The Mother And Her Magical Vagina, Part 2

(Part 1 here.)

I might’ve hurt her, the Mom. Not anything heartbreaking, but maybe just a little bit, an annoying sting, a shin-splint, a mild headache. She’s a divorced mother after all, and has felt more pain than I could ever incur on her. I’m a gnat, a fly in her kimchi chigae.

(I just remembered that she has absolutely no tolerance for spicy foods. Even black pepper was too spicy for her. Fucking black pepper.)

So I might’ve hurt her and then I flew from Los Angeles to Asia for eight months to write and design and have sex the minimal amount of times that a single man could have sex and still be classified as a man. The few times I did – maybe four times in a six month period – I didn’t come, or came into my own hand after telling the girl, “Just let me do it,” as the girl nuzzled her nose into my collarbone.

In June, I flew from Saigon to Taipei and then back to Los Angeles, where I messaged The Mother And Her Magical Vagina to come out because I wanted to – needed to – have sex with a person who could so swiftly bring me to orgasm.

We met for lunch at a Hawaiian joint, which was obviously my choice – fried eggs, hamburger patty and gravy on rice – and not hers – plain white rice, half eaten. She wore a t-shirt and a short gray skirt, her toned, slim legs crossed under the table.

“You know what, do you mind if we not? I just don’t feel like going through that.” I didn’t straight-up ask her for sex, but I must have implied it for her to respond in this way, while looking onto her plate and pushing a clump of rice around with her fork.

I was making her feel terrible! God, what have I become, I thought. I was never the kind of person to make a girl feel so terrible. I was never so outwardly demanding of sex. She heard, “Let’s meet up for lunch and then go back to your place and fuck,” and I don’t think she was incorrect. I forgot how to be a human being and was ashamed of myself for it.

I just didn’t think that I had that kind of power. I thought she was this strong, experienced 45-year old woman who could devour me alive or shoo me away, mechanically. I thought that after years of marriage and raising kids, she was invincible, that her emotions were impenetrable, that she could not be fooled or convinced or manipulated into doing anything except exactly what she wanted to do. But no matter how old or experienced a woman is, underneath it all they will always be girls. And I’ll never forget this again.

“Let’s go for a walk,” I said. “I want to see some beaches.” We both loved beaches and lived near them, her in Southern California and me in Southeast Asia.

We took an Uber to Manhattan Beach where The Mother ate an acai bowl to make up for the nutrition-less lunch (I still have no idea what an acai bowl is – fruit? Yogurt?). Then we walked to Hermosa where she went to use the washroom, but emerged too quickly to have gone. “I don’t have any tissues,” she said. I pulled some out of my black faux-leather sidebag next to Advil, band-aids and hand sanitizer. I out-mothered a mother, what the fuck?

From Hermosa Beach we walked to Redondo, ate at the outdoor food court where she knew the proprietor, someone from her high school days where she was (probably) the cool girl, the homecoming queen, the head cheerleader. The Mother regaled me stories of days gone by of Koreatown gangs and wealthy parachute kids and the women who fell for them. We ate shitty fish and chips as she told me about her friends who started art galleries and celebrity parents at her kids’ school (David Schwimmer?) and the microcosm of our mutual friends in Los Angeles.

The sun set into the ocean, so we left, walked along Harbor Drive while trying – and failing – to call an Uber. We walked into the Crowne Plaza and she asked for assistance, and where any other person would be told, “Sorry, that service is only for registered hotel guests,” The Mother And Her Magical Vagina was immediately tended to, because she looks exactly like the type of person to be staying at the Redondo Beach Crowne Plaza.

We Ubered back to her place. It was dark, now. I walked her to her front door and we hugged. Her head approached mine at an angle and velocity that made me think, Is she trying to kiss me? but I was in Let’s-Be-Friends mode so dodged it. Didn’t even think to do it. I drove home in my cherry red Mustang convertible, satisfied that we were now friends, that the burning desire for sexual intercourse whenever I saw her had dissipated.

The next time I saw her, she brought me to orgasm in 1.52 minutes.

Write, You Piece of Shit

I am hemorrhaging a massive amount of money in the stock market. For the past two weeks – and the beginning of this present week – every single stock that I chose to buy or short has went the other way. Sometimes by a little and others by a lot; some a piddly hundred or two and others in the thousands. But the point is that every single choice that I made was wrong.

