Gigolo (n)

  1. A man living off the earnings or gifts of a woman, esp. a younger man supported by an older woman in return for sexual attentions and companionship.
  2. A male professional dancing partner or escort.
  3. 1922; from the French masc. form of gigole meaning tall, thin woman: dancing girl; prostitute perhaps from the verb gigoter “to move the shanks.”

I played golf one day with a general surgeon who was a close personal friend. He was, in fact, more of a surgical dilettante who only had to work part time because his wife made a six-figure annual salary in real estate sales. He had been married for about thirty years and was not only a devout Catholic, but was a good family man to his two children. Infidelity was never a consideration.

Several years before that he confided to me that his wife’s personality was often difficult to deal with, including a labile temper; stating that if there was any such thing as a battered husband, it would be himself. On occasion he had to dodge flying dishes or pots and pans, among other things, with the situation becoming especially bad when both his daughter and his wife had simultaneous PMS; a curious phenomenon that happens to women living in close proximity. Those were the days when he played thirty-six holes.

But he had married her, and given his high ethically moral standards, there was never a consideration other than to stick it out, for better or for worse… with never the smallest intimation to infidelity.

Even if he did have an affair he would not have survived his wife’s ire, because she would have ripped his nuts off before serving him with divorce papers. Also given their salary differential he would then have had to move into a trailer park and live in a double-wide.

This scenario was pointedly brought home several years later when another one of my friends on the medical staff cheated on his wife with a bimbo nurse, who had a notorious penchant for screwing married men and breaking up homes. In losing his wife, his house and his children, he subsequently bemoaned the fact that he was one of the Hamptons wealthiest homeless men until he finally relocated to a rented basement apartment.

I was then taken aback when one day my surgeon friend turned to me as we were walking down the first fairway, and blurted out that his secret life’s ambition was to become a Gigolo. He floored me when he said that he would be very happy one day to have a chance at landing a trophy bride. That was all well and good, I thought, but cautioned him that everything has a price to pay and knowing his wife’s temperament, he might want to reconsider.

I then told him a story I heard at a cardiology conference as recounted by a senior member of a cardiac transplantation team from a major medical center in Houston, Texas.

Transplantation surgery requires critical medical evaluation; along with paying diligent attention to physical as well as social and emotional factors. Transplant organs are hard to come by, tissue matches are difficult at best, and the entire process is enormously expensive.

Apparently in the early days of the hospital’s program, the team had transplanted a new heart into a handsome, muscular thirty-eight-year-old man whose own heart had succumbed to a viral infection. He was described as a personably charming Adonis, who made the nurses turn their heads and swoon when he walked by them in the hospital’s corridors. He was Mr. Atlas personified; buffed, beautiful, magnetically seductive and oozed sexuality from every pore.

Everything went well with both the surgery and his recuperation, at which point he was told he could go back to work. Everything then was fine until a number of months later when he was brought into the hospital DOA, with a bullet hole shot straight through the middle of his brand new heart. It seems that despite the fact of excellent medical screening, not enough diligence had been applied to his social history; while having been distracted by his good looks and fabulous physique, no one had bothered to dig beneath the surface to find out what he really did for a living.

After a forensics investigation it soon became apparent that his occupation was that of a high priced male ‘escort’ who had catered to a bevy of wealthy housewives in one of Houston’s upscale neighborhoods. Apparently over some considerable period of time, principally by word of mouth alone, he had built up quite the chic clientele.

His good looks spoke for itself, and as his reputation preceded him, he was becoming legendary in a small circle of bored, horny, sexually frustrated women who had way too much time and far too much money on their hands. Many of these women were beautiful trophy second wives anyway who liked the accoutrements of wealth, but who either did not enjoy being ignored all day, or in the pre-Viagra era were lamenting the poor performance of their spouses’ soon to be vestigial genital organs: the old dying genital soldiers.

The gigolo’s career came to a sudden fateful halt when a particularly suspicious and jealous husband, having found out the truth from a private detective, enticed the man to come to his house one day under the false pretense that his rutting wife would be at home waiting for him with both open arms as well as openly spread legs.

The last thing he remembered was ringing the doorbell.

But this was Texas, where because screwing around with another man’s wife is considered to be a premier social faux pas; the homicide was deemed perfectly justifiable.

