The house is asleep. I’ve sunken into a plush blue couch that’s at odds with the pink-and-white walls, the rough brick fireplace. My sexiness is wasted on the world around me.
This is the house where I grew up. I have an apartment in a city that’s a frustrating seven-hour train ride away, or two hours by car. None of my friends in this town are returning my texts. I will be here for six more days.
I could take a shower, but it’s late and I’m fairly clean. Plus it’s not like anybody’s going to be smelling me any time soon. I could work out, or read a book, or maybe make something, but it’s spring break, and I’m not really feeling like personal growth. Or maybe I’m feeling like I’m personally grown enough already. Today I have eaten three cupcakes, and this feels like an admission of temporary defeat.
And I’m horny. Frustratingly horny. Horny and it’s too early in the evening to jerk myself off and go to sleep. If I masturbate now I’ll be up for a few more hours, regretting the rawness of my dick. Then I’ll feel weird about jerking myself off to sleep later, because for me jerking off is a once-per-night maximum. I don’t know why. Tradition, I guess. I’m secretly very traditional.
I tell myself that I regret not keeping in touch with more girls from my old high school, but this is a lie. I am happy those girls are not in my life. I tried dating girls from this high school twice, and they were my two least favorite girlfriends. I’m sure they are very nice people deep down, but that doesn’t mean I want to be fucking them right now.
And it’s not like if I was back in my apartment I’d be fucking anybody either. My friends in the city are terrific, but I have not established a circuit of fuck buddies among them. Recently I’ve been wondering if such a circuit would be worth establishing, but for the time being I wouldn’t have anybody to call. It’s just different when you’re in your own home. I would go to the gym, or cook myself something nice smelling and let out exaggerated moans. Or I would watch a long, boring, beautiful movie, then tell myself I’ve grown as a person.
Here I feel weird about watching movies. I don’t know why.
There are two girls in this town who have expressed a romantic interest in me. They are each three years younger than I am. One of them told me two years ago that she daydreamed sometimes about kissing me, but nothing ever came out of that. The other one was a girl I kind of seduced a while ago. It wasn’t a very good seduction, and we never did anything more than kiss, but I spent a lot of months deluding myself and her into thinking that I found her interesting, and it wasn’t really true, so I call that a seduction. I still feel really bad about what I did to her. Both of these girls know my younger brother and I don’t know what to feel about that.
The brother of an old friend of mine is training for the 2014 Winter Olympics. I watched an interview of him earlier tonight. He talked about how he developed a love for spinning through the air as a child, when he would jump for hours on the trampoline in his backyard. It’s odd because I used to jump on the trampoline with him and his brother, and watch him flip and backflip. I don’t think I ever expected that trampoline to lead that kid to the Olympics.
I think also of that family’s swimming pool, because there I had one of the most perfect moments of my life. I was much younger, but I don’t remember exactly how young. I had been in the pool for a long time, and it was getting dark. My mother came to get me, as did the mother of one of the other boys in the pool, but instead of taking us home they just sat and talked. As nighttime set above us the lights of the pool turned on, and the water became an eerie, electric blue. We swam, we sunk, we surfaced. We did cannonballs off the diving board. We might have had Super Soakers; I forget. What I remember is that I thought back then that I didn’t want anything else in my life. Or maybe I didn’t think that, it was just true. Either way, I remember that eerie blue against the blanketing night.
I only ever made out with a girl once in a pool. This was a standing pool, though, and the water was much colder, and it was mid-afternoon. I was dating the girl in question. (She was not one of the two girls from my high school, she lived in the next town over.) We were both chubby but we thought we were beautiful. We’re each much better looking now, but neither of us is interested in the other any more. We don’t even talk.
I don’t remember the last time I was in a swimming pool, and suddenly I worry that I’ll never be in a swimming pool again, especially not in the summertime, not with a girl, or with that eerie blue light. This seems absurd, because there are many swimming pools, and I will probably be alive for many more years, but I can’t think of when the next time I’m due to be in a place with a swimming pool is, and suddenly I’m frightened. Or maybe "chilled" is the right word.
I worry that the best moments of my life all happened when I was fat and stupid and mean to people, and that now that I am a better person, I will not have any chances to take advantage of my newer, better self. I know this is stupid, but this is my fear.
