Two Hot Zabagliones

By Lou Storey

October 11, 2021

Two Hot Zabagliones

Feeling lonely and hopeless, I went ahead anyway. Long before computers took over the planet, ManMate, a gay dating service, mailed me a multipage paper form to complete.

I had help.

“How is this?” I asked my friend Jill, handing her my completed self-description and candid photo.

Jill shrugged. “These work great if you want to be alone for the rest of your life.”

Brandishing a red pencil, Jill transformed the paper-me for the better. My “mug shot” would not do. Jill turned her apartment into a photo studio, her Polaroid spitting out picture after picture. “Look like you are about to sneeze!” she commanded. Head tilted back, eyebrows arched, mouth slightly opened—the winning photo.

I submitted the results.

I met Steve for our first date at an Irish Pub in Greenwich Village. Seated by the warmth of a working fireplace we chatted with the ease of two reunited friends. Later we strolled down 6th Avenue, stepping into the Oscar Wilde Bookstore to thumb through a few periodicals. The date concluded at the dark and cozy Café Borgia with a special treat, zabagliones—a decadent Italian dessert made of egg yolks, sugar, and sweet wine, all whipped up into a luscious pudding. When we gave our order, the waitress cupped both hands to her lips and called out to the back, “Two hot zabagliones over here!” Steve and I laughed.

All gone now, the pub, the bookstore, the café. But thirty years later two hot zabagliones are still together.


Lou Storey is an artist and psychotherapist (but mostly a storyteller) living happily with his husband Steve and their menagerie of animals in New Jersey. His writings have appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times Tiny Love Stories, Beyond Queer Words Anthology and various mental health journals.


Picture by Dan Barrett courtesy of Unsplash

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