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Monthly Archives: March 2012

It seems I’ve been given a blogging award by NatureOfTruth.  I’ve seen similar awards on other people’s blogs, so I’ve come to understand that there’s a certain protocol associated with receiving such things.  Almost like a chain letter, except no one dies if you don’t pass it along, and keeping it going shows your appreciation to the giver, and those to whom you give the award.  And I’m all about showing appreciation.  So, firstly, thank you, Nature–as I’ve said twice already, I’m happy just knowing that anyone reads my blog.  That people actually care enough to comment, much less give me any kind of recognition, is more than I hoped for.

And the award is:

Damn those censor bars.

The TMI Blog Award honors those blogs that discuss everything in detail and do it well. These bloggers aren’t afraid to discuss their most awkward, embarrassing and intimate experiences with honesty, humor and little to no filter.

Hmm.  Think I’d prefer it without the censor bars.

The rules:

  1. Thank the person who presented you with the award.
  2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
  3. Share an awkward, embarrassing and intimate story in 250 words or less.
  4. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
  5. Present the TMI Blog Award to 5 – 10 deserving blogs.
  6. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

So I give this award to at least five other people that I think embody the spirit of the thing.  Very well.  I give this to:

  1. Hyacinth.  My mirror image, a digital doppelganger, the person I would be if I had no Y chromosome.  We would be partners in crime if we actually knew one another–Butch Cassidy to my Sundance.  Hers is the most open blog I’ve ever encountered, and is also the most sexually invigorating read on the Internet.  Plus those pictures drive me mad.  A shoe-in for such an award.
  2. Lynn.  The first blog I ever read here on WordPress, and the only one of the first bunch that I still read.  She is unabashedly honest and possessed of a remarkable wit.  I’d almost call her writing catty or bitchy, if I didn’t detect a distinct layer of sarcasm and humor under everything she writes.  I love her blog, and her morals make me laugh every damned time.
  3. SexualLifeOfAWife.  Here’s a woman who has no qualms with telling you precisely what turns her on, what she and her husband have been doing lately, and whether it’s been amazing or a horrible let-down.  (Fewer of the latter, of course.)
  4. Fuck.  There’s not much I can say about Fuck, except the guy really is a Schmuck.  Another honest read, exceptionally arousing, with a steady dose of what strikes me as slightly black humor.  I’m a huge fan.
  5. Fun-Sized.  At once self-deprecating and uplifting, if such a thing is possible, she is quite adept at making her readers connect with her on an emotional level.  That she does so, I believe, unintentionally is all the more amazing.  I want to tuck her away someplace safe and tell her she’s pretty, because she is.
  6. Gillian Colbert.  Alright, look.  Not every athlete can be Michael Jordan.  Not every singer can be Sinatra.  And not every blogger can be Gillian Colbert.  This chick is one of the best writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of discovering.  I put her up there with my favorite novelists, and so I give her yet another award.  You owe it to yourself to read her blog.  Seriously.  Stop reading, and go check her out.

And finally, an awkward, embarrassing and intimate story.  I think this applies.  Quick, poorly written, but awkward indeed.  Enjoy.


I close the door to my dorm room, drop my bag on the bed, and strip down to nothing.  There is no ceremony to it, no hesitance.  I’ve had the itch all goddamned day, ever since the cute redhead in Intro Zoo asked for my number this morning, five hours ago.  My roommate won’t be back from class for an hour and a half, so I intend to scratch it.

A few deft swipes of the mouse, an eager keystroke, and I’m buried to my eyeballs in digital pornography.  I am consistently amazed by the amount and variety of smut available for free online.  Gone are the days of hiding a copy of Hustler under my mattress, Polaroids of an online friend I’ve never met in an old PlayStation jewel case.  Thanks to my university’s T1 broadband connection, I now have quick and unlimited access to all the visual aid I could ever require.

I select a link that seems promising–“Chasey Lain takes two studs in both holes”–and set to work.  A little lube in the left hand, freeing up my right to manipulate the mouse without dirtying the device.  A few tentative strokes along my shaft, a quick circle around the head, to apply said lube.  In another two strokes, my cock is ready, and I ease into my usual pace, slow and steady, with a clockwise rotation at the top.  I watch the always reliable Ms. Lain submit to the aggressive advances of two beefy guys who put my own length to shame, the redhead’s smile dancing in the back of my mind.

The sound of keys in the door lock shake me out of my pleasure-induced trance.  I quickly look for something to cover myself, but my clothes are in a pile across the room.  No time.  I simply close the window and pretend to be working.

My roommate steps inside and tosses his bag aside.  “Class was cancelled.  Let’s play some Counter-Strike.”


I hear him stop moving.  A moment’s pause, and he says, “Dude, are you jerking off?”

“…………………………Yes.  Yes I am.”

“Oh.”  Silence.  Then I hear the door open.  “No skeet skeet on my pillow.”  And he’s gone.

I consider the moment, and look down at my now flaccid member.  I give it a tentative stroke, but the lovely tingling has passed.  I sigh.  “Dammit.”  I throw my underwear on, stick my head out in the hall, and yell, “Dude, you fucked it up.  Let’s play Counter-Strike.”

My roommate rushes back to the room and hops on his computer.  “Awesome.  I’d hate for the terrorists to win because you have to get your nut.”

