On Boundaries

By Arel Wiederholt Kassar 

“I just want some casual dick,” she says. “Is that too much to ask for?”
            “What’s the problem? That should be easy.”
            “I thought so too, I mean, isn’t that what guys want? Just sex, to fuck, no strings attached, or whatever?” She lifts her hands in the air. Her wine splashes but stays in the glass, the last clean one when we opened the bottle; mine is in a mug.
            I realize her question isn’t rhetorical. I say: “I don’t know, yeah? Some guys, for sure.”
            She takes a sip of the wine, her lips purple. I wonder if mine are too.
            “It starts off fine,” she says, “we dance, make out, you know, regular. And then the club closes, or we leave early, either way we go home, usually to his, or, if he has a roommate, or, god forbid, lives with his parents, which has happened, to mine. And then we fuck, hopefully after he’s gone down on me, and it’s fine, maybe good, never great, except this one guy from Madrid, or was it Buenos Aires? I don’t know, he spoke Spanish, I came.”
           “Sorry, but, seriously? I feel like that’s the exact definition of casual sex.”
           Her eyebrows shoot up and she raises her hand, like: “Just let me finish. I mean yeah, I guess you’re right. But that’s not the problem. Just because it starts casual doesn’t mean that’s all it is.”
           She takes another sip, I say nothing.
           “Up to that part everything is fine, we wake up, maybe he’s stolen the blanket, maybe I have. We never fit well, I mean physically, together. Anyway I’m ready to start my day. Like, thanks for the sex, dude. Have a nice life. And listen, it’s not even the breakfast I mind. But what kills me—and I swear this happens every time—these guys send me fucking articles! Like, I’ll be on the train home, literally we said goodbye fifteen minutes ago, and he’s sending me some review of the new Ferrante novel or an op-ed on the myth of middle-class liberalism.”
            I don’t even try not to laugh. “So, what you’re saying is that the second a guy sends you an article, it’s not casual anymore?”
She slams her hand on the table, and, realizing how loud of a sound it made, glances at the ceiling, maybe concerned about waking her neighbors—it is late—shrugs and looks back at me: “Exactly! You have to admit, that’s pretty fucking weird.”
            I fill my mug, still laughing.
            She continues: “Every single guy! One of them even sent an article called, I shit you not—she puts up air quotes—‘The Intimacy of Sharing News.’”
            Now she’s laughing too.
            I say, after wiping off the wine that had dribbled onto my chin: “I guess they think that intellectually stimulating you will make you more likely to fuck them again?” I think about it for a second. “Shouldn’t that work? I feel like that would work on me.”
            Her eyes get all buggy, her voice higher pitched: “But I don’t want it to work! I don’t wanna fuck twice.”
            She’s right, I’d gotten lost in the conversation. I was trying to figure out if this is something I’ve done, the article sending.
            “Right,” I say. “Okay. Well, I guess you could just not read the articles?”
            She says: “Dude, I don’t read the articles. That’s not the point.”
            I say: “What is the point?”
            She says: “I don’t know, there’s no point, I just want the dick without the news.”
            I say: “And I think you’re entitled to that, some newsless dick.”

by Rebecca Snyder