Hannelore got finally fired after stabbing Luise, during an argument about the first rights to Helmut’s body. Helmut promised himself to be more selective in the future. For nearly three years Helmut did not date anyone at his workplace. This turned out to be an intelligent decision. Unquestionably it was not an easy one. Regular young women did not date men who worked at least sixty hours a week and much of the night. Helmut found out that most decent women required their boyfriends to be home at night, on weekends, especially Sundays, and definitely during all the holidays. No wonder that none of Helmut’s relationships lasted more than a month.
At age nineteen when he started his training as a bartender, things changed, dramatically. Here he worked in an out-of-the-way, intimate bar, in one of Hamburg’s most exclusive suburbs. The single women who visited the bar frequently were usually divorcees and straw widows. They were dormant party girls looking for ways to participate in the ongoing sexual revolution. Many women arrived high on diet-pills or prescription drugs. In comparison to the men, women seldom drank much. It was the male-crowd the bartender had to watch. Alcohol did not discriminate, sophisticated or not, from good stock or questionable background, it did not matter. Some men could drink and others should not have. So many a drunk turned into a burdensome task for the
On a busy Saturday night, Helmut got to help Rainer, a top-rate bartender. Smoke clouds were lingering above the patrons’ heads. The counter was packed solid, body to body, five deep, from eight until after midnight. At two in the morning it had slowed down considerably. One brunette had been talking to Helmut while her blue eyes had been x-raying Rainer. Now, as Rainer was not busy anymore, she was closing in on him. Helmut grinned when he heard her ask: “What are we doing later?” Rainer’s fast reply, “Are you on the pill?” did not leave much leeway for thought. Her nodding and positive “Natuerlich (naturally)” made him laugh. With a snigger he answered, “Willste (Like to . . . )? Now? Or later?” “Now?” She responded, with a questioning look on her face impatiently moving around on the barstool’s saddle leather. Rainer and Helmut exchanged quick glances.
As Rainer left with her, Helmut checked with the mirror for any visible reason why Rainer was her first choice and not him. He found a small pimple on his nose and blamed his misfortune on the same. Having watched Rainer in action, Helmut tried to copy his mentor. He was young, oversexed and ready to sow wild oats into any furrow plowable.
Thereafter Helmut, made it a habit to invite lonely-feeling female-bar-guests to his apartment across the street. Sometimes, if the date stayed with him a second day, solely to impress her, Helmut took her to St. Pauli. There he introduced her to the local night life. The more goody-goody they acted, the better. Helmut thoroughly enjoyed the initial shock on his companion’s face when he took her to life-sex-cabaret shows at the Grosse Freiheit(7). Some women’s expressions of bewilderment usually changed fast and in nine out of ten cases turned into excitement.
Helmut spent a great deal of money on showing his lady friends Hamburg’s sin-city at night. He knew the night life well, his night’s off he had been spending in and around St.Pauli. The prices for drinks at St. Pauli’s nightclubs near the Star Club(8) were outrageously high, yet that’s where all the action was 24 hours a day, and especially after two in the morning.
Rainer heard about Helmut’s ongoing casual affairs. He warned Helmut and expressed plainly that he had had bad experiences this way. Helmut did not listen. He had fun and his date’s had fun too, at his expense. He told Rainer his assumption that “Married women make better lovers!” His reasoning was simple: a) Their husbands usually train married women; b) They have a place to return to after the fun fades out; c) They are not possessive and d) They will not tell their husbands about their escapades. Rainer somewhat agreed. However, he could not understand why Helmut was trying to extend one-time-sex into a meaningful lasting lust.
Rainer had a handful of rules, one was, “Never bring married women or any stranger you pick up to your own apartment.”
