Friday, October 19, 2007

Demensions of Lust, The Chastity of Lies, and Eating Adam's Apple in an Ohio Eden

OXFORD, Ohio (ZP) -- I used to care, used to take everything a woman said at face value before sex, once believed in concepts like relationship and marriage and engagement.

And then I realized that, sometimes, being naive about the nature of illicit affairs leads to nothing but trouble.

Caring too much about what may happen in the future usually stammers action in the present, emotional reasoning nothing more than an excuse to find guilt where none exists. A romantic trust, when there's lust involved, is nothing more than an opiate manufactured by the editors of women's fashion rags and dime-store romance novels and soap operas.

Trust, for men as for women, is earned. And while discretion should be executed with a surgeon's precision, trust exists beyond the scope of a simple tryst.

And when, say, a man spends the night with a woman who uses words like relationship and marriage and engagement as a means to make a quick exit, as a way to imply my friends read you and nobody saw us, so let's not hurt my husband-to-be to someone they'd bedded almost solely based on his ability to write, it usually takes a good bitch slap to the face to remind me that there's a reason I no longer play along with the deceptions of others.

I know I shouldn't have lied to you, she said as she dressed Sunday morning, but nobody saw us and I love him.

I love him. It's a lovely sentiment. Completely meaningless when prefaced by but nobody saw us.

* * * *

Love. When I'm in love, lust ceases to matter. I guess I'm just a bit old-fashioned, in that sense. The world becomes perfect, moments destroy the concepts of time and space.

But for others, nobody saw us is just another way of defining love within a set of boundaries so transparent they disappear the moment lust springs from the earth like blades of grass.

I guess there's a reason I haven't fallen in love in a while. Lust is an easier thing to master, as lust is merely a sin. Sin, in the Judeo-Christian sense, takes almost no effort. Love requires a world where keeping secrets becomes irrelevant.

One day, I'd probably fall in love again. But, well, only after I'm certain the boundaries are as easy to tear down as a fence made of paper. I've been the Other Man way too many times to be one of those dumb and blind bastards who believes in that love conquers all horseshit.

Call me a cynic.

* * * *

A writer and reader join in the darkness, and no one notices, physical intimacy preserved without a written record of a tryst, as if cheating on a fiancé disappears without witnesses.

But who can be that blind when two people start a fling with a romp behind an art center, in the bush, in plain view of any passerby and clothed only in the modesty of darkness? Or believe humanity so deaf? That a woman's voice loudly whispering Gonna come, gonna come, FUCK! from behind shadows would escape squinting, curious groups of drunken undergrads or alumni?

She joked about the flower garden, called it our Secret Garden, as she leaned back against me in that darkness. I watched the silhouette of her back melt into the shadows of my chest. She'd wanted to be on top, thought I really gave a damn about staring at her skirt-covered ass as she ground her hips into mine, as she stared out towards High Street.

I should've known when she couldn't look me in the eye, should've learned by now that a woman who talks a good game, who flatters too much and flirts too much, who compares me to a dead French writer, usually plans on nobody seeing anything except for the goosebumps on her fair shoulders.

But several people saw us, out there, in our Secret Garden. Every garden has serpents bearing the fruit of knowledge, you see, and nights in college towns are always filled with squinting eyes in the darkness, tongues that flicker in the breeze for the taste of gossip.

* * * *

The first indication I had came Sunday, when a chef here in Oxford made a comment about my previous night - he may not have seen anything, but it's always a bad omen to have a friend assume that you'd had a fling so soon afterwards. Men, somehow, can smell sex on another man better than most women.

The venom spread quickly, the illusion of secretive Eden revealed through the spread of snake-bitten information.

I started hearing from other female readers who'd heard or seen things, who thought they'd seen me walking the streets with a strange woman, a woman who seemed to be a little too comfortable with a writer. Women, somehow, can smell lust on another woman better than most men, even in this great Information Age of mobile devices and digital realities.

My mystery lover was even mistaken for a woman I only know through the marvels of modern technology, a fellow writer from the other side of the world, a woman who I probably wouldn't have to sneak behind bushes and art centers to lust after like a madman.

