The life of a parent, and pervert, in New York City.
When told by my wife that our fifteen-year relationship was over, I found that everything in my life was upended. I took solace when friends and family pointed out I was no longer responsible for her personal happiness, just my own—and that of my four children.
I went into marriage as a bisexual kid, suspicious of monogamy. I was a good husband, and played by the rules. Now I'm single again, and wondering if I didn't have it right back then.
This blog picks up my new life in progress—the life of a parent, and pervert, in New York City.
Photograph by Adrian Buckmaster Photography. New York, NY. July 5, 2015.
I worked until the last moment. I pulled on some shorts, stepped into sandals and put a bottle of Cabernet into a bag. The bottle clinked against plastic cups and a corkscrew as I walked down the sidewalk.
The sun was lowering in a clear sky. The setting would be a little romantic for a first date, but I wasn’t overly concerned with that. Some clichés are pleasant enough.
I stopped at the terrace to scan the people around Bethesda Fountain. Tourists snapped photographs. Women in shorts and visors talked as their dogs sniffed one another. A family clustered near the hot dog stand.
She was the only person sitting alone.
I walked down the western stairs, my eyes on her. She was sitting in the shade, her posture erect as she looked out over the Lake.
She wore a gingham dress.
She turned to look up. “Hello.”
“I’m Jefferson,” I smiled, extending a hand. “Pleasure to finally meet you.”
“Yes, I know—I mean, I know it’s you.” She took my hand. “So . . .”
I sat beside her. “So!” I patted my hands on my knees. “Let’s have an awkward round of conversation, shall we?”
I had brought wine with the thought that we might sit in the grass near the Lake, sipping as we got to know one another in the late summer evening. Now that I was sitting with her, I had second thoughts. I decided to hold off on opening the bottle, allowing her the opportunity to gracefully bow out of an extended date.
I mean, women like Leah can afford to be selective.
From our first exchange of photographs, I had anticipated a polite rejection. She was, to put it plainly, beautiful: shoulder length red hair, full lips, and a slender figure that accentuated her large, firm breasts.
I have no complaints about my physical appearance, but I knew that a woman such as Leah could have the attention of men more handsome than I.
Still, she was interested in meeting.
As we sat, I noted that she was not merely pretty, but self-possessed and poised. She was, as ladies used to say in complimenting one another, “well put together.”
Talking with Leah, I could feel my voice modulating to her register. I talked slowly, smiled frequently, and generally felt that I must indeed be a pretty cool fellow to keep her interest.
Despite myself, I was scouting for tripwires, wondering if she would discover the limits of her interest in me.
In the meantime, I would put my best face forward.
She talked about her childhood in the city, as the daughter of well-educated parents in an upscale neighborhood. I countered with some things I know about the history of that neighborhood. I didn’t talk about my childhood; I get bored just thinking about it.
She referred to moments in college. I listened, mindful of the fact that her education surpasses most, and her college days came nearly two decades after my own.
She spoke about her career. In most introductory conversations, I’m accustomed to being the person in the more interesting field. This was not necessarily the case with Leah.
She spoke about the war. She spoke about the war without using such words as “idiot,” “imperialism” or “stupid.” She spoke about post-traumatic stress disorder, improvised explosive devices, vehicular armor and limb replacement. She said things I hadn’t already heard or thought.
By the time she mentioned that her days begin at a gym, I decided I could safely open the bottle of wine.
Leah had evidently sized me up and decided that my first impressions suited her. She was beautiful, young, educated, successful and, I began to suspect, possibly smarter than me. If we had met in a bar or at a party, perhaps she would consider other men before me.
But we did not meet in a bar or at a party. We had met online, and in meeting, we had established a mutual attraction.
She was submissive. I was dominant.
In the back of her mind, as we talked, she pondered the possibility that this reasonably attractive, reasonably intelligent older man could beat her and fuck her senseless.
What’s more, she hoped she could have these needs met without undue interference in her life. My life was no less full that her own. I would not chase her down for dates, or stare at her with mooning eyes, or pressure her to move in with me or to meet my parents.
She wasn’t looking for a boyfriend. She liked it that I wasn’t looking for a girlfriend.
That’s how we found one another.
The sun had set, but we continued to talk. We never spoke of sex or submission; there was no need to do so, really, and besides, we never ran out of other topics.
Eventually, we did run out of wine.
She looked up at the moon over the fountain. It was balanced on the angel’s extended hand.
“It’s getting late,” she observed.
“Yes, it is,” I said, standing. “We should head out of the park.”
We continued to talk as we walked a path under streetlamps. We exited the park and walked a few blocks more. We stopped outside a subway station, never pausing in our conversation.
She reached the end of a sentence and realized we were no longer walking. “Jefferson, did you just walk me to the subway?”
“Yes.” I leaned to kiss her cheek. “I really had a great time meeting you.”
“Likewise. It’s been really . . . nice.” She looked around. “Don’t you live near here?”
I nodded. “Sure, pretty close.”
She looked at me. “I could come over for a drink.”
“I could invite you over for a drink.”
We resumed our conversation as we walked toward my place.
This week’s Sex Blog Roundup at Fleshbot gets trigger happy with those moments that reliably shoot us over the edge. After all, everyone should holster a silver bullet.
Those of you who enjoy stalking me will find that Lolita eats her vegetables, plays games on a field trip—and yet despite all that good behavior, a spanking seems in the offing.
Speaking of sharp shooters, it’s Fleet Week in New York. The streets are filled with soldiers and sailors in dress uniform, armed with subway maps and in search of guaranteed sex from those who put our mouths where our mouths are when it comes to supporting the troops.
Of course, I’ve installed the revolving door to my port of call.
Fleet Week marks the beginning of Summer, so let’s make it sizzle by once more opening One Life, Take Two to your submissions.
You may recall that we marked the end of the year with a series of sexy photographs of readers (primarily self-portraits) based on holiday themes.