Helmut did not understand why he should not, until one of these tantalizing creatures, a sailor’s bride, with a mind of her own, wearing glued-on eyelashes and inch-long fake nails, tiptoed out on him. With her went an envelope filled with cash for his bank-deposit. It was enough to irk Helmut royally. Nonetheless, Helmut kept on bringing women home. It did not take too long until the first angry husband showed up on his doorsteps. Luckily, beside a black eye, Helmut didn’t get hurt. Though a month later his apartment got ransacked too.
The Monday before Ash Wednesday, it was carnival time. Rainer was visiting Helmut at the bar. There, nothing was happening. The party hungry clientele was having a wonderful time at any one of the public, semi-private or private Carnival-events held in different parts of the town. By two in the morning the last customer left. Helmut and Rainer chitchatted for old times sake and made plans to go and visit the Herbertstrasse(9) after closing time. Rainer wanted to introduce Helmut to a gorgeous Rumanian female he had gotten to know, who had recently started to work there. The door opened and a distressed Hilda, the wife of a well-known bar-owner, showed up. Her man had good taste. She was a truly beautiful tall Scandinavian woman. Still in her carnival’s-costume, dressed up as Cleopatra, she flung her black wig into the air. She announced her plan to get totally anesthetized and ordered shots of Scotch straight up and Champagne chasers to wash it down. Unsure about the situation, Helmut met her requests. He knew her husband from many visits at the bar. She was married to him but had been seen around town with various men. Helmut was curious. He got his answer when she proposed equal rights to all the sexes. Talking about her unfaithful husband she said, “What he can do! I can do better!” Then she kissed the almost unprepared Rainer long and deep, before coming around the bar to make sure Helmut didn’t feel left out. She did the unexpected and turned a most boring night around. Astonished about her outgoing and sleazy behavior, Helmut sucked on her tongue as she stuffed it in his mouth, while Rainer locked the front door. Hilda displayed a sexually most attractive, beautiful tanned body. She was great to look at, agile like a snake; however, as a lover she was as cold and callous as the horn plates on a sturgeon.
Rainer and Helmut talked for days about this sporting event. Actually only until the story reached her husband’s ear. Rainer said an ex-co-worker told him, that the hubby suddenly jealous had been beating the detailed information out of Hilda and was threatening to come after them as well.
In the years to follow Helmut tried to keep his casual affairs at the workplace down. Yet they still happened. Working at a five star golf course resort, south of Marbella, Spain, Helmut got to provide a bed for the Danish wife of a British hotel guest. Leaving work, Helmut found her crying, sitting at the curb in the parking lot. She had just left her nouveau-riche husband. The same had gotten into the habit to associate with women of the cheapest kind. She just couldn’t handle his demands. So she, Denise, said.
Denise was broke, penniless. The blond haired Denise was wearing over her pale skin with freckles only a flimsy long summer dress. Helmut offered her his place. She colored her hair red. He spent a paycheck on clothing for her. Within no time Helmut got addicted to Denise. At work, Helmut could hardly wait for the morning crew to arrive so he, who worked the night shift, could leap into Denise’s arms. Helmut had never met anybody quite like her: A Sex-Goddess, who every morning looked, felt and acted like she wasn’t doing anything but making passionately love. She looked like sex. She smelled like sex. She tasted like sex, even during her period. Her husband had been putting ads into the newspapers reporting her missing. Denise stayed nearly three months with Helmut before he saw her off at the bus. Helmut had offered to marry her, but no she moved on. The heartbroken Helmut felt even more hurt when she told him that she was going to check out the male population in Tangier.
Helmut missed her a lot. Over drinks in the corner bar, talking with a clique of five bachelors from his apartment building, Helmut broke out into uncontrolled laughter. They maintained his Denise had been their Denise too. She had been making herself a name throughout the apartment building for her unsatiable promiscuous concupiscent appetite. He didn’t believe one word until one man told him the color of his bed sheets. Another agreed. Helmut vaguely remembered stains like snail trails on his bedding. As he washed them, he had proudly credited himself for all these tracks of intimacy. Another young man named the books on the shelves attached to his bed’s carved headboard: “Nexus-Sexus, Ulysses, Cannery Row, Quo Vadis, Ben Hur.”
