The eighties were a great time to be in Seattle. I worked at a sex store on 1st & Pike. I don't think a lot of people today realize how odd it is that 'Showgirls' still occupies a portion of that corner. It was once called 'Deja Vu,' with the best and most honest business motto ever: "50 Beautiful Girls and 3 ugly Ones." Roger Forbes owned Fantasy Unlimited, Champ Arcade, and Deja Vu. He was a great boss. When Andy died, he came to the memorial at The Paramount, and looking quite out of place in his suit and tie, he cried and handed me a check for $3,000 and told me I was the best employee he ever had, and that even though I had no boobs and was too skinny, he thought I was pretty cute.
As I stood there between Chris Cornell, Ann Wilson, and Roger - the sex store/strip club mogul - I felt a strange correlation. Here were three people that shared nothing in common besides being at a funeral - but there we were, with Chris's arm around me and Roger holding my hand. I thought about my friend Jim, and at that moment wanted to disappear from there and be beside him, someone who I knew wouldn't hurt me, wouldn't die on me.
People can act as refined as they want. They can show no interest in such deviant things as sex toys and latex masks. They can pretend that they always do the right thing and that they would never "cheat" on their lover. But at the end of the day, even when faced with the saddest event in one's life, we are all sexual creatures that crave the warm touch of another, and I felt no guilt for wishing I'd made different choices. Because staying with Andy had only hurt me, and in a way, taken away my chances for experiening a healthy relationship.
Working at Fantasy, I saw my share of unique people. Everyone always thought I had to "put up" with "perverts"... not the case. I loved my customers. I loved being the one that wealthy men trusted to come to, to buy six-inch steel shank heels and corsets. I loved the day Jeff Ament came in my sewing studio in the back, and had me literally stitch him into his pants. It was in the middle of the summer, and it was really hot in that back upstairs room I had set up to sew in. He stood and I got on my knees and he couldn't hold in a huge smile as I stitched him up, face to crotch. I remember being surprised and mildly offended, but now that I think back, I realize that we were pretty much kids. I can forgive and understand the moment - as it may be seen as some kind of indescrestion against Andy to some. He was never flirtatious with me again.
One day, this sweet, cute college boy came in the store. It was another hot summer day. Upstairs where I worked was all the lingerie and clothing; all the toys, etc., were downstairs. I don't know why we started talking, or what this seemingly straight and squarish college kid was even doing in Fantasy. But as I tagged clothes and dressed manequins, he watched me and we chatted and eventually made plans to hang out. The day I remember the most was his college graduation party at his family's property in West Seattle. Ironically, his grandparents owned the house my first boss lived in - Gloria from Vintage Clothing - the very store where I met Andy. And they also owned the house Chris and Susan lived in, the house they got married in. Yes, those are some strange coincidences.
I remember us sitting on the seawall together, where all the homes are waterfront property. I remember what I was wearing and I remember being happy in that moment.
We never slept together, but we spent a lot of time together that summer. We laughed and kissed and walked on beaches. We loved each other in every way except the physical part. So I guess you could say my heart had an affair. One I will never regret.
I have only this more to add and then I will let his story speak for itself. It was an intense time in my life. Andy was using and it was ruining everything - our realtionship, his band... everything. I felt not an ounce of guilt for my time with Jim, because after Andy was gone - there would be nothing innocent ever again. Today, I remain close friends with Jim, and I value and cherish our history. He's turned out to be an amazing human being who kicks ass at jujitsu, parenting, and works with veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and raises money for their care. I know almost no one with his integrity and I'm honored and flattered that he still holds me in the same regard as that summer in the eighties where innocence was not lost; it was held in a moment of time, to be remembered always.
A Grungy Affair to Remember
by Jim Michael
today Jim is a father of 2 beautiful children and lives in Chicago.
Dedicated to innocence and undying vampire-like love