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Saturday, October 25, 1997
By Paul Ford
A story of loss and sadness, and the absence of sex, and Kathie Lee, and milky thighs, and so forth.
My ex-girlfriend and I decided to get back together. When I broke up with her last month I wrote a little dialogue, based semi-loosely on a conversation with my friend Michael:
"I realized. Oh, help."
"There's no more. It's over."
I hissed: "Pussy." Deep breath. "It's not sex, which I can handle myself. But it's--I'll never see another. I could count on it showing up again, with her attached, right here in bed, or I could go to it."
Michael replied: "And you know, it will be months, months, before you even see a nipple."
"Thinking about nipples, I might chew through the phone, eat the numbers. And I can only eat fruit. I have to start jogging. Right now."
"When I broke up with Sandy I stayed in bed for four months."
"Her name was Sandy? You dated Annie's dog?"
"Dog is right."
"I thought it wasn't a big deal; what would I miss? She lived upstate. But they took it away, no second chance. Am I going to gash holes in grapefruits and a heat them in the microwave, like junior high?"
"Really bad, but love is pain," I said.
"Just don't use shaving cream. It cooks you like a gas flame."
"But it's that desperate. It peeks out everywhere, everything like a taco or a knothole, every dusty, hairy corner in my room already makes me feel like an eyeless ape with caked palms. I swear, this is not joking, I saw a Cheshire pussy. Outside the movie theater on 23rd St. I'm on vaginal deprivation rations. I'm not part of the dominant culture, the snatch farmers, anymore. I'm hunter-gatherer. It's like World War Two."
"P-rations. The United States government needed a failproof lure for Army volunteers. During a war, the administration only allowed one point five vaginal contacts per month. Try to have point five vaginal contacts. I almost got Rhonda pregnant doing a point-fiver.
"You thought people wanted chocolate and cigarettes. The Catholic Church played the system: priests traded their pussy rations for cigarettes or money, people thought it wasn't a sin because they got the little slips of paper from a priest, the priests get so much cash they can build a basilica. One Jesuit traded six humps for a motorcycle. The Government's smart, they get millions of horny bastards crazy enough to go to Italy and Africa and Germany because they get four times the allowance in the army. That's why we're such a homophobic culture, too, because gay men didn't feel the urgent need to go to war so the papers made them into unpatriotic perverts.
"So this works fine, but Vietnam comes, right--off to war for the baby boom kids, the ones who are the result of repealing vagina laws in 1946--and the government tries to reinstate the law to facilitate the draft. Kennedy was going to foil the reinstatement in an attempt to keep the military-industrial from going to 'Nam, so they had to shoot him in Dallas, but the kids all read Naked Lunch and said, 'Fuck that! I can bang this acid freak in the tie dyed mu-mu, who needs war?' The government tried to get them with new blowjob rations, but you can't control something unless you can take it away.
"So it changed, now no rationing but no guarantee, and you need to find your own. I can barely speak to women without pissing my pants from stress. It'll only get worse, too, the pussy everywhere, in the air, in movies, in songs, in church, on the streets, on the walls, in books, I can't touch it, feel it, sniff it. No more cunnilingus. Doesn't that sound Scottish? Isn't Cunnilingus the Scottish airline? I live right here in New York, the great sexual wasteland. It'll be Thanksgiving in a month, and I'll wake up suddenly and the TV'll be on the parade, and for some reason I can't use my limbs, because my body realizes it's never going to reproduce again and just gives up in the night, and all the floats in the parade are gigantic vaginas lumbering side-to-side down Broadway, with all these guys climbing up the tether to dive in, waving to the camera from the great height, and Kathie Lee Gifford will host; she'll say, 'Paul Ford, this is something you can never, ever have again.' And she'll uncross her legs like Sharon Stone and say 'here are thirteen naked brilliant beautiful NYU comparative lit grad students with tits that taste like strawberries to show you how they can write thesis papers using a ballpoint pen wedged between their milky thighs and you can't even jerk off while we show you!'
"Oh, God," he said, "it's only just begun."