Manhattan Menage: Seven Men Pop the Question

E-Love in Vain

That was exactly Tad’s state of mind, three years ago, when he experienced the most basic level of troilism—what he called an “E-love gropefest.”

Tad had recently broken up with his girlfriend of five years. He found himself at a party and saw an attractive 20-year-old. He followed her and watched her get into a cab. He got into his Mercedes. When the cab stopped at a light, he pulled up. They made a date to meet the following night at a club.

She showed up with a girlfriend named Andie. “Fortunately,” said Tad, “Andie turned out to be out of her mind.” She’d just gotten off a plane from Italy and was swanning around in a fox fur coat. After consuming E-tabs, the three went back to Tad’s loft, drank champagne, smashed the glasses on the floor, groped. The 20-year-old fell asleep, and Tad and Andie went at it, with the 20-year-old next to them on the bed.

Peter jumped back in. “It’s more experiences, every day, therefore you have to do more and constantly faster! And more!” he said. “It’s going beyond carrying capacity, pushing our luck, inventing new niches, expanding…”

“It’s like someone walking by with a tray of cookies and you take a couple off the tray,” said Garrick, 30, a guitarist with a downtown band.

Tad started to agree with Peter. “It’s the whole idea of more,” said Tad. “It’s four breasts, not two.”

Thankfully, Sam, an investment banker, arrived. Sam, 41, was the type of guy who was always saying he wanted to get married, but often “forgot” to call the women back whom he was dating. So he was still single. Sam said he had had threesomes.

“Why did you do it?” we asked.

Sam shrugged. “It’s variety. You get tired of being around anyone after awhile.”

Sam said there were three basic situations that led to threesomes. One: The guy has been secretly lobbying for a long time to get his girlfriend into bed with another woman. The reasons could be that he’s bored, or he secretly wants to sleep with her friend.

Two: The girlfriend secretly wants to sleep with another woman, and gets her boyfriend to go along with it to make it easer for her to deal with it.

Three: Two women are into each other and plot to get the guy into bed.

Sam said he’d had a girlfriend, Libby, for about six months, and he talked himself into believing that she really wanted to have sex with her best friend, Amanda. Of course, the truth, which Sam now admits, is that he wanted to have sex with Amanda.

Under pressure, Libby finally agreed to engineer the evening. Amanda came over. They had wine. They sat on the couch. Sam told the two women to take their clothes off. And then? “I was a complete failure,” said Sam. While Libby remained on the couch, drinking wine, Sam took Amanda to bed. “I was totally into her. The problem is, you usually end up preferring one woman over the other, and then the other gets left out,” he said. Finally, Libby came over to the bed. “I guess they wanted me to tell them what to do, to take control of the situation. But I was so into Amanda, I couldn’t do it,” Sam said. Libby never got over it. Two months later, Sam and Libby broke up. Libby and Amanda didn’t talk for a while.

Sam admitted that he knew there could be “consequences” from the threesome but “you go ahead, anyway, because you’re a guy.” (Not a good excuse.)

Rule No. 1 of threesomes: “Never, ever do it with your girlfriend,” said Garrick. “It’s always a disaster.”

Rule No. 2: “You can’t plan it. Something always goes wrong,” said Simon, who said he had been involved in six or seven threesomes. “It has to be spontaneous.”

Before we got to rule No. 3, the buzzer rang. Jim, a 21-year-old magician, and Ian and Josh, 25-year-old television producers, arrived. Jim announced he had been involved in a threesome the week before. “You get to tell your friends afterwards,” he said.

“It was kind of cheesy,” he said, “because the three of us had just seen the movie Threesome.”

But before he could continue, the buzzer rang again. We all looked at each other. “Who’s that?” All of the men who were supposed to be there had already arrived.

Peter looked up from his painting. “It’s another woman,” he said calmly.

(End of Part One. Next: the woman in the pink scarf. And: The men reveal they’ve engaged in another kind of threesome.)


Candace Bushnell began Sex and the City as a column in The New York Observer in 1994; it subsequently became a book and a series on HBO. She is also the author of Four Blondes, Trading Up and Lipstick Jungle, which is being filmed as a pilot for NBC starring Brooke Shields. Ms. Bushnell is also the host of Sex, Success and Sensibility, a live weekly talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, New York City Ballet principal dancer Charles Askegard.


Manhattan Menage: Seven Men Pop the Question