Helmut moved to South Africa. In Johannesburg he found work at a five star hotel as Room Service Manager. The steady traffic of hookers arriving and leaving the posh hotel’s VIP suites was astonishing. Nevertheless, not only professionals enjoyed the five-star services. There was Linda a business woman who offered anything in her immediate possession just to get an Elizabeth Taylor autograph. And then there was Yolanda, a well-off South African lady, who flew to Johannesburg regularly to do her shopping. She asked Helmut many questions. She asked about his sexual preferences. On her third night, knowing that he would go home by midnight, she called ten minutes to midnight and asked him to stop by her room on his way home. He did as told. The door was open. Yolanda was in bed. Caught in the quicksand of her lust, unable to leave, he stayed all night. She called him “My naughty boy!” He too wanted it to go on forever, including the steady flow of cash and gifts. It didn’t. It ended when she threatened to report him to the owner and promised to make his stay in the country a most miserable one, for he dared to say: “Sorry! Not tonight.”
In the late 1970s Helmut moved to California. He fell in lust with a spunky Oriental front desk clerk. The absentee owner’s daughter, a divorced woman and true femme fatal, who lived on the premises had other plans for him. She fired her rival, then wined and dined Helmut. He didn’t fight her off when she started to get down on him. He was on a high. This night started a full-blown meaningful affair difficult to end when he tried to end the same.
In 1977 Helmut moved to Big Sur, California. During the off-season – and there was plenty of it – he had time to reflect back at his past. After another relationship gone sour, after hiking by himself from Botcher’s Gap to Pine Ridge, he was sitting in a round rock bath tub, perched on a cliff. Hot sulfur water had always been doing wonders to his self-seeking mind. He had arrived at Esalen sore, tired, inebriate from the fresh air and unlimited sights and impression of the Big Sur Wilderness. Querying what life as such is about he got to doubt the value of any of the side show affairs in his life.
Helmut had received a heavenly massage from a local masseuse. He had stayed at Esalen(10) all night. He had soaked his body in each of the various tubs. Oh yes! The water was much hotter closer to the spring, yet the view was much better atop the cliff outside.
Suddenly he knew that he knew. As the sun was rising over the Santa Lucias, he was certain that: The sum of pleasures received, within sex at the job related to work, over the years, did not outweigh the problems, conflicts, irritations, and embarrassments connected to such affairs. Asking himself, what would life be without some spice, how dull is food without salt and pepper? He did not want to erase the great memories of the past.
However, he felt ready to trade the old life style for a new one. Ever since, has he avoided sexual relationships at the workplace and therefor had not to deal with the trouble which usually comes with it. Helmut came to a conclusion long before being aware of today’s laws and the possibilities of sexual harassment suits. Helmut, now forty-eight, three marriages later, knows that Sex at the Workplace is not worth the problems it often causes and says: “We are better off to forbid the forbidden.”
2. North-German words for “whores”.
3. Strich, common term in Hamburg describing areas where women promenade their bodies for sale, most famous Strich used to be the St. Pauli Fishmarket.
4. Chef de cuisine: Head chef in a restaurant.
5. Geschlechtsverkehr, German for intercourse
6. Sous chef: Second in command in a restaurant kitchen.
7. Grosse Freiheit, a cross street to the Reeperbahn, the mile of sin in Hamburg St. Pauli.
8. Star Club, the Club where the Beatles were discovered.
9. Herbertstrasse, a street in Hamburg St.Pauli where working women sit in windows and display their merchandises. Potential clients are able to discuss price and services as they look the goods over.
10. Esalen Institute, known as a retreat with famous hot sulfur baths has been popular with locals and people from many parts of this world (Gestalt Therapy, by Fred Perls was written there).