Fifties Chix: Broken Record

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It was only after joining the Navy, serving in the Mediterranean and the Far East, and training as an underwater demolition specialist that he enlarged his knowledge of sex under the guidance of bar girls. But he also kept fantasizing about his Aunt Katheryn. When he returned from the service, he started dating—and soon married—Donna, who was a nurse at a hospital in Aurora.

Foos found work as a field auditor for Conoco. He was miserably employed, sitting in a cubicle all day, keeping records of the inventory levels of oil tanks. Often on foot, although sometimes in a car, he would cruise through neighborhoods and spy on people who were casual about lowering their window shades. He made no secret of his voyeurism to Donna.

She seemed to understand. He said he had chosen the single-story Manor House Motel as the site of his laboratory years earlier because it had a pitched roof—high enough for him to walk upright across the attic floor—which would make it possible for him to realize his dream of creating a viewing platform to peer into the guest rooms below. He bought the property for a hundred and forty-five thousand dollars.

Foos pulled into the parking area of the Manor House Motel, a brick building painted green and white, with orange doors leading into each of its twenty-one guest rooms. He parked next to an adjacent building consisting of an office and the family quarters. She was heading to the hospital, to work a night shift.

On the way to my room, Foos told me that their son was a freshman at the Colorado School of Mines, and that their daughter, who was born with a respiratory ailment, had to drop out of high school to be treated at a special clinic, where she lived. He opened the door to my room, switched on the air-conditioner, and put down my luggage, saying that he would collect me in an hour to go out to dinner.

After I unpacked, I began making notes of my impressions of Gerald Foos. My interest in him was not dependent on having access to his attic. I was hoping to get his permission to read the hundreds of pages that he claimed to have written during the past fifteen years, with the result that he would one day allow me to write about him. I knew that he viewed himself as a sex researcher along the lines of Alfred Kinsey, and I assumed that his account centered on what excited him sexually, but it was possible that he noted things that existed beyond his desires. A voyeur is motivated by anticipation; he invests endless hours in the hope of seeing what he wishes to see.

Yet for every erotic episode he witnesses he is also privy to hundreds of mundane moments representing the ordinary daily human routine—people channel-surfing, snoring, urinating, primping, and doing other things too tediously real for reality television.

I was intrigued by the notion of the voyeur, in the course of his trespasses, inadvertently serving as a social historian. In , an American edition of the book was legally published for the first time, by Grove Press. Marcus considers it a trove of insights into the social history of the period. Foos took me to a restaurant called the Black Angus Steakhouse.

After ordering a margarita and a sirloin, he promised that he would mail me a photocopy of his manuscript. He said he would send it in installments, because he anticipated having to photocopy it in the public library, a few pages at a time, for the sake of privacy. I asked Foos if he ever felt guilty about spying on his guests. While he admitted to constant fear of being found out, he was unwilling to concede that his activities in the attic brought harm to anyone.

He said that he was indulging his curiosity within the boundaries of his own property, and, because his guests were unaware of his voyeurism, they were not affected by it. He then thought of installing the faux ventilators and hired a metalworker to fabricate a number of six-by-fourteen-inch louvred screens. Only Donna, who was in on the plan, could help Foos with the installation.

She would stand on a chair in each of the designated rooms and reach up to fit a louvred screen into the opening in the ceiling that Foos had made with a power saw. As he lay prone in the attic, he secured the screen to the plywood floor and rafters with long flathead screws. He installed three layers of shag carpeting over a central strip of the attic floor; the nails that kept the carpeting in place were rubber-tipped, to deaden any squeaks from footsteps.

After the screens were in place, Foos asked Donna to visit each room, recline on a bed, and look up at a ventilator as he was staring down at her. If she said yes, he used pliers to bend the louvres into an angle that would conceal his presence while maintaining a clear view of the bed and the bathroom door. Foos said he began watching guests during the winter of He was often excited and gratified by what he saw, but there were many times when what went on below was so boring that he nodded off, sleeping for hours on the shag carpeting, until Donna woke him up before she left for the hospital.

Sometimes they would have sex up on the viewing platform. And, unlike me, she grew up having a free and healthy attitude about sex.

