I may not know the identity of an artist but I can still appreciate his craft. Similarly, I can enjoy someone's body without ever knowing his name. Anonymous sex is considered foolhardy and dangerous by some. For me it's an exhilarating and raw expression of my sexuality. But it's also easily habit-forming and ultimately soul-consuming. Buyer beware. It's been a few years since I first took a succulent bite of this deliciously forbidden fruit. It's a defining memory that hasn't faded with time.
I'm walking home on a warm Sunday night after an enjoyable Italian dinner and several glasses of red wine when I realize I'm only a couple of blocks away from a friend's apartment. I'm not usually one to pay surprise visits, but the wine convinces me that tonight should be the exception.The street and sidewalks are oddly vacant considering it's only 10:30 pm. So much for having a plenitude of eye candy to distract me until I reach my friend's place. Someone on the other side of the street waits like me for the traffic light to change from red to green, but the baseball cap he's wearing prevents me from making my usual appraisal.
After what seems an eternity, the light finally changes. I begin to cross -- God, I hope I'm not staggering -- as does the stranger. From a quick glimpse as we pass each other , I realize he's quite attractive.
I also realize that I'm horny (and secretly curse that final glass of red wine I sucked back earlier).
This ain't exactly Kansas, and I hesitate to give the guy a second glance for fear of what trouble it may land me in. But fear is squelched by lust as I slowly, cautiously turn my head in the stranger's direction.
As if viewing my reflection in a mirror, I discover he's sneaking another peek at me. In what I believe to be a predominantly het neighbourhood, I'm astonished.
Every gay man's favourite dance, cruising, is under way. Continuing to walk in separate directions, we occasionally stop to exchange a glance and a smile. My libido is screaming for me to turn around and pursue this man, but common sense and inexperience take control of the steps my feet are taking.
It's not long before we disappear from each other's sight and I proceed with my original plan of an impromptu visit to my friend Adrienne.
When I arrive outside of her low-rise building, it appears she's not home. Her second-floor apartment looks dark. Perhaps she's already in bed, or maybe in another part of the apartment that can't be seen from the street. I attempt the building's front door, but it's locked.
Since I don't have a cell, I strategically decide to retrace my steps in order to find a pay phone. My recent encounter on the street has left me feeling giddy and in need of sharing the story with someone. In person.
I return to the scene of the cruising. Across the street and about three blocks from where I'm standing, there's a phone booth. And walking toward it is the stranger. He doesn't see me as he turns and disappears into a nearby building.
Believing that he has vanished from my radar, I decide to place a call to Adrienne. It's the reason I returned here, I falsely remind myself.
I cross the street, stunned and thrilled by what I see. The stranger has reappeared, not from his home, but from a convenience store where he's just purchased a carton of milk. I'm immediately convinced that what's unfolding this evening is no mere coincidence.
Under the guise of placing a call, I enter the phone booth. Having noticed me, the stranger seduces me with a sizzling smile of recognition before crossing the street. He takes a few steps further down the road. Then stops. Turns around. And waits for my next move.
I dial Adrienne's number and leave a message with just a hint of drama to it: "I'm not sure what I'm about to do, but I'll hopefully tell you all about it tomorrow."
My heart's not the only organ pounding with anticipation as I approach the stranger and the threshold to new experience. The air is steamy with desire.
"It seems that one of us is following the other," says a surprisingly confident voice within me.
The stranger speaks. His voice is masculine and inviting.
"Seems that way, doesn't it?"
"I think we should do something about that."
"I agree," he replies, and smiles as he takes a step toward me. The tips of our shoes are now touching. Our lips quickly, briefly follow suit.
"Do you live around here?" I ask, suddenly aware that we're starting to make out on the sidewalk.
"Yeah, but I live with someone. She's a friend. It'll be kind of awkward if I arrive home with you and this," he says motioning to the carton of milk.
He has a point there, and one I concur with, given my own living arrangement with friends.
I'm wondering if this dance has come to it's conclusion -- all horned up with no place to go -- when a clap of thunder sounds in the distance. The first drops of a summer shower begin to fall. Is this a warning from Mother Nature, or a sign of encouragement from above?
"Whatever we do, we should probably get out of the rain," I suggest.
"Come with me," the stranger offers as he walks toward one of a few large trees sheltering the employees' parking lot of a nearby building.
And so I do, in more ways than one. As nature reaches its inevitable climax with thunderous applause, I, too, celebrate the great outdoors. With my back pressed up against the tree and the stranger on his knees before me.
I return his lusty gesture before we go our separate ways. Orgasms may have been exchanged, but names and phone numbers are not.
Once again making my way home, I consider what's just happened. Seeking shelter under a tree during a rainstorm isn't the brightest of moves, but sexually speaking, the result was safely electrifying and well worth the risk.
Anonymous sex is as addictive as the idea of it is tempting. Because of its euphoric charms, I didn't actively seek a repeat outdoor performance of that memorable summer night. Neither did I start visiting my local bathhouse. Not because I felt that I wouldn't like it, but because I feared I'd like it too much.
The fact is, I'd rather be filled with love than consumed by desire.