Drop #172: Why?

at your disposal‘Why does this keep happening to me?’ Jane asked, following Sarah outside to bum a smoke. She wanted more drinks too but was broke and too proud to ask Sarah to buy her another. ‘Am I just a loser? Do I suck? Am I ugly? A dork? Why does every guy cheat on me or break up with me? Am I a psycho? Too selfish? Too needy? Do I smother them? Do I talk too much? Why do they all dump me? Why, Sarah? Why? Am I delusional? An idiot? Am I annoying? Too fat? Help me understand. Am I gross and stupid and useless and boring? Tell me, Sarah? Am I? Hey? Am I?’

‘Well, actually, yes. Yes you are. All those things, in fact.’ Sarah tipped ash and watched it paraglide down to the pavement. ‘A guy would have to be bat shit crazy not to run once he gets more than a glimpse.’

By EM Vireo

Drop 169: You Know?

glass bottomAmanda is surprised Joe’s still talking to her. He’s blonde and good-looking, with bright eyes and a tanned fit body. He has been laughing at her jokes and has given her more than one complement already. As an overweight, nerdy girl, she’s not used to the attention, but it’s going great – so great in fact, that she decides to go for it. Why not? You never can tell who a person might be into. It’s personal and sometimes quite surprising. Maybe this guy’s into big girls with glasses!

‘Say, Joe: you think you might wanna get some dinner with me some time?’

‘Yeah, sure, would be fun.’

‘Just the two of us, you know, and maybe catch a movie too.’

‘Oh, you mean like a date?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Sorry, darling. I think I gave you the wrong impression. You’re awesome and I think you’re really cute too with your funky glasses and pretty eyes, but I’m into dudes. Actually, if you want to know, I’m into older bald black guys with tattoos.’

‘Oh.’

‘Something about them just gets me, you know? We can still catch that movie though!’

‘Sure.’

Later that night Joe hits his usual spot for a quick drink, just to check out the scene.

Bingo!

After talking to Chuck – a large black man in his late forties with an amazing wide smile, fully tattooed arms done really nicely, and a perfectly round shiny head – for half an hour, and buying him a drink, Joe suggests they get out of there.

‘Oh, sorry buddy,’ Chuck says. ‘I must have given you the wrong idea. I’m not gay. Just here with some friends. You’re a handsome dude, for sure, but I’m into chicks – hefty pale white girls with glasses, to be precise. Something about them just gets me, you know?’

 By EM Vireo

Drop 167: AKA

wine shadowShe’s in the bathroom, halfway through the date. She really likes this guy. He’s handsome, with a great smile and seems smart and nice too. It’s definitely going well. The conversation is flowing and there’s plenty of flirtation going on. She’s only just met the guy and is surprised to be into him, but it’s exciting.

Back at the table, he’s waiting for her with a smile. He’s topped up her water and her wine. The dessert menu has also arrived.

‘So, any plans for tomorrow?’ she asks, sitting and looking it over.

‘I have an acappella battle.’

‘What?’

‘Yeah. I’ve been practicing all week, and tomorrow’s the big day.’

‘You sing acappella?’

‘Every weekend.’

‘Really?’

‘Yeah. Acappella is my life!’

She gets up, drinks down her wine, drops a few twenties on the table. ‘Don’t call me,’ she says as she walks away.

By E.M. Vireo

Drop #166: Date

This post is not suitable for children – you have been warned

icecream bearThey stepped out of the movie theater into the warm night, hand in hand. It was only a first date but it seemed to be going well, and he hoped it would progress to something delicious quite soon.

‘So, what do you want to do now?’ he asked.

‘What do I want to do? I want to fuck – that’s what I want to do. I want to fuck you. I want you to fuck me. I want to suck your dick. I want it between my tits and in my ass. I want to lie you down on the floor and destroy your face with my meticulously waxed pussy. I want to do it for hours on the couch and the bed and the kitchen table, rest for half an hour while we drink champagne and do lines, then go again even longer. That’s what I want to do now – right now. I want it bad.’

‘Yeah, that sounds good. Also – and I’m just throwing this out ­there – there’s this new ice cream place that opened just up around the corner I’ve been meaning to try. It’s an organic creamery with like 56 flavors, all made in-house, and a million toppings to choose from, and they mix it all together on frozen marble slabs right in front of you. Anyway, that’s another option – I’m easy, either way.’

By EM Vireo

Drop 153: Napkin

orchidThis post is not suitable for children. You have been warned.

