This is a story about a party that has attracted sexually outplaced people.
I’m at the sort of party that isn’t ever classified as “singles-only,” yet magically singles are the only ones who come. We sit, or stand, or walk slowly over to the thick, hard liquors, and we chat. Everyone is overly polite – if you can be overly that – because we have a lot on the line. We aren’t single by some awful fate predestined. We are single because, though the dark recesses of courtship etiquette help us to veil our horribly disfigured personalities, our ex-lovers have all come to know us as we truly are, and run away screaming. So, after momentarily being away from these sorts of parties, we wind up here again.
It is usually the hook-like shape of my penis that acts as a swinging blade of flames at the gate of my relationships. In places like this, a dread settles heavily on my shoulders when a girl finds my jokes funny or happens to let her fingers fall on the sleeve of my jacket. I immediately begin to cycle through reasons for not getting naked while we have sex.
I chat to one of the prettier girls here, taking in deep sips of liquor while she answers the same old questions.
“So, what do you do?” I usually ask, if she’s still willing to listen. This pretty girl is.
“Blah blah blah,” she says.
“Interesting. I know a guy in your field. He seems to enjoy it.” I say.
“Blah blah blah.”
“I’d love to,” I reply. She looks with a face that says there is no way what I just said could answer her question. I ask her if she’d like another drink, but don’t bother waiting for the response before heading over to the bar.
The house we are in is nice. It’s a nice house. It feels like it was built and decorated for a family that never came. I imagine a mantle somewhere, with empty picture frames stacked on top. I pour another dark drink.
“This is it,” a man next to me says. I look at him in his face, and quickly without my permission my eyes scan his entire body. It’s a habit I’m working on. He is a big strong man who looks ready to jump out a window. “I’m a done man.”
“Done already? It’s hardly ten.” I say and top it off with another generous sip.
“Do you know how many of these parties I’ve had? Many.”
“What do you mean? This your place?”
“Yes, it’s mine.”
I catch what I wanted to say, and instead say, “It’s a lovely place. Very homey. And it’s really a great party. The women are something else.”
“It’s a parade of freaks posing as normal people,” he says in his most sincere tone.
“I couldn’t agree more.”
“Hi, I’m Jack,” he says. I take his hand and shake it. His skin is very soft. “You are?”
“I’m Alex,” I reply. “I came with Rob from... Accounting?”
“Oh! Alex, right. Rob’s told me about you. You do these single-mixer parties much?”
“I don’t know how or why, but I always wind up at them. You’d think someone was trying to tell me something. And you?”
“Not really. Well, recently I’ve been having these parties. I’m married... lesbian bitch.”
This is the point where you wish for death. The conversation hits a moment of unprovoked sincerity, and you must sit and listen and console while the other talks about events and people that you couldn’t give a shit about. It’s really lovely.
I fancy lightning cracking through the window and popping my head off. If there was a dog, I could paste some party-favours to my neck and start to wrestle. “Married, you say?”
“If you can still call it that. Step three of twelve asks that I be absolutely honest about it,“ here we go, “So I’m Jack, and I’m addicted to pornography.”
I choke on my drink and even though I’m getting drunk, I can tell how obvious I am about it.
“It’s a serious affliction, I’ll have you know.”
“Oh, I’m sure it is.” I reply.
“It’s really severe. I can’t think clearly unless I’ve seen it. I sweat through my clothes if I get to thinking about it. My eyes twitch. My hands shake.”
“That really is severe.”
“Yes. Yes it is. My wife was initially very supportive of it, too. We’d watch hours of it together, and all sorts. You know, you got your straight porn,” he says, extending a finger to keep track, “and gay porn, and lesbian porn. Then you got the freakier stuff, like –“
”I’m sure it can get pretty freaky.”
“Right. The point is I couldn’t get through the day without seeing it. She was supportive at the time. But then, well, then things got worse.” His cheeks are nearly glowing red, and his eyes focus on nothing, but rather roll about with the motions of his head. He stumbles toward me, whispering, “It got so that I couldn’t even get a hard-on without it.
“And that’s when she decided I needed help. If I had known what would happen, if I had known she was secretly watching the lesbian porn every chance she got, I’d have never agreed. But, hind-sight is twenty twenty, you know. So I went to group therapy, where I met Her. She was already at step ten. You shoulda seen this one.” He says as much with his mouth as with his hands, which were busy evaluating the firmness of two invisible, ripe melons in front of him. “I saw her and I knew I wanted her. But that was just it. She was a vixen, a seduct – sedusct – seductress. She could seduce anything, or any one, and she did just that. It wasn’t enough when she slept with me, oh no. Maybe that was never what she wanted. I just remember the day, when I came home and there in my bed, with my wife, watching my lesbian porn....”
He looks at me as though I should say something. I am stumped, until his old wifey comes stumbling into the party with a crash through the door. I jump for a moment, thinking that the lighting had heard my thought and was coming to collect.
She is drunk and with a fresh young girl around her arm. The two tumble loosely to a candy bowl, where the one with a fresh buzz cut begins to feed the smaller fresher one. Every conversation is frozen and every eye is zoomed squarely on the pair.
“Speak of the devil,” he says looking at them. “I didn’t just marry a lesbian. I married a bitch.”
I very badly want to know which is his wife, but it’s so impolite to ask at such a time. Then, to my surprise, the polite nervous chat resumes, and the two are just another set trying to collect a date. They are, I am ashamed to admit, more successful in it than any man there.
So I give up, and then we all give up, the way men do as they watch their friend hit a hole-in-one: somewhere off in the distance the ball conquers the hole you had aimed for, and you watch, mouth gaped and head cocked in awe as you tightly clasp your stick.