I pull the rest of my clothes back on and fire up Counter-Strike, though somehow, my hand on the mouse suddenly feels much less rewarding.


Kelly’s lips are pressed firmly against my own.  She’s a surprisingly talented kisser, occasionally darting her tongue teasingly across my lips, nipping at them, varying the pressure of her kiss and turning her head slightly to keep things interesting.  Her hands grip my shoulders, and mine rest comfortably on her round, well-muscled ass.  I’ve never kissed anyone this good, or with a body this fantastically toned, and the sensation of her lean, petite frame pressed against mine is maddening.

She suddenly breaks the kiss and takes a deep breath, her eyes wide, and she whispers through panting breaths, “Do you have any condoms?”

I blink in confusion.  She and I had made out once before, but she had been slightly drunk and was in a relationship with a guy back home, so I wasn’t expecting such an abrupt question, or even the opportunity to actually pursue something physical with her.  So all I can manage to say is, “Umm… no?”

“That’s a shame,” she says.  Her fingertips trace circles on my stomach–wait, when did she unbutton my shirt?

“A shame?” I repeat blankly.  “Why?”  Master of witty rapport, that’s me.

“Because if you did,” she answers calmly, “I’d fuck you right now.”

Consider my mind fully blown.

“Do you want me to–”

Kelly cuts me off by grabbing my crotch.  She bites her lower lip as she gives my hard length a tentative squeeze between forefinger and thumb, gasping in what I think is surprise.  “Holy… yeah, that will do.”  She steps away and sits on my bed.  “I’ll wait here.”

I bolt out of my dorm room faster than any man in history has moved before.  In a heartbeat, I’m knocking insistently on my neighbor’s door.  He opens it and immediately starts laughing at me, standing in the hall with my half-buttoned shirt hanging open, my hair unkempt from the aggressively physical make-out session.  “Dude, nice outfit.  She fuck you or what?”

“Not yet!”  I say, a little louder than I had intended.  “You owe me a condom.  Pay up.”

He laughs again as he retrieves a wooden cigar box, which he holds open to me.  “Take your pick.  Lubed or unlubed, colored, ribbed?  I even have some glow-in-the-dark ones that are usually good for a laugh.”

“Don’t care,” I reply.  I take a mixed handful of the small square packages and quickly about-face.  I hear him say something to the effect of, “Optimistic, aren’t we?” as I close the door to my dorm room behind me.

Kelly is still sitting on my bed, leaning back casually on her elbows.  “Did you get one?”

“More than one,” I answer, tossing the fistful of condoms on the bed beside her.  “I took the potluck approach.”

“I bet we can use them all tonight,” Kelly says, her voice suddenly more husky, almost raspy.  The sound makes my heart race in anticipation, and she beckons–literally, with one crooked finger.

I step forward, and she quickly, and a little too expertly, hooks her thumbs through my belt loops, pulling my hips toward her face.  I watch in astonishment as she leans her face toward me, biting at the button of my jeans and tugging, pulling it through the slot with a deft turn of her head.  She grips the zipper with her lips and draws that down as well.

Without thinking, I mutter, “Hope you’re not planning on gnawing your way through my boxers.  This is my favorite pair.”  I immediately remind myself to shut the fuck up.

Kelly looks up at me, eyes gleaming wickedly, and simply says, “Nah.”  Her thumbs hook under the waistline, and she pulls down, freeing me from my jeans and boxers in one easy pull.  She looks away from me, to my fully erect member, and I hear her gasp again.  “Holy shit, are you kidding me?!”  She wraps her hand around my shaft and moves me around as if inspecting me.  The scrutiny makes me slightly uncomfortable, but the feeling disappears as she draws me into her mouth.  I can’t stop myself from groaning as I feel her throat muscles contract, pulling me down her throat.  She makes a small, unpleasant choking sound as she pulls her head back, and she gasps, this time for air.

“Nope, can’t deepthroat you,” she says as she wipes her mouth.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to choke you,” I mutter.

Kelly laughs brightly.  “Don’t worry, it’s a good thing.  Besides, there are plenty of other things I can do with this.”  She stresses “this” by grabbing my shaft again and squeezing gently.  I can barely breathe, I’m so…  Aroused?  Horny?  No, I think the only appropriate word is maddened, driven to the brink of insanity by the anticipation of what’s to come.  Every nerve in my body is tingling, and I am hyperaware of every touch of her skin against mine as she removes my shirt… the sight of her standing and disrobing, exposing pale flesh, tiny yet perky breasts, a well-groomed landing strip… the sound of rumbling bass and high guitar chords…

…wait, what?

Through the walls, I hear, “I’ve been really tryyyyyyyyyyin’, baaaaaaby…”

Oh no.

The music continues, and Marvin Gaye croons to us.  “Tryin’ tah hooold back this feelin’, for soooooo looooooooooooooooooong…”

Kelly and I both look to the wall, eyes wide.  “And if you feel like I feel baby… come on, whoa, come on…”

Kelly quickly presses her fully nude body against mine, dancing against me, and sings along, “Let’s get it ooooooooooooon…………”  She nails the falsetto squeal and laughs again as she rests her head on my shoulder.  “Your neighbors have a fucked up sense of humor.”

