A Disillusionment With Men
The first girl I crushed on had cascading brown ringlets of hair and piercing almond shaped eyes, she was petite and with a curved backside that would have made a Kardashian sister envious. When she spoke to the class it was in equations and codes but in my ear she whispered the sweet language of computer programming as if she were reciting a Shakespearean sonnet.
After lessons, we preferred to use the blurred identities of our online selves to interact — she offered words of encouragement and I granted her book recommendations. I would consult my ex-boyfriend, a man, well versed in the language of female flirtation, who would frown at the exchanges and appear pensive — ‘I’m not sure, if she’s interested, that is.’ But I would stamp my foot down and shake my head resoundingly, I could sense our chemistry, the way that she pranced across the room ignited by a listless energy — her lips belonged to an Angel and I was praying for a kiss.
Before long, our tensed silences stretched thin until yearning snapped the umbilical cord of unfulfilled anticipation and she wound up with a girlfriend, whilst I ended up alone-watching the progression of their mobile uploads serve as the picture perfect ensemble of lovers.
After I matched one of my ex-boyfriend’s female friends on Tinder, I approached him about the scenario. He didn’t bat an eyelash. ‘Go for it, she’s great.’ His words of encouragement increased my heart palpitations whenever I saw the dark brunette beauty with an eyebrow piercing sauntering around campus in her three-inch Chelsea boots. I dreamt of her, the way she might taste, how soft her hair would feel against my cheek. My ex indulged in my dreams, egging on my desire until I was slipping out of bed and rushing off to meet her underneath the alcove of moonlight.
We shared a kiss, fuelled by alcohol and the leers of men whose faces dripped with sweat and rapture, feeding the thirst of their own animalistic fantasies.
One day, I found myself in a strip club with my best friend and her buddies from work. She used to work at a local pub where the conversation always seemed to surround female genitalia. Even though I inherently found these venues demoralizing, I was curious. I wanted to feel a woman, even if she was paid to sit on my lap and grind her buttocks into my pelvis.
A lad purchased me a stripper, she was dark and her flesh spilled from the sides of an outfit that could have been borrowed from a toddler. She had lips that looked like they were stained with the blood of men she’d devoured, but I took her hand and was surprised by how soft and warm it was in my own. She led my feet whilst my head spun behind her.
She didn’t dance for a long time before her face was inches from mine, her hand clawing at the top of my tights, the smell of cheap body lotion and gum on her breath opening the cavern of lust which enveloped us whole. Her tongue writhed in my mouth like a prancing serpent and my hands were on her neck, stroking her hair, the wrinkled skin of her erect nipples against my own.
I left the brothel with my head in the clouds, grinning like a schoolboy who’d just seen his first spread of a stolen Playboy magazine.
‘Did yours kiss you too?’ My naivety seeped through the pores of my skin as I stood in awe around my comrades.
‘Shucks girlie, they never kiss and tell. Yours must have really liked you.’
We spoke about the women as if we were sampling goods in a butcher shop. I felt dirty, watching these men lick their lips and wonder what it would have been like to witness the innocent customer being seduced by the temptress. Little did they know it had been my fingers that had slipped under the straps and freed her puffy skin till she melted in my hands like butter.
The first time I had sex with a woman, it was with an American exchange student, who also happened to be a lesbian that had just ended a serious relationship. We met by chance and as she submerged herself in my group of friends, I donned the mask of an overtly hyper female stereotype. We spoke about nail varnish and America’s Next Top Model before she clutched my hand in the middle of the dance-floor and writhed her body close to my own, letting me feel the heat emitting from between her legs.
Altogether, it was not like I’d expected. She had clung to my skin with her teeth, tasting the salt, hoping to submerge herself within my sea. I had pulled back by anchor, unwilling to give her the comfort I sensed she desired. She was like a wood nymph trying to make a home in-between my sheets, but I left her that morning with peppered excuses and showed her the door — which made me feel momentarily powerful, a Christopher Columbus asserting dominance on property that was not rightfully my own.
The second women I slept with was from Tinder. From entering her lush apartment with it’s water instillation and wine cellar, I knew that I would have to give up my crown because I was a Pauper when she was the King. We kissed in her living room, against the backdrop of a mirror, two long-haired brunettes playing tonsil hockey like eager teenagers desperately trying to prove something to the other. She told me stories of models she’d slept with, kissed the insides of my thighs with the tenderness of a baby lamb, and kicked me out after our three-hour time slot and my failure to make her come. The rain had drenched the matchbox and we’d been unable to ignite a spark of chemistry, although she still calls me from time-to-time in the darkness of the night, when she wants a visitor to her palace.
I left a trail of my kisses in-between. In nightclubs, under the astounded eyes of peers, boyfriends, and friends. My actions leaving behind a trail of whispers which I collected like trophies on my bed-stand alongside the rising number of notches. People asked what I was, a girl who wore fuchsia covered lipstick and silk dresses imported from Sicily, who kissed other girls when I belonged in the arms of a man. I confused, I confounded, I convoluted my sense of normality until the whispers became hushes and then obsolete. If sexuality was a game, I had won it solely on my premise of being honest about the hand I’d been dealt.
Until, that is, I slept with my best friend. We had both been through a tumultuous year, or two, or maybe a lifetime. We carried the grievance of what my boyfriend refers to as the ‘disillusionment with men.’ It serves as his explanation for our actions, a natural reaction to the concave fractions we had become. Splitting into one another, dividing and multiplying, subtracting our clothes and fitting together until we became one.
When she touches me, it’s as if my skin electrifies. When I come, it’s the hardest I’ve ever come before. When I kiss her lips, they are soft like the velvet lining of her ears, the corners of her armpits, the edges of her spindly arms. She tastes like summer and sugar and youth swept up on a wooden spool made up of cotton candy. I want her to melt in my mouth and stain my teeth with pink sweetness, hoping that the aftertaste never fades and repenting when it does.
It happened once, and then twice, and then three times, and four, then five — are we now on six? Every-time I see her outside the confinements of my bedroom walls I marvel at how such a perfect human being waltzed into my life and landed within my arms. We laugh, in our secrecy, in our silence, wondering what the others would say-our family, our friends, our ex-boyfriends, and our current lovers.
We are expected to march hand-in-hand together against the plight of mankind, towards the coveted chapel to marry him not her. We are told that we’d make wonderful maid’s-of-honour, we’ll grow old together and continue to laugh at our own jokes before joining our husband’s. We’ll travel the world, alone or together, and tell stories to our grandchildren of the adventures we once had. But not this adventure, not this classified piece of information that we’d signed off on. To utter a word was to breach the contract of our Terms and Conditions, and we’d sealed that promise with a chorus of moans.
For the first time, I feel like I don’t need anybody else. I want her, I need her, I can’t envision my life without her. I didn’t realize I was gay until I fell into bed with my own best-friend. But whilst for her this is a college experiment, a story that will gain the attention of her future high-society tea-drinking friends — I feel it seeping through my bones. The desire, the perpetual need, the anguish and turmoil, the yearning and the want, and the things that go left unsaid.