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In Thomas Marino’s oddly titled memoir, Tomorrow May Be Too Late, one might expect to discover handsome lovers with suspenseful careers and personal secrets dashing to expensive rendezvous at exotic locales and engaging in sizzling, passionate sex.
To a degree, that’s what Marino delivers in this sincere but long winded epic of his ten-month affair at the age of twenty-one with another man—there are provocative and questionable jobs and plenty of personal secrets, lots of showers and hot sex (though the luxurious globe-trotting adventures take place between New Jersey and Philadelphia nightclubs and restaurants circa 1988), and the extravagance comes with a price tag of quibbles over spending too much money.
A more appropriate title for Marino’s exposé of falling in love with the “good-looking bad boy” might have been “Lessons I Learned from that Awful Affair,” and what Marino details is what many gay men have also experienced at some point in their lives: Getting into bed with the wrong guy.
But let’s start at the beginning, which is where Marino starts, when handsome Tom meets handsome Tom: Marino meets Tom Shaw at a New Jersey club. Marino is separating from his wife and inching his way out into accepting his homosexuality and having brief affairs with other guys. He is instantly smitten with his attractive new boyfriend. Within days the two men are inseparable and talking about moving in together.
Marino, a banker by day, is also a part-time stripper on weekends—he strives hard to bring some nobility to this questionable profession in his passages, detailing his work at bachelorette and birthday parties, though his credibility suffers somewhat from his own narcissism and self-indulgence, as he and his acquaintances constantly comment on his attractiveness page after page.
Shaw, too, is apparently a looker, but instead of suffering from Marino’s flaws of youthful innocence, naiveté, and sincerity, he is a drifter and a hustler-in-training, setting up scam after scam and initiating a relationship with Marino, who finds himself financially liable for Shaw’s every compliment.
Money, money, money seems to be at the root of all evils in this hot-sex relationship, though it is clear that Marino is not telling the entire story about Shaw, nor is he sugar-coating his own behavior. As Shaw disappears for free time from the relationship to “go driving” and clear his mind, Marino engages in his own bad behavior, more hot sex with more hot men as well as a dalliance with a female co-worker.
All of this is detailed in diary-like entries with prose that is clean, concise, and minimal, and which makes this a remarkably swift read, given the length of the work. On an emotional scale of one to ten, Marino’s residual burn from Shaw is about a four or five—there have clearly been other nasty affairs recorded that are much more disastrous than this—but I make no bones about professing that this book was an addictive weekend read. I could not put it down once I started; it was like knowing a train crash was imminent and wanting to see who survived and how, particularly as I began to see many elements of my own youthful mistakes in both Tom and Tom’s behavior.
TOMORROW MAY BE TOO LATE
by Thomas Marino
Paperback, $24.00, 388 pages