He Asks What I Write: I Write Short Stories

Open Letter

*

He asks what I write and I tell him, “short stories.”

But the stories are not short.

Not unless you want them to be.

Not unless I have a heart attack soon and die.

Not unless you just stop reading.

I have only ever had but one story to tell.

The periods are just for breathing.  Your ears, like cholesterol, inside my pounding heart.

You tell me it’s okay to relax, I laugh and say, “comma down.”

 

I Let This Ruin Us

*

I do not say anything.  I let this ruin us.  

I was turning 33, having finished my master’s degree and recently returned home to Vancouver, and he was 35, the only man I had ever loved.  We had broken up four years prior but so much had not changed.

When he asked me to come down to see him for my birthday, (or else he could come up and see me?), I had agreed.  He was the only one I wanted to spend my birthday with: reliable, loving, fun.

I had just been dumped by a 22 year old after only two dates for someone he “had a better connection with”.

*

We had Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits for dinner.  When he had asked what I wanted for dinner, he added, “Whatever you want” and I thought long and hard.  I was on a diet.  I was always on a diet.  But birthdays are automatic ‘cheat days’, those are just the rules.  It took an hour to drive there, and an hour back.  When we kissed after ordering, the girl at the counter cooed.  My cheeks were starting to hurt from smiling.

We laughed till we didn’t need to do sit ups.  He kissed my neck.  We drove home with our food and our laughter and our happiness.  He shared his fries.  He gave me his biscuit.  His love was heavy with generosity.  We watched the hobbit.

“Is it better than the first one?”

“Way better!”

And it was.

*

I don’t know how to say I think this love might be hurting me.  I don’t know how to say that I might have been wrong before, that maybe my heart isn’t big enough to hold all the caring, that maybe my heart doesn’t have room for all the men.  I am a writer who is speechless.  I can’t say that I might not want him inside me, that it’s not so simple, that I’m confused about how I feel.  I think this extended love might be fucking me up.  This fucking might be damaging my good parts.  I don’t know how to say it because I let it happen.

*

“Get on top for a bit,” he says.

I don’t want to.  It hurts my knees.  I’ve told him I don’t like to be on top.  Why can’t anyone hear me?  I say things and no one sees me.  I’m spiralling.

I get on top, but I don’t want to.  I’m not in this place anymore.  It hurts because we’ve been fucking too long.  Or because my vagina is saying what I can’t.  Or because it hurts my knees.  My mouth feels dry.  Why can’t I say anything?  Why won’t you say anything?!

*

I used to write that we had duct tape love.  That our love would fix anything, hold it all together; our love was makeshift and beautiful.  But now I have stuffed my face with gauze, put duct tape across my lips; I am silencing myself for this love.  This is not love.  This is love.  I can’t see straight anymore.  It’s not so easy.

“Get on top, it feels so good,” he says and kisses me.  “You feel so amazing.”  And he means it.  It would kill him to know he was hurting me this way.  It would kill him.  It would kill him.  It would kill him.

It probably wouldn’t kill him.  I am not so special.  Why don’t I say anything?

I smile.  I try not to cry.  It’ll be over soon.  And then I almost vomit because of how much this sounds like rape.  But I haven’t said anything to him, I am the only one who knows I don’t want this.  I am the only one who knows that I am conflicted, that this doesn’t feel right anymore.  I am the only.  I am the only one.  Only one.  I am alone. My heart is tight.

Say something I scream inside my head.  Say anything.  Say no.  Say stopJust get off him.  He’ll plead; he’ll cajole.  He’ll say, “but you feel so good, you feel so great.”  He’ll try to convince me with compliments my ego doesn’t care about.  He doesn’t know that you’re falling apart inside.  He doesn’t know that you’re shedding layers with every thrust.  He doesn’t know.  He doesn’t know.  You have to tell him.  You have to say something.  But, it’s my birthday and it’ll be okay, I think.  He already made me cum and I can’t leave him hanging and I love him.  I will always love him.

