Staring at the ceiling in the light of a bulb as dim as the former sparkle of my youth, I can see the smug face of Marie Calloway, a smugness compounded by her Japanese-Oregonian “origins.” I don’t know why I should think of her now, of all moments. She hasn’t been in the small sect of consciousness that was briefly affected by her tell-all style (meaning reprinting actual internet conversations in book form) since 2013. At the same time, I know exactly why she should spring to my mind in just this particular interlude between myself and yet another shell of a man with the devil inside.
“All you know how to do is write about your sexual experiences. That’s not being a good writer. You need to have imagination. What are you going to do when you’re all dried up and no guy wants to fuck you?” he demands matter-of-factly after sort of fucking me. I say sort of because it consisted of about thirty seconds worth of insertion before he came and muttered under his breath, “Oh wow, I came so fast.” At least he didn’t try to pretend it didn’t happen. That was one redeeming quality. Or maybe just another deplorable one, that there was no sense of shame about it. That he really couldn’t care less about my experience. Women are the great receptacles in the lives of men, after all. Here only to receive “loads” and throw out a stock phrase of encouragement now and again. Little trash sacks designed to be replaced when they become too weighty.
He basically tells me what Stephen Marche couldn’t say directly to Calloway’s face in his review of her “book” in Esquire, because it’s easier to reduce women who discuss their sexual experiences in writing as the “Asperger’s style’ of literature, the mode of a small New York-based coterie of writers who specialize in disaffection and disconnection.” Isn’t it so interesting how it used to be okay to wield “Asperger’s” in that way in a major publication as recently as 2013? And yeah, I’ll admit there are some girls who think their sex life is worth writing about when it really, really isn’t (but when you’re from Connecticut, you just think everything is so novel–therefore worth writing a novel about–outside of it in comparison). They’re the ones that give the entire “genre” a bad name. The ones who detract from all the work Simone de Beauvoir and Anaïs Nin did–dumbing it down to the point where the entire “work” can be compressed into rebelling against their father by being a “slut.” Something to help them glorify their “little diary,” in short. Women who write about fucking, thus, are reduced to the stereotype of an inane girl who makes a foray into literature solely for the benefit of owning a pretty pen (in that overly frilly style canonized by Cher Horowitz).
As for his similar accusation about my writerly inabilities and how they’re bound to be exhausted once no one wants to bang me any longer, I don’t have the heart to tell him that I’ve stored up enough sexual experiences to philosophize about to the point where one lifetime probably isn’t even enough to get them all down onto “paper.”
Maybe I’ve had too much. Though Samantha Jones would insist there is no such thing. Yet sometimes I’m so bored with sex that I just lie next to people or, if they have the gumption (because these days, that’s what it takes to communicate what you want), open my legs when they make an indication of interest at ejaculating in some less analog way than masturbating. Whatever, I think. What’s one more insertion?
But tonight, for some reason, I can’t even pretend to perform. To sing for my supper, as it were. I just want to sleep. I tell him as much, chalking it up to my depression. He guffaws at the excuse, noting superiorly from his perch as a Gen Xer, “I feel bad for millennials, honestly. They’re so emotionally stunted. They have no fucking idea how to express themselves with any sincerity.”
I don’t bother arguing with him. Everyone has made up their minds about us already, deeming us the ultimate loser pieces of shit with such disdain that it makes one wonder why Beck hasn’t remade his quintessential song just for us. And as I roll over and he predictably fiddles with his penis, maybe genuinely believing I don’t know what’s going on next to me, or simply not caring, I think about Kevin Spacey. Not about his sex crimes against men, but you know, as Lester in American Beauty, wanking himself off in the middle of the night “in secret” because his own wife, therefore supposed live-in sex slave, can’t give him the satisfaction he feels he deserves. Sex and the City, which was after the masturbator next to me’s time I guess, addressed every problem he thinks he’s somehow bringing my attention to this evening. Except, incidentally, the one where you have to pretend you’re sleeping while someone gets off pathetically next to you, rendering you, in turn, pathetic because it was your responsibility to help in this department. And even if Sarah Jessica Parker had to jump on the twenty-first century bandwagon of extreme political correctness by writing the show off as “tone-deaf” twenty years later for its all white women cast and over the top bi and transphobic comments, it doesn’t change the myriad permutations of bizarre straight male behavior addressed by the gay men and the female writers they employed behind the series. Except that they just couldn’t seem to remember this one common affliction among males across all generational divides.
Maybe some part of them believes you’ll hear what they’re doing and miraculously be aroused, inclined to join in and assist them in their quest for orgasm (as close to “pure being” as there is in this life unless you’re a white man who prefers to go on ayahuasca retreats instead). But all it’s ever done for me (because yes, I get the man who masturbates next to me almost as often as I get the finger bang “consolation prize” guy) is make me want to turn over and punch him in the scrotum for his overt selfishness and inconsideration for someone else’s slumber. Or attempt at it.
The mastodon in the room is his masturbation. He continues to tug and pull and “lightly” grunt until finally, I think, he achieves his release. But no, that’s not what happened at all. He clearly hasn’t spewed as he frustratedly scratches his hair, and the distinct and unpleasant odor that can only signify non-washing for days emanates from his pores, his follicles. That’s when I know the spotlight is not off of me just yet, that my expected role is still expected to be filled because I am not in bed next to a millennial male who is forced to pretend to be a feminist (we’ve seen enough pasty pale toads wearing “The world needs our feminist energy” shirts to know they’re trying way too hard not to be killed by “women on the rampage” right now. It’s self-preservation not true belief. Adapt or die, as they say). But the non-millennial man does not try to hide what he is, to mask it under the guise of “caring”–about women’s “issues” or otherwise. People are just people and a fuck is a fuck. There is no need for labels or compartmentalizations. Of using language for the underlying purposes of subversion and distancing. He tells me as much before pulling my head toward his own (dick)head, feigning that to be “aware” and pedantic isn’t a form of foreplay that went out long ago, somewhere around the last time Woody Allen was “popular.” This isn’t enough though, and I end up letting him stick me like a needle into a reluctant heroin addict.
Marie Calloway is a millennial Carrie Bradshaw, you might say. I never wanted to be either. I just wanted to feel like someone gave a damn about me, and for a while, I thought sex was a gateway to that potential. It’s not. But here I am: another bed, another story. Reduced to being a frivolous girl with nothing more interesting to talk about than being a whore.