BY: AMY HABEN
My mom never talked to me about sex – and thank god for that! Talk about the most uncomfortable day of your life. I remember feeling embarrassed while sitting in the movie theater with her during Pulp Fiction. I mean the first 15 minutes were solely about eating pussy and foot massages. She made us leave and demanded her money back after complaining to the manager of the content. Way to make me feel like a baby . . .
I was 14 and, little did she realize, I had an 18-year-old boyfriend that I ditched school everyday to perform fellatio on. Along with hanging out at the record store across the street and crowd-surfing at punk shows, experimenting sexually with my boyfriend was my life. I begged him to have sex with me all the time, but he was too scared. The very first time I went down on him, I held his member in my hand and just blew air all over it. Hilarious right?
He was a metal-head named Dennis who had very long, strawberry blonde hair and wore tight black jeans with black shirts every day. He made his double-tongued guitar squeal for me while I lounged on his bed. “You know any punk rock?” was all the feedback I gave him, poor guy. His metal band was called Suffer The Children and they played during lunchtime – some Satan with your Subway sandwich. Dennis had sour tasting cum that I chalked up to eating greasy pizza everyday.
After Dennis and I broke up, I bought Lydia Lunch’s scathingly honest books, Incriminating Evidence and Paradoxia. I identified with her dysfunctional family life, the yearning to move out of the house as quickly as possible, and her love of bad boys.
Picking up these books 21 years after first reading them, I am amazed at how similarly I reminisce about men. I wrote about my ultra-skinny ex being the devil wielding a large sword, dominating me, entranced by his unearthly cool, removed demeanor. Now I realize that “mysteriousness” was just known as being a sociopath.
“Skinny boy-big-in-all-the-right-places… Yeah, he fucks like the devil… looks like ’em too.”
-Lydia Lunch, Incriminating Evidence
With her pale skin and perfectly messy black mop of hair, Lydia was always the goth beauty, with a sailor’s mouth and a revolutionary’s brain. The femme fatale of outsider films, music, and poetry, in pointed toe, black patent boots. Her part in the Richard Kern film, Fingered, was especially outrageous. Never shy, Lunch willingly participates in explicit sex scenes. The film was based on 16-year-old Lydia and Marty Nation’s violent hitchhiking adventures, which usually ended with Marty’s knife slashing the interior of the unsuspecting stranger’s ride.
Lydia had mentioned in an old interview having more male tendencies than female. This is something else I identify with. Forever annoyed by “girly girls”, my demeanor is much more masculine; more apt to rap about sexual conquests and rock & roll with the fellas. I spent my early twenties bouncing from bed to bed, laughing at guys who requested contact info afterwards. I’m attracted to pretty, bad boys; getting turned on faster by the homosexual drawings of Tom of Finland than by any heterosexual sex symbol.
When it comes to relationships, we seem to have the same picker. I lived with a jealous, drunk fiancé when I was 20. After leaving the house for a night out with some friends, I returned to a half-assed suicide attempt designed for attention and sympathy: love letters torn up in the shape of a chalk outline around his unconscious body, candles lit, empty Jack Daniels bottle on the floor, and pills littering the carpet. I ran over and yelled, shaking him. He opened his eyes as I slapped and cursed him for scaring me.
“Upon returning I found Johnny passed out on the floor. Two empty bottles of seconals washed down with a fifth of Smirnoff. No idea how many caps he had swallowed. Didn’t know whether it was just a drunken attempt to impress, that perhaps he had taken a few and hid the rest, hoping to incur sympathy, or a melodramatic suicide attempt, in keeping with the apartment’s tradition.”
– Lydia Lunch, Paradoxia
– Lydia Lunch and Retrovirus
I was lucky enough to see Lydia’s band Retrovirus recently at the Knitting Factory. My friend, drummer Bob Bert, added me to the list. The intense, brutal music was a welcome thrill from the safe, generic bands I see around these days. A twenty-something blonde showed her devotion to the queen by licking her witchy knee high boot. It was shocking, but not at all surprising: just the power this mistress of counterculture possesses. She sneered at the audience between songs – “Don’t clap!” – mocking us for our polite gestures of appreciation. Maybe if we spit or taunted her with cruel words she would have a fair fight. She came into this world kicking and screaming and it seems age hasn’t slowed her down.
At the benefit for Ivan Julian of Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Lydia was a hilarious host, revealing how she had been involved with various musicians who were backstage. Even going into detail about her romp with Thurston Moore in a bathtub back in the day, making him blush on stage while blurting out that it wasn’t true.
Of course, we aren’t exactly the same sexually. Her depravity far exceeds my simple, aggressive nature. The knife wielding, dog-fucking, jailbird boyfriends of hers are not akin to all my past beaus. But as I look back, I realize that my hustler nature and sexually aggressive attitude may have stemmed from the seed implanted by Miss Lunch as a teen. As Lunch said herself at her last Knitting Factory gig, “If you don’t know me, you’re an idiot. If you think you know me, then you’re even dumber.”