5.8% ABV from a six-pack
My Porno Hook-Up
You won’t believe this story, so you might as well just pretend I made it up.
I have a lot of friends and I get invited to a lot of parties, especially as the holiday season heats up. And just like Kim Kardashian won’t turn down an invite to a lame awards show, I will pretty much show up at any shindig. Which is odd since I often have a terrible time. As an eternal optimist though, I always think I am going to have a blast, regaling the men with great stories, beguiling a multitude of sexy women, ending the night drinking champagne out of a stiletto as the sun comes up, and waking up on the host’s sofa with a lampshade on my head.
However, as we get older and older, the problem becomes that the parties become more and more boring. For one simple fact: everyone is a couple. And couples are inately boring. Our early twenties big beer blasts full of 90% single people become quiet couples’ dinner parties with a lot of hummus and toasted pita points. Not that I’m complaining about hummus, that stuff’s delicious.
The starts of these parties are always fun as people first dig into the food and the wine and start loosening up, introductions made by the host. “And here’s my boring friend ____ who has this boring job and there’s his boring wife ____ who has that boring job.” Quite frankly, unless you’re a stripper, astronaut, or professional football player, I really could care less in hearing about your occupation. Sorry, it is what it is.
In attending these parties stag I’m always treated like some member in a freak show, the werewolf boy or the world’s tiniest monk. My ostensible peers pelting me with questions about my lack of marriage, my lack of kids, my lack of owning anything nicer than some Ping irons. At the beginning of most parties, I always become the focus of attention. I have interesting stories, caaaaaaaa-razy stories, even transgressive stories, and the buttoned-up types want to hear them. In the same way they get a vicarious thrill out of watching an action movie or late-night softcore on Cinemax. An egomaniac, it is usually this part of the party, the only part of the party, I actually enjoy.
But after a half-hour or so, every one starts ignoring me, and the “adults” start having “adult” conversations, I forced to go stand away like a child shuffled away to another room during a dinner party. They drinking one or two glasses of boring wine while like a fratboy I brought a six pack of beer. At least it was good stuff. Sam Adam’s highly respectable version of a winter warmer. A lager but full bodied and flawlessly spiced. I really like it.
As the adults talked about the holograms used in CNN’s election coverage, and the sonograms from their recent visit to the doctors, and the “darling” monograms on the items they received as wedding gifts, I skulked to the corner to get drunk and try to figure out what girl I should text for a later-night meet-up.
There was actually one other single in attendance, Annie. A rarity for most of these boring affairs. Usually the two singles are drawn to each other like magnets, but I was less-than-interested in her. A freshly-minted doctor, she seemed boring as hell. Then again, most doctors are. Years of study, sitting in libraries, a lot of handwashin’ and scrubs-wearin’ do not lend themselves to creating social superstars. Then again, would you want a practicioner that could schmooze up a room like Dean Martin or Jackie Gleason? I doubt I would, but, then again, I never go to see health professionals.
Earlier in the evening, when it was her turn to introduce herself, the shy Annie had noted that this was her first time “out” in 40 days. We noticed she had a pager on her jeans’ belt loop and made as-would-be-expected jokes (“What are you a drug dealer in 1992?”). Trite and obvious jokes but we all laughed because they were still kinda funny and because you laugh at people’s jokes early on during dinner parties before you realize you hate them all. After the barrage of jokes fizzled out, Annie had explained it was because she was on “emergency emergency” call, assuring us that the beeper would only come into play should two others doctors fall ill that night. Which never ever never happened.
With the adults discussing whether they should move to Westchester or the Jersey suburbs to start a family, I had no choice but to approach Annie.
She stood in the corner like a classic wallflower, uncomfortable in her own skin, unsure where to put her hands, her feet, her eyes. I didn’t think I had much interest in her sexually, romantically, as a friend, a conversation partner, a golfing buddy, a tennis companion, or anything else, but she was the only single and all the well-lubricated couples had begun talking about topics that I would probably never been mature enough to waste time discussing.
I opened my foray to Annie by remarking that she wasn’t drinking, which I didn’t remark was making her even more boring.
“I’m technically not allowed to…”
She explained that, yes, though there was only like a 0.000001% chance she would have to work that night, she really couldn’t drink “on the job.”
I mocked her piousness. I’m good at peer pressuring people and soon I had whipped her up a gin and tonic, one a tad dryer than she probably expected. She was undoubtedly a novice drinker as she was clearly becoming intoxicated after just a few sips.
She was kind, but didn’t have much to say. Attractive too, but stuffier than a plush toy, more prim and proper than a Quaker. As I said, I don’t go to doctors for “check-ups.” Just seems like a bit of a scam. Something to keep up the medical industrial complex. I’ve always agreed with a friend who once told me you only need to go to the doctor if you break a leg or get AIDS. Seems about right. And in Manhattan, forget about it. I’m not spending all day sitting in a waiting room reading “Redbook” just to see if I might possibly have some problem.
