woman

When a pale-skinned, wild-haired guy asked me out on nerve.com, I almost passed. For one thing, he described himself as a filmmaker, and the black-and-white photos of him lying on a bed of ivy were downright weird. But when he invited me to see my favorite indie band, Bright Eyes, I called Art Boy and we got to talking. The conversation rocked: He was a Renaissance man who was as excited to talk about postcolonial literature as he was the best way to make brownies from scratch. I ignored the fact that he occasionally used words that sounded like Martian, and agreed to meet him.

I was surprised by how much better he looked in person than in his pics--his nose was handsomely Roman, and his hair was messy in a sexy, bohemian way. By the end of the night, we were locked in a sweet kiss.

A few weeks and a few equally great dates later, we were walking up the stairs of his apartment building, talking about the statuesque men we'd just seen in a modern-dance performance, when I suddenly wondered if Art Boy's appreciation for their rippling muscles was more than merely aesthetic. "Wait, are you bi?" I asked.

"Nope," he said. "I like pretty girls."

But later, when we were lounging on his couch, he dropped a bomb: "I enjoy a kind of sex that people don't usually associate with straight men," he said. Then he poured us some port and explained: He had a thing for intercourse wherein his female partner was the aggressor. Or, to put it bluntly, he liked to take it from behind by a woman in a strap-on.

"How'd you figure out you were into that?" I asked, once I'd found my tongue. Apparently, a gorgeous female teaching assistant in college liked to underscore their power dynamic by giving him the business.

"And you enjoyed it?" I said.

He nodded. Then he took the glass out of my hand, started kissing me, and two months of the best, most conventional nooky of my life ensued. I assumed his strap-on days were over.

But then one night he showed up at my place with a rubber replica of the male appendage, attached to a belt. After stepping into the contraption like I would a pair of shorts, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and couldn't help but laugh at how ridiculous I looked. The things women have to do now to date, I thought. Guys had asked me to try everything from joining a threesome to putting my tongue in the last place anyone would want to put her tongue. And now--this. What ever happened to white sheets, Nina Simone on the stereo, and skin against skin?

As I moved my hips and did my thing, I felt strangely removed from the experience. The kinky deed seemed unsexual and anything but intimate--after all, my primary erogenous zone was covered up by a giant fake penis.

Our romance didn't last much longer--not because of the sex, but because things never seemed to extend beyond the sex. When I ended it, he griped, "Modern heteronormative dating rituals can be so teleological."

"Sorry, I don't speak robot," I said.

"Well, heteronormative means classic male-female relationships. And teleological means geared toward a specific goal, like marriage."

I rolled my eyes. I'd strapped on a dildo for this guy, and still he was calling me conventional.

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