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"How does a Catholic boy turn on the lights after sex?" I whisper in Allen's ear in the dark bedroom.

Allen flicks on the light next to the bed. "Don't start!"

"By opening the car door", I say and smile at the naked young man perched a few inches above me, six and a half to be exact.

"You asked for it! How does the Jewish atheist boy come for the third time tonight?" Allen says as he lowers his face to mine.

"I don't know", I say after withdrawing my tongue from his mouth.

"You will."

I think I like dating Christian men just as I like dating men with straight blond hair and small feet who never had a weight problem. Opposites do attract. I especially like it when we first meet and I take him home and we're making out and wrestling on the floor and he's on top of me and I open his shirt and out pops the crucifix from the chain around his neck. What a turn-on, that cross that brought such fear and disgust to my family, swinging back and forth, hypnotizing my nipples and then touching my stomach as he leans into me, almost like some sort of blessing or baptism ritual. I've even gone so far as to look around the bars for men with the tops of chains showing inside their collars in hopes that some Christian religious symbol would dangle over me that night. (I suppose a Buddha or a symbol of Islam would be a decent turn-on, but the Buddhists I meet are too busy Ohmmming to engage in fucking and I meet absolutely no skinny blond Moslems.) I've had to fake a headache more than once when out pops a sharkstooth or (uck!) jade.

My real fantasy is to do it with a priest, but not the type you find all over the bars incognito. No, I want a real one, all dressed in his black and white, one who's been faithful to his vows without so much as a self-inflicted hand-job to confess until he meets me. We'll meet at some AIDS fundraiser (he'll be there raising money for children with AIDS, of course) and I'll wander by and say to him "excuse me, but I had to tell you what a nice contrast your straight blond hair makes with your black dress" and he'll say "it's not a dress!" and I'll say "it doesn't matter what you call it once it's off and lying next to my bed!" and he'll come home with me and we'll light candles and he'll pray and well, you know...

I think maybe I could do it with an Airport Krishna. He'll be pinning a flower right into my new, expensive leather coat and I'll grab his hand and say "I have enough holes already, thank you, and would you like to explore one or two?" and he'll chant at me for a few seconds and I'll say "I have a microphone for you to chant into" and lead him into the airport men's room and so forth...

I know I could really get into a television evangelist, one who's cursing away about Satan this and Satan that and on a commercial break he's relaxing backstage in his million-dollar dressing room with gold lamé wallpaper and pictures of him and Barbara Bush and him and Margaret Thatcher and him and Lassie and I knock on his door and when he answers say "God-damn, if you don't look like a young Pat Robertson with blond hair" and he says "who are you and how dare you take the Lord's name in vain!" and I say "prepare to meet the devil you have cursed! Drop to your knees!" And he does, and we do, etc.

So then I meet Allen, and he's Catholic, but an atheist (no cross, no Sunday masses -- not even Dignity). But he's cute and blond and wears size 8 Reeboks and 29 waist Levi's and I say, what the heck, you have to settle sometime.

Allen thinks I need to see a therapist about this religious "fixation" as he calls it and I say "hey, Allen, count your blessings, we're dating only because you were baptized!" But he says "no, really, it would do you some good to talk it out with someone", so I agree to go.

But, I figure that only another Jew would understand so I start interviewing all my friends in therapy to see who goes to see a clone of Judd Hirsch in "Ordinary People" (put a crucifix around Timothy Hutton's neck, bleach his hair and he can recline on my couch anytime!) I finally come up with Dave Ginsberg, a nice middle-aged faygellah who treats both my friends Edward and Brian, and thus has heard it all (Brian likes firemen, Edward's into cooks in Chinese restaurants).

So Dave ("Please call me Dave") is real cool about the whole thing and says "its only a problem if it stands in the way of a fulfilling relationship" or some such thing. And I say "so far, so good with Allen, but I may need him to dress up or pray a bit in the future and he's not keen on that." So Dave says "we'll have to work on it, then."

So, three years and fifteen-thousand dollars later, Dave says "you didn't like yourself when you were growing up because you were overweight, and that made you attracted to the skinny kids you wanted to look like, all of whom happened to be blond and non-Jewish." I say "if I give you a Nobel prize, do I get my money back?" Like I didn't know all that from day one!

Anyway, I'm better now at keeping my fantasies as fantasies. Allen's still around, and when I'm bad he threatens to convert to Judaism and join a kibbutz. This year, I think I'll give him a menorah for Hanukkah.


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