“...I damn anyone who will say that my mother’s body or my daughter’s body or my sister’s body is dirty. No. You tell me about this god of yours that made this body – but then you qualify it. You tell little children to cover up. You make it dirty. The dirty body. Well, I’m going to tell you something: this (a model in Playboy Magazine) is the most decent-looking chick I’ve seen since I’ve been in town.” Lenny Bruce, the “dirty Jew” comic was passionate about the human body, especially the bodies of women. And not just because he loved to schtup them. Lenny was fascinated by women.

Lenny was a Jewish boy and Lenny loved his mother. Sally, the mother he delighted in and depended on right until his death, was a fiercely independent woman, although a fairly absent parent. She was exciting, she traveled and performed and refused to let her gender keep her from doing anything she wanted. And so Lenny, the lonely Jewish boy, lived with his father and stepmother, who gave him everything except the kind of love the boy needed. His father often worked long hours, trying to communicate his love with things. Lenny, surrounded by wonderful objects, felt he grew up poor and unloved, although he was neither.

Even though he grew up surrounded by strong Jewish women, he didn’t date any. Although he claimed that “...the difference between Jewish and gentile girls is that a gentile girl won’t `touch it once’, whereas a Jewish girl will kiss you and let you touch it – your own, that is,” he preferred the gentile girls. The trashier and sluttier looking, the better. Perhaps he felt more liberated with a woman who didn’t look virtuous, or perhaps he was simply sick of the lies that virtuous people represented in his mind. For whatever reason, he adored strip clubs, he hired hookers (sometimes just to read his skits) and was as monogamous as a harem master. He claimed to have fucked between 200 and 400 women during his lifetime. Ah, life before HIV and AIDS.

No AIDS during the 50’s and 60’s, but there was the Clap. And Lenny, the entrepreneur, suggested a solution to this scourge. A `Clapathon’ on TV. To Lenny, who loved sex, it was a sign of America’s ignorance and hypocrisy that so many people had the clap and didn’t know how to prevent or cure it. Because people refused to talk about “it” (the Clap or even sex) they were taking anything in the hopes it would cure them of this disease that labeled them as Bad. Lenny’s opinions were strong: “Now, if your daughter dies in the back of a taxicab bleeding from a bad curettage because she had a baby in her belly and therefore she’s a tramp because the witch doctor didn’t put a hoop on her finger, is it any easier for your son to come to you and tell you he has the Clap?” `Get your shit together, America’, was his message. Maybe someday America will actually get the message.

But enough of this sadness. Let us speak of more pleasant things. Let us speak of love.

With his potty mouth, his inability to keep his dick in his pants and his legal troubles, what kind of woman could love Lenny Bruce? Sure, he was pretty and sure, he knew how to talk, but...such talk as his!

Lenny was lovable, and not just to women. Everyone with a protective spirit loved Lenny. After he and his wife-to-be had done the horizontal bop a few times, their relationship had matured enough that they could talk to one another about sex. Honey revealed that she had just broken up with her girlfriend in order to be with him. The same girlfriend paying for the hotel room where they were naked and sticky together. There was an unspoken message of “you’d better be worth it.” Many men before Lenny had not been “worth it” and yet two such men had put a ring on her finger and attempted to tie her dreams to the ground. Would this handsome, tireless lover be different?

It was 1951 and, still a stranger to the needle, he was confident of his own genius and future. He suggested that experimentation was a normal part of growing up. Why, he, himself, had had a homosexual encounter. It wasn’t until he’d cum the third time that he realized it wasn’t his bag. It’s hardly surprising, given that the favorite sexual position of the man who would be arrested for saying “cocksucker”, was to receive fellatio.

Later in his life, when his dependence upon heroin and Methedrine were peaking and his marriage to (but not his love for) Honey was over, this preference would allow him to sit on the toilet, receive some oral lovin’ and shoot up...all at the same time. Ah, bliss.

She called herself Honey Harlowe, and she was beautiful with long red hair and amazingly white skin. She was in Baltimore dancing, stripping, getting noticed. And here was Lenny with his dusky good looks and his amazing ability to make her laugh; noticing her. The love of Lenny and Honey Bruce deserves to be placed alongside that of tragic loves such as Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, George and Gracie. It was intense, it was real and it was cut short. Two heroin junkies, no matter how in love, simply can not pursue careers, raise a daughter and fight off the law without something giving. After eight years of adoring one another, it was over.

But during those eight years, how much loving and living those two crazy kids did! She sewed him vests that he loved to wear barechested. Lenny knew it was true love because, while he had fucked hundreds of women...Honey was the only one he wanted to fuck a second time.The entire experience of “being in love” was so alien to him...but his feelings for Honey were impossible to deny. Money was tight after Honey stopped stripping...at the request of Lenny who claimed he felt like a pimp. He suggested she focus on singing, which required voice lessons. In order to raise bread, the swarthy Jewish boy dressed up like a priest and went door-to-door collecting money from wealthy Florida housewives for a leper colony in British Guiana. Thanks to his New York permit, he made enough money (with a minimum of trouble with the cops) to spare $2,500 for the leper colony. He and Honey walked away with at least $8,000. But the easy money stopped after Lenny made a promise to God in exchange for a miracle.

Honey’s small car was impounded one day and, after joyfully bailing it out of the tow yard (with leper colony money) the happy couple were struck by a larger car, which had gone around a truck without checking for other traffic. Both lovers were thrown from the car, but Honey was trapped underneath. The car drove over her, to be followed by the larger car and, finally, by the truck. Lenny, his skull fractured, ran to her crying, “I love you! Take me with you!” He embraced her and, covered in her blood sobbed, “Oh, my sweet wonderful baby, my wife, my every combination of everything, my mistress, my high priestess...I love her so much!” He made a pact with God. If Honey lived, he’d stop the priest bit. She lived (four pelvic fractures, a punctured bladder and multiple cuts later) and he quit. She wore a brace when she left the hospital seven weeks later to sit in the big black Cadillac Lenny had bought with some of the insurance money.

That fractured pelvis was the same pelvis that later endured six abortions because Lenny refused to use a condom. The birth of their daughter Kitty only came about when Honey had bullied Lenny into allowing her a full-term pregnancy by packing his bags and throwing him out of the house. Two weeks later they reconciled and their darling Kitty was conceived. Kitty was adored by both of her parents, but sadly, by the time she would have noticed, their marriage was over and they were far gone in their drug habits. Lenny popped in and out, but his mother, Sally did most of the parenting. Honey, many years later, was able to kick the spike and reconcile with her daughter. In spite of her drugs she had loved both Lenny and Kitty. And to this day she remembers Lenny as her true love. Until his death he knew she was his.

Lenny never did any ex-wife skits, though Honey once went to one of his shows and he, upon catching sight of her, become incoherent and burst into tears. Show’s over, folks. And whenever, even years later, journalists asked him what broke up their marriage, he replied, “It was broken up by my mother-in-law.” The reporters always laughed and asked what happened. “My wife came home from work early and found us in bed together.” The wholesome journalists recoiled, “In bed – that’s perverse!” But Lenny would not be guilted. “Why? It was her mother, not mine.”

Whether it was before, during or after his marriage, having a true love never kept Lenny from sampling a regular stream of sexually willing young women. Although he hated the courseness of his fans, he loved their drugs and their girls. The very people who claimed to adore him, helped to kill him, waiting outside of his hotel and waving his two addictions in his face: heroin...and girls begging to go down on their persecuted prophet . Once again, a Jew died while trying to talk sense to the masses.

Next month: Drugs, Obscenity and Death.

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This is reprinted from Exotic Magazine © 1996 X Publishing