Manhattan Menage: Seven Men Pop the Question

Originally published on February 6, 1995.

I’m at dinner with a man. We’re into a second bottle of 1982 Château Latour. Maybe it’s our third date, maybe our 10th. It doesn’t matter. Because eventually, it always comes up. The Inevitable.

“Errrrrr,” he begins.

“Yes?” I ask, leaning forward. He rests his hand on my thigh. Perhaps he’s going to “pop the question.” It’s not likely, but then again, what is?

He begins again. “Have you ever…”


“Have you ever…wanted to …”


“Have you ever wanted to…have sex with another woman?” he asks, triumphant.

I’m still smiling. But there it is, sitting on the table like a puddle of vomit. I already know what’s coming next.

“With me, of course,” he says. “You know, a threesome.” Then comes the kicker: “we could maybe get one of your friends.”

“Why would I want to do that?” I ask. I don’t even bother inquiring why he thinks one my friends might be interested.

“Well, I would like it,” he says. “And besides, you might like it too.”

I don’t think so.

‘A Sexual Variant’

New York is a place where people come to fulfill their fantasies. Money. Power. A spot on the David Letterman show. And while you’re at it, why not two women? (And why not ask?) Maybe everyone should try it at least once. (I did. Once. But I didn’t inhale.)

“Of all the fantasies, it’s the only one that exceeds expectations,” said a photographer I know. “Mostly, life is a series of mild disappointments. But two women? No matter what happens, you can’t lose.”

That isn’t exactly true, as I discovered later. But the threesome is one fantasy at which New Yorkers seem to excel. As one male friend of mine said, “It’s a sexual variant as opposed to sexually deviant.” Another option in a city of options. Or is there a darker side to threesomes: Are they a symptom of all that’s wrong with New York, a product of that combination of desperation and desire particular to Manhattan?

Either way, everyone has a story. They’ve done it, know someone who did, or saw three people about to do it—like those two “top models” who recently pulled a male model into the men’s room at Tunnel, forced him to consume all his drugs, and then took him home.

A ménage à trois involves that trickiest of all relationship numbers—three. No matter how sophisticated you think you are, can you really handle it? Who gets hurt? Are three really better than two?

Manhattan Menage: Seven Men Pop the Question