‘It’s kind of refreshing,’ she said, looking at him across the table and smiling softly, ‘to be out with a nice guy for a change—you are a nice guy, right? I mean, it’s our third time out and you haven’t made a move beyond that one short and careful kiss. You haven’t grabbed me, made any crass comments, acted macho, even stared openly at my breasts.’

‘Because I respect people, and women especially.’

‘I see that.’

‘And yes, I am a nice guy, in terms of: I would never prey on insecurities, coerce or manipulate a girl into doing anything, or make it seem like she has no option, or is flawed if she doesn’t, or use alcohol or promises to seduce her; and sure, I only kissed you that once, and gently, and I haven’t tried to sleep with you, and I’ll always value a woman’s wishes and comfort as I try to do with all people.’

‘Yes, that’s clear.’

‘But, if I may speak frankly?’

‘Of course.’

‘In truth, my urges are not so polite; I just manage them skillfully. For instance, if I knew for sure you’d want it, I’d be under the table in an instant, teasing your panties aside and gobbling up your pussy as if it were an impossibly ripe mango, then ripping them and diving so deep down that snatch I’d almost drown. Yes, if I had a green light, I’d be under this table tonguing your asshole till it shone like a star, wearing you like a warm winter hat before filling you up with my footlong sub. Of course, I always put subject above object, even though, if you gave the word, I’d straight up beast on your delicious pink, plain revel in that stank. I’d snort coke off your clit, film it all so I could jerk off to it later, record your squeals and use them as the ringer for my phone—the higher ones to alert me of a WhatsApp message. I will always respect the person first and foremost, even if I want to deconstruct her into options, objects, holes to abuse. Always! But damn, girl, I’m less man than epic throbbing cock for you by now!’

She was silent.

‘Forgive me, have I shocked you?’ He looked at her meekly and topped up her wine. ‘Have you nothing to say?’

‘Oh, sorry, yes,’ she said, adjusting herself slightly on her chair. ‘It’s just that I dropped my napkin under the table and was wondering if you’d be a gentleman and get it for me.’

By E.M. Vireo

Drop 130: Hookah

lover A waiter brings a hookah to a table nearby.

Ah, Jim thinks, maybe I’ll get us one of those. She’ll dig it. Apple tobacco—no, cherry. Will be cool to hang out, drink and smoke. Learn more about one another. Build this spark, this ember into something bigger, warmer, tastier—what a perfect metaphor for the beginnings of love. Haven’t met a girl like her for … well, forever. She has so much more than looks. She has smarts, opinions, strength. And our tastes are so similar, with music (well, except for Elliott Smith), movies (except for Charlie Kaufman’s stuff), books and all.

He raises his hand for the waiter.

Man, I don’t want to jinx it, but this one feels good and I want it bad. And it feels like we are already so close, that it’s just a matter of destiny playing out! That love has already laid claim to us and is just waiting for a cue.

‘God,’ she says, squinting at a man blowing smoke, ‘nothing as stupid as a fucking hookah, right? I mean, can you try any harder to look cool without actually being cool? Okay, maybe it works for some bearded dude in Turkey, but for any white guy it’s the epitome of modern douche uncool. No opinion, no personality. Um, yeah, give me one of them funky pipes with that yummy flavored tabacky everyone’s having. How about apple—no, cherry! Jesus. What a fucking crock!’

‘I totally agree,’ he says, dropping his arm. ‘Total bull.’ The waiter’s already coming over.

‘Cool. I like that about you Jim. You dig the cool shit I dig, except for not liking Elliott Smith, of course—oh, and Charlie Kaufman movies. Guy’s so great!’ She frowns and shakes her head almost imperceptibly. ‘Anyway, you’re not all about the bullshit, and I appreciate that.’

‘Yeah.’

The waiter arrives. ‘Did you want to order something?’ he asks.

‘Oh. Did you want another drink?’ Jim asks Sadie.

‘Mine’s still full but fuck it, sure, let’s get another round.’ She smiles at him in a way she hasn’t before. ‘Like I said, I like the way you think—I really do.’

By E.M. Vireo

Drop #70: Katelyn

Katelyn was sitting on stairs outside the main campus building, off Lexington. As soon as I reached her she was all over me, pulling me down, kissing my mouth and neck, rubbing her hands over my head. She’d been waiting there to take me home.

I held back.

‘What, you have a girlfriend or something?’

‘No,’ I said, looking around. ‘It’s just a little crowded here.’

‘So what?’ She pulled me back down, kissing my ears and lips. ‘Come on,’ she said in a slow whisper. ‘Let’s go to my place.’

