It was a dark and stormy night, and the big day had arrived: my date for a freebie with FrenchKiss.
I had no intention of having sex with her. Not my type. Besides, I would ruin her for other men, and it seemed uncivil to do that while getting a freebie. No, what I wanted out of this was to make her sweat it out; make it very clear who holds the power between us. But I am not a beast. I wanted to present a clean-cut appearance, and if in doing so, I aroused her desires (as so often happens to women around me), then my denial of her passions would only serve to re-enforce the message.

I read some posts on pheromones on RB and figured that should get her motor running. Damn, that stuff is pricy! I recalled something about musk having the same effect, and figured I could substitute it. But where to find it? They stopped making Musk cologne maybe 25 years ago. So I had to improvise, and after a quick shower, I rubbed a dead badger all over my chest. With couple of dabs of Old Spice behind the ears for insurance, I headed out into the night.

It’s a long drive to SF in the rain, and a shame to go all that way and not get laid, so I packed an extra $150 and a cheese sandwich for a trip to the AMP after our date. As I steered the car through the hills split by 580, I thought ahead to the positions I would be rotating through with my girl of choice, and felt a stirring in my loins.

(we’re going to get laaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiidddd!!!!) the little head sang happily.

Before long, I was in FK’s neighborhood. I parked my car, and did a last check on supplies, including weapons. Now, I don’t want to give you the wrong idea here, this was simply for self-defense. I could not imagine why FK would make this bet in the first place. It seemed to me quite likely that this was all a setup, and I was determined to be prepared if it looked like I was going to be donkey-punched.

We had arranged to meet in a small neighborhood bar. I strolled in and gave the place the once over, taking note of the exits. When I turned around, there she was, taking a seat at the bar.

My original plan was to find some homeless guys, the scruffier the better, and have them enter the bar in sequence and introduce themselves as me. But there never seems to be a homeless guy around when you need one, and this night was no exception. I was on my own.

I sidled up to FrenchKiss and said hello. She didn’t look bad at all; better in person than her photographs, I thought. She was kind enough not to blanch at the sight of my goiter. There was a tense moment when a camera flash went off, and my fingers closed around the cannister of pepper spray in my pocket. But it turned out to be some butt pirate recording a moment with his friends, and I relaxed.

We made a little small talk, and it instantly became clear to me that this would go a lot smoother if we were both drunk. I waved to the bartender and ordered two tequila shooters. For a moment, I was afraid she might ask the bartender to leave the bottle, and this
was, after all, supposed to be MY night. But I actually had to teach her how to drink tequila, and could not cajole her into another round (granted, I asked 90 seconds after the first).

She suggested we bug out of the bar and head to her place. It started to fall into place, THIS was her plan, to get me away from witnesses, and to a place where I could be safely ambushed. But I was ready for her. I was determined to take a notch out of the ears of whomever she had foolishly recruited to take me on. My paranoia was completely unfounded. Although I will note that I was assaulted by her dogs, especially Domino, who buried his snout in my ass crack and kept it there until FK pulled him off (micro-review: BFE, I would repeat). She asked if we could walk her dogs, and I said sure, why not.

So we walked, and we talked. When we passed by a liquor store, she picked up some beef jerky which she fed to her dogs. What a memory-jog that was; I used to take my dog Shannon to the store and treat her the same way, a lifetime ago. God, I loved that dog. How I wept when we had to put her down. Steph’s dogs, like mine, were none too careful to ensure that your fingers remained attached to your hands while in pursuit of their prize.

Thus far, Stephanie had done a poor job of meeting my expectations of the heartless, money-grubbing, coke-snorting, overrated fat hoe I knew her to be. But let’s face it: she had every reason to put on an act for me. I was determined to interrogate her further, and reveal the truth.

We went to a park so the dogs could take a dump while we talked. We talked about notorious characters on Redbook; the pros and cons of being a hooker; about her troubled past; about my own difficulties; about whether the plate in my head picked up radio signals. We talked about really personal stuff, hers and mine, which is none of your damn business. We went from antagonists to intimates so rapidly that I didn’t have time to make up cover stories.

And then, we were back at her apartment. I sat down to thwart the persistent probing of Domino’s nose. We explained ourselves to each other. The candor was liberating; stimulating, exhilarating. I felt utterly revealed, and reciprocated the complete trust she granted to me. At long last, we reached a lull in the conversation.

I caught her eye, and she looked back. Our eyes locked. For a few moments, the rest of the room disappeared. I could not disengage from looking into her eyes, nor could she.

“What…?” she inquired, and her voice trailed off. But we both knew what.

I rose from my chair, and never lost her gaze. Slowly, I moved across the room towards her, still staring intently into her eyes. She looked at me with slight surprise; with anticipation; with an implicit understanding that we were moving in stereo towards a most improbable conclusion.

