A #MeToo Essay by Rose Thomas
I wished your hair was down. I wanted to run my fingers through it. I wanted to feel it greasy towards your scalp and dryer at the ends. I wanted to feel its thickness and its blondeness. I wanted to use my nails to gently but forcefully scratch behind your ears, run my fingertips down the nape of your neck. Watch you tip your head back and close your eyes, maybe even let out a sigh or an mmmmhh when I found a spot you liked.
I really liked that he had long hair. I wanted to see it down. I loved the pieces that were too short to fit up in his makeshift bun tied with a skinny black hair tie. The pieces that just reached his shoulders, that fell in front of his ears. I wanted to tuck those pieces back and then watch them fall again. But I feared such intimate a gesture. Or, I was unsure. This stranger on my couch and in my apartment and in my bed.
If I was honest with myself, I didn’t feel fireworks the first time we kissed. But I became fixated nonetheless.
When I close my eyes I guess the first thing I see is his dick in my mouth. I feel the way his balls tightened up when I ran my index and forefinger slowly along their middle. I hear him say, You know how to touch me just right. I hear him say, I can’t resist you. I hear him say, If this is any indication of how sex with you would be, then holy shit.
When I close my eyes I’m laying on top of him and he’s ever so softly running his fingertips down the length of my back. We are kissing and it feels so good. We are a damn good kissing match.
After the second time I give him head I ask him if he wants to help me cum. He says yes, so I leap up and get my vibrator. Have you ever fucked a girl using a vibrator before? I ask. No, I’ve never even used one at all. I’m not that surprised considering his repressed religious background. What do I do? He asks. I situate myself lying to his left on the couch, backed up into him. I put the vibrator on my clit and guide his hand between my legs. No, with two fingers, I tell him. He does well. and the vibrator does well, and I cum.
Although it’s not what I want. I want to be riding his very hard and very thick cock. Because I can tell that it will drive me wild. But as much as I try, he won’t let me. I’m on top of him, his penis against my ass, him rubbing my clit, it would be so easy just to shift up and down and he would be inside. But he whispers No—I’m sorry baby. He’s so sweet and quiet about it, I can’t help but forgive him. But goddamn do I want to feel his cock inside of me. You have the most self restraint of anyone I’ve ever met, I say. I think he says thank you, but it wasn’t a compliment.
The previous night, sometime before or after blow job #1. I guess after. He explains that he doesn’t like to have sex unless he’s seeing someone. That he knows it’s 2015 but he’s afraid of getting something. And even before that, at the bar, at 1:30am, with our drinks empty and in our bellies, and we are trying to figure out what to do next, he stumbles through explaining that he doesn’t want to say goodnight yet, but that if we go home together we can’t have sex. That’s okay, I say.
So we get in my car, and I tell you we can go to my house. And I remember the CD that I have in the CD player at the moment, and skip to track number 2 and say, And this is what I’m listening to at the moment, and turn the volume all the way up. The first chords to You Oughtta Know begin and I laugh. And you laugh. Then after a second you turn the music down some and say, So does this mean I’m going to have to take an Uber home in like two hours? I tense up. Man, I’m trying to be impulsive here. I don’t know—can we just figure it out? Then I lose my nerve. I’ll just take you home, I say. No, No, you say, this is fine, let’s go to your house. Okay, I say, and turn right on 20th. The moment has been dulled some, but I still feel a buzz for kidnapping you, and I turn Alanis back up.
When we get to my apartment, I pour us a beer and turn on Kirby’s Dream Land on Wii. You don’t know how to play so you watch me play a level and then I hand you the controller so you can take a turn. I give you a level that’s made of musical instruments, which I think seems apropos.
When you first started talking to me, when you asked me if I liked the band that just played, I was like, oh god, who’s this guy. Because honestly I didn’t like the band. But you did. It was your friend’s band, you said.
The venue smelled like a tattoo parlour to me. That certain odor of cleaning products and ink. So much so that I could almost hear the buzzing of needles. So I asked you if you’d ever been in one, a tattoo shop. You said no, that you didn’t have any tattoos. Oh, well, it smells so much like that down here. The venue was in the basement of a bar. I guess maybe it just smelled like a basement. I don’t know.
I wasn’t that into you until you told me that you played music for a living. And then you told me that you were in O--------. And then I guess I got a bit star struck. So I stood a little closer, followed you to the bar, watched as you bought me a beer. When you went outside to smoke during the show, you’d touch me on the shoulder in such a way as to say, I’ll be right back. It was nice. It felt like we were there together. When I introduced you to R-, I said, You guys should know each other—you’re both Portland famous.
