Mignon & Wolf Naegeli with ferret Prince Charles, Korat cat Silky Paws, Bernese mountain dog Rigi, August 1983.
The Naegelis, August 1983 – Photograph by Evelyn König

Somehow my Female came across Eric’s autobiography. She downloaded the free pages, read them, and bought the book for $1.99. His honest and open live story, published in 2007, triggered an impulse to tell me her own story about the men in her live.

She held on to her virginity much longer than was customary in the free-love period. At twenty-two when she was working for a fashion photographer, she moved in with a former schoolmate. They shared a room in an apartment with their landlords, an elderly couple who needed to upgrade their income.

Opposite the building was a semi-dilapidated movie theater that played mostly double features of old black and white American movies for a Swiss Franc or two.

The Female’s roommate had regular “gentleman callings,” whereas the Female would retreat to the cinema and watch old westerns, comedies, and mysteries before returning to her bed, often long past midnight. Her friend would tease her about her innocence, something my shy Female didn’t take lightly.

One evening, one of her coworkers invited her to a party at the home of a client, a graphic designer of a well known ad agency. Fact was, the place was empty. No host!

The colleague opens the door with a key and stupid Female enters. Soon, she realizes the party is just a twosome. Instead of accepting the booze she is supposed to down, she grabs a new-looking hardcover and flees to the nearest room. Fortunately it has a lock. She starts reading, the latest Günther Grass novel. Once in a while she hears the man knocking, wheezing, throwing up. Many hours later, he promises to take her home.

Just as they leave the place, the owner arrives. Gebi is full of charm, feeds the Female a Gin and Tonic, lust and sex. Meanwhile the coworker spends the night between a sofa and the bathroom. In the morning, they drive in his VW back to work. Frustrated, he must then have talked to their boss, accusing her of professional wrongdoing. Willy, the owner of the place, asked the Female some questions. The next thing she knew, the little Napoleon was gone.

She finished the Tin Drum much later, when it was printed in paperback. Oskar Mazerath will never leave her, like first lovers usually do. Only in her case, it was a piece of literature.

She never went back to her seducer, actually she consulted her gynecologist about some itching issue …

Her roommate decided to move on, and the Female found a two-bedroom apartment to share with the studio’s secretary for a while, until she was able to afford her own place. By then, after months of abstinence, she met the Stranger. I don’t care to write that tale again. You can read it on this website.

Eventually, she moved on to different places, different men. Her unfortunate second affair led to miscellaneous encounters, mostly journalists, artists, photographers, and architects. Throw in Farah Diba’s ski instructor; a beach bum at Club Med; a cook in Corsica, who wanted to work for Cousteau on the Calypso, which sank in 1996, but after lingering for twenty years may soon be seaworthy again; Jean-Marie, who became a waiter on the France; and Otto, the writer who later drowned in the tsunami at  Khao Lak, Thailand. Maybe a few between. And finally: my Wolfman, who became the stabilizer.

A few remote coincidences faintly connect my Female and Clapton. On different levels, of course. She never became a groupie or druggy, but she might have shared the same love and admiration of sounds and locations with the musician. Corsica for example: Clapton cruised around it in a fancy yacht. The Female enjoyed the rugged island from the rocks, lodging in a cheap resort hotel and taxying around the island with a bunch of women.

Another place the Female recognized while reading the biography: A New York hotel on Fifty-Fifth Street. He refers to it as a fleabag hotel. My humans, while working in New York City on several occasions, have rested happily at the very same hotel in rooms overlooking the city; no fleas or other creatures keeping them company.


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