How the fuck is that possible? The odds are against me that I could make this many wrong decisions, especially of this binary type where the only two alternatives are: stock go up or stock go down.

I’ll shove money into a stock and it’ll plummet. I’ll sell that same stock and it’ll rocket. What the fucking motherfucker…

On the flips side, for the first quarter of the year, every single stock that I chose was right. And I felt so invincible that I bought a new iPhone and quit my job. That’s the level of hubris we’re talking, here. That’s the level or arrogance I’d achieved, before being so unceremoniously smacked the fuck down two weeks ago. I Quit A Six-Figure Salaried Job in Sunny Los Angeles because I thought, Fuck this, I’m an invincible day trader, I’m taking this show on the road!

I had visions of living in Bangkok once more, but instead of as a slightly-above-average-ex-pat like I was before, this time I would come back like a new-money Chinese mainlander with a taste for Ferraris and opium and whores. I mean, I was doing fine before, but there were times I had to remind myself, “You’re happier now than before when you made more money.”

Anytime you have to remind yourself that you’re happier means the opposite, doesn’t it? Like Reminder Happy isn’t quite as secure as just Happy Happy.

So, back to the stocks:

You might be thinking, “Alex, you had 12 amazing weeks where you pulled off unprecedented gains – why worry about the past two?” Or you might be thinking, “You’re still up overall this year,” or even, “You’re still up in general – not even just overall this year – if you sold all the stocks you have, you’d come out on top, you piece of shit.”

But two weeks of seeing red everyday. Two weeks of seeing negatives, of Excel dropping parentheses around numbers at the bottom of the column – that does something to a man. That tells a man, “Listen, motherfucker, you will fail out there on your own, so don’t even try dating, don’t even dare try to raise a family or dream of home ownership, you small dicked asshole, don’t you dare bring anyone else into your poor, lonely life.” (What?)

Intellectually, I know that I’m winning. I know that I win often, at least more than the average, because I play more frequently. I also know that that means I’ll lose more often.

I’ve been rejected by women the most out of anyone I know. I fail in the gym every three weeks. I’ve shuttered several businesses, wasted money on inventory, sent some guy $6,000 for a series of entrepreneurship courses, took the wrong Indian-manufactured Ritalin and presently sit typing this with a support brace around my left wrist and a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder. All good, you have to lose to win, and I’m fine with it. I get over things quick. I get over girls even quicker.

But this trading thing, it hurts. These losses are consuming me in ways I never knew possible. Did I always care about money? Did I always put this much value on my savings? Every day feels like a bad dream that I can’t wake up from. Isn’t that the fucking shit that clinically depressed say? Aren’t these the kinds of emotions reserved only for them, for the nutcases, the unappreciative, the selfish, who hang themselves in their children’s closets?

My Darling Is An Aggressive Fuck

The reason I’m dating the girl that I’m dating has nothing to do with me and everything to do with her.

I couldn’t date in Los Angeles. It was a failed experiment that will bother me for the rest of my life. Mainly because I thought I could swoop into this city and sweep all the women off of their feet. The ole Swoop and Sweep. It didn’t happen, the women proved too cautious, too jaded, too knowing that I was going to waste their time, their primary years to find a mate to settle down with and pop out babies.

They knew. They would look at me and think, “Fuck this guy, he’s going to take three years from me.” I don’t know if they’re right. Probably.

I was also too tired. The Comedian, the Wine Seller, Maserati Jane – these are all women who I should’ve at least went on a second date with, but did not, simply because I was too fucking exhausted to meet.

I’d workout, then work, then come home and fail to rouse myself to leaving my house again. I’d either work more or watch 30 Rock for the thousandth time, and then scroll through Imgur for three hours while soaking in the bathtub.

And then those girls would fade away. Because here in LA you have to nurture the fuck out of the girl that you’re dating, or they’ll think that you have other girls that you’re dating, and they’ll take the smart/safe move of forgetting it. They’re probably more right than wrong about this, too.

The girl that I’m dating now lives far away, in another country. All we had was virtual communication. And for someone in my position – too lazy as fuck to go on physical dates – this method of communicating became the most viable way for me to get to know someone. Effortless.