I do not say anything.  I let this ruin us.

*

Later, after he finished, and we snuggled, my head on his chest, his arms cradling me, I turned over in the darkness and cried.  At first, the tears streamed slow and quiet towards the pillow, but I am an emotional volcano, and I could not control it.

I cried because I fucked him past when I wanted to.  I cried because sometimes when I’m with him I can’t help but think of other men that I am dating, have dated, will date, and that makes everything feel so very complicated.  My mind never stops.

I cried because I thought my heart was big enough to hold everybody, but my arms are getting tired, and I don’t know how to say that maybe I was wrong.  I don’t know how to say that I am terrified about what life will be like if I am horribly wrong about how much space there is in my heart.  I cried because I don’t know if I want him like this anymore.

Everything feels so cramped and crowded.  I am heavy with diamond problems.  It’s hard to complain at the bank.

*

I do not say anything.  I let this ruin us.

*

The next morning he made me breakfast in bed, having already gone shopping for all my favourites.  He made me coffee because the last time I had visited we fought over coffee.  He didn’t understand how it was an addiction.  He didn’t understand how it was important.  I had thought it meant he didn’t understand me.  My friends said coffee was not such a big deal.  I said that after 40 years, arguing over coffee might start to wear on you.

My friends said that I am lucky to have such love.

It was hard to complain about coffee when he had paid to fly me home from Montreal for a visit.  He had paid to fly me across the country and I was complaining about coffee.

Ungrateful.  Ungrateful.  Selfish selfish selfish little…

*

I don’t know how to extricate myself from this love.

Fermented


He kisses my neck and recoils.

“Lotion?” he asks and I shake my head.

“No,” I say.  “I’m just sad, but this bitterness is spreading.”

“Spoiled?”

“Like fruit that’s been bitten through by bugs, rotting from the inside out.  Unsalvagable.”

“Alcohol?” he asks, looking for a silver lining.  He reaches across the table for my hand.

“Vinegar,” I correct and get up from the table, remove his fingers from their grasp upon mine, go over to the fridge.  Stand mostly naked in front of its light.  Breasts sagging, hair wilting.

The stamina of yogurt is beyond me.

Wonder how long it takes to make sauerkraut from scratch.  Wonder how long it takes to give up.  Wonder what we’re going to make for dinner.

The kitchen fan doesn’t work right.  I open the window even though we don’t have a screen.  Summer doesn’t seem as fun as it used to when I was lovable and the bills were paid on time.

“Want to order in?”

One more bad decision for the road.

Relax, It’s Just Dating

It's Just Dating

The reason I have to ask every guy I talk with online, “so, what are you looking for on here?” is because most people are incredibly stupid dating websites make things incredibly difficult.  In some areas, they offer too much specificity, in other areas, not nearly enough.  For example, I’m still waiting for Plenty of Fish to get back to me about what exactly the difference is between these dating intents.


FYI, there is no difference.  These two things mean the same thing and whatever distinction could be made between the two is so complex and intricate that it could only be clarified with further discussion between the two people involved.  So, honestly, what are you even doing Plenty of Fish??

And yet, as hard as I am on Plenty of Fish, I understand the impetus.  Because most people are ridiculous haven’t put much thought into this, they have a ridiculous understanding of what dating is.  And that’s where I come in, to break it down, real quick.

Why do we demand specificity from water (lake, ocean, sea, river, stream, brook, rapids, waterfall, rain, snow, sleet, hail, etc.) and yet expect the word “Dating” to encompass everything (and by doing so, use it incorrectly).

Dating does not signify commitment.  That’s what words like “relationship” and “boyfriend/girlfriend” and “significant other” and well, to restate the obvious, “committed” are for.

Dating is not sex.  Don’t make me have a correlation/causation discussion with you folks.  While they’re not mutually exclusive, they’re also not mutually inclusive.  You can have dating without sex.  You can have sex without dating.  If you’re just speaking about sex, use your words timmy.  This is when words like “casual sex” and “no strings attached” and “booty call” and “fuck buddy” and “random” and “strange” and “one night stand” or “hook up” should be used.

