Thanks to the wonders of social media, I reconnected with Caytha Jentis, a screenwriter and indie film producer I had known many moons ago when we were both working in Hollywood. The mother of two grown children, Caytha is shopping a sexy TV pilot featuring midlife women. I was thrilled when she sent me this true story about her recent visit to a sex party. Yep — true story. Read on!
I sat on the couch in the dark room next to Brittany, a cute thirty-something mousey girl. We engaged in mundane small talk as we watched several naked couples fucking on queen sized mattresses that filled the floor of the otherwise empty playroom.
It was strangely erotic.
She spoke with a twang since she was from Memphis and told me that she was the first mate on a pirate ship – I don’t think you can make that up. Brittany worked with her boyfriend, and as summer was nearing the end, she was looking for new work. I told her I was a writer and was just here to watch. She said she wasn’t sure if she was going to hook up.
My eyes drifted towards Phil, the 50-year-old cherub who resembled a curly-haired Jewish Pillsbury Dough Boy who had brought me. He was naked and in the early stage of coitus with Dawn, also naked, an adorable 30-year-old Hampshire grad with a warm smile and a nose piercing. She worked at Starbucks and was translating a French novel a friend of hers had written. Just prior, she was fully clothed and we were talking about Amherst; she intrigued me. Phil laughed and remarked, “Are you really talking about college?” He made some sort of mating gesture to Dawn who nodded and took his hand. As they headed towards a mattress, he asked if I wanted to come over with them. “No,” I said.
Phil and I are colleagues. He’s a film producer from Los Angeles and was passing through New York. We had planned to meet at 2:00, but he called to ask if we could push it earlier as he now had to meet his lawyer at that time. I said I couldn’t do earlier as I had “something” at noon but he said he couldn’t do later as he had “something” at 4:00. Both of us sounded like we were hiding “something” in our “somethings.” With gleeful bad-boy naughty intention he said: “I bet you’re doing what I am doing.”
I was quite sure I wasn’t.
But he kept pressing because he was confident we were. Finally, I admitted that I was doing a private pole dancing class. A week earlier, during an emotional low, I had said to my husband that if my script didn’t sell, I could always become an exotic dancer. I was being irreverent, but he took it at face value and responded, “Nothing personal. You have a great body for a woman your age, but you’re too old. Sorry.”
I huffed, insulted. Since I wasn’t really serious, an honest retort was not necessary, so I took it as a challenge. “I’ll show you who’s too old…. “ But I couldn’t own my indignation unless I could walk the walk or dance the dance…
Now it was Phil’s turn. He admitted sheepishly that he was going to a sex party.
He immediately regretted his admission and got flustered, embarrassed and tried to justify it. But I was excited and non-judgmental. I asked if I could come along but not participate. What writer wouldn’t want to be the fly on that wall?
We walked up the four flights of stairs of the nondescript office building in the West 20s to a suite with no identification. Phil was self-conscious, nervous, and not in the mood. I was giddy.
We started in the safe room, the meet-and-greet space that resembled a church social with water, alcohol-free red punch, cookies, and innocuous music. The rules were “clothes on” in here, and the room was filled with mostly young, seemingly “nice girls,” which surprised me. I figured the party would skew older, desperate creepy guy. But everyone seemed so regular and ordinary. I became maternalistically empathetic – New York City is so tough for women that even at a sex party, the odds are still in men’s favor….
The small talk became boring, so we ventured to the playroom where I took my seat on the couch….
…. John, a mild-mannered, mid-level businessman who commutes to the city from Philadelphia, joined Brittany and me. As another couple began to undress, I mused that while this seemed tempting, I could never: what if I got drunk and it slipped out to my husband? John and Brittany shared their fears of talking in one’s sleep, which led me to do an off-topic Ambien bit about the fear of sleep-walking on a plane and thinking the emergency exit is the bathroom….
John commiserated and said that his wife of seven years wouldn’t be into this either. “She doesn’t mind you coming here?” I asked. “Oh. She has no idea I come to these parties… “
After a brief reflective silence Brittany said to me, like an old friend, “My boyfriend’s cock is too big and it makes sex uncomfortable. I’m going to break up with him. “
It was time to leave.
Luckily, I had theater tickets and so I had an easy out. I felt I had more than enough material. I thanked the host, had a brief chat, and gave her my e-mail. She asked me my age. I mumbled the number. She looked at me and then wrote down a number ten years younger. Perhaps the story wasn’t over.
On the walk to the theater district it was sunny and humid. I was in a daze. My brazen pole dancing class earlier in the day – which was more about athleticism and feminine fun – was tame by comparison.
I met a gay theater producer friend for drinks before the show and, still in shock, told him where I had come from. He told me about a larger event that’s more fetish-oriented that he once attended.
The theater stage resembled a church pulpit. Organ music began to play and a choir sang spiritual hymns. The play was a thought-provoking show about a popular preacher of a southern mega-church whose sermon challenges the existence of Hell, so he finds himself in a living hell as he loses everything he loves over his doctrine.
The show was followed by a lively talk with the theater’s artistic director, the play director, and the thirty-something author who lives the dream as a playwright in residence in Louisville.
On the subway ride home I smiled as I reflected: I love days like these.
Caytha Jentis is a New York based sreenwriter and indie producer. She has written four features and produced three films and is currently pitching a TV pilot called Now What. She describes it as the flip side of Girls as it’s a comedy about the parents of Millennials trying to figure their shit out.