Now, let’s head into summer with a swimsuit edition.
Send me photographs of yourself in your favorite swimsuits. These can be bikinis, one-pieces, banana slings or Daisy Dukes—heck, even if you’re a committed skinny-dipper, splash our way. I’ll post the best submissions. You may ask that your photographs be posted anonymously, or request a link back to your blog or website.
Submit to email@example.com. By submitting to the swimsuit edition, you affirm that the model and photographer are at least eighteen years of age, the photograph is original and not copyright protected, and permission is granted for publication herein.
The swimsuit edition will run from now until about Independence Day.
This week’s Sex Blog Roundup at Fleshbot gets happy with the bloggers who search out the silver linings. When life sends them lemons, these folks don’t just make lemonade—they squeeze those lemons dry, child.
Those of you who enjoy stalking me will find Lily wandering my bohemian love pad to find she’s no longer the new kid at the orgy; she’s become a regular.
Speaking of silver linings, the weather in New York has turned cloudy and chill. Just as my kids were getting excited about wearing shorts and t-shirts to school, the mercury drops and they are back to jeans and long sleeves.
It makes us all grouchy.
This morning, as I prepared lunches for school, Jason came into the kitchen in his boxers.
“Dad, Collie’s wearing my pants and he won’t give them back.”
I cut a sandwich into two triangles. “Why is your brother wearing your pants, handsome?”
He rolled his eyes and threw up his hands. “I don’t know! It’s so infuriating.”
“Well, keep it together.” I sipped my coffee. “I’ll talk to him.”
I found Collie fully dressed and watching ESPN. Jason’s jeans were bunched around his ankles. “Collie, what’s up with you wearing your brother’s pants?”
He stared at the screen. “I have to. My pants don’t fit.”
I picked his cast-off jeans from the floor. “These pants that fit last week don’t fit this week?”
“Dad.” His tone was irritable, edged with the portent of tears. “They are too short. They show my socks when I sit down and that makes me look stupid.”
“Aw, no, man, that means they are ‘floods.’ And floods rock.”
“Dad . . .”
I shrugged. “It was worth a try. But listen, honey man, you need to give back your brother’s pants . . .”
“He can wear shorts!” His eyes started to well.
“Honey, no one can wear shorts today. It’s too cold.”
“So he can be cold! He can get sick, I don’t care. I don’t care if he dies!” He began to cry.
I looked at the clock. Seven eighteen. We needed to be out the door in half an hour.
I sat next to him. I draped an arm behind his back. He pulled away. “I know you are frustrated that you are outgrowing your pants. It’s all a part of growing up. You’ve grown so much this year.”
“And next September, when we go shopping for new school clothes, you’ll be amazed at how much bigger you are than now.”
He smiled, just a little, before catching himself.
“But for right now, you need to let Jason wear his own clothes . . .”
“But Dad . . .”
“ . . . and you should wear your own. Soon we’ll be back in shorts and you won’t have to worry about your ankles showing. Your entire leg will be showing!”
He didn’t like it. But Jason soon had his pants, and we made it to school on time.
He remembered to pack his homework from last night. For his health class, he had to interview a parent (or, rather, a “trusted adult”) about puberty.
We sat on the couch as he read questions from a worksheet.
“Okay, so, Dad,” he began, shifting to his authorial voice. “When did you first notice that you were in puberty?”
I thought of masturbating in my parents’ bathtub, looking at my mother’s Cosmopolitan magazines. I thought I had invented something I called “fake fucking.” I debated telling my friends about it at school.
“I was in sixth grade,” I told my fifth grader.
He pondered that. “Okay. So how did you know you were in puberty?”
I knew when I developed a crush on my left palm.
“I noticed I had hair under my armpits and on my private parts. My voice cracked a lot. And my feet grew very fast.”
He looked at my feet. “Could you see them grow?”
“No, no,” I smiled. “But over the course of one summer, I outgrew all my shoes.”
“Oh, okay.” He returned to his page. “What were the good things about puberty?”
Jerking off. Letting my red-haired neighbor Susie look at my hard cock. Jerking off while thinking of Susie looking at my hard cock.
“I was glad that it was a sign that I was growing up. And I liked that my body was suddenly growing so fast.”
“Yeah, that’s cool,” he said, dangling his feet over the couch. “Okay, last question: how did you handle the tough parts about puberty?”
By jerking off. Oh wait, that was the previous question.
I thought I should use this as a teaching moment.
“Well, if something seemed difficult or confusing, I always knew I could talk to my Mom or Dad.” I paused, feeling a little guilty about lying. I countered with candor. “Sometimes, though, I felt there were things I couldn’t talk about with anyone, like maybe they were too private or too weird. So I kept it inside. Looking back, I realize that that was a mistake.” I patted his leg. “Lucky you, you have a Dad and a Mom who will listen to anything you have to say. And you have an older brother who is going through some of the same things. So you should never feel ashamed about your feelings or your body. You can always talk to us.”
Collie looked down at his paper. “Yeah, I know.” He handed me the page. “Can you sign this to show I interviewed you?”
“Sure, honey man.”
“And will you help me with my math homework?”
I hate helping with his math homework; it requires my full concentration at a time of day when my mind is running to dinner and the work I will do after the kids are in bed. But of course I agreed to help.
School can’t end soon enough. The weather needs to lift. We need Summer to arrive.
I need to survive the school year without buying another round of blue jeans.
The television was on. Some local news program on Channel Two. I must’ve fallen asleep during “Letterman.”
The phone vibrated in my hand.
I rubbed my eyes to bring the caller’s name into focus. What time was it? “Hello?”
“Hello, Jefferson. Did I wake you?”
“No, no,” I croaked. I coughed. “Okay, well, yeah. Where are you?”
“Downstairs. I think I found a space outside your building, but I can’t parallel park.”
“You need me to come down?” I sat up.