When Tiburones went on, someone turned on the disco ball, I guess because they were the headliner. Everyone was blinded by its reflections. People shielded their eyes with their hands, as if from bright sunlight. But you guided me, held me by my shoulders, to stand directly behind a very tall guy so that he would block the bright lights reflecting off of the disco ball.
Later I’m talking about equations for some reason. I’m talking about the little bar that goes above the numbers after the decimal point to indicate that the number continues on to infinitum. You know what I’m talking about? I ask. Yeah, you say, smiling. I don’t remember what that bar is called. It’s been like 12 years since I took a math class, I say. You smile some more, and coyly admit that you actually have a degree in math. Oh, so you just let me bumble on knowing full well what I’m talking about then, huh? We laugh. It’s a nice moment. I like that you seem shy, and introspective. I feel like I can watch you thinking. I watch it, but challenge it too. Make you say things out loud. I face you head on. I stare down your indecision about what to do next. We make it to the bar across the street.
When I close my eyes I feel your cock surging inside of my mouth, getting harder. I hear you saying oh fuck fuck, oh baby baby baby i’m cumming baby i’m cumming.
By the third time it was sort of a joke. How about we just spend 24 hours alternately sleeping and me giving you blow jobs, I say, as I rub your cock. Well, get down there, you reply. It was the most confident you’d been, I liked the way you told me what to do. So I did. And you came. Round three. You didn’t warn me when you were cumming the third time, you just did. It got in my hair. I made a dumb joke about calling the Guinness Book of World Records, because it really was kind of ridiculous—three blow jobs in 15 hours. I wished you’d just let us fuck. How I wanted to ride your cock. Get fucked by you.
When I close my eyes I feel your tepid hug when we meet at the Sandy Hut a week and a half later. I’m standing at the bar when I see you walk in. I point at you. You walk to me, you seem unenthused. I can’t tell if that’s just the way you are. Or maybe it’s because you’re soberer than the last time I saw you. You don’t seem all that excited to see me. You hardly smile. In fact, you don’t. At first when you said let’s meet at 6:15 after I told you I get home at 6, I thought that meant you were eager to see me. I ran the scenario past people at work, and that was their first impression too. But no, it turned out you had plans at 8:30, with a girl, I suspected, and then plans after that to have one last night drinking before your roommate went to detox the next day.
When you come back to the table with our second round, you warn me that you just got a text from your friend asking you if you wanted to meet at the Sandy Hut. You tell me that we might see him there soon. Great, I think. When C- and his friend show up you invite them to join us. I’m quiet. And confused.
Before they get there you tell me I’m good at asking questions. I explain that I don’t like talking about myself and that I used do freelance writing, so I’m accustomed to interviewing people. So I say I’m going to interview him about me. What are you looking for? What have you been thinking about me? I like talking to you and I’m attracted to you, but I don’t want a girlfriend and I don’t believe in the in-between. So why are we sitting here, I think. What is this? Is it even a date? After three blow jobs this is all I get? The tally board in my head wanes as I start to realize I likely won’t be getting the two orgasms that are owed to me.
At 8 or 8:15 I say, Oh you probably should go to your next thing. We walk out and I walk you to your van because I’m parked closer. And because I’m not ready to leave you yet. Another tepid hug goodbye and I turn and walk away, but then I turn around and walk up to your window. I tap on the glass and you open the door. Can I have just one kiss? I ask, and you let me kiss you. Just one, huh?I ask. It’s self restraint, you say.
The next night I ask J- to get a drink. If I’m honest with myself it’s because I’m trying to gather intel on you. But I play it off like I’m just trying to reconnect with people, trying to be more social. He dates a lot, J- says. So I don’t know who to believe. Then lo and behold I look across the bar and there you are, sitting with S-. I try to catch your eye. When I do, you wave. And I wave. I tap J- then he turns and waves. And S- waves. J- asks if I want to trade seats so that I don’t have to sit so that I can see you. I say, nah, it’s cool, like I don’t care, like I’ll undergo the discomfort of having to see you. But truthfully, all I want to do is look at you.
You and S- each come by us to say hi on the way to the bathroom. I invite you to join us but you say no. I can’t believe how lucky it is to see you again. And how sad. You give me what I’m coming to find out is your standard lackluster hug. And I think back to the previous week where you slept with your arms around me, and we stayed up until 5am kissing and talking and playing and bedroom dancing. All I want is to be near you, figure out what you’re doing that night so I can find you later. But that would just make me look like a stalker. So I try to play it cool, and I probably tell J- too much. And who knows what he shares with you. And so in the course of a week and a half I’ve driven you away. So I delete your number and go to the strip club instead of trying to hunt you down all night.