Dating is not friendship.  You could make the argument that friendship can form out of dating or that two friends could go on a date but the difference is essentially attraction and intent.  So if you’re looking for a pool-shooting-buddy, be clear.  You’re looking for a friend.  If you’re looking for a pool-shooting-buddy that’ll feel you up against the felt?  Well shit.  That’s dating.

And I know some of you might be sitting there reading this thinking why does it matter?  Let me tell you.  So so so so so so much of the hassle and irritation and fucking mind boggling rage surrounding Sex, Dating, Relationships and anything in between is caused by misinterpretations, misunderstandings or any other way to say getting-shit-wrong.  If we can eliminate the confusion, if we can eliminate even just the tiniest bit of the frustration involved, then I’m one step closer to making the world a happier, healthier, more realistic and logical, yet awesome and amazing place.

So the next time a woman says “this guy I’m dating” don’t go putting all your assumptions on her.  Either ask.  Or assume the very minimum that the word entails.  She has gone on a date with a guy.  She has gone on more than one date with a guy.  She expects she might go on a date with a guy again.  There is no reference to commitment   There is no reference to sex.  There is no mention of buddies.  Take her at her word (literally the one she used) and not one that is about to buckle under all the cultural bullshit pulled up on it.

Because the thing is, no one freaks out when I say that I’m running.  They assume it means that I like to run, that I will go running, that I might be running at that exact moment.  No sane person assumes anything else about my running based on my statement.  I say, “I like running,” and they say, “great”.  No one makes me clarify if this is a lifelong pursuit, if I will ever stop running, if I am willing to run with one or several other people. Dating (and most other words) should be treated the same.

And fyi, daters.  It’s pretty pathetic when a person is so terrified of the world as to be afraid to make the claim that she/he is looking for dating and quite frankly, it’s embarrassing every time I have to explain it to one of you that, in fact, you are not looking for “friendship and let’s just see what happens”, you are looking for dating.  Quit being such a fucking baby.

Feminism: It’s Not All About You




I just want you to think about the place that you’re coming from when you shirk the idea that you could be a feminist.  Think about the privilege of your life.

Where you were born.  Who you were born to.  The time in which you lived.  The freedoms that you have.

Someone fought for those.  Someone stood up and said WE…WE WILL TAKE NO MORE OF THIS!  Someone stood up for you.  And now here you sit…just sitting.  Because you don’t want to claim the notion that women should be treated equally to all others.  Because you’re afraid of the backlash.  Because you don’t want to be labelled, or pigeon-holed, or put in a box.  Sitting.

If during my childhood there had come a point where my education was not on par with others, say for example I couldn’t read, I would’ve stood up and said, “someone must teach me!” because I always knew that everyone deserves to be educated.  Imagine living in a world where you didn’t know this?  How do you ask for a thing you don’t know you should have?

(now admittedly, I didn’t learn fractions in grade six or whenever you were supposed to and I didn’t mention it, really, until high school, mostly because I was still able to coast on by with what knowledge I already had.  Nonetheless, I eventually learned because I eventually knew that I was missing out, I was being given a less than education by skating by.  And so I told my father and he taught me math.  At night, after he’d get home from work, my Dad and I would sit around the kitchen table and he would teach me the math I hadn’t learned.  My father taught me math because he couldn’t imagine a world where he wouldn’t want his daughter to have every opportunity and advantage and chance at success and happiness.  My father couldn’t imagine a world where I wasn’t capable and deserving of anything and everything.)

So, what if you had been born with shitty parents, or parents’ whose religion or customs or even just their view of the world said that you were less than, that you should be docile and subservient?  What if you had been born in a country where they refused to educate you?  Or what if your parents wanted the very best for you but lacked the economic stability to open doors and possibilities?  What if you were a woman of colour, a woman outside of heteronormativity, a woman on the edge?  What if your parents were too absent, or too poor, or too judgmental, or too busy just trying to keep you and them alive?  What if your parents just honestly didn’t know better?

