10k

Before I moved across the big pond, I made sure to do lots of New Yorky things: eat everything bagels, go to the new Whitney, ride on the handlebars of a hipster’s fixie, steal something of no monetary value from a self-promoter, kiss Lit Lounge and the lingering traces of East Village grit goodbye, tie up frayed threads of partners past and prospective. Characters I met at shows, on tinder, transferring subways, through friends and friends-of-friends and the claustrophobic scene that is NYC when you were raised a private school brat and your world in infinitely insular. But by far the New Yorkiest thing I’ve done is dating a fist-pumping hedge fund bro who is now tabloid-trashy infamous.

That’s right, kids. Freshman year of college I dated Martin Shkreli: unrepentant capitalist, quoter of Eminem lyrics, embodiment of douchebaggery. The most reviled man in America during this New-York-minute news cycle, which opportunistic politicians have played to their advantage. Martin and I dated long-distance when I was 18 and he was 19. He was working as a junior analyst at Jim Cramer’s Cramer Berkowitz, around the corner from parents’ Midtown apartment in the tenuous post-911 landscape, and attending Baruch College sporadically. His favorite bands were Thursday and Taking Back Sunday, his favorite word austere. We met on the bus home from a Green Day/Blink-182/Saves The Day show at Jones Beach the summer before I frolicked off to hippie dippy liberal arts college. Charming right? A teenage dream. Except it soon became obvious that Martin was a pathological liar, would pretend to cheat on me and brag about it to raise his value in my eyes, so I’d always feel like I was hanging on by a thread, could be replaced, would vie for his approval and forgiveness. Except it backfired, made me think he was pathetic, not desirable.

When we broke up for good, we kept in touch for a while. Had copious bouts of post-break up sex, as per indulgent college-aged kid protocol. I stayed with him for a day or two on the UES after he moved out of an apartment in the Olympic Tower that he had rented from a high school classmate who didn’t know what to do with his inheritance. And then I moved on, like a reasonably well-adjusted emerging adult human. Except when facebook became a thing, in November 2004, Martin began contacting me. First friendly, then increasingly inappropriate and desperate. Unwanted. In April 2008, a full 5-years after we had broken up, he sent me a facebook message alleging, “95% of the time i get off i’m thinking about you.” “ick,” I responded. And it didn’t end there and then.

Because he couldn’t summon my company with his alternately mopey emo boy and manic money-thirsty persona, he began begging me with obscene amount of cash. We’ll never know whether he was serious or bluffing. Either way a fist-pumping exercise in eighties-style douchebag bravado, an emaciated mouse of a man trying to beef himself up with an impressive portfolio, classically conditioned to the sound of the NYSE’s Closing Bell. Funny considering when we were together he never spent money on me unless his friends were standing by the sidelines waving him on, green with envy or antipathy.

See screenshots of relevant conversations below. The first set I copied and pasted from fb to gmail about a year ago, before this whole biotech big pharma price gouging scandal blew up. The next set I took directly from facebook earlier today to prove our correspondence is authentic. Unfortunately you can’t see his side because facebook has made his account, or at least the messages that were sent from it way back when, inaccessible. The third is a message he sent to me from his work email while running the hedge fund Elea Capital Management, further proof that I did in fact know this guy and have rebuffed his continued advances. Obviously I have redacted my last name from the screenshots; otherwise they are undoctored.

Martin Shkreli Facebook 1 Redacted

Martin Shkreli Facebook 2 Redacted

Martin Shkreli Screenshot 1 Redacted

Martin Shkreli Screenshot 2 Redacted

Martin Shkreli Screenshot 3 Redacted

Martin Shkreli Email Redacted

Martin Shkreli Email Response Redacted

The final point of contact, which sadly I didn’t capture, was his attempt to refriend me on facebook this summer. (Never bothered to delete the request; facebook won’t allow me to access it now that his account is under investigation or whatever). I had unfriended him after he solicited me for prostitution and wouldn’t stop pestering me. Unbeknownst to me, his latest attempt came at around the same time he became CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. A friend in finance speculated the surprise contact could be explained by Martin’s sudden acquisition of cash to spend… on women.

Stay classy, baby.

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Keepsake

KEEPSAKE

MAY 2014

“That’s backwards of how the whole author thing works,” Andrew condescends, upon my suggesting I might read his book if we meet in-person and I don’t hate his guts. “If we meet and you hate me you can still hate-read my book,” he presses. And we move on from there, except a few weeks later he’s back at it, assigning reading as a tinder date entry-level prereq when he was the one who messaged me; I did not sign up for his private tutorial. “I just find it unattractively arrogant that you think I wanna read your book, or that I should read it, or whatever,” I attempt to deflate Andrew’s sense of entitlement. But he dismisses me with an adolescent “Meh. I don’t care,” as if he’s literally plugging up his ears and humming over me. “It’s like in college when the guy who didn’t do the reading still wants to be involved in the class discussion.” Incensed, I interject, “Wtf! Do I have to praise your work to talk to you? Are you gonna read stuff that’s important to me, or is that not relevant because I’m not a published author??” And I knock him down a notch: “I’m pretty sure I know people who have made much more significant contributions to society than a memoir about cocaine use.”

Andrew, arbiter of appropriateness, puts a yellow flag on our dispute, determining it has gone “off the rails.” The next day, allowed to speak, I reiterate: I will not subject myself to being quizzed on your life, an area in which you are indisputably an erudite scholar; I will not be a fan girl in a one-sided, worship-based relationship; I didn’t fucking consent to this rigged student-teacher social hierarchy. I allow him to apologize, if insincerely. When I ask what exactly he is apologizing for, he does a decent job paraphrasing my grievances. So I am willing to put it behind me, pretend to ignore my misgivings in the spirit of sex. Aren’t we all?

Shifting from foot to foot, waiting for our order at the pick-up window of the chili pepper red food truck, parked inside Habana Outpost’s outdoor enclosure, I spot him out of the corner of my jumpy eye, which is darting around for signs of the water, plasticware, untaken seats. Corn, is what he ordered, and a smile breaks across his sparsely freckled complexion, as I turn toward him with our dinner tray jutting out from beneath my overhang of tits. Andrew limps toward me, more gimp than gangsta, and I think he is juuust my make: long and lanky, slightly damaged, ladylike legs naturally spindly and now mismatched from a break sustained toppling over himself, subway steps deceptively slick after a nighttime scrub down. We sweep down under the canopy of a picnic table and face each other head-on for the first time, after over a month of unrealized suggestion—racy, fantastical, immaterial.

He reaches across the wood planks to hand me a sweater, as promised, attending to my complaint about the chilly summer breeze as he headed out the door to meet me. Soft and pleasantly unwashed, like bedsheets that have been slept in for weeks, comforting, his everyday pinpoint polka dot hoodie. I sniff it, covertly, as I flip it over my head and wrap it around my shivering shoulders, one swift motion is what I’m going for. With his offering comes a sailor hat and Hawaiian lei, party favors from the nautical-themed birthday party that he invited me to then silently uninvited me from just last night, on our joint birthday. Sensing the miffed expression creeping across my face, my lips thinning, he hands me more sweet nothings, dresses excuses as compliments, “I wouldn’t have been able to focus on the other guests if you were there.” I raise one corner of my mouth, unconvinced. “It’s best we met this way. So I wouldn’t be so distracted trying to get them to go home so I could be alone with you. The second I saw you in your floral dress… I was like ‘yes!’” I think back to five-minutes ago at the food truck, my eye catching the glimmer his. Our conversation has already elapsed a little stilted and awkward, not audacious and alluring like our previous correspondence. Better in print, I suppose.

Subtly, I try to shift the topic from backgrounds and upbringings to something that authentically animates me: lawn flamingos, kitsch… gay porn, we somehow land on. And you can’t talk about gay porn without buttsex, my colorectal surgery, lack of internal butt, his obsession with great butts, doing yoga to ogle them… “I’m into butts but not… ‘butt stuff’” he blushes, fair skin tinting to approximate the graphic cherries on his scarf. Still sheepish, “This is like, I don’t know about saying this on a first date.” His voice falters. “It’s cool,” I urge him to go on. “This is like, our 5th date, basically. We know so much about each other already.” He tells me about his ex girlfriend from nearly five years ago, the one from The Book, her interest in poking around “back there,” his eyes opening wide and teeth gritting in restraint as he tells me the horror, the craaayziness. It’s small potatoes to me, after all I’ve done and seen—bland, almost.

Presenting as a peacock, he’s deliberately adorned himself in two items of flair—grey fitted vest over pink button-down, loudly patterned scarf he insists is an “ascot.” And I suppose that is the conversation piece, this a page ripped straight from Neil Strauss’ The Game, a pick-up manual for men without natural charisma. I’m starting to wonder whether he’s the real deal or carefully curated, a concoction. Feel as if I’ve pulled back the curtain on The Wizard of Oz, himself. Flamboyant image overcompensating for timidity, introspection, bookishness. Dorkiness, even. Quotations for every occasion or character flaw like a walking hallmark card or alibi—recited, rehearsed. Had I not invested a month in him already, I would have brushed off the situation as an intellectual connection with no physical chemistry. But I let him dilate time, lead me to the next location, extending bum leg all the way out, then rolling up on the front pad of his foot, with me following in tow. “Topple-over tits” is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of how he was walking. His demeanor, his disproportionate body. Underneath his puffed-up plumage is a sparrow teetering on teeny legs—mild-mannered, shy, sweet.

At the threshold of his brownstone, I take in our surroundings: his stroller-brigade Boerum Hill block does not resemble the pre-gentrification Fort Greene backdrop of the fantasies in which he casts himself as a legendary Downtown “scenester,” who nightlifed in Manhattan before it became a glorified B&T suburb. Creaking open his double door, he leads me into a collector’s cave of memorabilia. Not kitschy like David Cassidy or hardcore like Agnostic Front. But narcissistic like a shrine dedicated to his own microfame. His foyer greets me with a prominent magazine display, more mantelpiece painting than doctor’s office rack, only one item balancing on the moulding. Inquiring about the significance, he lifts it off the lip of the wall, flips it over, and there it is, on the back cover, a miniscule photograph of him, head poking out behind the important people. A hanger-on, he is, like Woody Allen’s Zelig, seeking to camouflage with celebrities, assume an identity of having “made it,” solidify fleeting acquaintances in photo ops, become part of any cultural zeitgeist that will have him, then relive it as a historian. All I can hope is that he’s a brilliant self-satirist, in on his own joke. This is a mockumentary, the soundstage walls set to come down. “This is Spinal Tap.”

On his bedside table, merch is spread out garishly—pins with his signature selfie. Meant for the days of jean jackets, backpacks. “May I have one?” I demure, estimating megalomania memorabilia to be the most hilarious sex souvenir this side of the East River. It’s sort of a test, how seriously does he take his craft. “No, I give those to people who have paid for my book.” My nose scrunches up at his denial. “Would it be weird if I showed up at one of your readings?” I ask. “Not at all, but I only do readings at indie bookstores,” he reminds me of his cred, emphatic, as if that were even the question I asked. Or maybe he’s reminding himself. “You should hand them out to girls you fuck and hope they bump into one another, knowingly. Like that Degrassi episode where Jay gives Emma gonorrhea of the mouth and brands her with the bracelet he gives all the girls. ‘Every Player Gets a Prize,’ it says.” “Ha! How ridiculous would that be?” Soo ridiculous. So ridiculous. That, shit, suddenly I covet a stupid trinket.

Before we met, I knew exactly how he wanted to be described. I had read it in a bad review of his book, a damning indictment if ever there were one. According to the reviewer, on his boundless quest for self-validation and cultural relevance—amidst his peers assuring him his work is brilliant and marveling at how a skinny literary nerd manages to land so many hot chicks—his biggest transgression is bragging about his girth. By way of another character, of course. Social proof! He had slipped it into one of our text message convos, as well, apropos of nothing—that he and his college girlfriend dated for three whole years even though he was “too thick” for her. Yeah right.

I didn’t mean to say it, exactly. I hadn’t rehearsed it in my bathroom mirror, or anything. And I wasn’t even sure we were having sex, penis-in-vagina style, until I hovered over him patiently waiting for consent, encouragement, enthusiasm, and he over-pronounced all the vowels, “Soo inappropriate for a first date. Preeemartial sax.” Yet, when the opportunity presents, somehow I can’t resist—testing to see if he will recognize my mimicry and implicit mockery. On my hands and knees, he pummeling me from behind, I peek over my shoulder and coo, “Mmm, you are really thick.” “Is it too much?” he hopes and dreams, his starry eyes sparkling in self-adulation. Nearly breaking character, I have to brace myself from collapsing into giggles. Struggling to one-up myself with a retort, I manage to deliver, “No… it’s purrrfect. I feel so tight around you.” My muscles clench around him and my timbre wavers.

MAY 2015

Once he commences ignoring me, I decide that I no longer need to have any principles about him. So I purchase his book, send him the receipt, and mock him mercilessly, “I read your book. Twice. Now what do I have to do to get you to fuck me again? I would get down on my knees and suck you while reading your book aloud if it were physically possible.” Shockingly, he doesn’t bite my bait. Whatever, I’m not sure the degradation is worth the sex anyway, sweetheart this, honey that. Except the sex is reallly good. So who cares if he’s a profesh narcissist who uses dating as a platform for self-promo. My vag doesn’t know the diff. Anyway, I’m not sure if he’s more damaged than most or if he just flaunts his flaws. It’s the prob people have assessing me, I guess, so I feel a certain kinship.

A year later he reinserts himself into my frame. Bidding me a happy birthday. And I can’t help but reduce him to an object, a passing fad. Collect them all!

commemorative pin

A week or so later he reemerges, and I check his social media to see to what I owe the pleasure. Apparently he broke up with his “girlfriend” and was looking for attention, to pick a fight, who knows. I put that word in quotes because it seemed superficial and tenuous, like he felt compelled to announce his relationship continually all over social media, told her publicly how pretty she was, literally tagged anything she commented on #girlfriend, as in “my #girlfriend is funny.” The most insecure in their standing are always the showiest. “Well thanks for thinking of me when you needed someone to lick your wounds,” I brushed him off. “But I’m not some fucking volunteer tending to lost souls. Just like I’m not a hospital volunteer. You already used me enough during your overwrought recovery for a broken leg and ignored me when I had cadaver placed in my spine. You know how it is.” And then I remembered I was a ghost, with unfinished business. “Oh… wait… one critical thing I forgot…” I pleaded before he slipped out of my grasp forever. “On our first date you asked to see a picture of my shit.”

green poop map of america

So juvenile. So satisfying.

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The Whir-Grind

The Whir-Grind

 

March 16th, 2015

“You have to start taking responsibility for yourself, start acting like a 30-year-old,” my mom scolds over some petty infraction. “First you won’t go to J. Crew with me to return the suits, suits we ordered for you, then you won’t even order food for yourself…” Either she trails off or I walk away mid-sentence on my way to slamming the door dramatically. “The reason I didn’t go with you is because I’m exhausted, I’ve been through a lot,” my voice wavers. And I’m determined to nail the dagger in, crookedly, before it gives way completely, “You fucking insensitive cunt!” Not quite making it to the door-slam climax I envisioned, my eyes churn ablur, like a washing machine stirring into the sudsy cycle; I toss into tears, high-pitched heaving. In the vacant hallway between our side-by-side apartments, I fiddle frantically with my dangling keys, holding on by the string of a lanyard, shaking them into the slit of a hole with the dexterity of a three-year-old pushing a hexagon through a shape sorter. Just quick enough to deny our mutual neighbors the time to trickle out and gawk, at the commotion, my lack of hand-eye coordination.

Her bitchy accusations trigger a cascade of emotions. “You have to act like a 30-year-old,” the cruelest thing you could say to your daughter who has long been incapacitated due to illness, dependent on you like a newborn child, sometimes contained to a person-powered wheelchair and sometimes in diapers, stuck in her body and unable to move on with her life, barely able to move in the literal sense. If only I could meet the facebook-ready milestones people my age famously achieve, if only I could be healthy consistently enough to hold down a full-time job, move out of my parents’ apartment, be independent.

The most serendipitous of life opportunities doomed before launching, shopping for suits for med school interviews was a production, an ordeal. Boxes and boxes of merchandise rejected, packages piled up like shoddily stacked bricks waiting to collapse.

Most colossal was the inauspicious timing. Lying in bed groggy on prescription painkillers, 2 weeks into my 4-6 weeks of projected recovery for spinal fusion surgery, I swiped my phone open to an e-mail informing me I’d been selected to interview for a seat in the 2015 entering class of a prestigious Irish medical school. Which I had applied to on a whim, supposing what is another 400 dollars and extra essay shipped off into a sea of hopelessness, only to sink spectacularly with the rest of the lot. I should choose one of two interview dates, the email instructed, one right after the other, both three weeks from then, when I still would not be permitted to BLT. You see, post-surgery, I was unable to Bend over to put on my own socks or feed my little kitty, could not Lift more than three pounds, must not have Twisted my torso when rolling over and out of bed. With so many movement restrictions in place, even if stores stocked suits in my size, I wouldn’t have been able to travel on my own to try them on.

Everything about the interview process became an onerous challenge, many hours of logistical and physical effort put into perfecting a conservative costume that would ornament me for one-half hour, while gauged in caliber and gait. There is the issue of my being petite, sizes “P.” With no business-formal clothing for truncated bodies available in corporeal stores, I’m relegated to the realm of slow-acquisition internet purchases followed by requisite tailoring. Inconvenient considering my limited time frame for finding. The bigger issue, har har, is my boobs. Structured jackets unintentionally repurposed as straight jackets, how do I button while remaining free to gesticulate my arms? If only suits came in deep-plunge v-neck style, giving my ample babies room to breathe. So frustrated and flustered I became with the stiffness and misplaced darts, my mom grabbed hold of the reigns and ordered extra options behind my unbendy back.

One night she admitted, “I know you said absolutely no Talbots. But I ordered you two suits from Brooks Brothers. Very classic pinstripe in summer navy, skirt and pants version. Shipping was free, you can always return if you hate.” “Echh, okay.” I resigned. “Stuffy central. But it’s doubtful a Brooks Brothers suit will fit me, anyway, forgetting the uptightness factor. They’re cut for boobless gentiles from Connecticut.” “No, not the Classic Cut. I specifically avoided ordering the style with that in the description.” “It said ‘For Boobless Gentiles’?” I jested. “Pretty much.” Perusing the website, I exclaimed, “’Trim Bust’!” “That’s it.” “Well, I don’t want to trim them before my interview!… though I did shadow that plastic surgeon.”

Fit problems, so man wrong ways to fit and only one right one. Minor sartorial crime a boob-hugging jacket it tempted to commit: the fabric gapes, blouse peeks out between buttons. Crime against humanity, fear-provoking possibility: the top-button hangs on by a thread, flies off mid-interview. Since the inception of this high-stakes Dressing The Part game show, me, the bumbling contestant, I’ve had recurrent nightmares aping the plotline of a Friends episode. The one where Ross got hit in the head with a hockey puck and went to the hospital for stitches. Sitting impatiently in the waiting room, the compact culprit jumped out of his clasped hands and knocked out the nasty intake nurse, had it coming, har har. Only, in my version, I lean forward innocently over the perfectly polished stained-oak round table, answer a question passionately, taking special care to sustain direct and animated eye-contact. So engaged I am in my interaction, I fail to notice what is coming to pass inches below my virgin eyes. The boob-button rips from my chest thread-by-thread and cuts the air sideways like a Frisbee aimed bullseye at the Olde Irish Man’s pert nose. Dumbfounded, he is struck.

After my post-interview blowout with my mom, wherein she implied how useless I am for fucking failing to meet expectations, I stay up all night weeping hysterical, feeling fucking useless like all my effort has been for naught. Each memory recalling the next, they snowball upon each other, I tumble under the slip-slide of their avalanche, crushed by the current of weight and chill. The following morning at 2 p.m., nights dragged on and days truncated by depression, I wake up bleary-eyed, puffy, drained. Strain to bloat my sleep for as long as I can pretend I don’t exist—until my head beats as if I’m banging it against the wall over-and-over, when is this life gonna be fucking over, and summons me out of bed toward my kitchen.

I plod through the swampland of drudgery that is my beige living room, dragging my baggy pajama pants as if they’re weighted down with a dip of mud. Arriving at my kitchen with my earplugs still in, I assess the daunting array of equipment, plop all my morning smoothie ingredients into my trusty all-tasks-in-one blender, and mentally prepare for the utilitarian whir-grind, a noxious noise dissonant to my head beat.

Pound Pound, a loud thud at the door startles me from my smoothie preparation. “Go away,” I Oscar The Grouch, assuming it is my mom to nag me some more. “It’s important,” my dad says shortly, with urgency or annoyance, I don’t know. Money matters, must have been sent as an intermediary to intimidate me. To recoup tuition money from NYU, for a class I had to drop because my surgery was postponed and the recovery time seeped into the semester, couldn’t even lift my textbook, surely greater than 3 lbs. Because my parents refused to pay for my surgery, my body too much of a burden, and I became reliant on insurance, the endless paperwork and bureaucracy of it all, one more application submitted into a sea of hopelessness, a cubicle cubby, somewhere.

Last night begins flooding back into my washed-up head, my parents, their indifference, their demands. “What!?” I yell back, suspicious. “I have a Fed Ex envelope. It came for you.” Blocking my runaway cat with my foot, I creak the door open ever-so slightly, propping it with the dead bolt. And there it is, a thick envelope. Another package. I rip it open as he waits, irritated by my dismissal.