“Yeah,” I say numbly, “sorry about that.  I got the condoms from him, so I guess he thought this would be funny.”

“Well…”  She looks up at me, and the wicked gleam in her eyes returns.  “If they want to be spectators, we may as well give them a good show…”

Within minutes, and for the next several hours, the music is drowned out by Kelly’s high-pitched, pleading cries, and I can’t help but think that this is what Marvin had in mind.

The next morning, I walk bleary-eyed into the communal kitchen of my hall, and am immediately greeted by thunderous applause and cheers from my hallmates.  My neighbor gives me a firm thumbs up.

All I can do is bow.

Inspired by a recent post at Confessions of Your Husband’s Mistress, I decided to check my blog statistics and see what searches tend to bring people to my blog.  The number one hit: how to deflower a virgin.

I find this troubling.  People actively look for information on deflowering virgins, on how to steal innocence, to destroy something pure.

Or maybe I’m just being overly optimistic.  After all, your average 13 year old kid knows more about sex then I probably did at 21.  The internet is an amazing thing.

There’s a moral to be had there, but for the life of me I can’t see it.

Fortunately, anyone arriving at my blog via that search term will only find my story/memory about geocaching done right.  One of my favorite pieces, mainly because I liked the landscape imagery I used.  I’m still not sure where it all came from.  Regardless of whether my concern is based on unfounded optimism, at least I can take comfort in knowing that I’m not contributing defloration techniques to the delinquents of Qatar.

That’s where the most recent search hit was from.  Seriously, who the hell reads this thing from Qatar?

No offense, people of Qatar.  (Qatarians?)  You’re always welcome here.  Hello, welcome, ahlan wa sahlan.

This was the first My Life As Fiction entry I wrote on this blog. I recently reread it as I was reviewing my 40+ entries in light of a recent comment that my writing style seems to have evolved in the two months that I’ve maintained this blog. I thought I would repost it for my newfound readers to scrutinize.

Only Partly Erotic

“Hey you!”

A feminine voice I didn’t recognize just greeted me as though we were old friends.  It was a very pretty voice with no hint of an accent, at least not the regional tones I’d grown up with.  I blinked in confusion and double-checked the number displayed on my cell phone.  I didn’t recognize it, despite being damn good with numbers.  Even the area code wasn’t right for my town.

Play it cool.  You’ll figure this out.

“Hey, what’s up?”  I didn’t think I sounded as confused as I was, just genuinely surprised that Pretty Feminine Voice decided to call me today.

“I just wanted to call and wish you a happy late birthday!”

Hmm.  Alright.  Pretty Feminine Voice and I were close enough for her to know that my I had recently had a birthday.  That narrowed the selection pool substantially.

Then again, I had recently become addicted…

View original post 715 more words

As I lie on my back, watching a cottony white cloud pass overhead, I find myself marveling at how easily dogs catch things with their mouths.

Perhaps humans simply aren’t biologically built for such things.  The canine jaw, as with most carnivores, is built to open wide, the better to allow large bones to be placed far enough back in the mouth to be crushed by the carnassials and molars, providing access to the nutritious marrow within.  Humans, omnivores that we are, don’t require such specialized dentition and jaw motion, so our mouths don’t open nearly as wide.  Certainly not wide enough to catch a tennis ball.

It’s not that I tried to catch it with my teeth or anything.  It just sort of happened that way.

The cloud is suddenly replaced by the silhouette of a person.  The otherwise formless being says something, but I’m distracted by the coppery taste in my mouth.  I run my tongue across my lower lip and feel the gashes left from the collision between lip and incisor.  I can put my tongue inside my lip.  This bothers me.

The formless person comes more sharply into view.  A woman with dark hair and a soft natural-looking tan stands over me.  She’s wearing capri-cut black yoga pants and a light blue form-fitting tank top.  A lovely, slender specimen of a woman.

“It slipped, I swear!!  Tonka just gets the ball so slobbery, it comes right out of my hand!  I’m so sorry it hit you!””

I notice the leash in her hand and follow it with my eyes to a large German shepherd mix, presumably Tonka, proudly holding the tennis ball in his mouth.  He looks at me as if to say, “See, this is how it’s done, dipshit.”

I finally sit up, groaning the entire way.  “S’okay, shit happens,” I mutter.  I spit a mouthful of blood into the grass between me and the dog.  He sniffs at it, then resumes judging my poor oral control.

His owner is more contrite.  She kneels beside me and puts an arm around my shoulders.  “Thank you so much for understanding!  Are you going to be okay?”

I’m more interested in her comforting gesture, and the view of the small-yet-lovely cleavage to which I am permitted from this angle, than I am my busted lip.  I try my most charming smile, but I’m sure its charm is lost amidst the blood.  “Seriously, it’s okay.  I’ve always wondered what dogs see in chasing balls.  I’ll consider this my first data point.”

She looks blankly at me.  “Your…. what?”

“Data point.”  I return her gaze briefly, then shake my head.  “Nevermind.  Bad joke.”

“Oh!”  She laughs now, seemingly relieved.  Maybe she’d thought I had a concussion or something.  “Well, you may have gotten more than you wanted.  There’s still some dog slobber on your chin.”

“The gift that keeps on giving,” I reply as I wipe Tonka drool off my chin.  I try not to wince.

