Manhattan Menage: Seven Men Pop the Question

Lured perhaps by the promise of free drinks, free joints and free honey-roasted peanuts, seven men joined me on a recent Monday evening in the basement of a SoHo art gallery to talk about threesomes. There, we found the photographer and 1980’s ladies’ man Peter Beard on his hands and knees. He was “collaging”: painting shapes on some of his black and white animal photographs. Some of the photos had rust-colored footprints on them, and I remembered I had heard Peter was using his own blood. He was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt.

Peter is a sort of “wild man” about whom one hears stories. Like: He was married to 1970’s superbabe Cheryl Tiegs (true); that once, in Africa, he was hogtied and nearly fed to some animals (probably not true). He said he would work while we talked. “I’m just doing work all the time,” Peter said. “Just to ward off boredom.”

Everyone made cocktails, and then we lit the first joint. Except for Peter, the men asked me to change their names for this article. “Using our real names wouldn’t be good for our client base,” said one.

We launched into the topic of discussion.

“It’s an avalanche right now,” Peter said. “I know some girls, one of whom I’m meeting tonight, who says that over 90 percent of her girlfriends have propositioned her. This is definitely a new phenomenon.”

Peter dipped his brush in the red paint. The modeling industry, he said, seemed to be grooming women for threesomes. “Agents and bookers are pushing favors from the girls to get them bookings.” Then he added, “All the models are getting stroked in the loo.”

Tad, 41, a golden-boy architect, remained skeptical. “I think the numbers are being kept by the Government census bureau.” But Tad went on. “Women physically present more sensuality and more beauty,” he said. “So it’s easier for a man to fantasize about two women together. Two men together is kind of a dry fantasy.”

Peter looked up from his spot on the floor. “Women can sleep in the same bed and no one thinks anything about it,” he said.

“We applaud it,” said Simon, 48, the owner of a software company.

“It’s very unlikely any of us would sleep in the same bed with each other. I just wouldn’t do it,” said Jonesie, 48, an East Coast-based record executive. He looked around.

“The reason men don’t do it is because most other men snore,” said Peter. “Plus it’s not good for the nervous system”

“It brings up all kinds of deep-rooted fears,” said Simon. There was a moment of silence while we looked around the room.

Peter broke the tension. “The underground reality of this is the biological rat studies,” he said. “Density, stress and the overcrowding of the niche structures. The first phenomenon of overcrowded rats is the separation of the sexes. And in this city, with all the lawyers and all the overcrowded niche structures, you have incredible pressure. Pressure fucks up the hormones, when the hormones are screwed up there are more homosexuals, and homosexuality is nature’s way of cutting down on population. All of these unnatural things we’re talking about exponentially expand.”

“That sums it all up,” Tad said dryly.

“We’re leading sensory-saturated lives,” Peter said. “High density. Intensity. Millions of appointments. Millions of lawyer appointments. A simple thing is no longer fun. Now you have to have two or three girls, or exotic strippers at Pure Platinum.”

“On the other hand, the reason to have multiple sex partners could just be curiosity,” said Tad. “Without being overly analytical.

But Peter was on a roll. “How about insincerity?” he demanded. “There’s less sincerity and less honesty. If you’re really attracted to a girl, you don’t want another girl. But nowadays, there is less sincerity.”

“That might be,” Jonesie said cautiously.

“When you meet people in New York, all you get is their bullshit,” said Peter, not noticing his paintbrushes were drying out. “You get all their stuff they tell you at parties. You get the same damn thing at these dinner parties until you just stop going.”

“You cut down,” Jonesie agreed.

“And you go into the bathroom and you get a blow job from someone in the fashion industry,” Peter said. There was a brief and, if I’m not mistaken, awed silence. Then more Peter: “It’s not reality. It’s not communicating. It’s not sincere. It’s just a moment in the
ir stress-ridden lives.”

“And I thought I just wanted to get laid,” Tad said.

Manhattan Menage: Seven Men Pop the Question