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While driving us back to the Manor House, Foos continued to talk. He mentioned that an attractive young couple had been staying in Room 6 for the past few days and suggested that perhaps we would get a look at them tonight. They were from Chicago and had come to Colorado to ski. As we approached the motel, I began to feel uneasy. Finally, after saying good night to his mother-in-law, Foos beckoned me to follow him across the parking lot to the utility room.

Curtains were drawn across the windows that fronted each of the guest rooms. I could hear the sounds of television coming from some of them, which I assumed did not bode well for the expectations of my host. Attached to one wall of the utility room was a wooden ladder painted blue. After acknowledging his finger-to-lip warning that we maintain silence, I climbed the ladder behind him. On a landing, he unlocked a door leading into the attic. Crouching on the catwalk behind Foos, so as to avoid hitting my head on a beam, I watched as he pointed down toward a vent in the floor.

Light could be seen a few feet ahead of us. Light also came from a few other vents farther away, but from these I could hear the noise of televisions. The room below us was quiet—except for a soft murmuring of voices and the vibrato of bed springs. I saw what Foos was doing, and I did the same: I got down on my knees and crawled toward the lighted louvres.

Then I stretched my neck in order to see as much as I could through the vent, nearly butting heads with Foos as I did so. Finally, I saw a naked couple spread out on the bed below, engaged in oral sex. Foos and I watched for several moments, and then Foos lifted his head and gave me a thumbs-up sign. He whispered that it was the skiing couple from Chicago. Despite an insistent voice in my head telling me to look away, I continued to observe, bending my head farther down for a closer view.

I realized my carelessness only when Foos grabbed me by the neck and, with his free hand, pulled my tie up through the slats. I felt embarrassed. What if my necktie had betrayed his hideaway? My next thought was: Why was I worried about protecting Gerald Foos? What was I doing up here, anyway? Had I become complicit in his strange and distasteful project? I followed him down the ladder into the parking area.

I nodded and wished him a good night. When I met Foos in the office the next morning, he bore no trace of irritation, and he did not comment on the fact that I was not wearing a necktie. He unlocked a desk drawer and removed a cardboard box containing a four-inch-thick stack of handwritten pages from yellow legal pads, the work of fifteen years. The penmanship was excellent. Foos made it clear that he regarded his voyeurism as serious research. Courtesy the author. He explained that he kept small pads, pencils, and a flashlight stashed in the attic.

He seemed desperate to share his findings. I wondered if voyeurs crave escape from their prolonged solitude by unburdening themselves to other people. The first entry begins:. Today was the fulfillment and realization of a dream that has constantly occupied my mind and being. Today, I purchased the Manor House Motel and that dream has been consummated. My voyeuristic urges will now be placed into effect on a plane higher than anyone else has contemplated. His notes become increasingly grandiose as he nears his goal.

I have no doubt that Foos was an epic voyeur, but he could sometimes be an inaccurate and unreliable narrator. I cannot vouch for every detail that he recounts in his manuscript. Description: Approx. Wife 35 years old, 5'4", lbs, pleasing plump, dark hair, Italian extraction, educated, Activity: Room 10 was rented to this couple at 7 p. He registered and I noticed he had class and would be a perfect subject to have the distinction of being 1.

After registration, I immediately left for the observation walkway. It was tremendous seeing my first subjects, for the initial observation, enter the room. The subjects were represented to my vision, clearer than anticipated. I had a feeling of tremendous power and exhilaration at my accomplishment.

I had accomplished what other men had only dreamed of doing and the thought of superiority and intelligence occupied my brain. As I peered into the vent from my observation platform, I could see the entire motel room, and to my delight the bathroom was also viewable, together with the sink, commode, and bathtub. I could see the subjects below me, and without question they were a perfect couple to be the first to perform on the stage that was created especially for them, and many others to follow, and I would be the audience.

After going to the bathroom with the door closed, she sat in front of the mirror looking at her hair and remarked she was getting grey. He was in an argumentative mood and appeared disagreeable with his assignment in Denver. The evening passed uneventful until p. He appeared disinterested when she laid on the bed beside him, and he began smoking one cigarette after another and watching TV.

Finally after kissing and fondling her, he quickly gained an erection and entered her in the male superior position, with little or no foreplay, and orgasmed in approximately 5 minutes. She had no orgasm and went to the bathroom. Conclusion: They are not a happy couple. He is very ignorant of sexual procedure and foreplay despite his college education. This is a very undistinguished beginning for my observation laboratory.