If she'd been in Ohio, had circumnavigated the globe for a tryst... there'd at least be good wine and seduction involved, and, yes, we'd probably both write about it. Maybe even videotape it, sell it, and live off the royalties.

When I emailed her about the rumors of Ohio, she responded with a hello, gorgeous!, asked when she was to receive her engagement ring, and demanded a big arse SUV and a white house on a hill.

Writers. Pfft. Sure beats reading, sometimes.

* * * *

The venom finally killed its victim, the ghost of secrecy, when several coworkers and readers began asking about my engagement the previous weekend, to an alumna of the good ol' Local U. And one of the engaged woman's friends, who'd apparently seen us together, even asked me, from across Cyberspace, if I'd run into ______ while out and about, if my fiancée had met ______'s fiancé when we'd gotten together for drinks.

Apparently, we were supposed to be discussing writing and reading and literature and librarianship. We did discuss writing and reading, literature and libraries, but probably not in the way her friends think.

As we made it back to my apartment and hit my living room floor, as clothes came off and the tryst continued, she proclaimed that she couldn't help herself, that she'd lost control and just wanted to fuck me until I broke. I'm a writer, an artist - I've painted abstract paintings with women's breasts, live like an intellectual and like discussing strange things with bartenders and strangers. And I'd seduced her with my passion.

The whole tryst began, too, because she asked if any reader had ever told me that they've masturbated reading my work, looking at a digital photograph of my face, if I'd ever had cybersex with distant readers, if I'd ever fucked anyone in my own library, in between the stacks of books. When I told her no, her whole person changed, the aura of reader transformed into lover.

Eve began touching Adam, leaning into him, her eyes filled with the quest for a different sort of forbidden knowledge, as they moved from bar to bar, from campus to city streets, the lustful march towards the Tree of Life.

* * * *

As the sun came up Sunday, I had my laptop open wide, the screen's glow turning my white legs almost scallop-translucent. The sounds of The Vandals, the legendary punk band, poured through earbuds as a naked woman curled up next to me, with her hands and chin tucked into my shoulder.

A nice moment, I remember thinking, as I checked my email. Too bad even the very real present always seems to give way, eventually, to the surrounding universe.

No covers. Body heat kept the open window's chill at bay. I looked at the reader's body, memorized essential details of physical form. She was not a natural blonde, the stubble in between her legs telling a tale in a way her mouth probably couldn't.

Her mouth hadn't spoken many truths in the few hours we'd been together, now that I think about it...

The guy she lived with wasn't really her roommate. That much I'd figured out on my own. She wasn't just sort of seeing somebody, either - a woman casually dating doesn't turn off a cellphone and hide it so discreetly in her purse.

The hands. Her hands betrayed her.

There was something odd, something she probably didn't think would let a writer figure out that the reader wasn't exactly a master of deception. Writers tend to be very observant, librarians well-read. And a naked reader, no matter how well she hides her eyes, can speak volumes with just her fingers.

A simple, nondescript ring, decorated in crosses. Not an engagement ring, or a wedding band, either. Those are objects most women remember to take off before they conveniently decide to lose control, when they're planning on asking writers questions about cybersex and masturbation and sex in libraries.

A purity ring.

She'd been trying to convince somebody that she was abstinent. I gingerly lifted up her hand to examine the strange symbol of White American Protestant chastity. The irony, to a writer, made for too tempting of a future plot twist - I knew, eventually, I'd have to write about it.

A name and the phrase Until Marriage stamped into platinum. I'd spent the night with a woman who was planning on marrying some man who has no clue she's not really a virgin, a man who probably suspects nothing. I realized, instantly, that I probably wasn't the first blogger, writer, artist, or academic she'd gone fruit-picking with in the orchards of Eden.

She awoke just as I let her hand drop. I hastily folded up the laptop, sat it off the bed as she sat up and rubbed her eyes. She crawled on top of me as I settled back against the pillow, kissed me, and asked what I'd been doing online. The paranoia, clearly, had already set in, the fear of discovery heavier than any guilt she may have felt.