I’d talk to her while walking to work, between sets of deadlifts, while taking a bath. Maserati Jane would only give me perfunctory responses, and wished to conduct her conversations live and in person instead. A legitimate concern, but that’s why we never had a second date, I couldn’t find the time to do all of that.

My current girlfriend was also shameless, and I realized this as it was happening, not in retrospect like the above revelation. She would message me and in my busyness I’d forget to message her back, and hours later she would message again, normally a different topic but sometimes inquiring about the same one (“Well? Are you going to answer me?”)

She just didn’t give a shit that our messaging ratio was off and highly weighed to her side. She didn’t take it personally; she didn’t let her ego get in the way (either by way of paranoia: “I guess he doesn’t’ like me,” or self-worth: “Who does he think he is?”). It wasn’t even like she was taking a chance be re-messaging me, she was just doing whatever the fuck she wanted.

So it came to be that I’m dating her not because of the ordinary reasons or processes, ie: I hunted her down and she was the right amount of coyness. It was simply because she was the only girl that kept on the offensive, messaging the fuck out of me until it was normal, until she felt like my girlfriend, anyway. I didn’t get her, she got me.

Of course when I tell her this, she has no idea.

The Japanese Make-Up Artist Mother

She’s a make-up artist, lives in Silver Lake. Or maybe a stylist? Could be a stylist, I mix those two up often. Currently, she was working on set of the revived Curb Your Enthusiasm. She would send me photos of craft services and it was always underwhelming, some piece of shit cold-food truck with the sidewalls rolled up like a tin can (goddamnit, Larry David, pull your shit together).

I met her on a dating app, probably Coffee Meets Bagel, the app that most replicates dating actual, real-life human beings. I talked to her for a few weeks but we never met up. We could never get down to scheduling a meet.

She’s Japanese, mid-to-late 30s. She’s also a mother, and told me that in an embarrassed way. “I hate to break it to you, but I’m a mom to a lovely 2-year old half-Japanese, half-white kid who I had with my ex.”

“That’s awesome! I love moms!” I love moms.

She thought I’d be scared off and became more enamored when I wasn’t. I wasn’t and I’m not, although I don’t think I’ve ever thought to gravity of dating a mother. Superficially, I know the deal – she’s not looking for a boyfriend, she’s looking for a husband and a father – and I don’t know if I’m merely ignoring this tenet in a we’ll-cross-that-bridge-when-we-get-to-it, or if I actually don’t give a shit to father a child who isn’t mine. I think it’s both of these things.

So we chatted frequently for the short two weeks that we were in touch. It wasn’t all day but it was consistent enough that we became connected virtually in that way people become virtually connected: she became that someone that I talked to about the minutia of my life. “Hey do you like these socks I’m about to buy?” “Look at this killer fucking cheese-steak sandwich!”

One Saturday afternoon, after she worked an early-morning shift on set with Larry David, she was grocery shopping and doing the laundry while her son was on a play-date. I asked if she wanted to get a coffee. “Sorry, I’m really busy, I need to get this stuff done before [my son] gets home. But there’s nothing I’d rather do than to roll around bed with you all afternoon.”

So forward! We weren’t nearly close to that level at all, I thought. But it’s interesting when a woman pops that out first. Moreso because she was a mom, even moreso because she looked like a big nerd.

No, she was pretty. Pretty and wholesome in that way that only Japanese girls can look. Koreans are pretty and slutty, or fat and wholesome – Japanese girls can wear white t-shirts and loose, light-blue blue jeans with neon sneakers and a ponytail and still be interesting, you know? (No, you probably don’t.)

We were supposed to meet the Saturday after. We had it planned the week before; her son would be at her father’s and she would be free. We were going to meet up early in the afternoon and hang out all day and all night. We didn’t need to tippy-toe around, we knew that we would get along. We both knew that we would have sex.

(She gave off that vibe. She might’ve even said that: “It’s been so long since I’ve been intimate with somebody,” or “I need you to fuck my brains out. One of those.)

But the weekend after, I took a spontaneous trip to Tijuana. I was dying to travel, I was desperate for the unknown, for danger and a foreign language and currency whose exchange rate I didn’t know off-hand. So I went to Tijuana and while there I stopped talking to the the Japanese Make-Up Artist Mother and started talking to the girl who would become my girlfriend. After that weekend, I never talked to her again.

