The [Anti] Climax of Lust: A Double, On the Rocks With A Twist

by Charlotte E. Wilde

“The experts all agree,” she slurred, “men are jus not capable of underschtanding the female deshires.” With a flourish she tipped the last sip of her extra dry martini between her plump Givenchy Rouge Ecstasy lips and slapping it triumphantly back on the table, looked me imploringly in the eye. Her point had been made. And true, I thought, some of those experts did agree, though I surmised perhaps her personal “expert” of choice was more Oprah than say, Masters and Johnson or Freud.

Still, it struck me as mildly funny, this idea of “them” whoever they are, all agreeing on some convenient truism, whatever it was.

Jealousy, deceit, love, sex, lack of commitment, obsessive behavior, compulsive floor bleaching…whatever the drug, the experts could certainly agree on its existence and the fact that the “war of the sexes” had revolved around it at some point or another. Battles were won, battles were lost, no victor emerged standing and the buzzards were circling, as buzzards are wont to do.

From an early age women are taught that men are but primitive beasts, tamable sure, but perhaps never quite capable of acclimating to these collars we place around their necks, never quite willing to sit when they’re told or able to stop begging at the table. The blood lust that hits them with puberty never subsides and if they get out they’re liable to get lost. Keep a tight leash, the experts agree, or he’ll run off to howl at the moon, join the pack, and Looorrrrdddd only knows where that will end—probably a bar fight or a paternity case. No, best just to not let him out at all.

Women, as explained to men, don’t fare much better. She’s really not capable of attaining sexual pleasure outside the bond of intimacy, but that wont stop her from looking for a new mate, one with a shinier car and deeper pockets, so you’d better keep a sharp eye out for those telltale signs. She’s not looking too happy, is she? This desperate desire for “bigger” and “better” explains her refusal to eat anything but spinach and rice-cakes (and apparently, martinis) if not the 50 shades of questions she’ll crucify you with to the tune of “where the fuck have you been all night?” when you get home. The old “ball and chain,” what an all-American hassle, huh? WinkWink. NudgeNudge.

And how do these things manifest themselves? Strip-clubs and hookers, book-clubs that smell a whole lot more like speed-dating and emails rated-x for language, sneaking around, and sugar coated silences where nobody’s happy and everybody’s just wondering how long until the other shoe drops.

No, certainly the experts agree, we’re all fucking crazy.

As if on cue, Laura’s stiletto starts tapping out her annoyance under the table. I’d been lost in my reverie for just a hair longer than her attention span would allow.  Even though she’d been making moon-pie eyes at the guy over my left shoulder she wanted some sort of affirmation that I’d heard her and agreed with her every honeyed word.

“Maybe we’re all just animals,” I offered.

An eyebrow quirked up, perhaps less bemused and more wondering what the fucking hell I was thinking lumping “us” in with “them” at a time like this.

“Fucking, fighting, it’s all the same,” I interjected across the check her eyes were writing to left-shoulder-guy, “at the end of the day, we’re all just desperate for human connection.” Recognizing the danger of continuing for what it was I bit the proverbial bullet and started again, “really the problem is these expectations we place on each other are just so reductive, they inhibit any real chance at…”

“Mmmhmm, hold that thought, Char,” she interrupted, hips thrust forwards as she slithered down the length of her bar stool, “gimme two seconds.” She slides two smoothing hands down her dress and with a knowing look wanders back and to the left.

I sipped on in silence, somewhat pleased to have avoided finishing our discussion because I was never good at that sort of thing; the nod-along affirmation she’d been seeking was better abdicated to left-shoulder guy and I knew he was all to happy to comply. I considered the alcohol-lubricated conversations humming on around me: these people, all ostensibly looking for the same thing, who would either run from it if they found it or in some strange attempt to lock it down and keep it from fading they would tie it up—leave it bungee-corded into submission on the roof of their sedan like one of those big blue bags from Ikea, ready to fly off at any moment into the windshield of the unsuspecting driver behind them. Fast cars and short skirts alike could be read as cries for affirmation and a desperate roll of the dice that maybe this time you’ll find what you’re looking for. Love or lust, it all boils down to the simple yet frantic desire to connect yourself to some other living breathing entity so you don’t suffer alone. And if the experts didn’t agree on that, they were no experts of mine.

So there I was lost in thought, marinating on experts all agreeing and letting the hum of the room occupy me when trouble sauntered up. Deceptively decked in some slim fitted suit-pants that hung “just-so” off of lean hips and a tie (but no collar), drinks in both hands asking the question so he didn’t have to.  The tilt of his eyebrow and the slight glint of his Colgate-white teeth reading, “I don’t bite…unless you want me to” and before I could rein myself in, my brain had back-flipped from Freud to “sure, fuck it, why not?”

He arranged himself on Laura’s barstool with the telling grace of practice.

We’re all animals anyways, I thought.