“What is it?” he asks, impatient.

“An acceptance letter.”

“I just got into med school?” I mumble into my shirt, unsure or embarrassed, perhaps.

“I got into med school,” I affirm, looking up at him and locking eyes.

We hug, perfunctory, then leave my apartment, a clamoring procession on our way to tell my mom. Down my hallway we stride, a few paces closer to independence. This package, not for the reject pile.

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Dream Big, Baby: Part 6

DREAM BIG, BABY: PART 6

 

……………………………………………………………………………………

 THE FRONT END

……………………………………………………………………………………

 FEBRUARY

Niall visited me a few weeks after my surgery, knowing full well that I was capable of no more than consuming dinner and codeine, limping around my apartment lamely, and reclining to watch movies. I entered the platonic hang under suspicion that our communication troubles were a shield for fundamental physiological incompatibility. One can talk about sexual “differences” all his precious, idealistic heart desires; either the boning works or it doesn’t.

Pressed up next to him on my loveseat devoid of expectations, he smelled like sex; his pheromones already imprinted upon me. Whereas our first time together may have been a little bit rushed, there was something so tantalizing about smelling and not getting to touch. Suppose my nose can spot and summon a sexual partner past, but knows not how to discriminate a good fuck from a comical disaster waiting to happen. Maybe it knows what I don’t: that sexytimes aren’t monolithic and static; they’re both context-dependent and subject to practice. It’s sort of silly to presume otherwise considering how varied even masturbating can be, and it isn’t as if at certain times I’m more compatible with myself, nor have I improved steadily as I’ve learned my preferences. Of course, the last time I ignored history, took Toucan Sam’s advice and followed my nose, it resulted in my current crippledom. “JUST THE TIP!” I had whispered, intrepidly, into my own ear. Often times we can trail a whiff, chase a whim, take flight; other times reason must reign supreme, or so I remind myself, not convincingly enough.

Historically speaking, sex hasn’t always been instant-gratification button-pushing amazing. But this year I have luxuriated in a few experiences that were immaculate immediately. And I’ve fetishized the effortlessness, adhering to its superiority almost superstitiously. As if sex is a polarizing sphere in which people are compatible or clash, oil and water immiscible, any misstep means it wasn’t meant to be. Bodies are supposed to fit together naturally. Sex is so deeply embedded it can’t be dislodged. Compromise ultimately results in dissatisfaction for both parties. Are the axioms with which I cast off imperfect partners. And yes, all of these platitudes have some truth: There are some things that are dealbreakers to me, e.g., semen phobia. I could never be satisfied in a relationship if the sex wasn’t copacetic, consuming, and consistent. But where I’m fooling myself is in accepting society’s story that first times with new people are diagnostic and deterministic, as if we’re automatically able to intuit how to please each other, pre-programmed. How Harlequin of me. Think of all the fumbles.

A previous sexual partner (Neil) posted this year’s pre-Valentine’s Day Modern Love column on facebook. I explain how I came across it to highlight in pink ink and squiggly hearts that I do not, on my own accord, seek out trite meet-cute stories. Daniel Jones’ summative insights on finding and sustaining love apply to my superstitions about sex.

In writing about love, the story of how we met looms large because a lot of us believe, validly or not, that a good meeting story bodes well for the relationship.

What do we consider to be a good meeting story? When it involves chance more than effort. You get bonus points if the chance encounter suggests compatibility, like mistakenly wheeling off with each other’s shopping carts at Whole Foods because your items had so much overlap, you got the carts mixed up… It seems the harder we work at finding love, the more prone we are to second-guessing the results… The fear is we may force things or compromise after pushing so hard for so long. We may admire hard work in most endeavors, but we admire laziness when it comes to finding love. (If you manage to stay together over the long haul, however, it will be because of effort, not chance.)

—Daniel Jones, Modern Love, February 5th 2015: How We Write About Love

Totally true that continuing anything on a long-term basis requires effort—if not to improve the sex itself, then to prevent yourselves from annoying each other such that you grow too weary to fuck. I’ve been in sad situations where stellar sex stopped working because the guy was incapable of communicating about basic, logistical things, like timing and location, that aren’t pertinent to sexual satisfaction if worked out but become unnecessary obstacles if not attended to. For example, “Can we try to reschedule things so next time we have sex before we go out, instead of once we’re back home and exhausted?” once elicited an outburst of, “You can’t complain about the sex; I’m not your boyfriend.” Ummm, I didn’t claim that you were. I would like to be a little less horny and impatient when we socialize. I would like to be a little more lively when we fuck. It’s Dan Savage’s #fuckfirst campaign. A shame some people cannot handle even the most fortunate of confrontations, ones about how to make the fucking work even better.

So here we are, Niall and I, loading effort into the front end. After all, I was ‘asking for it’ with all that ‘second time’s the charm’ business. His suggestion that we try again despite initial failure is almost verbatim what I proposed on December 23rd, two days before our initial okcupid conversation.

 I want so badly to say to the next guy: Even if it isn’t that good and even if nothing will come of this, I want to continue having sex with you. For the constancy. Which is not nothing. In a sexual landscape where I’ve gone missing—suspended in space between guys—it is the narrative thread that will hold my broken body together.

I’m going to defer to Clarisse Thorne on her discussion of building chemistry and managing incentives so you aren’t distracted by fleeting romance or put off by the effort it can take to build something with long-term potential. Once upon a time in college I dated someone I now fully believe to be gay. In spite of our best efforts, mine at least, we never gained chemistry or comfort; everything was a pained intellectual exposition. Almost a meta-relationship, like we related about the relationship we didn’t quite have. With Niall it’s weird: the personality chemistry and physical attraction are both solid, they galvanize me and buzz in the air between us. What is lacking is the telepathy about the mechanics, stimulation and response. Seems like that is an issue of building common vocabulary, practicing, and not getting discouraged. Low-hanging fruit.

I have dated men where the chemistry was so intense, so obvious, that it hung in the air between us like smoke. I’ve had sex that felt like telepathy. It’s pretty awesome when it works…

And then I’ve dated guys where the learning curve — both sexually and temperamentally — was much longer. It was less instinctive. But it was not impossible. So I know for a fact that people can build chemistry. Sometimes it’s just there, but sometimes you can create it.

My relationship with Mr. Ambition… I decided I was really into him … and I started managing my incentives. There was another guy I saw occasionally, with whom I had stronger instinctive chemistry. This other guy agreed with me that we didn’t want a Big Important Relationship. This other guy will screw up my incentives if I hang out with him too much, I thought, and I limited my time with him.

—Clarisse Thorn, [Storytime] Chemistry

I also resonate with SnowdropExplodes‘s comments on Clarisse’s post.

On OkCupid in one of my question explanations, I said that dedication is more important than passion in a relationship, because while passion [can] wax and wane, dedication will get you through the patches where the passion has faded.

I tend to agree that dedication is a stronger foundation than passion for a relationship. Sex is a fleeting and flighty sensation, cheap and expendable, while commitment provides the thread to string it together, the impetus to make it work even if you don’t always want the sex and could dispense with the person in an individual instance. Stability is ultimately what we are looking for in our old age, isn’t it, instead of a collection of disparate experiences? I mean, once you’ve accumulated enough experiences you realize most of them are shit, and my toilet overfloweth. For sure I’ve shaken much of my FOMO instinct because thus far I’ve been so greedy. And it hasn’t left me with much that is lasting. Not even any good diseases!

Mostly my urge to experience it all has given me only shallow experiences, barren stretches intermittent with explosion, not much nuance or gradation. Passion flares sizzling down to scorched earth in the wink of a session or two. Now, built up again, I’m ready for a slow burn. Seems like we as a society have internalized the dichotomy that a man is either sweet and available or exhilarating and self-absorbed. But in this regard I think we can have it all. Someone doesn’t have to be inconsistent and ambiguous about where you stand and what they are willing to offer you to keep it fresh and exciting; they can be dedicated to pushing boundaries and taking risks with you.

Except I have my reservations about no sexual chemistry immediately. Clarisse makes a point in the comments of I’m Not Sure Why I Want To Have Children, But I Do, in response to a thoughtful suggestions that she might consider a polyamorous situation where she raises kids with a platonic friend and has sex with separate partners.

I’ve thought before that I’d be fine with straightforwardly treating a marriage like an LLC for kids. Yet chemistry seems to be one of the aspects that helps people have patience with each other and through the tough times.

True, sex is integral to maintaining a complicated relationship because it can be used as a tool to iron out the kinks. Stay together for the sex: an unpopular but realistic incentive. And I think this is why I’ve always asserted that sex is The Most important thing to me. Not because I’m some dolt who cares more about my fleeting pleasure than how someone treats me, but because without satisfying and steady sex, I’m not convinced the other stuff can work. In relationships where I haven’t been sexually satisfied, resentments have built quickly. Make-up sex might be no more than a chemical bandaid, downing a Tylenol to treat symptoms, but it alleviates a headache for long enough for you to work around it and focus on fortifying other aspects of your relationship.

Which brings us to the final point: It’s easier to work on sex than liking one another. Physical routines are subject to revision but character flaws are pretty much forever. The flipside is that positive, relationship-building traits also tend to persist. Niall has already been patient and infinitely understanding with me. He entered into the situation knowing that I’d be somewhat physically incapacitated for a while and would need rehab thereafter, that my illness has persisted to wear on me emotionally. Nevertheless, he was intrigued and remained engaged in the face of setbacks.

So much less crash and burn than all the situations I’ve been in recently: despite our initial sexual debacle, I feel calm, not keyed up about him. After his post-surgery visit, I didn’t hear from him for over two weeks and I didn’t freak out even one bit. Rightfully so; he turned up. Wonder whether my lack of anxiety or angst is because I’m in a good place for once, every little slight isn’t one more piece of shit piled up in a toilet about to overflow. Or whether it’s because he has little physical claim over me thus far, I cannot yet feel him in my body. At least insofar as his disappearance would not register as a built-in being snatched away violently.

I’ve already done the hard work of pitching myself as repulsive in every way, giving Niall every opportunity out. Attempting to cast him off. If we can recover from “I just wanted you to unfib or consistently fib to make your nose-peen stop growing then shrinking,” we aren’t in such bad shape,” right? I almost wonder: What did I do right?

Then I posit: Maybe Niall is exactly the resilience I need. Reliance. Resilience.

 Working on sex. I guess this is growing up?

Posted in dream big baby: part 6 | Leave a comment

Dream Big, Baby: Part 5

DREAM BIG, BABY: PART 5

 

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Dream on.

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Two days later, I’m thawed out on drugs, restless from too much sleep and too little movement, looking for a getaway vehicle to take me away to the morphine peach fuzz life of slumber. Unable to discard my shaky shell of a body, I must inhabit the hollow, my mantra the only way out is in. Reaching under my bed for my slimmest toy, vibratey and insertable, without bending my spine, I roll over onto my right side and resume spine-straight fetal position, pajamas around knees, knees pointed toward tits. Minutes later, I’m coming restrained, buckling and clenching, arms bracing self on side, support stakes tethering me to the mattress like back screws buttressing my vertebrate alignment.

Drifting off to sleep, I stroll into a panoramic dream about Andrew in some multiplex architectural wonder situated in a hotel housing a restaurant-slash-ballroom, among other hideouts, everything in high-res Technicolor.

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He, sprawled out on the contiguous stage of a dancefloor with some girl who appears to be a composite of two girls he’s slept with in real life, one hot one not. This one, objectively pretty though not my type: blonde, leggy, shapeless, the girl-next-door glitzed up, glam. I lie down across from them on the waxy woodpanels, observing. Their bodies both oil-slicked, to capture the bounce of the stagelights? To glean like a sidewalk sprinkled in water on a high-budget movie shoot, accentuating the background-foreground contrast? To sharpen his reflection when he admires himself passing in each and every freshly squeegeed shoppe window? Aggressively stylized, he appears even in the buff, almost airbrushed. The roll-on Smells Like Teen Spirit body glitter of adulthood, just my scent. All the phoniness beaded up on the surface. Unless it was meant to serve a purpose? As a purse, is how he wears the woman, slung across his slender body, draped and undressed. A status symbol and social currency, an accessory to mask his insecurity. Propped up by the implicit social proof of his conversation piece, the expansive sea of stage provides an apt setting, as his entire life seems to be a staged production, his bright-lights social media presence deliberately divergent from the mild-mannered man. Frail and lackluster in real life, meeting him for the first time I felt as if I had pulled back the curtain on the Wizard Of Oz. Though I had bargained for a pompous peacock, gratefully I accepted a sparrow small and sweet, preferring the person to the persona.

He began groping her, a superficial window display of an act. Appalled by his insensitivity in expressing physical affection in front of me when clearly he knew I still wanted him, I scowl-scoffed. Then shifted my weight to get up and extricate myself from the situation. Sensing my agitation, he forbade me, wait, it’s not what you think. Then preceded to get up from her, drape himself over me, and grope me the same. Oh, I was being canvassed for a threesome. Why of course! I could not be any more tickled by the prospect. Overjoyed! She was no Emily, this one, but she’d do. Reconciliation, at last! Like when my college boyfriend bought me lady porn as a getting-back-together slash sorry-for-accusing-you-of-cheating-with-a-girl gift.

I was a little surprised Andrew wasn’t disgusted by my enthusiastic reception, considering he puffs up at the prospect of women fighting over him. Sharing is soo much sexier, and even the most pathological of narcissists realizes this. I excuse myself to the bathroom to go “freshen up,” the proverbial pre-sex pee or in my case bowel purge: evacuate shit to make room for peen. I step over the girl on my way there, and see her mouth words snappily across the woodpanels, “Waaait, wherrre is she going,” scolding Andrew for what she presumes is a failed conquest. He tells her not to worry I’m just going to the bathroom, and she invigorates with the idea, instructing within ear-shot, “Get the camera out NOW, let’s start filming while she is in there.” So I speed things up, wanting to shoot the shit before film is rolling. Some things are private! Others are not.

Concerned by this creepy, predatory set-up, I should be, you say?

All I’ve ever wanted is for someone to affirm my desire to be watched, that exhibitionism is attractive and not the narcissistic nadir of desperation. From a woman, it’s the ultimate acceptance, confirmation that I’m not a piteous, past-my-prime slut.

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Approaching the sink to wash up, I detect rumbling behind the mirror ornamenting the overhead cabinet just left of the doorway. Pivoting on my tippie toes, I turn ninety degrees, slide the glass door along its track frame and see up the pinhole of a ceiling shaft that there is an attic, like in an old abandoned house. An elusive thing just an arm’s length out of reach, he’s up there fumbling with a camera, trying to play subtle and camouflage his flamboyant feathers against the grain of the cupboard. I part primp for him—them, part prep myself, and part play to the camera. First plumping my lips with gloss, dragging the gooey tip of my index finger over my poised pucker, sleek and velvety on application. Next drawing a line down my chin, through the valley of my tits, past the speed bump of my belly button, and into the tense waistband of my underpants, which have magically appeared for the affectation of resistance—provocation theater! Given my vehement refusal at self-restraint, my panties bluff coy, mostly to entice me. Swollen and goopy, I give in and give up the charade only when my breath thickens husky, rasping for him. I reach up errant into the overhead void, push the camera aside with a swipe of sloppy fingers; jumping back a bit, he startles, astonished that his ruse is up. “I know you’re up there,” the adult version of ready-or-not-here-I-come. He doesn’t budge. “You can come down now,” I say, sweetly sinister, as he pokes his over-sized head out, bashfully. “I’m Into It,” I assure, all caps and smirk. Bashful, befriend Dopey.

Climbing down through the unlikely cabinet portal, he approaches me from behind, wrapping his arms around my tits, sliding them down slowly, seductively. Me, all smiles. He bends my top-heavy torso over to one thirty analog clock, pads of my hands propping me against the wall. Rolling spit on the head of his cock, he draws his body into mine, pressing gently until my pussy parts, and we pick up momentum. First thrust send shivers up and down my spine like a mallet running over a xylophone key-by-key then in reverse. Recovering, I look clear and straight ahead, noticing myself noticing myself in the camera lens. Self-conscious, I smile, laughing at my own joke. Not a shy, blushing, demure self-consciousness; rather one of being jolted back into the recurring reality of vision clouding sensation, the overcoming aura of recognizing my face and reconnecting. And I exhilarate, What a thrill it would be to own my own body. What a thrill it would be to come into myself, as someone fucks me senseless—defenseless.

Air pulling in and sucking out of my thorax, my eyes squint and glisten slipperily, watching my bottom lip quiver and ripple in the perpetuity of reflection, as the rumble between my legs builds upon itself… picks up steam and plows forward into profusion until the put-put of the tea pot teems and turns into a whistle. Fading in and out of focus, mine, his, peering over my shoulder, my head cocked back, mine, his, with every thrust we contort in sync. He cups the undercurrent of my tits and slides down my torso, wrapping his long limber fingers around my inner thighs to brace me, as if hoisting me up by my own breeches. Sensing the imminence with which the clock will strike twelve, I will melt into jello and forget my own legs, he holds me in place, enabling me to dissolve and receive, assemble into a rippling pool of pleasure. Ceding to my rebel yell, released throaty and conjured from deep inside my chest cavity, he thrusts his pelvis even further into my butt crevice as I tense around him. Halfway between levitation and physical restraint, I lose track of whether I’m spread and spread again or tense, approaching or retreating; he’s supporting me entirely, slip-sliding down his cock, my fanned-out lady lips slapping against his full, flappy balls.

Our euphoria reaches a critical mass of weightlessness, he carrying my load before he shoots his. Except we settle down slowly, he swings the bathroom door open and leads me by the pinkie as if I’m the effeminate one and he is about to twirl me off to our next adventure.

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We crawl up the cast-iron spiral staircase paved with plush red carpeting—the luxe version of the rickety tin cans he has strung together in his apartment, leading at a sharp angle from basement kitchen to ground floor bedroom, a firepole of footholds condensing square footage. Clawing our way to conquer our prize, we stop at the second landing. And there she is, gleaming and fully clothed in cocktail attire. In a booth—sipping on a swizzle-sticked classic martini across the table from a blurry-faced, identity-interchangeable, exquisitely dressed suit—obviously on a date. For romance or “business” it is unclear.

She asks Andrew how it’s going and he asks her the same, all the while ignoring The Other Man, face a blur. In front of me it unfolds, the kind of interaction reserved for when you are at a bar with friends and one breaks away from the group to land a guy. Before leaving with Him, giddy and teetering on too-tall heels, she checks in with you and you inform her you’re going to stay put and mingle, chase the night into morning. On her way out, over the clanking of glasses and rustling of outerwear, you bid her, “Have Fun (Wink, Wink).” Use condoms. Text me tomorrow to let me know you’re still alive. Divulge all the dirtiest deets. It’s a sorority girl handshake, two girlfriends pre-gossiping before shit goes down.

Andrew nods at Composite Girl in dutiful acknowledgment, Have a great night, and we continue the climb without our precious cargo in tow. Confused by whatever he knows that I don’t, I stalk his lanky length up the stairs, following him reflexively around the gentle cast-iron curves. And I’m distracted by the corporeal reality for a bit, crawling behind in Jungle Book succession, nose and tail in air, lusting after his long lean lady legs. All I can think of is leg worship, Raylene the drag queen who hostessed my queerest of the queer 18th Birthday party at Lips, how he could fulfill at the wet and wanking gender bending dreams I had in high school. Bet I could even get him into the infamous flamingo pink ass floss thong. A preacher’s son, he told me he doesn’t have limits. Sooo tempting to test. Rearing to continue, I am, hindquarters as red as a baboon’s are blue. Roses are red, balls are blue, Genie is such a romantic…

jungle book

We ascend steadily, and just before Composite Girl and Blurry Man are out of sight, I tug on his extended leg slightly, sputtering perplexed. I ask what the situation with that girl could possible be, why hadn’t we collected her, what is the deal with that guy. And the whole thing makes little sense to me considering in real life he seems psychotically jealous, projecting his insecurities by pretending the women are the jealous, needy ones. He admits it, matter-of-fact: “She is my patron.” And I know exactly what he means, this patron-prostitute relationship. Because the previous evening, in real life, I had read an article in Salon about the importance of writers being transparent about the source of their funding, whether it is being born into money, marrying into it, or more unadulterated forms of whoring. Not to discredit anyone’s talent or effort, but to admit to the leisure life that allows them to exercise it with more facility than their financially burdened or otherwise responsible peers. Reading this expose on creative “arrangements,” I gloated roguishly, How I Would Love To Own That Boy. Keep him well, I would. Not sufficiently convinced that I’m a piece of shit person?

Before I grew impatient with his ignoring me, we had this conversation:

Andrew: I hate to say this but I think I need to get a job.

Me: Besides fucking me?

Me: Let’s hang out tomorrow.

Obviously I was joking.

Andrew: If I fuck you better can you pay for the sessions? I have too many [travel plans] next month and I haven’t worked since April.

He was too.

But once he started ignoring me I got so turned on by the prospect of payment. What it would be to purchase a man. He couldn’t fuck me better, it was practically perfect as is, but I could pay for him to be mine. Whether it would be more degrading for him or me, who knows. Who cares? For both of us, it would be sex.

