update: I found this quote that I feel goes well with this particular post . . . .
"I wanted so badly to lie down next to her
on the couch, to wrap my arms around her
and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies.
Not even have sex. Just sleep together, in
the most innocent sense of the phrase."
- John Green, Looking For Alaska
Having been a part of many discussions in which a group of guys talk about getting laid, going down on girls, jerking off and how well a girl, based on physical appearance alone, rates on a scale from 1-10, I have, what I believe to be, a fairly accurate grasp on the average conversation held between males of a certain age. None of these guys are degenerates. Nor are they incapable of surpassing a 6th grade maturity level. We're just guys and more times than not, these are the things we talk about. Our desires and our needs. Or at least what we want our male comrades to believe our desires and needs are...
(And just so there's no confusion, I don't think women are any different)
I had planned to have coffee with an old friend recently. He and I met at a Flaming Lips concert back in 2000, pre-Yoshimi and we bonded. Moments like that are rare and I've always been a believer in not turning a blind eye to that sort of thing. I once made an exception for a taco truck worker who had a lot to say about the various ways to prepare guacamole. Bonding, as it may have been, it felt a little too one-sided for me to take very seriously.
Anyway, my friend. His name is Josh. He's about a head taller than me and sports a patchy beard. From a distance you can't see the patchiness and it looks pretty good on him. Within 15 feet however, it takes everything inside a person to resist tying him down and shaving it yourself. Another vital characteristic of Josh is that he is always, always, always, (or at least every time I've seen him,) wearing a bandana that's tied around his bigger than average forehead. I've never been to his home but I imagine him to have a cardboard box over-flowing with bandanas of all sizes and colors. He says he sweats a lot but I think he's just ashamed of his hairline or something like that.
Josh and I's relationship was born from drugs. We were both high out of our minds when we met. The Lips were starting to play "Kim's Watermelon Gun." Wayne Coyne had these fake pistols that were 10x larger than your average handgun. At the right point in the song, when the guitars burst in, he pointed the guns in the air and fired them. They were filled with confetti. So much confetti in fact that it seemed as if there was a confetti hose or something attached to it that led to a never ending confetti supply. As I watched the confetti sway and flow through the air, some of it falling and some of it rising, I began following one specific piece of it. It was red. It kept falling and rising and falling and rising. It started making its way towards me. As it got closer and closer, I could feel my hand rising without me actually controlling it. I stood in awe as this red piece of confetti landed right into the palm of my hand. I was amazed and I needed to tell someone right away. I turned to the person directly to my left.
"I just summoned this!" I said. "I focussed on it and I willed into my hand!"
Josh turned to me very slowly, eyes wide and mouth agape.
"Really?" he said. "Can you teach me?"
After several wasted hours of trying to coerce a piece of green tissue paper into this new stranger's hand and having no success, our highs slowly faded away and we lost all of our motivation to use the force. We separately enjoyed the rest of the show but ran into each other on the way out. We had a few drinks and talked about women and music. He was the most open person I had ever met and completely void of any self consciousness. I admired that. It was something I didn't get a lot of. I have really good friends that do a lot of talking but from time to time I can't help but think that they are full of bullshit. Not Josh. He voiced all of his strong points and voiced them with great pride and conviction but on the other hand, he wasn't afraid to admit his weaknesses either.
It's been a couple of years since I've seen him but we talk now and then on the phone and the internet and what not. He's gotten married and has a little girl named Aster. His wife's name is Sheila but I have yet to meet her. She seems nice, though. Her and Josh met a few years back in Albuquerque. He had moved there about a year prior for a job. I think as a file clerk or something like that. I forget. Anyway, they met at a diner that Sheila was waitressing at. I guess Josh had made a point to frequent the same diner and was enamored by her. He went often enough to figure out her work schedule and then only went during those chunks of time. Sheila had noticed his eyes quickly reverting back to his stack of flapjacks anytime she made eye contact with him and after seeing him over and over again she believed it would be just a matter of time before he left her a phone number on a napkin or asked her when she got off so he could take her to a movie. Months passed, however and Josh never made his move. Fed up with the charade, Sheila took matters into her own hands. One day, Josh came in as usual and upon receiving his check there was an additional note written on the back of a receipt with a phone number and a message below it.