Things did not improve for Gerald Foos with regard to the second couple he observed. The third couple, affluent-looking people in their early fifties, were more interesting. They were in town to spend Thanksgiving with their son and their daughter-in-law, whom they had not met before and of whom they did not approve. He noted that the wife unhooked her bra by sliding the closure around to the front. She removed her shoes and sprayed the interior of the shoes with some sort of deodorant.

After the bath, she spent 1 hour preparing her hair in rollers and primping in front of the mirror. This is a 50 year old woman! Imagine the hours she has wasted in her lifetime. By this time her husband is asleep and no sex transpired tonight. Between Thanksgiving and January of his first year as a motel voyeur, Gerald Foos spent enough time in his attic to observe guests perform forty-six sex acts, at times alone, at times with a partner, and, on one occasion, with two partners.

Each time, he summed up his observations in a formal conclusion. One day in December, two neatly dressed men and a woman came in and requested a single room. The more vocal of the two men, who had red hair, explained that his furnace at home had stopped working and that his wife was freezing. Later, Foos realized that when the man signed the register he had listed as his home address a regional vacuum-cleaner store.

Within minutes, Foos was in the attic and had positioned himself over their room. All three immediately disrobed. Then the husband snapped photographs as his wife and the other man had sex in various positions. Foos recorded the encounter in minute detail. The trio represented the first group sex that Foos witnessed at the Manor House. Within a few years, however, he stopped regarding additional bed partners as a deviation; rather, he viewed them as posing a financial conundrum. Should he charge higher room rates for threesomes or foursomes than he did for couples?

As it was, extra charges were levied only on guests who checked in with pets; they were required to leave a fifteen-dollar refundable security deposit. Foos liked to spy on guests with pets, but for different reasons than he spied on couples. When a couple from Atlanta arrived holding the leash of a large hound that they referred to as Roger, Foos went right to the attic.

The next morning, when the couple asked for their fifteen-dollar deposit, Foos shocked them by escorting them to their room, moving the chair, and pointing to the spot on the rug. It seems not to have occurred to him that this action could have given him away. Also, he told me, dogs, unlike people, often seemed to be aware that someone was lurking above. When Foos was in the attic, dogs often pointed their snouts up toward the vents and barked. Before the couple checked out, Foos returned to the platform to eavesdrop.

My observations indicate that the majority of vacationers spend their time in misery. They fight about money; where to visit. All their aggressions somehow are immeasurably increased, and this is the time they discover they are not properly matched. Women especially have a difficult time adjusting to both the new surroundings and their husbands. Vacations produce all the anxieties within mankind to come forward during this time, and to perpetuate the worst of emotions.

You can never really determine during their appearances in public that their private life is full of hell and unhappiness. As time went on, Foos became increasingly disenchanted with his guests, whose behavior prompted him to confront larger questions about the human condition as well as his own political convictions. Within walking distance of the Manor House Motel was the Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, which, during the sixties and seventies, served as a temporary home for injured Vietnam War veterans.

Foos was only moderately against the war when he built his observation platform, but as the struggle continued he revised his opinion. Checked in this male who is in the Service and had apparently lost his leg in Vietnam. He rented a room for five days, and has received a pass from the Hospital to stay with his wife who has come from Michigan to visit him.

His artificial leg was attached just below the knee, the stub raw and sore. In the evening, Foos watched as the wife opened two bottles of cola, and her husband made a toast:. What do you think we are at war in Vietnam for. It is the god-damned money. A few years later, another wounded veteran—this one a paraplegic—checked in to the Manor House with his wife.

Foos watched as the wife tried to help her husband out of his wheelchair and emptied his catheter bag. This subject is lucky. He has a loving and understanding wife. Another time, he rented two connecting rooms to a pilot, his girlfriend, and a male friend. If he discovered that a guest lived in the Denver area, he would sometimes follow the person home after checkout.

One was a middle-aged woman who checked into the motel with a well-dressed younger man. The woman mixed a drink, then removed her clothes. As the two entwined on the bed, the woman moaning frantically, the man abruptly stopped. She reached for her purse and handed him a hundred-dollar bill. He then returned his attention to her prone body. After satisfying her, he rebuffed her offer to reciprocate, then relented. She gave him the money, and several minutes later he left. When the woman drove off, Foos followed her in his car and saw her enter an apartment in a retirement complex.