Back in my dream, Composite Girl is his sponsor, almost, and I admire that he owned up to the origins of his success, his ability to accrue experiences and catalog them. Apparently he sexually favors her sometimes as a courtesy but it isn’t primarily a sexual exchange. She dates, goes to events, sleeps up herself. Mostly he is a plus one for hire, and I always saw him as the epitome of that. Since my idea of a good time is attending an upscale event, preferably one including “ladies” who tormented me as a child, and seeing how socially inappropriate I can get away with being without chancing ostracism. He’s just gauche and unrefined enough for that job: just new money, name droppy, and opportunistic enough to be trashy; just self-conscious enough to be self-promotional; just pretty boy emaciated enough to scarf down unpronounceable appetizers with abandon. Though if someone wanted to do some serious Society Seeing, he would have to be groomed and vetted as to avoid committing a conspicuous and unforgivable faux pas, like bragging that his second-tier liberal arts college is more impressive than his high school girl friend’s top-three or like insinuating that well-to-do teenagers start having sex younger than their low-SES counterparts. Tonight his de facto employer is on a date, negotiating her own social ascent, and he is off the clock, available for my enjoyment—at my service!

We tunnel through a series of corridors, a plexiglass sleeve of a train car, and surface at the next open landing: a glass-roofed spa resembling an indoor arboretum, walls lined with signature hotel robes and slippers. Looking past the 80’s peach reception desk, wafting the chlorine on the other side of the revolving door, it is time for us to get down to business. Except he’s resistant, suddenly aloof and alarmist.

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He blows me off, anxiously eyeing the out-of-date waiting room mags, distraction props, like fixating on the duration of the 50-minute hour in a tense therapy session. I ask him what’s up, and he’s not into it. The sex.

“You must be kidding me,” I say, exacerbated.

“Seriously?” he winces, as if sharp from sucking on something sour.

“YES, seriously,” I escalate emotion quickly. Hot and bothered!

“I don’t know why you bothered teasing me, got me all worked up. What you thought would happen. But if you’re not gonna help…” echoes the sentiment of the summer, of his ignoring me and my growing increasingly flustered. (Now I’m twice as horny and four times as stressed out, someone put me out of my fucking misery!)

“No, it’s not that. I want to,” he explains, feebly, “Just not here.”

I nod, forehead furrowed, rolling my right hand toward myself in the universal ‘get on with it’ motion.

“Let’s go someplace more private,” he offers, finally, and gestures past the reception desk.

“There are people in there.”

“So?” what’s your point?

“Well, what if they see us?” questions Captain Obvious. Siggh. Yawn.

“So what if they do?” I fondle his cock and it jumps in my hand. I’m ready. Want him to be too.

“Don’t.” He restrains my arms at my side, toy soldier style. As if he were about to bust and wanted to stop me before he jumped out of his skin.

“What do you mean, don’t?” this again, “Why not?”

“I’m, uh,” he hesitates, “I’m shy.” His final word. My question meant to be rhetorical.

Disgusted, I sneer, “Okay, well then you don’t have to be involved. Directly. Just watch me.” Lowering my eyes suggestively, “I’ll touch myself… instead.”

“Please don’t.”

“WUT!” I exclaim, accusatory. “Am I not allowed to touch myself?”

“You are…” he trails off.

Clipping his thought, “I need to get off.”

“Seriously?”

I’m, uh… I’m shy. His words ring true reverberating in my head because he behaved as such in real life, much to my surprise and disappointment. Also a funny thing to petition me with because so am I, shy, given my characteristic inclination to sink into myself. Unbridled, I had been relying on him as my self-monitor, my sexual custodian. He, self-consciousness embodied.

Surely we can compromise, I decide to accommodate. I want him to lunge into me, not cower. We walk in reverse, this time me leading him, back through the plexiglass sleeve of a train car. He pulls down the Murphy bench propped against the wall and sits confidently on the sliver of ledge, gesturing for me to hop on his solid stick shift of a cock, also gesturing for me. I ride him in the hum-hum gallop of the train, knees pressing his hips together, rocking back and forth, my pointy chin pressed up against his freckly forehead, jubilant tits cradling his neck.

Between my fleshy thighs, my whole body rumples and wilts, his rooted thrust propping me back up. My glove-tight grip stiffens, torso propelling itself, sucking him all the way inside me up to the flared-base of his body, and I lean back on him, elastic suspension, like a slingshot loaded to launch. Squealing, flailing even further back, I’m a spooked horse rearing on hind legs—unpredictable, untamed. (The same configuration as I came with The Dutch Man, only titled back 90s degrees. More “pounding the spot” than “dominant goddess,” as featured in the top pic, except with knees bent and feet pinned behind butt.) Only I don’t fall over backwards off his lap, because there is no gravity in dreams!!! Convenient! Well, there’s just enough to hold him down on the sliver seat and attach me peg-in-hole. Yet, not quite enough to slap me silly, flipping me feet-over-head as if I’m leaning back too liberally in a computer chair.

Pounding the Spot

Pounding the Spot

Dominant Goddess

Dominant Goddess

Thirty seconds of recovery later, beaming, both of us, he pulls his plump knob out, smoothly and methodically, scaling my endless internal walls. His incremental retreat, me still aflutter in post-orgasmic butterfly wing quiver inciting quiver, it feel like vagina for days. Our fantastic finger-and-fuck not over yet, he pumps his pretty cock along my stomach, his jumpy balls jostling against my gushy, galvanized lips. Spurt after spurt, sparkly streamers of semen shoot out. Our eyes aglow, glistening in glory, as we bathe and bask in the delight of fluids we produced. Slathered, a mobius strip of shimmer and shiver, reflecting pools collecting between our tummies, connecting us. Sighing in joy and relief, it is so simple, he who cums inside me owns me, and he already did, our relationship cemented in semen. I pet him, adoringly, brush a loose curl behind his ear, and whisper, “You are so beautiful.”

We are back to where we were before, the last time he fingered me. When I smiled so sweepingly that his instinctual eyes grinned back reflexively, in mimicry. And I laughed at myself, sheepishly, recognizing my face reflected in his inlaid mirror, a flash of euphoria externalized.

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Grateful and glowing, I wake up in real life with my stomach trembling in a tangle of smiles originating in the soft spot between my legs. I reach down through the elastic band of my panties, swipe through the valley of my lips, and feel contented by the pulse and wetness of the wank I went to sleep on. Now fused with him. Splendid and sweet, it was, as was the sex with him in real life. Unlike the escalating violent fantasies I had after he cut me loose.

And for once I feel unified with myself. Like now that my back is finally screwed together the spell he cast on me is broken. I have a brighter future, even if it only consists of my reconstituted ability to acquire experiences through which to publicly embarrass myself. Every time I get cut open, I feel like a virgin—shiny and new. Propofol and penis: the secret agents of welcomed memory erasure.

That’s all I ever wanted to think of him, that he was so beautiful—lovely, really. I never wanted to follow in his footsteps, to become one of those people who vilifies sexual or romantic partners when things go to shit, who belittles them to bolster themselves. I didn’t mean to transmogrify saucy sexual fantasies into deranged, violent provocation—though those got me off, too. I only wanted my life to be improved by semen. SELF-CARE! And he had become my de facto rubrik of all things fuckworthy. In any incantation, making me come.

I’ve been haunted by it this whole time: That hypocritical bitterness thing. The shame of resentment eating away at me, knowing full well how horrified and turned off I was by Andrew’s bent on harboring grudges and seeking revenge against those who let him go and those who aided and abetted. Not to mention the words The Minnesotan said to me, foreshadowing his disappearance. About how he was concerned that I talked so poorly about past partners, he didn’t want to someday turn into one of them. As if I spun gold into shit, broke everything I touched, in my head at least.

My residual hatred for Andrew: mostly good ol’ fashioned SEXUAL FRUSTRATION! He rubbed me really wrong weeks before I insisted on some conclusion but never touched my trigger points. Trouble yes, psychological warfare no. Until he refused to render his services. Then I wanted him to rub me and run me into the ground.

There were a lot of serious objections I had to him all along. His demand for undeserved adulation and refusal to engage with my accomplishments and aspirations. The air of arrogance and retribution inflected into his hero/victim self-narrative. His insistence on communicating with the condescending sweetie this, honey that. But with sex he got everything right. More right than I even knew was possible. Why couldn’t we just have that? Why did he have to take it away from me? He provided me with the impetus to be unscrupulous and I’m not sure how to reproduce that urge and replace him. He was that good. The way he drugged me with bucketsful of semen. I can’t even image anyone else I’d WANT to have unprotected sex with.

Each and every time I have shitty, standard sex—auxiliary affirmation of my status as a human carcass—it only serves to amplify my fury. At Andrew for showing me the ropes and then abandoning me mid-course with no safety harness. For leaving me longing for that prelapsarian period before submitting to the temptation to pull back the curtain on tidy sex. When the tension between exposure and circumspection still remained. Before I felt the relief and humanity in being fucked raw.

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Dream Big, Baby: Part 4

DREAM BIG, BABY: PART 4

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Civilized conversations about bodily misfortunes.

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bionic woman

bionic woman

Mom: You just have to tell me what button to press.

Me: The icon that looks exactly like a camera. Do you remember what cameras used to look like?

Mom: Okay, found it.

Me: What IS this? Why is it so blurry?

Mom: It looks blurry to me even when I’m not looking at it through the camera.

Me: Are you saying that your daughter has a blurry back? I can’t even photoshop that!

Mom: But I did such a great job accentuating the contours of your waist. What a figure!

Me: This was supposed to be a surgical wound photo session, not a fashion shoot! Oy vey, I think you need glasses or I need my cat to take these pictures. She already knows how to press ALL the buttons.

Following my surgery, Niall checks in periodically to see how it went, wish me a speedy recovery, and offer a visit if I’m up for it. Nine days later, he texts THIS. Which is half-joking half-serious, I believe. Way to up the ante.

Niall: How’s things? Getting better? Need a visitor? Lox? Books? Oral?

Me: Ha ha, oral. If only you knew yesterday was the first time I showered in 9 days.

Mmm.

Niall: Perfect. How about you let me know the next day you plan to shower and I’ll come hang out?

Me: Aw, I hate to dash your hopes and dreams. I really enjoyed hanging out with you, felt like we were on the same wavelength, and would make good activity buddies. But I thought the sex was kind of a disaster. Not the stuff of stories or anything just nothing worth repeating.

Me: Which isn’t to say I don’t want to hang out just that I assume you don’t want to hang out if it doesn’t involve nudity.

I was sort of tentative about the rejection; didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Accordingly, I was sooo relieved when he agreed the sex was terrible. Best-case scenario! Either that or a new low. The same but different.

Niall: Yeah the quick pre Girls watching with parents, pre surgery sex did not go well at all! I assumed we just both knew that and wanted to give it another try based on the aforementioned shared wavelength.

Ohhh, huh. That wasn’t what I was expecting. At all. In retrospect, it’s exactly what I had asked for: second time, same guy. I wasn’t sold yet. But I was willing to entertain the notion. For now, an emphatic phewww. Finally something has gone well. Mutual feelings, of disappointment!

Me: Yeah, the circumstances were not ideal. Glad you aren’t offended. I don’t know, while I’m not totally opposed to the idea once I’m grossed out I’m sort of grossed out. The part I found most objectionable was the fingering.

Niall: Well I have know idea what you like so please explain!

Good, he’s amenable to constructive criticism. The problem: things were so bad I’m not even sure where to start. Shaping someone works only if there is some foundation to build from.

Niall: I’m not used to bad sex, and I feel a pretty decent attraction to you, so I assumed it was a fluke.

Me: I’m very accustomed to bad sex. I expect most of it to go in the discard container.

Wow, I’m brutal.

Niall: Also, let me precede the rest of this conversation with the statement that I don’t need to sleep with you to want to hang out with you again.

He’s sweet. Good thing at least one of us isn’t an arsehole. I give him as detailed and colorful a list of complaints as I’ve given you, lecherous readers. Keep in mind that throughout this whole conversation I’m on post-surgery narcotics. So if I’m already blaringly blunt, I have no filter whatsoever on them. He apologizes for my troubles even though they aren’t any more his fault than mine.

Niall: Wow I’m sorry you had such a bad experience!

Niall: So I think despite our intellectual wavelength we were on a very different sexual one. Bummer!!

Me: No need to apologize it wasn’t aggressively bad, like you weren’t mean to me.

Me: I’ve seriously never been fingered like you’ve fingered me in all my years of slutitude. I did like the position you fingered me from torward the end. The oral was okay but not award worthy. Maybe it would have been if I weren’t so distracted by having to protect myself from your fingers.

Niall: Hahahaha I like the openness of this conversation despite its unfortunate topic.

Totally, that’s the most important part. Being able to talk about it without getting defensive.

Me: I delight in civilized convos about body misfortune.

No kidding, do I ever! What follows is the most hilarious and cruelest part of my commentary. One more special message to go. And then I’m done and I can go home.

Me: So here is the last open thing I will say before I have to go do other stuff like maybe nap. I hate that your bike tattoo hand is your jerking off hand. The wheels look like swirly eyes and I felt like I had a surrealist nose protruding towards then retreating away from me menacingly. Like some fucked up Pinocchio shit and I just wanted you to unfib or consistently fib to make your nose-peen stop growing then shrinking.

Oh my!

Niall: Usually my left hand is my jerking off hand because my more dexterous right hand is a waste in that application.

Hahaha, that made me laugh ten thousand! Something about the matter-of-factness. The shrewdness. I like a man who can be practical about his penis! Conservative, almost. Reminds me of a guy who claims in his okcup profile that his ordering deodorant and coffee filters online isn’t lazy; it’s efficient. Totally. Don’t work harder; work smarter. Niall ends the conversation by labeling what happened “a rushed struggle void of communication” and reiterating that he is open to whatever: “If you want to share and try what is right I’m down! And if not, that’s fine too.” Except he adds a bizarre condition to a simple proposition.

Niall: And, in a rare personal request, (I don’t like to ask people for things) I’d appreciate you letting me know which direction you’d like to go sooner rather than later so I can tailor subsequent conversation appropriately! 🙂

Niall: Like if you just want to be buds I don’t want to continue cute offers to lick your disabled and unshowered vagina. If otherwise, I will!!

I half pondered what he meant by it. And fully passed the fuck out on painkillers for the next six days. Six days later I got back to him to let him know that I intended to respond eventually. And then I grew curious about my vagina, that thing down there between my legs. I wondered how long it would take to revive. Good thing I keep a vagina diary! No seriously. After my series of digestive surgeries, since there was a dearth of information on the internet about what to expect post-surgically, I attempted to fill this struggle void by keeping track of how frequently I was getting off and how (like, with what equipment). Doctors know nothing, and I guess for patients it’s either too taboo or depressing a topic to broach. Or else others think of sex less systematically and consciously than I do. The verdict was that after my second digestive surgery—which was purely abdominal and thus did not encroach on reproductive real estate—it took me close to three weeks to start up and another three to be back on pace. For the first few weeks it felt like I was being punched in the stomach every time I orgasmed—but whatevs! Still totally worth it. Except, with spinal surgery I had an additional concern. Orgasms are a spinal reflex. What that meant I was unsure. Seemed scary. Like, are my orgasms gonna ping off the screws in my back like a ball bouncing off targets in a pinball machine? Are my fingers equivalent to action flippers keeping the ball in play? How long can I hold off for, anyway? Two days after my placeholder text, I send Niall a message that contains actual content.

Me:

I guess the oblique and rather unsatisfying answer to your request is that I can’t even wrap my mind around the concept of sex or anything sexual right now. Though I like the idea of not explicitly sexual physical affection. It has been two and a half weeks since my surgery… Because pain and pain killers and mvmt restrictions and other physical stuff it will just take a while for my body to get back on track so it feels silly to make any kind of commitment or statement of intention in the abstract…

Pertaining to what went wrong btw us, yes, it was rushed and I’m sorry for that. Obvs I wanted some kind of encounter before my surgery and maybe that wasn’t fair to you. That said, I am physically attracted to you and enjoyed spending time with you and was planning on eventually sleeping with you anyway… What I think we might disagree on is the following: I tend to think communication as an excuse or explanation is the folly of the intellectually enlightened. Often there are differences in sexual compatibility that can’t be fixed through verbally or physically demonstrating preferences and no matter how hard both of you try and how sincerely both of you want it to work, it’s just never gonna be super pleasing to both people. I’m not sure we are at that point…

The communication problem, if we are going to refer to it as that, is what you were doing was so far from my preferences and what I’ve experienced with other men that I didn’t know how to express how to fix the situation or if it was even fixable. I’m not unwilling to try to get naked with you again once I’m feeling up to it physically. But perhaps it would help if we set up the expectation that if either of us isn’t enjoying it we can just say so and stop so we don’t feel obligated to persist in doing something to please the other person when they aren’t going to be pleased anyway…

In a way I think [our first encounter] is a textbook example of “pluralistic ignorance.” Anyway, if you wanna hang out soon and just watch movies or listen to music and maybe even snuggle let me know. It will prob be a few weeks before I can really leave my apartment and roam the streets.

He responds favorably and reasonably.

Niall:

I totally understand your views on sexual communication and agree that sometimes people just aren’t sexually compatible. This can be true even despite good connection in various other areas or strong sexual attraction at first…

I’m also attracted to you physically and intellectually and of course also wanted to sleep with you (else I wouldn’t have). I did make the assumption that sex before surgery would be nice for you so went with the little bit of rush because the attraction was already there. It did affect me some during though despite feeling comfortable with you.

Also I don’t need any abstract statements and understand you aren’t really in a place to…be anywhere besides your apartment 🙂 I just never want to be the annoying person on the wrong page…as I’ve been the annoyed one plenty of times when I didn’t want the type of attention I was getting. All that said, hanging out with a movie or music soon sounds fun to me!

Oh, I get it: he doesn’t want to be a sex pest. That’s admirable. As if I am competing against myself in an absurdity pageant, I am stupidly relieved when he concurs that he wanted to sleep with me or else he wouldn’t have. Not because I doubted his interest. But because it settled a dispute I was having with myself. I had been wondering whether the attempted sex even counted as sex, and was hesitant to think of it as anything more than alleged. Because women are taught not to trust their own accounts. My brain kept doing that dumb heteronormative thing: “Did we, or didn’t we?” I mean, does it even matter?

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Breaking news.

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February 1st

After almost three weeks I thought it would be rushed release. Instead, pure pleasure. The kind you want to last forever and ever, and take pains to prolong to infinity in spite of your body’s elastic resistance to permanence. Inside me, it felt a bit stabby at first, my double-headed dildo poking the amorphous area that swelled and radiated red like ET’s heart, backing up against the dim dead-end drive of my Frankenpelvis. Until I tilted back, opened wide, and swallowed around it—sliding further and further in with each contraction, gulping it down, glub glub glub, my breath quickening gaspy and gapey in my ear, clicking and popping to my pressure chamber beat. The shower soothing, I got distracted from how fast I was coming, gripping the handle hook hard with my deadbolt pussy, like clamping down on a stress ball or squeezing my mom’s conscience while watching me get an injection. So tight and knuckle-white I had to shake it out afterwards, my cramped hand and legs, my taut butt hammocking my pc muscles. Shaking it all about, doing the hokey pokey sitting, only slightly less silly. My nerve-tension twitching and my pussy continuing to chug chug past the finish line, summoning the next dildo to suck dry and swallow whole. Three weeks parched, it was already thirsty for more, ravished in peachy glow and spellbound by possibility. Saying fuck off to disability. Spent and awash, I issued a news flash to myself. Here it is, verbatim.

Breaking news:

Orgasms feel better than heroin!

Let’s all take solace in that fact.

Last time I had surgery it literally felt like I was punched in the gut every time I orgasmed for like weeks after. Which proves that people will do anything to orgasm. I mean Genie will do anything to orgasm. I mean it felt great before and after. Just had to bite my tongue—but not literally—during. This time around I was scareder though because it wasn’t only about the pain. Orgasms are a spinal reflex and I had spinal surgery. So it’s like I hope all the screws are firmly in place while I screw myself!

Seriously, now I feel 500 percent better, not simply because I know everything works (game on!) but because I’m filled with happy chemicals. Today is world happiness day. Namaste. Two weeks and five days is a long time to go. Horny or not, here I come!

Of course, the fallacy being that an orgasm after two weeks and 5 days is not synonymous with an orgasm on average. And I bet heroin is ofttimes superior to the latter, if my week on morphine was any indication. At least drugs fuck you up too bad to remember about sex and the delightful automaticity of guzzling peristalsis, your body filling itself with exactly the sustenance it needs. Post-orgasm, I felt stiff but floaty. Unable to bend, twist, or lift, I levitated on adrenaline and oxytocin—sprawled out and numb, staring into the full-spectrum lamp sun and feeling forever anew. Two months later, the orgasmic bliss sizzled, I feel sunny still. And I’m waiting for a man or woman to give me a gut-crunching, dildo-crushing orgasm that will lace itself through my mind and multiply into gushing gulps that reverberate off the walls. Sex, more sustainable than drugs. Take that, morphine!

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Dream Big, Baby: Part 3

DREAM BIG, BABY: PART 3

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Forgive me father for I have sinned.

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I’ve been waiting for a guide to take me by the hand

Could these sensations make me feel the pleasures of a normal man?