“Yes, I’m sorry, but I do.”
“No problem. I’ll be right down.” I closed the phone and checked the clock. Three twenty six.
I leaned to my chair to grab my jeans. The television was clicked off as I pulled on a sweater. I sat in the living room to lace up my snow boots.
I looked around as I tromped outside. Snowflakes caught in my eyelashes. Only one car on the street was not wedged into the banks created by snowplows. The brake light glowed red.
I stomped my way to the light. I rounded the car to the passenger side. I opened the door and bent forward.
A cloud of smoke wafted my way.
“Hello,” I smiled.
“Hello, yourself,” Nicole said. She draped an arm on the steering wheel. “Nice night for a drive.”
The storm began just as she left campus.
Nicole hadn’t bothered to check the weather before her second trip to visit me. The mildest winter in recorded history had left everyone a bit lazy in that regard—one either wore a sweater or a coat, but rarely both.
She was surprised by a freakish snowstorm that hit just as Spring was due.
She steered her car with Southern plates and thinning treads into the slow lane. She sang and chain-smoked her way to Manhattan, forty-five miles to the hour.
She looked well settled into her seat. Her legs were propped up casually, as if she were seated at a café waiting for a friend.
I looked over the car’s hood. She had evidently attempted a U-turn and wound up wedged in snow bank. “Well, this was a noble effort at parking. May I give it a go?”
“Please.” She exhaled and tossed a butt from a crack in her window. “Be my guest.”
She opened her door. We met in the glow of her taillights. I took her arms. “Pretty.”
“Pretty exhausted,” she smirked.
I adjusted her driver’s seat and rearview mirror as she settled into the passenger seat.
The wheels spun. I shifted gears, back and forth, turning the wheel clockwise and back. The car barely rocked.
We attracted the attention of two sanitation workers driving a garbage truck fitted with plows. They stopped to dig us out.
We called our thanks.
“Y’all think they knew we was Southern?” I drawled.
“Two years up here, and I just don’t get snow,” she said, reaching for her lighter.
I drove around the block. There were plenty of parking spaces, all blocked by piles of snow. The parking garages were full. I learned something about New Yorkers: the drivers follow the weather reports, and avoid digging out by garaging their cars.
I saw my chance. I looked to my right. She saw it in my eyes. “Nicole, I can’t resist. Hang tight.”
“It’s yours,” she said.
I shifted to a low gear, stepped on the gas, and plowed into a snow bank. The Dixie-bred compact complained as I wedged it into two feet of fresh snow.
The car was about a foot from the curb. “That’s just going to have to do,” I apologized.
As we trudged back to my apartment, I expressed my sympathies on the ordeal of Nicole’s travels.
“I did okay,” she said, tossing it off. “But I now realize I haven’t slept in sixty hours.”
“Yeah. Midterms, whatnot. I had a lot of reading.”
We undressed and got into bed. We fell into kisses and sex, our skin cold and damp from the snow. Her feet were still thawing as we drifted to asleep.
I woke around nine, made coffee and worked as she slept.
She grumped that I let her sleep until she woke. “Shh,” I kissed her. “This is a spa vacation. Rest up.”
She breakfasted on cigarettes and coffee.
We got back into bed.
We eventually decided that sushi and Zodiac were worth getting dressed.
I pulled on jeans and a shirt as she dug clothes from her backpack. I lay on the bed and watched as she pulled on panties and a light dress of cerulean blue.
“That color would really bring out your eyes,” I said, reaching for my camera. “That is, if anyone ever saw your eyes.”
“Ha!” She tossed the hair from her face. I snapped a few photos.
“Raise your dress,” I directed. “Let’s see the panties.”
She lifted her hem and extended a leg.
“Such a pretty femme,” I said, clicking.
I pulled on my snow boots as she laced her sneakers.
We walked half a block in silence.
“It’s funny you call me a femme,” she said, pulling her jacket close. “I mean, I’d never say that.”
“Really?” I put my arm in hers. “I didn’t mean much by saying that. But you do look feminine with your preference for dresses and skirts, and the Veronica Lake swoop . . .”
“That, well, that’s the result of growing out my crew cut.”
I looked at her. “It’s hard to imagine you with a crew cut.”
“The dresses are new too.” Her breath plumed in the cold. “It’s actually pretty controversial at school.”
“Well, remember, I go to a smart school in New England and I like girls. So with the crew cut and jeans and whatnot, I fit in pretty well with the queer kids. Now, with the way I look, it’s pretty controversial.”
“Identity politics and fashion, huh? Ne’er the twain shall meet.”
“It’s fashion, but of a different cut,” she nodded. She took her arm from mine to retrieve a cigarette. “All of which reminds me: you know I like what you wrote about my being here in January.”
“Good. I enjoyed writing it.”
“But, do you remember, you had that one comment? About how you said I had been with just a few men and more women?”
“Yes, I remember.” I offered my hand as she stepped away from a puddle at a street crossing.
“Thanks.” She took my hand, balancing her cigarette at the end of an extended arm. “Anyway, the commenter suggested that you discounted my experiences with women, as if they didn’t . . . well, count.”
“I recall. I didn’t mean that, not at all . . .”
“Oh, I know.”
“I mean, I intended to emphasize that you didn’t have much experience with men before, you know, meeting a man of some experience.”
“I know. But I could see what she meant. I assume she was a ‘she,’ I don’t recall the commenter’s gender, but . . . it’s a commonplace presumption that sex with girls isn’t as serious as sex with boys.”
“True. Same with straight boys. They regard their sex with other guys as independent aberrations even as they tally up the girls.”
“That’s not exactly what I meant.” She took a drag and exhaled. “I mean, in my case at least, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that the sex with men is the aberration. When it comes down to it, I really take sex with women more seriously. I know I would never connect that way with a man—not with the same emotional intensity or commitment, or whatever you want to call it. With a man, it’s mostly . . . well, sex.”
