By Gil A. Waters
When the first of my failed marriages finally came to an end, there was one thing I wanted above all else: sex. Not passionate lovemaking infused with deep emotion, but raw fucking that leaves a really big wet spot. I seriously entertained the idea of hiring a hooker for her services, but I was a “high-end call girl” kind of guy on a “toothless crack whore” budget, so paying for sex was out of the question. And, as a shy alcoholic who’d been dry for less than a year, joining the inebriated herd at a singles bar was unthinkable. So I decided to try what was then a relatively new option for desperate and socially isolated people in search of companionship: internet dating.
Back in those days, internet personal ads tended to be very Spartan in nature. Most people didn’t even post pictures. You simply indicated your gender, age, and body type, and the gender, age, and body type of your potential mate, then hoped for the best. In my case, this translated into something along the lines of “slim, 32-year-old man seeks anyone between the ages of 18 and 55 who was born with and currently has a vagina and is not suffering from morbid obesity or an incurable sexually transmitted disease.” Degree of physical beauty was highly negotiable. Intellect and personality were irrelevant.
I responded with far too much enthusiasm to nearly every Woman-Seeking-Man ad I could find, and arranged to meet the first woman willing to do so. After exchanging a couple of very brief emails, we decided to have a Saturday-evening dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant in a trendy neighborhood of the city not far from where I lived. I arrived at the restaurant half an hour early and stood out front, leering expectantly at every woman who might fit the description provided by my date: “short,” with an “average” body type.
When I first glimpsed the dwarf making her way towards me, navigating through the long legs of the early-evening throngs that filled the sidewalk, I felt a chill shudder of disbelief. When she caught my eye from a distance and smiled widely, my stomach nearly fell out of my ass and onto the ground. It’s not that I have anything against dwarfs in general, but I would have assumed that a date might mention that she is just shy of four-feet tall, with a disproportionately large head and stubby limbs. While admittedly superficial details such as these might not be relevant if I were meeting a professional colleague to discuss nuclear physics or medieval history, they do seem relevant when meeting a potential sexual partner.
While I may be rather shallow when it comes to romancing people with pronounced birth defects, I am not rude about it. I greeted the dwarf amiably and we proceeded to embark upon a thirty-minute dinner that may have been the longest meal of my life. I was in shock, so I remember absolutely nothing about our conversation. I do remember that she seemed a bit “off” psychologically—which was not really a surprise considering that she hadn’t seen fit to mention to me beforehand that she was a dwarf. In fact, it wasn’t clear if she realized she was a dwarf. I also remember that the food was atrocious and that I could feel it beginning to rot in my gut as soon as I swallowed it.
After dinner, as I bade goodbye to her in front of the restaurant, a light rain began to fall from the overcast sky. I remember thinking to myself, I have now hit rock bottom. It’s Saturday night, it’s raining, and I just had a date with a dwarf. Fortunately, I was able to fight back the tears of self-pity until I had returned to my tiny rented room, located in a group house owned by a gay Argentinean body builder. After a good, long cry, I crawled under the covers of my futon, engaged in a ferocious bout of masturbation, and then rejuvenated myself with 12 hours or so of clinically depressed sleep.
Not surprisingly, I had dispensed with the idea of internet dating by the time I awoke the next day. However, I quickly thought of another alternative that meshed perfectly with my Leftist views: political activism. I would find a local chapter of Amnesty International and hit on all the female members while we bonded over the writing of letters to torture victims. I found a local chapter with ease, but my attempts at romance were uniformly rebuffed. Perhaps this was because all the female members of the group were already in relationships. Or maybe it was because they all were at least a decade younger than me. Or maybe none of them appreciated the complimentary way I drooled over them like a rabid dog. Regardless of the precise reason, it quickly became apparent that Amnesty International was going to provide me with a purely platonic form of political camaraderie that would do nothing to keep me warm on cold and lonely nights.