I told her I was writing about our meeting. Terror filled her face. She mentioned that she didn't think she was worthy, that it was important, that anyone really wanted to know-

I told her I was writing about Jean Follain, the dead French writer - an obscure favorite writer for an American woman who went to college in such a small college town.

Not quite a lie, as you, dear reader, are reading now.

Satisfied, she kissed me again, slid her hips down onto mine, and turned herself around once more, avoiding eye contact again, and the tryst continued as if nobody saw us the night before, as if nobody knew.

For fifteen whole minutes, I thought about Jean Follain, thought about the Book of Genesis, and watched as another man's future wife bounced on my lap, brown stubble tickling my groin.

She told me that she'd never had a guy last that long. She just kept coming, her purity ring's metal against my chest for balance.

And I just kept thinking about how to write about how my snake ended up in Adam's promised apple of an ass.

I told her at the sixteenth minute that I just wasn't in the mood anymore, that maybe we should talk...

Sometimes, the fruit just doesn't taste right.

- # # # -


Anonymous said...

Like some other men I know you act as if this all happened against your will. You are all just hard cock and her soon to be guilty conscious I guess. But what about you dear? Don't you VALUE yourself or is it okay to be used as a sexual plaything. Between the lines perhaps your feelings are hurt? Or are you just bragging about another conquest? Maybe a little of all that? Okay. Well I'm glad I don't live/work/hang out in that Payton Place.

as to what I think about sex (like you may even care I know) is that it can be sacred as well as horny but that takes big commitment and lots of trust. it has to mean something more than getting off though.

please feel free to ignore this reply if you want to. I am not trying to be judgemental really although I think I am anyway. But I am trying to understand why you write this and how you really feel about it.

Jay said...

OUch ouch ouch.
It's not easy for anyone.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Lol, I think the better question would be "What are you reading between the lines?" Heh. Amazing what people see when they want to see it. And there is a lot of stuff hidden in there, too, for a reason. For some folks, its a coded message - why bother using names? For others, its just another stupid sex post to gossip about, whisper about, or to completely ignore. And for others, particularly one other blogger, its probably pretty damned funny.

You have to have poor control over your emotional state to have feelings hurt. Sure, I felt emotions, but I didn't let it get in the way of interpreting my surroundings - that's the dangerous part. Obviously, there's more to it, but, well, believe it or not, some things I do keep quiet. Emotional reasoning is something almost completely foreign to me when I write about any experience - actually, most folks get more frustrated by the reasoning-based emotion.

I really don't think about that sort of stuff too often. Hard to explain, but I write to clear my head, not to fill it with questions that have no answers, really. A Marine buddy reminded me, last night in fact, that a poorly-planned action is preferable to no action at all.

Actually, I really value the views of others in regards to sex. It really is an individual decision - in some ways, I agree. But sex is still nothing more than a biological function, a reflex to stimuli - its how we internalize our own person, our soul, into it that defines our views on it.

Best not to try to figure out how I feel or why I write. I gave up on that a long time ago, since, lol, I just tend to know it when it happens. Like shit - just happens sometimes :)

Conquests? Lord, that's actually really funny, now that I think about it. Someone asked me once if I kept score. Sex, to me, is nothing more than a conversation. Can't own a conversation, but you can share it.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Yeah, the damned thing through me for a loop, that's for sure. I can appreciate someone liking how I write, but I think I'm starting to understand a bit better why people tell me to watch myself around these parts...

Steph said...

Wait. So. We're NOT engaged now?

Damn! Don't think you're getting the ring back either, mister!! :P

Xmichra said...

I had never heard of a purity ring before.. that's a new term in my mind now. Poor thing. If she needs to get all this out first.. that's just sad. Very much like an overeater who hides thier oreos in the garage. It's just sad.

And don't get to beat up by an anonymous comment. especially one that is looking for answers that they themselves are either in denial about or have no idea.

