Aubrey Reuben, 76

"I've dated 300 women since my wife died. Some of them I date for one night and I don't want to see them again. Others I want to see. They have to have a brain."

Published April 20, 2009 10:23AM (EDT)

In 1945, when I was 13, in England, my father died. And at 13, you become a man in the Jewish religion. So I took my father's seat in church, and I prayed day and night, and said the mourner's kaddish for my father. I felt that God was on my shoulder talking to me, and I swore that I would be ethical, never tell a lie, and that I would remain a virgin. I was going to be pure and when I married my wife, I would be faithful to her forever, because I believed in all those values.

Then what happened was my sister married an American, and my mother and I came to America. And I came to N.Y. and got a job at the New York Public Library part-time and transferred to New York University.

And on the first day, I go to the library for my books, I hear a noise, and I look down and there's an umbrella. I pick up the umbrella, and I see the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in my entire life. And I said, "You are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my entire life. I want to take you out." She said, "No, no it's impossible." So she went her way, and I went my way.

The next day, I'm going to class, and I pass an open classroom and there's that vision of loveliness that I had seen the night before. So I waited. She comes out of class, and I said, "Look, it's impossible that I could know you were in this classroom. It's fate. God had decided that we have to ..." and I persuaded her to come with me to Chock Full o' Nuts and I bought her a 25-cent cheese sandwich with cream cheese and walnut bread, and I bought her a Coke. I spent like 35 cents on her. [Laughs.] Money was no object!

She was 27, I was 19. She was half-Filipino and half-American, and she was the most stunning woman you ever saw in your life.

She said, "I can't go out with you." I said, "Why not?" She said, "I'm married." She was married to a professor. I said, "I don't care if you're married." And we started an affair that went on for the entire year. I lost my virginity. Out went the Jewish religion, out went God. Everything went down the drain, because now all I cared about was sex with this girl. It was so great that I was annoyed that for 19 years, I hadn't had sex. I've been trying to make up for it ever since.

We had the most wonderful year. I remember everything about it. I remember every moment. This was 1951 to '52. We'd walk around. She'd buy socks for her husband to show why she was late. We'd go out, to a movie occasionally. I can tell you the movies we saw. The best one was "Viva Zapata," with Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn.

My birthday, May 27, she meets me, she said, "Aubrey, it's over." I said, "What do you mean, it's over?" She said, "He's gotten a job with the secretary of the Navy, and we're leaving for Washington." I was brokenhearted. The love of my life. Anyway, I was drafted in the Army in 1953, and guess where I'm stationed? Fort Virginia, outside of Washington.

We met in Washington that night. We went to see "Julius Caesar" with Marlon Brando and James Mason and Deborah Kerr, and we started our love affair again. I got sent to Germany during the Korean War, and every day I wrote to her, and every day she wrote to me. And when I got back, I went to Washington, she meets me in a restaurant, and I said, "I want you to leave your husband and we're going to live together, and we're going to be happy for the rest of our lives." She said, "I can't do it." I said, "What do you mean you can't do it?" She said, "I'm pregnant." She never thought she could get pregnant. She had an upturned womb or something.

So I get a grant to go to Mexico City. I wanted to be a professor of Latin American history. I walk into my class on the Mexican Revolution. And this cute little brunette says, "Hey you, you're not a Mexican, are you?" I said, "No." She said, "Come to my house tonight. We're having a Mexican fiesta. You'll learn all about Mexican customs." I go to this beautiful house. I hear music -- singing, dancing.

She was gorgeous. She was 5-foot-2, long hair, brunette, glassy eyes, cute little body, slender. She was an authority on Mexican history -- oh, brilliant woman! The first day, I was in love with her.

It was different in those days. In 1956, we didn't have the sexual revolution that we have today. Every time I went out with her, I had to have a chaperone. All the good girls were chaperoned. But what we did was, we told her mother her classes were every afternoon at the Filosofia y Letras. What the mother didn't know was that two days, we didn't have classes, and we'd go to the movies. We fooled around a lot, but no sex, because she was a virgin. And, of course, I was in love with sex, and we hadn't had sex. So at the end of the year, in December of '56, I married Maria Elena, and we were married for 39 years.

