“So explain to me to this whole virgin thing,” J said. “I’ve heard about this for awhile, but I need the details.”
L didn’t flinch.
“Well, pretty much anything goes, except the baby making stuff,” L said. “Sometimes you’ve got to get real creative.”
L seemed happy to be talking about it. I was surprised how she lit up.
“What do you mean?” I said.
“About saving my vag for Jesus or the creative part?” L said.
“I guess, either?” I said.
“Well, there’s my butt, and my boobs. Those work real well, and then I’ve got my mouth and my hands,” L said. “You know, I’ve never had anyone complain.”
L took a big bite of queso and smiled.
“That seems like a lot of work,” J said.
“It totally is,” L said. “But I know Jesus is watching, even under the covers, so I check myself.”
I honestly didn’t know what to say. Church of Christ was big in Lubbock, so nothing I was hearing was particularly new. This was just the first time I was hearing it defined for me in great detail.
“So you’ve seriously never had sex?” I said.
“Nope. Sometimes if I’m feeling naughty, I’ll let them put it in an inch. But then I hold the base of it with my hand, so there’s no way it’s going anywhere,” L said.
“That counts,” J said. “You can still get pregnant and catch an STD from that shit. It’s all sex. If you’ve given a blow job, you’ve had sex, end of story.”
“Well, I did actually catch an STD last year. It wasn’t anything serious, though, nothing a round of Z-pack couldn’t cure,” L said. “That was a little awkward.”
“You’ve so had sex. Just admit it, so you can enjoy yourself,” I said.
“No way,” L said. “I’m nobody’s whore.”
“You know, Mary Magdalene was always Jesus’s favorite,” I said. “Some say she was even his wife.”
“That gives an entirely new meaning to the Madonna/Whore complex,” J said. “I guess Jesus was the OG in that regard. Anyway, if you’re interested in the kinky stuff, I may have a match for you.”
L looked up from her pancakes at this.
“Who is he? And what’s he into?” L said.
“Well, he’s a gastroenterologist here in town. He’s buddies with a guy I’ve been dating off and on for awhile. He’s totally cool though,” J said. “Maddie has hung out with him before.”
“Are you talking about Dr. B,” I said.
“Yeah, it’s Dr. B’s friend, Dr. John,” J said.
“Well, L was just saying how she wanted to skip dating and go straight to marriage material, maybe this would be it?” I said.
“As long as he’s cute, I’ll meet him,” L said.
“Well, it’s kinky karaoke night on Friday, so you guys join me,” J said.
“What is kinky karaoke?” I said.
“I don’t know,” J said. “It’s some bullshit that Dr. B made up, I guess. You get to wear an outfit, though, so it’s not that different from a frat party. At least it should be fun.”
“Oh, I definitely want to go,” L said.
“Are you in?” J said.
“Yeah, I’ll go. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Dr. B and his parties are entertaining, if nothing else,” I said.
I’d been working for a couple of hours on my translations and debating whether or not to text Nathan. He’d told me to let him know when I was working, so he could help. I wasn’t sure whether I really needed his help right now, but I was pretty sure that I wanted it. If I was being honest, though, I really just wanted him. So I decided to send him a text, just to see what sort of response I would get after last time.
“Hey, I’m working on your translations this afternoon, and could use a little help,” I said.
I waited a few minutes for his response, but nothing happened. I hoped Nathan was just busy, and not ignoring me. I decided to keep working. After about half an hour, I got a response.
“I’m making beer can chicken. Come over,” Nathan said.
I was surprised by the text and not really sure what to make of it.
“Okay, thanks,” I said.
I was surprised he was inviting me to dinner. I was nervous, but excited to go. I wasn’t dressed up, but I didn’t really feel like I had any time to change. I was wearing a fraternity t-shirt,, which I guess didn’t matter. It’s not like my Greek affiliation was any big secret.
When I got to Nathan’s house, I noticed the door was cracked open. I knocked softly, but nobody answered. So, I decided to go inside. I wandered through the shelves of books and noticed Nathan outside, shirtless, and BBQing. He was sweating from the heat and drinking a Lone Star. Somehow I had thought he might be drinking something a little fancier, but something about the Lone Star put me at ease.
“Is there anything I can help you with?” I said.
“No. Just grab a beer and keep me company,” Nathan said.
I did what he said. I grabbed a beer out of his refrigerator, and noticed that it was filled with strangely healthy food for a bachelor: arugula, eggs, strawberries, orange juice, and beer, lots of beer. I wandered outside and immediately started sweating.