‘I have another class.’

‘So ditch it.’

‘I can’t. He checks and I’ve skipped a bunch already.’

‘Seriously! Let’s go.’

‘I can’t.’

‘You’d rather go to class than come home with me right now? Jesus. I’m like totally throwing myself at you.’

‘I’ll come right away, after.’

‘No. It’s now or never. That’s my offer.’

‘I’ll call you in an hour. Wait for me at your place.’

She was bursting for it but I knew she’d wait, so I walked away.

We hadn’t slept together yet and I was totally jonesing to, so I don’t know why I didn’t go right away. I used to do those kind of inexplicable things; I guess I still do. Or maybe I was playing her somehow.  I don’t know. She was super hot, just really pretty, with straight, shoulder-length brown hair, a classic, doe-eyed face, and a smoking, skinny body. She was the eye-rolling type, with a cheeky, teasing smile, like she was always making fun, but in a vein that made you wonder if she was serious, and whether she even knew herself. She slumped her shoulders and softly slurred her words, and it all combined into naughty vulnerability that was very appealing.

We’d met outside school* a couple of weeks back. We joked later about who had picked who up but it was pretty mutual. It was one of those meetings where after 5 seconds you know you are going to sleep with someone. I took her to a show that weekend and we made out against a wall for an hour. Then we’d meet at school and go up on the roof to smoke weed and kiss.

After class, I took the subway to Brooklyn. She let me in, in her ‘pajamas’ and hurried back to the big comfy chair near the window, sitting on it cross-legged, looking frail and just delicious. The large living room space had these huge windows looking right at the underside of the Brooklyn Bridge, which spread enormously and disproportionately away across the river like the skeleton of a beached whale. I sat beside her and kissed her and she acted mad at me, saying I was a dick for not coming earlier, but soon she was straddling me and kissing me all over. We rolled a joint – she was always rolling joints – and we started smoking it, being just very comfortable and close. I still remember the taste of those kisses. If I close my eyes, I can still feel them.

About half way through the joint the front door opened and a short guy, a few years older than we were, came in. We stopped making out but she was on top of me, though we were still fully clothed. He acted awkward and so did she. They exchanged a few words and he left again pretty soon.

‘Sorry, that was my roommate.’

‘Yeah, I figured.’

‘That was awkward.’ She rolled her eyes.

‘Yeah, it was.’

‘I told you I kissed him, right?’

‘Yeah.’

‘He’s all weirded out by it now. But it’s no big deal,’ she said, biting my earlobe, but she seemed weirded out too. I don’t know why she hadn’t expected him back, but anyway, we soon moved to the bedroom.

We didn’t have sex that night. I don’t know if it was because of the roommate or something else, but we just didn’t go all the way there. I woke up in the morning, in her bed, in Brooklyn around 8. We made out for a while for a while, warm under the comforter, and I called my part-time office job at 9.30 saying I was sick and wouldn’t make it in. The receptionist, a 19-year-old girl with a heavy Long Island accent whom I was friendly with (and incidentally, I would later almost hook up with when she quit) called me on it, saying I was ‘just getting some ass,’ and I swore I wasn’t even though I knew, she knew I was lying.

Back in bed, we got into it pretty good and ended up having sex after all. Maybe it was because I kind of made Katelyn feel guilty that we hadn’t the night before – I don’t know. It was good, and we worked well together that way, but that specific act didn’t elevate us much beyond any place we had already reached. Afterwards, we got bialys at this great hole-in-the-wall Russian joint and I took the subway back into the city.

We were young, good-looking and eager, and obviously into each other, and kept seeing one another at school and in the evenings, but as we did, it became apparent that some type of tension was present, even though nothing specific had gone wrong. Maybe the abstruse, teasing games we reflexively played to keep an edge had gone off course, or grabbed the lead and left us behind. Neither would describe it – perhaps we just didn’t know how – but it continued and gathered mass. We had a hard time talking. She mumbled and I didn’t hear, and when I asked, she wouldn’t repeat it. We ended up having conversations that went something like: ‘What?’ ‘Nothing?’ followed by a strained silence, till we stopped whatever it was we had after a few weeks. We only slept together that once.

A few months later I saw her outside class, convinced her to come have a drink, and we hooked up again. We talked about how weird it was between us and she said it had been and still was a strange time for her since a good friend had died a few weeks before we’d met. And we tried once more but again, we just couldn’t communicate. Those strained silences kept coming up, and it wasn’t any good.

