Jackie Collins – I Live My Life With A Man For Every Occasion (Red Magazine)
MEN. WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT THEM? Is there anything better than cosily spooning on a cold winter’s night after an incredible round of passionate sex? Well… maybe an ice-cream sundae with chocolate sauce and nuts. Here we go, we’re back to men again – I learned at an early age their nuts are their most precious possession. You want to hurt a guy, kick him in the nuts and walk away: a motto my favourite heroine, Lucky Santangelo, lives by!
Navigating relationships is something we have all done. Who can ever forget that painful experience of falling in love for the first time? I was 13 and madly in love with the boy who lived in the apartment above us. He was 16 and totally oblivious to my existence – although he did spend a lot of time playing a record with the lyrics ‘come on to my house’ very loud with his window open. I often wondered if it was a veiled invitation for me to score a ladder and climb up to see him…
Instead I went to the movies and experienced my first kiss and a handsome usher in the back row of the Empire Cinema, while Tony Curtis strutted on screen dressed as a sexy pirate. I had a big crush on Tony Curtis but when I met him years later in Hollywood, he was a big disappointment. Sometimes the package is best left unopened.
Getting over a first crush is never easy. Whoever termed the phrase ‘broken heart’ was right. However, the best medicine is looking your best and moving on. Unrequited love is a total bitch, and every song you hear seems to be all about you. Even at 13 I felt the heartbreak and I used it to toughen up. The usher helped me realise there were plenty of opportunities out there, and believe me, I took them!
Recently I wrote a young-adult book, Confessions of a Wild Child. It’s about one of my popular characters, Lucky Santangelo. I’ve written about Lucky in nine books and women love her because she is strong, wildly beautiful, smart and fearless. Lucky does things her way, so I thought it would be fun to write about Lucky as a teenager, discovering the world of sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and, most of all, boys. Of course, writing about Lucky as a teen, I couldn’t help including some of my own experiences. My mum always told me, ‘Men only want one thing’ – and in a way she was right because teenage boys are walking hormones. So Lucky (like me) figured our a way to handle any situation: it’s called ‘Almost’. This means you can still have fun buy never get in too deep. It works for Lucky, and it sure worked for me as I navigated the perils of being young and single in Hollywood when I first went there at 16. Handsome men were everywhere – including plenty of married ones, hence the title of my first book, The World Is Full Of Married Men. As my mum had warned me, they were all after one thing: sex. And that’s when I came up with the idea of ‘Almost’, or ‘Everything But’. Because girls want to have fun, too. Almost involves kissing, groping, playing around, cuddling, fondling, handjobs – in fact, everything except the final deed. And believe me, it’s so much better than a one-night stand. Because girls who give it up on a first date rarely get a second one.
Over the years relationships come and go. Some are hot and steamy, some are cool and sexy, but each one is an adventure. I have been lucky enough to have had a great long marriage to a smart and interesting man, and although he was 20 years older than me, it all worked out. When I lost him to cancer I was alone for a while, until of couple of years later I got engaged to a dynamic Italian-American man who looked just like a hero from one of my books. As fate would have it, after six years of bliss, he, too, was hit with cancer and died three months after being diagnosed. I miss them both, but I don’t mourn their deaths, I celebrate their lives. Now I live my life like a cool bachelor, with a man for every occasion! And for now, all I can say is that I have no regrets, and that some of my best friends are men. Yes, you can live without them, but I wouldn’t wan to – would you?