Many years ago I was sitting amongst some large rocks and reading, or rereading, “Dune” beside a retention pond. There was a young couple in an aluminum boat in the pond, and honestly, there wasn’t enough room in the pond for a boat and the young man had issues keeping the craft away from the rocks. He was also trying to talk the young woman into sex and she wasn’t interested in the least. The pond was visible from the road, people walking by could see them, and the boat wasn’t very stable. I’m not sure what he had in mind, but he went back and forth from seduction and navigation very clumsily. She was clearly aggravated rather than aroused and this would be, hopefully, one of life’s lessons for her partner about the right time and the right place. Not that it wouldn’t have been, had she been willing for there’s no stopping two people who want to do it, no matter where they are. She finally spotted me, waved, and said hello, and the relief was palpable. Her captain paddled the boat back to where he had launched his efforts and they left. Hopefully, to find a room or a divorce attorney.
I’ve talked to women who told me sex was a chore, like cleaning the cat’s litterbox or washing dishes, or a bodily function like putting a tampon in when she had to. That’s an incredibly sad statement on the level of intimacy in a person’s life but not totally unexpected. The whole process of dating and marriage and sex and expectations is pretty fucked up in America and it always has been.
Somewhere down the line we got caught up in the idea that there were roles to be played when it came to dating and mating, and the injection of money into the process invited ritualize prostitution. The diamond engagement ring is one of those things that speaks more to the idea that money is more important than a lot of other things, from the slave labor digging holes in the environment to find them, to the fact that there is practically no real value in the rock, to the fact that the rocks are useless, except as a show of wealth. Money can’t buy you love but it can buy the idea that part of a process where a woman is getting paid for something in a relationship.
After two beers and an encounter with a lost redneck, I start having these thoughts because I wonder at what point someone like that reproduces. Surely, I think to myself as the room spins slightly, there isn’t a woman with enough hubris to think she could make a decent person out of that sort of material, or worse, surely, there isn’t a woman whose self-esteem has dropped to the point this is the best she can do, even drunk. Which leads me back to the woman in the boat and how she managed to get talked into the trip to begin with. Surely she wasn’t breeding with this guy, was she?
There’s a point in time when you’re trying to talk someone, anyone, into doing something, anything, where the idea of talking them into it is just as important as doing it, I think. Think about it: if Captain Right Here and Now was in a sexual relationship with this woman is a boat in a retention pond beside a road the best romantic setting he could provide? Or was it that he came up with the worst possible setting in hopes of making the conquest of a woman unwilling? Or was it that he thought she might say, “Anywhere but here!” and then he could take her back to his single wide beside the meat processing factory near the sewerage treatment plant?
Generally speaking, with a few exceptions, I’ve pretty much known when a woman wants to have sex with me. It’s never been in a boat near a road in daylight. But to be honest, it’s never been in a boat near the road in darkness either.
About midnight I woke up and started thinking about where those two are right now, and if they even speak to one another. I met a woman who couldn’t stand her husband but the sex was good enough to keep her from leaving, and I wondered how on earth that ever came to be, no pun intended. But they had kids, and she realized that not only was he no help but he was actually working against her by doing as little as he could to help. It’s better to work alone than with someone who isn’t working with you. She was more particular as to who she slept with once she was a single mon with two babies. She was no longer looking to fulfill a need or desire but she was also trying to find someone who, at worst, wasn’t going to drag her down, and possibly, like winning the lottery, find a man who might be of some use to her. The woman wasn’t very optimistic.
These thoughts wander around like an old man trying to find his glasses then forgetting what he was looking for and then looking for his glasses so he can recognize what he was looking for to begin with. I drifted in and back out of sleep once or twice, looked at the clock at some point and thought it read, two something and then I slipped into sleep and had a dream. There was a young man and a young woman sitting on the beach at night and they were talking. ‘You know you want to do it,” the man told her and he pushed her with his shoulder. “I do, but I don’t want to just do it. You’re rushing me. The first time can’t be random.” And he laughed at that. “The first time has to be random. Come on. Do it. You know damn well you’re going to do it. Now is as good a time as any. What are you waiting for anyway?”
“Okay, dammit, okay” and the woman stands up and shakes the sand off her clothes. I just hope I don’t mess it up.”
“You won’t” but he doesn’t stand.
She suddenly sees me and it’s dark but I can see her smile. She raises a gun and points it at my head.
I woke up.