New sensations bear the innocence, leave them for another day

I’ve got the spirit, lose the feeling, take the shock away

—Joy Division, Disorder, Unknown Pleasures

 

I had wanted my pre-surgery sex to be with Isabel.

A week after the unceremonious canceling of my surgery, I end up at her Birthday party, if only because I don’t trust myself to be alone. Conveniently, around the holiday season it is considered socially acceptable—desirable even—to be sensationally smashed all of the time. And if you spread your wings enough and fly from party to party, no one catches on to the ALL OF THE TIME part. The only catch: since my diagnosis in July, I haven’t been able to wash out my bloody sorrow with alcohol, would require more of a torrent than a sink rinse for delicate underthings. Drinking, my moods range from melancholy to macabre, and dither precariously in between. Opiates flatten the edge, whereas alcohol rolls with the waves and drags me along in the undertow, gasping for air and grasping with tender teeth. Thanks, U.S. Health Care System, for keeping me at bay by spaying me with Big Pharma-produced, politician-endorsed dope. Tonight I am going to keep it crisp, with beverages measured by mixology professionals—the cater waiters of the drunken universe. Cocktails and coattails, here I come!

Sidling up next to her in the booth, my lychee martini sloshing over the side, I can tell she is out of it, too. High? Tired? Withered? Overworked? Her lips gesture at mine, slightly slurry. And I’m not sure. We’re both shaky when she tells me I’m beautiful. Like muscles overexerted—shivering slightly, tense still. “So are you,” I reciprocate, but that’s not the right answer. She tries the question again, “No, you’re really beautiful, ya know?” Our muscles extend and soften into each other. And then I know. Her, a cherub Rosario Dawson, padded lips pressed against mine. My thumb and forefingers latch onto the nape of her neck, her shiny black hair feathers around them like my skimpy silk skirt fluttering around my thighs. Her smooth caramel skin draws a direct line from the crux of her ear to the sweet spot between her legs. I feel myself from afar, dripping wet minus manual stimulation, my raging lady boner swelling against my engorged lips as we inhale each other’s musk, heaving like heavy smokers hungry for more.

That’s why I like BJs almost more than sex: without skin-on-skin stimulation, you can feel what’s happening to you and the guy, separately and simultaneously, the exact progression of your physiological arousal disentangled from your attraction to one another, your bodies pried ajar. With her hand hovering over the lacey piping of my push-up bra, my sex-flushed areola surges over the deliberately just-a-wee-bit-too-small demi-cup encasing my right tit. The force field of an ultraviolet air hockey table electrifies me and I grope-grab the slope between her butt and upper thigh to stabilize myself, a tit for a tat and eye-to-eye at the midline. At the face-off, out comes the LOL of the evening. She draws back to assess me, intuiting almost astrologically, “I didn’t know you liked women more.” It’s half a question. “More than what, men?” I clarify, smugly flattered by my ability to pass for gay. Something about authenticity. Last time I had sex with a woman she called me “very straight” afterwards,” which confounded me on account of believing pussy licking to be an automatic disqualification from superlative straight status. But what do I know. Besides what I want.

just-a-wee-bit-too-small demi-cup

just-a-wee-bit-too-small demi-cup

“Uh huh,” Isabel confirms, hopefully. I brush it off, unfazed, assuming she meant more than I thought which I had assumed was not at all. Though, to be fair, the night we met nearly five years ago culminated in our dancing decadently and drunkenly at Splash Bar (RIP)—venerated gay mega club—with her Baby Bear boyfriend-to-be. For sure, at least I knew she was fun. After all, it was at a wrap-up party for C-Spot: NYU’s unofficial sex-positive magazine that her best college buddy was editing and to which I submitted a version of My Pillow Buddy: Sad But True.

Wanting to validate her without stretching the truth further than I could stretch her spandex, “I like you,” I offer affirmatively. And that is the truest thing I can say at this moment while still staying in the moment. For emphasis, I add something about tiny, curvy girls—like her, like me. It’s the most aroused I’ve been since May: lanky, lithe men; small, sensual girls. If only, only if. I pull her in again and feel my pussy slip-sliding through my lacy underpants, rubbing gleefully against the gossamer layer of my cable-knit tights, inches away from the ruched black leggings hugging her curvaceous contours. Pinching the rumples away from the skin gracing her inner thighs, I inquire as to whether they are leggings or real pants, and estimate the number of layers between us—the fibers of thoughts. They’re chafing thread-bare as I ooze through my tights excitedly. She whispers, hot breath fanning my neck, how beautiful I am; no, that I’m really beautiful. And she progresses as I do, “Ummm, girl, I’d love to eat you out. Ima eat you out sooo good.” The “girl” would be demeaning coming from a guy; from her it’s cutesy, like “hey babe, xoxo.”

It’s then I have an Oh Shit moment, jettisoning me back into unkind reality, harshing my sex haze. First and foremost, under-the-table oral is not gonna happen because we are at a bar/restaurant and I’m already impressed by the other patrons’ restraint in refraining from co-opting female pleasure with the male gaze. Ostensibly no one has noticed us, nevertheless insisted upon making a public spectacle sport out of our private moment. Second, I guess this is an inopportune time to announce that I’m the worst faux lesbian ever—a fraud! Who does not love to be licked no matter how luscious her lips and how dashing her resemblance to Rosario Dawson circa the sex-scary 90’s in all their lurid allure. I know, I know, that’s what strap-ons are for! BUT MY BACK: OUUUCH!!! Seems like a no-no with the back-and-forth thrusting and the shaky spine about to be disassembled and all—more London Bridge than Humpty Dumpty. The truth is, I could make out with her and sniff her forever, feeling my flood accumulate as high tide peaks between our synthetics.

She elucidates the evening, she’s had a rough time and is looking for positive attention from women, a little radiant glow ball flickering and fading. And she tells me I seem scared. Which I deny, quite honestly. Until I panic for real. Because she isn’t going back to my place. Is too exhausted and wants to pass out and can’t make the incomprehensible trek tomorrow from Midtown back to Jersey City where she has just moved. Tonight, she is leaving me high and WET.

Scared, I am. Only if that’s what a leap of faith looks like emanating from me: humility. For the first time in six months, I feel that unique combination of intrigue and contentment. Up until this moment of reckoning, I luxuriate in the feeling that it is juuust right. Andrew may have a Jesus complex but Isabel is my savior, full of grace. When men disappoint me, women elevate. If nothing else, I take solace in pussy, softer and sensual: healing. Alcohol can’t cleanse me, but I can douse my sorrows.

If not in her, in semen. I want to drown.

Drunk logic: The only recourse is sexting Andrew. And I wonder for serious if it will work! Because I’ve never attempted this tactic with him before. Even though it’s the close cousin of the arrangement I wanted all along, excessive alcohol aside. What a careless oversight! And it kinda makes sense, this half-conceived plan, given that we are in the has-been neighborhood of which he thinks he is Mayor—as if he fucking discovered it, gentrified it. He, a transplant to the city. After the trashcan-fire bums had already migrated off of the Bowery. Me, a descendant of the people who actually immigrated there in the idiom of Fievel Mousekewitz.

Mostly I think of him in my girl-sex thirst.

As I reminisce wistfully about Emily—the last pretty girl who threw herself at me haplessly—and try to maneuver plugging the void she pried open with her long lustrous stripper nails before Isabel retires for the evening. For weeks after Emily, I fantasized vividly and prolifically about employing Andrew as our third. An unpaid job I believed he would take on gladly. Or rather, I wanted to be their third, mostly gawking at his pleasuring her—mouth and pussy agape. I longed to watch him finger and fuck her as he did me—wriggling, writhing, and begging for mercy, while I petted her hair and inhaled her beauty and confidence. In my vagina’s eye he was the master of ceremonies, integral to bringing girlsex into fruition, and thus inadvertently positioned as impossible to replace—the set-up too grand and too tailored to my taste. On account of his denying me the opportunity to flesh out my girllust—entirely unbeknownst to him—I was devastated when he started ignoring me, essentially insatiable.

Tonight, perhaps he would fill in for Isabel, make a placeholder out of his penis.

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I’ve got the spirit, but lose the feeling

I’ve got the spirit, but lose the feeling

Feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling

—Joy Division, Disorder, Unknown Pleasures

At home, in an order I can no longer recall and probably wouldn’t have been able to at the time, anyway: I finger my sloppy, starved pussy; wonder whether it is even worth it without her here; begin to miss her; surmise that I should probably wank while she is still fresh in my mind to solidify her in my muscle memory; get distracted; go to the bathroom to wash up; look in the mirror and notice a stark hickey planted prominently on my neck; think oh fuck tomorrow is the one day of the year I’m supposed to get up early to go jewelry shopping with my mom, of course I’m wearing conspicuous evidence of my misdeeds; search my bathroom and bedroom for a jar or even a stick of coverup; remember that time in high school when I cheated on my judgmental slut of a boyfriend and threw my back out trying to hide the collage of hickies from my mom as my hair blew in the wind; wonder whether it is really plausible that I am a convincingly feminine woman who owns no make up, tear my bathroom and bedroom apart, get distracted in my efforts, realize that the last time I misplaced something for an endless amount of time it was in my vagina; note that my make up cannot possibly be in my vagina; put my finger back where it belongs; get lost in thoughts; remember that thing Andrew once said about hickeys; get wistful thinking about him; text him again to verify how much I fucking hate him for refusing to be inside my vagina; get distracted again then dissolve into tears when everything seems futile. Give up on getting off and finding coverup to smear over the mess of my life.

Trap myself in my head and bawl my eyes out. For hours, streaming, drowning in sweltering saline, expelling the furnace of feelings, ousting him as the officiant of my gratification, clutching onto the remnants of the evening—her sweet smell, tiny touch, glazed eyes glinting off my dew-laced lashes as they pre-mourn the loss of these stolen sincere moments.

Twinges and pangs don’t morph into tremors and twangs, they mutate into torrential totality, escalating at the slightest trigger or the mere realization of existential emptiness. Lability, erraticism, and full-on meltdowns are states of being you can never grow accustomed to. Part of their nature is its impossible to epistemically endorse uncertainty with certitude. Oh my, this is getting convoluted, and anxiety and depression keep getting entangled, seemingly acting of their own accord. All I can remind myself during an episode is I have gotten through it, or one of comparable volatility, before. As if that is any comfort. It almost ensures I will be stricken again, it amounts to saying don’t worry craziness is nothing out of the ordinary, it is your lot in life: carry on, there’s nothing to see here. I suppose when you should be concerned is when you are no longer. When you don’t have the perspective or willpower to grasp rational fear tenaciously, when you slacken your grip and let it slip. It’s all too bleak blurry nebulous and fatiguing, a half-witted attempt to hold on. The deep-seated then -reclining and finally -lying exhaustion seeps in whether you allow your troubles to drain from you or analyze them. It is no use, this business of being fidgety and flighty, keeping it together forever. Trying to fight something in flux and ineffable only proliferates the purgatory.

Inconsolable, when I get like this. I go from leaky to porous—defenseless. Raw and exposed to the elements, open jacket taunting the wind. Emotions gust out in leaps and bounds and gasps, like I’m hyperventilating into a paper bag, unable to inflate myself. Tumbling down a well of grief propelled by momentum and my own slipperiness. I sprawl out at the bottom, flattened, unable to peel myself from the floor I installed. Weighed down by my protracted misery, the clock dialed back six weeks, adding forty three nights to the pre-surgery countdown. From the new start date on, I was chasing a feeling, a ticking time bomb.

Almost exactly one year ago and half a decade less tattered, when The Explorer asked me quixotically if I had ever loved someone for a night, I thought he was a little nutso. But, then again, I’m a little disgusto. There is a certain equality or parity in girl-on-girl affection that enables mind and body melding. A common cause, a common core. For tonight and tonight only, she was mine and I was me.

Fitful sleep, tenuous future: I wake up a ragged wreck, once again my dreams unrealistic and unfulfilled. Dashed. The inevitable nosedive, our physical connection catapulting me from diffuse and passive aimlessness to palpable and corporeal reality. Clarity. I had felt what it was like to feel once more and it was unbearable. Its impermanence.

No amount of caked on make up can color in the lines of my hangover and damp down the swelling of my puffy, tear-streaked face. Just as well since I’m still not convinced I own adult face paint. At our holiday shopping destination, we circle my brother’s high school over and over, tossing around inertia in the car. My stomach lurching, I beg my mom to drop me on the corner, I’ll meet her there. She knows I can’t handle start-stop driving, start-stop life. Turns out there weren’t even any necklaces to try on at this year’s holiday fair. No neck modesty necessary.

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A few days later I checked my texts, remembering somewhat gleefully that I had drunk texted him on that fateful and foolish night. And I will share with you, dear readers, the most on-point, aggressive thing I said: “I think you’ve taught me what it is like to be a man: to not be able to fuck whomever you want.” Can someone say sexual entitlement!? So there you have it, the difference between being a man and being a woman. So now I know. But there’s more. When I say I checked my texts messages, which is what I intended to do, what I ended up doing could more accurately be described as scrolling through them, stunned. Present participle purposeful; it was an ongoing process. Seldom do I discover such a stashed cache. In fact, since I don’t have a drug problem, the last time anything in my life remotely resembled this was my Ambien addiction-addled blackout blackhole of a senior year in college (once again, thanks a bunch, Big Pharma). Which gives me pause to think about all the meds and physical trauma and memory erasure of the past six months.

There was such a litany of detailed, dramatic messages I had sent him between mid-summer and December, none of which he responded to. The first, and ironically most coherent, being my freak out following my wretched medical diagnosis and even worse prognosis. At which point I was prescribed Neurontin, as a short-term palliative measure, which gave me suicidal ideation, like very distinct plans. Hello, chemo meds lingering in my medicine cabinet. Even though I wasn’t very specific about what was going on with me and even though my message was written in a vaguely coercive manner, I sort of feel like he had a moral obligation to respond if only because it conveyed utter desperation. But that’s besides the point and a drop in the deep end.

I’m not sure whether I should be more concerned by the collective content of the messages (my messages), the sheer volume, or the fact that I honestly do not remember sending most of them a certainly had no recollection of the content. It seems that months of my life are missing. And this directly corresponds to the period of my life when I was trying out all sorts of pharmaceutical drugs (Neurontin, Cymbalta, etc.) out of desperation to defer surgery and get through the fucking day and on with my life. Powerful shit, you guys. This stuff The Man is prescribing to us. I’m not one to send drunken texts (after all, I was sober in terms of alcohol when deploying the majority of these), be unhinged, or unintentionally embarrass myself (this blog, totally intentional). I would be more ashamed of my behavior if I didn’t think his was equally crappy. There were distinct reasons my scream-for-help behavior was directed at him specifically. One of which is that he was enough of a fucking mess that I felt disarmed around him. Similar to how I chose an outpatient part-time mental patient as my first disembowelment sexual connection. Misery loves fucking company.

This recent loss of time or lapse of memory is scary nonetheless. There are gaps and then there are gashes.

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Dream Big, Baby: Part 2

DREAM BIG, BABY: PART 2

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Pre-Surgical Sexing

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Sex trolling commenced as I was composing the Rock Bottom post admitting that I couldn’t go additional months without sex. Mostly exploring my options, like when you open your eyes to the world out there before orchestrating an overdue break up. The first dude I messaged was a beautiful ginger, with a superfluous PhD in science, who created pop music and threw hipster dance parties to complement his bread-winning nine-to-five. Other plus: he peppered his profile with humorous photographs, including him with a ginourmous bucket of KFC, captioned “I will provide for you.” Probably socially competent despite his scientific inclinations. Turns out his personality didn’t matter. In person he was a decrepit ginger who looked halfway in between my mom’s and dad’s ages, and I have elderly parents. A smiling corpse, he resembled. And, look, it’s nice that he has a sense of humor about his crow’s feet (he accurately captioned one of his okcupid photos “crow’s feet”) but that doesn’t mean I want to become a character in a Tim Burton flick. And there’s this: before we met we had this bizarre convo in which he tried to convince me that you can tell before meeting someone whether you want to bone simply based on their pics, which convey more info than physical appearance alone. Okay, well, pheromones aside: either I am really poorly calibrated, have no clue about my physical preferences, or should be banging way more than I am. I miss bar pick-ups where I know veritably within the first two minutes if a guy piques my sexual interest and the other 40-or-so minutes it takes before inviting him back are just a screening to make sure he respects women, respects my boundaries, understands that women are sexual creatures, isn’t a total buffoon, etc. It’s silly to power through all the hoopla of internet introductions and shoddily laid out plans and subway service changes, if there is no way you are going to fuck a corpse in the first place. Call me regressive: I prefer pseudo-pedophilia to necrophilia.

Around the same time, a guy with a 99% match rating messaged me. Unclear whether he was physically attractive or fugly from his pics, but he definitely seemed like someone I’d enjoy hanging out with. Even owned a pink and green snowsuit! Except he listed his relationship type as “open” and mentioned polyamory in the body of his profile, whereas I am strictly monogamous when in a relationship. I responded with a regrettable rejection and explanation. Which he gently refused to accept. Attempted to convince me that polyamory isn’t necessarily his preference and he isn’t currently in a relationship—he just meant to rule out anyone who would find such a situation unfathomable, devious, or distasteful. The small-minded or claustrophobically conservative folks. If polyamory simply isn’t my thing, that’s cool with him: he’d still be down to hang out as friends regardless of my prospective romantic interest. Hmm.

I followed up by futilely attempting to convince him that I’m the worst of the worst: needy AND unavailable. Trust me, he doesn’t want me anyway: my body has been mired in medical monstrosities, my expectations are unrealistic. Buyer beware: I’m a lot to take on!

Below are some excerpts.

Me:

to be honest, i’m not interested in meeting people casually even if it is to be just friends. you mentioned the awful us medical system, and let’s just say that i’ve had personal experiences with it recently. since my body has been so unreliable and since nyc is so scattered, i really need to focus on sticking to a small group of people to be intimate with (as friends or sex partners) and not spreading myself thin.

i guess “seeing someone” might actually cover the kind of situation i’d ideally like to be in, which is to say one where i have sex with the same person regularly but don’t necessarily want to meet their friends or do activities with them and don’t care whether we have an intellectual connection. maybe that sounds kind of soulless. but i suppose after having isolating and debilitating medical problems that’s how i view rehumanization.

i’m trying to teach myself how to deal my life in ways that don’t involve sex. like, quite literally, how to not stuff all my feelings in vagina. but i suppose “easing back in” would be a dishonest way to represent where i am in the process. i’ve been with a disgusting number of men in the last year and a half. not that it’s the number or societal judgment that i’m concerned with. things have finally started feeling icky and viscerally wrong to me.

two things:

1) i’m totally recovered physically from my main medical problem which involved my getting my colon/rectum removed and my lower gi tract reconstructed. in mid-january i’m having spinal surgery which is likely due to all the horrendous medication i was on before the gi surgery.

2) i guess i don’t have much faith that someone who has a preference for a polyamorous situation could really give me what i want even if he doesn’t currently have a primary partner. but maybe what i’m looking for is unrealistic.

I cut myself down, revealed my conflicting desires, and minimized our prospects in all the ways. Yet, somehow my counter offer of being unhinged but honest was too enticing to reject. Can’t say I blame him: recently I discovered the unwitting appeal of vulnerability. Plus there is that whole managing expectations to impress people thing, underhanded as it may be. I’m the best at making people assume I’m slated to be a mess!

Niall:

1) That is heavy…My cousin was here for dinner today, she had her heart, lungs and a kidney transplanted when her body stopped working a few years ago, so I’ve seen some crazy shit.

2). I obviously have no idea what I could give you or vice versa. We’re constantly looking for unrealistic things so let’s take that as a given.

He had a point. Considering no one seems to live up to my expectations! Can’t be worse than the guys I already know.

And that’s when the tables turned…

Niall: In recent non-monogamous relationships I’ve started to realize that there are certain things I require to be happy sexually and emotionally that sometimes I can’t get despite really caring about people.

Me: oooh, do you have weird sexual preferences? if so, please share. i’m just curious as to what being happy sexually and emotionally require. also, i’m kind of a voyeur and like hearing about weird shit.

Niall: What are you in to?

Me: the only weirdish thing i’m into that is a non-negotiable is semen. anywhere but my face. and that gets complicated with the whole casual sex thing because of, ya know, disease risk.

Me: i dont’ care if guys are specifically into that. i’d actually prefer that someone isn’t specif into that. but it has to be something that a partner enjoys because i do or it just doesn’t work.

Me: once upon a time i dated a guy who was terrified of his own semen and he told me he didn’t judge me and could get it on me as long as it didn’t touch him. and just, um, no, sex can’t be partitioned like that.

Niall: Ha! That is very specific and awesome that you can just come out and say it. So you want semen on you…everywhere…but not your face?

Me: yes, and face includes mouth though that’s occasionally exciting for me if i’m really into the person. it’s sooo specific!

Niall: I can relate in that I love to be covered in vaginal fluids (not menstrual) whenever possible. Being used as an object for someone to just rub themself on anywhere until they get off is the best.

Niall: And I hope to get soaked in the process

Too good to be true? If bathing in fluids is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. GAME ON!

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Surrealist Sex

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Two weeks later he invited me to the Neue Galerie to see a terrible art exhibit, a retrospective of portraits by Egon Shiele: child abductor, rapist, impudent prisoner, beneficiary of nepotism. But all was not lost because we established that we have compatibly twisted senses of humor and similar sexual predilections.