I crossed past the edge of her personal space, past the point of inevitability, and I experienced The Moment. The Moment immediately before your lips touch the lips of another whom you’ve never kissed before, whom you want to kiss, whom you’ve always doubted would ever kiss you, whom you’re unsure will kiss you now, even though you’re millimeters apart, and can feel their breath on your lips, whose warmth you can feel on your entire face, and during which it would stop your heart to be interrupted.

And so we closed our eyes, leaned in close and I felt the warmth of her breath on my cheek…our lips parted as our mouths met, her tongue soft and warm as it met mine. It was a moment that could be an eternity unto itself, a moment where the person you are kissing is only thinking about kissing you. But neither of you is thinking at all.

(we’re going to get laaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiidddd!!!) the little head sang happily, as he rose to a standing ovation.

Finally, we parted, and opened our eyes to look into those of the other, and we smiled. Her eyes shone like star sapphires in the dim light of the room. The only sound in the room was the slight popping noise as the zipper in my pants began to buckle and fail. The
anticipation of having sex with this woman made me weak in the knees.

“Thank you”, she murmured.

Thank you, of course ‘thank you’, all the girls say thank you to me after sex, but why is she saying that now?

“…for a wonderful time.” she concluded. “You’re not nearly as bad in person. In fact, you’re kind of nice.”

Wonderful time?….time….TIME!! My wrist shot up towards my face, and I angled the watch face this way and that, trying to make sense of the display.

“It’s been over an hour,” she said lightly as she gently withdrew from me. A generous hour. An unrushed hour. Way more than an hour.

(an hour completely wasted) complained the little head.

My mouth flapped like a trout for a few moments, trying to recover. I was completely nonplussed. Another hour! I’ll buy another generous, unrushed hour! Which I don’t have enough money for, FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!!!!!!!

She released the hounds back into the room, an unconcious act of conclusion. The eight-legged aardvark was not going to be visiting this room tonight.

Can I take a shower? That’s what I wanted to say. But what escaped my lips was “…*ack*…”. “Excuse me?” she asked. The second time, I articulated my request correctly.

She giggled. “Why do you need a shower?”

(because he wants to BEAT OFF!!) the little head screamed.

“Um, never mind”, I stammered.

Soon, it was all over. I mumbled some goodbyes, Domino sniffed my ass one last time for the road, and I stumbled out into the cold.

Later, at the liquor store, I thumbed my way through the magazines featuring big-titted blondes. My collection of porn at home was decidedly monotonic on race, featuring asians exclusively, and could only fail me in my current moment of need.

Behind the counter was a wheezy, corpulent man. His tongue and lips molested the wet end of a cheap, unlit cigar. “Pick ’em out, pick ’em out. This ain’t no liberry”, Jabba the Hutt growled around his El Producto. With a sigh, I selected a copy of Tea-Bagging Nuns #14 and made my way to the register, selecting a bottle of MadDog 20 along the way.

Jabba slid the magazine into the bag with a practiced flourish, and nestled the bottle in the curls of the magazine. He slid the bag across the counter.

(we’re going to ruin this magazine when we get home), the little head said amiably.

Jabba repeated the total in a tone that made it clear that there would not be a third time. I paid and hurried out the door.

It’s a long ride home to Tracy, so I had plenty of time to think about what had happened to me tonight. Thanks to my reliance on habits and prejudices to produce happiness, I’ve been living my life like that Autopia ride at Disneyland: I have only the illusion of control and autonomy, while coursing the same path time and again. I began to ponder how many other opportunities I had missed over the years by dismissing them out of hand.

Damn, I really hate doing that, especially when I can’t blame it on someone else.

In the end, the only thing that matters is that you’re happy and satisfied, and that can come from any race, body shape, gender, or (in fountainhead’s case) species. Maybe it was time to consider the whole person. Maybe it was time to be a little more tolerant of people who have already figured this out. Stephanie had led me to a door; now it was time for me to open my eyes and step inside.

As I coasted down the ramp at my turnoff, I began to draft my Redbook review:

Looks: Better than photos

Attitude: Met my match

Service: Learned my lesson

Would I repeat? Yes, I would. And before doing anything else, I would tell her this: Stephanie, I’m so sorry for being so unkind to you over the years. Maybe you asked for some of the things I said, but you didn’t deserve them all, or even most of them, and you never deserved it when I crossed the line into naked cruelty. I thought I knew you, but I knew nothing about you. You made me realize that my opinions about hookers were not enlightened, they were constricted, and at a loss to both sides. And you did all this by exercising one of the kindest elements of the human heart: the belief that anyone, no matter how incorrigible, is worth redeeming.

(then we’ll bang her till we shake the wax out of her ears), the little head added hopefully.

I eased my car into my parking space, and headed up the walkway to my front door.

(we’re going to beat off!) the little head sang, without much enthusiasm.

I shifted the bag to my other arm, fished the keys from my pocket, opened the door, and stepped inside.

Somewhere in the distance, a dog was barking.

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