“It seems unusually hot for the end of September,” I said.
“You should just take your shirt off. You’ll be a lot more comfortable,” Nathan said.
The statement on its own seemed a bit much, but somehow coming from him, it made sense. Nathan was nothing if not pragmatic. I tried to remember what I was wearing underneath now. Luckily, I had on a nice bralette, a black lacy thing I’d worn to the frat party last night. I decided that since I looked good, it really wouldn’t be any different from a sexy bikini top. This was how I justified it to myself. So, I took my shirt off.
Nathan glanced over at me and smiled.
“See? I bet you feel better already?” Nathan said.
I watched him as he pulled the two birds off the grill and set them on a large picnic table on the deck. I noticed Nathan had a pool behind him that I hadn’t seen the last time I was here. I wondered whether he’d follow me, if I jumped into the water.
The air outside was still and humid, which made the temperature feel hotter, even though the sun was finally beginning to set. I went back inside quickly to get us both another beer, and when I returned, it was as if Nathan had read my mind. He was waiting for me in the pool.
“Come in, the water is warm,” Nathan said.
I smiled at him, kicked off my shorts, and dove in. I was happy to rinse off the remainder of the day, and to do so with him. Plus, I needed a shower and this seemed like a good alternative for now. I noticed almost immediately upon surfacing that my bralette was floating absurdly towards the surface of the water. I decided it was probably pointless to keep it on, so I tossed it away. I felt the warmth of the water on my skin and then the strength and embrace of Nathan behind me. I turned to meet him. It felt like we were floating on a warm bed, as he lifted me up to meet him. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him.
The buoyancy of the water held us together, water sliding between us. It made me more aware of his body and more aware of my own. The waves of our movement washed over me, lost in translation, slipping in tandem, until Nathan found a foothold along the pool’s edge. He steadied himself and I held onto him, wondering how I’d found somebody who was as physically overwhelming, as he was mentally intriguing. I decided not to think about it anymore and just let him take me.
“So, I think I’m ready for this,” L said.
J brought out a bottle of champagne from our mini-fridge, popped it open, and poured it into three KKG painted wine glasses. I watched the bubbles through the pink and blue letters and felt like I’d finally arrived.
“Should I wear underwear?” L said.
“Never. Especially on a date like this,” J said.
L raised her eyebrows.
“I’d listen to her. There’s probably not much you can wear with latex anyway. Plus, if your plan is to seduce a guy, it’s always nice to have the no underwear thing, in case you want to use it,” I said.
“What do you mean?” L said.
“Well, for one, going commando gives you the element of surprise. When a guy figures it out, it totally throws him off his game, and there’s nothing sexier than that. No underwear is a happy surprise. No guy is ever going to feel sad about finding that one. Plus, it makes you just edgy enough, without being too over the top,” J said. “It’s not like you announce it or anything.”
“Exactly. You have to let him find it on his own. It will always happen eventually, given enough time. And usually when it does happen, if there were any doubt before, it’s game on. And, you’re the winner,” I said.
“I love you guys. So, no underwear on dates. Got it. Give me some more,” L said.
“Alright, I have one caveat to that rule. If you’re going to a boring dinner, a talk, or anything else you think you might want to get out of, make sure you wear a lacy thong or a g-string. Then, if the night starts to grow unbearable, excuse yourself to the bathroom, take it off, take a sexy selfie, and give him both. Just stick the thong in his pocket and tell him not to pull it out, but to try to guess what it is, and if he’s having any trouble tell him to check his phone,” I said. “The very idea of your underwear in his pocket will usually be enough to distract him, guaranteeing you’ll get to leave within five minutes of delivery, if not sooner.”
“Oh, that’s a good one,” L said. “I’m so glad you’re my new roommates. So with the latex and the lube, do I just paint it on?”
“Basically. Just lube up your body the same way you’d give a hand job. You want it to slide right on,” J said. “Here. Let me show you.”
J stripped down and began dousing her body in something called Liquid Silk. The she shimmied into her latex body suit. She looked like a blonde cat woman, only without the tail or the ears.
“Okay, your turn,” J said.
L took the bottle of KY she’d purchased and began rubbing it along her legs and up her body. It seemed to be almost melting off her, dripping now on to the floor. L didn’t waste any time moving on to her new nurse’s out fit, hopping up and down, trying to pull the red latex first up over her ass, and then onto her boobs. I had no idea what she would look like in the end, but it turned out awesome. The latex hugged every curve, creating an almost cartoon like image. The only thing she was missing was her doctor’s kit. I figured Dr. B would have more than enough props to help her out.