She continues to smile, though her brow knits in concern.  “Seriously though, are you going to be okay?”

I laugh and nod.  “Sure, I’ll be okay.  Not the first time I’ve been hit in the mouth.  I just… you know… usually see it coming.”  She laughs again, and we make eye contact.

We hold it for a few moments.

She’s not looking away.

“But,” I continue, as though this were where I’d been going all along, “given the circumstances, I think the least you can do is grab a drink with me.”

She narrows her eyes and smirks.  “Oh really.  You don’t think your wife would disapprove?”  She gestures toward my left hand, toward the silver ring I wear.

Shit.  I almost get tripped up by that, but rather than call me a pig or some other barnyard euphamism, she continues to smirk.

So, I shrug and look over to Tonka.  “Most likely.  She’s more of a cat person.”  I reach out and snap my fingers, and Tonka rushes immediately to my side, dropping the ball beside me, eager to illustrate why his catching skills are superior to my own.  I pick it up and wipe some of the slobber off.  Tonka whines encouragingly.

“Me, I prefer dogs,” I continue.  “They don’t judge you like cats do.  They’re more in the moment, willing to overlook the unimportant details and quick to forgive any offense.”  I chuck the ball across the grassy field, and Tonka tears off after it, barking happily.  “Just give them a target, something to pursue, and they’re happy.”  I look back at her.  “I like that.”

Her smirk remains, but it’s more playful than before.  She shakes her head and rises, offering me a hand to help me do the same.  We stand a few inches apart, and she gestures over her shoulder with a nod of her head.  “My place is a few blocks that way.  You walk me and Tonka home, and we’ll see about that drink.”

“Fair enough,” I reply coolly.

Seven hours later, as I mount his owner from behind, I can’t help but smirk at Tonka as he watches me glumly, all the while thinking to myself, See, this is how it’s done.

Sorry for the poor quality of the following post.  My heart just isn’t in the writing tonight, I’m afraid.  It’s been a rough day, so I want nothing more than to relax with a good book and a Corona to keep me company.

But I must keep my writing schedule, and so I present the following story.  There will likely be no follow-up to it, as the date wasn’t nearly as exciting as I had hoped, but this encounter has been on my mind for a while now.  I’ll do my best to have something more interesting up Friday.


I sit at an individually-sized plastic table outside a small university coffee shop, pounding out line after line on my laptop.  No more than three feet away are dozens of passers-by, pedestrians meandering toward God knows where, conversing in a language I can’t hope to comprehend and won’t bother trying.  I’ve come to interpret it as white noise, a meaningless drone that mingles with the sounds of engines and car horns.  Not the ideal work space, but given that my hotel’s internet is shoddy at best, it’s more convenient to work someplace near the university where I can get a wi-fi signal.  Plus I’ve never had coffee like this.

I pause and take a long, slow sip of the hot beverage.  The spreading warmth makes my torso sweat more than usual.  My colleagues hadn’t exaggerated the climate of southeast Asia–a combination of heat and humidity so stifling that it makes it difficult to breathe at times for those of us unaccustomed to such extremes.  Sure, it gets hot back home, hotter than this, in fact.  But never does the air feel this close, this… thick.  And the hot coffee isn’t doing much to alleviate my discomfort.  But it has a stronger, more pleasing flavor than I’ve ever experienced, so I swallow my discomfort along with the bitter satisfaction that can only be found at the bottom of a good cup of joe.

“Excuse me?”

When all you are accustomed to hearing is the foreign language white noise, English really stands out.  So much so, in fact, that I am slightly startled.  I look up from my laptop, equally startled and annoyed at the unexpected interruption.  The annoyance quickly passes, however, when I take in the speaker.  A young East Asian woman in business-casual attire: white blouse, blue-black jacket, matching pants, and black heeled dress shoes.  Her hair is pulled back into a ponytail, which gives prominence to her rounded facial features and large almond eyes, and she smells vaguely of frankincense.  She smiles politely and holds her hands in a common gesture of greeting and what I interpret as supplication.

I put on my most charming smile and stand, returning the gesture and greeting her in what I’m sure is a true bastardization of her language.  She doesn’t comment, but merely repeats the gesture with more intensity.  It’s almost like fighting to see who can be more gracious.  I let her win.

“Can I help you with something?” I ask.

She recovers and stands a bit taller.  “Yes.  I want to tell you that I heard your lecture yesterday at university.”  Her English is gramatically sound, but her accent is strong, making it tricky to follow her.  “I saw you across the street and wanted to thank you.”

I laugh and look down at myself, pointedly making a show of examining my baggy cargo shorts, thin polo shirt, and sandals.  “I don’t know how you recognized me out of my professional attire and sans glasses, but I certainly appreciate you coming over to thank me.  It’s really nice to know my work isn’t quite as boring as I suspect.”

She laughs and shakes her head.  “No, no, not at all!  It was very interesting!”  I nod my thanks again, which induces another supplicating gesture from her.  “In fact, I was hoping you might want to meet with me later to talk about my work and some collaboration ideas over drinks.”

My spidey sense is tingling.

“Sure, of course.  When were you hoping to meet?”

