I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
Last week, I wrote an article referencing a story I wrote in my book, The Direction Of Home. The story was about a woman who told me that she could never date me because I was only “as faithful as my options”. Since then, I have gotten a few emailed asking about the story in question. While the hard copies are long sold out, it still available as an e-book. But in case you’re not into technology and that kind of stuff, below is the story in question.
She was equal parts self-medicated, self-delusional and
cheap sex. She gave everything away. A woman like her wasn’t
comfortable if she wasn’t the obnoxious center of attention, telling
everyone who would listen about how crazy men were, how
everyone was out to steal her happiness and how she deserved the
best of everything in life. The type of person who thinks that because
she was born attractive by the rules and guidelines of women’s
magazines, it’s her right to expect men to give her whatever she
wants. She was never wrong. She never apologized. She quoted the
Bible and Gandhi, yet couldn’t tell you who the vice president is. She
was shallow, weak and aggressively uneducated. She was so busy
scrounging for her next meal, justification and man to save her, she
was never truly strong enough to stand on her own and take a good
look in the mirror. If one woman could give an entire gender a bad
rap, it would be her. But she wanted to fuck me.
Our back and forth was painful. Every time I almost pulled
a semi-entertaining conversation out of her, she quickly changed
subjects and told me about how horoscopes are always dead on.
When I mentioned how I think the words written by someone
also paid to write the obituaries is possibly a bit questionable, she
snapped back, “You have faith in nothing.”
“Is blind faith in anything better than reasonable
questioning?” I responded. There was a small break in conversation.
I could tell this shook something up.
“You’re like all the rest,” she said. “Men have only wanted
to take from me. No one ever wants to give me anything.”
Without a clue where this was coming from, I asked her
what she wanted. Her response of “everything she deserves” told me
everything I needed to know about her. Nothing turns me off like
I sat on my bed clicking my way through the Internet when
my phone lit up.
“Hey, are you around?” It was her.
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“I’m down the street from you. I wanted to see if you were
still down to hang.”
Months earlier, we engaged in a scandalous chat session.
I asked her what she was looking for and scanned her responses to
see if we were on the same wavelength. Freshly out of a terrible
relationship, I was nowhere near able to hold someone’s heart with
the care it deserved, let alone my own. After telling her this, she said
she didn’t have time for a relationship. We were on the same page.
We spoke about what turned her on, her fetishes and what she always
wanted to try. I made her feel comfortable. When discussing sex with
women, it’s important to initially tread lightly. Like a fawn emerging
from the woods, one wrong word too quickly can scare them into
believing you’re like all the rest. Because you are. And they know
you are. But secretly, they love it. There has to be an unspoken
agreement of “OK, I see what you’re doing and I have to pretend
I’m not buying into it while I actually buy into it. Don’t call attention
to this fact and everyone gets what they want.” As the conversation
warmed up, she told me about her exhibitionist side. She got off
from the thrill of possibly being caught. She liked being watched. We
played out scenarios via text and made thin plans for an adventure
the next time she was in the city.
I only heard from her in sporadic bursts. She drunkenly
texted me to “fuck off” one week because she met the “love of her
life,” which usually only lasted a few weeks at best. They all did. All
her relationships while we continued our on and off flirtatious late-night
texts ended so she was texting me again.
“My roommate is home and sleeping, so we can’t hang out
here,” I typed.
She would be loud and brash. Fruity wouldn’t care if I
brought an obnoxious woman to our apartment, but I didn’t want her
attempting to sleep over. I rarely share my bed and it actually angers
me if it’s with someone I don’t even like.
“OK, I’ll pull up in front of your building, and you can hop
in and keep me company.”
I threw on some jeans and a hoodie and walked out the front
door. Trendy radio friendly hip-hop blasted from her car stereo and
cigarette smoke billowed from the driver’s side window. I hopped in
the passenger seat and gave her a hug.
“Well, it’s about time we met,” I joked.
“Ugh. This night sucks.” She sped away, frantically smoking
with her right hand. Her car ashtray overflowed with butts and ash.
As she blew past stop signs, I moved my feet between half eaten
bags of chips and dented empty pop cans.
“I fucking need gas.”
This was our first face-to-face conversation. She was the
type of alpha woman who dealt with her nervousness and anxiety by
drawing attention to anything other than the elephant in the room.
