Illustration: Venus in Scorpio By Daniel B. Holeman
there is this bar around here that is called bacchus and there is caravaggio's painting of the mighty, flushed, cheerful, and decadent god over the rows of beer bottles that the bar boasts. i don't usually like bars, but this one i like with its honey glazed wood and there is always a new beer to try and an open atmosphere where it seems the gods are watching over you and want you to have a pleasant time and a story to bring home.
i have never been much of a drinker although i've been drinking since i was young, always being offered wine at the dinner table. at the same time, as i got older, i hated the pressure to drink to let go in high school, the excessive alcohol that always made someone throw up at the end of the night. i stayed away from it altogether, mostly because i couldn't control myself when i was sober, my hyperness getting the best of me, the rushing blood making me feel drunk.
but then at sixteen in england, i went on a school trip with classmates that i wasn't friends with and the boy that i had a crush on. one night i decided to drink with the others and i drank my three bottles of beer very fast and i kept repeating to myself 'peer pressure' over and over and i danced and wore my friends' skirt and got my shoes dirty and wrapped my arms around the boy that i loved and he held me close and i told him he was a casanova and soaked in the affection, the first time a boy held me close.
i refused to kiss him, he didn't try, but we walked back to the hotel holding hands and i told him all of my guts and related everything to books because what did i know of anything?
sometimes i think of england as the land of alcohol where my sexuality started to grow, where one night a few years later i got drunk off of wine and kissed five boys at a party while my boyfriend was writing me letters back home and another night when i didn't get drunk and fucked the director of the play i was in while my boyfriend was writing me letters back home.
i could never drink very much while i was here, the bars never did anything for me, but one night me and my old friends from catholic school went out and i drank wine at bacchus and the god gleamed over the bottles and smiled to me while my friend's sister was tracing her finger along the collar of my shirt.
sometimes i like being around drunk friends because i can drink a glass of wine and watch everything around me, contribute and be free and be completely aware, so the sister was leaning close to my face, her blond hair tipping to my mouth. she smiled and laughed and leaned her head down into my breasts and her warm breath tickled me and the soft skin felt new and she then kissed my mouth and again the soft was new and i had never kissed a woman and i liked being in the warm bar.
i stood up. 'i have to go to the bathroom' and she stood up. 'i have to go too' and i laughed and skipped my way into the bathroom and we stumbled into the stall and we kissed and kissed, she against the wall and my hands went all over and it was funny and we laughed and she played with the hair around my face and it was new and she said i was cute and i said she was cute and we whispered and laughed hands over hands and there was pounding on the door and our friends were leaving and told us to finish up and we laughed and skipped out of the bathroom.
the other night in a bar with dark wood and green light i was sitting again with my catholic school friend and his sister, he is gay and she is a lesbian and they both got drunk while i drank a glass of wine and i sat in the middle and they both put their arms around me and placed their hands on my legs and she mentioned that bacchus night and i smiled and said it was nice and he said to both of us with his hand on my thigh, 'giovanna is the apotheosis of humble eroticism'.
i wonder if some people would just say i was a tease. ++