She got pregnant immediately, and nine months after we got married, there we were, father and mother. I was 25, she was 22. That was a little scary. We had no money -- just a few dollars. I got a job as a Spanish teacher in the NYC school system. My wife became a teacher as well. After 10 years, I became an assistant principal. Twenty years after that, I retired at 55, and I get a pension every month. It was wonderful, because you work six hours and 30 minutes, 180 days a year, and you've got all the time in the world at night.

So I would go out every night, every single night, 365 nights a year. She couldn't do that, because she was still a teacher. She had to prepare her classes. So I had to take other people out, and of course, some of the people were very good-looking women. And so, if they liked me and I liked them, since I'd already committed adultery at the age of 19, and I wasn't religious anymore, if you have a chance to sleep with a beautiful woman, it's very hard to say no.

I kept winning grants, and so forth. I went to NYU on a National Defense grant, and so she went to Mexico for the summer. So we were separated and I had an affair with one of the girls in my group from Connecticut. Because -- look, my wife went to Mexico, and she went on grants, and she'd be gone in Mexico for four or five months. I wasn't going to stay a virgin for four or five months.

I didn't think it was harming. Every woman I had an affair with, I told her I was never going to leave my wife. If they liked my company, they liked going to the theater, they liked going to the opera, fine, come out with me. Otherwise, I didn't care, because I had my wife at home.

She knew that I loved her and I would never abandon her, and I would never divorce her. She knew that as a fact, because that's the way I am. And she was more important than any other woman in my heart. The other women were kind of cute and nice to have sex with, but they weren't important. I never let myself fall in love with them or have a passion for them. I had passion for my wife.

My wife was brilliant. Her brain never stopped working. That's why I loved her. We'd go to see a Broadway show and she would notice things that were on that stage that would escape me. Oh, she was brilliant. We were perfect together. We loved theater, opera, the ballet, cabaret. She never stopped studying. We'd go to the theater, on a trip, and she'd have a book in her hand. All the time. We had 2,000 books all over the apartment. In the kitchen, there was no food -- just books.

My wife was not that domesticated. She said, "Aubrey when we get married, I can only be good in one room in the house. Forget the kitchen." We had sex right up to the day she died.

She was so full of life, everyone thought that our son and her were brother and sister. She was leading the conga line when she retired from the school system at the last party. She was beautiful. She was good company. I just wanted to be next to her all the time.

I know she never committed adultery, because it was against -- she was a straight-laced person. Her pride would've been hurt if she had sex with another person. And she had her opportunities. Men were coming on to her all the time. Everybody wanted to have sex with my wife. All her life, everybody loved her. Everybody was charmed by her. She was so sweet and loving and danced. She did all the Mexican folk dances. They'd make her dance at every party we went to. Oh, they loved her.

And then, one night, we went to the opening of Tito Puente's restaurant on City Island. It was an all-star gathering -- Rita Moreno, Celia Cruz, Simon and Garfunkel -- she'd started writing for Spanish newspapers, and in the nightlife she got to meet all these people. Rita Moreno became one of our closest friends, and she always says she was with us on Maria Elena's last night.

So we get home and she goes to the bathroom and vomits blood. I called 911, and they come and take her to the emergency room. They pull the curtain. She's still lucid, and she vomited again and went into a coma, and they put her on life support and everything else, and 40 hours later she was gone. Never said another word.

What had happened was a vein burst in her esophagus, and it was all based on having a damaged liver. When she was 15 she was given a blood transfusion in Mexico, and she developed hepatitis. For 45 years, that virus was working on her liver. When she died, the specialist said, "Your wife had a great desire to live." He was amazed that she had lived to be 60 with that virus. She retired June 28. She died July 27. She didn't even get to enjoy her retirement.

I was devastated. I couldn't believe it, because I lived always on the assumption that I would go first. My father died when he was 47. I figured when I died, Maria Elena would be a merry widow -- not too merry, but ... We were invested, we had tons of money, because I'd started working as a photographer and a writer with the New York Post in 1985, even while I was still working at my day job. I've photographed Britney Spears before she was Britney Spears. Bimbos like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. I was already taking photographs and making a fortune. For example, I get a call from the National Enquirer, they say, "Aubrey, we want a photo of Marla Maples ..." I made $10,000 for a photograph I didn't know I'd taken. You take a photograph that nobody else has -- it's worth a fortune. Anyway, I was shocked. It was I the merry widow, instead of her.