I drank down another glass of champagne, enough to get up the courage to put on my own red latex dress. By the time I’d finished lubing myself up and squeezing into my outfit, the floor in our room had turned into a lube based slip and slide. L was using a box of Kleenex to try to wipe up the floor.
I could hear Dr. B’s voice sing some bizarre rendition of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” before we reached the circus room. When we walked in, I saw Dr. B wearing a silk kimono covered in red dragons belting out the lyrics on the screen.
“Sweet Caroline, gettin’ head never felt so good,” Dr. B said.
I’d already thought there was something a little pervy about Neil Diamond before, maybe it was just the porn sounds of the seventies, but I have to admit Dr. B’s performance left me speechless. I noticed there were two other men sitting on the red vinyl couches, surrounded by portraits of circus oddities. One guy was wearing a paisley satin robe with furry slippers, and the other looked like a slightly softer, less angular version of American Psycho, complete with his velvet cigar jacket and slicked back hair. Dr. B finished his song and practically skipped over to J.
“You girls look wonderful! The latex goes perfectly with the Big Top theme, and I love how you all coordinated. Please, let me introduce you to my friends,” Dr. B said.
Dr. B put his hand on the shoulder of the balding guy in the paisley robe.
“This is my friend, John. He’s a gastroenterologist at the same hospital where I work. We do a lot of surgeries together,” Dr. B said. “He’s a pretty cool guy, and has a ton of great ass stories.”
When Dr. John stood up to shake our hands, I noticed he wasn’t a whole lot taller than me. He must have been around 5’7,” but it was clear he worked out a lot, probably to compensate for that fact. He had bigger boobs then mine, and seemed like the type who might make them dance for you, whether you asked for it or not. But, he had a nice smile.
“My name is L,” L said. “I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about you.”
It was clear that L wasn’t wasting any time. She seemed very happy with the match, and wanted to make it clear that she was going after Dr. John. I noticed that the edges of Dr. John’s robe were fraying, and wondered if this were the same one he wore when at home and drinking his morning coffee.
“And this here is my friend, Alan. We were roommates together at Duke, and he’s a patent attorney here in town. We used to sing in the Pitchforks acapella group together,” Dr. B said. “After his divorce, I convinced him to move down to Austin, so we could party together.”
Alan stood up and smiled. His teeth were bright and white, and it made me wonder briefly if he were addicted to the Crest whitening strips. He seemed nice enough upon first glance, so I took a seat next to him.
Jess sat in Dr. B’s lap and wrapped her pink boa around his neck.
“We need something to drink,” Jess said.
“Of course, whatever my mistress desires,” Dr. B said.
I could tell Dr. B was in rare form tonight. He was probably just excited to play matchmaker. I noticed he rushed out wearing Jess’s boa and immediately came back with a couple bottles full of cocktails and six glasses. Alan stood up to help him, since it seemed like a lot to balance on one tray.
“We’ve got Moscow Mules, El Diablos, and Gin Brambles. Basically, vodka, tequila, or gin. I’m also happy to provide you with any special requests,” Dr. B said.
He winked at J, who smiled knowingly at me. J whispered to L about Dr. B’s special pharmacy, and she excitedly nodded her head.
“You know, I don’t normally do anything much beyond a little Jesus juice, but if it’s been okayed by the US Government, then it must be safe,” L said.
I shrugged my shoulders. At least there were two doctors readily available, if there were any problems.
“I want something relaxing, like a mommy’s little helper, or whatever the current thing is these days,” L said.
Dr. B reached into his pocket and pulled out a Xanax.
“What do you think John?” Dr. B said.
“Yeah sure, that’s a good place to start. How about a round of these to go with the cocktails?” Dr. John said.
I’d heard of Xanax; I didn’t get the impression that it was much of a recreational drug, but then what did I know? My mom had a bottle of it at home that she took after nasty fights with my dad, so how bad could it really be. My guess is it would just take the edge off. Dr. B gave three pills to J and she gave one to L and one to me.
“So we’ve got this bitch for two more hours. Who’s ready to do this shit,” C said.
The party bus erupted in drunken revelry and Flo Rida’s, “My House.” All the frat bros were singing along and taking turns holding each other up to do keg stands at the back of the bus.