I took her arm back in mine. I appreciated her openness to me, a man with whom she mostly had . . . well, sex.
“We make up our sexuality as we go along, I suppose,” I said. “It’s not like you have to self-identify as lesbian or bisexual, or butch or femme, or anything at all, so long as you are comfortable with yourself.”
“Tell it to the campus dykes,” she grinned.
We rounded a corner. “Eh, they’re young yet,” I shrugged. “The sexual identity of peers can seem extremely critical when one’s own identity is still being formed.”
She pushed her hair from her face to look at me. “I suppose,” she said.
I stepped ahead to the restaurant entrance and held the door open.
She stopped to take a last drag. “I’m going to be twenty soon, you know," she exhaled, stepping out her smoke in the snow. "No more teenage sex for you—not from me, anyway.”
“Yeah, about that,” I patted her shoulder. “You’re getting a little long in the tooth for me. I’ll probably trade you in.”
Her eyes were turned away. She looked up and attempted a smile. It came off more like a grimace.
“Thanks.” She held her arms close to her torso and shrank still smaller. She edged her way past the door, turning her back to me.
My eyes followed her as I closed the door.
“Seymour” and I had agreed to meet on Monday, the day she had reserved to pick up someone on Craig’s List.
“If you fuck a random stranger,” I had asked, “What makes you think you will fare any better than your first two attempts?”
“It probably won’t feel like anything, really,” she said. “But, I don’t know, it might. I don’t know.”
“May I make a suggestion? Meet me instead. Let’s meet in person. If you want to have sex, you know I’m easy. If not, that’s cool. But either way, at least you know the person you are meeting is not an asshole.”
“How do I know that?” she argued. “I mean, you seem nice, but so do a lot of people. I mostly know you from your blog, which you write, so maybe you only make yourself seem nice.”
“Perhaps I am an asshole,” I conceded. “Then again, perhaps I’m genuine. You could judge for yourself if we met.”
She relented. “Okay, I’ll come over. But we can’t fuck. I can’t have sex with anyone I care about.”
How sweet, I thought. She cares about me.
She looked up at my bookcases briefly, her eyes scanning for familiar names. Suddenly, as if she caught herself doing something she shouldn’t, she dropped her eyes to the floor.
I noticed that she wore black-and-white checked Vans.
She grabbed her elbow, almost urgently. “So, um . . . how does this work?”
“Well, when I’m meeting someone for the first time, I often find that an icebreaker helps.” I tried to a note of ironic levity to acknowledge the awkwardness she felt. “For example, I might ‘overwhelm’ her from the start, with lots of kissing or some such.”
I stepped away from the door. She stepped back.
“Um, no . . . don’t overwhelm me.” She looked up to see if I had moved any closer. I hadn’t. She returned her gaze to the floor.
“In that case, may I suggest we sit on the couch?” I waved a hand in the direction of the living room. “Would you care for water or anything?”
“No, I’m fine.” She made a halting step toward the couch. “I’m fine,” she repeated, more to herself than to me.
Her arms were folded over one another and pulled close. Her back was stiff as she leaned back into the pillows; her posture couldn’t have been more rigid if she had been strapped to a pole and propped against the furniture.
I sat a distance away, my hands folded in my lap. I smiled.
She grimaced and looked away.
“So, ‘Seymour’ . . .” I began.
“Please, that’s funny and all, but you can call me ‘Cody.’” She looked down, addressing the floor. “God.”
“Right. Cody. So, Cody, I’m glad you came over today. I know it was a risk.”
She looked up. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome. And to reiterate—I know you know this—we don’t have to do anything sexual, unless you decide you want to. I’m glad that we have this time to talk to one another, face to face, rather than in emails and instant messages.”
“Yeah, well, thanks. I mean, I don’t see how we would have sex. I mean, you seem nice and everything, but you are some old guy with a blog.” She paused. “Sorry, no offense.”
“None taken. I am some old guy with a blog.”
She looked up, a slight smile on her lips.
I grinned back.
She pulled a strand of hair from her face, tucking it behind one ear.
Everything about Cody’s appearance suggested that she was not to be looked at. Her pretty face was disguised by heavy layers of make up, with her eyes outlined in thick cords of black mascara. She wore her raven hair long, ready to be pulled forward like a curtain. Her skinny body was covered in layers of oversized clothes, with jeans that hung from her slender hips.
I didn’t ask about the awkward wide bandage on her left forearm.
She’s right handed, I noted.
She seemed to be waiting for me to say something. To make conversation, I began to talk about my blog, as we had that in common. I mentioned a story I had recently posted, and a comment it had generated.
“I saw that!” she exclaimed. “I swear, what is up with people? I mean, God, it’s a blog. Get a life, people.”
Cody became animated as she spoke. I picked up on that and went on to discuss how that comment related to other. She sat up on her knees and encouraged me to go on.
I laughed at something she said. She laughed at something I said. Our conversation began to find the semblance of ease we had established in our correspondence.
I reached the end of my story. I looked at her and smiled.
She realized it was her turn to speak. She froze.
Cody fell back on the couch and dropped her eyes. We were silent for a moment.
I followed her gaze to a dollhouse on the floor.
“That belongs to the imaginary neighborhood created by my daughter Lillie. See? Hello Kitty lives around the corner. Han Solo has the attic apartment. That orange block is his car. He uses it on dates with Barbie.”
She grinned. “I love Lillie. I mean, in your stories. She’s adorable.”
I scowled. “She’s no good is what she is.” Cody laughed. “She’s a juvenile delinquent in training, that one.”
“Oh stop,” Cody laughed.
“I’m serious. Last week she asked me to install a pole so she can practice her stripper routine.”
Cody laughed again, putting her hair behind her ears.
“The other day, I found hypodermic needles in her lunchbox. I asked if she was using again. She swears she was just carrying for a friend.”