It is very easy to be judgmental about something we don't understand. Hell, i don't understand how you can have sex with so many women, but i don't think less of you for it. I personally like relationships, makes sex so much better. But that is me. ANd i know plenty of people who feel the opposite... or actually do feel the same but it isn't in the cards for them right now, so they do what they can in the mean time and enjoy it.

I would really watch for those rings *before* the deflowering though.... hehehe... ;)

Liberality said...


Hey I am a woman and have a different perspective here. I can't see sex just being a bodily function. Maybe it's because sex was how I brought two children into this world and I needed to make sure the daddy was gonna stay around long enough to help me raise them. Maybe not. Still, seems really cold and loveless and I can't see that being too good a thing. However, to each their own.

M. said...

OMG! okay I really want to say I'm sorry for making it sound like I was trying to blackmail you or something. I just thought that you were hooking up with a chick in the bushes and thougth it was funny. she was hot thoughand i just guessed after you told me about the writing center shit that you were just being a guy. i didn't know seriously and i hope my chat stuff didn't cause you any grief. i deleted the pics from my phone. you can have the card too if you want it.

i'm really sorry. you're too nice a guy to let yourself get treated like shit though. i know stupid sluts like this and they make me sick. and yea some of them are my girls too.

can we get coffee when i get back from fall break?

stephan!e lee said...

oh man, J. you and i really need to talk. you think u're a cynic? have you been reading my blog at all lately? i'm in a club that boasts about its members being persistently unlucky and unpracticed in "love." it's sad, but true.

i need to get outta oxford...

glad to have found someone i can commiserate with.

max said...

So why are you feeling dirty about all this Pumpkin? You play hard and dirty all the time and do not normally mind but this one made you annoyed. At the same time, you know, you are smart enough to know, what those emails were pursuing. So I figure you only did it because she was pretty and desirable enough -- until who she was rode through and made her boring, ugly, and predictable.

Who is interesting is the person across the continent people thought they saw you with. That is funny. Who was thathttp?

max said...

[Um, the typo is not my fault, something aberrant happened during upload, jeez.]

The ZenFo Pro said...

Damn, and because of this whole mess, the surprise has been ruined!

Can we, still, like, "wait until marriage???" I mean... I'm pure, right?

Thanks, chica. You know what I mean.

Yeah, the purity rings are creepy. We have, here at the Local U., probably one of the largest conservative Christian student populations in public Higher Ed. And, lol, let's put it this way - I'm FAR from the only guy here in Oxford who's had something like this happen to him. I feel even worse, actually, for the GLBT folks who've had to learn to look out for the "Oh, I'm not gay, I'm a Christian and you seduced me through Satanic powers" [that's a quote from a gay male reader, btw] shtick.

I actually realized something while I was going through the, oh, nine million versions of this post in my head. Folks seem to think, sometimes, that I'm flippant about sex - furthest thing from the truth. I don't like one-night stands, avoid drunken hookups, and try to be sensitive to even those who, well, play me in the end.

Lol,I had someone ask me if it comes from dating women in adult entertainment - actually, I realized that my sexual attitudes probably come from being involved more with women from other parts of the world, (i.e. Italians, Irish, Israelis, an Algerian, two Frenchwomen, a Kiwi,a Pole, etc.)

Heh. I just realized why I have friends, offline, who are worried about me... it's been more than two years since I've dated any non-Americans.

Well, it's of course much more, if there's emotional attachment or some belief in the sanctity of the bodily function. But, at its root, sex is just a method of reproduction. Whatever goes along with it, the hormones and chemical changes, probably even the neurological impulses that drive the brain and emotion, is still just part of nature.

Lol, no worries. Too each their own. Actually, I'm told often that I'm a rather cold guy. I feel things, sure. But - after years of meditation - I've just learned to switch emotion off, like an instinctual reaction, when there's a potential for something harmful to my spirit/soul.

No worries. Sorry about flipping out with the Facebook threat. Totally a reaction - I would never hold an entire Greek organization accountable for the acts of a few.

And, seriously, she's not one of ya'll. And, as you can, er, read above, no harm no foul.