So he did and then it obviously all worked out.
We met up at a place called Cafe Crumpet. I like the music there. I got there what I thought would be 10 minutes early but was surprised to see, however, that Josh was already there. He sat on the front patio smoking a cigarette and seemingly taking great interest in the smoke ribbons that emitted from the tip. I sat down and we did our standard "good to see you, how are you?" banter. After all the bullshit was out of the way and after a painfully long conversation about his daughter's adorable attempts to say things like the alphabet or count to ten, we got on the inevitable subject of women. I briefly outlined my pathetic excuse for a sex life which didn't garner much further conversation. Eventually I handed the conversation to Josh by asking what it was like to be married. As far as sex goes. How often? Does it get old? What it like after Aster was born? He gave fairly general answers. Nothing short of what I had expected. He then suddenly changed his tone of voice and turned to me and he looked very serious.
"Best sex I ever had was with that woman, man," he said. " And my dick was never inside of her."
I had to remain staring at him a moment after he finished saying this just to make sure he didn't start laughing. He didn't.
"What? What do you mean? How is that possible?"
"That's what I'm saying, man! This woman has opened my eyes to what love making really is."
"Elaborate then," I said.
He then went on and did just that. Again, being one of the most honest and open people I have met, we began telling me that over the past few years he's developed some issues with his shit. There are often times he can't get it up and when he does, he's sometimes prematurely ejaculates. He explains how much it had effected his love life. There was a short period of time where he and Sheila were on the outs because of it. He was depressed and she didn't know how to help. So one night they decided to do some ecstasy together. Sheila had never done it and having explained how amazing the effects were, Josh had finally talked her into it. They felt it would be a nice break from the gloom that seemed to be a constant third wheel in their relationship. This was all before Aster was even a thought.
The night they did it they started out just sitting on the couch like normal, having a normal conversation. She rested her head on his leg while he caressed her shoulder. Before too long, their conversation began to dull down but their hands began getting busy on each other's skin. After a while of this, Josh suggested that they take a shower. It was a lot more of just touching each other and appreciating each other's beautiful figures; feeling all of the bumps and grooves and not letting an inch of each other's bodies go unappreciated. After the shower, they didn't bother getting dressed. They listened to music while still touching each other. Completely naked and high on ecstasy.
At this point in the story I felt inclined to interject. The guy I'd met at a Flaming Lips show years ago would not have been able to restrain himself.
"So were you trying to get laid? Was she just not having it? Or was it an erection problem."
"None of it. I was more than happy to be doing what we were doing. That moment felt more real than any other encounter I've ever had with any other woman and I could have done it forever."
Unfortunately for him, the drugs do wear off and the touching and exploring had eventually come to a close. Finally, Sheila began making more sexual moves making her intentions quite obvious. At that point what man could resist, right?
"No man. We didn't do it," he said. "I picked her up and I carried her to our bed and I told her that I love her. I told her that nothing would make me happier right now than to just lay here and be naked with her."
"Seriously? Was it maybe just the drugs talking?"
"Not at all. I just realized that something as simple as that can bring me just as much pleasure...if not more."
We parted ways after a few more conversations ranging from skin diseases to Geena Davis's mole but he left me with something to ponder. I'd never just lain naked with a woman just for the sake of lying there naked. I could see the appeal but could I ever be more satisfied with it than the actual act of sex? I imagined the next time I find myself in a group of guys discussing their latest hookup stories and their fantasies. I wonder what would happen If I tell them a story about a girl I'd picked up from the bar. After convincing her to come back to my place, we got naked and laid under the covers. All. Night. Long. I don't feel like it would go well but the more I thought about it, the more appealing the whole thing seemed to be. I determined that I would just keep this one to myself. Because that's what we do. We say what we think we're supposed to have on our minds. And that's fine. That's how things work. Why upset the natural order of things.
What's a person without their secrets?
A person with no secrets is what they are. And that's boring.