As per the 5-minute rule, by the time we checked our coats and ascended the ornate marble and wrought-iron staircase, I suspected I was gonna sleep with him. Rifling through our respective wallets to pay the admissions fee, we both produced NYU IDs, despite no longer being students, and joked about how we should start a fake student ID business for cheap 30-somethings. Obviously the headquarters would be on MacDougal Street because NYC history. We spent ten minutes removing 8 layers of clothing each, and gazing at him without his winter casing I assessed, Yes, a skinny! Sold. To the lowest bidder.

There was a definitive theme to Shiele’s work.

“Wow, he really liked the ginger bush, huh?” I reveled devilishly, not quite sure how I ended up inside an UES mansion with such a prolific display of splayed pussy.

“Who doesn’t,” Niall concurred.

“I guess he liked black bush, too,” he added as we caught sight of the next section.

“Oh yeah, look at that, like Picasso he had a black period.”

Supplementing our German and Austrian art field trip, we shared shameless stories about our own European travels.

Niall inquired whether I had ever been to Germany. I told him about my miserable 24 hours in Berlin spent sick, overtired, and crying profusely into a bathtub so deep I was afraid I’d drown in my own tears, never to be found due to what can only be described as a negligent lack of emergency button in the spacious marble-gilded bathroom of a 5-star geriatric hotel. How I went out to dinner alone that night for a brief reprieve, naively assuming my street-smart vagina did not need a chaperone to sashay two blocks and slurp down spaghetti at a non-descript Italian restaurant. But when I paid my bill and made conversation with the bother-brother waiter and maitre d double team, they informed me otherwise. Apparently because I was traveling unaccompanied, I deserved to be raped. I looked “too young,” whatever that means. I didn’t know what men were like in Berlin. They know because they work at a restaurant. Pressed on the credentials that granted them authority on human behavior and morality, the maitre d considered my question thoughtfully and spit out a mouthful of braggadocio, “I don’t just work at a restaurant. I’m the manager.” Yes, Mr. Manager.

“If he didn’t have work, he’d do the raping himself. But he’s wayyy to important for that. He’s busy managing his breadsticks. Just wait until his shift is over: he’ll teach you a lesson,” Niall caught on.

“Ha, exactly. He knows what creepy men are like because he is one of those men. I told him it wasn’t nice to scare women, that he was being an aggressor.”

“So when I got back to my geriatric hotel,” I continued, “I photographed myself in my flannel shirt, combat boots, glasses, oh and let’s not forget the provocative rock ‘n’ roll hoodie. Then I posted the pic on facebook with a description of his threat and the caption ‘asking for it.’ Obviously he couldn’t help himself; men will be men and I’m irresistible.”

“In your Urban Outfitters rape bait attire.”

That is almost an exact description of what I was wearing. Welll, the leggings were from American Apparel, to be fair.

Niall and I waltzed on to the next politically incorrect topic upon my noticing all of the Jewish-sounding names of Shiele’s commissioned subjects, most well-to-do and likely hoity-toity. I suggested that while Shiele and co. died unfortunate and untimely deaths from assorted medical ailments that would be easily treatable in modern day, given that most were Jews in Austria in the early 1900’s, they were effectively spared fates more grisly than massacre by microorganism.

“Let’s call this exhibit ‘The Lucky Ones,’” Niall declared ruthlessly.

“Was that too much? Too soon?” he backtracked.

No. You are hilarious.

From the get-go it was obvious that the tone of this museum visit was going to diverge vastly from that of my last, an after-hours tour led by an outrageously genteel curator and graduate of my frou-frou, elitist UES private school. Caught off guard by a question about Otto Dix’s ‘A Memory of the Glass House in Brussels’—a painting depicting an off-duty soldier fucking a prostitute, surrounded by mirrors that reflected a kaleidoscope of pussy-pumping, tit-honking, champagne-certified good times—she blushed, referred to the act in question as “love making,” and discreetly directed the asker to a book in the gift shop with a more comprehensive description. Relaying this story to Niall, I summed up my righteous indignation, “Quite frankly, I was offended by her perverse misrepresentation of the act.” “There was no love exchanged?” “None, whatsoever. Only money and syphilis.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Our low-stakes first meeting went so well that we agreed to extend, relocating to a bar. Except bars aren’t open at 3pm on the Upper East, so we kept it classy and settled on Blockheads where we split guac and sipped studiously on spring break concoctions meant to be guzzled savagely with a side of sizzurp.

Half a drink in, he shared some story, apropos of my book-to-be, about a friend who is a dominatrix and pimp and also writing a book. Slyly, I propositioned, “Can I tell you something gross? Like 10th date material, at least. Seriously, it’s super disgusting,” narrowing my eyes as if to hold back the classified information with my eyelids aflutter. Not that I thought he wouldn’t want to hear, but I stalled and asked permission as a social signaling technique: mitigating the inappropriateness that was about to ensue by performing self-awareness. My countenance belied the illicit intrigue of a ten-year-old boy concealing a frog clasped in his closed fists. Niall obliged, eagerly. “Okay, so, now that I’ve had all this surgery,” I waxed poetic, “my dream is to become a dominatrix who specializes in brown showers. Turning my disability into a sexual SUPER power. Other women have to drink coffee first; my shit is liquid, permanently. How great would that be! Banking on shitting with a vengeance on gross, sad men.” Seriously, after all of my medical torture, concomitant financial expenses, and life limitations that have arisen therefrom, profiting off of my new anatomy would be the ultimate act of sublimation: a path to liberation. He acted as if I had just proposed a brilliant, actionable get-rich-quick scheme, like he was Leo Bloom in The Producers and we were going to go into show business! “Well, if that’s what you want to do, I can hook you up with my friend; she’ll show you the ropes.” “So to speak.”

The afternoon crashed into early evening and despite being thoroughly enamored with him, I was exhausted. My poor sleeping habits had finally caught up to me. Or else I would have invited him over then and there. Before we parted ways, I asked what he was doing the following night; I wanted to see him again before my surgery, although my schedule would be tight so I couldn’t offer him an exact time in advance. He said no worries, he wasn’t busy. And I added, so there was no confusion as to expectations, “The thing is, if we hang tomorrow night, it has to be in Williamsburg, because if I invite you over, my mom will be in and out of my apartment bothering me with last minute things. So it was settled: I was invited to Williamsburg. And implicitly: he was getting fucked. We were getting fucked. Praise the lord, amen!

He texted to confirm my invitation, lest I think he was being polite in-person only to brush me off later. I affirmed, “Hooray! I liked you way more than I expected, which I know is a weird neg.” “Ha, that’s perfect actually,” he kvelled, “I like surprises and underhanded compliments.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The next night, I kept pushing the time back. Like, “Talk to the hand, time!” When I finally arrived, I admitted that I still had to collect a few items for my hospital stay (earplugs to match my eyeshade escapism, Neutrogena make-up remover wipes for bedridden bathing), pack my trusty L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack, and make good on my standing appointment to watch the season premier of Girls with my parents. Our visit would be a short one, and I could not wait until we relocated from the bar to his storefront apartment. The problem with traveling to someone else’s neighborhood is they have control over when they invite you over. The trade-off: your retaining the right to leave whenever.

Our make out sesh on his couch was decently hot, and I suspected we should get a room: his. It went downhill from there. He was cute naked, except it was one of those situations where everything took way too long initially. I rubbed our genitals on each other forever before he got a hand between my legs. By the time he touched me, I was already growing bored and inpatient. Little did I know, that would be the least of my concerns. The fingering was so traumatic I’m not even sure “fingering” is the correct term for the action, nor did I know how to model better form. It’s as if he shoved his fingers inside me, kind of left them there, failed to move them in the traditional in-and-out trajectory, yet managed to stab me with his nails. There was no back-and-forth friction, no petting with finger pads—only jabbing! It was jarring! The fingering equivalent of an amateur kisser darting his tongue in and out of one’s mouth or an amateur fucker jackhammering one’s pussy. Which seriously puzzled me because his nails weren’t even long. That’s something I usually check for before allowing someone to stick their talons in my tender lady bits. The eating out wasn’t much better. Nothing grosser than a bristly beard ShamWow! sweeping my crevices like a basket of bread sopping the savory meat juices off a drenched dinner plate. Maybe I could have forgotten about the scratchy, whisker-brushing sensation if I didn’t have to keep a vigilant eye open in my slumber to protect myself from his Edward Scissorfingers.

Couldn’t take it any longer. Time to switch to sex!! Asked him to take out a condom. But by that time he was barely hard. Square one. I fluffed him a little hoping things would improve, and then gave up a little more and told him to put the condom on. Squishing him into me, it crumpled. Could not be slid in. Politely, I asked if he wanted to get on top. He declined. Except it was intended as an imperative, a rhetorical question: Get. On. Top. Of. Me., I meant. The misunderstanding reminded me of a conference presentation Steven Pinker gives on the utility of indirect language in building social rapport. His most memorable example: If you are at a dinner party and want someone to pass something without making your request sound like a brusque order, you ask, “Can you pass the guac?” Everyone gets that you are instructing them to pass the guac and not questioning whether they are capable of passing a condiment or dip or however guacamole is categorized. Phrasing my request a hair less ambiguously, though still rhetorically: “Can you be on top?” “You want me to?” Niall estimated, apprehensively. “Yes,” we shifted places. It’s not that I have a preference for missionary, by any means, just that if someone is having trouble staying aroused it’s usually easier for them to be in a physical position of power. Because people know how to get themselves off. After another lackluster thrust or two or three,  of glorified engastration or stuffing a carcass with a carcass, I suggested going back to what we were doing pre failed sex. Seemed slightly less fail? Figured I might just finger myself and call it a night. He gathered me up into fetus position, my back pressed up against his chest and my knees approaching my own. Even though I interjected ouch, as a fetus is wont to blurt out while being scraped with a coathanger, a finger or fuck from behind really does it for me. So he stabbed my way to orgasm, and while I was coming I thought, Fuck, I can’t believe I’m blowing my last pre surgery lady load on this that is only mildly more pleasant than being cut open. Probably I should have saved myself the trip and fucked myself gently in my soft, sweet shower. Still remember my final pre colon surgery wank, and it was lovely.

Turning the attention to Niall, I feebly pet his penis and asked if he could help. Which only seemed fair considering I didn’t make him start from nothing. Clasping his spare hand around his balls and squeezing to inflate, his cock stood taut and bore an uncanny resemblance to Martian Popping Thing. My eyes, blowjob bulgey, bugged out at his white-knuckled grip. Time for me to take over. I tried the best I could with my mouth, then my hand, then my mouth—again. What number time of give up on life is this? I don’t know, I lost count, reneged on my responsibility, embodied learned helplessness, and transferred his penis back to its rightful owner: his right hand.

martian-popping-thing squueze-unsqueezeReunited at last, an epic struggle ensued between his masterful hand and unruly penis. If I could have worn a visor and averted my eyes completely I would have, but there are only so many places you can look. Unless you close your eyes. Which is my M.O. only in serious escapist situations. Like if a literal bear attempts to steal your literal jam or if your cultural-Christian roommate walks in on you under-blanket masturbating. And you have to pretend that you were asleep the entire time and your face is radiating red sheerly due to shock from being awakened unceremoniously. Not that that has ever happened to me! This current clusterfuck is classified as a casual sexual calamity, one at which I was relieved of my pitching duties and downgraded to spectator for sport or moral support. Assuming my role of apathetic and disengaged consumer, I let my sight fade to out-of-focus and ignored my inclination to stay tuned. That’s when forms emerged from the mulch, convoking my character reference game—the license plate game of sexual entertainment—for a special session. Niall is mostly covered in tattoos, and as far as I can tell all of those tattoos can themselves be covered with a long-sleeved shirt, making him marginally employable beyond art and the academy. The lone exception: a tiny bicycle mounting the nook between thumb and pointer, his homage to hipsterdom. With my eyes on autopilot, I turned all Marc from Empire Records tweaking out to Gwar music videos on special brownies. The mounted hand bicycle morphed into a cartoonish face, its spokey wheels into spooky animated eyes and its handlebars into off-kilter expressive eyebrows. With every pump of Niall’s cock, a surrealist nose protruded then retreated menacingly, daring me to acknowledge its pained plight. Mostly it reminded me of Baby Animal honking Gonzo’s crooked nose. And, in my mind, Gonzo accepted his appointment as front-runner in the form and spirit categories of the character congruence game. Meanwhile, I freaked out on my own distorted, “You play a mean guitar, man; it’s really a shame that you must DIE!” moment.

gonzo's nose squeezed

It took infinity time, like in all of the scenarios where I’ve begrudgingly forced an orgasm out of myself because I felt like it was expected. Because an orgasm is easier to have than a conversation.

 I think, Oh fuck, I’m not nearly there and I don’t think I can get there. He expects me to orgasm and I don’t give a shit either way. What to do, what to do… I wish he would just cum already; this, sir, is a sinking ship. Somehow I manage to get myself closeish with my hands even though my clit is barely hard. I put him back inside me, hope he’s almost done, and finish. As much as I appreciate his generosity, there are no high fives for forced orgasms.

—Me, The 13th Step: Descent

I wondered whether I could orgasm with a sad, limp clit. I put his hands on my tits, as an excuse to straddle his body so I could almost straddle his face. Because nothing gets me off like being in a dominant position. When I orgasmed, he finally got a little bit hard. Like his penis was actually pointing in the right direction without any help. A shame considering I was done before I was even done. I had hoped we could put the pained production behind us.

—Me, It’s a Flop

On the other side of it, it felt silly and sad. But I guess neither of us knew how to call it off. And I didn’t want to be rude by indicating my blatant boredom. If it was anything short of tedious for him. “Do you like to watch?” he jolted me back into consciousness, reincorporating me into the scene. Blerggh, the answer to any sentence that starts with that construction is inevitably no. It’s a forced-choice test. And I demand sexual agency. I’m not here to fucking fluff someone’s ego. I like it even less now that you asked me. “Mmmhmm,” I demurred, hoping it would get me off the hook.

“Sometimes, I feel like I am totally anti-porn,” I say.

I say that when I’ve gone to tube sites or whatever, I feel this sort of empty sick in my stomach that it’s always the same image, always a woman demeaned and submitting. Teen anal gang bang, Japanese girl submits, black slut with two cocks projected into the retinas of twelve year old boys, images of women getting pleasure solely by being demeaned, being told, “You like that don’t you.” The male viewer rewarded with orgasm, as the women answer “U-huh, I do,” every time.

I can’t be pro-porn if this is 95% of porn…

“How am I supposed to call myself pro-porn when it’s a handful of male-owned LA companies that have a global monopoly?” I say.

—Rachel R. White, Want Me To Cum 4 U?

I can’t be pro-sex if this is 70% of sex. How am I supposed to call myself pro-sex when I spend so much of my sexy time acting, feigning enthusiasm, and fulfilling sexist male fantasies?

He looms over me and keeps whacking, like he’s about to cum. And I think, yess, this is gonna be over soon. But I also think, this is consensual yet unwanted. Cum is the great amplifier: boring, gross, or unpleasant sex becomes infinitely more so, cemented in semen. Guess I’m none other than a drop cloth at this point. Oh well, it could get worse. And it does.

“Touch yourself,” he instructs. Rather than outright reject him with a deserved, “Ew, I’m not gonna fake wank for you,” I tacitly decline, staying silent and still. Until he pushes, “Touch yourself,” as if I misunderstood the first time. “I’m not going to do that,” I state coolly. Matter-of-factly? Frigidly? “C’mon,” he commandeers, registering annoyance in his elevated tone.

What the fuck is this, a casting couch porno? I’m not gonna fake wank for you! That’s what prostitutes are for.

He leans in closer and squeezes the nozzle conservatively like he’s decorating a tasteful cake, drizzling it on me delicately and gloating in frosting evenly dispersed. It’s all over my neck, chest, stomach, and shoulders, and it’s fucking disgusting. I can smell it—the cum constellation. That part really isn’t his fault, though.

Niall: So you want semen on you…everywhere…but not your face?

Eagerly agreeing, I suppose I failed to specify that everywhere doesn’t mean EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE! So, now I know.

All of this sexual failure reminds me of a conversation from the past. And how I should probably just have guys read my blog before misunderstanding  and hilarity inevitably ensue.

April 14th, 2009

me: have you gotten to the part of my blog where i talk about how i am obsessed with cum and how i am very particular about it?

Josh: im aware of it

youve mentioned

me: okay, well you transferred your dick from my hand to your hand which caused the cum to spatter all over you chest in separate drops and while it was happening i was thinking “fuck, i will have to file this under my list entitled ‘things i will never be able to get off to.'”

so disappointing

gross, huh?

Josh: what, a guy coming on himself?

me: no, how it landed. i’m telling you, i am very particular.

i like it to land in pools, not separate drops.

guys cumming on themselves are hot

Josh: you just want a torrent

me: i mean, that would be ideal, just not so much shaking

Josh: i see

noted

me: i’m sure this is not what you expect to disappoint girls

Josh: no

it’s the pattern youre concerned with

You got it!

I’m such a lunatic. Why does anyone put up with me? Now that, friends, was a rhetorical question.

Post-coitally, Niall might have felt cuddly if I wasn’t feeling so stiff and edgy to leave, biting my lower lip and biding my time until moving on felt appropriate. Or maybe he’s too skinny for that, anyway. “You are beautiful as expected,” he offers as a counterpoint to my earlier neg. And it might have meant something if words meant anything without sex. If it wasn’t an empty gesture to nowhere, a consolation directed at a cold body.

“Wait, I think I left something at your place,” I do a double take as he shuts the door behind us on the way to walk me to the subway station. Not that I need my bow barrette before surgery, just that I’m not sure I’ll be back. Not that I necessarily wanted to make a point of it. Something about the catch of the door reminded me of its metal strips snapping shut.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Arriving at the green-and-white MTA globe designating my impending descent underground, we say our parting words. Me first.

“Twelve hours from now I’m gonna be propofoled: Heaven!”

“Huh, I don’t know what that means.”

“Propofol. Anaesthesia. It’s the drug that killed Michael Jackson.”

“Well, I hope you don’t die tomorrow. Because I’d like to see you again.”

We kiss, lightly—affectionately, I’d say—and I think, Oh fuck, I’m not sure if I want to see you. I mean, I do. I just don’t know if I can endure a sex number two. And with that, I burrow underground, anxiously awaiting my emergence one hour closer to propofol on the other side.

As I pace back and forth on the uptown union square platform—long awaiting my transfer from the L to the 6 and thereby my transformation from self-hating hipster to unabashed yuppie—I laugh inside to keep myself warm and curse fate: Of course this is my life. It is two thirty a.m. the night before my spinal surgery, which I discovered I needed after repeated sex injury. The train isn’t arriving for another 22 minutes, except a minute ago it said 20. This is some fucked up downloading bad internet connection shit. Spattered in semen from surrealist sex after a final weekend out and about and museum hopping because me so cultured. Homebound to watch the season premiere of Girls with my parents before I wake up around noon to be anesthetized. There is no more suitably predictable way to watch Girls except on your laptop or iPad via your parents’ HBO GO account.

Was tonight an exercise in endless youth one-upmanship? I wonder, with barely enough separation for self-reflection. Pre-gaming for propofol! I answer my own question.

Why does every sexual experience I have seem to have that Sorry About Last Night vibe? the train rolls into the station. And that’s the quandary that rides with me. How can I be pro-sex if this is 70% of sex?

Half an hour later, I saunter off the subway and stride down Lex to the nearest Duane Reade to collect my earplugs, Neutrogena grime wipes, and a single-serving container of vanilla Haagen Dazs to indulge in at our Girls premiere party. Hi, mom: I’m home!

Posted in dream big baby: part 2 | Leave a comment

Dream Big, Baby: Part 1

DREAM BIG, BABY: PART 1

But when we wake

It’s all been erased

And so it seems

Only in dreams

—Weezer, Only in Dreams

Every six months or so I dream about masturbating. From the first-person perspect. Oh gosh, how bizarre would it be if it were from the second- or third-person? Usually I only spectate myself from that angle in shower knob mirror distortion—a slippery, slithery sexual kaleidoscope. Not the normal lens through which a dream non-sequitor is viewed. Instead of waking and wanking, I wake up wondering, “Is this rock bottom?” Dreams are supposed to be aspirational. Shooting for the stars with my soft, supple hand is the ultimate lack of ambition. Even in my dreams, I’m an underachiever. Perhaps my nocturnal musings belie my pragmatism about sex: Aim for that which you can obtain, aim for the drain! A vagina in the hand is worth two bushels of bullshit! Not romantic, exactly. But practical makes practice makes perfect. Dreaming about masturbating is wish fulfillment manifest—in its most immediate, corporeal form. Means nothing more than you should have taken care of this simple simulation before you attempted the sacred sacrament of sleep, dumbass!