Who would stand up for you?

Take a step back from the luxury and freedom of your life (even on the days when it doesn’t feel that way at all) and think about all the people who risked everything for you and how little you’re currently willing to risk for others.  If you want to call yourself a humanist, fine…great.  But at the very least consider what that really means and who exactly, are these said humans, you want to help.

And honestly, that fear, that knee jerk reaction not to claim feminism, not to say that you would do everything in your power to help other struggling women is the very reason we need feminism in the first place.

[I admit my ignorance here where I’m not entirely sure how and when to say *Trigger Warning* but I have a feeling this might be the moment…so…this is me saying it…and if I’m using it wrong send me a message and let me know, please]

And if I still haven’t convinced you that you should stand up for women around the world, women who came before and those who will come after you, please know this – in North America, that’s right, in our oh so civilized and privileged little section of the globe – there is such a thing as a viral rape video.  A video of a girl(s, and this really does have to be pluralized now) being raped by, often soon to be, if not already, college educated privileged young men* is not only a thing that can happen but a thing that can go viral (*this is a statistical thing but education is obviously not a requirement…though it is terrifyingly not an across the board deterrent either).

Take just a tiny moment to think of all the steps that make that possible.

1.  A girl is raped.

2.  More than one person is present for the rape (unless the rapist is filming it himself which seems rare)

3.  One or more of those people then uploads the video to the internet or sends it via their phone or email to someone else.  Think about the thought process that this entails.  Not only does this mean two disgusting horrible humans exist that would rape someone but they are the kind of garbage that believe others will take pleasure in seeing this terrible act.

4.  They are right.  Take a moment with that one.  No, seriously.  This scum of the fucking earth believes that others want to view the torture they inflict…and they are right. 

5.  Because after all, without number 4…there can be no viral nature to this horror.

6.  Whoever they send the video to, or whoever gains access to it, feels the same as the rapists and the sharing continues and continues from person to person to person until the video can be deemed to have gone viral.

7.  Beyond the absolute human garbage that is the rapists and their propagators, it’s worth noting that all this sharing goes on without any real fear of repercussions.  The rapists are not afraid to be caught (or they wouldn’t share, and presumably wouldn’t rape).  The people who view and share the video are not afraid to be witnessing said crime and doing nothing.  There is no fear present at all (except of course for the victim whose life has not only been traumatized) and presumably every woman everywhere (since the likelihood that something similar will happen in her lifetime is DEVASTATINGLY HIGH!).

8.  If the rapist(s) and his/their filmography companions are ever caught, the punishment is often surprisingly small.  And more often than not it only follows after a hard fought battle which usually involves a ton of victim blaming, excuse making, and all out insanity.

Now, ask yourself again if you can really bear to stay seated when there is a world of women who need you?

The next time you are certain that women have equality, maybe just consider for a moment that we live in a country(ies) where a video of a girl being raped can become so popular that it goes viral.

It matters that you stand up.  And if you’re not strong enough to stand up on your own, come stand by me, and I will help to brace you.

Fat Like Me

Cotton Candy



Fat, I say.  In public.  Online.  Can you even believe the fucking audacity of giving myself an accurate description??

What follows is always so predictable.  A flood of misguided compliments, and you aggressively imposing yourself onto me.

Stop it,” you say.  ”You’re beautiful.”

Hush now,” you say.  ”You’re amazing and wonderful.”

No more of this,” you say, trying to sew my lips closed.  ”We love you.”

And I can’t help but think:  Yeah…no shit…I’m adorable as fuck!  I never said I wasn’t.  I never said anything about beauty or likeability or whatever else it is that you think you’re saving me from.

All I said was that I was fat (the definition, if I’m not mistaken, means that I’m full of fat, that I’m with the fatness, that this body or its parts contain fat, likely a larger volume than average).

