Friday, December 7, 2007


This is the end of the story: I walk back to the hotel alone, the snow now a fine, driving crystalline miasma that pierces through my jeans, my leggings, hunches me down to the narrow vision of the sidewalk of the next six feet, the hurried glance at the crossing signal, the white man still flashing go-go-go as I cautiously run the last fifty yards, all grace gone in the effort to achieve, at least, the door.


Kieran is the most enthusiastic dancer in the room. His hands on my waist, on my ass, draw me into the leg-straddling grind that passes for dancing these days (old enough to say “these days,” old enough to not recognize most of the songs) but also twirl me in and out of his arms, speak to me with his fingers that sing along, mouthing money and booty and all my ho’s as well as I love you and you’re so fucking beautiful you’re so hot. He buys me a ginger ale, he asks me repeatedly if I’m a cop, because I don’t drink. He’s a Native, I am the only light-skinned, thin-featured, light-haired person in the room of “you wanna see some wagonburners?” asked the Iranian doorman as he ushered me past frisking and metal detectors and a $25 cover. Turns out it’s the after-party for the Pow-Wow Gathering, everyone here played lacrosse all day, shook their tailfeathers on the stadium floor, shared stories and beading techniques while I drove through snow to get to the Big City, checked in, went out, passing the first two clubs (long, huddled lines of thick coats over bare legs, the last smoke in line before getting in), thankful the hotel is only two blocks away. I followed the Power Girl list, I crunched and pushed up to all of Behind The Music: America’s Next Top Model until I glowed, I showered, I changed pants three times and settled on jeans, I bought my own first ginger ale, and I am going to get laid.

Kieran takes a break, joins his friends, dances with other girls, dances with me again after I dance alone and with another man, an ironworker who abandons me when it turns out I don’t smoke anything, either. I am beautiful tonight, I am wearing my favorite top (turns out there’s a hook that keeps it closed in front, didn’t find that out until I got back to the hotel), I have good hair, I am made up the right amount, and according to Kieran I am fucking sexy. If nothing else, I will have had two hours of cardio, interrupted only by a wait in the bathroom to take off the leggings beneath my jeans, I am finally warm enough.

We talk, as much as one can in a club. He says, You are so beautiful. I thank him. He says, Where are you staying? I tell him my hotel. I tell him, You should come home with me. He says, I would never let a girl like you slip through my fingers. He asks when I want to leave. Maybe half an hour? I say. He asks what I do. I tell him he won’t believe me, but he touches my arms, my waist, my thighs with both his hands, and believes me. Kieran kisses me, and his lips are as strong and soft as his hands on me, I cannot wait to have him in me and on me and under me, and then he asks,

How come a girl like you is single?

And that’s the part of the story where no matter how literary I can be with telling what may not have happened but is the truth, no matter how I can bend the world with words, fingerpaint the pretty picture from the primary details, I cannot fail to tell the fact.

I’m married. I’m in an open relationship.

And Kieran, who describes himself as a bad, bad boy, who claims to do bad things, turns out to have a strong moral conviction that it’s wrong to mess with another man’s wife.


The next morning, I lie in bed, waking after four hours of fitful sleep, waking again and again to check the clock, the phone, the clock again, make sure I have not missed the call from Fucked-Up Guy, my early breakfast date. Last night we would have met, but when you have custody, you’re subject to the vagaries of your sixteen-year-old sitter’s social life. After two weeks of Facebook poking and subtle messaging (does the girlfriend still have the passwords or doesn’t she?) we have finally made a date, which he breaks without calling.

The ex is still the last man I fucked. This is not OK.

This is not OK.

This is not OK.


Anonymous said...

Ethics differs from morality in that ethics involves a choice between competing goods, whereas in moral dilemmas there exist clear right and wrong choices. Ethics exists in the consideration of many possible outcomes, and ceases to exist when we use our morals to enact a single choice.

Ethics serves as a vehicle for us to structure our problems. As such, it encompasses the net sum of our experiences and subsequently adopted ideologies. That's the part that makes the ethical realm so beautiful and mystifying and messy -- ethics is, by its very nature, highly individualistic and simultaneously socially dictated as being a universal standard. The way in which we define ethics begs to destroy our own inner manifestations of ethics.

I don't know if that made any sense, but it's something I've been struggling with a lot lately as well. How do people say one thing and act out its opposite? How do we reconcile that for the "greater good" without acting at the expense of someone, possibly ourselves?

I have a lot of questions and very few answers. I firmly believe we tell stories in order to structure and understand our personal conflicts; there is nothing more ethical than the creation of narrative. Thank you for sharing yours, day after day.

S from GC

Al Sensu said...

Kieran is an idiot.

Mandy said...

S - thanks for sharing that - I always have a hard time distinguishing between the two, and you've helped me understand it.

I have to say, I respect Kieran sticking by his choice - I've had other experiences where I've discovered that the average distance between "You're married, isn't that, like, wrong?" and "I want you right now" is two beers, so I do have to give him that at least he's consistent in his values.

It's really, really hard to walk the line of what people need to know before being with me without putting them off. In the end, I think it's important that they know my basic situation, because it's not fair to put someone in the position of having slept with someone who is not unattached if they wouldn't choose to do so; and it's a necessary statement because it's a fair assumption that when someone tries to pick you up in a bar, they're free to do so.

On the other hand, maybe that's the key phrase - I *am* "free to do so", I'm just not single.

Right now, though, and especially given my concurrent situation, I can't be other than honest and open about who and what I am.

El Cuervo said...

Even though his position was very interesting and not very common i find more fascinating the fact that you were open about your marital status. I don't think there's a study out there about this, but i'm sure that most married people in that particular situation would've said that they were single.