“This is way better than the dance; I think the only point of the Spring Formal now is to give the girls an excuse to buy a fancy dress, go out to an expensive dinner, and then get totally lit,” J said.
“It reminds me of a more debauched version of prom,” I said.
“Exactly,” J said.
I stared in surprise at J as she began to shimmy out of her ball gown.
“Come on, you know there’s no way I can do this stripper pole right in this dress,” J said. “Plus, I’m not ruining my Dolce Gabbana just to do a keg stand on the back of the bus.”
The guys immediately noticed J in her underwear and heels, and began chanting, “Take it off! Take it off! Take it off!”
J began twirling around the pole, and then had B and C carry her Cleopatra style to the back of the bus for a keg stand. I’d had enough to drink at this point in the night that somehow J’s logic made complete sense. So, I stripped down along with her and two other girls. At this point I glanced around amazed at how the bus had quickly transformed from a night out at the Four Seasons to a scene right out of Playboy.
After J’s keg stand, she stood above C and demanded he strip for her now, too.
“It’s your turn. I want to see what you’re hiding under there. Show me what you’ve got,” J said.
All C’s friends cheered him on as he took to the stripper pole, throwing his tie, his Armani shirt, and his pants one after the other around the bus, revealing his leopard print boxer briefs at the end. Everyone cheered and hooted at C’s final revelation.
J started spinning upside down on the stripper pole. I still have no idea how she had the strength to pull it off. Maybe all those pole workout classes she’d taken this semester had actually been worth something. I think the Fijis were as impressed as I was, because C had been swinging like a monkey, not paying any attention, until he went balls first into another pole. He fell on top of another couple and puked everywhere. As you can imagine, everyone was ready to call it a night after that one.
We could hear the sounds of a fiddle singing a Celtic tune, as we neared our hotel. There was something happy in its sound that cut through the damp cold, and made me immediately want to immerse myself in it.
“I don’t know where that’s coming from, but I want to find it,” I said.
I grabbed Dr. A’s hand, and we began searching the streets for the enchanting melody. There was something exciting about searching for this foreign tune that made me feel slightly intoxicated.
“I think it’s just over this way,” Dr. A said.
And he was right. We turned the corner and saw a pub lit up with a live band playing near the front. The patrons were clapping and some were stomping along to the beat. A number of couples were dancing their own version of whatever came naturally, spinning and moving together with the music
We got a table for two near the bar and ordered a couple of beers, which we immediately downed. I’d recently been teaching Dr. A how to chug, because he’d never learned in college, and it seemed like a worthwhile skill have under your belt. As it turns out, Dr. A was a quick learn, and could almost beat me now in the downing of a pint. Drinking quickly allowed us to move from beer to music, immediately feeling the warm combination of the two; and what better way to experience Irish culture than in swallowing down this physical embodiment.
It didn’t take long for us to get swept away together, at first stomping in time to the rhythm, which led us out onto the dance floor. It was clear neither of us had any idea what we were doing, but we moved and spun together letting the music dictate wherever it was we were going. After each song finished, Dr. A would twirl me once, and then dip me back, before bringing me up into a kiss. This small ritual added some structure to the free for all.
After the band finished playing its last song, we sat down sweaty and exhausted. We each ordered one nightcap and then another, both taking a smoky Irish whiskey that seemed to envelop us in a mellow drunken haze, giving way to a sleepy infatuation. His hand traced my knee, the heat of my breath along his neck, the laughter and forgetting of oneself. Clearly it was time to go. Slowly we made our way out, back into the cold night, refueled now by the whiskey. When we got to the hotel room, we each stripped off our jackets, and then our matching sweaters. Still half clothed and in our boots we fell on one another, in a messy, drunken, make out session.
“So I can’t tell if the whiskey I’m tasting is from you or me?” I said.
“I can taste it, too. Maybe it’s some combination of us,” Dr. A said.
At this point we both paused to take off our boots. He tugged at mine, and I loosened the laces on his, and we kicked them off in unison. After that, everything else easily fell to the floor, socks and shirts, in a series of half learned motions, until we were left together, completely nude, me on top of him, him on top of me, lost in where one began and the other ended.
The next morning we took a day trip to Howth, about thirty minutes out from Dublin on the DART. When we arrived we caught the tail end of a rolling fog that slowly resolved into a cloudy afternoon. I had never seen a real lighthouse before, so Dr. A paid a local fisherman to ferry us five minutes across to the craggy island to walk around the rocky terrain covered in rhododendrons. These vines wove themselves in and out along the cliffs, following the same path we took up the formation. We were the only ones there except for a couple of sea lions, all hanging out on the edge of Ireland. I guess it wasn’t exactly tourist season.