What would be surprising pre-LA but no longer surprising post-LA, is that the Japanese Make-Up Artist Mother never got back in touch with me. The women in LA require lots of attention and hand-holding, even before (or probably even moreso) before the first date. So she didn’t stop messaging me; she simply stopped responding to me. Which is a damn shame.

Women in other cities would’ve called me on it: “What happened, we had a date? How come you never called back?” Not in any stalker way, that’s just what my experience is of it all. And from there I would’ve said, “I’m so sorry, I fell in love with someone else.”

“Aw, okay.”

“But let’s still meet for a drink?”

“Aw, okay!”

And then I’d make out with her friends.

Coming on Top

My current girlfriend fucked me while on top until I came. There were only two other girls that made me come while fucking me on top. She’s number three.

The First Girl That Made Me Come While Fucking Me On Top:

The tiny Vietnamese girl in Bay Area, whose menstrual blood was caked all over my crotch as I drove a Ford Escape from San Francisco to Los Angeles with five friends asleep inside.

She was the first girl, ever, to bring me to orgasm in this position, and I don’t know why, it wasn’t anything obvious. I can only guess that it was the shape of her vagina, probably both the opening and the tunnel inside. I don’t remember her being especially vigorous while fucking me on top, nor was she such breathtaking eye candy that I couldn’t contain myself.

(Sometimes a super hot body or face will make me come faster. But sometimes it’ll be with an overweight, snaggle-toothed girl, too, so I guess this is neither here nor there).

She was pretty and had an incredibly skinny body, almost gargoyle-like, and I don’t even mean that in an insulting way. Her body was gargoyle-skinny in a good way, ribs jutting out, arms bending backwards at the elbows, wings jutting out of her sinewy back…

Once after sex, we lay in her white bed with the windows open. “Is it bad that I’ve slept with 12 guys?”

“No, that’s okay,” I replied. “I don’t think there’s a bad number, or anyway, twelve isn’t it.”

“Okay. I had the least amount of sex out of all my friends growing up and let loose. So I’m not sure what the appropriate amount of sex for my age is.”

“When’d you lose your virginity?”

“When I was 18,” she said.

“That’s about average. I lost mine at 16 and I thought that was old, but in hindsight that was probably young. How old are you now?”

“I’m 20.”

“Yeah, that’s… wait, you lost your virginity two years ago?”

“Yeah.”

“And you slept with 12 guys in two years?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay,” I said.

So she fucked me while on top and I came and it happened twice on that weekend, once at night and once in the morning. I didn’t come in any other way, I stuck to what worked: her on top. I woke her up by mashing my hard penis onto her dry vagina as we lay on our sides, spooning, still pantless from the night before. I mashed and mashed until she was wet and then I entered her and it was just okay, so I flipped her on top of me. She tried to fight me off – by laying on top of me motionless, attempting to sleep while sprawled out on my chest with my cock inside of her – but I kept thrusting and grabbing and grinding her hips down onto my with my hands on her ass.

“Fine. Fine! I’ll do this for you,” she said, as she fucked me while on top until I came.

We dated for a few months, long distance. I never thought anything would come from it, we just didn’t like each other enough. (But even though we were a continent apart and even though we didn’t like each other enough, I didn’t date anyone else while I dated her. It wasn’t even a conscious decision, I didn’t have to talk myself out of cheating – it simply didn’t enter my mind that I could.) I flew back to San Francisco to see her; she flew to Toronto to see me, then sometime after Christmas (I gave her a very benign gift, like the first three seasons of Family Guy on DVD) I emailed or texted her and said, “Yeah, this isn’t working out for me,” and she responded, “That’s it, just like that, we’re done?” and I said, “Yeah.”

I ended things casually because that’s how I thought that things were. But in retrospect, shit, she might’ve liked me more than that. She might’ve deserved a better ending.

 

 

The Cowboy Korean (Not the Korean Cowboy)

The neediness of some people; I can’t take it.

He’s an actor. A young, tanned, buff Korean guy from Texas or Alabama or Georgia. Somewhere mainly white where he was the only Korean, adopted into a white family in a white town where he attended a white school and made it out alive, with confidence and self-esteem and a smile on his face. Then sometime last year, he moved to Los Angeles to make it as an actor.