“Stop! That’s awful. She’s a kid.”
“I’m no dummy,” I shrugged. “I know to look for track marks.”
We began to talk about my kids. In a roundabout way, this led us to talking about Bukowski.
Our conversation followed a pattern. When we found a groove, we spoke rapidly, our sentences colliding and laced with humor.
When we reached the end of a thread, she would fall silent. I would watch her for a moment or two before launching a new subject.
Finally, I broached the subject that had led to her SOS.
“So, this sex thing . . . ,” I began.
She pulled her arms close and looked at me. “Yeah?” she asked warily.
“Tell me how you decided to fuck strangers. I know you’ve told me in writing, but I’d kind of like to hear it from you. If you’re comfortable with that. I guess I’m mostly interested in the impulse behind the decision.”
She tugged her shirt. “I don’t know,” she began, pausing. “I guess I thought it would be a way to connect with someone . . . not a real connection, I don’t even know if that’s possible, but something, I don’t know . . . something that felt real.” She looked up at me. “I don’t even know if that makes sense.”
“I think I follow. Go on.”
She kept her eyes on me for a moment before looking away. “It’s just ridiculous. I mean, I’m twenty. It’s stupid that I’m a virgin, or I was until last month. But ugh, that kid I fucked, that felt really incredibly stupid.”
“That kid you picked up,” I nodded. “But, you know, there’s no reason why you have to lose your virginity or be sexually active, just because you reach a certain age . . .”
“I know, it’s not just that, really. It’s more like: what’s wrong with me that I can’t be normal? Why can’t I have normal friends, and laugh at stupid jokes, and have sex with guys, or whatever?” She drew a deep breath. “I’m just broken. Which is a retarded way to put it, but whatever.”
“And you thought that by having sex, at least, you would be doing something normal.”
“I guess. It’s a normal thing to do.”
“Well, what’s normal for some . . .”
She grinned. “Like you would know about ‘normal.’”
“Hey!” I feigned indignation.
“You have more sex than anyone,” she said. “I don’t know if you know what I’m talking about.”
I looked at her. “Do you want to have sex with me?”
She looked up, taken aback. “Are you serious?”
“Hypothetically. Do you think you reached out to me because you wanted sex with someone who wasn’t so anonymous? Granted, you didn’t know me personally, but you read me, which was more . . . I don’t know, to use a word, more intimate than what you had encountered with the Craig’s List pick ups.”
She looked at the bandage on her arm.
I went on. “I mean, I was still safely distant, but at least you encountered me in the familiar terrain of words. You could read me, like a book, or a character in a book.”
“Yeah, it’s like you’re not real.”
“ . . . and yet, I am real.”
She dropped her hands in her lap. “But how do I know that?” Her tone was practically beseeching. “How do I know you aren’t phony, like that whole thing is made up . . . ?”
Her eyes looked up into mine. She let them linger a moment longer than before.
I moved closer. She looked away.
“Hey.” I took her chin in my hand. I guided her face upwards. I closed my eyes and lowered my lips to hers.
It can be as simple, I thought to her, as this.
I pulled away, sitting back on the couch. I rested a hand on her thigh.
“I dunno, Jefferson,” she stammered. Her eyes were on my hand. “I like you and all, but . . . you know . . . I can’t connect to people, so . . .”
“Let’s do something simple,” I suggested. “Let’s be naked together. Let’s touch.”
She snorted. “You’re not serious.”
“I’m serious. Obviously, you don’t have to. I suggest it because it may not be as complicated as you worry. It might just be okay—and it sounds like you sort of skipped these first steps with those two guys you picked up. You didn’t allow yourself to care, or to be touched. You don’t have to have love to have sex, of course. But it’s good to allow yourself to feel things—and I’m not just talking about the physical sensation of being fucked.”
She looked up at me.
“I’m not pretty. I’ve got scars . . .”
“I’m not pretty, either,” I sighed. “I’ve got a zit on my shoulder and my fingernails need clipping.”
She grinned. “And what’s up with your hair?”
“Let’s not go there.” I stood and gave her my hand. “Instead, let’s go to my bedroom.”
She stood still in my bedroom, looking around. “God, your room is twice the size of mine. And you have, like, real furniture.”
“I’m a grown up,” I replied, standing close. “I don’t live in a dorm.” I tugged at her shirt.
“God, are we really doing this?”
“We can stop at any time,” I assured her, pulling the shirt over her head.
I undressed her. I stopped when I reached her panties. “Very cute,” I said. “Stripes and bright colors! I was expecting black and skulls.”
“Yeah, well . . .” Her words trailed away into her thoughts.
I didn’t keep my eyes on her body. I registered the scars on her belly, her thighs and arms. They struck me as randomly cut, deep and jagged. But that was not my place to observe, not now. I wanted to reassure her.
I kissed her again. This time, she returned my kiss, awkwardly.
“Let’s lay on the bed,” I suggested. She nodded, barely looking up.
I undressed and reclined. She stood looking at me, her arms crossed over her chest.
“Take off your panties,” I said. “And come here.”
She nodded and took down her underwear. I caught a glimpse of her smooth slit.
She came to the bed. She sat with her back to me, and then lay back slowly. I edged closer. I put a hand on her, gently touching her belly, my eyes on hers.
Her eyes were somewhere between brown and hazel, somewhere between frightened and terrified.
“I know, it’s scary,” I said softly.
“It’s safe here, though. It’s me.”
“Whoever you are.”
“Yeah, whoever I am.” I kissed her cheek. She twitched involuntarily as my fingers touched her breast. “Whoever you are.”
I held her close, my body against hers, touching her slowly. My kisses were light and gentle.
I really wanted to get this right. I wanted Cody to have a positive experience with sex and the connection she sought to something she could identify as “real.”
Her body was rigid.
I touched her face. She looked away.
“Cody?” I asked. “Are you crying?”
