Would I have to start planning outfits around the tattoo like I plan for weather?
Two years ago, I was at my local coffee shop when I spotted a certain gentleman, and after a series of boring events he and I wound up having sex. It was mostly uneventful, except for the fact that during the proceedings, I sprained my neck. We’d had sex and gone to bed, and the next morning I woke up and couldn’t move it.
“Oh no!” I exclaimed, and my companion groaned wordlessly in response. I rotated the entirety of my torso so as to be able to face him.
“I think I sprained my neck,” I said.
“From the blowjobs?” he asked, but nodding yes was not an option. I briskly pitched my torso back and forth.
“Oh, crap!” he laughed. “Wow. That’s really funny.”
Really funny indeed. The ensuing week consisted of too many ineffective neck braces and heating pads until finally I made an appointment with an acupuncturist. His name was James, and James was very handsome. Which didn’t affect the efficacy of his acupuncture, of course, but it did unlock my flirtatious instincts while he performed said acupuncture.
When the needles went in, I made sure to groan sexually, rather than in a way that sounded whiney. When the needles came out and I was told to sit up, I made sure to position myself on the acupuncture table in a manner that was more mermaid-on-rock than it was Sara-Barron-on-table.
And when a session concluded and it was time to say goodbye, I made sure to tell James how respectful I was of his practice. I’d roll my neck and shoulders erotically to indicate how much better my neck was thanks to him.
“The healing power of acupuncture is so, like, tangible,” I’d say. “I really respect what you do.”
I saw James three times in two weeks, and my neck got better. At the end of the last session, James bowed silently in farewell, and it was something in the perceived subservience of that bow allowed me to channel my untapped reserves of self-confidence.
“We should go out sometime,” I said, and James agreed. We promised to confirm things via text message later in the week.
I was terribly excited, and promptly began obsessing over what I should wear. Because I was punching above my weight with James, I initially planned to go all out, clothing-wise, to pair an extravagant frock with high heels. But then I had to reconsider when he told me where he was planning to take me.
I’d texted, “Any thoughts on where to meet?” and he had written back, “How about Chipotle on 42nd Street? They have delicious margaritas.”
Well, I wasn’t picky. I would go on a date at a Chipotle.
Why? you ask. Because, I answer. I’ll take cheap over extravagant any day of the week. I’ll take unpretentious over whatever is the hippest, latest thing. Which is to say: If there’s a woman out there who’d hear Chipotle and think, Great! I do believe I’m that woman. That sort of enthusiasm was well within my grasp.
Key word: Was.
In lieu of the extravagant frock and heels, I went with pencil jeans and an off-the-shoulder sweater. I was all ready to go, but checked myself in the mirror prior to my departure, and noticed my nipples looked ridiculous. They were were all, like, HELLO! WE ARE NIPPLES!, rather than Ah, bonjour. Nous sommes les nipples.
It was simply too much, and amidst the tizzy of not wanting to be late for my date but also not wanting to have my overly aggressive nipples on display, I decided to use Band-aids. I decided I’d tape one extra-large Band-aid horizontally across each nipple. This, I figured, would provide the perfect amount of restraint.
Additionally, they’d prevent me from going home with James. He was so attractive, I knew I’d want to. But I’d also fear that doing so would wind up making me look counter-productively easy. Well, with a couple Band-aids strapped across your chest, you know you’re going home alone. You’re not going to risk your shirt coming off only to reveal you look like an alien life-form, now are you? No.
We arrived at Chipotle and kissed hello on the cheek. We realized we were both pretty hungry, so we got in line and ordered two tacos each in addition to our margaritas. We arrived, trays in hand, to the cashier.
Now, as a modern lady, I would never expect a gentleman to pay on a first date. If he does, well, then isn’t that lovely. If he does, I’ll make a point of picking up the tab on the second date.
That being said, James arrived at the cashier, turned to me and said, “Oh, crap. I’m out of cash. Can you pick up our tab?”
I mean, I didn’t feel especially moved to pick up the tab, but I went ahead and did so anyway. Mostly because I was too stunned to do otherwise. And also, confrontation makes me uncomfortable. Maybe we could have recovered from the awkward beginning, but then over the course of our meal, James talked so incessantly about acupuncture -– and in such a boring manner -– I actually had to excuse myself to the bathroom at one point, so I could splash cold water on my face.
By the time dinner was over -– by the time we’d consumed four Chipotle margaritas per person -– I saw no reason why James and I shouldn’t have sex right away. He was awfully handsome, remember, and now I knew for sure I wasn’t interested in any sort of relationship. So why not?
Naturally, the reason why not was that I had Band-aids on my nipples. But after four margaritas, a lady forgets about that sort of thing. A lady decides to throw caution to the wind.
When we arrived at James’ apartment and when I removed my shirt, James response was, I thought, a tad dramatic: He screamed, “For God’s sake!”
I’m tempted to write, “He let out a blood-curdling scream,” but to be more specific about it, he let out the scream of a man who’d seen, not Band-aids on breasts, but cockroaches on breasts. Honestly! It was as though he’d ripped off my sweater to discover one tampon-sized cockroach per breast.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Are those Band-aids?” he asked.
And I looked down. And I remembered.
“Oh, gosh. Sorry,” I said. “It’s sort of, like, this thing I do because I hate the shelf-effect of strapless bras.”
“Do you … want to … take them … off?” he asked.
“Oh. Yes,” I answered. “Yes. Of course I’ll take them off.”
Eager to please, I ripped the band-aids off my nipples. And here I’d like to vouch for Johnson & Johnson’s Band-aid adhesive, because those suckers wanted on. It was almost impossible to remove them and when I did, finally, my breasts looked red and raw, bumpy and truly diseased.
James, bless him, did try to carry on. But it was like his libido was this perfect, healthy baby, and my breasts were a pillow, and I used the pillow to kill the baby. So seemingly benign was the weapon, you almost didn’t know it was a weapon. But, oh … it was. And the baby wound up limp and flaccid. Unresponsive. Irrevocably dead.
I motioned in the direction of James’ genitals.
“Is there something we could do?” I asked.
James shook his head no. He motioned in the direction of my breasts.
“No,” he said. “Our cause is lost.”
And I thought, Yes indeed, sir. Yes it is.
Sara Barron is the author of People Are Unappealing and the forthcoming book Eating While Peeing (And Other Adventures) For more info, visit her website. Reprinted with permission from The Frisky. Want more?