had a wife and two kids. His son was fifteen, his daughter twelve. He returned home every Friday night, staying in his London flat during the week. He loved his family dearly, however, if he had his life over again he would not marry – it was far too much of a strain. Natural urges could not be denied and he warned me in great seriousness to beware of husband-hunting girls.

"I'll bet you think it's just a phase you're going through and one day you'll meet the right girl and settle down and marry," he said wearily. I smugly agreed. He sighed and muttered, "You'll learn."

His flat was only a few streets away; neat, clean and spacious. We showered together, soaping each other and laughing a lot. His bed was comfortable and he kissed like an angel. It was the exact opposite of the previous night. I was admired, touched, stroked, brought to orgasm, and made to feel like a prince. Then I did my best to return the favour.

If women understood that their men need as much positive reinforcement and compliments as they do, and that criticism has a totally negative effect, then I suspect there would be fewer divorces and wife-bashings. It's no different from the way we should treat children. A child who is praised is always well behaved; the child who is criticised becomes naughty.

I'm always irritated in films when the man brings presents and tells his wife/girlfriend how attractive, lovely, desirable she is, while never a single compliment goes the other way. Later, after sex, desperate to hear something positive, the poor bloke will ask, "How was it for you?" to be greeted with ridicule for being so conceited as to ask for compliments.

Compliments and praise don't have to be true; it's the intention that matters. We all know we aren't god's gift to the human race, but it's nice to think that our partner likes us enough to want to make us feel good.

In the morning, Alan pressed ten pounds into my hand. I handed it back because I thought I owed him for the meal and the experience, and I really liked him. I guess that's one of the pitfalls of being a loner – every now and then you get tired of fending for yourself and long for someone to be a friend. He frowned. He loved his wife, and this had been no more than an enjoyable business transaction! I had the wit to grin, grab the cash, and say I was only kidding.

An hour later I bought a copy of Equity. Colchester Repertory needed an ASM. Apply in person at the Albert Hall, High Street Colchester. I checked the date. Today was the last day for applications. I raced to Liverpool Street Station and was soon flying across the gray, flat expanse of Essex.

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