Last night I dreamed about sexually frustrating sex, which is even worse than dreaming about gratuitous or gratifying sex with oneself! Predictably, it was with Andrew who has been ghoulishly haunting my sleeping life on-and-off since my surgery was postponed. His sickeningly schmaltzy Tinder tagline—which I resolved to overlook in favor of his world-weary waifishness, long lean lady legs, and achingly attentive gaze—was “Dream big, daydream bigger.” Oh, the irony! Here is the setting and the apropos content of the dream: I was flying on a bike (not literally flying, just riding especially fast) under a series of romantic arches a la Central Park with duck pond sentiment (more Blair Waldorf than Holden Caulfield), weaving in and out of a dense dormitory-like setting which happened to be an extension of the outdoors. Like in real life, I didn’t actually know how to ride a bike (nor drive a car, for that matter) and I was on some kind of drug, exogenous or endogenous, that made it a shot in the dark, except the visual images of my path still existed. In its essence, the drug made me feel invincible; I got wherever I was going full of adrenaline and miraculously without injuring anyone, but I knew this was due to sheer luck not competence nor confidence. The destination was Andrew and that part of the dream was especially graphic, though I never got to interact with his pretty penis out of its plastic wrap packaging. It was like a Boca grandma’s tropical brocade couch covered in protective casing and served with a side of noodle kugel casserole sprinkled with crackled eggshells. Not even glitzy, flaming coral nail polish could save the glimmer of an era faded and glamour gone.

Everything was so circumscribed and stilted—by Saran Wrap, by history. It was supposed to take place in the present, not during the brief period when we were fucking nor the prolonged period during which he still extended the diplomacy of false hope. The use-by date had long since passed and he had already expired as masturbatory material in my mind and matter. “Separation” was the encapsulating word. I wish our encounter could have been embodied by wreckage, a confrontational head-on collision or even an impersonal rear-entry ravish where he could spit nasty nothings into my grubby ear. I wish we could have touched each other robustly, our breathy bodies working in concert. Instead we labored as disaffected and disconnected human objects: our constituent parts barely beating alone, together summoning palpitations of pallor. His sallow Irish skin dimming then decaying before my bleary, bloodshot eye sockets. Sucked dry by freeloading fame whore in his hollow heart, he metamorphosed from wannabe to has-been in a matter of lackluster pumps—before his 15-minute self-promo tour de Genie was up—registering that all I had ever wanted was him in flesh, blood and brains, not his dumbed-down, magazine-manicured, PR-packaged image.

As the sex went, it was very standard. He came inside a condom. I didn’t cum at all. My biggest complaint being that I didn’t get to feel him throbbing, bursting, and gushing out of me. Whereas once I had high hopes for him, now he offered me less than nothing. There wasn’t much chemistry to speak of. Except it was unlike the boredom I experienced with Jonah in real life, where I had to feign excitement to please him because I wasn’t eager enough to care about getting off. It wasn’t a hellscape lack of resolution that left me ravenous and clawing for more; it was expectation unfulfilled. The death of expectation. Resignation. Learned helplessness engendering depression.

Not surprising considering I had taken the nap that bred the dream to avoid occupying my bleak waking life. During the period when I still longed for him lasciviously in real life, my simple warm affectionate feelings were replaced with ambivalence and anguish. Opportunistically, I convinced myself that new sex would be even better—it would usher in a coterie of mental fuckery that would fuck me more exactingly—cut me deeper and more devastatingly. I had set up a situation that was guaranteed to be fulfilling or at least filling; as my psychological cavern turned into a gaping wound and the connective tunnels twisted, the chasm between how he found me and how he left me begged to be plugged with penis and its fissures sealed with semen.

How cruel of a dream when he entirety of our relationship is epitomized by the phrase coitus interruptus: his tempting me, toying with me, stringing me along, then enacting an impressive disappearing act that defied logic and trajectory.

Max: Sex so good the dude just evaporated

Me: Pretty much, he was like a vagician!

Me: Who has come back as a ghost.

We texted nearly all day every day for a month and a half; I doubted we would ever meet; when we finally did, against all odds, the sex was spectacular—so proficient and persistently arousing that I didn’t even get sore; he continued texting me with mundane life updates while we were in separate locations for Memorial Day week and I assumed things would pick up where they left off when we reconvened; instead he slowly and silently fluttered away until I cornered him into admitting that we didn’t have a “big future.” But I held on to the illusion that we would resume fucking furiously then ferociously—if only because he played with tenses, I was sexually tense, and word games are so much sexier than mind games. He said, suggestively, “we have great sex” (present tense!) And, less subtly, “we are not currently boning because…” (future implied!) In response to a joke about religion and thank you notes that he told me his mom liked, I decided to indulge the New England WASP in him by sending a formal sex invitation. He replied enthusiastically, inquiring about scheduling but failing to follow through. His disappearance inconveniently corresponded to my reincorporating myself into the thankless world of adult productivity and being punitively pummeled by schoolwork. The whole situation was one big tease. I wanted to yell, Now I’m twice as horny and twice as anxious, someone put me out of my fucking misery!!!

Eight months later I’m no longer horny, yet just as miserable! If only there were any tension left to relieve.

My vagina awoke in the exact same condition in which I kissed it goodnight: aching and longing. Dull, drawn-out grief. Not flushed, pulsating, and electrified by touch. What good is that? I lamented. If you insist upon invading my vagina in my dreams, babe, at least get me off or get me going.

About the bike.

Recently I had lunch with an author I admire; a few years ago she broke her spine while biking absentmindedly. After more conservative and highly unpleasant interventions failed, she had to have vertebrates in her neck fused. The surgery I’m currently awaiting is a fusion of one level of my lumbar spine (L5-S1). So not a long shot if we are unimaginative and need to connect motifs in dreams with events in waking life. Metaphorically speaking, flying on a bike is all about seizing risks and letting go. Eschewing fear in favor of pursuing desire. Which is what got me into this whole fucking mess in the first place. Except at least the mess was satisfying. Until it was frustrating. Unlike the dream which was similar to the mediocre sex I’ve been having recently, only with higher expectations and thus space for disappointment.

About the condom sex.

The hallmark of our weeklong sexual relationship: no condoms, copious amounts of spontaneous sex, high-volume semen every single round. Even after he told me he had spent the entire day jerking off—show-off! Bottomless brunches of semen! I’d like to think that if I chuckled with it in my mouth it would spew out of my nose into my breakfast smoothie. And that’s why I’m still obsessed with him. How vulgar is that? The life juice thing is so literal it’s grotesque. Once every last drop dribbled out of my pussy and I no longer had all of his fluids inside me, ennui crept in and took hold like a tick latching on, embedding itself, and draining me of my lifeblood.

In the dream I didn’t get to interact with his cum at all, its absence noted in my mind. I didn’t even get to see it bulge and bubble through the condom; it was wasted entirely. Not a punishment, per se, just a selfish withholding on his part—an understated lack of interest in sharing. I yearned to treat his cock as a living, breathing, expressive being; to feel it grow inside and grip me; to revel in his slender body, which I was crazy about and craved in real life. His self-involvement and inaccessibility rendered him no better than a human dildo, hardened and stale. Instead of you can look but you can’t touch, it was you can touch but you can’t enjoy.

Condom sex: yikes! A literal and metaphorical separation, shielding me and sealing me off from any element of fantasy that once was. The ultimate cautionary tale as I’m fretting about losing my last layer of skin: the separation between my public and private lives, my ability to be self-conscious, to be shrouded in disclaimers. The blaring message: You. Will. Never. Be. Satisfied. If. You. Don’t. Fuck. Raw.

Unification is a New Year’s goal of sorts. Fusing my identities and not being so fragmented and fragile. Which corresponds to taking more risks. The ultimate risk is coming into one’s self, being a cohesive and consistent human being across social settings. I don’t care if my desire to have unprotected sex ruins my image as smart academic and I don’t care if my writing a trashy book ruins my image as shy and circumspect. Most of the boundaries I have are ones I’ve created for myself and all they’ve given me is anxiety. The thing about risks is you have to own them. I didn’t fuck as many men as I did by second guessing myself. Part of creating a character is becoming that character. It can feel artificial until you agree to accept the social feedback. Act as you want to be and you shall become. That’s what identity unity is: being fearless and seamless. Not protecting your self-image with condoms, not protecting your social image with impression-management tactics. Disaster preparedness is its own kind of tragedy. It is pre-dwelling. Inhabiting a state of fear in lieu of desire. You can touch but you can’t enjoy.

 

Other nightmares.

About a week prior I had a dream about ALL THE MEN. The setting was half suburban half sleep away camp. Andrew was on the arm of this writer he knows whose blog and book are even more pathologically narcissistic and self-aggrandizing than his book. And a large portion of his book is his bragging about his pretty girlfriends whom he treats like conquests and accessories to his ailing ego. His and his girlfriends’ credentials are substantiated by passages about how jealous men are of his sexual prowess, how his girlfriends live in perpetual fear that he will leave them for the next pretty young thang, and how incredulous everyone is that a skinny literary nerd like him can land such hot chicks. It’s the ultimate exercise in overcompensating for being an adolescent outsider by simultaneously name-dropping the philosophers he is impressive enough to have read and casually referencing how huge his cock is. What a painfully contrived and insecure attempt for him to convince himself that he is worthy of the sexual attention he receives and the commensurate status climb. Of course the book is hideously objectifying to the women involved, whom he raises on a pedestal with epithets like “goddess” and “angel.”

I’ve been thinking about his sociopath writer friend because the author I recently met with who had broken her spine also happens to know her. Moreover, I’m plagued by this piece she wrote about transforming from a dorky teenager who was ignored by boys to a hot bitch who allegedly has high-status men chasing her. Sounds like the plot to every teen movie from the ‘90s. This, in combination with Andrew’s book, are concerning to me. Am I one of them? Does the entirety of my blog come across as a brag rag? Is everyone who blossomed from wallflower to sex object as heinously obnoxious and conceited as we are? Do people who don’t know me think I’m being serious when I joke about being hot shit? Am I using humans as accessories in a desperate attempt to convince myself that I’m not an imposter? Or is it possible for pretty nerds to be legit confident, to grown into themselves? Of course this whole thing is complicated by the dissonance I feel about the contrast between my body’s appearance and its functioning, the fact that I have convinced men to lust after a cripple.

In any event, I don’t think Andrew and Arden really had speaking parts in my dream, though they acknowledged my presence and I theirs.

I’ll briefly explain the other identifiable players. Let’s call them face characters. The first one is Neil, a member of the gilded trio. We fucked about a year and a half ago, he’s still in my sex queue, we text every so often, and I’ve been thinking about him recently because I bumped into a mutual acquaintance and showed him a screenshot of Neil’s tinder profile in which he lies to make himself appear approximately 5 years younger than he is (in real life he is approximately 5 years older than I am and made a point of his chronological maturity). Neil is a sex writer, we bonded over career stuff, had a mix of social and intellectual convos about sex, and when we fucked he had notes for his book spread out on the wall above his bed. Sort of how I’d study for a test on amino acids or functional groups, only my post-its would be affixed to my bathroom door. Whatever portion of his book he was spatially arranging included sexual pitfalls, such as “the shopping mentality.” Ya know, all the things I’m an expert at. Quite the visual backdrop for coitus.

The second face character is Soaring Eagle. And, no, he’s not Native American. If you went to Reed college around the same era that I did, you know exactly whom I’m talking about, because he and his brother are legends. Soar and I fucked a few times during and directly after college and it was absolutely divine, but I haven’t seen him in 8ish years because of geographical obstacles (I think he lives in China?). We got into an epically preposterous fight during one of our fucks, and I’m trying to recreate the dialogue for the first chapter of my book—which I’ve had trouble writing because it basically portrays a month-long orgy and the sequencing of intertwined stories is confusing. Here is a preview: “Fine! But I’m doing this in protest!” I protested demonstratively, inserting Thomas my husband dildo into my willing but unenthused vagina.

At some point in the dream I separately interacted with Andrew & Arden, Neil, and Soar. The climax took place on a tennis court or lawn of some place where kids casually convene at camp or in college. Except it was essentially an assembly of penises past. Before my arrival some of the guys discovered that they had slept with the same girl: me. Upon my arrival it was clear that they had been speaking of this, giggling, what a fucking whore. Not accusingly. Just like, that girl has acquired quite the collection: us. When I approached, seeing them all together, I had a moment like I did in real life when I walked past a guy on the street and couldn’t figure out whether he was Danny from “On Demand” or a guy my close friend Jeannie had been with. They were both novelty fucks in the same Midwestern, average Joe way (Yes, Jeannie’s man was, in fact, named Joe). The more guys you’ve been with, the more you have to get used to penis oversaturation—to past partners pervading your life. Easily I loafed with the group and began gossiping with one of my past partners, either Neil or Soar, about sleeping with the other one. Obliviously engaged in conversation, I didn’t notice when the one I was speaking of approached me from behind, overhearing everything. There wasn’t a scene made, exactly; it was just like, Ha ha, another one who’s slept with Genie. I guess we all need to get used to this.

And so we have to. In real life, too. The dream was slightly reminiscent of the ALL THE PENISES ARE POINTED AT ME dayterror of this past summer. But I’d like to think the tone was more that of a reunion episode of a sitcom where everybody knows my name: congenial. Make new friends and keep the old. That’s what friends are for. Camp songs, kids. Sing along with me!

 

Private browsing.

Then there was the bout of nightmares I experienced around the time my surgery was indefinitely delayed, surely triggered by my medical misfortunes. I woke up feeling hallow and frightened and somehow knew I had dreamed about Andrew even though I couldn’t compile a storyline. I used to assume that once he expired as masturbatory material (which happened sometime in August, around the time I was contemplating retroactive interference), he would disappear from my mind like he had disappeared from my life. Now that I’ve shaken him from my skin but can’t seem to shake him from my thoughts, I would almost welcome him as fodder. At least there would be utility in that.

Recent body horrors aside, I realized a large part of his recurrent presence is due to technological blunders. Exorcizing him from my search history has been a fiasco with my browser acting as Big Brother. This is going to sound like the silliest of modern day dating problems. Because it is. At some point during the summer I decided I would read everything there was about him on the internets and never ever wonder about him again. So I rummaged through his twitter, instagram, etc. in all of their banality and mundanity. Stuff I was never interested in while we were still communicating. As it turns out, the way instagram is programmed, every time you open a picture it registers as a new page view, and when you press the back button you have to go back through every single thing you’ve opened instead of immediately arriving at the person’s profile page. More page views. Here is where it gets super silly. Since then, every time I’ve checked my blog, his instagram has popped up in my dropdown menu. Just because “instagram” and “indefense” happen to have the same first two letters. I know, I know, such a trivial coincidence! And sometimes I’m tempted to click on his instagram feed, which only affirms to my computer that his life is something I want to check in on periodically. I knew I should clear my search history, but wasn’t sure how to clear only one website or only one person’s name or whatever. That would require a google search. Which I totally know how to do because I’m medium smart at computers!

The problem: It would be too humiliating to admit my lack of self-control to my computer. In an instant, an alleged fluke of browser history would reveal itself to be a malfunction of neural networks. Typing the words into my search engine would serve as material evidence of my moral failings. Articulation adding another item to the offending queue, ironically. In other words, I’M AN IDIOT!

After the bout of body horror nightmares, I scoured my search history with steel wool: follies erased! So when I had that dream about ALL THE MEN, a.k.a, the assembly of penises past, I thought, Hooray, an improvement! Until my extremely graphic sexually frustrating nightmare ruined my winning streak. If only I had sexually frustrating sex with ALL THE MEN.

Private browsing, you suggest? Well, of course, that would have solved the problem, the technological side of it. But it honestly never occurred to me because I’ve never been in such a situation before. Where I was tempted to sneak a little peek. Just this once. Because I am addicted to your peen.

 

Other technological telltales.

The only reference point I have for this situation is what unfolded after I broke up with my college boyfriend. Contemplating the break up, I realized intellectually that it was a final decision, that I no longer had any claim to him. Once I let him slip out of my hands, he could shatter and it might invalidate everything we once had. But when it came time, I didn’t know how to let him go. I couldn’t comprehend that someone could play such a prominent role in my daily life over the course of two years, reshaping my self-perception, then suddenly cease to exist. To me, exclusively. No matter how easy you let someone down, how gently and sparsely you break the news, it feels like peeling off your protective layer of skin with the bandaid of a boy that you’ve kept on for too long. Native, with no compass to navigate your surroundings, nevertheless your new self, you are left.

It wasn’t like I was looking to unearth anything in particular. Nor had I ever snooped during our relationship. Never felt the need to. Suddenly what I needed was just a little bit more of him. To stay connected. To feel like I hadn’t cut a gaping two-year hole into my life, inserting myself into the void. I got it on the second try, after erroneously inputting the name of his parents’ Yorkie with a Jennifer Aniston haircut circa ‘94. It wasn’t so far off from that in obviousness. By the time we broke up, he still had no social media presence. Two years of unprotected sex and we never managed to make it to Facebook friendship. So Gmail, it was. It wasn’t as if I wished to check up on him in the sneaky, dishonest way. Without another viable inlet, I was left with no choice. That’s how it feels when you have a compulsion, anyway. And it was a chemical one long before that point.

Eventually I confessed. Not because I desired moral absolution: I don’t believe it is right to dump unsettling info on someone else to unburden oneself. But because I couldn’t foresee myself stopping otherwise, and I hated what I was doing. Not only was it covertly intrusive and overtly immoral; worse yet, it made me feel entirely unlike myself. I had never imagined becoming the type of person who would do something of this despicable nature. As dumpers declare from mountaintops and basements alike, I never thought it would come to this. I wanted him to change his password, to forcibly save me from myself. He felt violated. Rightfully so. But what are you going to do? It wasn’t as if I was searching in bad faith, only loneliness. It’s difficult to begrudge loneliness and the desperation that arises therefrom.

Obviously these two situations are not nearly comparable: one involved the dissolution of a two-year relationship, i.e., real loss, the other the end of a fucktastic week. Here is what they have in common: both devolved into my feeling utterly out of control. Something I do not feel often. I felt that way when I was a teenager because my mom controlled me. I felt that way when my OCD compulsions took hold. Until I got out of my childhood household and headspace. And that’s exactly what the situation with Andrew felt like—a relatively innocuous OCD obsession gaining traction as a versatile elixir by transmogrifying opportunistically, intensifying in morbidness and violence to match the extremity of my circumstances. Toward the end of the summer, when my body and life spun out of control, it took every ounce of energy to scrape my flattened self off the floor so I could get through my obligations, rote task by rote task. Each day was an exercise in live through this shit, and by the time I decided to surrender my waking life to my dreams, I was so overtaxed that I was compelled to check and check and overcheck the one thing that still symbolized and had recently actualized escapism. The only person who could get me back into my body, in one fell swoop and one “thick” thrust.

I knew how shitty I’d feel each and every time I snuck a peek. That the initial fresh breath of allowing myself to misbehave would swirl a cool tornado inside me, battering the filthiest debris around the lining of my lungs like the outer orbits of a circle pit at a punk show picking up particles and ricocheting off the walls. I could hear the turbulent wind whistling through my ears before it deafened me, beat down my cilia, ceased to be sensed. And the less sensation is transduced into perception, the more stimulation one needs. I felt dead enough that I need a reminder of what it was like when I once felt, even if those feelings were awful and suffocating and sucked the life out of me. It was that initial jab I sought. Validation that I deserved to feel bad. That it was something, not nothing.

So I persisted indefinitely, until it became an actual problem that revealed itself in my text message history. The kind of problem that he now has a material record of and is, therefore, quite literally out of my hands. Apparently my mind, too.

 

Posted in dream big baby: part 1 | Leave a comment

The 13th Step: Rock Bottom

THE 13th STEP: ROCK BOTTOM

Oh, hai, thanks for stopping by. Guys, I have a problem. I’ve been through so many guys, yet had sooo little sex. It’s demoralizing. I think my count at this juncture in the space-time continuum is 16 in the past year-and-a-halfish, though, whatever, time isn’t linear, exactly. Kidding, that isn’t my real problem. I mean, it is. I’m lonely. I lack human contact. It isn’t even sexual desperation or horniness or whatever, anymore. I mean, I could take care of that, easily, if that were actually the problem. But maybe not. Because I’m picky and according to the events of this past May I have needs of which I wasn’t aware. I think this is the time when you welcome me to the well of affected typeface that represents human remains, whatever abstraction remains of what was once considered human cognition, “Hi, Genie, welcome to the internets.”

 

1) SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

I spent the days following our encounter debating about whether or not I wanted to see Jonah again. On one hand, the sex was kind of torture. On the other hand,

a) VAG ISSUES

Whatever vaginal issues were ailing me must be temporary. I also experienced random internal pain with The Explorer So much so that after a few thrusts, a position change, and a few more thrusts, I told him that we had to switch back to oral. After we were done, he asked me if his dick was weird, like an unusual size or shape. Nope. I can’t explain it, but it’s only happened those two times, so I’m unconcerned.

b) PENIS SIZE

Big penises are bad news for me. I’m not sure how accurate I am at estimating relative penis sizes, but he can’t be bigger than Clyde He just can’t. What is bigger than an elephant? The internet tells me a big whale and giant squid. And now I’m thinking about tentacle porn. Here’s the thing, even though Clyde’s body broke my back, my vagina was unharmed. Now that I have fewer internal organs, I can totally accommodate elephant cock. Therefore, Jonah’s relatively smaller penis must be able to fit inside me without doing any serious damage.

c) ATTRACTION

Whatever we had seemed to have fizzled out. But the guy had also fallen asleep on me on the subway ride back to my place. Attraction is so context-dependent. Maybe we couldn’t recreate the party pick-up vibe. But to some extent our attraction could be rekindled.

d) THE 50 BEFORE 30 CLUB

16 penises in a year-and-a-half is too many! Let’s be honest: It’s not them; it’s me. Granted, three of them disposed of me and a few were so morally reprehensible that there was no way I was seeing them again. The others I probably could have given second chances.

