Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sex, Billiards, Newel Posts, and Man's Ability to Think Beyond the Lust

RICHMOND, Ind. (ZP) -- I'd never kissed a woman in a frigging closet before.

Never did the whole Seven Minutes in Heaven thing as a kid, only played Spin the Goddamned Bottle once in middle school. Actually, I'm pretty sure the last woman I was alone with in closet was my sister - and that was more than 20 years ago.

After showing "Ahab" (obviously not her real name) how to wire a few duplex wall boxes, I'd gone into the closet to turn on the breakers. For some odd reason, she followed and shut the door.

We're talking a four-foot-by-three-foot closet here, not exactly a space designed for two adults. Like an idiot, I thought she just wanted to see which circuits fed the master bedroom. I didn't even realize that, well, my heart was racing, my breathing as shallow as piss on concrete, and that I could feel electricity pulsing through fingertips as she touched my neck.

"Ahab" told me that the first boy she'd ever kissed, in seventh grade, had happened right there in Granny's closet, while in Richmond for summer vacation.

She asked me if I'd ever played Seven Minutes as a kid. I thought she was talking about a board game.

I figured it out ... eventually.

Lord, I'm not that dense.

* * * *

I'm certain both of us knew we were playing with some serious fire right from the start, before closets and lunch.

Ahab, though only married-awaiting-divorce-finalization, was still legally married. And her split from her husband wasn't exactly going smoothly, either. Her Bible-thumping in-laws continued to call, leaving messages on the answering machine about the sin of divorce and God's wrath. Though separated for two years, her husband wanted to live with his new girlfriend and talk reconciliation, too.

And that's her stuff. I'm the Ohio-based asshole who'd shot down her younger sister only a few weeks ago - the guy crossing that Don't Come Between Siblings Line. The tryst leading up to my All Hallow's Eve drama? Ish had told Ahab all about it, about how I had led her on and of how I was hung up on yet another psycho bitch, about how I lost my temper because I couldn't take hearing about how women see me as a guy who refuses to grow up...

* * * *

It wasn't the steamy lunchtime flirting that led two adults to play children's games in a fucking' closet.

I blame it all on a few rounds and a pool table. After lunch, we left the mall and started to head back to Granny's Homestead - I really needed to get back to Oxford to get some paperwork done at the office, and Ahab had to hunt online for cheap plane tickets.

It was supposed to be just one game and one pitcher of Budweiser Select (stuff's not too bad), a quick Saturday distraction. Good, clean, innocent fun.

I blew three out of five games simply because Ahab had stripped off her sweater, down to a rather flattering black manbeater tee. Ahab also had a tendency to take quite a few behind-the-back shots, too, which didn't seem to improve my focus much.

She blew the other two, apparently, because I speak with a slight Virginia twang at times, when I let my normally robust, clear broadcaster's voice slip back into my childhood accent - supposedly, that's cute and distracting.

We talked about the Dwight Yoakam songs playing on the juke, the local alkies camped out at the bar, shared legends of our different experiences in places like Butte, Montana, and New Orleans and Fort Collins, Colorado.

Regardless of the subject at hand, the conversation always seemed to swing back to sex. She hadn't had a non-battery-operated orgasm in more than three years, the best sex either of us have ever had was under the stars in national parks, the worst sex was in the cabs of pickups, the sordid details of my last love triangle fling (Ahab actually predicted the Halloween theatrics), some Wyoming Rodeo God she'd "molested" when she worked bar out West, and the joys of talking dirty.

By the second pitcher, Ahab was touchy-feeling, doing that weird batting-of-the-eyelashes thing some women do, that gazing up over the brow with a sinister-looking grin. And the lip-biting thing. Why the hell do some women do that?

As usual, I was just about the last person in the bar, out of about 15 people, to figure out that, well, yeah...

I think this woman's kinda sorta into me.

* * * *

One of those 15 people was the bartender.

When I walked up to close out the tab, I realized why I'm really starting to hate this part of the country, why I'm convinced that beneath the badlands of the Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky region lies a great cavern filled with bad luck demons and sadistic creatures who feed upon awkward moments and chilling irony.

So Jason...are you going for the family discount or was [Ish] just too single for you? And hey, how's Jack doing? Heard he's going for older chicks now, too.

The bartender knew me. He knew Ahab. And, being one of Ish's former roommates, he knew all about the whole Jack Nicholson thing, knew about the rejection last Mardi Gras, knew probably more of one version of one side of me than most people.

His mobile phone was on the bar. I watched the sucker bounce off the wood every time a new text message came through. There were a lot of them - apparently, somebody had been busy.

Hey, everybody loves a good soap opera, right? I'm sure he sent messages to just about every mutual friend he and Ish had in the span of maybe an hour.

