I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
“I had to leave because I went through all the women in that
town,” she said.
She probably expected me to recoil in surprise from her
statement, but I responded with an agreeing nod and a cautiously
slow swig of my ridiculously hot tea. Maybe she thought I didn’t
hear her correctly, so she drove it home.
“Guys seem intimidated by bisexual women,” she said. “Or
they want to know if they can join in.”
She said it to see if I would react like all the others. To see
if I only thought of her as a sexual object. To see if our handful of
hangouts were genuine or if my motives were like all the rest. I
assume most men saw her as such. Extremely attractive by anyone’s
standards, tall, jet-black hair, dark Princess Jasmine eyes, flawless
make-up and never without heels. Confidence beamed from her eyes.
The tattoos covering her exposed arms, chest and neck screamed, “I
will ruin you.”
Maybe that’s why we get along so well.
I fidgeted with my iPod headphones in my right hand. I
found my female counterpart. I was obviously attracted to her, but
her blasé approach to commitment and my constant wandering eye
ensured that a relationship between us would never work. It was nice
to hang out with someone so open and unashamed of her sexuality
without the looming presence of “what if?”
We didn’t have a previous sexual past, and we didn’t use
any tactics during our tea. It was an off day for two players confined
within a game. As cunning as I was, we traded stories and shook
our heads at the simplicity of unlocking doors with the right keys. I
told her how I’m Internet gold to single suburban mothers wanting
to live out their dreams of kissing the “bad boy.” She sat back in her
chair, laughed and said, “That’s how it is for me with suit and tie
“I could totally see that,” I said. “You’re the break from
the norm. You’re excitement and intrigue. You’re dangerous!” We
laughed at our ridiculousness and the people who notice us and see
an image. We all do it to an extent, but while everyone is playing
down the angle, we play it up.
Years ago, a friend convinced me to go to a late-night dance
club. I groaned all the way from the car ride to showing my ID at
the door to buying an overpriced Sprite at the bar. Secretly, I wanted
inside the world I only saw in movies and on television. I wanted to
be the guy in the club who aggressive women walked past, slowly
running their long fingers along his chest. The woman would instruct
the man to follow her into the bathroom, and they would have wild
anonymous sex in the stall. I didn’t need the drinks or VIP tables or
the club scene fame, I wanted to be the guy who women viewed as a
My friend Dennis was always that guy. Shoulders back,
chiseled features, permanently affixed self-assured smile, deep, but
gentle voice, he was the target of all the chest-scratching women in
the club. Dennis and I made our rounds, chatting up the few people
we knew and occasionally a few strangers. I could talk with most
anyone anywhere, but found problems starting conversations with
attractive strangers in public settings. To this day, I still can’t pull it
Eventually, a small group of relatively attractive women
started talking to Dennis. Too many for him to handle, he pulled
me in the circle and introduced me to his new friends. I made the
requisite small talk and probably came off somewhere in between
awkward and trying too hard. We agreed to move our little group to
the patio so a few women could smoke and take a break from the
vomit-inducing bass. The blonde of the group sat next to me on a
wooden bench seat. As much as I may have wanted to force myself
into club life, I couldn’t fall for the pretentious airs and shallow
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I know I’m supposed to be acting way
too cool for everything right now because apparently guys think
women are attracted to that in places like this, but fuck that. I don’t
even know what I’m doing here.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“I mean, I would never go to a place like this to meet people.
The music, the clothes,” I said, pulling on my collared shirt. “I don’t
wear shit like this.”
“I agree,” she replied. “I rarely go out to clubs, but it’s my
girl’s birthday and she dragged me here.”
We chatted for the rest of the night. She was nice and we
got along well enough to maintain a fairly interesting conversation.
By the end of the night, she told me she wanted me to meet her
roommate. Present day Chris would interpret her words as a signal
to come over to her place and fuck her, but the Chris back then took
it how she probably meant it. She wanted me to meet an important
person in her life. The night ended, she gave me her number and we
agreed to talk again.
As we left the club, Dennis and I discussed the evening. He
thought she was cute and said I should see her again. I said I would.
We actually dated for a month or so, but I didn’t get the bathroom
fuck. I didn’t necessarily want the act of sex, but proof that someone
walked past me and thought, “I want to fuck the shit out of that guy
right here and now.” I was young back then, and wanted to know the
feeling, just once.
I set my tea back down and said, “Anything you do enough
and pay enough attention to, there’s no way you won’t become more
effective at whatever it is.”
She raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
The yuppie seated next to us clearly moved his ear closer
to our conversation. “If I gave you a piece of paper right now and
asked you to make me an airplane, you would probably remember
how to make one, but it might take you a while. One hundred paper
airplanes later, you could whip them out like it’s no big deal.”
“Ah, you’re right.”
She agreed because she knew what I was getting at. She
also agreed because she knew what it was like to want to become
that guy. While I wasn’t the most attractive guy in the place, I
paid attention. I worked and honed a craft throughout the years.
With decades of practice and hundreds of dates under my belt in
this year alone, I became familiar with the combinations, allowing
the light to shine on me more favorably. Some call it “game” or
“tactics,” but most refer to it as “charm.” You can spot it if you look
closely enough. That friend who might not be attractive, but always
maintains a constant circle of lovers. Or the other friend who women
always throw themselves at, but no one can figure out why. Charm.
The magical combination of causing someone to smile and disarm,
along with injecting them with intrigue and wonder.
I open the e-mails and read their words.
“I love your profile.”
“What you wrote was different than everyone else on this site.”
“Are you really the person you claim to be in your writing?”
I am, but I don’t tell them.
“Maybe I am, maybe I’m not.”
I keep them guessing because of the intrigue. I write the
charm, set the bait with potential danger and catch what comes
running. The suburban single moms agree to come over and treat my
apartment like it’s a club bathroom. I’m their high school fantasy.
I give them what they think is danger, but is really a tattooed boy
undertaking a sociology experiment. They run their fingers along
my chest before even saying hello. Some don’t tell me their names
and prefer I don’t tell them mine. I play along. I let them live it out
with me. Though me. On top of me. I give them what they want and
they become research. Each moment creates a little more insight into
how women work. What they want. The varying degrees. The careful
maneuvering of words. The ability to read between their words how
they truly want to feel. I’m the guy I wanted to be so badly sitting
on that wooden bench 15 years ago. I knew the feeling well, to be
considered purely sexual. I lived my fantasy.
I threw my tea bag in the trash and walked outside.
“Sometimes I feel like a predator,” she said.
“But that’s the fun of it.”
“Oh, I know.”
I wondered if the yuppie next to us thought we were evil
people. Snippets taken out of context would have painted us as cruel
and manipulative. Hell, even in context, some might develop that
impression. But what I shared with her was the fact that she didn’t
judge me, if only because she knew the intent of my words. She
knew my perspective. She knew the thrill of it all. Not an insecure
sexuality, but an educational and inquisitive one. The way a person
who studies blood splatter patterns doesn’t see death, but a puzzle to
be solved. We were two people studying what most people turn away
I gave her a hug, said our chat was fun and suggested we do
it again. She agreed. As she turned, her hand accidentally grazed my
chest and the fog started to set in. So I walked away. I kept walking.
Away from her and her danger.
– From my book The Direction Of Home available at: Deadxstop.com