Monday, May 16, 2011


It’s July of 2009.

In the first few hours of meeting her, you discover that her name is Inez and that she’s a veterinary student. Even though you’re gay and have already done the dating that comes with it, there’s something about the way she moves that draws you to her, rough and abrasive but somehow eloquent and smooth. You have a hard time describing things properly while your blood is trying to balance rum and Darvocet and decide which organs to rush to. So instead of using words to describe it, you just hold yourself against her and acknowledge that something feels right. Right works. Right is a small word, a simple word that doesn’t require thought or reason.

After you kiss, you whisper, “I’m gay.” You aren’t attempting to stop her. You just want her to know.

She grabs you by the testicles and says, “Not tonight.”

You fuck her like you’ve never heard the word “homosexuality.”


A few weeks pass and you realize you spend every day with her. You remind yourself you’re gay and wonder why the female body doesn’t interest you but hers does. You think of geometry, the way all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares.

Over drinks she explains her job as a dominatrix, how she’s paid to beat and humiliate men.

“I know it’s fucked up,” she says. She explains that there’s no sex or nudity, that it’s completely legal. She explains that she doesn’t participate in S & M with boyfriends because she doesn’t want to sexualize what she sees as simply her job, even though she gets enjoyment out of her work.

“It’s… honestly the whole thing is really hard to explain,” she says.

You can’t help but relate.


One morning you wake up to her running around the mess of her room, collecting items for her day. This is a daily ritual, the disciplinarian who can’t seem to organize her own belongings. You ask her what her schedule is like.

“Class, class, then class,” she says, tossing a biology book in her book bag, “off-site session with that newscaster jackass tonight.” She wraps a bullwhip around her hand and slides it into her bag.

You ask her why he’s a jackass.

“He has this whole scenario where I’m an Arabian princess and he sees me partially nude so I discipline him,” she says. She pauses for a moment, running her finger over her lip as her eyes scan the room, “Where the fuck is my ball-gag?”

You shrug as she begins opening drawers and rooting through the contents.

“Anyway, the entire thing is full of stereotypes. I don’t even think he knows the difference between Hinduism and Islam.”

“Or Latino and Arabian,” you add. She nods in agreement, then dramatically pulls her hand from the bottom of a drawer. She raises her hand in triumph, a rubber red ball with a black strap in her palm.

“Found it!”

You know it’s a bad time, but you ask her how much longer the two of you should keep seeing each other, considering you’re gay and probably have no business dating girls.

“Until it isn’t fun anymore,” she says, leaving a kiss on your lips before rushing out the door.


On her back patio she attempts to teach you how to crack the bullwhip. In your attempt it snaps loud and hard, flailing back towards you and lashing your forearm.

“Ah fuck,” you say, hissing through your teeth as you hear the echo from the whip, “That fucking hurt.”

She laughs, spraying the last sip of her cocktail across the patio.

“This isn’t funny and I hate you,” you say. You feel a grin force itself past the pain.

Immediately you think of that book you’ve been reading, the one where the main character just assumes hate and love are the same.


A night of drinking brings your jealousies and insecurities to the surface.

“Christ why don’t you just fuck him if he’s so interesting?”

“Why don’t you just fuck him if you’re so fucking gay?”

You apologize to each other the next day but the air feels heavy as if tied down, uncomfortably hot as if smothered by leather. Over the next few days your conversations are just as sharp but the tone has changed.

In your head you hear the crack of a whip as you mention a handsome man you saw at the gym.

You hear the snap of leather as she describes making a client cry in a session earlier in the week.

Your conversations have become the rumbling of chains, a combination of pain and pleasure that benefits neither.

It’s become a struggle for control. Domination. Aggression. These words go through your head as if one of them is the safe word that will unlock the passion of the night you met.


One night, as the two of you attempt to sleep, you hold her close against you and say, “This isn’t fun anymore, is it?”

She agrees.

You say “I’m sorry” and she asks why.

You vocalize concerns that you’re no better than the men she disciplines for a living. You question if you were just using her as an escape from reality, a place to feel safe at first and later a place to play victim.

She laughs.

“That’s what dating is, dumb ass,” she says. She runs her hand through your hair. You’re not sure if you agree with what she's said but her answer comforts you.

You go to bed holding each other. In the morning you have sex and for a moment everything seems right again. But as you put your clothes on you remember it isn’t.

Afterward she frantically storms about her apartment gathering her school books for the day and you collect your things: the gym shorts you kept in her room for sleeping, some books on her coffee table, your toothbrush in her medicine cabinet.

You hug at her front door and thank her for being so much fun despite having a vagina, and apologize for acting a little crazy, but that she simply surprised you.

She pinches your penis through your jeans and says, "You surprised me, too."

The two of you agree to remain friends, because you live in a city full of assholes, and finding people that are fun is hard.

The safe word is "camaraderie."

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