“I’m sorry,” she sniffled. “I’m just . . . broken.”
I took my hand away. “Are you okay? Should I . . . ?”
“It’s fine, it’s not you,” she frowned. “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I’m this way.”
My heart went out to her fragility. I wanted to ease her anxieties. It’s hard to be with people sometimes, I wanted to say. It will get easier with experience, I wanted to assure her. You can’t put every hope and fear into each encounter. You can learn to let things be as they are.
I said none of those things. I knew Cody would rebuke platitudes.
I touched her. I caressed her. I let her feel my breath on her skin. I wiped the mascara tears welling on her cheek.
I sat up and held out my arms. “Cody, come here.”
She wiped her nose and struggled up on her elbows.
“All the way, Cody,” I urged.
She sat up, slouching slightly forward. I wrapped my arms around her.
“This was brave,” I whispered. “Thanks for taking the risk.”
She stared off over my shoulder. “Yeah, well, whatever . . .”
I held her close. Her arms were limp in my embrace. I released her slightly to adjust the placement of my legs. As I moved, my hand accidentally brushed against her nipple.
She gasped involuntarily as her body lurched in reaction to my touch.
“Cody . . .” I whispered. Gently, I cupped her breast in my hand. She gasped again.
“You’re so responsive,” I went on. I traced my hand down her hip. She looked up and kissed me.
My finger found her slit. She grabbed my shoulder as I felt her wetness.
We began to kiss ferociously.
“Cody, Cody, my God,” I croaked.
“Jefferson, God . . . ,” she whispered, her eyes closed.
“We need to fuck,” I said. She nodded.
I rolled on a condom and entered her. She was clenched tight in every part of her being.
I lay over her. “It’s okay, relax . . . relax . . .” She nodded, her eyes closed tight.
I moved slowly in her.
She turned her face and began to cry again.
“Oh, Cody,” I whispered. “I know it’s hard.” I thought I should bring her out of her head and back into her body, to the sensation of my body in hers. I moved faster in her.
She sobbed quietly.
“Cody . . . “ I stopped. “Cody, we need to stop, right?”
She nodded, her eyes wide.
I pulled out and lay beside her. I held her as she cried. I kissed her hair gently, waiting for the sobs to subside.
For a while, it seemed they never would.
In time, her breathing slowed and her tears stopped. She was still upset, but she had exhausted her sobs.
I held her limp in my arms. I talked quietly. She nodded or shook her head in response.
She had been overwhelmed.
I began to feel that she needed to be alone. For the first time, she had had sex outside her dorm room. To be alone, she would need to leave.
“Cody, I think you may feel better now if you aren’t with me. I think you may need to go back to your place.”
“But Cody,” I continued. “I want to talk to you tomorrow—and I mean, in person, or at least on the telephone. I want to be sure you’re okay.”
She nodded again. “Okay, well, maybe.”
“Okay. Thanks for considering it.”
I held her a while longer.
“Okay, Cody. Let’s get you put together.”
She nodded. I helped her up and took her to the bathroom. Her face fell when she saw herself in the mirror.
“God,” she said. “I’m sorry, I’m so disgusting.” She began to wipe black stains from her cheek.
I took a tissue and helped her. “You wear so much mascara,” I smiled. “You look like a raccoon.”
She laughed sardonically.
I assembled her clothes as she reapplied her make up. She joined me to dress. I watched as she put on her clothes. She kept her eyes averted.
I took her hand in mine at the door.
“Tomorrow,” I repeated. “It’s important. I need to know how you feel.”
“Okay . . . ,” she averred, noncommittal.
I had to let her go. “Okay. Tomorrow.”
She looked back sorrowfully as she walked down the hall.
I closed the door. Nice work, Jefferson, I thought. That didn’t go at all well. I wouldn’t be surprised if I never saw her again.
I wouldn’t be surprised if she hurt herself because she met me.
The next day, she showed up at my door.
“Wow, I’m glad to see you!” I said, kissing her cheek. “No one gets a second date with Seymour Glass!”
“Yeah, about that,” she said, dropping her bag. “Look, I’m sorry I freaked out. It’s just really hard, connecting to people and . . . intimacy. I don’t have any ideas about that.”
“It’s okay that you freaked out,” I said, squeezing her right forearm. “I mean, I know that this is all very new to you . . .”
“Yeah, and that was fast, and I didn’t know what to do . . .”
“I’m sorry. I . . . well, I don’t think I handled that very well.”
She laughed nervously. “Yeah, what was that? You fucked me when I was crying? Who does that?”
“I know, I know,” I said, chewing a finger. “Stupid. I should learn to offer a tissue instead of my dick.”
She grinned. “It’s okay.”
I smiled. “You’re okay?”
“I’m glad you came back. I was afraid you wouldn’t.”
“I almost didn’t. But . . . there was something you said that made me come back. I knew it was okay.”
I cocked my head. “What? Something I said?”
“You told me I looked like a raccoon. No one says things like that. I realized why I like you—you’re not phony.”
Her face lit in a spontaneous smile. She looked away, as if embarrassed to have allowed herself to be happy.
I took her face in my hands. I kissed her.
She threw her arms onto my shoulders.
That afternoon, after three botched attempts, Cody finally lost her virginity.
This week’s Sex Blog Roundup at Fleshbot picks a handful of flowers for the MILFs on their special day. You know how sentimental these hot mamas can be—our flowers are sure to be pressed into the pages of their well-thumbed copies of Tristan Taormino’s Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women. Right alongside the baby pictures.
Those of you who enjoy stalking me will find me having sex with a new girlfriend, the ex-girlfriend of the boyfriend of my girlfriend Lily. The ex-girlfriend was rebounding from a recent breakup from her ex-boyfriend, even as Lily made an ex-boyfriend of her other boyfriend. (You also learn that the ex-girlfriend had sex with her ex-boyfriend, Lily’s now-ex-boyfriend, around the time my girlfriend Lily had her first threesome with me and her not-yet-ex-boyfriend. Of course, this was before I met the other ex-girlfriend.)