 

2) SECOND TIMES

I’m very sexually picky and once I’m grossed out I’m grossed out. But it doesn’t have to get to that point. I have to remind myself that second times are usually better than firsts; I need to leave room for improvement.

I thought back to my experience in Amsterdam. On my first date with The Dutch Man, we went to two bars, then a sex show, and finally he asked me if I wanted to get another drink and I said I was done drinking for the night. We had dilated time well with all of the location changes and I enjoyed our conversation but it seemed like it was dwindling. Plus, I’m not so into alcohol. He walked me part of the way back to my hotel and when we were about to part I stalled, wait, I’m not tired yet. So, he asked again if I wanted to get another drink. If there was any possibility that we were going to have sex, I really didn’t want another drink. However, it didn’t seem like he was angling to go back to my hotel with me. I invited him over as an alternative to drinking more. My odds seemed 50-50. Kinda a long shot for a sex invitation. If I didn’t invite him back I was going home alone, so it didn’t have anything to lose. He accepted.

The truth was, I didn’t especially want to have sex with him. He had everything going for him and we had a pleasant time together, but I can’t say I felt a ton of physical chemistry or drive. Here was my thought process: I like sex more than alcohol. He’s offering me alcohol and I think I can do better. It sounds silly because I like sex more than most things and when people offer me most things I don’t counter, “Let’s have sex instead!” It’s the same logic I used when I decided to vomit for sex. Even though the timing was less than ideal, I was like I’d rather have ginger sex than masturbate! Ergo, ginger sex. Ergo, vomit. When we pit choices against each other like that, the decision-making process becomes distorted. And the Dutch and ginger situation aren’t actually analogous to one another because I was crazy about the ginger—crazy! Only the timing was positively preposterous. With The Dutch Man, it was more like I was living life according to my mantra: if you don’t know what to do with it, put it in your vagina! Bottoms up!

Over the next few days The Dutch Man made it abundantly clear that he wanted to see me again. The sex was okay and afterwards we had a mature chat about my blog that made me gain a lot of respect for him. But I still had an overwhelming feeling of indifference. Which turned into ambivalence when I realized how few days I had left in Amsterdam and how many options there were. A guy I found far more intriguing sent me a message on okcupid. While objectively guy number one was more of a catch, guy number two was more my type. He was skinny and pretty; had ear piercings, highly stylized hair, paisley bow-ties, and pocket squares; had a hard-on for Nietzsche and Foucault; and fancied taking it up the butt. HERE IS THE BEST PART. Okcupid Q: Would you like to have someone strap on a dildo and put it inside you? A: Yes. It’s very exciting play-wise, plus men have tons of hot spots there, so get over the homophobic/gender tosh of male ass-play being gay or not manly. I wasn’t sure I was ready to lick a stranger’s asshole (Q: Under the right circumstances, would you allow a partner to lick your anus? A: Yes. Allow? Love it.) but fucking a guy with a strap-on has always been my dream! And it seemed safer in Amsterdam where people are less diseased. I fantasized about simultaneously being a geographical and sexual tourist. Considered how I could rearrange my life to squeeze him into my schedule and squeeze myself into him. Is it wrong to have buttsex after one cleanses herself literally and figuratively in a floatation tank? Before she hops on an airplane for the final leg of her trip? Will being the insertive partner require more vigorous thrusting and thus break my fucking back? Couldn’t work it out.

I opted to overlook bowtie butt’s message and reunite with the original Dutch man. Here is how I worked that out: I spent my summer lamenting pitiful prospects and actively abstaining. Let’s say there is a 1 in 4 chance that I wanna bone some dude I go on a blind date with, and out of the dudes I bone there is a 1 in 3 chance that it will be mindblowing. 1/4×1/3=1/12. There is only a 1/12 chance that this new dude will be better than the original Dutch man. Better stick to what I have. Look, I’m not such a frigid bitch that I actually did the math at the time. It just became obvious that I should not fix what was not broken and at very worst I would have a nice time with a lovely and worthy man.

My decision was a sound one. If decisions are outcome-dependent.

He led me all over town, wanted to give me a taste of nightlife he thought I’d enjoy. Even took me to an Art Deco theater because we had spoken about my interest in modern art and he figured I’d appreciate the architecture. Though it was closed for a private event, I found the gesture to be incredibly thoughtful; I appreciated him. He walked me back toward my hotel and the night ended much like our first night together. He didn’t seem especially inclined to have sex with me. I had to explicitly invite him over and once we were back in my room, he didn’t act receptive to my advances of orienting my body towards his, touching his leg, looking up with longing eyes. I wasn’t sure I wanted sex until we were making out and he pulled back with soupy eyes, “Glad to be back.” I returned the smile and affirmation, “Glad to have you back.” Women like enthusiastic consent, too. Perhaps he was just shy or didn’t want to come across as pushy.

Things progressed so much more naturally and effortlessly than the first time. He was a quick study, remembering all of my preferences and orchestrating them masterfully. With a destination in mind, we got to skip past most of the boring formality of kissing and feeling each other out. Against my better judgment, alas, I let go.

As he was fingering me, I dissolved into his hand, crumbled like a stoic statue losing her footing. Normally when I cum into my hand my hand becomes a cup of cum, but I overshot his, went out of bounds, and I couldn’t feel or see but I knew I was spraying all over my bed, the right-hand one. I thought, thank god for Ernie and Bert bedding, I will be sleeping on the left-hand side tonight. Letting the steam whistle out from my hollow heart and sing a simple melody, I slipped away before finding myself. Just as I suspected I wouldn’t be able to glue the pieces together and might drown to death in my own lake, I stopped him. We switched to sex. After a few minutes of riding him I announced I was close, assuming he had enough time to get himself there. He looked at me in awe and told me to make myself come. I leaned back on his cock and looked into his eyes, two more thrusts and oh shit closer became coming. It rushed through me unexpectedly. I was a windsock flapping in a gust, falling backward and then forward. He caught me with his firm wrists and as we leveled into free-fall together, I continued to contract around his cock. Make yourself cum, baby.

Let’s call that moral luck, baby. Bad decisions are outcome-independent. We had two days in between our first and second encounters. During the first day, I debated about whether I wanted him or bowtie buttsex. During the second day, I did mushrooms and when I was coming down I tried to summarize all of the not-so profound things I learned during my trip. The insights pertaining to him, though intended more generally: 1) Just because you’d rather have sex than do anything else doesn’t mean that’s a good reason to have sex, 2) Maybe it speaks more about the lack of stimulation in your surroundings than of the enticement of sex, and 3) It isn’t exactly a compliment if someone decides to have sex with you because how bad can it be. Clearly I’m telling myself to quit it with all this stupid sex. But the very next day I go for round number two. Which I don’t even know that I want until we are already back at my place making out. I like to analyze decision making using the paradigm that Tom Nagel proposes in his paper Moral Luck. Which I haven’t read since summer 2005 but I think I still remember the gist. There are 4 possible decision-outcome combinations:

1) Someone drives safely. Hits nobody.

2) Someone drives safely. Hits someone accidentally.

3) Someone drives drunk. Hits nobody.

4) Someone drives drunk. Hits someone accidentally.

I think we’d all agree that person number 4 is the worst of the worst. And it’s best to be person number 1. Person number 2 we feel sort of sorry for. Even though he/she had a more unfortunate outcome than person number 3, he/she is less at fault. Person number 3 has moral luck.

Sex isn’t as polarized as these dichotomous actions and outcomes. Usually I feel sort of indifferent about my sexual partners at the onset and the sex ends up being sort of meh. But I think it’s still useful to consider which role I take on in various sexual scenarios. Since I had sex that I wasn’t enthused about but it ended up pretty awesome, I’m going to label myself person number 3. Obviously it is better to be person number 1 regardless of equivalent outcome. But it’s hard to never get fucked, man! And you can never truly predict an outcome until you are already naked together.

This paradigm does not even account for the aftermath, which you cannot assess until it arrives. Andrew would have been a category 1, my decision felt so right at the time and the sex was mindblowing. YES, I exclaimed. I can finally guzzle massive loads of cum forever and leave a river of swimmers behind wherever I go. I have been reincarnated as a cum dump!!! Except I crashed hard when he disposed of me. What is a dried cum dump, anyway? A drought? A brushfire? The aftermath was undoubtedly worse because of how good both the decision and outcome felt. The higher you fly on dopamine the harder you crash. Sex is complicated and brutal. Deeep sigh.

 

3) UNWANTED SEX

I’ve had so much unwanted sex recently, and when I say unwanted I don’t intend to imply through coercion or even convincing. The guys are almost mystified that I want to sleep with them so soon. Almost. No one argues; they enable me. As I pursue my compulsive need to scratch the seedy underbelly, sniff all the crotches, explore every crevice and crack. An endless quest to expose nothing in particular. To unearth. Out of curiosity or boredom. For better or worse. In the words of Elizabeth Wurtzel, I am the bad crowd.

Remember that blog Reasons My Son Is Crying, featuring reasons that sound absurd to functional adults? I should compile an analog called Reasons Genie Put Something In Her Vagina. And by something I mean either men or objects. If those are distinct categories. Kidding! For sure, it would sound absurd to anyone who has any inner resources. The only thing I have inside me are grippy, toned muscles. Winning!

If I have a creative talent, it is misusing sex (upcycling feelings!). This blog should actually be called How to Expel Your Feelings from Your Vagina. Or, more accurately, How to Stuff Your Feelings in Your Deep, Dark Vagina Hole. (If only they could escape!) The sexual equivalent of gluttony. Well, call me morbidly obese!

 

4) CATASTROPHIZING

 I have always eaten what I wanted, which has amounted to not all that much food, because when you satisfy your desires, they turn out to be surprisingly slight, or at least reasonable. It’s deprivation that creates hunger. My only understanding of this idea when it come to nutrition is in relation to my own feelings about love: if some man gave me precisely what I needed, it would probably not be all that much, but the famine of feelings make me needy and desperate.

—Elizabeth Wurtzel, More. Now. Again., pg. 316

After careful consideration, I decided to text Jonah, given that the a) vag issues, b) penis size, and c) attraction all seemed like manageable hurdles to surmount. My decision was heavily weighted toward the realization that I’d be in the 100 before 35 club if I kept dismissing guys after just one time. So text him I did, and I didn’t hear back right away. While waiting, I worked myself up over nothing. Is he gonna text me, is he gonna text me not? Does he love me, does he love me not? I spent hours eyeing my phone every few minutes, checking my phone even though I turned the volume on so I would be notified immediately if and when he did respond. After a few hours of this nonsense, when it was still within reasonable timeframe that he might actually respond and just hadn’t received my text yet or was busy, I was like, HOLY SHIT, what the fuck is wrong with me? A few hours earlier I wasn’t even sure I wanted to see him again. I had to rationally convince myself I should give him another shot. He was mostly a novelty fuck, anyway. Now here I am panicking that he may not want me.

I have so little in my life that sex has become a game to me. And it’s a mentally exhausting game because it seems personal like so much is hinged upon a guy liking me, though the actual sex I’m having is pretty much as impersonal as it gets. And maybe rejection wouldn’t be so rough if anyone ever wanted me, but you can only be thrown to the ground so many times before it is confirmed that you are piece of trash with scuff marks rife for stomping on. Then it occurred to me that the last few guys I’ve been with have contacted me past the time period when I was interested in communicating, and I felt a sense of revulsion. As in, I was annoyed that they assumed I had any responsibility toward them once our physical communion was over, and I couldn’t understand what they wanted from me beyond my body. One lives overseas, for Christ’s sake! I only gave him my contact info so he knew how to find me if he ever decided to visit the city or I ended up in Amsterdam again or whatever.

When they don’t text, I wonder, “Why don’t they want me?” When they do, I get exasperated, “Why would they want me?” I can’t win—when it comes to balancing abstractions of feelings in a famine of feelings. Meta data about our interactions. Always a critic, never a participant—I can never just be present. I become anxious about the game aspect, not the people involved, and work myself up into a frenzy until it becomes so unmanageable that I push them away so I can discontinue engaging with my own feelings. Content falls by the wayside when to text or not to text becomes the question. I’m playing my own game, I’ve created my own rules, and I’ve finally learned how to suspend my disbelief!

“So you overreact to nothing, but that overreacting is not feeling—it’s reacting. If you just sat there and said to yourself that it hurts and there’s nothing you can do, you’d get through it. Instead you drive yourself crazy wishing these things didn’t hurt. You feel stupid and bad about yourself for being bothered and then you drive yourself crazy. The feelings come out in strange ways.” She pauses. “That’s what’s inappropriate. Before you even know a guy well enough to be attached to him, you feel deeply, because you are so desperate to feel something, and then you sabotage it. You don’t give it a chance to get to the point where real feelings would be appropriate.”

“I never get that far.”

“Because you are too busy getting worked up about all kinds of things that don’t matter so that you don’t get to the point where it does.”

—Elizabeth Wurtzel, More. Now. Again., pg. 192

Working myself up, waiting, catastrophizing the self-created, plotting the demise of only me.

Before he even has the opportunity to not text me back, I want to rescind everything we’ve done together. I want to beg him to start over, to retract the sex, to wait until the third date like conscientious human beings who are not so jaded as to pound away their feelings immediately. To get to know each other first, whatever that means. I vow to apologize for rushing things, if only he texts me back. It will be my first act of vulnerability. After ascending and descending the 13th step, I think I’m ready for at least that.

Though I’m normally unable to flip a switch and change how I feel, once I realize how disproportionate and misplaced my freak out is, I cut it out immediately. I accept the situation as a lesson learned.

 

5) SHIPWRECK SHORES

I think of how Paul told me my blog is a shipwreck and I’m the rock; he can’t imagine why guys knowingly continue to sleep with me. Or, as Andrew put it, Why then bother dating at all if we know how it ends? I take sensible situations and annihilate them with my murderous mind. Genie’s vagina: where dicks go to die. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

It’s true that the stories I share here are fucking disasters because there is comedy in tragedy. But those accidents are crash and burn. Actual tragedy is sullen and infinite. It’s too expansive to be quantified and explained in tidy narrative form; it smolders and simmers holes in places you’d least expect them. And you don’t realize you are lacking points of reinforcement until you try to stand and it comes crashing down in thunderous waves. The real shipwreck is the one that leaves you forever adrift. That can’t be set ablaze and compounded into a box of ashes to put on a mantelpiece with framed family photographs. Instead of marinating, I let my feelings fester.

I’ve begun to feel as if my readers and real-world friends are dependent on me for laughs. Comic relief. When I should just be like, Get. A. Life. To destroy.

Once upon a time a guy referred to my blog as an “outlet.” At this point I conceive of it as a way to create something out of the rubble of my life, and I suspect that which I feel the most emotional resistance to is the most critical to share. It wasn’t always like this. In fact, I never consciously decided to have a sex blog—to publicly mock people with penises. I was simply the resident storyteller among my peers and they thought my misadventures should be recorded. Then distributed. I had very little control between steps one two of the process. I wrote for them. And then them became their friends and friends-of-friends. I’m not trying to recuse myself from responsibility. Just trying to say that this whole project became larger than me, larger than my initial intentions which were actually other people’s intentions to begin with. After a year or so of writing, my sex life and writing became hopelessly entangled, in part because the clowns with whom I consorted totally encouraged my nonsense and I felt like I had to perform for them. Of course they had stake in watching me make a fool out of myself, and I suffered myself as a fool gladly because I felt a definitive dissociation from the character we created. Best of all, I got to fuck haplessly and be praised for it! How many women can say that?

I quit my blog for a few years when things started spinning out of control and I wanted space to explore without being critiqued. I needed to eliminate the social motivation without throwing out the baby in the bathwater. And here I am years later, estranged from the group of friends who were once my primary enablers, still fucking away—fucking my life away. Now that my external motivation to fuck has decreased, I do feel like I’ve gained insight about myself that I wouldn’t have if my social and sexual desirability were inextricably entwined. But I still can’t help but think of my life in narrative form, and I don’t think this is a problem most people experience. Maybe other people aren’t ridiculous enough to engage with the absurd and stage their lives as Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes. Maybe they think of adventuring as an occupational hazard. Those people don’t know how much sex you can have and how much havoc you can wreak without actual, permanent consequences.

It’s silly to think that art is about what is depicted rather than a projection of the artist herself. I realize I’m especially prone to overstepping the life-art divide and sometimes I’m conscious of it in real-time. For example, when I feel the need to own a room that probably means I’m playing a character. Or maybe I’m coming into myself. Who knows.

After all has been said and done, I wish I had taken MORE risks, not fewer. But I also know it’s time to drop the sexual affectation. The world of casual sex is something I conquered long ago and I’ve been stagnating for a long time now. There is nothing brave about that. Plus my friends think I’m an asshole. And I think I’m an asshole. One of them, Parker, has explicitly stated that he prefers me when we’re alone and I’m being for real, even though we met when I was steeped in my sex blogger persona. Whenever I’m out and about with my friends or orate old school-style stories, I think I feel judgment from them, like they believe I’m pathetic yet continue to humor me. And I realize I’m projecting self-judgment. Plus Parker’s. With which I don’t always agree. But in this case he’s right: it’s time to grow up and move on.

I was always able to reduce whatever craziness I’d experienced into the perfect anecdote, the ideal cocktail party monologue… Even at my worst… I would try to keep the atmosphere light by saying something like, So, did I tell you about the accidental blowjob?

Anyway, I thought this ability, to tell away my personal life as if it didn’t belong to me, to be queerly chatty and energetic at moments that most people found inappropriate, was what my friends liked about me… most of them let me know, one by one, that while they didn’t mind that I said things that were thoughtless and out of line, they excused this behavior as a sad flaw… I was actually just good to talk to, even a good friend… They’d be just as happy to see the affectation go.

—Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation, pgs. 326-327

I pretend I don’t know what will come of me if I drop the act. What am I good for if not sex?

Here’s the secret: With The Dutch Man I was on my best behavior. We didn’t talk about sex at all. I mean, I talked about public health policies and outcomes and my volunteer job and job aspirations. And after the first time we fucked we had that earnest conversation about how writing about people you know alters the course of your life and becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. But I didn’t shock him with stories of sexual shenanigans; that’s sort of an aggressive conversational control tactic, anyway. I turned it off and still managed to be engaging.

And, like, this whole ‘I have nothing else going for me’ thing is silly. People I work with like me. My classmates like me. My family likes me. And not just because everyone’s family tolerates them and everyone thinks their own baby is the most beautiful. But because I’m actually funny in real life without employing cringeworthy frame-controlling techniques. Without telling away my personal life to disown the embarrassment, to make it not mine. Time to discontinue the humane fuck-and-release program. I can cease entangling myself in these ridiculous situations if I wish not to be associated with them. Sex for me is just a nervous tic. Tick, tick, tick…

 

6) ROCK BOTTOM

I was forever puzzled by the okcupid question “Is there such a thing as having had too many sex partners?” What do they mean by too many? Too many to fit in the 365 days of the year? Too many to fit in your orifices simultaneously? So many that you are constantly sore? If only.

How about so many that you are eternally dissatisfied by and so distracted by cock and the commensurate bullshit that you don’t have the breathing room to step back and see over the trenches. You are measuring one mediocre experience against the next with blinders on. Everything becomes dim and indistinguishable. Iterations of anguish.

There is a price for 16. My sexuality has become performative. And by now I am the only audience member. How many partners are too many partners? At a certain point your soul fractures from the stress and strain of stuffing them all in. It doesn’t matter if individually they were insignificant experiences, some lovely some icky. It doesn’t matter if you achieve a balance such that collectively in theory they should cancel one another out. There is a psychic price. Eventually. The balance strikes you.

I’ve been through so many guys and gotten so little. It is demoralizing. I always though rock bottom was an extreme you hit, a zenith or trough. Not an eternal hover in purgatory. Here is what rock bottom is: when you’ve been at the bottom of a canyon stuck spinning your wheels for six months consciously, waiting helplessly for help. Which is where I’ve been dwelling since around the time of my 30th birthday in May. In fact, leading up to the infernal thirty, I began writing about this very topic. But I absolutely could not get myself to post it. I couldn’t accept it nevertheless admit it out loud.

Until I experienced it firsthand and for a prolonged period, I figured loneliness was silence. Much how I figured depression was flatness than neither included emotionality nor lability. Instead loneliness has proven to be a void excavated from an inverted scream. It is my ability to fend for myself sucked out of me until I’m left lying deflated and limp.

These guys are numbers to me, not people. I’m thirty years old and my life has amounted to nothing. I have spent my twenties collecting samples and failing to make a purchase.

At first, after my series of surgeries, I wanted to be fuckable. Now I just want to get fucked. It’s like, YES WE CAN, now where are the fruits of my labor? The messiah never cometh.

 

7) RANDO SEX

I’ve outgrown sex with randos; once it served a purpose. Recently I’ve begun to feel like my life is a series of disconnected events. I’m afraid I’m falling into the trappings of Elizabeth Wurtzel’s one-night stand of a life.

Drawn in by its instant gratification allure and lack of complications; disabled by my failure to decide on flawed constancy. As she asks, “[H]ow many lost connections make up a life?” Only thirty, and most of my friends have already moved on, moved away, moved period. In constantly rotating an ensemble cast of characters, I’ve lost any semblance of a narrative and made way for the haphazard. Which is part and parcel of living in New York—a city in flux—but mostly due to my failure to accept my and others’ imperfections. To work through the tough times in order to experience the good ones as a unified team. To abandon my fierce independence in favor of composed connection.