“Tomorrow night, if that is good for you.”  She pulls a notebook from her pocket, scrawls a few lines, and rips out the page.  “Here is my phone number.  Call me tomorrow around 6:00?”

I take the page and check her handwriting.  Written across the top, in both the flowing alphasyllabaric of her region and in English, is her name–Minh.

“Minh,” I say experimentally.  “What a lovely name.”  I can see her cheeks redden as she laughs and repeats the gesture.  I grin and return it.  “I’ll call you tomorrow night.”

“Thank you,” Minh says.  She smiles and gives me a small wave as she turns on her heel, her ponytail whipping after her.  She walks away with the same professional manner as most women in the region, with no hint of sexuality whatsoever.  I am almost disappointed, but I see her cast a glance over her shoulder, toward me, and I detect the faint hint of a nervously self-satisfied smile.  She narrowly avoids eye contact and disappears into the pedestrian sea.

I return to my laptop, taking a moment to consider the note still clutched in my hand.  I pocket it and quickly type out an e-mail to Shelley.

–Guess who has a work date with a sexy woman tomorrow!!

A moment passes before I get her response.

–Every work date is sexy when you’re with me.

“Smartass,” I mutter, but I can’t help but laugh.  The expressions of the older couple beside me suggests they think I’m insane.  I raise my mug to them and take another sip of my still hot coffee.

Forgive the following random post.  I know it doesn’t pertain in any way to my usual topics, but I started thinking about this while reading an e-mail from another blogger, and I felt like getting it down on digital paper.

I’ve mentioned before how therapeutic I find the blogging process.  It’s really been quite helpful for me, in that it’s given me an opportunity to express my frustrations and share my various activities without fear of reprisal.  Everyone needs a sounding board now and again, to feel as though they don’t have to hold in everything they think and feel.  That can be highly beneficial to one’s mental well-being.

I feel that the main contributor to the ameliorative properties of the blogosphere is the community that has developed within WordPress and other blogging sites.  When people read the things you write and comment positively on them, it creates a sense of companionship, or perhaps compatriotism is a better word.  Generally speaking, the people who find and read a blog are looking for things within their own realm of interests, so you can usually be assured that anyone reading your work is of a mindset similar to yours.  That in and of itself is reassuring, particularly if you’re writing a blog about something that is inherently taboo.  But the comments you receive are doubly reassuring because not only are there other people out there who share your struggles and concerns, but they care enough to offer words of encouragement, or are simply moved enough to want to chime in on the topic at hand.  Personally, I think that’s the part I enjoy most about being involved in this community–hearing what you all have to say about me, what I do, and what I should do.  It gives me an opportunity to improve myself using the honest opinions of others as a template for where I should end up in this self-explorative journey.

I am surprised by just how tightly knit the community seems.  I mainly frequent the same blogs over and over because I enjoy the content and writing styles of the various authors involved, but I do branch out whenever I earn a new follower, reading through their work, seeing what they’re all about, and discerning why they chose to follow me in the first place.  When I do so, I tend to find that most people discover my site through other blogs I follow.  It’s a Six Degrees of Separation kind of scenario.  This person reads Hyacinth’s blog, then bounces to Gillian’s, then to Lynn’s, and finally, to mine.  Readers stay within their own little sub-genres and branch out slowly, expanding their involvement in other sites, which lends itself to that sense of community I keep mentioning.

However, what I find most surprising is how much we, or at least I, care about the other bloggers in our respective fields.  For instance, I feel somewhat connected to the three authors I mentioned above.  I’ve read every post they’ve written, and I have a certain mental image of them–not physically, but a summary of what makes that person who they are.  Plato’s Form of Hyacinth, a universal awareness of what makes them who and what they are.  I’ve never met them and most likely never will (that would be weird, no?), but I feel like, if I did, it would be like meeting an old friend.  I know nothing about them beyond what they present in their blogs, but I imagine that is their most honest self, writing in the faceless anonymity that only the internet can provide, and thus I feel like I know them personally.

It’s an odd sort of imaginary relationship I share with my fellow bloggers, and I can see why blogging may be so addictive for some people.  It’s social media with complete strangers.  Developing friendships or camaraderies through written word.

Mainly, it’s a way to not feel so alone.

Cheers, everyone.

“The man sat, terrified, as the snake woman wrapped her long body around him, holding him tightly in her coils.  She said to him, ‘Do you remember those two white birds you set free?  They were mine.’ ”  My voice is harsh and raspy, and I emphasize the ‘s’ sounds to simulate the hiss of a talking snake.  ” ‘And because you turned them loose, I am going to eat you.’ ”

I’m leaning forward, eyes narrowed dangerously, staring into the faces of two entranced six year old girls.  They are huddled under their blankets in their shared full-size bed, watching me with eyes as wide as dinner plates, mouths slightly agape in what I assume is wonderment.  They don’t look tired at all.  Perhaps I picked the wrong story.

I shift into a deeper register and add an element of panic.  “‘But I didn’t know they were yours!’ said the man.  ‘Isn’t there some way for me to fix this?’ ”

One of the girls jumps a little and shouts, “I know!  I know!  He can just kill the snake woman!”

“Ahh, but the man had already thought of this,” I say sagely.  “The snake woman was magical, and she was huge!”  I stretch my arms as wide as I can, and the girls giggle.  “His only hope was for the snake to give him a chance.  And he knew that magic always gives you a chance.”

“Ooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh…..”  Both girls say it in unison, as though magic giving you a chance made complete and total sense.  I can’t help but smile at them.  They’re an adorable pair of tow-headed twins, and they are genuinely enjoying the folk story I chose to tell them.  But it’s not how I expected to be spending my evening.

“Girls, be quite and listen to the story!”  Toni, the girls’ mother, is laughing over my shoulder.  I turn to see her standing in the doorway, leaning against the frame with her arms crossed.  She’s lovely, even with her shoulder length hair pulled back in a pony tail and standing in her lounge pants and t-shirt, which she put on after spilling her daughters’ juice on her nicer attire from earlier in the evening.  I marvel briefly at how things work out.  I’d met her at the bar and, after two hours of intense conversation and smooth talking, she invited me to come home with her.  She insisted her kids would be asleep, but evidently, the sitter hadn’t been successful.  Rather than let the night turn into a total bust, I offered to tell them a story to get them to sleep, and to make myself more appealing to Toni  (After all, what single mother doesn’t love a guy who can entertain her kids?)

It seems to be working.  Toni winks at me.  “I’ll go put on some coffee for when you finish.”  She points at her daughters and gives them a playfully fierce expression, which they return, and leaves the room.

I turn back to the girls, my eyes narrowed again, and they immediately resume their listening positions, knees to their chests, wrapped in a blanket.  “So, back to the man and the snake woman…”

I spend the next twenty minutes regaling the girls with my favorite folk story.  They are as rapt an audience as I could ever hope for, though incapable of resisting the urge to insert comments in the story.  They listen intently as I tell them of the snake woman’s admission that ringing the nearby church bell would free him.  (“See, magic always gives you a chance!”)  They cry out in protest when the snake woman refuses to let the man leave to find and ring the bell.  (“That’s not fair, she’s cheating!!”)  They are shocked when, just as the snake woman tries to eat him, the man hears the bell ringing anyway, and the snake and her house both disappear.  (“Who rung the bell?!  I bet it was a fairy!!”)  One of them sniffles as they discover the bell was rung by the two birds the man had freed one year ago, by slamming their bodies into it, injuring themselves in the process.  (“They wanted to save him like he saved them from being eaten!!”)  And they both cheer when the man cares for the birds, heals them, and sets them free again.  (“I knew there was a happy ending!”)

By the time I finish, the girls are physically drained from the bouncing and shouting.  As Toni is nowhere to be seen, I rise and tuck them into bed, promising to tell them another story the next time I come over if they stay down and go to sleep.  (I don’t anticipate doing so any time soon, but they are insistent.)  They both hug me around the neck, their discomfort with me as a stranger overwhelmed by their enjoyment of the story, before curling up beside each other.  I switch on the Tinkerbell night light and carefully close the door behind me.

I pad down the hall silently, drawn by the enticing aroma of freshly brewed coffee.  Toni is curled up on the couch facing the muted television, her back to me.  I round the sofa, preparing my best “I put your kids to bed, now let’s do this” dialogue, but am caught by surprised when I see her eyes are closed, and her head is propped up slightly against the back cushion.  She is breathing slowly, deeply, clearly sound asleep.  I watch her for a moment, weighing my options, but I am reminded of how unpleasantly cranky a mother bear can be when roused too early from her slumber.  I decide not to wake her.

Instead, I lean forward and kiss her on the forehead lightly.  “Sleep well, Mama Bear.”

I help myself to a red Solo cup of fresh hot coffee and let myself out of the small apartment, setting the lock on the door knob as I quietly shut myself out.  I feel slightly disappointed that the evening ended so anticlimactically, but the disappointment is tinged with a hint of pride, the source of which I can’t quite identify.  But the coffee is good, and I let it warm my hands as I make my way toward the parking lot.

I walk through the door to my shared college house and deposit my muddy shoes in the entryway.  It had been raining all day long, an unusual occurrence for late summer, but one that fit my mood perfectly.  I had spent the day dreading my return home, afraid of what was going to happen, how she was going to take it.  I couldn’t see it being anything but terribly unpleasant at best, and relationship-ruining at worst.  But I had to tell her.  It wouldn’t be right for me not to.

Ashley is lounging on the couch in her tiny workout shorts and baggy t-shirt, indicating that none of our housemates are home.  She sprawls in that manner that only tall, athletic people can.  Her legs, impossibly long and muscled, are spread wide, one resting on the back of the couch, the other on the coffee table.  One arm is above her head and bent to prop her head up, and the other hangs limply on the floor.  It would look decidedly uncomfortable, even painful, on a person of slighter stature; she, however, displays all the comfort of a house cat lounging atop its favorite precarious bookshelf.

Her face lights up when she sees me.  “Hey sweetheart, how was school?”

“Schooly,” I reply glumly.  I set my backpack on the floor beside the couch and look down at her.  I take a steadying breath, steeling my resolve, and say as gently as I can, “Ashley, I need to talk to you.”

Her face immediately darkens, and she sits up.  “Okay…  Sit down, let’s talk.”  She switches off the television and pats the cushion beside her.

