“I used to use them,” he says sheepishly as a means of justification, further digging his grave of insensitivity by adding, “But then I realized like every girl has an IUD now.” He unironically took a zealous bite of the banana that Shaylene had never managed to buy a hammock for in all her various jaunts to Fishs Eddy, which was nowhere near her Prospect Heights abode, but honestly, it was so difficult to find quality mugs anywhere else. Even in the land of children called the Prospect Heights/Park Slope nexus, where kitchen appliance and furniture stores were free-flowing so as to promote the Hestian ideal of home and its accoutrements (children included) being the end all, be all of existence, even in the “grand metropolis” of New York. While Shaylene had yet to be infected with this “bug,” she had, suddenly and all at once, become obsessed with making her apartment as pleasant as possible. She wanted to transform it into a domestic fortress that would make her never want to leave. Save for going to the nearest dive.
Sharlene’s was not what one would call an ideal “troll hole.” Most of the time, if you were lucky, you would see a 55-year-old man with a mountainous gut belching his own business. That’s, in part, why Shaylene liked it so much. There was never any risk of being bothered. Sharlene’s was the bar for those comfortably past their prime, which was what she considered herself to be now at the callused age of thirty-six. She had started going when she was thirty-three and had rarely, if ever, seen a drifter–an outsider. It was your standard “regular” bar.
Thus, to come upon the unicorn of Shane, a twenty-nine year old associate editor for GQ, was anomalous, to say the least. He initiated the conversation perhaps in his boredom with the other clientele in the place, starting with the usual intro of asking her name. When she gave it, he quipped, “Shaylene at Sharlene’s. How cute.” It made her cringe with rage and contempt, to be belittled in such a fashion under the guise of flirtation. And yet, what else was there to do in this godforsaken bar forgotten by the sands of time called gentrification–cultural warming? Sharlene’s was all that was left of a bygone era of Brooklyn where it wasn’t a crime to drink at 1 p.m. In fact, it was a crime if you weren’t. Some sign of inherent softness. And, to that point, Shaylene couldn’t remember the last time she’d gone to bed with a man who could either get or maintain an erection. At first, she blamed herself. But then she realized: this is men now. The running joke about size mattering had been rendered minor when pitted against hardness, but, to boot, it’s gotten to the point where even three thrusts somehow feel like you’ve been anointed in the good graces of modern sex. Accordingly, Shaylene wasn’t expecting much when she ended up taking Shane home with her, despite the offensive adorableness of their semi-similar names, which she was surprised he didn’t point out in lieu of Sharlene. Maybe he wasn’t that astute. He worked at GQ, after all.
Even after five years in her apartment, Shaylene still got a tinge of superiority and satisfaction over bringing men around to lord what she had and they didn’t over them. Because, nine times out of ten, she never met a man who wasn’t flailing in life. It was the curse of being both twenty-first century male (declared, effectively, useless by most women) and New York resident. As long as New York would allow it. He could be very fickle, even toward His own gender. It seemed that Shane had gotten far enough on the illusion of good looks (it was the stubble and scruff marring any immediate impressions or scrutinies) for New York fortune to seem to favor him, but, in the end, this would likely be the furthest he would get in his so-called aims of being a writer. “Associate Editor” would be enough to placate him until he ascended the ranks and gradually stopped pretending to work on his novel on the weekends. He would be sated in his slightly above averageness (though completely below average in New York itself, where editing jobs at irrelevant publications were still a dime a dozen).
She could see that he was reminded of his “lesser than” status beneath the surface of working for a company that meant something only to douche bags. And it pleased her, even got her prematurely wet, as she opened her pristinely white wood distressed cabinetry with glass center in each panel to display her mugs and dishware in all their glory, and pulled out a wine glass to offer him a continuous flow from the bar before they proceeded with the business of feigning lust.
And as they got drunker and drunker and talked more and more nonsense (she, at one point, had to shut him up by putting on her favorite boner killer, The Seventh Seal), she forgot to bother having her wits about her, letting him take her to her California king bed with her 1,800-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and sloppily begin the process of insertion. It is only after about forty-six seconds that she thinks to ask, “You put on a condom, yeah?” knowing already that he did not and she might have just risked infecting her perfect pussy with some manner of new-fangled STD all for the sake of making Sharlene’s somewhat interesting.
“I used to use them. But then I realized like every girl has an IUD now.” He then looks her body up and down and says revelatorily, “I guess you’re probably outside of that though, like generationally.”
Shaylene stares daggers at him, suddenly far too sober to engage in such a technically hallowed act with such an unhallowed penis.
“Right?” he adds with hopeful reticence. It was at this point he nervously took a bite of the banana he had grabbed from the bowl (not hammock, as, if you’ll remember, Shaylene had still never managed to buy one) back when they were still in the kitchen. It was comical almost, in that this was the very thing they used to teach high school students how to put condoms on. In response, she easily shoved him off of her, his skinny body all at once a disgusting presence upon her.
“I need you to leave,” she almost screams, rushing to the bathroom to rinse her crotch with the bidet she had installed just two months after moving in. She doesn’t bother to wait and see if he obeys her request, knowing that the severity of her tone spoke amply for itself.
It had been seven months since Shaylene went into Sharlene’s. And it wasn’t because she was pregnant. But more as a result of the PTSD it would instill. The taint of knowing she had allowed her life to be ruined by an interloper of the bar. Though she had wanted to get an abortion, something in fate’s sadistic humor kept conspiring for her to miss her scheduled appointments–an emergency meeting with the board of advisors at the corporation where she was VP here, her ill and senile mother causing a scandal that required Shaylene to show up at the overpriced New Jersey nursing home she paid for there. Soon enough, just over five months had passed and she hadn’t managed to “get around” to doing the procedure. Some may say this meant Shaylene not so subconsciously wanted to have the baby. Shaylene would say they should go fuck themselves. Incidentally, this would be what she was going to do for the rest of her life thanks to the skittishness imposed on her vagina that fruitless night that extracted the remaining fruit of her loins.
She had become what she had always feared: a mother living in the Park Slope vicinity. But at least she already had the ideal apartment to house it–the spawn, that is. Well, formerly ideal, before a child came along to fuck up her quondam interior design. And all because of a quondam condom user with miraculously powerful precum (made effective by, unbeknownst to Shaylene, Shane masturbating in the Sharlene’s bathroom to her and not bothering to piss out the ejaculate. Had she known, she would likely suppose she should be flattered, but would not be.).