I’m Naomi and this part will be mine as Matt is uncomfortable with it after all these decades because what he did was to blame the victim: me. When I met him I was 24 and in a loose relationship with a pharmacist in Queens. I was gorgeous, no doubt about it. I slithered into pants as I did not have much of an ass, and I had a small chest, but I was wide in the beam and had a stunning face, or so I heard from many men at the time. How can I say it? I was a knockout, with a beautiful Irish nose, small and sculpted at that, with fine dyed-blond hair. Matt shared with me that to walk through a restaurant as a couple to a table made him proud because men and women would turn to look at me and then wonder what size schwanz he had to keep my interest. He needed me to need himself.
The very first time I met Matt I wore silver boots, I mean silver with a flowing dark-blue velvet cape. I look back and see how daring I was with clothes, but it was the Sixties. What men in particular didn’t realize, and, unfortunately, I suffered greatly from, was the belief that who I was matched up to the presentation. I was then a little girl, that’s all, with few defenses to handle what came at me, especially from the male sex in lust. And I am not very knowledgeable about many things so I do see that I gave off a ditzy quality. I just barely got through high school and worked in a cosmetic store as a salesclerk. Often I keep silent because that can easily be interpreted as having smarts. Which, I must say, I do not have.
I heard from his friend Artie, months later, that when we first saw each other in Marchal’s, a diner on Main Street, in Flushing, Queens, that he had not noticed the come hither looks I was sending out to him – but his friend saw that and urged him to go to my table and pick me up. As I later learned he was so out of circulation he didn’t know what a pass was. He was so oblivious to the world, so into himself and his troubles. I was sitting with my Jewish uncle who I adored, and after dinner we went out to the parking lot to leave. Clearly I had no expectations and never do have them, as I have always been and always am pursued. At that time Matt appeared anxiously at the side of my uncle’s car window and asked me for my phone number right in front of my uncle, who was very amused. If he hadn’t done that, I would never have been raped.
Our first date was way out on Long Island, at a restaurant next to a lake. I had the feeling he knew about this place because he must have had an earlier date here with some other woman, perhaps Marlene. Although I was extremely good-looking, it was not helpful in that I was often placed in situations in which men thought I was more sophisticated than I was and wiser sexually. And Matt, like others, did not see me clearly, for he thought that I was more intelligent than I am, but again, my looks eased my way in relationships. On our second date, we hadn’t had sex as yet, for he was not assertive, we went to a movie with my uncle to see Camelot, which was a tear-jerker, or so it was for Matt, for he told me much later on it was like experiencing his affair with Marlene all over, especially what he saw as the cheating theme in the movie or so it was for him. He felt remorse for what had happened to Arthur. Guilt is the word. I always felt Matt was into me because of my looks rather than who I was, although who I was at 24 was not very known to me. I strolled through life.
As they say in books, it came to pass that he took me to Woodstock to see his friends Hal and Estelle, Jack and Ava, in the summer of 1968. He and I met with a Catholic priest on a mountain which was interesting and he showed me other highlights of the town. I can say that our relationship at that time was cordial, not loving, more of having someone to go places with. As I look back now he was just too smitten with Marlene. He sometimes appeared distracted, off somewhere. He could not allow himself to feel or to be connected with me as Naomi. Sad to say, and there is some exaggeration in this, but I may have just been a beautiful toy to him, a thing. And I went along for the adventure since I still had the pharmacist in my corner if I ever needed him. And Woodstock was an eye-opener for me.
In the back of Hal’s house was an above-ground pool, and I put on a striking silver bathing suit. Jack began to engage me in place of Matt, who was somewhere in the house. Jack came on like the world-wise slick traveling salesman he was. Matt had no idea that Jack viewed me as prey, and later that night, after Matt had gone to bed in one of the bedrooms, Jack pursued me relentlessly – and before I knew it he forced himself on me, to my disgust. I never shared with Matt exactly how it came about or if I resisted or cried out for help, but I do remember going to Matt’s room and trying to rouse him from sleep to no avail.
The following day, as we went home, I shared what had happened with Jack. He was angry, if not perturbed. He said no more. I do recall that he came to see me at my home a day or two later. I opened the door with a smile.
“How could you have let that happened?” he asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Why, Naomi, didn’t you shout or raise a ruckus?” I was surprised by his anger at me, as if I had in some way violated him. We were still at the doorway and I ended the conversation by shutting it. We never went out again. I was being blamed for what Jack had done to me in so many words.
What there was of our friendship ended. One time I needed help because I was undergoing a surgical procedure, and he came to see me in the hospital, since he was reliable in that way. But when I needed him most critically he was unreliable. I could have responded in many different ways to Jack, and I regret now that I didn’t shame him before his wife by screaming for help until I got someone to help me, but I was stuck in the Sixties when men still ruled.