This was years ago, but I think about her sometimes, the way I only do about a small number of the girls I have been with. I remember our short time with the type of melancholy nostalgia that paints a life with uniqueness and depth. Even as greedy, ignorant animals, who scurry through time blind as moles, leaving messes and mounds of matters unfinished, we get to live so much. Even through callousness and confusion, we get to gather memories, affections and connections, and carry them along like exquisite, imperfect flowers that need never die.

By E.M. Vireo

*school refers to college or university here, as it does in the US

Drop #68: Mortgages

You meet a girl at a party. She’s good looking. You’re a little drunk. You spend an hour talking to her and get on well enough. You flirt, exchange numbers and kiss briefly when she leaves. Two days later you consider calling but you aren’t sure cause you’ve begun to wonder what might be in her head – what she might have already attached to you. Maybe nothing. Maybe she hardly remembers and hasn’t thought of you since. On the other hand, she might have looked at her phone sixty times since Saturday, wondering if it was broken. Maybe she’s already built up this huge fantasy around you and children and houses and mortgages and shit. Maybe she has already tagged you as 24% likely to be the man who will make everything in her quietly disappointing life tolerable. She doesn’t know quite what’s wrong, but you seem 26% likely to set it right. (Yes, the number jumped. But so do people’s expectations, even if nothing has actually happened to change them, and even if the numbers were purely circumstantial in the first place.) Or maybe, by now, she has declared you the man of her dreams, pinning all her hopes on you to provide the fantastic life she obviously deserves. Maybe she’s already had several conversations with friends about you, wondering out loud, to them, whether she should bring you to Alexandra’s barbecue next Sunday, or the beach house in The Hamptons Phil and Sandra rented, saying stuff like: ‘you’re going to love him; I just know it!’ and ‘Glen doesn’t like olives in his salad, but we can have them on the side.’ She might have already told her parents she met someone, unable to hide the emotion in her voice, and her sister, that this time, it feels special. She might have planned your wedding with all the guests you’ve never met, decorated the interior of your house in the home town you’ve never been to, decided where you are going to retire together, and finally, where you will rest together when you die, a few days apart, as long-term spouses do. She might have–

The phone rings – ‘Hello.’

‘Hey, it’s Jane. Remember? From the other night.’

‘Oh, Jane, hi. I was just thinking about you.’

 By E.M. Vireo

Drop #29: Reasoning

Nevin had been seeing Gwen for three months when he noticed Nora in one of his political science lectures. What a woman, he thought, and approached her after class. He talked to her every lecture thereafter, asking for her number each time. Sorry, she said, you’re not my type. But he persisted, turning on the charm, cracking jokes, bringing her presents and complimenting her endlessly, and finally, after a month, Nora agreed to have a drink with him. He broke up with Gwen that day.

It came as a surprise, as Gwen thought her relationship with Nevin was solid. She was petite and pretty, witty and sexually adventurous, extremely down-to-earth and low maintenance and made good money as a headhunter. She and Nevin shared the same food and music tastes, understated political and religious views, and liked each other’s friends. But Nora had finally agreed to go out with him and that was enough for Nevin. After all, he wasn’t going to two-time his girlfriend.

The date went well but Nora insisted she still wasn’t available romantically, kissing Nevin on the cheek when she said good-bye. It only made him want her more. Not to worry, he thought on the way home, I’ll just try harder. And he did. He courted her outright, calling and sending presents, and soon she agreed to another date. She wore a beautiful dress and Nevin splurged on a fancy dinner and expensive bottle of wine. This time he got a proper kiss, which, he thought, was just reward for all his efforts. It took another three weeks, however, of willful, active pursuing, of wining and dining, gifts and compliments to get Nora into bed, but more importantly, for her to announce that she was his, that he had won her. He felt a great satisfaction.

But it was short-lived, lasting less than a day, in fact. Walking back from her apartment the next morning, after spending the night, Nevin finally processed the thought that had been knocking for weeks: he wasn’t really into Nora. He’d been aware of it all along, even when he’d approached her after class the third and fourth times, and even when he’d broken up with Gwen. He’d known it all the while and gone along with it anyway, like a mother watching her husband molest their child and saying nothing. With each step along the path to his ultimate triumph, he’d advanced a reaction to appease momentum. Actions often seek results that pay no mind to reason.

There was a leftover half sandwich in the fridge. He wasn’t hungry but ate it just because it was there. Back in his dimly lit bedroom, he noticed there was mold growing on the walls.

By E.M. Vireo