“Where the fuck is my lighter?”
“Uh, probably buried underneath these trash piles,” I said,
So self-involved, she didn’t even acknowledge my joke. She
continued her rant. “Then this asshole keeps blowing up my phone.”
She was probably on something. Maybe meth or Adderall. “I’m
going to have him beaten up. He stole money from me.”
We screeched to a halt next to a gas pump. She dug through
her purse and found a few crumpled singles and walked out to prepay
for the gas. A strange calm engulfed the car as the empty pop cans
at my feet buzzed together to the bass of the music. I ran my finger
across the window, cutting a line through the smoky film. I thought
about how I could be getting a good night’s sleep.
She opened the door. “What do you want to do?” she asked,
before settling back into her seat.
“Well, it’s 2:30 a.m. on a Tuesday,” I said, putting on my
seatbelt. “There aren’t many options.”
“So what the fuck are we going to do?” She threw her hands
up in the air. “Sit at this fucking gas station all night?”
I couldn’t stand her. I couldn’t figure out why I agreed to
this. Her mood swings and abrasive personality were everything I
loathed in women. She wasn’t even a good conversation. But then I
watched her unzip her black leather jacket. Her large natural breasts
popped out from her low-cut striped shirt.
“Drive back by my place.”
“But I thought you said your room—”
“Just drive that way,” I said, pointing down Diversey
Avenue. Luckily the streets were empty as she rounded the corner to
Sheffield on two wheels.
“Park under the train tracks,” I said, directing her to the
parking spots underneath the rust and metal of the Red Line.
When she turned off the car, the silence was terrifying. The
tension and stale smoky air layered the car. I half expected her to
reach over and stab me in the kidney. She was that unpredictable.
“So do you want to fuck right here in the car?” she asked
And while it wasn’t what I suggested, I wasn’t above it and
did bring a condom on the off-chance shit went down.
Afterward, I noticed the fogged windows. I doubt it mattered
much since we were parked underneath a bright overhead light that
faced a busy street. Someone probably got a good show.
“You know, I used to be much hotter,” she said, pulling up
Unsure how to respond, I didn’t say anything.
“I used to model when I was a teenager,” she said. “I was
in Cosmopolitan and Vogue. I lived in Miami for a few years and
in Paris for two.” I believed her since 90 percent of her Facebook
photos were from her old modeling days. The remaining 10 percent
were images of her in her late 30s trying to recreate the same poses
from 20 years, 60 pounds and three children ago.
“Well, I think you’re fucking hot,” I said, attempting to
pacify her insecurities. “Do you not think you’re pretty?”
“Uh, I am fucking hot and any man would kill to have me.
Look,” she snapped, holding out her phone.
“Um, I don’t know what that means.”
“Look at all my missed calls from today.”
“Oh,” I said, wishing I could take back my compliment.
During sex, she was a different person. Softer, obeying my
commands. She liked being submissive, so I gave her the show.
Those 20 sweaty minutes were legitimately fun.
She reapplied her lipstick in the rearview mirror. “You know,
I could never date a guy like you.”
I paused while pulling my jacket on. “Why is that?”
“Because men like you are only as faithful as their options.”
Her words hit me like a brick. Maybe because I wasn’t
expecting it from her. I didn’t think she held the ability. She
spoke casually and confident, like it wasn’t an opinion, but a fact.
Something everyone knew. She didn’t even turn to see my reaction.
Apparently, I should’ve known this. As if she told me I had brown
eyes and disheveled hair. The oxygen disappeared from the car. She
continued speaking, but I couldn’t hear her. Right words, wrong
time. All shields lowered and she sucker punched the shit out of me.
“Well, I have a long drive back home, so I’m going to take
off,” she said.
My cue. I kept a straight face, hugged her and left with a few
pleasantries. I closed the door behind me and she peeled away in the
gravel. I stayed motionless under the bright light overhead. Was she
right? Was this my fate? To live a doomed life of gold beyond my
grasp. To know women’s wants, needs and desires, yet cursed by the
same ability. With one casual sentence, this vapid woman injected an
idea into my brain and altered my view of my future. I wanted not
to believe her. I wanted to forget her words and convince myself she
didn’t have anything valid to say. But I couldn’t. She knew men like
me and what we were capable of. And I knew what I would have to