After the fact, the entire transplant screening process was revamped and certain exclusion criteria were applied to some considered high risk occupations, of which the category of “professional gigolo” was certainly added to the list. It was then strongly suggested to these patients during preoperative psychological counseling that these as well as certain other types of jobs be abandoned or at least be grossly modified. 

Good looks can be deceiving. Beauty and charm can be disarming. Therefore, for all those bored, lonely or dissatisfied married folks out there: if ever considering taking on a lover, also remember first and foremost that one should never judge that book by its cover.



  I’m just a gigolo, and everywhere I go,

People know the part I’m playin’.

Pay for every dance, sellin’ each romance,

Ooohh what they’re sayin’.

There will come a day, when youth will pass away,

What will they say about me?

When the end comes I know, there was just a gigolo

Life goes on without me. 

(Lou Bega: Just A Gigolo ©zap-letras.com)



Poster Graphic www.popdvd.com/1969/12/



The Lone Star State

The Lone Star State 

Texas, albeit located in the south, is another story entirely. It was first a Mexican territory, subject to Mexican law before it became a Republic. It only reluctantly petitioned for Statehood after it relinquished its independence. One of the great internal cultural debates in history resulted in the ultimate decision Texans made to join the United States, which they did partially out of fear that Mexico might mount an armed attempt to take it back again.

In capitulating to the idea that there is definitely safety in numbers, the Great Sovereign Sate of Texas did sign on to join the Union. But to emphasize the point that they are historically singular, unique, and also in perpetually reserving the right to secede, Texans still fly the Lone Star flag. Ironically in today’s illegal immigrant influx, Mexico might as yet successfully expropriate Texas anyway, at least figuratively if not literally; which might result in creating the new Great Homogenized State of Texico.

Native Texas was  largely a vast, arid, undesirable place to live, until oil, or “Texas Tea” was found beneath the surface. After this, everything changed forever.

These may be only some of the reasons why Texan’s see themselves as entities unto themselves, being indigenously not as hard-core about Southern tradition as the rest of their east Southern brethren. They had a different cultural history, followed shortly thereafter by staggering wealth, based on oil and cowboy driven livestock.

Personally I think Texas made a mistake when it joined the Union, because if it had remained a Republic, it would now be a wealthy independent oil emirate; and a major secondary exporter of everything from Stetson hats, Rodeo, and fine filet mignon all the way down the food chain to McDonald’s suet laden beef scrapple.

Texas flag

Texans are however notoriously hard core about Texas history and traditions, always being quick to let you know they are the biggest, bestest, firstest and mostest on just about anything or any topic you can think of; except for having their egos reigned in a bit when Alaska signed up to be a State too. Even that did not put much of  a damper on it.

  • Alaska? Shit. Let’s just wait around and see how much land they really have after all that god-damned ice melts.

For years my second cousin Harold, the family historian, did not even want to trace the family back prior to their arrival in Texas. He said:

  • What’s the point, and who really cares? All that really counts is when they came to Texas and what happened to them after that. I call it: 1T-A.D. on my personal calendar.

Aunt Jeanie used to say that Harold was not really bigoted but rather only “highly biased” when it came to Texas history or virtually anything else you might bring up in polite conversation.

Apparently, Harold might have also been highly devious. Whether true or not, my mother always maintained that he had made part of his fortune by “slant drilling;” a practice whereby a person leases property next to one with a known oil repository, then slants his own drill sideways into his neighbor’s underground liquid bank vault. It’s the old saw about weather a good fence makes a good neighbor; or more acutely the technical legal point of how deep a fence line is valid underground; meaning a good fence can still make for a bad neighbor.

Although one does own the topsoil, as well as the mineral rights below, slant drilling theoretically puts the under-soil up for larcenous grabs. Thus, the back door practice of slant drilling for oil is still considered a more heinous and less chivalrous crime than pulling a second-story job to straight-drill your neighbor’s wife; and becomes one more item added to the long list of activities serving as reasonable cause for justifiable homicide. Dogs, on the other hand get considerably more leeway. If they see a fence they don’t like, they simply dig underneath it and innately go ahead to nonchalantly shit whereever they don’t eat. Then they kick up a little topsoil over what may be proto-petrol manure and happily run back home.

The real problem was that my hypocritical mother and Aunt were both highly biased themselves; making anything they said, especially about kin-folk heavily discounted because of their jealousies and perpetual sniping. Personally, I never found my second cousin to be anything other than a perfect gentleman and an inspiration to my own genealogic researches. It was a brainwashed bias that took me half a lifetime to un-do.