I’ve spent so long relying on myself. I’m not sure how to trust. To take a leap of faith. To believe in the good intentions of others. If even my own body has failed me, how can I depend on an entirely separate being to reinforce my weak spots?

Ignorant people have the misconception that because I’ve been with a lot of guys (more than Ophira Eisenberg!) promiscuity is my preference. This could not be further from the truth. It’s easier for girls to get laid and easier for guys to find relationships. Because I am especially candid and laidback about sex, guys throw themselves at me. Making choices is an exercise in self-restraint, though an imperfect process. You can never accurately predict what you’re getting yourself into until you’re already naked. So, yes, I’ve disposed of a lot of men. But I far prefer the familiar.

Here is the saddest thing you’ll hear me say, and I say a lot of sad things: I miss being 24 and fucking all my guy friends. Sure, you can describe them as mutual pity fucks. At least there was a certain permanence. And I wasn’t expendable. The guys accepted my flaws. We joked about failed sex with other people together. And then we had failed sex. Together. They helped me contextualize where I had been and provided a narrative arc, connecting my past to my future. Though not an aspirational destination, they offered a resting place for my weary head and not-yet worn out vagina. Sex was restorative and recentering. In fact, wasn’t having much more sex then than I am now, but friendsex interspersed with randosex was significantly more fulfilling. Between my active sex life, social life, and work life, I never felt abject loneliness.

I used to LOVE being single in the city, the freedom it granted me, the colorful palate of experiences to which it exposed me. I thought people in relationships were fools. Women could have it all. I had my cake and got eaten out too! I got the best of my dude friends without the worst of them. I milked them for what they were worth and moved on to the next one whenever they exceeded my annoyance ceiling. The girls they dated were stuck with them, flaws and all. Joke’s on you, dumb bitch! I fucked yo’ boyfriend and jumped fences with him and his dumb friends, and don’t have to sleep next to his slimy ass!

Finally, I’ve realized not dealing with people’s bullshit means no one is there to absorb mine. So much of why I’ve been fucking randos as of late is because it’s harder to disclose real shit to my actual friends. It’s been easier to spread myself over the city, distribute the burden. Once upon a time, I didn’t have emotional needs and could simply filter my feelings through my vagina.

When I began laying down the tracks for my book, I planned on mostly including stories from my blog, only transforming my blog into narrative form with the progression of my digestive troubles and my gradual “coming out” process as the thread. Really, though, Allister is my narrative thread. If he isn’t an actor in each story, he is a commentator in most. To some extent, he has been with me throughout this all. There was an element of connection, caring, and intimacy in our casual relationship, an unspoken commitment. He always followed up and apologized if insincerely. Essentially, that’s what I’m missing in my life now—commitment, implicit or explicit. I’m not going to air our dirty laundry; there is some. Not a hamper full, a few stray pieces strewn across the bathroom floor. I always knew this would happen at thirty. Guys get into relationships—guys even less qualified than I—and I’m left to languish as a banged-up, once-loved doll forgotten at the bottom of a toy chest. I’m not sure whether I’ve outgrown rando sex or I’ve been outgrown. Either way, it’s time to move on. Or to learn how to grapple with life as a series of disconnected events, to accept other women’s chewed-up leftovers. I know I don’t want that. Because I’m not an insane person. I need to make sense of things. I need to make decisions. As a twenty-something horny coed, I believed decisions narrowed outcomes; now I understand that possibilities open up when you don’t exclusively deal with the world on a superficial level. I had that adolescent defect where I wanted to FEEL IT ALL, and as a result I’ve felt nothing.

After my conscious celibacy of summer, by September I felt sad and desperate. And could not even fathom how much sex I would have to have with my hand to approximate a perky penis. So I was like, I SURRENDER. And texted Davey, duh. For one pity fuck. I believe he was genuinely confused by the intent of my text because we are adults now so it was sent substantially before 2 a.m. when I was stone cold sober. This is Genie’s vagina speaking, not alcohol. What, you don’t recognize its husky voice? Er, cracking voice?

Me at 7:44 p.m.: Hey, what are you up to?

Davey: Hey. Just sat down to dinner. What up?

Me: Not much. Just having one of those days where I feel like I’m going through puberty again and was in your neighborhoodish.

[“ish” is right. “neighborhood” would be a very liberal description of the radius. What I really meant is, I can land on your cock in 15 minutes.]

Davey: Haha. Got it. The old rent-a-dick. He’s not currently available. Sorry

Me: Aw, too bad.

Like, gross. I mean that type of objectifying language is par for the course with us, but sometimes I even gross myself out.

By the way, for contrast, here is our tinder exchange from last December, a mere ten months prior. Obvs we’ve bumped into each other on every social media dating platform.

Davey at 7:20 a.m.: I want to be inside you

Me: That’s charming

Davey: I thought so

Me: 🙂

Fuck, dude, I think this guy just single-handedly confirmed my suspish that for girls it’s all over AT 30.

In my old age, I have delusions about how I could totally live with an Allister. Not Allister himself, because I’m not really attracted to him, but an Allister. One of my shittiest guy friends. A serial cheater, a white liar. You know, the kind I choose for sex so I don’t get attached. When it comes down to it, I’m no better than they are or we wouldn’t be in cahoots, and besides they are not so bad. I don’t even really care if the guy sleeps around and lies to my face. As long as he gives me the attention, affection, and acceptance I crave. Lowering my standards one penis at a time.

 

8) PREMATURELY DISMISSING

When you’re in trouble and disgusted and disengaged, sometimes only the comfort of strangers is available. The only confidant you can handle is someone peripheral to your life… I can’t bear to have a conversation with someone I am really close with…

—Elizabeth Wurtzel, Once. More. Again., pg. 101

I have this nasty little habit of prematurely dismissing guys instead of letting them decide for themselves whether they’re too good for me. Same goes for letting friends decide if I’m a burden. By not giving them enough of me, I never let myself become too much. Swiftly I’m off to the next one before things have a chance to go wrong. I stay on top of my game by being flighty and self-sufficient. On top if the name of the game is being alone but not unwanted.

Briefly I had two separate blogs, one for sex stories and one for shit stories. But I merged them when I started to feel like my life was fragmenting. I’ve essentially fallen into the same trap with my dating life, though I’ve been transparent with guys about my shitting problems from the very beginning. Over the past year and a half, since “coming out,” I’ve sprayed my figurative shit all over the city. I gave everyone the same graphic story, the same brave-faced image, then moved on. No one got the whole picture, just that little suggestive piece. That’s one way to hide your inadequacies, to never let it get to the point where they’d become visible. Most of the guys were left thinking, if I could only get a little bit more of her. Never, she’s too much for me to handle. Or even worse, she’s too emotionally deficient and will never be enough. Unfortunately it’s also a good way to spread yourself thin, by giving yourself to know one and everyone all at once. By becoming the flimsy, outer shell of your self. A picture-perfect editorial. I managed to bite my own bait, to entice myself with the lure of my outer layer. Which is so much more glamorous than the guts and gore that lurk beneath.

Classic low self-esteem: feeling resistance to pursuing things with a lovely man. Because you wonder why he even bothers to like you. It’s too good to be true, too uncomplicated, and thus unsubstantial. And without allowing myself any affirmation, my feelings of inadequacy persisted.

Let’s not pretend I’m actually functioning and not just passing. Because I’m thirty and have not been in a real relationship since college. Which was voluntary for a while and partially due to having lived with a serious and invisible illness from a young and tender age. But let’s not fool ourselves: I’m a fucking mess. And manage to pass for normal only because, despite my deteriorating body, I’m ostensibly a hot girl who has maintained the illusion of a social life and an active sex life.

I get fucked for realz. It is unsatisfying for realz. I’ve liked like two boys this year and they both disposed of me swiftly before shit had the opportunity to hit the fan. Before I got to express my feelz. Before anything really developed. Not-so-secretly, I don’t believe that anyone could ever really want me. Because I don’t want myself. How can I annihilate myself without killing myself? Unclear. Nebulous. Complicated. It’s kind of silly to talk about being unwanted, though, because the truth is: more often than not I dispose of the guy first. Ignore his advances. Politely extricate myself from the situation. At a certain point I realized I might be plotting my own death and blaming others for my assassination. And here is that point.

 

9) GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK

I was having a conversation with my social worker friend who facilitates the medical support group I attend monthly.

Carmen: Do you ever feel like you put a lot of pressure on yourself? Like you spend a lot of time sitting around and feel like you should be doing more. Then you realize you have a serious disease and other people who have to deal with way less are far less productive than you are?

Me: Yeah, all the time. I feel that way about sex. Like I’m thirty and I force myself to go out and charm new guys because I should want to have sex. But I don’t really.

Carmen: I know what you mean. Sex. Sometimes with our diseases you just feel so unsexy, anyway. It’s hard to believe that the guys even want it. It feels ridiculous. Like when my boyfriend sees me walk out in my diaper and he makes jokes about it and he’s so sweet.

Me: I know. And I just go through the motions. I want to do what people my age are supposed to want to do. But I feel like an imposter. And it isn’t like the guys even know. Men are so stupid. When we part they ask me when we’re gonna see each other again, and it’s like…

Carmen: On the twelfth… of never!

Me: Exactly! Never. I’m a figment of their imagination. A sexy dream. This charade can’t last much longer.

Carmen: Sometimes you just need to give yourself a break.

 

Here’s why I feel like I should be having sex:

*I’m thirty and a cute girl. This should be the prime of my sex life. Despite my apparent disinterest in rando sex, I’ve gotten awfully good at orgasming with strangers. I feel like squandering this body is a tragedy! I’ve worked so hard to get back to where I am physically. I’ve been through so much. I deserve this! Yet I cannot seem to find someone I enjoy having sex with who feels the same way.

*I’m specifically not on anti-depressants because I CAN’T FUCKING HANDLE NOT BEING ABLE TO ORGASM! Whoops, I didn’t mean to yell that. It’s just that that’s how ragey it feels when you are pounding away at your cervix and an orgasm doesn’t fall out.

*For years I was so physically ill that I was unable to experience pleasure. Nothing kills your sex drive like steroids, nothing makes you feel more unsexy than having Cushing’s syndrome from prolonged steroid use, and nothing makes it more unpleasant to get off than bleeding out of your ass then subsequently having your rectum cut out of your body. I’ve overcome all of these enormous challenges! I’ve had some wonderful sex since recovering! It is suffocatingly sad to think that after all of this, I no longer want sex. How could I now voluntarily abstain after experiencing the perils of forced abstinence?

*My life for the past few years has been all about delaying gratification. Taking degrading, irrelevant undergrad science classes so I can get into med school. Having a series of major surgeries to remove my colon and rearrange my lower GI tract so I don’t have to be on corticosteroids and chemo meds for the rest of my life. And for what? My life is still shit. When you’ve been really, really sick you realize the present moment is all you have for certain. Instant gratification becomes increasingly appealing.

*When I was sick but not so sick that I knew I wouldn’t get better and when I was recovering from my surgery, I used sex as social proof that I was okay. If guys still wanted me, if I could pass for normal, than I was normal. How can I tell I’m well without social proof of my desirability?

*Living in small-town Vermont, for the first time in my life I experienced loneliness as a crushing, gnawing feeling. It became an active sensation rather than an absence. I realized how much sex is about acquiring physical affection and not just about getting off. That was what I was missing in my rural isolation and this persisted when I was home in NYC and isolated by illness. I talk in this post about how being handled medically is the height of dehumanization. It’s amazing how powerful even holding a patient’s hand affectionately or giving a friend a real hug can be when they’ve been physically designated a science project. Touch is healing. Even Jesus is on board! As my medical struggles continue, I fear for the lack of physical affection I am about to be saddled with. I think of alternative sources like physical therapy and even mani-pedis.

 

However, I’ve been struggling with sex because:

*Sex has become a contrast filter or an illuminator. It accentuates what I don’t have: real intimacy.

 

10) …BUT NOT QUITE YET!

A week after I had sex with Jonah, I interviewed the fourth and final spinal surgeon and scheduled surgery with him for two weeks later. Phewww. My back will finally be fixed. Phewww. I get a medically-imposed break from sex to sort my head out. Three days before my surgery date, after I had gone through all the pre-surgical questioning and blood-letting, I received a phone call saying surgery was cancelled until payment was worked out with my insurance company who kept requesting additional info to indefinitely delay the process.

 

PROMISES

You better hold on to your promises

Because you bet you’ll get what you deserve

—The Cranberries, Promises

One reason I’m upset about surgery postponement is because of an easy promise I made to self: I CAN TOTALLY MAKE IT TWO WEEKS WITHOUT TROLLING FOR SEX!!! Yes. We. Can. Now that there are an additional six weeks tacked on to the beginning, I wonder how I will make it to the end. Two weeks plus six weeks plus four to six weeks of recovery is a lot of fucking time to go without sexytimes.

It would be so irksome if I clocked in more hours after sending my letter of resignation to HR The 13th step was the consummate pre-retirement fuck—a serendipitous narrative flourish! Someone give me a fucking gold watch so I can count my days and nights sans sex! Tick, tick tick…

 

DESPERATION

The truth is, I’ve gone through this sexual restriction bootcamp before and failed miserably. The year between grad school and Vermont, when I stopped blogging, I was not nearly as disgusted and disenchanted with my sex life as I am now. But I felt like I was getting caught up in all the ego bullshit associated with casual sex, the gamification aspect as discussed above. Not that casual sex precludes people from pursuing more meaningful sex, just that I am easily distracted by dick at the expense of connecting with people. So I promised myself that I wouldn’t have sex with someone if there were no chance we could ever be in a relationship. This seemed like a realistic downgrade from promising myself that I would only have sex with someone if I thought it was likely we’d end up in a relationship. It eliminated approximately seventy-five percent of prospective partners. Sounds like a reasonable criterion, right? Well, not exactly. First of all, it left me open to pursuing things with men to whom I wasn’t physically attracted but who seemed like they’d be good long-term partners to somebody—not me. Sex is a substantial part of what makes romantic relationships work for me, so this was ultimately misguided. I guess I figured if the sex was good enough, that attraction would build. Without any chemistry, it’s difficult to have good sex. Second, I don’t think I actually ended up having sex with fewer people over the course of that six-month span; I just rationalized worse situations because I was so fucking desperate to play with penises. Jaclyn Friedman says it best in her essay My Sluthood, Myself:

I’m thinking of one particular instance in which I had what was for me a very painful dry spell: a year and a half in which I barely got to kiss anyone, and didn’t get to do anything other than that at all, sexually speaking, with anyone. It… yeah. Didn’t feel too good. Made me feel like I would never be touched or loved again. Made me feel, in a word, desperate. You know what’s not a great emotional state for making important life decisions? Desperation.

—Jaclyn Friedman, My Sluthood, Myself

I definitely considered being in relationships with guys who were all sorts of wrong. For example, Jake Douchebagg, J.D.—that guy who threatened to sue me for intellectual property infringement and horribly patronized me—was the guy I ended up dating for longest during that time span. Sure, I couldn’t tell in advance how cruel and spiteful he’d turn out to be before I initiated the “I’m not sure if this is working” conversation. However, it was clear early on that we were at least incompatible. He had no friends, was a total homebody, had only had sex with a few girls because he had no sexual self-confidence, was extremely rigid and regimented, etc. If I hadn’t become dependent on him for sex, out of denying myself casual encounters even though we never had any exclusivity chat, it is unlikely we would have made it so far or that I would have felt as broken when things ended badly. When I’m in a casual sex mindset I don’t get caught in the trap of trying to make things work if they obviously aren’t meant to be. Sleeping around protects me from making legit poor decisions, ones that have implications beyond one night. Once again, Jaclyn Friedman captures this sentiment perfectly:

Even now… when I am actually ready for and wanting a more emotional connection, sluthood keeps me centered. It keeps me from confusing desire and affection with something deeper. It means I have another choice besides celibacy and settling. It means I won’t enter another committed relationship just to satisfy my basic need for sex and affection. It gives me more choices, it makes room for relationships to evolve organically, to take the shape they will before anyone defines them.

—Jaclyn Friedman, My Sluthood, Myself

 

RATIONALIZATION

It’s easy to rationalize things you want to do! Once I started fucking up the no casual sex thing, I began negotiating with myself! And I’m so gullible when it comes to people I trust.

My first line of bargaining was granting myself exceptions, or failing to assimilate the situations presented to me into the concept of what kind of sex I had consciously eliminated: It’s fingering on a dance floor; it’s not sex. He has a girlfriend; it’s not sex. He lives in California; it’s not sex. It’s Halloween; it’s not sex. Thanks, President Clinton, for granting me semantic flexibility in defining sex sex. They all seemed to me like situations that wouldn’t interfere with my ability to pursue meaningful sex because they were momentary and isolated incidences. You can’t get distracted by a dash of dick!

My second line of bargaining was it’s so much easier to make the same mistake twice. What is one more dick in light of sixty plus? I’m already in penis plus sizes. Might as well enjoy a fleshy Big Mac, juice dripping down my chin. It’s analogous to how Sam Irby, a self-proclaimed fat person, justifies eating more junk food:

There’s freedom in a double-digit elastic waistband. It’s like, what’s a handful of Milk Duds if you’re already fat? Who cares whether or not this Coke is diet if you’re already at the far end of the BMI?… I’m already wearing maternity yoga pants, let’s see how far these bitches stretch!

—Samantha Irby of BitchesGottaEat, The Tapeworm Diet, Meaty

Awwww, yesss, the impunity with which ruined women get to fuck. How many more pathetic penises can I stuff into this loose vagina? Thank gawd for elastin!

In the self-effacing words of Pee-wee Herman, I meant to do that!

 

IMPLEMENTATION

Besides being hesitant about restricting myself sexually because of past failure, I’m afraid that even if I do successfully restrict myself I’m not sure how to implement what I actually want. Reckless sex isn’t the problem; lack of intimate and consistent connection is. Just like how in the TRAJECTORIES section of the “Rape Rape” story I didn’t know what a guy caring about me would look like, I’m not sure what a guy liking me would look like. What constitutes a situation with romantic potential? What steps do I have to take to turn that potential into actuality? How much of my inability to enter into a relationship stems from my personal inadequacies and how much of it is guys being fickle, unsure of what they want, and poisoned by societal expectations that I don’t agree with? There have been so many false starts this year. Guys who appear to be pursing me more fervently or equally. And then just fucking disappear. Suddenly. Except not suddenly enough. The result is discontinuous with the trajectory we’ve been coasting on, but they drag out the end, phase me out. As if that somehow softens the blow rather than introducing confusion. No one ever offers a useful explanation even if I explicitly ask. I’m thrown back into the sea with no life preserver, swarmed by ambiguity and self-doubt. Better luck next time! Play again!

 

RESOLUTION

I’ve felt more emotional resistance writing this post than most. It’s taken an entire month and required index cards arranged in physical space. Putting my misgivings about my behavior on public paper substantiates them. Holds me accountable. Saturday night I stated my intentions to a casual friend. His response, “Genie, are you going to be able to do this? Your sex drive is too high.” Not exactly the encouragement I was seeking but just the permission I needed: the permission to fuck up. It reminded me of when I was in high school and bulimic. I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions or resolutions at all. That year I felt I needed to. I’d only throw up once a week, I proposed. Or maybe only on weekends. Because on weekends I had to maintain the façade to my mother that I was eating normally whereas on weekdays I only had to get through one meal a day of feigned normality—normality theater. I revealed my intentions to my best friend for accountability. And it seemed to me like a realistic goal. Later that week I confessed that I had already slipped. She said, “I knew you would.” I heard: I love you in spite of your faults. Not: You’re pathetic. It was a statement of support and solidarity. Not disappointment. When you give yourself a cushion to land on, you slightly truncate your shame spiral. Beating yourself up less gives you less of an incentive to indulge in bad coping mechanisms. It’s so easy for me to drown my sorrows in sex. It’s so self-justifying and self-perpetuating. I can always narrow the cognitive dissonance gap by saying my intentions were misguided in the first place. It’s easier than admitting to a small failure.

A few years ago Annie told me her New Year’s resolution was no sex on first dates, and I found this vaguely hilarious. The truth is, no sex on first dates is tricky. Whenever I go out with a new man, I tune out and concentrate on the blurry outline of his head and the gestures he makes while talking, like when a newborn who can’t yet focus makes out her mommy’s hairline and scent before latching onto her nipple. I orient myself toward the one part of him I believe I can latch on to, penis: mine. And the rest of the date revolves around strengthening my grasp. It isn’t that I don’t think I can get second or third dates without putting out; I can. Once you’re physically separated, though, it’s hard to rally for someone to whom you’re largely indifferent. While they’re still in front of you, it’s like: What the fuck else am I going to do with the rest of my night. Can either impale myself on my dildo or him. Let’s seal this before we run out of conversation and incentive. Sexual yeses have an exaggerated appeal when you plot them against their immediate alternatives. And it’s hard to say no to sex with cute guys. I like sex and I like cute guys. So judge away.

I want so badly to say to the next guy: Even if it isn’t that good and even if nothing will come of this, I want to continue having sex with you. For the constancy. Which is not nothing. In a sexual landscape where I’ve gone missing—suspended in space between guys—it is the narrative thread that will hold my broken body together.

 

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