When I say that my hair is brown, nobody freaks the fuck out like I just discovered I was a horrible human being.  So when I note my bulging belly, my fat frame, why do you feel the need to shush and stop me?

Does my voice scare you as much as my thighs?  Which btw ARE fat.  Fatty fatty fat fat.  But, and here’s the point I think that you’re missing, fat doesn’t mean ugly.  That’s all in your head (and in the media, etc.).

And look, I’m sorry that you see things that way; I’m sorry that you’re probably terrified of it; I’m sorry that you fear a body that could disgust you.  But that’s not me, and it’d be real swell if you could stop imposing your shit on me every time I give an accurate description of myself.

Because when you respond to “I’m fat” like I just said I was worthless, you are essentially saying that because I’m fat, you think I’m worthless.

The truth is I just want to live in a world of honesty.  And the honest truth is that I am fat.  I’m beautiful.  I’m talented.  I’m hardworking and well loved.  I’m kind and funny and highly educated (this sentence structure style to the contrary).  Sometimes, I’m also an asshole.  I can be a real dick.  I pout and I cry and I’m a hypochondriac (though I recently diagnosed myself correctly on WebMD so assuming I don’t die immediately I’ll start seeing patients next week).  I’m a human being: good, bad, and everything in between.  And I just want to be able to talk about myself, exactly as I am, without you trying toquiet down my experience, my reality, because of the issues that you have with the words I use.

I’m tired of having to tone myself down for you.

I’m tired of having to refer to myself as a “curvy” girl.  (I do that.  Throw in words like curvy because that’s what they call it.  That’s how they like to describe it but it’s not my word.  I would say fat.  Big and fat.  But they don’t like that).

I’m tired of changing for you.

My fatness isn’t yours to control.  My words aren’t yours to soften.  My frame isn’t yours to contain.

Say FRIENDZONED Again. I Dare You.

Heart

Say FRIENDZONED again.  I dare you.

Say it like it’s the worst thing that could ever happen to you, that I might open my heart and not my legs.

Say it like I owe you something, like this world took too much from you and I am a part of the repayment plan.

Put a value on my smile.

Assign my hips a scale.

Hug me, but only if you’re hiding a boner.

Say FRIENDZONED like a campaign slogan, hold the antagonism high above your head, an evil you’re working against.

Make sure you’re feeling elitist though, as if the impetus that tells you I’m worthless unless we’re fucking isn’t the same impetus of rapists.

Don’t rest your chair so high.  The pants you wear are a common size.

Say it to my face so I hear it.  So I get to see who you really are.

Say I already have enough friends only minutes after cooing compliments in my ear.

Say I really want you.  I think you’re amazing.  A real cool chick.  I want to put my face in your lap for hours.

Say But it’s whatever you want, I’m cool if we’re just friends.  We can just write jokes together and hang out.  No pressure.  I want you, but it’s cool if we’re just friends.

And then I say the words.  I think we should just be friends, for now.  I don’t have to add the for now, you don’t own my heart and my desire and my future.  But I say it anyway because in this one scenario, this one time, there is possibility.  You came back into my life after being away for too long and I just need a fucking minute to acclimate.  So I say the words you offer, as a pause point, a breather I need to take.

No sooner are the words off my lips then you’re chugging back your beer and holding out a twenty thinking it chivalrous to shuffle me home in a cab.  I have enough friends you spit like an accusation.  You are not a gentleman, you are a monster.

Call the next day to apologize.  Call everyday for a week.  Never leave a message.  Text to ask if I’ll only just listen to your apology, hear the pain in your voice.  It doesn’t much matter now, I have seen who you are.

So go ahead and say it.  FRIENDZONED.  (as I slide all your options off the table)

An Open Letter to All the Mr. [something big and important, probably married]s, Regarding Your Emails

Open Letter

Thanks for the email, but you don’t have to be embarassed by my sexuality.  I know you feel the need to save your praises for private because you’re a big shot/celebrity/lawyer/news anchor/executive something/father, or whatever other identifier raises your importance above mine, but there’s really no need to worry.

