Boys and Girls in America Have Such a Sad Time Together
Whatever would propel me forward, move me through the kiss, the clasp, and the shudder. I jacked the volume and smoothed on the runny face game.
These online women are either unimportant, worthy of no more treatment than guesswork; somewhat important, but still burdened by unimportant elements that makes them unworthy of thorough treatment; or so precociously important that one can do no more than nurse high hopes sobered with caution.
I can smell her Gardenia perfume, a scent I love. Personal scent is extremely compelling on a woman.
He’s nervous as a turkey, and I want him slurring.
My sister is like, “you need to date.”
She’s like, “get a gym membership, pull it together.”
I’m too hung-over.
I am drinking alone at home, with the computer in my lap, and I find this message board, and this guy "BigHeadRob" starts in, "hey working girl, did u make it to the gym last night?"
He’s an archivist for the Smithsonian. He’s got a dog.
He wears ties in all of his photos. He’s got a lot of photos online. He takes a picture of his outfit every single day and puts it online. He writes a little caption describing where each item of clothing comes from, “vintage Store in Phoenix.”
Every afternoon I go to the handicapped bathroom on the 4th floor and lock the door. It is the only private place in the office, and it has a big window. Every afternoon I floss my teeth for a long time with the sun on my face. Then I go back to my desk.
We have spirits and ghosts and witches and downright devils among us and they will make you suffer. But when I look into the littleness of her fond eyes, I see that no harm is meant. She actually does want to take me dancing!
My sincerity as a love maker comes from my belief in the truth-potential of any relationship.
When we wake up, she goes into the bathroom and I follow her in there and she is naked before the sink, washing her face. I squeeze her.
“I have to get a picture of you like this,” I say.
“Why do you take pictures of your outfits every day?”
“Someone has been doing a little Rob research.”
“It’s just a thing we do.”
She watches me in this delightful and not delighted way.
I was drunk.
He was an archivist for the Smithsonian.
He knew how to make basil ice-cream.
The dog and I walked her home. Her corduroy pants were covered in dog hair and lint. She had to walk home in her high heels.
“Do you want to hold the leash?” I asked.
“I don’t feel good.”
She took the leash and walked the dog. The sun was shining. We passed a Salvadoran outdoor market. Things had been hard for me in Washington D.C.
We arrived at her apartment building. “Can I have your number?” I produced a pen and paper from my satchel. She wrote her number on the paper. Then I produced my camera and said, “I am going to take a picture of you.”
“No,” she said.
“You can keep your sunglasses on.”
I called after her, "Let’s get a beer sometime." Then I sat on a bench outside her building and programmed her number into my phone.
I’m done trying to seem witty or pathetic or ingenious or naive or dull.
She was the last one to say my name, unless you count the women of the Grooming lounge. They scream, “It’s Rob!” every time I come in for a haircut.
Is thirty-seven a lot?
I’d say I’ve done a lot of work on thirty-seven women in my life, but no more work than was necessary to establish myself. The meaning of relationship is always different for any two people.