You don’t break me or make me whole like the words of a great poet spoken into a microphone. You leave me empty, is the truth. But I feel like I invested something of myself in those three blow jobs. How funny of me to think I could matter. Your semen trickles down my esophagus and into my stomach and is digested. I wonder if I take nutrition from it, if my stomach struggles to break it down into useful parts. Because truthfully as it turns out, you are not that useful to me at all. Or, just as useful as a stripper I’ve just met, who is willing and ready to put her fingers inside of me. Hell, even the nerdy stripper went down on me. She takes a taste of what you didn’t even hazard to try.
You’re like peeling an orange to find it dry and tasteless inside. But I eat you anyway. Every piece, chewing slowly your dry segments, methodically. I had such high hopes.
Anyway, you killed the momentum. On purpose, it seems. Which bores me. What a bore.
I had these grandiose plans of lining up a multitude of dates with other dudes, and taking each to your favorite bars, night after night, hoping date A through C and I might run into you there. But I can see it now—weak hugs and distracted eyes.
I’m in that itchy tattoo phase now and I haven’t worn a bra since Sunday. And my favorite bra sat outside by itself overnight—collected the cold, living an outside-type life for a few hours until it was found. The bra unceremoniously dropped from the bundle of clothes I carried after being undressed by strippers, but it looked so regal in the photograph M- had sent—leopard print set against moss and brick wall. Still life, Portland, January 2016. When do you want to retrieve it? M- had asked. I didn’t tell him I wasn’t wearing bras this week anyway, so it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter because truth be told I don’t really need to wear a bra anymore. Many of the fat cells around my breast tissue have collapsed. Or at least that’s what they say, right? That fat cells don’t go away, they just deflate? Something like that—I don’t remember. High school biology was a long time ago and I don’t have a good memory anyway, maybe because of the scars on my brain. Multiple scars. Multiple sclerosis.
High school was when I found out that I had scars on my brain. College was when I found out I had many more. In the pictures, one looked like someone had stubbed out a cigar on my frontal cortex, with gusto. Later, when I suffered a grand mal seizure, I got a taste of what those scars were really capable of. The firings of wrong neurons that the scars tampered with to create epileptic activity. To inspire a seizure. To cause my tongue to go numb so I couldn’t taste, my mouth to produce slurred words, my fingers to fail in creating readable script. To make the linoleum kitchen floor resemble the deck of a ship being toppled side to side at 45 degree angles by ferocious waves.
But this was about my boobs, not my brain. Although I’m often confounded with which to use most to my advantage. Or disadvantage, for that matter. Both bring me attention, both disappoint.
I don’t remember seeing you undress. But I remember watching you put your clothes back on, though. Your black, tight, short briefs, your jeans, your belt buckle—something vaguely western-looking but not outlandishly so. Your stomach. Oh god, your stomach. I wish I had bitten its flesh. Run my tongue along the twin lines marking the space between your abdominal and oblique muscles. Rivulets parallel with a belly button in between for good measure. I was so drawn to your stomach. I wondered if you did crunches. And what you ate, or didn’t eat. Your stomach dusted with the blondest peach fuzz. Your skin, soft. Your muscles firm. I watched you from across the room as you buttoned up your jeans, buckling your belt with the silver belt buckle. I wanted to attack you again, but a fourth time would have just been obscene. Or maybe absurd. Or both.
I probably want to be with someone, who, upon seeing me for the first time, since the last time they saw me, the time wherein I performed three killer (if I don’t say so myself) blowjobs upon him, would want to rush to me and pick me up in his very arms and spin me around and plant a big fat wet kiss on my smiling mouth.
To distract myself, I: 1. bed the poet (Nestled under the blankets, he feeds me chocolate cake with a spoon while I google the poems of Pound and Williams to make sure we get the words just right. I ask him to tell me the poem I heard at the reading, and he whispers it in my ear in the dark. We tell secrets. Secret Number Four: I’m about to put the moves on you.), 2. have cyber sex with G-, who is something like 18 years my senior (Lie on your stomach for me. Do you feel my cock on your ass? Do you feel my hand graze your right breast? Do you feel me pinch your nipple?), and 3. Go on an absurdly boring date with the mustacheo-ed one (He sends me a picture of his erection before I’ve even met him. I know instantly the moment I walk up to him that I’m not interested. Then I have to sit through his entire plate of mussels at dinner. For each one he eats, he spits out a piece of gristle into his fingers and places it on his plate. I feign profound interest in my salad. At one point, I truly consider leaving while he’s in the bathroom.).
None of those things work in distracting me sufficiently. I’m still at the show monitoring the door with my peripheral vision. Aching to see your blonde hair, tied back. Practically willing your apparition to walk down the stairs and into the room. Each time the door opens I look, but not one of the shadows is you. There’s another show on Sunday I think you might go to. So I’ll be there, hair straightened, lips glossy, sucking in, hoping desperately to see you. Nauseous from the anxiety that I might. That I might not.