He watched through her kitchen window. Foos walked around the complex and asked a neighbor about the woman. He learned that her husband had been killed in Vietnam and her son was away at college. He expressed anger at the toilet industry for its failure to address the challenges men have in directing their urine stream accurately. But more often Foos found observing his guests depressing. They argued. They watched too much television. This was especially irksome when the guests were attractive and could have spent their time having sex instead. After watching one sexual encounter, which he regarded as typically unsatisfying for the woman, he wrote:.

This is real life. These are real people! These subjects will never find happiness and divorce is inevitable. The only thing he knows is penetration and thrusting, to orgasm, under the covers with the lights out. My voyeurism has contributed immensely to my becoming a futilitarian, and I hate this conditioning of my soul. What is so distasteful is that the majority of subjects are in concert with these individuals in both design and plan. Many different approaches to life would be immediately implemented, if our society would have the opportunity to be Voyeur for a Day.

He had no control over what he saw and no escape from its influence. As I read the sections of the journal he sent me, which covered the mid-nineteen-sixties through the mid-seventies, I noticed that his persona as a writer changed, gradually shifting from a first-person narrator into a character whom he wrote about in the third person.

The entries become increasingly portentous, and Foos starts to invest the omniscient Voyeur character with godlike qualities. He appears to be losing his grip on reality.

The magic of 1950s suburbia when socks were darned, baths shared and kids roamed wild

But only once, while posted in the attic, did he actually speak through a vent to a person below. He was looking down on Room 6, where he saw a guest eating Kentucky Fried Chicken while sitting on the bed. Instead of using paper napkins, the man cleaned his hands on the bedsheets. He then wiped the grease off his beard and mouth with the bedspread.

The subject stopped eating and looked around the room, and then went to the window and looked out. Apparently he knew someone shouted S. He went to the window and looked out for the second time and pondered the situation for a few minutes, and then continued with his animalistic eating habits.

Review of Fifties Chix: Travel to Tomorrow

Foos lost control on other occasions, each time risking exposure. One time he was watching a couple who were in town on a cattle-buying trip. Foos was eager to see the woman undressed, but the man turned off the lights. The room is lit up real well, and he begins his animal-like thrusting under the covers. I finally get to see her body when she un-covers to wipe the semen away on my bedspread.

She is very beautifully proportioned, but probably equally stupid and dumb. He comes back from the bathroom and notes that the lights outside are still on. The journal entry ends with an existential rumination: Foos is sinking deeper into isolation and despair. Conclusion: I am still unable to determine what function I serve.

The depression builds, but I will continue onward with my research. No one would believe my accomplishments as a voyeur anyway, therefore, the dreamlike manifestation would explain my reality. Foos made it clear to me from the beginning that he regarded his voyeurism as serious research, undertaken, in some vague way, for the betterment of society.

At the end of each year, he tallied his observations into an annual report, trying to identify significant social trends. In , he noted that of the sexual acts that he witnessed, involved white heterosexuals, who favored the missionary position. Over all, he counted male orgasms and 33 female orgasms.

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The following year, there were sexual activities that he believed warranted recording. He also broke people into categories according to their sex drive:. In , he had observed only five instances of interracial sex; by , he told me, the number was closer to twenty-five. Foos viewed this as one of many examples in which his small motel reflected social changes throughout the nation.

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Positive Press Party and pre-launch of Fifties Chix IV

Sort order. Jan 08, Quinn Berry rated it it was amazing. I loved this book!!! It was excellent. I thought it was cool that Angela told it from the boys' point of view. I think this is Angela's best Fifties Chix book yet! But they are all awesome. By the way, I got this on the day it was published and finished it that day! Thank you Angela! Isabella Sims rated it it was amazing Apr 18, Grace rated it did not like it Mar 08, Linzi rated it liked it May 15, Karin marked it as to-read Nov 15, DeAnna Stanley added it Jan 30, Donetha J Groover marked it as to-read Mar 29, Jenna marked it as to-read Jun 13, ALIA marked it as to-read May 12, Almas Aziz marked it as to-read Mar 09, Corisa marked it as to-read Nov 22,