I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking how his ex-wife was doing, the one who'd left him after he'd knocked up that 18-year-old in Indianapolis. I wanted to ask him how many high school girls had he lured back to his new place with tales of World of Warcraft glory and the ability to legally buy alcohol.

Ahab was in the Jane. I wanted to reach across the damned bar and choke the smugness right out of him as I signed the credit card slip.

Instead, I simply left a five-dollar tip on a seven-dollar bar tab and left without saying a damned thing.

* * * *

I tried not to think about anything in that damned closet. It's been way too long since I've kissed anybody who actually knew what they were doing, someone close enough to my life experience to understand that some things are better just savored for what they are, to understand that some things don't always need to be filled with excess drama.

I tried to just appreciate the fact that, yeah, I was in a frigging closet with a gorgeous woman in her mid-30s, a woman who's whispering into my ear about how to unhook her bra, about how that Depeche Mode song playing on the radio (YouTube clip here) reminded her of making out in high school, about how my neck smelled.

For those unaware, it's not exactly the easiest thing in the world for two people to move from a closet through a hallway, up a flight of stairs, and into a bedroom while making out like two horny kids. I slipped once and cracked my shin against the newel post. Ahab tripped on trashcan.

I remember jumping onto the bed like a little kid, bouncing about a foot into the air, and then getting tackled.

Then off came various items of clothing, hands started wandering lower, deeper in between skin pressing against skin...

And then...

And then...

And then everything stopped.

* * * *

"Ahab" was the first to flinch. She'd looked over at the nightstand that used to be her sister's, the family photos she'd unpacked on the dresser, and then back at the guy underneath her, the guy who'd supposedly led her sister on, the asshole who'd showed up unannounced, the subject of both infatuation and speculation.

Wait...should we do this?

That's the last thing I remember her asking after she rolled off of me. Doubt filled my mind the moment she pulled back. Plus, I'd started looking around the room, over at the other nightstand.

There was a picture of her soon-to-be ex, in his fatigues, a guy currently out in some goddamned desert, with a much younger Ahab. There was a stack of what looked like divorce papers and joint bank statements, and a mashed up Manila envelope.

Ahab kept talking; I pretended to listen. I was focused on making out the contents of the envelope based on the indentations in the paper. Three circles, two perfect and one egg-shaped.

Ahab rubbed my cheek with the hand that had previously hosted two of the rings in that envelope. I snapped out of it right as she was explaining that she didn't want me to feel used or to think that the sex would mean anything.

No worries, chica. I should go. Somebody's going to get hurt here.

We both got up and started to put our clothes back on. We didn't say much as we dressed, just a few things about how we probably shouldn't exchange numbers, mutual griping about bad fucking timing, and comments about construction loaded with double entendre.

And then I left.

* * * *

Sex is a wonderful, powerfully enjoyable thing, but it's also a game of chance. The older and more experienced one gets, the more one learns to hedge one's bets. I think somewhere along the line, I forgot that little detail.

The median age of the last five women I've been involved with is 22 years, 2 months. The age is irrelevant, however, when measured against life experience. I've spent time with women almost a decade younger than myself who were accidentally mistaken for doctoral candidates at the Local U., adult entertainers who are more well-read and intelligent than most academicians, women who defy expectation and the calendar with the best of them.

I've also been involved with some women in the last two years so sheltered and inexperienced that I question whether or not culturally retarded should be considered a legal disability. I've spent time with women who I've, in all honesty, been able to predict almost every melodrama, every childish tirade, every moment of passion. I've been able, for the most part, to control my passions from behind a nice, tidy wall of rather chaotic worldly experience.

As I drove back to Oxford, I realized something important, something about myself. For as much as I bitch and whine about wanting a mature, normal relationship, I've never really committed to making mature, healthy choices that lead to those types of relationships.

It took making out in a frigging closet in the middle of Indiana to realize that.

More importantly, it took having to drive 20 miles back to Oxford after making out in a frigging closet to realize that.

Yes, Virginia, there is indeed such a condition as the infamous Blue Balls. Sometimes, one can learn from such an evil, evil pain, can learn that there's a reason why Man was given a brain to counteract simple lust.

There is an art form to driving a manual-transmission Ford down a bumpy backcountry highway, with a cup of ice in between one's legs for... err... comfort.

I learned that trick a long time ago, back was I was a kid, back when some folks were learning how to play Seven Minutes in Heaven and Spin the Goddamned Bottle.

# # #


Cowgirl said...

Hey long time no see, err, hear...oh hell whatever. Miss ya.

Jess the Los Angeles Zen Hunter ;-) said...

