Roger Stamen is not shy about declaring his preference in sexual partners. "Plants get me off," says Mr. Stamen, a self-employed landscape gardener. "They always have, ever since I was a kid. When other guys were masturbating to Penthouse or Beaver, I was hunched over the latest issue of Horticulture magazine."
Sitting at a small, glass-topped table surrounded by the lush, dare one say sensual, foliage of his rooftop garden, Mr. Stamen is a man at ease. A fit-looking chap in his "mid-thirties"—he will not reveal his age nor what his given name was before he legally changed it to Roger Stamen—he waxes enthusiastic about the benefits of his lifestyle.
"Plants don't get jealous. I've had my way with most of the plants on this rooftop. Do you think a woman would be willing to share me with that many other women? How do you think a woman would react if I brought home a fresh, virginal young woman with a sweet, tender peduncle?"
Mr. Stamen did try dating girls when he was a student at Henderson East high school. He even slept with a few, but he preferred touching his plants and himself in his bedroom.
"I couldn't wait to get home from a date so I could have some real sex without having to say 'Of course I love you' when I didn't mean it."
By his senior year at Henderson, Mr. Stamen had stopped dating altogether. He preferred spending his money on an annual membership to nearby Longwood Gardens, where he wandered for hours lost in erotic reverie.
"I spent the happiest hours of my youth at Longwood," he recalls. "The first time I walked through the orchid house, I had such an erection I had to duck into the nearest men's room to relieve it."
Mr. Stamen's memories of Longwood are bittersweet, however. After graduating from high school, where he was a two-term president of the Horticultural Society, he got a trainee job at the world-famous botanical gardens, but he was fired after a group of Japanese tourists filmed him masturbating into a hole he had dug before inserting a foxglove in it.
"They didn't have to report me," he says. "It's not like I was hurting them. Maybe they had never seen a stalk as big as mine before."
After leaving Longwood in disgrace, Mr. Stamen changed his name and started his own landscaping business, whose corporate name he does not wish to reveal. Life has been blue skies and green thumbs ever since.
"I'm living the dream," he says, casting a meaningful glance at a buxom New Guinea impatiens. "I'm surrounded by lush, desirable plants at work and at home. I vacation at some of the finest botanical gardens in the world. I fall in love again every day. What more could a man want?"
What more indeed, as long as no one refers to Mr. Stamen's plants as child substitutes.