The Paris Review

We Are All Scared by What We Aren’t Saying

IML Winners’ Kiss, 1980. From the International Mr. Leather collection, Leather Archives & Museum, Chicago, Illinois.

As fall begins to exert its emptying onto Chicago, I become aware both that the cold is near and that I’ve barely had sex since moving to the city. These are linked because if I do not figure out how to have sex in this new city soon I will sleep alone all winter, everyone hiding inside and covered in blankets and sweaters. I find sex differently, depending on where I am. In Seattle, the best way to find someone to have sex with was to go to a basement where maybe a band had been playing or to this one punk bar with dicks on the walls. In New York, walking on the street between any two places seemed to work well, while in Berlin I just kept taking drugs when they were offered to me and then when someone suggested a different party, I went to that new party, and I had sex there. Chicago is different, though. I

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