I sit beside her and interlace my fingers in my lap to keep my hands from shaking.  My heart races, and my chest tightens in anticipation.  I feel like a coward on the front lines of a battle he never expected to face.  Or maybe a brave man walking to the guillotine.  Either analogy holds, I think.

Ashley looks at me, and I think she can tell how nervous I am.  I look away and stare at the darkened television.  She puts a reassuring hand on my knee.  “Honey… what’s wrong?”

I swallow, even though my mouth is dry.  The act strains my throat and causes mild discomfort.  I focus on that pain rather than the anxiety.  I take a deep breath.

“I’ve cheated on you.”

I had intended the admission to be calm and assertive, but it comes out quiet, almost meek.  I keep staring straight ahead, refusing to look at her, struggling to maintain what little composure I can. I hear her breathing beside me, and I keep expecting to hear the heartbroken sobs.  But they never come.  Her hand remains comfortingly on my knee as she asks calmly, “When?”

“Several times,” I reply.  Her measured reaction has bolstered my confidence, and I speak more plainly.  “Since we first started dating, I’ve slept with several other women on multiple occasions.  Don’t bother asking me who because I won’t tell you, nor will I tell you how many.  I don’t think those facts are important.  But I wanted you to know.”

“I wouldn’t ask,” Ashley responds.  Her voice has softened a bit, but she has retained her composure.  “Why are you telling me now?”

I lick my parched lips and sigh.  “Because of last night.”

“When you asked me to marry you.”

I nod.  “It’s been eating me alive for days.  I’ve almost made myself sick worrying about what you would say, about whether you would leave me on the spot.  And you would be completely justified if you did.”  I look down at her hand on my knee, at the small diamond resting on her right hand.  I tentatively reach out and place my hand on hers, touching the gem.  “I asked you to marry me because, when you look at me, you see something I never have, and for the first time in my life, I want to live up to that image.  But I can’t do that if you don’t know what I’ve done, and who I am.”

I take another deep breath and lift my head to face her.  Her eyes are reddened by tears she refuses to let fall.  She’s staying strong, either because she wants to hear me out or because she doesn’t want to lose it yet.  Either way, her expression is like a fist in my gut.  But I push on.  “I’m weak, and shallow, and selfish, despite what you may think.  I’ve cheated on every woman I’ve ever been in a relationship with, including you.  And I can’t promise it won’t happen again.  But I can promise that you are the only woman who has ever made me want to be faithful.  That may not be worth much to some people, but that’s a hell of a thing for me.”

Ashley can’t stop herself now, and the tears roll freely down her cheeks.  I squeeze her hand gently as I finish.  “I’m sorry for hurting you like this.  I know this is probably the last thing you expected after last night.  But I had to tell you, because I love you like I never thought was possible.  And it didn’t feel right to go into this without telling you the truth.”

I stop and look away again, because I can’t bear the pain on Ashley’s face.  I can hear her labored breathing.  She sniffs gently, and a faint whimper escapes her.  It hurts worse than her expression did.  But I wait, sitting still and silent, giving her the time she needs to process this admission, to decide what she wants to do.

And I am surprised when she whispers, “I love you.”

I look to her again, and she’s smiling.  It’s a pained thing, but it’s a smile, regardless.

“I don’t care about your faults,” she continues.  “No one is perfect.  No one will ever live up to the dream we have of the person we’ll spend forever with, and if you spend your whole life looking for that one perfect person, you’ll always be alone.  But you’re as close as I think is possible.”  She clasps my hand fully in both of hers.  “You make me happier than I’ve ever been, you take care of me, and you protect me.  You’ve let me down here, but this is one mistake on a long list of everything you’ve done right.  I would be stupid to let you go because of that.”  Ashley leans forward and kisses my cheek.  “You told me the truth, so I believe you mean everything you’ve said.  And I forgive you.”

Her smile wavers, and her eyes well up again.  She sets her jaw in a serious frown.  “But if I ever catch you cheating on me after this, God Himself won’t be able to help you.”

I hear the anger she’s struggling to control, and I nod slightly.  The only word I can manage is, “Understood.”

She scoots closer to me, hip to hip, and wraps her arms around me.  I respond in kind, and she buries her face in the crook of my neck.  I hold her while she cries softly.  I pet her hair as I struggle to contain my own emotions.  It’s a strange sensation, voluntarily trading months of guilt for a single moment of fear and sadness, but there, with Ashley in my arms, I feel strangely relieved.  I feel free.

I wrote an entry on how to ruin an ongoing affair.  Then I wrote one on how a good cheater cons his/her partner.  Seems only fitting that I conclude this polyamorous trifecta with a piece on how to avoid being cuckolded.

As I said in my last post, there is a prevailing belief that it is easy to spot a cheater, male or female.  The behavior of a cheater changes after the deed is done.  They become reclusive, or secretive.  They don’t want you to look at their phone.  They come home smelling different.  They say things that don’t quite make sense.  They don’t want to be physically intimate.  They are quick to anger, or become excessively defensive at the slightest suggestion of impropriety.  Most people believe it on some level, and to those who do, I write this post for you.

