Sometimes memories choose to rise and twirl like garbage caught in a psychic updraft. There’s no reason why that particular reminiscent plastic bag should get puffed up and filled with wind and sent uncannily upwards become visible, while another similar bag lies overlooked and invisible on the gritty ground, but there it is, bright and improbable, intangible as a toddler’s mobile, and just as mesmerizing.
Of late, two memories have recently blown and shown themselves to me in a fulsome, greasy light. Both of them are marked by pity; they are, in fact, memories of two men I pity sucked and/or fucked.
The pity suck/fuck may be the one sex act that is exactly like bad pizza. I’ve had bad pizza. It tasted wan and squelchy, too salty and overly pointed; it tasted like if you took actual pizza—the pleasant crunch of crust, the slide of melted cheese, the rounded swell of tomato and garlic and oregano—fed it into a computer program and then ate what the computer spit back out. Bad pizza, usually previously frozen, presently nuked and staring bland and white as a lab rat under naked fluorescent bulbs, tastes like computer-generated pizza, a shadow of a copy of a drawing of real pizza, and it tastes pretty much exactly what pity sex feels like.
I have had both bad pizza and pity sex, so I can assert this analogy with certitude.
The starkest memory I have of pity sex was with this petit lawyer from New Jersey. I started corresponding with him online in the trailing ends of SlutFest 2004. He was kind of funny, and we talked on the phone, and more than thrilling to him, I thrilled to toying with him. I felt like a giant pussy batting about his little mouse, and I took sadistic pleasure in making him think I would fuck him when I pretty much knew I would not.
I didn’t fuck him, but I did fellate him not once, but possibly twice, and to unquestionable completion. This was one passive-aggressive little mousey lawyer, and he had a pretty good idea that I was toying with him, and he pity-managed to play up to my guilt to the point that I actually took his mouse dick in my mouth and swallowed his sperm. Twice. And if I sound angry, it is because I am, less at him, who just wanted an orgasm and showed himself to be a better manipulator than I, than at myself, who allowed him to manipulate me.
The exact ingredients of his manipulation escape my memory. It unquestionably included his calling me late one weekend night, my answering his call, my letting him into my apartment, my acquiescing to his plea to let him stay the night because the last Path train had already left the station, my acquiescing as well that he sleep in my bed, my acquiescing once more that I in fact blow him, and my possible acquiescing to his request for another blow job in the morning, a point that I can’t entirely recall with certainty, though the lack of certainty itself leads me to believe I probably blew him.
It tasted like wormwood and gall and bad, naked, doughy, bland and insulting pizza.
The thing that motivated me to help the dude out was his high pity factor. He was small and rodential, with tiny rodential hands and a tiny twitchy nose and watery rodential eyes. He seemed so nakedly pathetic, completely divested of any scrap of swagger, or any confidence at all—except, perhaps, in the confidence his own pathetic nature had. He took the pity response and he worked it. He was so skillful in presenting himself in the liver-grey livery of pity that I suspect he had worked the pathetic mojo before to some great success. I fell to it as if seduced, when in fact I was doling out sexual favors motivated by guilt and shame-skanked sympathy.
The other guy whose memory has recently surfaced, blowing about in a pas-de-deux with that of the rodential lawyer, was less simply a pity fuck, though he was in a sorrowful state indeed. This man was an artist, and he was hot—some Latin-fusion genetic paella that glistened all brown and yummy. We met when we were both computer dating, the Fall of 2003, I think, and both of us were earnestly looking for a Partner, not to be confused with a partner, and so it was after a couple of dates that he ended up in my bed.
This other guy, the more questionably, ambivalently pathetic guy, was clearly still in love with his ex, a woman who bore absolutely no resemblance to me in any way, shape or form. The only things she and I had in common were our general humanoid female forms and the right to trial by jury. I suspect that this lack of common ground was this Latin-fusion artist’s interest in me. And the fact that I knew exactly how much his ex and I did not have in common should have been a warning sign to me, should have stopped me like a red signal in my tracks, and should have kept me from taking this man into my bed.
But he seemed so sad and so romantic. And so brown around the edges, a tasty artisanal dish.
All of his ex musings should have stopped me. It didn’t. We soldiered through a handful of dates and he landed in my big white bed in my small yellow bedroom. We had sex, and it was wan and pale and barely incendiary. It languished like a fire made from damp wood. I tried and I tried to nurture the spark, to blow on it gently, to kindle some erotic flame, but I failed, and at the pathetic act’s completion, the Latin-fusion Artist lay supine on my bed and sobbed silently, tears running in quiet parallel lines down from each eye. I froze in the light of his post-coital weeping.
He left shortly thereafter, lurching after his clothes, and mumbling something about not being ready to have done…this. He waved his hand dismissively in the general direction of my loins. He looked abject and lost, and it was only then that I smelled the waft of pity. It was only then that I realized that I’d fucked him less because I found him attractive and interesting and more because I felt sorry for him.
Thinking about these two pity fucks, I wonder about my willingness to give it up to these pained men, to dish out my sexual healing like a therapist, and whether my doing it says more about them or more about me. I didn’t get much pleasure from either act, and the memory of both leaves me feeling more than a little gritty and sad and completely unsure why it’s I who continues to feel a burden for these men’s pain.
Mine is more than enough to carry, really, and while the concept of giving selfless solace to two hurting humans feels noble, these acts, and these memories, just leave my mouth with a taste I’d rather not recollect.