My mother, on the other hand debunked genealogy. She once received an unsolicited call from a member of the Daughtes of the American Revolution. They had independently researched her heritage and thought she might qualify to be a member. But unlike my father who needed desperately to bond with his ill-defined opaque origins, she told them that she was “of the impression they were nothing more than bunch of self serving elitist snobs” and asked never to be contacted again. It was the 1950s version of being placed on a No-Call list.

I will never understand why she did not pursue this opportunity to apply for her official “Original American” credentials; except once again for the fact of her cognitive bigotries and her socially incapacitating xenophobia. Perhaps if she had done so, it may have eventually offset the vowel at the end of my name for which she eventually developed a certain distain herself, as well as ensuring an automatic entrée for me into southern fraternal society at Duke.

Most people would have given their eye-teeth to be a member of such an exclusive and revered historic genealogic society. They would have ecstatically bent over backward to piece together the tedious genetic paper trail of proof. But, God forbid, not my mother. They actually found her first, laid the pedigree out in front of her and she told them to “fuck off.”

Maternal brainwashing led me to believe that throughout my life people would have a bona-fide prejudice toward me because of my last name, that doors would shut in my face because of it, and that I would be much better off instead if my last name was her own maiden name. At one time I even considered officially changing it to Cooper, but I knew that “abandoning and disgracing my Italian heritage” would have caused my father to suffer a massive stroke or a lethal heart attack.

My mother was correct that on one level arbitrary bias did turn out to be true, for example, in college fraternity recruiting. But what she could not know was that on another level, and also because of its very presence, that little vowel on the end of my name would eventually open just as many other doors instead; those revolving doors of the: a, e, i, o and u reverse bigotry.

Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton.

Old times there are not forgotten.

Look away,

Look away,

Look away,


Texas Bias

Texas Fried Chicken

 Texas Fried Chicken

Help, help. The sky is falling

(Chicken Little)

There is one particularly clear memory I have of being out in the chicken yard one day watching Granny Cooper grab a hen, and then give it the old propeller twirl to break its neck, so we could fry it for dinner. That old decapitated bird must have run around in chaotic circles for thirty seconds before it finally collapsed in a heap of headless neck spurting blood and crimson feathered dust.

That was when I finally understood what she meant by telling us kids that if we did not behave ourselves she would ” have to wring our necks.” This particular threat, being far worse than a swat with a dead salt brined fish from my Italian Grandmother, forevermore deserved my full attention when my poor behavior warranted the sudden eruption of those dreaded words.

But after the hand wrung decapitation, the truly difficult part of the ordeal is to then pluck the darn thing in a task where pliers don’t even work very well. To this day when I see a few feather quills sticking out of the wrinkled skin on a pre-packaged supermarket bird, I can’t help but think of that particular sanguine French guillotine style execution, and still find it just as physically difficult to yank off those aesthetically unpleasant little stumps.

Now serving:  Poulet sautés avec des plumes.

On a lighter note, I once had a patient who told me he was so emotionally stressed that he felt like he was “running around like a chicken with its head coming out.”

Obviously, he would have gotten that epithet correct, had he had ever lived near a barnyard.


 Moore Farm

 Moore farm near Ogelsby, Texas

Polar Opposites

  Polar Opposites: Personality but not Genes


Granny Evetts and Granddad Cooper

A typical repartee that defined the difference in personalities between my Texan grandparents was Arthur’s wholly unbiased statement when asked after the wedding reception what he thought of his son Bill’s second marriage, followed by Nora’s cryptic response:

  • Hey Arthur. What’s y’all family’s thinkin’ bout Bill and his brand new sexy hot-pants wife?”
  • Well. I suppose that right about now Bill and Jean are both purdy darn happy about the whole thing. He’s happy about the hole—and she’s happy about the thing.”
  • Oh Arthur. That is just totally dis…gusting. And just about as dis…gusting as each of their shameful divorces, too. Shame. Then more shame, and shame on the whole lot of you and your cigarette smokin’ whiskey drinkin’ friends. The whole damn bunch of ya needs to be puttin’ in a bit more of some good old-fashioned Bible readin’ church time, if’n ya ask me. Y’all outa start out with Genesis 19 and read that piece again about Sodom and Gomorrah.”