She had a sultry come-hither look as she languidly leaned against the wall, a half-smoked cigarette lazily dangling from a corner of her pink-lipped mouth, very Marlene Dietrich. In the moment it took to take all this in, I had walked past her.

But something about her drew me back. I continued my walk for a respectable distance, pretended to peer through a shop window and then retraced my steps to saunter past her again.

She took notice of me, and with lips parted in a half-smile, breathed, “Hello,” never once changing her composure or posture.

“Hello,” I answered. “How are you tonight?”

The husky Dietrich voice spoke: “I’m fine. Are you alone?”

“Why, yes, unfortunately,” I said, my pulse beating in quick tempi.

The pink lips blew out a perfect O of smoke.

“Where do you live?” the voice asked through the ring of white cloud.

“As a matter of fact, my apartment is right up the next escalator.”

“Would you like some company?” she said, not having budged since we started to speak.

“Why not?” I said, reaching for her hand.

It was 1978; I had just closed the Continental and opened another sauna in Canada. As we walked together towards home, I couldn’t help thinking how great I was doing. Only a short two weeks in Montreal, and I had latched on to the girl of my dreams, a genie with light blonde hair.

“Nice going, Steve,” I said to myself as we walked to my little French pied-à-terre.

In the dim light of a flickering amber candle, the girl was even more beautiful than I had imagined. There was something so sensual about her, like a purring cat whose fur is soft and silky but can shoot out static sparks when stroked, which is what happened as she allowed me to thread my fingers through her lustrous hair.

The V of her open white shirt, exposing her long throat, fascinated me, and I gently unfastened the rest of the buttons.

“My name is Steve. What’s yours?” I asked, realising that we had not bothered with such trivialities. The wide sensual eyes under long blonde lashes looked up at me even as I continued to undo her shirt.

“Charlie,” she purred, the eyes not blinking.

My fingers paused in their journey momentarily as the realisation of what was happening sank in.

“Is that a problem?” she asked, the eyes still focused on mine.

By now I had exposed enough of her body to see that the lovely pink-nippled chest was indeed that of a delicate boy. In my mind I was laughing, but not wanting to upset the androgynous youth before me, I gently smiled.

“No problem we can’t solve,” I said.

Charlie warmed me through the icy Canadian winter, and then some. He had taken to hanging out in the Galleria to pick up cigarette money. No one had actually gone the distance with Charlie before, usually freezing up in the moment of truth and giving him five or 10 dollars to get home with. But now, under my wing, we became great buddies.

Years after I left Montreal, I received a letter from Charlie…inviting me to his wedding!

INFO: Steve Ostrow is president of Sydney’s Mature Age Gays. To find out more visit www.magnsw.org

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