Speaking of Mother’s Day, my kids are with their mother this weekend. It’s a custom enshrined in the custody arrangement; they’ll be with me for Father’s Day.
Next month and every June for the next eleven years.
A couple of years ago, Lucy refused to take them for Mother’s Day, which fell on a weekend they were to be with me.
“I think they’ll want to be with you,” I said.
“That’s ridiculous,” she replied. “It’s just a weekend.”
I had the kids call their mother on that Sunday. Then, at Collie's request, we ate Mother’s Day pancakes.
This year, Lucy is in a different frame of mind. The kids were excited about being with her on the big day.
“Are we making breakfasts in bed?” Lillie asked, holding the shredded remains of her Boo-Boo blanket to her face.
“Yes, we are,” Jason answered, his voice drifting to baby talk. “We will make scrambled eggs and toast for Mommy.”
Lillie sucked her thumb, listening. “And coffee? Mommy likes coffee.”
Jason shook his head. “No coffee, baby. Jason doesn’t know how to make coffee.”
Lillie made a face. “Waaa.” She cracked up at her fake crying.
“There, there,” Jason consoled. “We will make orange juice.”
Lillie looked at her brother. “Goo goo, gaa gaa.” They laughed.
As the children were off to their mother on Friday, I took them shopping for gifts on Thursday evening.
Collie had recently broken one of his mother’s plants by accident, so he wanted to replace it. We went to a local florist. I steered him away from the delicate potted orchids the saleslady was pushing—“These are perfect for Mother’s Day,” she insisted. “And only fifty dollars.”—in favor of something orange that cost a mere twenty-five dollars.
Jason opted for a pot of tulips. “She can plant them in the yard after,” he reasoned.
Lillie chose a box of chocolates. She drew a card with her markers, featuring a three-tiered birthday cake and confetti scribbles.
“Very festive,” I smiled.
“Is that good?” she asked.
Since the kids were being picked up today by their mother, there was no way to keep everything hidden until Sunday morning. They decided to give her the presents when they saw her.
“Happy Mother’s Day!” Lillie shouted, running to her.
“Here,” Collie said, holding out his orange flowers. “You have to water it every three or four days. Or four or five? Dad, do you remember?”
“Just keep it wet,” Jason suggested.
“Thank you!” Lucy grinned, hugging Lillie. “And thank you, Jefferson, for your part of it.”
“Of course,” I smiled. “Happy Mother’s Day.”
I waved goodbye as the kids headed off with their mother.
“Help” was her first word to me. “Help” was typed into the subject line of a long email. It was followed by an exclamation point.
The email was signed “Seymour Glass.”
The email concerned “Seymour’s” recent decision to take up casual sex. She thought this would be a good strategy for combating the alienation she felt in most human interactions.
A few days into her project, she lost her virginity to “some kid” she found on Craig’s List. He came to her dorm, fucked her, and left—all within the space of minutes.
She cried in the shower, and scrubbed his name from her memory.
She met another guy, "some bald guy.” He came to her dorm, undressed and announced that he had forgotten condoms. She told him to come back when he was less forgetful.
He came back the next day. He came fast. He offered to train her to be his sex slave. She said she would get back to him on that.
She cried in the shower, but his name stained.
The second guy had mentioned my parties, saying he would be glad to take her to one. “You can read about them on his blog,” he told her. “I’ll put in a good word for you.”
She ignored the offer, having already decided that she would never again see the first two men she had fucked. Nevertheless, she took the advice to read my blog.
She wrote to me, asking for my help.
I thanked her for writing, saying I was unclear about how I could help, or what she needed help to do. I’m a pervert, I told her, not a therapist. The best I could offer was a sounding board as she worked out her thoughts on this new pursuit of sex with strangers.
She took me up on the offer.
“Seymour” wrote long notes to me, often late at night. She wrote about the discomfort she felt in even the most basic social interactions, saying she only felt comfortable with her parents, her cousin, her close friends, and her dog; the interactions and acquaintances of college life left her feeling awkward and raw.
She had decided that sex might be a way to break through that wall of alienation. She wasn’t looking for an emotional commitment. She hoped that sex would allow her to feel something physical and “real” when so many other things felt phony.
Seeking the genuine and real, she set out to fuck strangers.
In our notes, she expressed her anxiety that no one would find her attractive due to her scars.
That revelation gave me pause. I asked about her scars—were they the result of an accident or surgery, or were they self-inflicted?
“Yes,” she replied. “The scars are self-inflicted.”
It struck me that “Seymour” was behaving somewhat compulsively, and I said so. I asked if she had a therapist she trusted. I was concerned that she signed her name as a fictional suicide, given her history of self-injury.
“Oh, you know Salinger!” she wrote. “I really like him, maybe too much.”
“I don’t think it’s possible to like Salinger too much,” I replied. “Unless you’re Joyce Maynard.”
“Oh, you know Maynard, too? That’s great. Of course, none of the kids here would know anything about that. But yeah, I have a therapist, and I’m on lots of yummy pills, so don’t worry about that.”
I asked to elaborate on her rationale for approaching sex as she did.
“I'm honestly not sure if I think sex is a big deal or not,” she wrote. “I don't think it is, truthfully . . . but . . . I'm just scared of people. I wouldn't be able to sleep with someone I care about. I'm too afraid of getting hurt . . . I'd rather sleep around. I'm just trying to feel better, which I know isn't a good reason to engage in casual sex. But I'm also terrified of being alone. If I can't connect with people on an emotional level, at least I can connect on a physical level . . . as is my rationale. And just to talk with someone is nice, whether I'm fucking him or not. Even very trivial, casual talk—it's nice, it's something . . . you know? And to be held is nice, though it means nothing.
