Sunday, November 23, 2008

You're Doing It Wrong

On Tuesday at 5:00, right after I finish teaching the most out-of-control but utterly charming section of College Writing I have, I will start the ten hour drive back to Buffalo. I will get into town late at night, and I will have to catch up on my sleep quickly because the next five days are going to be a streak of liquor! food! shopping! disco! liquor! food!

I'm looking forward to all of that. And there's something else I'm looking forward to, too, and it's this: I am looking forward to seeing my friend Josh.

We're coming up on eight years of knowing each other, and in those eight years we've been through a lot of weird things together (for example: this, this, and #3), but it never seems like enough. When I realized that I was going back to Buffalo after grad school and not to some maple syrup-soaked New England location where I would be a professor of creative writing, I was pretty upset and I sulked for days, but then I realized there was a bright spot: I'd be around Josh an awful lot. That thought cheered me. It cheered me until Josh told me he'd been accepted to do a semester in Quebec and would be gone most of the year.

We have the unfortunate luck of never being in the same state at the same time, so we have to soak up time together whenever we can, and this week is one of those times.

Josh has had the unpleasant task of listening to me whine a lot lately, but when I'm done unloading my line of woe-is-me, he always give me a little something to cheer me up, a little something to make me laugh, a little something to put it all in perspective. Like this story:

Not that long ago Josh was out with his roommate/best friend, and they were sitting at the bar and talking to some of the other people around them. Eventually his roommate/best friend wandered off, and Josh was left by himself. Josh being the type of boy he is--socially bold--he struck up a conversation with this cute girl near him. The cute girl was sitting with a boy, and Josh could tell they weren't a couple, so he was thinking maybe it would be in his best interest to try to get the girl to make out with him because if there's one thing in the world Josh likes the best, it's making out. So he tried to lay down some lines. He tried his best come ons.

That's when the girl asked him if he was gay.

"What?" Josh said. "No, I'm not gay."

The girl gave him a look--a look that said Oh, come on.

"I'm not!" Josh said. He didn't mind being confused with a gay man because he found that offensive; it was just that he minded losing the possibility of making out with this girl because she assumed he was into boys.

The girl turned and whispered something to the boy she was with. They laughed together. Then the girl turned back to Josh. "Do you think he's cute?" she asked, jerking her finger in the boy's direction.

"I don't like guys," Josh said.

And so it went for some time. The girl kept insisting that Josh was gay, that he was secretly laying down his lines to get closer to the boy she was with, when, in reality, Josh was just trying to get into her pants.

Josh got frustrated by all this. He wasn't sure how to convince this girl--this cute girl he wanted to kiss--that he was honestly interested in her, that there was nothing he'd like to do more than take her into a dark corner or out into the alley and make out for a few hours. The situation had gotten out of hand. Now he was sitting in this bar and waiting for his roommate/best friend to come back, and he had to suffer through this girl's attempts to set him up with the boy she was sharing vodka-Red Bulls with.

Finally, Josh--frustrated, tired, bored--got up and wandered outside to wait for his best friend. He sat on a bench outside the bar and looked off in the direction she'd wandered. He waited and waited and waited. He waited some more. Then the bar's door swung open, slammed shut. The girl from inside was now sitting next to him on the bench.

"Hi," she said.

"Hi," he said.

"I was wondering if you'd like to make out with me," she said.

Those words are Josh's favorite words, and as soon as they were uttered, he completely forgot how frustrated this girl had made him when he was inside the bar. He perked right up.

"Yeah," he said. "Yeah, I want to make out with you."

And so they started. Josh leaned over and put his hands on the girl's cheeks. He gave her one of his best kisses.

She pushed away immediately. "You're doing it wrong,"she said.

No girl had ever told Josh he kissed wrong. No girl had ever complained about his style. He stared at this girl, dumbfounded.

"Again," the girl said, and leaned back into him. She demonstrated how she wanted Josh to kiss her, and so Josh started kissing her again. And apparently it went better this time because she had no complaints. Until he started to move to places other than her mouth. He'd begun to move on to spots that indicated he was interested in things more than kissing, but this girl stopped him. She put a hand on his chest. "You're doing that wrong, too," she said. She hitched her shoulders up to her ears, as if to itch his kisses off her neck and ears.

Josh waited. He waited for her to instruct him how to kiss her and where, and when she did, he paid very close attention and tried again, doing exactly what she wanted. This time, her reaction was exactly what he wanted. She curled close and sighed and kissed him back and back and back. And Josh went on thinking this was nice, this was great, but wasn't it a little bit strange how this whole night had started? An hour before this girl had been convinced he was gay, he wanted her friend at the bar, he was trying to get in good with her to get in good with the guy so they could go off and have some man-on-man action. He wasn't exactly sure what about that--and his subsequent exit--acted as an aphrodisiac. And he still wasn't exactly sure what he was doing wrong for her. But it looked like as long as he behaved and did what she said, things would work out just fine. Josh doesn't have sex--he did when he was younger, but he's over it now, and he's waiting for the right girl to come along--but he does do other things, and he was thinking that maybe, just maybe, if he played his cards right, he might get to see this girl naked. He'd like that.

The girl broke away, and Josh was concerned for a second that he'd done something wrong again, but this girl wasn't going to scold him this time. She smiled sweetly. "Do you want to have sex in my car?" she asked.

And, bless his heart, Josh actually thought about it. In that moment he considered going back to the parking lot with this girl, ducking into her car, crunching their bodies into tight angles to get things done. And he doesn't even have sex. At all. But this girl--this idiot girl who spent time trying to convince him he was gay when he wasn't, this idiot girl who had the audacity to announce he was kissing her wrong instead of getting that message across in the more subtle ways that girls all know--had made him think, Huh. Okay. Maybe?

If that had been me, if I'd been scolded more than once on my technique, I would've been out of there so fast, I would've been one hot streak of girl, glowing red with embarrassment, a tornado of horror that was spinning herself so far from that situation she'd never, ever, ever, ever have to think about it again.

Sometimes I am incredibly jealous of boys. So, so jealous.

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