I've dated 300 women since my wife died. Some of them I date for one night and I don't want to see them again. Others I want to see. I love women. I love every type of woman. They have to have a brain. I've dated many very famous women. I was dating Grace Hightower -- Robert DeNiro's ex-wife ... I like slender girls. I don't like buxom women, fat women, big busts, I mean, I was friends with Anna Nicole Smith and when she hugged me, my head disappeared in her breasts. I don't like that.

I have no wisdom to offer about relationships. I'm just very realistic. I think I've got both feet on the ground. I think I've got common sense. It's not wisdom. I'm a practical person.

I live for the day. The past is over and I can't change it. Live for the moment. I mean, I was sorry to see her go. I grieved. I went through all her things -- all the photographs and all the times we had together. You do that. There's a period of grief. But immediately, within a few days, I went out, took photographs and everything. I was out every night and that helped me get through it. I had something to live for. I didn't say, "Oh, she's dead. I'm going to kill myself and join her." That's nonsense.

About life and death, I'm very dispassionate. In 1939/1940, when I was 8 years old, living in Manchester, we were bombed every night. In one night, eight bombs fell on my street. My father died when I was 13. It was a big shock to my family, because it changed everything -- my whole life. So I can look at it dispassionately, because this is how I've looked at everything -- dispassionately.

I don't want to marry anybody again. I've done it, and it's enough. I don't believe in marriage.

We just discovered the leading cause of divorce: Marriage! Here's a guy who was married for 39 years -- happily -- we were young and stupid, but it turned out that it worked out well. I married a sweet, wonderful, bright, intelligent, beautiful, looked after -- always dressed perfectly -- always look like a million dollars, always want to jump on and have sex with. She was a wonderful, marvelous woman. But I don't believe in marriage. I think it's a horrible institution -- and who wants to live in an institution?

People marry for many reasons. Many people marry, and I truly believe it, because they fear being alone. Most husbands hate their wives, and most wives hate their husbands. Or, worse than hating, which shows a little passion, they're indifferent. Many don't have sex. If you go to a restaurant, there are couples that never say a word to each other. The whole time. It's amazing. Whereas, at the other table there are two girls talking the whole time -- because they're not married! But the married couple has said everything they had to say to each other. It's disgusting.

I'm dating a woman now, she's Chinese, she's 36, and she's a doctor. She's the first woman I've let stay overnight for a long time. She loves to read. I read a biography every night, and she reads the papers. We put out the lights, screw, then we hug each other, go to sleep. In the morning we screw again before she goes jogging. It's wonderful! I love her body. I got to hold on to her little tits. It's great for my arthritis. And there's no odor to her whatsoever. She had never had many love affairs. Not one man has ever gave her oral sex. Not one man. Well, I give her oral sex every night. She can't wait to get to bed.

She studied ballet in China, so she does rhythmic exercises. It's like living with a model, a dancer. She takes off all her clothes when we stay at home and go to bed, and to just have that body next to me, I can't resist. I screw her every night. It's better than jogging in the park, it's better than seeing a Broadway show, it's better than photographing a celebrity.

All my friends have taken Viagra. Don't be stupid. You don't need Viagra. Nobody needs Viagra. The dysfunction in sex is you don't like the woman you're with. You're sleeping with a 55 year-old woman who's fat, who's repulsive, who doesn't turn you on, and you have to have sex with her because she's your wife. She demands it. So you do it reluctantly. That's not love. That's not pleasant.

What makes a woman special is that you just want to be with them 24 hours a day. You never get bored with them, and you'd rather be with that woman than any other woman in the world. When I want to be with her constantly, I enjoy her company, she stirs me up passionately so I want to have sex with her all the time -- then I know this is the woman for me! Whereas if I'm with a woman that is angry or annoying or does things that turn me off, or says things that irritate me -- what's the point of making a life insufferable? I want to live the best possible life possible, and if a woman contributes to my happiness, then I want to be with her. If a woman does not contribute to my happiness, I don't want her.

By Edited by John Bowe

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