“It's a nice escape, although I can't relax enough to even feel pleasure from it, but it's something. It's better than drinking. Or various other escapist behaviors.
“I don't know what to do . . . because honestly, I think of how I need to fuck someone. I've been trying to resist it, but I keep thinking about it. Luckily, my week is busy . . . but Monday I'll probably be with someone else. I don't know why; I'm not sure if I dislike it or not—I don't know what to make of any of this.”
This girl was a piece of work.
And yet she was so cognizant of her state of mind, and so articulate about it. She was, in the current parlance, an emo kid, someone who mulls things over, fretting about the basics of being human.
We used to have other names for young people like that, but these days, “emo kid” seems to work.
“Seymour” presented herself as at a loss about what to do about her anxiety, and chose what would appear to be an odd solution—she dreaded the tepid waters of simple social intercourse, so she dove into the deep end of anonymous sexual intercourse.
As we corresponded, “Seymour” came to trust me, at least as much as she could let herself trust me. She encountered me as words on a screen, in my blog and in our emails, and I took her words seriously. The fact that we interacted in text and not in person kept me at a reasonably safe distance. She could open herself to me, as flesh and blood didn’t interfere.
Still, she was getting under my skin. I thought about her as I went through my day, remembering things she had written and formulating my next response. I came to care about her, in a way; I wanted to do what I could to make her feel less alienated from people. If that meant being an online friend, I thought I could manage that.
I forgave myself certain responsibilities. I could not keep her from hurting herself by fucking strangers any more than I could keep her from digging razors into her muscle tissue. I could only tell her, from experience, that if she wanted to distinguish the genuine from the phony, she was employing methods that might only confuse the two.
If I’ve learned nothing else in life, I do know this: you can’t always save people.
I also know myself: I’m compelled to try.
Reading “Seymour’s” notes, I recalled my early life with Lucy.
We worked together in a bookstore. I was drawn to the information desk. I enjoyed helping people find titles they couldn’t recall, or matching a desire to read with a book that might fit the bill. Lucy gravitated to the stock room, where she could open boxes, type ISBNs into a computerized inventory and chain smoke.
One day, I invited Lucy to lunch. At the time, she weighed under a hundred pounds. No one at the bookstore had ever seen her eat. I suggested we order sesame chicken from a take out place. I liked that it was too much food for four dollars and ninety-five cents, including an egg roll and a soda.
She liked it. She began to order it every day.
We slept together, eventually. I learned how that worked.
If I woke to find her missing, I got up to look for her. She was often in the bathroom, naked on the tile floor. One night, I pulled her face from the cat box. I plucked litter and turds from her lips and eyes. I wet a washcloth. When she was clean, I picked her up and carried her back to bed.
The next morning, I called in sick to stay by her side.
I thought that was how I should take care of her.
Fifteen years, three children and one divorce later, Lucy finally got medical treatment for her depression. Now that she was alone, by her design, she had to do something.
I hope it works.
Meanwhile, I’m the boy raised by my father to care for my mother, the husband trained by experience to care for his wife, the single father who cares for lovers when his young children are gone.
I’m a piece of work.
I couldn’t bear the thought of “Seymour” crying in the shower come Monday, her self-imposed deadline for fucking yet another stranger.
We were passing notes when I made a proposal.
“Look, you say you are going to fuck someone on Monday, and you don’t even know who that is. Can I make a suggestion? Meet me instead. In the flesh.”
This week’s Sex Blog Roundup at Fleshbot gets sensuous as we find all one-two-three-four-five (breath) senses working overtime.
Those of you who enjoy stalking me will find me offering a shoulder to my friend Selina as she grieves the end of a relationship.
It’s never easy.
Though sometimes it’s for the best, as when Lily inadvertently offended a cultist and lost him as a lover. In taking stock of things, she is heartened to recall that she does attract fellows such as myself who aren't quite so nuts.
Which is to say: compared to cultists, I’m pretty normal.
That may be why I function so well in unusual situations, as Cody reflects as she ponders a live sex show or two.
Evidently, it’s good to have such a staunch character around, as Lolita explained when she took me out to tea. She congratulated me on having passed the six-month review in my new career as her fuckbuddy. I didn’t even know a review was forthcoming! I really should read contracts before I sign.
A few days later, Lolita and I caught up with Annie Sprinkle at the opening of “Sex Worker Visions.” The exhibition of art by sex workers includes one of Annie Sprinkle’s glittery prints based on a vintage medical illustrations of female reproductive organs. Annie is in town with her main squeeze and collaborator Elizabeth Stevens to perform Exposed: Experiments in Love, Sex, Death and Art.
I kissed Annie’s cheek and paid my respects to her cleavage.
“Sex Worker Visions” was curated by the second busiest (and second bustiest!) woman in the sex biz, the mighty Audacia Ray. I asked Audacia what she had been up to lately, to which she replied, “The usual, you know.”
“Yeah, me too,” I said.
We fell quiet, watching people shuffle past artwork.
“So, I hear you’re working on a cool project,” Audacia said. “Madeline says it’s really awesome.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m very excited about it,” I nodded. “She tells me your book is due out soon.”
“Yep. June first.”
We stared off into space for a while.
“Madeline says she’s looking forward to being on your panel next month,” I noted.
“Yeah, that’s awesome. She says she’s looking forward to seeing you again.”
“Oh, tell her I said ‘me too.’”
“I will. And please tell her I’m glad she’s so excited about the panel.”
We looked at each other for a while. There wasn’t much more to say, really. We each knew all the latest on the other.
Now that we have Madeline in common, Audacia and I save so much time in conversation.
Because that Madeline has a gift. She’s the hub of cool.
There are more things out there for the stalkers—it’s been a busy week—but those LiveJournal folks like to lock up the sexy bits of their posts, so don’t bother looking.
Oh, and for those who wondered: Jonathan got the job.