I am scared and horny, and I have nobody to fuck with my beautiful body. And it is still too early for me to sleep. So I start thinking of all the girls I might one day sleep with. I start with the obvious ones, like the girls I’ve kissed recently, and the girls who get nervous when I talk to them, and the cute girls I haven’t talked to much but who might enjoy my flirting with them. Then I start to get a little more unrealistic. I think about the girl next door. Then I think about the girls next door on the other side. I haven’t talked to any of these girls in years, and I don’t really feel like starting now, and I also feel a little bit impolite about thinking about these girls this way. They didn’t ask to be turned into impromptu fantasies. But they’re also not particularly interesting fantasies, so I skip past them and start wandering into trickier territories. Girls I barely remember. Girls I only met once. Girls I actively dislike or have broken up with for good reason. I am sometimes fascinated with who my mind pulls up to be sex fantasies, because some of these certainly aren’t girls I ever felt that attracted to when I knew them in real life.
One interesting thing about all of this is how I am reinventing these girls so that I can fantasize about sleeping with them. The fact is that the girls I’m friends with now are better-looking than any of the girls I used to know. They’re older, more mature, they wear better clothes. But I’ve also changed as a person, so that where I used to be friends with neurotic, insecure, resentful girls who talked too much about how ugly they were, now I’m friends with neurotic, insecure, resentful girls who talk too much about how sexy they are. I like slipping myself into other people’s fantasies of themselves, so if a girl tells me she’s sexy I’m inclined to be polite and start believing it myself.
If I were actually in a room with these girls I’m thinking about fucking, I probably wouldn’t be all that interested in fucking them. I’d probably talk to them. We’d find that we have a lot in common, like all people do. But in my mind these girls exist only in the corner of my eye, they are elusive and fey, the only parts of them I see are beautiful in ways that make my sternum ache. At one point I imagine that a certain redheaded girl I know is a woodland nymph. Then I imagine that she is a dryad. I pretend that I’m in bed with her and I call her a dryad, and she likes me too much to stop the sex talk and ask me what exactly a dryad is. But then I feel bad for using words she doesn’t know. I tell her that when a dryad kisses you, she pulls you into the oak tree she is a spirit of, and then you are her slave for seven years and seven days. In my imagination being a dryad’s slave consists of endless sadomasochistic fucking, being bound to a tree by enchanted vines, which I’m fine with. But I’m sure that being a dryad’s slave wasn’t supposed to be that exciting in real life.
When I was a teenager, I got really scared sometimes that I didn’t like girls the right way. I always saw reasons to judge myself harshly for my attractions. Now I’m amused by this, so I still think of reasons to hate myself, but I also think of reasons to love myself for the same impulses. It’s like a game.
So when I imagine myself being seduced by a pale blonde girl who in real life is squeaky and whiny and dim, I tell myself, "You are so pathetic that you would let this girl seduce you." But then I tell myself, "You are full of such fiery passion that you can find beauty in everything." When I see myself being kissed by a girl with large brown eyes so sweetly I forget my own name, part of me says, "You are a savage. This girl makes you forget yourself. This is ignoble." Then part of me says, "You try too hard to define yourself. Instead of living in the moment, you live in your head, thinking of the moment. Let this girl kiss you. Let yourself forget."
There is a duality to everything. You can find a reason why anything is good, or why anything is bad. If I sit at home all week and get horny, maybe it is because I am a sad man who has no friends. But maybe this becomes a week so meaningless and bad that it makes me want to change myself forever. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys spent three years in his bedroom smoking weed. If you spend three years of your life doing nothing, it becomes impressive, in a way. It becomes something.
Similarly, you can spend your life searching for parties, searching for excitement, searching for memories, and feel that you have lived your life to the fullest. But if you live too fast, you miss something too, something harder to put into words than stories of getting drunk and dancing but maybe also something that’s more important, or at least just as important. You never let yourself be small and weak and vulnerable. You never let yourself despair. And I think that despairing, crying into pillows, wanting to hit things but not having anything to hit, is just as important a part of growing up as all the parts that you think you’ll actually tell your kids one day, if you have kids.
Not that I’m feeling despair at the moment. I’m just feeling horny. Irritatingly so.
At some point I think about the night last winter that a friend and I drove until we found a suburb that neither of us knew, and we parked the car, and we walked around these streets, these houses, these small back yards that were probably so mundane to the people who lived in them. We trespassed through somebody else’s everyday life and found it new and exciting. We found poetry in the sameness of all those small white houses.
When you’ve spent too much time somewhere you trick yourself into thinking that things have turned meaningless. You stop really seeing the world around you. You start longing for a new kind of night, a new horizon, something that will make you feel fresh. It’s hard to teach yourself to see the beauty in your own everyday. I don’t even know if it’s entirely possible. But I do believe, wholeheartedly, that there is still beauty in the things you’ve grown bored of. There’s a beauty to boredom itself. The boring nights of your life are the hardest ones to remember, but maybe there’s an argument to be made that this is precisely why we should try and remember them.
