Okay. We’ve been doing this a month. I think it’s time we settle on some vocabulary.
Your head’s incredibly heavy; move over a bit.
I guess; I mean, I know what’s coming. If not now, eventually. I’ve heard it
exactly nine times before. You’re going to say: ‘it’s been good, it’s been passionate and awfully glorious, but it has to end sometime and that might be soon, very soon.’
I wasn’t going to say that. Not at all. I was thinking the opposite. I was thinking we’re so good at it, with each other. We should quit our jobs and stay in bed. Someone should pay us for making love.
Making love? Is that what we’ve been doing?
That’s what I’m saying. The words aren’t right. I’m trying to avoid being crass and I don’t want to be misogynistic or domineering or an asshole. I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable or angry or think I’m gross. So ‘love making.’ It’s romantic. Diplomatic.
I shudder at the word ‘making,” and I imagine someone very pale churning very pale butter. I picture two people gliding through the missionary position staring into each other’s eyes on some Victorian quest to unify their souls. There’s no fun; no pleasure. But we can’t use ‘fucking.’ I’m never going to tell you to ‘fuck me’ or say ‘come on, let’s fuck. ’
I’ve always hated calling it ‘sex.’ Too clinical. Might as well say ‘intercourse.’ Might as well say, ‘let’s retire to the upstairs bedroom for some intercourse if you’re feeling up to it.’
‘Sex’ is what someone who doesn’t really have sex calls sex. It’s squeamish; that’s not us, not me at least.
Okay. Here’s the question. What do we call my penis?
What have you called it before? What do you prefer?
Not ‘penis.’ It sounds like it’s fighting a lisp.
It reminds me of Health, of ‘the talk’ that wasn’t really a talk. On my eleventh
birthday, my mom left a book on my bed called ‘You’re Finally Woman’ or ‘From Girl Blossoms Woman’ or ‘So You’re Sprouting Curly Hair Down There’ or something to that affect. She hid it under my pillow and I hid it in my closet, even though she’d obviously given it to me and knew I had it. What she didn’t know was I had this sketchbook, and I spent hours redrawing the pictures and diagrams. The drawings were all crude, two dimensional, see through, and there was one that showed two people, the man’s ‘penis’ deep in the woman’s ‘vagina.’ What got me was her leg; she had it wrapped around the man and was pushing him deeper. I kept copying that, over and over, and I felt dirty, and I felt kinda good.
That’s the moment you became an artist. They can put that in your biography once you’re famous.
Here’s my new artist’s statement; one sentence: ‘It’s all deep penises; it all stems from deeper penises.’
Can we please stop saying penis? Please.
How about ‘johnson’?
Too fraty. Or, too yuppie. Or, too white trash. I don’t know. I associate it with
coolers and canned beer and dude-talk at the boat show. Dick? That’s a classic.
Dirty, derivative. Implies actual dirt and grime. Not sexual. Plus, I have an uncle by that name.
I wish I was the kind of man who could call his dick a cock. Sometimes I wish I were with the type of woman who would call it that. Then I’m glad I’m not.
I wouldn’t use it: the gun metaphor, the association with the alpha male, the undercurrents of sexual violence that support some sordid fantasy that all women are secretly into that kind of thing. It’s demeaning, of course, even to men. It’s kinda fun, though, base, full of blind confidence, your brain in the tip of your penis kind of thing.
No doubt men who call it a ‘cock’ have more sex. Probably not better sex, although they’d never admit that to themselves. Sadly, and happily, I am not one of those men.
How about wiener? Skin flute? Ding-a-ling?
We’re getting to the dregs.
Like a pin. No, a prick is a bad guy. A pervert of a man. It implies only the
penetration. It feels almost sneaky and unwanted. Erases any beauty in the thing. Is ‘it’ beautiful? I’ve never really decided. But you’re right; I’d never say, ‘put
your cock in me;’ I’d never say, ‘stick your prick in me.’ What about Cucumber?
Tubesteak? Highrise? Hooded monk? Although for you it would certainly be the
Did make you those up?
What about that intricate hole between your legs? Tell me what should I call that?
Definitely not ‘intricate hole.’
No, it isn’t.
Vagina? Beaver? Muff? Hairy clam?
I want to call it ‘avocado’? Will you call it ‘avocado’ with me?
I dated a girl once who kept reminding me how free and open she was. She wore flowy clothes. Not much underwear. One day I called hers a ‘pussy’ because I thought she’d like it. She looked at me sternly. Told me never to say it ever again. I’ll also add that she used the word cunt in social situations. So much it became disturbing.
Those words disgust and anger me and your using them has caused the last shards of my horniness to drain away.
