Recovering slut 

What happened to you?

Thank God for gay men, otherwise the burden would fall fully on us women to satisfy the insatiable male need for sweaty buffalo sex, and I personally don't have the time anymore. I mean it's not like I'm still in college, which was back before all the really good-looking guys my age figured out they were gay and I was immersed in my pastime of being a blazing four-star slut -- at least I'm pretty sure that's what I was, or it might be that I just bought the rumors about me like everyone else on campus.

But still, if those people saw me today they'd be damn disappointed. "What happened to you?" they'd ask, and in response I'd have to wave them away from the corner where I'd probably be crouching with dried cake batter in my hair or something. "Go away," I'd groan. "I'm tired."

Then they'd go away but their question wouldn't. What happened to me? How did my appetites get all turned around? I'd chalk it up to oncoming maturity but Grant is older than me and his sex life runs at a constant hummingbird pace. I get exhausted just hearing him talk. And Lary, who's older than both of us, has women situated all over world, the latest being a Bulgarian blackjack dealer he occasionally hooks up with in the Bahamas. Her accent is really heavy, so he doesn't always understand her, but he's almost certain that soon after they met he heard her tell him, "Fuck me until my ears bleed," which did much to endear his feelings for her.

"How romantic," I tell him over the phone. He's in Vail for the holidays, humping who knows what all. "By the way," I add, "your cat is dead."

If I continue at this tempo I figure it's just a matter of time before my husband Chris hooks up with one of those drunken cupcakes who, he says, hurl themselves at him while he's working, because bartenders are evidently impossible to resist. "Let me know how that turns out," I tell him over the phone, which is our most common mode of conversation these days. "By the way," I add, "we're out of ointment."

So I better snap out of this, because my theory is that it all evens out in the end. Like you might think you have no sex drive now, but in fact it's always there, building up day after day, and unless you keep your engine oiled you're gonna end up hit by this big comet of horniness when you're 60 or something, and then you'll have no choice but to troll your daughter's boyfriends like those lecherous old acid vats you see on daytime talk shows.

I don't want to be like that, a horny old bag of divorced bacon fat asking neighborhood high-school boys to help me with hard-to-reach zippers and such. Yuk. But that comet can't help but accumulate if this keeps up, because it never fails that when my head hits the pillow at night I think to myself, "Damn, I forgot to have acrobatic sex with Chris today. Better do it tomorrow." Then tomorrow comes and I waste it feeding my friends' pets while they're off having sex somewhere exotic. And it's not even like I want to hear about it when they come home all flushed and eager to brag. I just wave them away. "If you need me I'll be in the corner with a bowl of cake batter," I say. Really, what happened to me?

It would be cool if I could talk to my mother about this, because until she died I thought she was the epitome of sexual needlessness. She was a Birkenstock-wearing business woman who slept in a separate room from my father for a half-decade before divorcing him after 25 years of marriage, and she seemed completely happy just to have her life to herself for once; her condo on the beach in southern California, her kids in college, her occasional Friday excursions to Tijuana with her co-workers. Manless, she seemed so content to me. Then years later I was rifling through her effects and found a collection of rough drafts for a personal ad she'd placed in the paper. "Do you like walking barefoot in the grass? Holding hands under a tree? Watching the sunset from a hillside?" they read. The appeals were so achingly sweet, and dripping with romance and longing I'd never known her to feel.

So I guess she got hit by a different kind of comet, and here I'd never even seen her go on a date, which makes me worry that no one responded to her ad. But I can't bear to leave it at that. I have to hope that maybe someone did respond, and she kept it secret from us is all, and she got to wiggle her toes in a meadow while holding his hand after all. I have to hope that she found what she was looking for, even fleetingly, and that she didn't spend a single second sitting around alone, clutching an unanswered personal ad, asking herself, "What happened to me?"

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