One day I’d like to find a girl who’s grown up in a certain suburb despairing and bored and have her show me all of the least interesting parts of her life and fuck her on all of them. Like how I once had a girl blow me in a part of the woods that I first saw when I was seven years old. It felt like a release from the past. A renewal. A turning-new-again.
When it’s late enough and I feel ready to masturbate, here is the fantasy I choose to jerk off to.
The girl I have only met once before. She is a friend of a friend. Her eyes are bright and blue, but the irises have a thin dark rim around them, so they look almost like they were drawn in a comic book. Her hair is soft and brown and tied up in pigtails, but it is not long, so the pigtails are stubby. They aren’t cute little girl pigtails. They are more like pigtails a hooker would wear if a hooker wanted to look like a cute little girl. But other than that, this girl does not look like a hooker. Her makeup is unobnoxious.
She is dressed in an outfit that is delicious and strawberry-red, with white trimmings. I’m not sure if this is an outfit I’ve seen before or if I’m making it up on the spot. The fabric is opaque and richly but not decoratively textured. It does not hug her. But this is what attracts me so; I am made acutely aware of her body breathing just under the surface. Her breasts aren’t really on display, but I can make out the tops of them beneath her neckline, shadowy and intimate, temptingly assertive. I’m not sure if the dress is what makes them so appealing or if it’s the light or just her body, and I don’t care. What matters is my desire.
(Part of me thinks: "If I wake up and sketch this outfit tomorrow, I would be hailed as a daring new force in the fashion industry. I could unleash a whole generation of new temptations." But I shush this part of me, because it gets in the way of my masturbation, and because I don’t know enough about the fashion industry to know if I’m right.)
In my fantasy this girl is a virgin, though I have no way of knowing if she is in real life. She could be. She was when I met her; she had never kissed a boy when I met her. She was about to meet a boy that night who she’d been talking to online, and she was worried that she might kiss him wrong, which was a worry so stupid and understandable that it endeared her to me instantly. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail; she wore a loose red-and-white jersey that I’m pretty sure was the inspiration for her outfit in my dream. Both she and her jersey seemed completely oblivious to the possibility of my checking her out, which meant that when the jersey pressed against a part of her unintentionally a part of me would ache madly. I was convinced for a night that I was in love with her, or that she was my muse; I never told her this. A few months later we stopped talking. But that oblivious virginity obviously was a turn-on.
So it is in the fantasy — we are wandering through a park in Philadelphia that I visited once, and lie down on a hill. At first she worries that the grass is wet with dew. But I can’t come up with a sexy response to that, so I decide that instead the grass is sunny and dry. When we lie down my arm rests on top of hers. I get hard (in the fantasy, I mean), and she notices, both my erection and in a way my male-ness, the fact that I find her attractive at all. Her breasts swell up in a dreamy way. I turn onto her, as if our arms were a hinge and we are a doorframe shutting, and I feel her pressing against me as I come.
Deep into the night, I half wake up, and decide to get off again and go back to sleep. So I dream of the same girl, the same day, only now we are in my apartment and she’s lost a fraction of her innocence. Only a fraction; she knows she wants me and she knows I want her, but she still doesn’t exactly know what to do about that. I do. She’s sweaty and says she feels unclean, so this next fantasy happens in the shower. It’s not a particularly interesting one, except that underneath her oblivious strawberry dress she’s wearing light blue lingerie from a softcore porn shoot I discovered when I was twelve or thirteen, and at some point, I tell her, sweetly rather than aggressively, that I would love to keep her in my bed forever and have her be my nighttime slut. I don’t know why I think this is a sweet thing to say, and normally I’d be worried about telling a recently-deflowered girl that having sex makes her slutty, but that’s what’s so nice about early morning masturbation: I don’t have to defend my language to anybody.
When I wake up the next morning, my dick is indeed sore. I shake it around a bit in the hopes that this will help to cool it off, but if anything this makes it feel even more raw.
For a little while I worry about the cheesiness of my fantasy sex talk. Then I shrug it off, and assume that outside of my dreams I tend to know a little bit better what’s going on, although truth be told I have said some very stupid shit in bed, and I’m slightly scared of the thought of somebody recording me while I’m in bed with them. As far as insecurities go, this one is slight.
Five more days in this house, on this couch. My mother calls me and says that she knows how lethargic I get when I’m home. She says I should work out. I tell her that I’m already aware of the situation. That if I wasn’t already lethargic I’d do something about it.