“So you talk on the phone with this guy every night, and he has a wife and two kids?” my boss asks when I tell him my new mentor is 40-something-year-old PR guru who wants to bang me. “That’s so fucked up.”
“Ugh,” I say, rolling my eyes. “You wouldn’t get it. Bernard is a specific kind of charismatic, intellectual guy that marries his wife to have a family – she is usually complicit in this arrangement – sleeps with her once a month, and then compulsively cheats on her. Like Eliot Spitzer. Or Anthony Weiner. Or that MBA I met off of Craigslist. You can usually see them coming by the shape of their mouth – it’s sort of curvy and pouty and a little bit wet and completely lascivious.”
“Have you ever considered the fact that he is just lying to you?”
“It’s a cathartic relationship,” I say. “He tells me disgusting, repressed things about his sexual being, like how he only watches face-fucking porn. Then we discuss the caste-repercussions of a polygamous society. Then I talk through my vices with him because he’s a former backgammon addict and has a lot of really great insights on the matter… These kind of guys love me because I accept them for who they are: filthy fucking bastards.”
Bernard found me in the bar of the Hudson Hotel–that nasty, over-decorated glorified hostel in midtown Manhattan. It was my first ever business trip and my first ever business-expensed hotel room. I was surrounded by papers, busy trying not to get fired from my administrative job at an opera. He asked for a lighter and then my number (allegedly for tickets). He was aggressive and confident in a way that screamed, “I was the brilliant, only child to two Jewish intellectuals. I could have been nervous and effeminate, but luckily I was born with a solid, sporty build.”
He made no effort to hide his wedding ring (which I really appreciated), and followed me up to my hotel room without invitation (which I had mixed feelings about). He then vented about how he hadn’t being attracted to someone since he stopped fucking this half-Asian doctor two years earlier. He also went on for a long time about Columbine.
I listened patiently. I let him masturbate on the bed and gave him a hand towel to wipe the semen off his tummy. “I miss my ex,” I later complained from the fetal position, and was glad someone was there to hear me say it.
“Nothing hotter than a girl who’s completely obsessed with her ex,” he said, buttoning his Rag & Bone cardigan.
For months he keeps inviting me to Atlantic City, finally settling for sterile, nighttime chats. “You’re like my third kid,” he says when I lose my job, when I come running for career advice, when I express concerns that I won’t be able to pay my rent.
I refuse to fuck him. I’m busy trying to not be the girl who’s only attracted to chubby, disgusting, unattainable men. And because, as I at some point explained to Bernard, “I’d probably fall in love with you. I’d turn into a crazy bitch because I don’t do polygamy or face-fucking. I’m a delicate fucking flower.”
“I won’t fuck you,” he finally concedes, “For the sake of your mental health.”
He wants to set me up with my male counterpart, another macabre brat who can’t stomach the gross injustices of work. “He stands to inherit somewhere between 100 and 500 million dollars. Which is alright for New York, nothing special. You would have a very nice apartment… although it might be bad idea.”
“Oh? Why’s that?”
“You’d just get really depressed about Ivan Ilyich and melt down. Form some sort of suicide pact. No. It’s best you never meet anyone remotely like you.”