This story was originally written in 2004 and 2005, released serially with new chapters approximately monthly. During that time, the most frequent comment I received in email while writing this story has been “I identify with John.” It seems there are a lot of us “Ugly Ones” around. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be as many Tamara/Lynn’s to help us out.

Tamara/Lynn is based on two real women. The first I knew only briefly. Like the fictional Tamara/Lynn, she worked her way through school while supporting a handicapped family member by being a courtesan in the Nevada brothels. She was beautiful, calm, very giving to her clients, and enjoyed her work. The second woman is a former prostitute who is now a counselor on sexuality issues. She regularly works with men who have problems with self-esteem around women and one of her techniques is the weekly “practice date,” like the Thursday evenings at Tamara/Lynn’s. This woman became a good friend before she relocated to Texas.

Jesse and Frank are based on real bullies that tormented me in seventh grade. My ultimate solution to avoiding the bullies was exactly the one that Billy used: finding friends so that the bullies had to either pick on all of us or none of us. It worked, though we never threw a party to celebrate.

All other characters are purely fictional except John.

John’s emotional journey is based on my own. That said, I’ve taken considerable artistic license in everything from his physical features to the orgy in the brothel. The biggest change is that I compressed eight years of my life into ten months of his. Even though the details are fiction, both the emotional struggles and the happy ending are true.