During my twenties and thirties, it was my goal to have sex with every physical type of woman on the planet.
I'd prefer not to hear any stuff about this. I was proceeding from the belief that by sleeping with a representative of every kind of female body, and every category of appearance I would, in effect, come to know all women and that such an accomplishment would be good for my writing.
Of course, even to gather only samples from what, you realize when you get into it, is a vast assortment of sizes, shapes and physiognomies, would have meant putting up numbers comparable to Wilt Chamberlain's. And being all of five-foot-six, more skinny than slim - and with a nose you would think must obstruct my vision - I'd obviously set my bar too high. But spurred by the promise of the literary rewards that even limited success would yield, I determinedly pursued my objective, and had it not been for a prostate gland the Harvard School of Medicine will surely make a bid for upon my demise, I'd probably have been at it much longer.
Middle-aged now and long out of the hunt, I'm forced to concede that my writing would have been better served by writing more and researching less. Still, the time spent on my project wasn't entirely wasted. Collateral though it may be, I did reap one unanticipated and very practical benefit. While my collection of memories isn't as comprehensive as I'd have wished (variations on the theme of plainness are more than adequately represented but girls who look like Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Connelly are glaringly missing), the mental snapshots I've kept of the women I WAS able to cop have been more than sufficient in their quantity and variety to save me the price of a subscription to ''Jugs.''
And, indeed, I have been left with a story or two to tell.
Not least for the adventure it amounted to, a hookup I think of a lot was with a twenty-something woman named Peggie who'd just days before - and for the first time - come to New York from the Midwest on a month-long vacation.
We met in a bar. I was standing alone, casing the action, when I heard, right behind me, the sound of a sharp quick fart - like a wooden match striking. Turning to look I confronted a sight only the word ''humongous'' could accurately depict - a female at least a foot taller than I was and approximately the width of the Great Wall of China.
She was smiling flirtatiously at me and, though taken aback by her appearance (not to mention her method of getting my attention) and reflexively recoiling, I quickly recovered when I realized the opportunity she was presenting me with. Here was my chance to cross gross obesity from the list of body types I hadn't yet scored.
In a brief conversation - during which it occurred to me that she'd be almost agreeable-looking if she just lost 300 pounds - Peggie told me she was a cashier at a Kalamazoo, Michigan supermarket (a career chosen, she readily admitted, for the substantial food discount it offered); that she had once played a Packard convertible in a high school production of ''Grease,'' and that her parents had tragically expired in a suicide pact just weeks after her birth.
Then she invited me to her hotel room.
(As we were leaving, I saw the bartender, who could not, of course, have understood my agenda, shaking his head in disbelief.
''That's it,'' he nudged the customer slouched in front of him. ''Right there - that dude. That's the definition of drunk.'')
At her hotel, to which we necessarily took separate cabs, the first thing Peggie did was crack open, and inhale, the complete contents of a package of Mallomars. Then, from a utility-kitchen refrigerator, she retrieved and devoured (in exactly what order I don't recall) a container of chicken wings, a combo plate of tacos and an economy-size tub of Velveeta.
Finally she put a Barry Manilow tape into her boom box.
Now it's not that I mind Barry Manilow all that much, but the more appropriate musical accompaniment to the night's activities would have been the theme from ''Raiders of the Lost Ark.'' The thing was - and my insistence that we leave on no more than the bathroom light was definitely a contributing factor - I could not for the life of me find Peggie's vulva. I'd heard that this was a common occurrence with very fat women, and especially with very fat women in poor lighting, but it still took a lot longer than I would have expected. Why? Because Peggie's body could have served as a Special Forces training ground for the field of hazards and challenges it presented. I'm speaking of the twisting climbs and sudden valleys, the crags, the craters and the amazing plenitude of gullies, ravines and bogs that I was, and on my hands and knees, obliged to negotiate and traverse in my search. A dismaying project to begin with, my progress was further impeded by an extraordinary number of ambiguous fissures and crevices that, not quickly identifiable, required time-consuming investigation and study. You wouldn't believe how many deceptive nooks and seductive crannies I came across. In fact, at one point, when I thought for sure that I'd located and entered the secret cave, I discovered, to my chagrin, that I'd inserted myself inside of what was only a fold of fiercely perspiring epidermis. What's more, I realized, when I looked up, that I was seriously lost in some apparently outlying district of Peggie's anatomy.
You're thinking that I had only myself to blame, that not to stop and ask for directions is typical of a man. Well, I swear, I was just about to when I heard, in the distance, what sounded like the swift currents of a babbling brook. Groping my way toward the sound it increased in volume until it was a deafening roar and I knew I was directly above its source. Reasonably confident that I'd located Peggie's stomach, I paused to collect myself and survey my surroundings. In the absence of a compass I was looking for some sort of marker with which to establish my coordinates. When I noticed that the horizon ahead of me was blocked by an especially pronounced elevation in the terrain, I reasoned that I was likely facing north. With a cautious optimism I began, then, to crawl slowly backwards. You can imagine the rush I got when before too long my toes were caressed by a soft and lush foliage, and then bathed in the gentle bubbling of a warm spring.
I was at last at the pleasure grove.
Feeling like a world-beater, I was glowing with a sense of accomplishment and I have to confess that I indulged myself in a moment of pride. Relying on my instincts and wit, persevering in the face of exceptional difficulties, I had achieved an elusive goal other men would certainly have given up on. The moment was short-lived however. After effecting penetration my mettle was tested some more. Twice I was jettisoned (and put in jeopardy of becoming a ceiling fixture) by the astonishing power of Peggie's pelvic motion. It was really disappointing. Each time I was forced to go back to square one and I had to reach deep inside myself for a stick-to-itiveness that I wasn't at all sure I possessed. But I hung tough and on my third expedition, with my eyes now accustomed to the dark, I was recognizing landmarks and proceeding with dispatch. At the treasure chest within minutes, I managed, this time, to more or less stay put and, let me tell you, like clinging to the back of a great whale in a high sea, those final seconds were every bit as exhilarating as the Splash Mountain ride at Disney World.
In the morning, Peggie, cheery and humming to herself (doubtless never before the object of such committed attention), seemed unaware of my odyssey. After eating a cake, and washing it down with a quart of chocolate milk, she asked me if she could take a time-delay Polaroid of the two of us naked in bed. (Should you ever come across this picture, I am in it. That's the top of my head, not a puppy, just behind her left ankle.) Then she announced that she was cutting her trip short and returning home. There was no reason, she said, to remain in New York now, because no big-city experience that she might imagine could possibly surpass her night with me.
Having completed my mission and worried she'd suggest that we get together again, I was enormously relieved by and immediately supportive of her decision.
As I departed though, I did sense from her expression that she was maybe a little ambivalent about changing her plans; that she was thinking of something she might later regret missing. Not wishing to prolong the moment I chose not to ask any questions, so I'll never know just what the thing was. Yes, it could have been the Transit Museum or the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage. But I suspect that more likely on her mind was forgoing the chance to discover a new food group.