Coffee's on me. Maybe lunch? Swing by the office...

Steph #2:
Lol, well, let's commiserate, chica :P

Lol, actually, I was going to email you a song today.... something I listened to since my, er, Art All Over exhibition...

Oh, the transglobal, mythical hookup is here with us. She's actually the one who convinced me that I needed to just quit taking blogging so seriously. I mean, chist, it's just a silly online journal. It's funny, but when somebody strokes your ego enough online, bloggers start to think that blogs mean something, have impact - how we get the political armchair quarterbacks who think they're web-versions of muckrakers.

But, wow, offline is such a different experience - hence the frequent use of writer and reader in this post. It's a different sort of seduction, and, lol, people who know me from offline, trust me, know how damned dense I am with real world flirting, suggestions, etc.

No, there's a part to this I had to write around - since she has friends who read this and since, I had to, er, cut out the prequel. And the other blogger? Lol, virtual doppelganger.

Smurf said...

Wow. Amazing writing and perception. Extremely deep. I am not quite sure what to say, but it is interesting and yet very sad in another way that a ring worn as a promise could be just a cover page or a sheep's CLOTHING for deception. It happens a lot and I think it's great that you write about it. Hopefully it will make people stop and think.

Anonymous said...

The juice ain't always worth the squeeze, but damn, the fruit always looks so good beforehand that it's easy to look past any suspicions of the quality of what's within, so to speak.

But hey, no one knows until they know. The bitch is, that moment of knowing usually happens at the most inopportune of times. It never happens conveniently beforehand, at least certainly not the first time a new situation arises.

It's just the way these things go sometimes. Can't beat yourself up over it, best you can do is roll with it, exorcise it (as you do very nicely here ... good post, bro), and take whatever you can from it to use as reference in future similar situations.

The bright side of these sorts of experiences is that each one does make for a hell of a story.

(The trick is to find that silver lining, however thin it may be.)


sassinak said...

"Love. When I'm in love, lust ceases to matter. I guess I'm just a bit old-fashioned, in that sense. The world becomes perfect, moments destroy the concepts of time and space."

me too actually. when i'm in love i stop looking somehow. no that isn't it, because i will always look at beautiful people and beautiful men especially but i don't see them as dateable.

when i'm in love i'm not available... feeling myself being available is in fact often the first real sign that the love is dying...

Smurf said...

You know they make a good point. When you are in love then the other things don't matter. The sad thing is that not a lot of people really experience truely being in love.

Oftentimes when people marry they do it out of obligation. That is a travesity too. Throughout the ages you will see that concept over and over. Before it was more common for people to marry as a business propostion and affairs were the only times there was any true "love." Sometimes people fell in love after being married. It just didn't click til right now that history is just repeating itself. The odd things about history repeating itself is that in this day and age in our country, people can marry for love and it's not AS common to marry as obligations anymore. At least idealistically.

Liz said...

re the statement about lust ceasing to matter when you're in love ...

I may be misinterpreting that statement, but it made sense to me. When I am in love I find the idea of casual sex horrific. Reading something like what you just wrote about this encounter gives me the creeps. But that's because I'm in love right now. If I read it while not in a relationship, I would think the female had issues, but that there was nothing wrong with what you did. Funny, isn't it?

Cooper said...

Your life is almost beyond anything I can comprehend. Almost.

If you didn't write so well...

Lauren said...

You know I've wanted to leave a comment for a few days but for some reason the comment thing wasn't letting me do it. Oh well.Here goes.

At first I read this as a Miamian and got really mad at you. It sounded like you'd sorta knew but still went home with a stereotpical Miami whorebag just to get your dick wet. but then i drove down to Oxford last weekend with my husband. Fall break. Figured we'd be safe going to Steinkeller...

I can't imagine what it'd be like to be our age and living that town NOW (I graduated in 1999) and working around students, all while trying to have a personal life and keep this blog. Oxford tends to attract some of the most manipulative skanky rich little bitches from around the country. I knew girls who were students who everybody knew were fucking faculty for grades. I guess I figured they'd grow out of it.

man, just be careful. date townies. all of my college boyfriends were townies who either worked uptown or grew up in the area.

does that make any sense?