I’m sure we looked absurd up there, wearing our matching Irish sweaters, me in my old Justin’s and Dr. A in his new Keen hiking boots, both covered in thin plastic ponchos. We’d found the latter at the train station, probably meant for tourists; even so, they were surprisingly effective at keeping out the cold. We wandered around slowly making our way up. Being alone together here made me feel as if we were the only ones left in the world. Eventually we sat down at the top near the lighthouse. Dr. A sat behind me and I leaned back into him. He wrapped his arms around me and clasped his hands beneath my sweater. He felt surprisingly warm, probably from all the hiking. There was nothing overtly sexual about it, although the implications were there.
“So how did we end up here?” Dr. A said.
It seemed to be as much a statement, as a question.
“I think sometimes when you let go, life takes you places you’d never have guessed. Alcohol and desire tend to speed that kind of thing along,” I said.
“I think the ability to let go is a luxury that comes easily when you’re young. As you get older, infinite possibility seems to get lost somewhere between responsibility and routine,” Dr. A said.
I leaned back to kiss him.
“Maybe that’s why we work so well together. I get you moving, while you keep me grounded,” I said.
We lay there together for a while, arms around each other, my head pressed against him. I listened to the waves lapping against the shore playing together in tandem with rise and fall of Dr. A’s chest. At that moment, I thought there was nowhere else I’d rather be.
The last thing I remember after boarding the plane was Dr. A asking for two Irish whiskies on the rocks. Unfortunately, the only whiskey our flight had available was from Tennessee, so we settled for a Bailey’s Irish Crème instead. After that, Dr. A and I both passed out. I’m sure by now you can probably guess where we were headed. Thanks to the huge tech sectors in both Austin and Dublin, American Airlines now has direct flights running constantly between the two, so we made the last flight out that night.
Before this trip, the only things I really knew about Ireland had to do with leprechauns, St. Patrick’s Day, and James Joyce. I’d used a Joyce quote in my sugar baby profile, the one that caught Dr. A’s interest, “love loves to love love,” so it seemed appropriate that we ended up flying here now on vacation. Dr. A seemed to know even less about Ireland than me, so upon landing we googled the three phrases that made the most sense to us: “Hotel,” “Dublin,” “James Joyce,” and it worked. We told the taxi driver to take us to Blooms hotel.
We arrived in a daze of windy rain and cold. But even with the freezing temperatures, everything that surrounded us remained a vivid green. There were these amazing 1920s style portraits of Molly, Bloom, and Stephen from Ulysses, painted four stories high on our hotel. The brightly colored murals reminded me of the art around Austin. I really couldn’t have imagined anything more wonderful or whimsical than this. It was early afternoon when we arrived and a little too soon to check in, so we left our bags at the front desk and went walking around, eventually ending up in a little pub down the street, where we ordered a traditional Irish breakfast.
“You guys look you’re in town for a visit,” the waiter said. “What may I get for you?”
Dr. A and I looked at one another. “Bring us two of whatever you’d consider a good Irish breakfast,” Dr. A said.
We learned quickly here that the Irish don’t mess around when it comes to the first meal of the day. There’s no cup of coffee and a biscuit. The waiter brought us pints of Guinness and two large plates with eggs, beans, tomatoes, sausages, potatoes, and toast. Considering how hung over we were from a combination of jet lag, travel, and last night’s drinking, this had to be the Irish breakfast of champions. After eating we decided to wander around a little more.
“We need to get you something warmer to wear,” Dr. A said. “And me, too. It’s the damp cold here that makes you feel it so much more.”
I was wearing my dad’s old camouflage fleece jacket, which had been serving as my winter coat since I’d left for college. We were passing by a couple of tourist shops and noticed one that had stacks of thick wool sweaters. The sweaters were made of Irish wool, the kind I imagined a fisherman might wear, which was exactly what we needed right now. Dr. A bought himself one in dark green and me one in white; now there was no questioning that we were tourists. We walked around a little more, before going back to the hotel to officially check in.
By now we were tired, as the adrenaline and alcohol began to wane. We shed our sweaters, boots, and other layers, before falling exhausted into bed together. I couldn’t tell if I was shivering now because I was tired, cold, or both. We held each other and began to kiss, and then slowly melted into one another, and then into a much needed sleep.