SNAKE BROTHER -- Slang. A term used to refer to the unique bond between two or more men who have had sexual intercourse with the same person at sometime in their lives, thus creating an overlap in sexual histories. Provenance of term unknown but may be indigenous to North America. However, the concept was understood by Ancient Mesopotamian, Asian, and European civilizations. For gay men the term also applies, but with more complications to the dynamic.
For female equivalent, see TRENCH SISTER.
OXFORD, Ohio (ZP) -- I waited. The question was coming. I could feel it.
As pathetic as it is, I'm actually quite skilled at these sorts of things. I had a sneaking suspicion, too, that my sparring partner also had some experience in such verbal sport...
"So Jason, you and _____ went to school together in Greeley?"
Before I could answer her husband's question, the Diva intervened.
"Honey. I knew lots of guys in Colorado. We hung out. Jason was a reporter..."
I laughed, oh so slightly, nodded, took a sip of my iced tea.
"Oh. So you just hung out then?"
I took a bite of my salad and tried to not simply burst into all-out laughter, nodded with a full mouth in the direction of his loving wife. Lunch was her idea. She could answer the question.
Oh yeah. He knew. Or, at least, he suspected.
The game afoot! Time to cry Havoc!, let slip the dogs of war...
* * * *
Despite all the discomfort and uneasiness, I couldn't help but wonder, after all these years, if the Diva still got off on being handcuffed to bathroom sinks and spanked, or if she and the ol' hubby had ever, well...
Back in the day, she was such a fun little thing, all explosive darkness and piss and rage, domineering, driven by lust and hidden insecurity. I was, well, a lot more fun and free myself back in those days, too, cloaked in my own naivety and ignorance, pushing my boundaries with drugs and booze and sex...
Oh, trust me. I'm sure the Diva's husband was pondering similar things. I've been in his shoes before. And he'd, heh, probably been in mine. Dogs of war, since the time of Julius Caesar, typically hunt the same prey because such beasts are usually bred in the same pounds and kennels.
What husband wouldn't wonder, seriously, what his wife was like before he knew her, back when she was a Colorado Chicana! wild child, smack dab in the midst of her Oooh! This will piss off Mom and Dad! I'll fuck an Anglo! phase? He's undoubtedly heard stories, probably bits and fragments, here and there from friends of hers, relatives...
What husband wouldn't be at least curious about that past? And, frankly, what lover from the past wouldn't be intrigued by thoughts of how women of memory evolve and grow and mature into the present and future wives and lovers of such noble, intelligent men?
Snake brothers, of course, aren't supposed to ask such questions out loud. That'd be rude. And, well, quite possibly dangerous. The unwritten rule of the Cult of the Snake Brother is, well, that such things are best not discussed, left silent.
Hell, the snake brothers of Helen fought the Trojan War because they couldn't handle such knowledge. Mark Antony, Caesar, and Ptolemy destroyed much of the Ancient Western World because, well, they couldn't deal with the fact that Cleopatra initiated the dynasties of Rome and Egypt into the phallic serpentine brotherhood.
Why, now, would modern men ruin such a wonderful lunch with such stupidity? Life's too short these days, the social norms that once drove Primitive Man mad with jealousy now a curious antiquity for the educated and experienced.
* * * *The Diva was not amused with the pissing contest, our testing of certain waters to see which Snake Brother would wince first.
"We were, you know, just ... friends..."
The Diva then went into a long, drawn-out explanation as to how she and I knew each other back in 1997, explained in twisting, prefabricated answers that almost made me wish that I was, indeed, the guy she was describing...
All she had to say, really, was that we were... just... friends. Pauses, like photographs, really are worth a thousand words.
The Husband smirked. I smirked. Nothing makes for a good meal like good dinner theater. He kept looking at me. I kept looking back at him, nodding and eating my salad.
Men really do bond over making women uncomfortable. Payback, yes, for infecting our gender with the cooties and wet dreams of youth...
At least she acknowledged that, well, both of her male dining companions had just...friended the shit out of her at some point in the last decade.
* * * *A decade.
A whole fucking decade.
That's enough time to turn any snake brother into as docile a reptile as your average timber rattler in winter. A man's blood, at least the blood of seasoned, educated men, rarely boils at the mere hint of a partner's previous sexual history. Who a woman fucked in some long-forgotten house in Ratfuck Colorado is, to such men, as historically meaningless as Abe Lincoln's last shit in the White House.
It's not like her husband was getting ready to build a goddamn wooden horse to storm the table or anything. And it's not like I was gonna chew my breadsticks down into a dagger to stab him on the way to the Forum.
Jesus H. Christ. The rules of the Snake Brother Cult have, well, evolved since the days of spears, Greek fire, and spoken Latin...
* * * *
I kept grinning like a retarded clown, sipping on my iced tea and gnawing on my salad. The Diva's husband was half-grinning like a razor-scalped madman, drinking his wine and chewing up his vegan pasta.
And the Diva changed the subject. Quickly.
"So Jason... are you seeing anybody? Married?"
Check. But not checkmate. There was still game left...
* * * *
Some women just don't have the same sense of adventure they had when they were young, back when they wore no underwear, wore plaid miniskirts and purple lipstick and tight black Sonic Youth teeshirts, back when such women seduced and screwed like demons whilst certain former 19-year-old aspiring reporter's housemates watched through the living room window...
Rather than bring up the past decade, I simply explained that, well, I'd found religion and the Republican Party, had become a Born-Again Virgin, held hands with peroxide blondes at church potlucks...
The Diva nodded and went back to her lunch.
Wait. Does she really buy that horseshit? Is that believable after ten years?
Holy fuck, we were just talking about strip clubs and blowjobs ten minutes ago...
* * * *
The hubby leaned in, smiled.
"Heh. Sounds like Cincinnati. So you really are married then?"
We both snickered like 14-year-olds staring at our first glossy boobies in a copy of Hustler.
And as I explained, in between snickers, that, well, I've been engaged two-and-a-half times in the past 10 years, as I explained that, yeah, why the hell would I want to get married and ruin my peace and tranquility...
"Dude, you're a really cool guy."
"Yeah, man. I see how you got the hot goth girl here."
"Hey, do you like Tom Waits? You look like a Waits kinda guy..."
"Well, fuck yeah, dude."
"Baby, he likes Tom Waits! Did you know that? Hey, we caught that gig down in Louisville..."
The Diva was not amused.
What'd she expect? C'mon now.
Snake brothers usually have more in common than simple momentary spins on the ol' vagina rollercoaster. Hell, if there weren't similarities, we probably wouldn't have ever been attracted to the same woman, or once had the same woman attracted to us, in the first place...
I've been snake brothers with worse.
Being a Snake Brother is just one of those mysterious bonds between men that even some of the most modern, liberated women just aren't comfortable facing.
And, sometimes, that's just fucking hilarious.
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