I like that story, the young Asian kid who fought Against! All! Odds! and laughed through the fuckery that he must’ve went through in his youth (I was the only Asian in a sea of Greeks and Macedonians in freshman year and I did not like it. I had a confused identity and couldn’t understand why the white girls wouldn’t date me. It wasn’t a healthy environment, and unlike the Cowboy Korean, I sank instead of swam, and luckily had the foresight to move to an Asian-dominated high school for the last two years, where I FUCKING RULED).

So I like his story, I like that he had to go through all of that shit. But that’s as far as it goes, I despise the rest of him.

The incessant texting, the months of messages and invites and fake camaraderie, like we’re best friends, like we didn’t just meet twice last September for drinks in a group setting, where we shared maybe 38 words with each other before I deemed that we weren’t going to be friends. But he persists, for some reason increasing his onslaught of messages in the past few weeks, shit like, “Duddde, we gotta party before you leave! We need to fuck some bitches!”

Why do people think that I’m like that? Who do they think I am? How does my Instagram even hint that I’m that sort of person?

Although, admittedly, I’m in the minority here. I have zero self-awareness of what my social media makes me out to be. 90% of the posts are food, followed by, I don’t know, motorcycles and beaches? Then once every other month, I’ll post a photo of me drinking with other human beings, because that’s exactly how frequently it happens.

I want to tell him – I should just tell him – Look Cowboy Korean, I’m not who you think I am, I can’t do anything for you, I don’t know any bitches for you to fuck. I’m a 38-year old man who drinks wine in the bathtub every night, who’s just languishing in LA for the next 10 days before going back home to Asia. I have nothing to offer you.

But it wouldn’t work. “Nah, bro – I just want to chill with you, man,” he would insist. “We’re bros, bro! Let’s just grab some drinks and have some laughs, bro! I’m easy, I’m chill, bro.”

Right now, at this instant, he just sent me a video of us at my birthday last October. “Found this on my phone the other day bro lolol.” What do I do with this?

This Is Shit

Write something, you piece of shit.

See, what happens is that I stop writing for weeks, months. Then the pressure hits me, “Well now you have to write something great to make up for those missing days.” But that’s diametrically opposite of the point of writing everyday.

The point is to write shit. To write like fucking shit. To keep my fingers used to typing, to keep them dancing on the keyboard, for an hour a day, in preparation for when it really counts.

I haven’t touched my book in a year. In a fucking entire fucking year. Granted, this is probably the fastest year in my entire life – it disappeared into thin air because of this fucking full-time job, because I killed 10 hours a day for nearly a year straight, the longest I’ve ever worked. The longest I’ve consistently done something that I did not want to do.

God, how spoiled am I? A year of sacrifice and my life is over! So what, I built my life this way, you fuck. I’m not apologizing.

The boss doesn’t get it. The CEO and COO and the other C-Level employees. They’re stumped as to why I would leave. Neither of us brought up money, though, we all know it’s not about that. At least they know that much about me –

Well, here’s the thing about that, why they know it’s not The Money:

I’ve been day trading the past few months, partly because of boredom, mostly because my tax-free account has reached a point where making 0.5% a day brings in a livable income (blah blah). Through luck and also the banal, tiresome (obsessive) habit of following the NASDAQ everyday for a decade, I’ve subliminally learned the ebb and flow of a handful of stocks. It’s become wired into my intuition at this point, and so if a certain stock rises or dips by 3%, I’ll buy or short it in the opposite direction. When I’m up a fraction of a fucking percent, I’ll sell it and take my earnings.

So that’s how I’ve been pulling down 8x my usual income. Eight fucking times. And so the reason why the other C-Level employees know that I’m not leaving because of The Money is because of this. Because I run up to them and show them and say, Look what I can do.

But whatever. This money isn’t great because of the all the things it can buy me. It’s great because it’ll let me get back to that monkey on my back, the only thing in my life that causes me staggering regret – the book. The book, the fucking book, the fucking book that I’ve been thinking about for 13 years, and if by some miracle I pump it out one month from now, it won’t be much of an accomplishment because it has to be 13 Years And One Month good.

