by Johnny McNulty
We all remember high school, that time when we were just discovering our bodies and interests in the opposite sex. Well, I presume gay kids were at least interested, on an intellectual level, in the opposite sex. I mean, it is the other half of the population. If you lived in Miami you’d at least learn how to say please and thank you in Spanish, right? Anyway, those were confusing times, when signals about who likes who were misinterpreted, and your first fumbling attempts at intimacy sometimes ended in embarrassment, signing “I Don’t Wanna Wait (till our lives will be over)” or worse, injury. Sarah McKenzie if you’re reading this, it means you can see again. And I’m glad for that.
But we’re all past that now, right? Sadly, wrong. Some of us may have failed so badly the first time around that we gave up and pretended to have an unrequited love for some female best friend. Some of us then discovered that this doesn’t work if your friend isn’t attractive enough to believably inspire jealousy. It may have added an awkward tension to those summer afternoons by the dock when she wanted to go skinny-dipping in Jarrod’s pond and some of us had to pretend we couldn’t get out of the water because some of us were pretending to have an erection. It was a bad cover, but some of us made it work. Or you could be like my cousin Charlie: he learned how bees die when they sting you and so refuses to have sex.
Anyway, now we’re in college and spring is upon us. Couples are strolling the shaded lanes of Locust Walk and student health centers are refilling the bowl of lollipops next to the bowl of free condoms, which they refill every day. For social misfits, however, spring is trap that has sprung, and as it is every year, the pressure is on to act like you know what to say, what to wear, and where to put it. And it’s not just outdoors; it’s in bars, in movie theaters, and in the pasta aisle of Fresh Grocer (a good way of announcing “I like you enough to cook for you, but only for 11 minutes stirring occasionally”). It is all I can do to avoid being put in a situation where I might have to put some mack-suey into my game-wok and stir-fry up some honeys, or whatever it is the kids do.
Up until last week I had successfully maintained my carefully defended celibacy, avoiding the necessity of romantic or even friendly interaction, when suddenly this tidal wave of libidos swamped my classroom. My grad student teacher asked me to stay for a moment after class. I thought she was going to complement me on my flawless translation of the classics, but instead she asked me if I wanted to rent Fellini’s ancient-Rome classic Satyricon and have a glass of wine! I was, needless to say, shocked at being forced to deal with romance unexpectedly. The next thing I remember was playing Wario Ware: Smooth Moves for the Wii alone in my apartment, but my frantic motions were hardly corresponding with my what the game was asking me to do, and I was crying. I’ve been back to class twice since, and I don’t know how to broach the fact that I forgot what passed between us owing to some sort of stress blackout, so I just parsed the words for “hand” (manus), “early” (praematurus, -a, -um), and “tears” (lacrimae) when she called on me.
What I’m trying to say is I hate the spring. I hate the flowers and I hate the temperature (I have heat and A/C included in my rent) and I hate the smiles and kisses of couples, the way they laugh and giggle, sweat and make odd noises, the faces they make at climax, and they way they draw the shades and call the cops. The only thing that makes me happy is the idea of people having sex on freshly cut grass, and then getting that terrible grass-on-bare-skin itch all over. They rolled around so they both have it. Of course, to allay this minor allergen, they applied some aloe, all over their already slick, rippling bodies. It’s amazing what a little surface oil can do. They frolicked like six-year-olds playing slip-and-slide on the freshly cut and sprinkler-ed lawn. Like young lions playing in the pride on the savannah, they admired their young, muscular forms, their easy power and grace, their lack of shame and defiance of those who were now old. The world was theirs and they couldn’t wait to take it, at least after they had had their fill of each other. Hungrily they approached for a second round in a series of ever more fierce… uh… I have to go. To Latin. For… homework help. Bye.