The ZenFo Pro said...

You know, the whole purity/promise ring thing has always seemed a bit silly - it implies mistrust. It was so hard not laughing, actually.

Dude, that's just what I tried to do - find the silver lining. You do just have to roll with the punches, pay attention, and do damage control later.

Lol, one of the things that's always annoyed the shit out of me about blogging, to be honest, is how there are a large number of lurkers out there who don't realize that, yeah, there are real people involved - most importantly, me. In the last week, I've gotten more hateful-sounding, silly communiques than I've gotten in months.

The chick? Hell, I could give a rat's ass. 14 voicemails and texts last Sunday. Apparently, it';s my fault her engagement ended, because, her fiance apparently read the post. Oh well - blame whatever makes you comfortable...

Yeah, exorcizing does the body good sometimes. :P

Yeah, I think its sorta common for folks who've been a few rounds or three with psycho exes, or cheating folks, etc. Sex becomes tied to integrity with things like love and commitment. Unfortunately for the fiance here, I have a sneaking suspicion that my lovely reader had put a price tag on commitment, separated the love part for a new house, financial security, etc.

Nope, that's what I was getting at. Dead on. I think its creepy, esp. to people in love (same guy, chica?), because its the worst fear come to life - that the other party(ies) involved aren't sincere.

I wasn't going to originally post about this, btw. But the more I thought about it, the more I moped, the more and more I realized that I should. I was letting another person take away my rights to express my opinion - way too much power to give away. And then, hearing the rumors (nothing like the happy engagement! IMs from Local U. folks at 3 in the morning.), I realized how stupid the whole secrecy business is...

S'okay. You've got a few years to catch up ;)

Seriously, I spent most of the past two weeks making soup (Butternut Squash with clams - Jamestown Clam Chowder...mmmm) and watching movies after dark, evaluating a lot of stuff, recuperating, and, well, doing stuff that, trust me, would make the Twilight Zone look like a friggin' Wes Anderson cheesefest if I posted about it.

Lol, you may very well be the last Local U. alumnae reading this... ;)

Yeah, actually, Ms. Follain Promisekeeper finally did show her true MRS. Degree colors - I really did feel so hollow for a few days, like my own brain had failed me.

Date townies. Heh, that may be one of the coolest things a local alum has ever left a comment about, in regards to Oxford...

Thanks, and you made perfect sense.

Liz said...


Yeah, same guy. Going on 10 months now. That's a post-divorce relationship record for me!

It's not just that I hate the thought of him cheating on me. I even look back on times when I had casual sex (when I was not in a committed relationship) and I think that's disgusting. I hate to think that he had casual sex, even before he knew me. It's not that there isn't lust. It's that lust without love seems so cold and empty now.

Anonymous said...

Your fault?

Riiiiight ... because if it hadn't have happened then, there's no way it would have happened another time, with some other guy.

But hey, that's just the fiance's way of doing damage control ... it's quite the ego blow to have the fiancee bed-hopping ... gotta find some blame somewhere, and he sure as hell isn't going to blame the woman he loves/d, breakup or not ... but it's way too soon for him to do that.

Few guys who've been dogged want to admit their woman cheated on them ... it's taken as a sign the guy couldn't perform to any sort of respectable standard (even though that's rarely the real reason). But it's seen that way, and what's felt is big-time emasculation. And emasculation, as MachoMen are taught, is Bad and must be eradicated by throwing all forms of Blame on the nearest (and easiest) target.

In time, he'll realize it was something within her, or between the two of them, having nothing to do with anyone else, that caused what happened to happen. Till then, however, yeah, you're the Reason in his eyes.

But hey, that shouldn't hurt your feelings. Buddy's gotta suck it up and read the post a little more closely, you know, stop skipping the parts he doesn't want to believe. He's either naive or stupid, and since I don't know the dude I'll go with the lesser criticism and suggest the former. The MachoMan upbringing tends to do that to a lot of guys.