My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands Read online







  Copyright (c) 2005 by Chelsea Handler

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information address Bloomsbury USA,

  175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

  Published by Bloomsbury USA, New York

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  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Handler, Chelsea.

  My horizontal life : a collection of one-night stands / Chelsea

  Handler.--1st U.S. ed.

  p. cm.

  ISBN-10: 1-58234-618-6 (pbk. : alk. paper)

  ISBN-13: 978-1-58234-618-2 (pbk. : alk. paper)

  1. Man-woman relationships. 2. Sex. I. Title.

  HQ801.H3195 2005



  First U.S. Edition 2005

  21 23 25 27 29 30 28 26 24 22

  Typeset by Hewer Text Ltd, Edinburgh

  Printed in the United States of America

  by Quebecor World Fairfield

  To my parents--

  Thank you for having me.

  Now look what I've done.


  Look Who's Having Sex with Mommy

  The Beginning of the End

  Dumb and Dumber

  Guess Who's Leaving Through the Window?

  My Little Nugget


  Skid Mark


  Shrinky Dink

  Don't Believe a Word I Say

  The Cookie Monster

  Doctor, Doctor

  Oh, Shut Up Already!

  A Wedding Story


  Out of the Closet


  False Alarm



  I WAS SEVEN years old when my sister told me she'd give me five dollars to run upstairs into my parents' room while they were having sex and take a picture. At that age I had heard of sex but had no idea what it looked like. I knew for sure that my parents were sexually active. My father had impregnated my mother on six different occasions, all of which she decided to keep, so it was clear to my siblings and me that there was a definite attraction. There were many times when we would hear loud bumping and raucous laughter coming from their bedroom. My brothers and sisters always reacted with disgust and, being the youngest, I would follow suit, but was never sure why. Without knowing exactly what the act of sex entailed, there wasn't any real reason to be revolted, but it had become second nature to pretend I knew something I didn't.

  I was always up for a chance to make easy money. I had been wearing hand-me-downs since I was born, and by the age of seven was already sick and tired of my second-string wardrobe. I may not have known what sex was, but I did know that I needed to step up my wardrobe in order to be taken seriously in the first grade. "No problem," I said. "Where's the camera and how do I use it?"

  I tiptoed up the stairs leading to my parents' bedroom with my sister Sloane following close behind. Their door had a lock on it, but it was old and didn't secure inside the doorjamb anymore. If it was locked you weren't able to turn the handle, but if you smashed your body into it, it would open.

  I checked and saw it was locked. I would have to use physical force. Sloane crept back toward the top of the staircase. I set up for a running start.

  "Ready?" I asked her.

  "Go!" she whispered.

  Seeing your mother naked is not something you easily recover from. Seeing your mother naked and jumping from one side of a king-sized bed to the other with a nurse's hat on while your father, who is also naked, is chasing her with a bandanna around his neck, is reason to put yourself up for adoption. Fortunately, I took the first picture before anything had a chance to register. The second picture was of my father heading toward me with a belt.

  My sister was already down the stairs when I came running out of my parents' room. I jumped all the way from the top of the stairs to the bottom. Luckily, I had perfected this jump months earlier during three consecutive snow days. I did not dare look behind me to see if my father and his penis were chasing me; I just kept running. We lived in a split-level house, so at the bottom of the big stairs, there was a shorter set of stairs to the right and to the left. I went left and my sister went right. I saw her head for the basement and followed her in. Our basement doubled as the laundry room; the one room in our house my father had never been in.

  "Lock the door!" she barked, as she scrambled to hide under a pile of dirty clothes.

  "Oh, my God, Dad has a belt," I told her.


  "A belt! He has a belt! I think he wants to hit us with it!"

  "The one he wears with his pants?" she asked.

  "Yes," I said. "I think he wants to belt us!"

  We were too scared to cry. This was it for me, I was sure of it. I was going to be murdered in my basement by my naked father, with a belt. I had never been hit by a belt before but had heard stories about it happening in poorer neighborhoods. Suddenly, there was the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs and then banging on the door.

  "Open the goddamn door! Now! You two are gonna get a smack and you're gonna get it now!"

  I stared at Sloane with big eyes. I wanted her to think of a way out of this mess. She was twelve and she needed to take charge.

  "Ask him if it's with the belt or his hand," Sloane said.

  I looked at her to make sure she was serious, then yelled back, "With your hand or a belt?"


  I went closer to the stairs that led to the door. "Are you going to hit us with the belt or your hand?"

  He was shaking the handle now. "No one's getting hit with a belt!" he shouted. "One . . . two . . ."

  This was before there were time-outs, so my sister and I didn't know what to make of his counting. I wondered if his ABCs were next. He stopped at "three," and we braced ourselves when "four" didn't come.

  Sloane was holding on to me for dear life. Her crying had turned into heaving, and now she started to shake uncontrollably. I tried to comfort her by rubbing her back like my mother did but was too preoccupied with my imminent beating to be very reassuring.

  Since my sister had turned into a real mess, it was up to me to devise a plan of escape. At that moment, Sloane wouldn't have been able to lead a horse to our swimming pool, never mind leading me to my bedroom without getting my ass kicked.

  "We have to go up and just let him hit us," my sister whispered.

  "Ah, I don't think so. I don't make appointments to get hit. Plus, this was your idea and Dad should hit you both times."

  "I want to get it over with!"

  "No fucking way. I am not going upstairs to get hit."

  This was the very first time I said "fucking" in front of anyone and I liked the way it sounded. I had heard my brothers and sisters use curse words but had never dared use one myself in front of anyone. But I had practiced alone in my room lots of times, trying out different cadences and intonations: "Fuck, fuck, fuck you, fucknut. Shit, shitstain, fucker! Go fuck a