I am not a predator, try not to think yourself so persecuted.

I know I wrote a piece about sexuality and inequality and my broken disappointed heart and used words like pussy and dick (and maybe next time I won’t stop short of using anal), but those are not things to be ashamed of.  I am sorry you feel the need to read my words with the lights out.

Maybe you want to hide in the privacy because single girls have been known to wander (this is a warning from your mother) but I am not here to scandalize you.

You don’t have to be ashamed to spread my words (which are not my legs), or to be seen talking to me.  After all, your intentions are entirely innocent, no?

So while I appreciate the email, about how much you enjoyed my writing, you should have just ended it there.  It’s flattering to know that my appearance pleases you and how you think I’m going to find a great guy some day, but you should know that I have already found one.  Several actually.  And that my having of them probably won’t fit with your idea of how my life should be.  But that’s not my problem (and I’m not even entirely clear on why it’s yours).

I don’t want to get married.

I don’t want to find the one.

I want the many.

I want to hear a hundred stories.  I want to lay down with men who change the composition of my surroundings.  I want to know the world.  I am greedy but not selfish.  I want more than my hands can hold, and so I stand facing it all with open fingers.  I want to kiss and laugh and love and fuck and be my true self and rip my heart open and spill it on the floor for all to see.

I don’t want a gated community, a picket fence, a sofa to sink into.  It is already hard enough to stand up tall everyday, I don’t need more things hemming me in.

So, thanks for the email, but it’s not necessary.

You see, I don’t need you to save me.  And I know for sure that I cannot save you.

I know I posted that thing about the boy who reacted poorly to my large frame and the things about men who try to woo me with discussions of my body.  I know I got angry and frustrated and lost faith in humanity for a second but I’m only human.  I am an elastic woman and likely to bounce back.

So, I know you got to see the flaws and the heartache and the sadness, and maybe that stirred something in you but none of these things mean I need you to save me.  They are not about you.  You already chose your life and this private weirdness that you’re creating with your power and your secrecy is affecting my balance (so you should stop).

I’m standing up here, spine only partially made of jelly.  Mostly strong enough and not nearly as alone as you might think (and frankly, my friends and family all feel a little jilted that you’ve minimized their roles so emphatically in my life as to think that one singular man could replace them entirely).

So thanks for the email, but your secrecy has splinters.

Words that should be innocent enough off the tongue, show up dressed in your issues and your shame and your inadequacies.  Your email is a time bomb and frankly, sir, I don’t need your bullshit.

So unless you’re ready to stand up tall and stop acting like my sexuality is an affront to your marriage, your personhood, and your fucking existence…unless you’re ready to stop pretending that my comfort and expression is a threat to your way of being…unless you’re ready to stop imposing your danger onto me…

I would just as soon prefer that you kept your praises in your pockets and your heavy words out of my box.

Little Deaths

Little Deaths

He cums and you don’t.  But it feels good when he’s kissing you, and you want him and he wants you and it’s this thing you both want.  But then he cums and you don’t.  And maybe it doesn’t bother you right away, not at first.  Because it was hot, the fact that you made him cum (though later you’ll find out he cums for other girls and porn and a bottle of lotion and the idea of almost any girl ever eating a banana slowly).  And so it turns out you’re less of a wizard than a receptacle and isn’t that just the grossest way you’ve ever thought about your vagina and your body.  You don’t want to be a receptacle.  And maybe you’d feel less like one if he was bothered by the fact that you didn’t cum.

I hear you say the sex was great, the sex is amazing.

Do you cum every time I ask and you pause.

Well, no.

Then what the fuck are you talking about, trying to convince me that just smelling a cheeseburger is enough to make you feel full for the week and you don’t even seen the insanity of it.

And maybe I could get on board with the whole it’s the journey not the destination (relax, I said maybe).  Except he’s always cumming.  He’s cumming everytime.  And there’s all these excuses like it’s harder for women and we’re more complex and you’re goddamn right it is and all the more reason to pay extra attention to it.  Because at what point are we just saying that we love watching a man eat steak while we only ever get to think about how great it would taste.

