I’ve been unfair to you, she said. He paused the movie.
I shouldn’t even tell you this but I forgot my texts come to that fucking thing.
Well I didn’t look. But now you better tell me.
It might hurt you.
It’ll hurt me a lot more if I don’t know what it is.
I’m seeing other people.
Judah made Youtube videos. He ate unusual flavors of Japanese potato chips and commented on them. They had over 300,000 views. His parents had money.
No. I mean… maybe. I might see Judah again. But different guys.
Where are they from, he asked. Thinking: OKCupid. That shit is a gun in your house. You think it’ll save you but it gets used against you.
Friends of friends.
He’d met her friends. They owned homes and bought new custom sofas. The women looked good for their age and talked about men like dialogue from romantic comedies. The word “dealbreaker” was used. The men were Vice Presidents of Licensing Sufjan Stevens Music for Volkswagen. When he was with them he felt like he was in an ad in a design magazine.
Why do you have to see other men.
Do you want me not to?
Yes. Don’t go.
I can’t. I have to.
Because I like you, but I can’t date you.
He would have asked why, but he knew. She’d been his first date since he stopped drinking. His first normal person. She was Senior Vice President of Sufjan Stevens. She was 32. She needed to get married. The more time passed the more her children might be retarded. Her job was her life and her friends were job friends and she couldn’t bring him around. They had houses and were half famous. He had nothing and he was nothing.
If you’re gonna go, you’re gonna go. To be honest, I’m not threatened by these guys. We both know they’ll be dorks.
And what if they’re not, he thought. What if they’re tall, what if they’re funny, what if they’re Disney Channel handsome. What if they take you skydiving. I could never take you skydiving. Why do you have to take this thing we have and kill it. Just let it have its time. Yes, you need to marry some dork. But why now, why now, when I have dreams about the smell of your fucking hair. I don’t want to lose you, he thought. I don’t want to lose you. He didn’t say it.
In the morning he edited his OKCupid profile. Changed from “seeing someone” to “single.” His face would appear in a column of updates for age-appropriate women when they signed in. So and so answered a match question. He said yes, consent is sexy. So and so added a photo. Lit from the side this time like the internet told him. And him. “I’m single now!”
I’m single now.
He looked for women aged 18-22 and scrolled down to their “looking for” age range. If they weren’t ugly and they weren’t stupid and they said they’d date over 30 he hit Control-V and sent a message.
I want to go out with you.
How about it.
No question mark. A question mark makes the reader hear an upturn in pitch. This connotes weakness.
There were 5 of them out of 20 he looked at. It was enough. Like the world, OKCupid was 90 per cent men. But most of them were stupid and boring and not over six feet tall. And they smelled like need. He thought the idea of God was ridiculous but he believed that women could smell pheromones through phones and computers. That if he sent the exact same words but didn’t get laid the night before they could tell. Therefore it was important that he message girls today. The shot clock had been reset.
I think we’ll have fun,
one of them said back.
They were at El Prado. He had mineral water. She had high alcohol content ale. She was maybe 90 lbs, Chinese and 22. So this could happen, he thought. He asked: how was your day.
To be honest, I just got out of jail.
Well it’s settled, he thought.
He liked her. She was a painter and she went to jail for stealing paint. A tube of cobalt blue costs $65 apparently. She’d had to spread her vagina and ass in a cold auditorium while sheriff’s deputies searched for needles. At some point a busload of black male inmates got carted in and started yelling at her, told her hey ninja I’m a eat that sideways pussy. Every other woman was menstruating. The jail toilet was clogged and walled in by a mountain of bloody pads. When the trustee came around with more pads she said no and got yelled at. People keep them as toilet seat cushions. You don’t say no to anything. If you don’t want Kool Aid, you keep it to trade. They mix it with vaseline and make lipstick. I never hated women before but I don’t understand them now, she said. Who the fuck are you wearing lipstick for. I’ve had enough period smell to get my ovaries cut out, she said.
The night wound down and he said: I walked here. Drive me back up the hill. He took her to the park in back to hear the owls. Got her tits out in the moonlight. Inside he put on “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” They got naked. He got on top of her on the mattress he’d put out for a kid he was babysitting. Got ready to go in.
What if I have AIDS, she said.
Well now you got it twice.
She told him don’t cum in me seven minutes in. Civilization has collapsed and I am a scavenger, he thought. She did have a sideways pussy.
They were at El Prado. He had Kombucha. She had Sauvignon Blanc. He’d been fired that day. He’d been sober three months. It was his first date since he stopped drinking. His first normal person. He told her this. Well fuck, she said. What am I getting myself into.
I’m also on a new path of trying to be honest. And not use other people.
Fuckin weird, she said. But I guess it’s a relief.
What do you mean.
I mean your profile makes it seem like you just drink and fuck skanks, and it scared me. My friends told me not to go out with you.
I can see why they’d say that.
Is that what you’re going to do to me? Take me home and fuck me on your couch and never talk to me again?
Not the last part.
How do I know that?
Look, I wouldn’t believe me either. But I’m going to be honest. This is my last OKCupid date. My sponsor told me to get off it. He told me not to go out with you, actually. But I’m glad I did. There’s a thing about you, fuck– I fucking suck at this. I just like you a lot. I want to see you again.
Are you saying this so I’ll come home with you?
No, he said.
I’m sure, he said. I’m not like that anymore.