So, with no other conversation topics, I asked her:
“I NEVER go to the doctor. Haven’t been to a general practitioner since I was like 19. So break it to me. Give me the real answer. I don’t want the answer you’re supposed to give in order to make perpetual money for your industry, I want the real answer: how often should a guy like me be going to the doctor?”
She impassively looked me up and down, scrutinizing me like a piece of Kosher meat.
“You can hit me with it,” I said, fully expecting bad news.
“A guy like you? Young, healthy, and robust looking…
She cutely crinkled her nose for one final study of me.
“You seriously don’t need to go more than once every five to seven years. Assuming you feel fine of course.”
“I KNEW IT! I’ve been telling everyone this for years! What a fucking scam!”
“Shhhh…” she smiled for the first time. “Don’t blow up our spot.”
And she even makes a little joke!
It’s funny I never go to the doctor because I’m a bit of a hypochondriac. I know the statistics, I know likelihoods, I know the odds, and I don’t fear death or pain, it’s just I watch “House,” and I read so many goddamn books, so many science and medical papers–yes, I consider that “fun”–that I know about all sorts of strange and terrible ailments which I then transpose onto myself.
For the last two years I’d privately thought I had testicular cancer. I found a smaller-than-a-ball-bearing bump one evening while self-abusing myself and had been certain it was the big C. But, of course, I never went to the doctor, instead just reading about diagnoses online. I must not truly be a hypochondriac.
But here was my chance. And, luckily I’d drank enough alcohol that I had the balls to ask about my balls.
I looked around to make sure no one could hear me. I looked Annie in the eyes. She could the tell I was sincere, about to confide something important to her.
“I’m sorry if I’m out of line…but…”
After I gave her the scoop, she looked around the room. Was she mad?
She marched off to the bathroom. The host’s bedroom bathroom that no guests had been using. I trepidatiously followed her.
We got into the bathroom and she locked the door. Though seemingly impossible, she instantly had become even more prim and proper and she was already like a fucking 1800’s school marm. The expression on her face was completely placid, completely focused.
“Drop your pants.”
Wow. Free medical work is even better than free drinks. And far rarer. I did as I was told.
Without looking down, without looking at me, just staring off toward the medical cabinet mirror on the wall, she reached into my boxer briefs and rolled my right testis in her hand for a minute. I too looked off into space. It was surprisingly awkward, surprisingly clinical. It didn’t even seem that inappropriate. I heard some guests laughing in the distance.
“You’re fine. That’s probably just a minor varicocele, a vein enlargement. Nothing to be concerned about. If it gets bigger or actually starts to hurt, you should see your doctor. A doctor.”
I looked at her relieved. I exhaled and smiled.
“Thank you, Annie.”
Her hand was still on my junk. I looked down, taking the scene in. I looked back into her eyes. She moved in for a kiss. WHOA! It had gone from clinical to inappropriately pornographic in seconds. One of those rare porno hookups where innocuous situations escalate to sordidness at the drop of the hat, and completely unexpectedly, as if poorly scripted by a hack.
We made out for milliseconds before she removed her hands and went to the sink to scrub up as if preparing for surgery.
“Come on, pull your pants up, we better get back to the party.”
She quickly left and went back outside, leaving me in the bathroom.
What the fuck? I quickly analyzed the previous minute or two. Unsure what had gone wrong. Unsure what had gone right.
I returned to the party a few seconds after her. I stood in the corner by the door, sweating, thinking, antsy as I slugged my beer. What was I supposed to do next?
Annie moved to the finger foods table and had some guacamole, totally ignoring me, nonchalantly talking to another party guest.
Everyone turned as Annie’s pager blew up. We all knew what it probably meant. She seemed more surprised than any one. She looked down. “Shit!” She got frantic. “Unbelievable!” She gathered her stuff–“Fucking Joe!–and began going around the party, quickly saying “I’m sorrys” and “goodbyes” to everyone.
I was the last person she encountered on her way out the door headed back to her hospital. Just as she had done to everyone else, she held out her hand professionally, coldy.
“It was GOOD to meet you, Aaron.” She stared deeply into my eyes. “I hope to SEE you AGAIN.”
I thought I got what she was hinting at, what words she was stressing and for what purpose, but I’ve been wrong before. Especially while drunk. She left, and two minutes later I snuck out the door without saying goodbye to my friends.
Once I got outside I stood in front of the UES highrise looking around. Son of bitch! I had been wrong. I had totally misread her implications, or apparent lack thereof. And it was only 10:00 PM. With no other plans for the evening, I was going to have to go back up to the party with my tail between my legs and lie about why I’d been outside. Would people believe I had just taken up smoking?
I turned. Annie stood at the corner peeking her head around the building.
I was elated.
We quickly grabbed a cab and went back to her University Hospital’s resident housing where she showed me her diplomas.