They used to call orgasms “little deaths” which didn’t make that much sense to me, masturbating to my imagination’s content as a teenager.

But every time I hear girls talk about sex like their orgasms don’t matter I die a little inside.  So I kind of get it now.

A Story of Depravity from the Heart of New Orleans

Live. Nude. Girls.

 

I’m struggling with how I should begin this story. “Once upon a time” just doesn’t seem like the right fit for a tale that for the most part, takes place in a strip club. I’ll just start. I’ve traveled to New Orleans six separate times, and not once was it ever for business. I love the city. Not enough to live there or even stay more than a week. New Orleans just seems confused about who it is. There’s so much history and culture, but it’s also coated with a thick layer of street-urine and bad decisions. It’s the equivalent of someone smearing vomit all over the Mona Lisa.

I’m going to tell you about an experience that occurred the second time I went to Mardi Gras. The following takes place on the morning of the second day. Day one was predominately spent travel-drinking and acclimating ourselves to the swampy air of Louisiana. There were three of us. To protect their future relationships and dignity, I will refer to the other two members of the group using nicknames I’ve assigned them. The group included me, Baby Belly, and Sleaze.

We awoke on day two well rested, and immediately greeted the day by chasing rum & cokes with shots of tequila. Both of which we had purchased the night before. It’s important to note that in New Orleans, you can buy alcohol anywhere; gas stations, Walgreens, Ikea… anywhere. After several drinks, and a hearty breakfast of Cool Ranch Doritos and Skittles, we decided to make our way out into the world. What was there to do at eleven o’clock in the morning though? We were far too depraved for the usual “sight-seeing.” Baby Belly had the idea of going to a strip club. I found myself oddly drawn to this idea. Maybe out of morbid curiosity, maybe because I was still half asleep. What does a strip club look like this early in the morning? Is there a sense of ‘seeing behind the curtain’? Is it weird, like riding in the front seat of your own car? Little did I know that this seed of an idea would grow into a mighty oak of “what the fuck were we thinking?” We took our drinks and made our way to Bourbon Street.

The three of us sauntered into the first strip club we saw, like we had a groupon. As if the universe was winking at us, there also happened to be exactly three strippers working. Not 2. Not 4. But 3. Although, one of them was just playing bar games like she hadn’t had her coffee yet.

[On a side note, I don’t know what strippers prefer to be called. Referring to them as “dancers” seems misleading. That would be like calling a kidnapper a “child care provider.”]

So we sit down, and the other two girls started to cautiously walk over like wild raccoons being hand-fed by humans for the first time. They finally made it over, and things went as well as can be expected. I started constructing a Temple of Doom replica out of singles on one of the their asses, as I am known to do. At which point the stripper turned around and yelled “Don’t stick no dollars in my pussy!” I remember it distinctly because it’s the only time anyone has ever said that to me, let alone yelled it at me. Apparently, I look like a person who goes around sticking currency into people’s orifices like some kind of reverse ATM. I almost had time to be offended before I heard “Ahh! He bit my fucking titty!”

Turns out, Sleaze had paid for a private dance. But since we were the only ones there, instead of taking him to one of the back rooms that every strip club designates for these occasions, she was dancing for him right there in the bar where we were sitting. Apparently he had gotten drunk enough to think that a stripper was showing him affection for any reason other than money. Rather than flirting or asking her out, he took the warp-tube straight to level eight and sampled a chunk of her breast. Luckily it wasn’t hard enough to leave evidence or anything, so we were simply asked to leave by the lone bouncer who was working. The club was so dark and the sun shone so brightly that once we got out the doors, it felt like I was stumbling out of a cave to see the world for the first time. In what would simultaneously become one of my proudest and least proud moments, I was escorted out of a New Orleans strip club at one o’clock in the afternoon, which was perfect because it was time for lunch.