Nothing’s that good. Especially this. This is shit.

Her Body, Part 1

I’m not sure why she loves me. I’ve never been sure when any girl is. My first thought is that I must have fooled them somehow, accidentally made them promises and constructed a vision of the future that I’d never be able to (or want to) live up to that weakened their knees, took their breath, sucked them in.

My second thought is that they just want to get married and I’m the closest warm body around. (And then I’ll turn tail and SCRAM.)

I just never think it’s because of me. For all my arrogance and hubris and conceit and self-aggrandizing – I honestly just never think they’re in love with who I am and what I want and how I do it. It’s all just so risky and dumb, isn’t it?

So I told her, “I’m sorry that I’m the kind of guy to quit a full-time job with a solid income so I can move to Southeast Asia to write books and freelance design and launch a million website businesses, 99% of of which will fail while the remaining 1% will generate enough income for a 14-year old Cambodian. I’m so sorry.”

But despite all of her goals and dreams and visions of her future, she’s willing to suffer with me. God, okay, okay, fine – I believe it, for once in my life I’ll believe it when a girl tells me that she loves me.

Her body. Listen. Listen, this isn’t a small, superficial thing. It’s miraculous, it’s the hand of karma delivering what I have earned – and yearned – for my entire life.

Her body, Jesus fucking Christ. I couldn’t get a girl with a body like hers. For some reason, I never encountered it. Well, not for some reason, the reason is that I don’t choose girls for their bodies, I choose them for them and then pray for the rippling back muscles and sharp shoulders and deep crevices in the abdominal and a divergent waist-to-hip ratio.

I’ve had all the other types of bodies but I never had fit. It was such a maddening and perplexing and formidable facet in my life – daily – to a man who grew up on Baywatch and BodyShaping, and now spends an inordinate amount of the day browsing fitness girls on Instagram.

What the fuck am I talking about.

And One of Them Almost Touched Me! Ewwwwww!

What the fucking fuck. I was in Budapest, you know? I was traipsing around Budapest, doing nothing but doing everything.

I took the train from – where was I before? Munich and then Vienna and then Bratislava and then from there I took the train to Budapest, to the famed train station a walk away from town, the one that only weeks later closed down because of the glut of Syrian refugees that summer.

That was also bizarre, that all of that shit was going on in the world while I was completely sheltered in mine, traipsing from one continent to another with no knowledge that these refugees were doing the same. I was ahead of them by mere weeks and a few hundred kilometers. Wherever I went, no one knew how bad it was going to be.

There was some overlap. In Belgrade, Serbia, I ran into them in the park beside the train station. It was probably 10 square kilometers with worn down grass, tents every few meters and garbage everywhere. I thought they were the city’s impoverished and that it was a Skid Row sort of thing, where they got to pitch up tents and the government stayed out of the way, so long as they stayed within the park boundaries.

But it wasn’t, they were the Syrian Refugees, and I only realized this weeks later when I read about them setting up camp beside the train station in Belgrade.

What’s fucked up is that I walked through that park. I walked from the touristy downtown with the pedestrian-only promenade to the train station to buy my tickets in person (that side of the world was notoriously shitty for Internet-related purchases). I saw the tents and the dogs and the sad adults and dirty children and thought, You know what, I’m going to walk through this fucking park, and so I did, with my ear buds in my ear and the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack playing.

I felt safe. I just always feel like I fit in, even though I was this tall Korean guy walking through a field of refugees. No matter how shitty the city I’m in – Guayaquil to Mexico City to Phnom Penh to Tijuana – I’ll just always feel safe enough to walk through these streets, making eye contact with the locals.

(I also think that this is why I don’t get mugged; I act like I belong there. I act like I have nothing to lose, and they look at me and think, That motherfucker knows what he’s doing, he has nothing of value on him.)

I walked the circumference of the park and then back through it. I remember thinking, Why can’t they use the trash cans? instead of haphazardly tossing shit all over the place. That would go a long way with the host country. That could be why Serbia – a few weeks later – was like, fuck this fucking shit.

So I left the park and accidentally followed two local men through an alleyway and up some dilapidated steps. These guys can turn at anytime and mug me, I thought, but more amused and excited than scared.