Aren’t avocados green and mushy inside? Leathery and bumpy on the outside? I found a book once at the public library.
The pubic library?
The book had a list of every slang term for female anatomy. I was blushing in shame as I checked it out; but at home I copied them all down. I kept that paper for years until I tore it up and hid it under some banana peels in the trash. That’s a confession for you; I’ve told people more embarrassing things about myself, but never that.
I don’t see why that’s embarrassing.
In the eighteen hundreds, they used to call it a ‘nettle bed.’ ‘Miss Fubb’s parlor.’ ‘Mousetrap. ’ ‘Conundrum. ’
I bet those weren’t in your ‘You’re a Woman, Hear me Bloom’ book. No.
I like ‘conundrum.’
I feel like we’re not getting anywhere. How about these? Can we at least agree on ‘breasts’?
‘Breasts’ reminds me of Shakespearian sonnets or pulpy romance novels, as in ‘He lay his tongue like a rug upon her milky, white breasts.’
Isn’t romance a good thing?
I’ve never trusted it.
Mammories? That’s what they called them in your book, I bet. Tits?
I had tits when I was fourteen. But there’s a hint of sin to the word, which I like. It
also doesn’t at all describe how mine disappear when I lay on my back.
They’re beautiful, though, your breasts. Amazing.
I’ve always hated them. I’ve always hated the phrase ‘tittyfucking’; though I think
it feels pretty good. I think it feels really freaking good. We haven’t done that.
I’ve been a perfect gentleman.
You never asked.
I’m an enlightened woman, right; I’m supposed to be sensitive to oppression and
degradation, and I’m supposed to hate it, act against it, eschew all such things. And I do, really, I do; my awareness is so acute it’s like I’m peering through a fucking telescope. But what if I just want you to stick your whatever between my whatevers? What if I like when you straddle my face and rub those other whatevers across my nose and mouth? What if I like the smell and taste and catching that slight glimpse of your asshole?
I want to be able to do those things. With you. Without making you feel guilty. Without feeling guilty myself.
This must be a new problem. Not the guilt; there’s always guilt. But what we want versus what we shouldn’t: our desire versus our enlightenment.
I once had a girlfriend who shaved herself. Without telling me. She just let me discover it. And I did, and I thought of all the people saying that hairlessness mimicked prepubescence. She was on the bed, that girlfriend. Kneeling, waiting, giggling, letting me look. I forced a smile and kissed her with fake passion. Days later the hair started to grow back. We were together for almost a year, and she never did it again. I sometimes think about that moment. How full of danger and uncertainty it must have been for her. I admire her courage now. I regret that I said nothing. I should have offered to shave myself. That’s what I should have done.
There are so many risks in sex.
Little risks. Great little ones nonetheless.
Years ago, a man sent me a letter. He used an actual envelope and stamp and must
have walked or driven to the actual mailbox. We hadn’t slept together; we were going slower than normal because I thought I liked him more than normal. I remember opening the letter at the table in my apartment. He’d written, in graphic detail, exactly how he imagined our first sexual encounter would go. At the end of the page, just when it was getting good, the letter ended, and he’d written, ‘tell me what happens next.’ I worked for a week; I wrote several drafts and tore them up and threw them all away. We went on our next date, and neither of us mentioned it, and I knew he was waiting to see what I would do. I broke up with him. I still have most of his letter memorized; almost every word.
I made love in the pitch dark once. Indescribable.
I’ve told every man I’ve ever slept with he has the largest ‘it’ I’ve ever seen. I’ve told every man he was the best I’d ever been with. Obviously I lied to almost all of them.
We’re not supposed to be telling each other this. Old relationship stuff should get filed away into the silence.
Sometimes I think about the odds of two people growing old together. They’re just low, just so so low; what are the odds of not growing tired of the persona another person has picked to be around you, the persona you’ve picked to be around them?
If we’re still a couple in fifty years, we’ll be the type where the woman does all the talking and the man hangs back. I plan to stop speaking for good around 45. I just want you to know that.
No problem. Until that time, what else do you need to figure out how to say?
How do I ask you for a blowjob? Is it hot if I say it forcefully? Do I request meekly so as not to offend?
It’s a shame there’s nothing in the middle?
I dated two women in college that had never given one. Both asked me what to do. The first time I said, ‘be careful with your teeth.’ The second time I said ‘everything you do will feel good. Do what comes natural.’
That’s extremely, incredibly awful guidance.
I don’t know how women learn to give blow jobs. Are there guys out there that have the ability to explain it to them?
Yes. But mostly we scrape it together from movies and what other girlfriends tell us and women’s magazines, and pornography if we watch it. There is some helpful info in
the ‘So Your Hips are Widening and Your Chest is Bulging and You Have an Ass Now’ books our mothers slip under our pillows like some sexual version of the tooth fairy.