My mother has always told me that I was born with “the Devil’s own charm”.  My dad told me I could “sell ice to an Eskimo”.  Ashley says I could “talk my way out of prison”.  Kelly calls me a “charismatic stallion”.  Hank and my other college friends refer to me as Jedi, because “it’s like you work the Jedi mind trick on every girl you fuck”.  (I wear that moniker with a bit of pride, actually, due to the associated backstory.  Maybe I’ll share someday.)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–I’m a smooth talker, an entertainer, a stealer of spotlights.  I’m good at reading people face-to-face, and I know how to work a crowd, or a single person.  And before I met Ashley, I put those skills to use for a single purpose: fucking as many girls as possible.  I first noticed and became concerned about my sexual inclinations while dating Kelly, but it was Ashley that made me want to somehow improve myself.  (Not that I’ve succeeded, mind you.)  Once I started college and realized how large the population of potential sexual partners on campus was, I became that guy that most girls I’ve talked to are afraid to meet.  I used every trick in the book, and a few that aren’t, to get a girl in bed, with little to no regard for the greater impacts of my behavior.  As I said, 300 is a very conservative estimate, associated with a frequency distribution that tapered back a bit after my marriage.  It’s a number I was once proud of, but that I now regard with extreme distaste.

I know I repeat this fairly often, but I’m not bragging.  Hurting people is not something to brag about, and I pity you if you do.  I say this merely to provide context.

When I was single, Hank and I would go “skeet shooting”.  (Those of you familiar with both sport shooting and hiphop will get the double entendre.)  He and I would pick a location, usually a bar or club, and we would each take a girl home with us.  Note I didn’t use the word “try”.  We never failed because we knew exactly what to look for: a mixed-sex group with mostly women.  A ratio of 1 man to 2 women is ideal, because usually the men will be in relationships with someone in the group, and the other two, typically, will be unattached.  They’re out for a “good time”, but really, they’re looking for a relationship.  (Don’t ask me why.  I don’t know.  That’s just how it always works out.)  You target that girl and, through the measured application of ethanol and conversation, make yourself the most suave, likeable son of a bitch they and their friends have ever met.  I never went home alone.

However, when I was in a relationship (and yes, this includes today), I had to be careful about the girls I bedded.  The hunt became less about picking a single girl and going to town, and more about reading the girl, measuring her personality and determining whether she would be an easy mark.  There’s no one characteristic that I looked for, but rather a suite of qualities that make a woman an ideal candidate for cheating.

Basically, imagine a quality that would prevent you from being successfully lied to.  That’s exactly what I look for.  For example, exceptionally smart people tend to have a routine that’s easy to plan around, and if you know what they believe makes a cheater, presenting yourself in an opposing manner is simple.  It’s usually things I mentioned in the second paragraph, and I can’t stress how easy those things are to fake.

Jealous women are another easy target, those that like to check in on you at work, follow you, read your e-mail, etc.  You set them up to fail before ever cheating.  Not once, or twice, but several times.  Do something you know will make them doubt and arrange for them to “catch” you doing nothing wrong.  Do it over and over again, and every time, embarrass them.

For instance, long ago, before I began to even consider changing my ways, I had to “break a girl in”.  I set up a fake e-mail account, sent myself an e-mail about meeting up in private, and let her find it.  I behaved curiously for a couple of weeks, until I knew she was extremely suspicious, and I set myself up with another found e-mail about another meeting.  She followed me to what she thought would be a secret rendezvous with a lover, when in actuality, I was buying a piece of jewelry from a female wholesaler.  When the girl confronted us in the middle of a crowded area (bringing her best friend along as a witness, no less), I explained to her that I was buying her a present for an upcoming event.  I publicly humiliated her, berated her for distrusting me, gave the wholesaler back the jewelry, and “broke up” with her.  Even the friend she brought called her a bitch.  She was so distraught and embarrassed that she never doubted me again, giving me all the freedom I needed to do pretty much whatever I wanted.

Yeah, I was a real motherfucker back then.  Not that I’m necessarily any better now, mind you, but at least I don’t actively go about ruining other people’s lives.  At least, not intentionally.

Look, this post has slightly deviated from its original course.  What began as an attempt to tell you what to look for, has evolved into a treatise on what makes someone an easy mark for an observant and cautious polyamorous assailant.  Those qualities that you think make you a human lie detector can be turned against you more easily than you realize.  It’s because you think you can catch someone every time that people like me, Hank, and half a dozen other guys I’ve known single you out.  I wish I had some grand observation on how to avoid it, but I don’t.  A good cheater will try to use everything they know about you to make sure they don’t get caught, and the Moriarties among us will manipulate you into feeling how we want you to feel.  Similarly, if you want to avoid being the victim of a cheater, you have to do the same thing.  You have to read the cheater.  You have to know who they were before you came along, and who they are now.  As in all human interaction, it’s a constant battle to see beyond what a person puts forth, to what they keep hidden beneath the surface.

Recognize, though, that when you’re dealing with someone like me… that’s precisely how I view it.  It’s a game of mental Chess wherein I am constantly reading your behavior and plotting to out-maneuver and out-think you.  If you don’t approach it the same way, then you really don’t have much hope unless your opponent makes a mistake.  And the best Chess players don’t make mistakes.

Christ, that sounds arrogant, doesn’t it?  Oh well, I don’t think there’s any other way this post can sound, though I promise you that wasn’t my intent.  Certainly I am arrogant, but not, I would like to believe, about this.

Maybe that’s my problem.