I also ran into the refugees on the train from Belgrade to Sofia. I still didn’t know about the exodus, about their plight. So I was on the train with five others, probably a decade younger than me. Most of them fell asleep early and a few of us stayed up to drink, and that made it obvious who the travelers were. Night trains are for drinking, motherfuckers.

Some Slovakian kid, blond hair with blue eyes. We drank pulled swigs from his water bottle of homemade Serbian hooch, and chased it with shots of my shitty red wine (that I bought simply because it was the only bottle with a screw top).

We got onto the subject of gypsies. I was always curious about them, always envied their life of impermanence, you know? It’s so weird, though, how they’re banned from this city and hated in that country. I didn’t know if being gypsy was religious or ethnic or classist (I still don’t).

The Slovak explained it to me, then told me the “gypsy class” is always on the back of these trains, removed from our cushy rooms where the benches turn into bunk beds at night. “Let’s go, I’ll show you,” he said, and I followed him through a few cars of cushiness before entering one with what looked like wooden church pews, detached from the floor and shifting with the movement of the train.

The gypsies stared at us, wearily. They looked dangerous, or like they could be dangerous had they not been exhausted and worndown from the weight of life. They sat slumped, low-hanging frowns and tired eyes. They didn’t give a shit about us, two giddy kids running through the train with a bottle of hooch in one hand and shitty wine in the other.

Later I found out that they weren’t gypsies, they were the Syrian refugees who’d just left their homes to avoid death. Jesus fucking Christ.

 

“Oh, Probably Less Than 50,” Is Now My Standard Answer

She said, “The worst possible thing you can do is lie to me. I prefer to hear the raw and honest truth, no matter how awful it is, rather than you lie to me. Got it?”

Someone in her past must’ve lied to her, and it must’ve been bad. I could see it in her eyes, the importance of what she was saying and the degree of conviction in which she held this belief. She felt it necessary to make eye contact and put her hand on my forearm, take a deep breath and say this. But we were all brought up to lie, weren’t we? Not to deceive in any malicious way, but to just lie to smooth things over, to move on with life. Sorry, they ran out of chocolate or Yeah, I do think you’re funny for a girl or Of course my parents like you the best out of all my exes.

“But what about white lies,” I asked her. “Sometimes women ask questions thinking that they can take the answer — but they can’t. They have bad judgement of how strong they are, and we know this, and so we mitigate the risk of drama by white-lying our way out of your question. It’s the best for everyone.

“No. You will get in more shit for lying than whatever it is that you’re lying about.”

Okay. Okay.

Weeks later, she asked me how many women I slept with.

“I have no idea, I stopped counting after twenty,” I said. “If I had to take a wild stab at it, somewhere between 40 and 100?”

I was probably close to twenty when I left Toronto. Then in three years of living in Asia, doubling that amount seemed reasonable. Sometimes I slept with a few women in a single week; other times I’d go months without sex. Bangkok was a haven because I knew the most people there, because it was my home and I was actively dating. But in Bali, Saigon and Taipei, I had sex exactly twice while living for 5 cumulative months in these cities — which is an atrocious amount for a single man in his 30s.

The majority of them weren’t one-night stands; they were women whom I dated and then things went awry. I don’t sleep around often, I just date frequently. So they weren’t purposely one-night stands, but accidental — the intent, the mens rea wasn’t present.

So I got in shit. I got in motherfucking shit for that truthful answer; she had to hang up the phone and go to bed and sleep on it.

The next day: “Well which is it, 40 or 100?”

“I guess it’s 40.”

“Why would you say 100, then?”

“I was just exaggerating, you know? Just to demonstrate how much I don’t keep track. It could be anywhere between 40 and 100! Ha ha.”

“This is a staggering amount. My brain can’t even fathom…”

“Look. You told me to tell you the truth and now you’re like this. I’m quickly learning to never tell the truth again,” I said. If I was going to be in trouble, I might as well set some precedences for the future, right? If I’m ever caught in a lie I could always say, “Remember the How Many Sex Partners argument of April 2017? Well I just didn’t want a repeat of that so I lied to you in order to protect us…”

So it’s bullshit when women want truthful answers, but then ask scary questions. Why even bother? Why are they even curious about the past? I have no idea how many sex partners the women I slept with had. I barely even remember their last fucking names.