What should I say afterword? I never know what to say afterword.
You’re always too mushy-eyed and grateful; girls hate that as much as a guy being a dick about it. It’s not a big deal. It tastes like skin. If a girl’s a thinking being, and most of us are, she knows what she did and she did it because she wanted to.
So don’t say anything?
Say, ‘that was amazing. That felt good.’ And hold her like I’m holding you now. Let’s switch by the way; I want to put my head on your chest so I can hear your heart. It’s corny, but it’s what I want.
So if I asked you now how I should give a blowjob, what would you say?
You don’t need to ask.
Pretend I did. Tell me exactly what you want; describe the best one you’ve ever
I guess I’d say ‘Find an angle that makes you comfortable. Angle doesn’t matter to
me as much as it does to you. There’s one spot. Right here, at the base of the head and below the hole, put pressure there sometimes. Put pressure there.
I’m not laughing at you; I’m just amused that you’re actually doing it.
‘Take my whatever in your mouth. Close your lips around it. Move down as deep as you can. Pull up again. When it’s wet enough, when there’s enough saliva, make a ring around it at the base with your thumb and index finger. Tighten the pressure. Move your hand up and down in rhythm with your lips. Suck a little, but it’s not the main thing. It does feel good when you pull your mouth away and the suction holds and then breaks. It feels good when you press with your tongue or when you flick your tongue across the tip. Do that until I can’t seem to stand it. Run your tongue over my whatevers. Take them in your mouth if you want. Only if you want. Let me wriggle. Wetness is a factor, but don’t spit.
Depth is a factor, but don’t gag.
I’ll give you something to add.
What you said should get most girls started. But you need to tell her to pay
attention. If she hears you make a noise of pleasure, tell her to keep doing exactly what she’s doing. These noises: we crave them; we give them to each other like gifts; we use them to let the other person know exactly where we are and where we’re planning to go. Tell her that as soon as she hears a noise, go slower; and as soon as she hears that noise again, go slower still. She’ll want to race forward until it’s all out of control and can’t be reversed, like a car on ice. Tell her to do the opposite. Tell her to trust the pace of her body in relation to yours.
I will. Maybe. I probably won’t. I’ll probably stay silent.
I dated a guy once who never made a sound. We were helpless in bed together; we were horrible. All I could do was wonder if he was enjoying himself.
I’m realizing you think about sex more than I do.
I think about sex more than almost everyone. In high school, I found out what the number 69 stood for, and that night I sat at my desk and wrote out every number from 10 to 99; I came up with a position for each. I still have the slight fantasy a man and I will do all 100, one each day, in order.
That sounds exhausting.
Have you ever noticed that a 2 really, truly resembles a woman on her knees, her ass in the air; that a 3 also resembles an ass, or a pair of whatevers or a pair of whatevers. An 8 can be both whatevers too. A 5 looks like a woman’s torso; a 4 like a man on his knees. Numbers are freaking sexy. They really seem to like doggy-style, all forms of it, kneeling, standing, on your side. Think about it: 22, 24, 27, 32, 33, 34, 37, 71, 74. And numbers can be sweet: 66 is spooning with both heads at the foot of the bed, and 96 is back to back, head to toe, the way you might sleep with a friend or brother; not a sex position. 16, 64, 67 require the most strength and athleticism. 29 and 39 are the dirtiest.
I won’t ask.
Write it out; you’ll get it.
Don’t even have to.
I think you should confess one more thing to me. I’ll listen to it as I listen to your heartbeat.
I was with a woman once and my nose started bleeding. It came quick. In drops.
Before I knew it there were three. Across her whatevers. She saw it and pushed me off. I ran to get a box of tissues, but the mood was gone. She told me, with some bitterness, that it was a metaphor for our entire relationship. I never knew what she meant by that. It still haunts me. What if it’s a metaphor for all my relationships.
She was probably mad because she was about to come.
Whatever it was, it made me realize that either I’m great friends with a woman and we’re bad quiet lovers, or we don’t get along well but the ‘it’ is great.
Perhaps ‘it’ is a metaphor for all things; not just for you, but for all of us.
And yet it’s nothing. A mindless act. A stupid pump. It makes babies.
And it makes fucking babies.
There’s another artist statement for you.
I would like to see those paintings, but I wouldn’t want to look very long.
I wonder if we’ve been too open; I’m not sure we can see each other again after this.
I’m not sure we settled on a single word for anything.
Shall we just do ‘it’ again then? Shall we collaborate? Shall we cavort? Let’s collide. Collude. Conspire. Substantiate.