Yet there did come a moment when it seemed as if my new-found enthusiasm for the promotion of human rights might be on the verge of delivering sexual salvation. This moment arrived on a beautiful spring afternoon during the annual street festival in my neighborhood, while I was co-manning the Amnesty International table with one of the hot young women who stubbornly refused to find me attractive. I was doing my best to act altruistic as I tried to persuade festival-goers to read our literature and sign our petition demanding the release of someone who had been unjustly imprisoned for something or other, when a lithe woman in her late 30s approached and began thumbing through our leaflets. I quickly engaged her in a discussion about the more poignant human-rights issues of the day, which segued into a conversation about the dance class she’d just finished and the very form-fitting leotard she was still wearing instead of a shirt. She signed my petition, we smiled, we laughed, we flirted, and before I knew it I’d asked her out and she’d accepted.
Over the following week, we had dinner twice. I was too busy imagining her naked to pay much attention to the mundane details of our surroundings or our conversations, but I do recall that she seemed to possess interesting traits quite apart from her vagina. Apparently, she’d lived in Central America for a while and co-founded a health-related nonprofit of some sort for disadvantaged children. Although she was a bit fuzzy on what she did for a living now, she was evidently trained as a nurse—which I thought would come in very handy if she needed to resuscitate me after sex. Even more important, she lived only a few blocks away from me.
By the end of our third date, which consisted of a Saturday-afternoon visit to her acupuncturist, I felt confident that now was the appropriate time to broach the possibility of reckless and unprotected sexual intercourse. We sat in my truck, conveniently parked just a few yards from my front door, and I casually mentioned for about the hundredth time since meeting her how beautiful I thought she was. A charged silence ensued, which I assumed to be the prelude to our first kiss. But, instead, she said, “There’s something I should tell you about myself.” The first thought to cross my mind was that she was a post-op transsexual who’d had a very good surgeon. But that was not the case.
“I was a prostitute for 18 years,” she said.
I was somewhat taken aback. In general, I have a great deal of sympathy for people who have made poor career choices and not found their true calling until relatively late in life. But prostitution? For nearly two decades?
“Wow… wow,” was all I could muster by way of a response.
“That’s not all,” she continued. “During the last few years I was a prostitute, I developed dissociative personality disorder. My other personality, the prostitute personality, was named ‘Jesse,’ and Jesse would never tell me what she did…”
I began to lose focus at this point. There were only two possibilities: she was telling the truth, in which case she was psychotic; or she was making up the entire story, in which case she was psychotic. There was very little psychological wiggle room in this situation.
“…Jesse went away about three years ago, and I’m very sure she won’t come back…”
Had we not been sitting in my truck, I might very well have succumbed to the sudden urge I felt to run away. Silence of the Lambs was one of my favorite films, so I knew that this could not end well. As it was, I waited for her to finish her confession, offered a few more “wows,” and noted that this was a lot of information to digest all at once. She agreed and suggested that we call it a day. I said I’d give her a call, she got out of my truck, and I watched her in the rear-view mirror as she walked away, just to make sure that neither she nor Jesse suddenly decided to attack me with a meat cleaver.
I spent the rest of the weekend trying to reconcile my contradictory feelings of lust and terror. Ex-prostitute or not, she was still rather cute. Had she agreed to undergo biopsies of all her major organs, and had the resulting tissue samples tested for every known infectious disease, I might have been able to overcome my medical fears of engaging in sexual intercourse with her. But the whole multiple-personalities thing proved to be a major psychic stumbling block for me. I don’t mind getting involved with someone who has a seriously fucked up personality, but I prefer that they have only one personality. I’m a very nervous person, and I suspect I would be quite on edge in the company of someone who randomly jumped back and forth between distinct identities that had to be called by different names.
Fortunately, I never had to make the “will I or won’t I” decision, because she promptly flaked out, never answering her phone or returning my calls, and more or less dropped off the face of the earth—into what fate I can’t begin to envision. Over the next couple of years, whenever I passed through a red-light district on my way to buy drugs, I would check out the hookers to see if any of them looked familiar, but none of them ever did. Although it’s nice to imagine that I would have cut her off myself had the opportunity presented itself, I know myself too well. Had she capped off her story of psychotic sex-peddling with the suggestion that we adjourn to her bed, chances are that today I would be nothing more than a trophy penis sitting in the freezer of a female serial killer. I really was that horny.
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Gil A. Waters