Sorry, but I still think this is funny shit dude. After all the crap you go through down there you go to my home fuckin state and come back with blueballs. But see this is kinda what you need to be doing, getting out with women who share your interests and don't hav the baggage the bartender chick had.

Hoosier women are a thousand times more entertaining than Buckeye women though. sorry ladies I've seen the man in action. he's so much smoother than he lets on and he doesn't even know it.

Hey and thanks for being there for me this week :-)~

xmichra said...

lol... you take a horrible experience and make it laughable.. maybe not intended.. but this had me laughing none the less!

Still, sounds like you did nothing wrong. I wouldn't worry about it. And as for your choice in women? How the hell will you ever know if you don't get out there and test the waters. Sure, maybe you should *try* to embrace not being in "sittuations" with already engaged women.... hehe.. but some of them don't tell you either.

The whole scouting out thing is a big game. Seriousness follows that. At least i think that's the way it works...

KFigment said...

You are the only other person I know that is as seriously messed up as I am when it comes to sex, love, and relationships. It is good to know I am not alone.

Take it from me. Siblings bad idea. Twins really bad idea. Almost divorded bad idea. Seperated really bad idea. Friends bad idea. Best friends really bad idea.

Of course what do I know I have a thing for a guy in Iraq who keeps telling me how great it is to have somenone like me in his life, who just got his divorce finalized from his now ex wife who is pregnant with another mans baby!!!!!

shayna said...

I will say it again... I never need to watch another soap opera again... you have it all for me! :)

Smurf said...

Aww.. .Jason... :( That makes me sad to hear the last line... "I learned that trick a long time ago, back was I was a kid, back when some folks were learning how to play Seven Minutes in Heaven and Spin the Goddamned Bottle."

Wow, you are an amazing writer. I am sorry this is real life. Have you ever seriously thought about combining some of these collections of stories and writing and publishing some sort of book?

The ZenFo Pro said...

See...I told people rumors of your demise were greatly exaggerated ;)

Missed ya too, chica :)

You'reabsolutely right about the common interests thing. Oxford's been feeling so constrictive lately - not exactly condusive to my regaining my sense of identity and self-worth.

No prob, hon. Just pay my phone bill, will ya :)

Xmichra: worries about laughing. I've been told I write way too much like how I write/act/etc., hence my ability to find humor in just about anything (even a certain manly pain) tends to be freely communicated.

Lol, actually, it's not that I actively pursue attaced women...I'm starting to figure out that being the guy who listens, who keeps Whitman on his nightstand and who is a bit more worldly, in this part of the country...makes me an easy target for women looking for an escape hatch. (I think that's why I've been the other guy most of my life...)

Lol...don't take this the wrong way, but I thought about calling you on my way back from Richmond...unfortunately, cell died and I had ice on my bits, driving stick...

Yeah, never did the twins thing. And, honestly, from what several colleagues and other folks have told me...yeah, haven't hit that level of drama and I probably shouldn't.

Hey, at least it's good to have a sense of humor about it :)

LMAO!!! Yeah, see I could realy get into this "entertain the pregnant ladies" business ;)

Lol...what would I title it?


Confessions of a Not-So-Total Bastard: Nice Guys Don't Finish Last, They Finish Second ?


G said...

"It took making out in a frigging closet in the middle of Indiana to realize that." Well it takes what it takes ay? Perhaps stick the Whitman in the drawer for the time being :)

Smurf said...

Oh Jason Wayne! *hug* I can so feel some pain in that laugh. Honey, you haven't met the right person yet. I know you are 28, but ... *sigh* I have said this to you for years, but I believe that you will be with an incredible woman and it will be worth the wait when you do find her, that is if you let yourself. I think its important to not really be looking and it just happen. You have so many more experiences than I ever had. Dang it, I kinda wish we lived closer and we could have a chat over coffee kinda like the old days.

but yea, lol, if I can come up with a title ... I will send it your way!

*hug* Hang in there sweety. ttyl

Anonymous said...


On the topic of romance ...

Used to be that romance included holding hands while walking together, but the wired world is changing that.

Tell me if this isn't a reflection of daily University life on your campus. Got a whole series I'm working on.

It's a weird world, dude. Or should I say, "wired".


LibraryTavern Liz said...

wow, I have never made out with somebody in a closet. Even when I was a kid. Come to think of it, I don't think I ever played spin the bottle either.

sassinak said...

i swear i left a comment on this post... weird.

anyway i just read this somewhere else in response to that tired old line 'you could have any man you wanted' and the reply from a commenter was "YOU COULD HAVE ANY GUY YOU WON'T SETTLE FOR"

i'd say for you if you sub girl for guy it's just as true.

and i say you and that lady might just need to hang out some more anyway

Anonymous said...

ey its like breaking a billiards pool game!