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“I would totally bang Khadafi. I mean yeah, he killed a bunch of people and stuff, but he was kinda hot – in a crazy, domineering dictator kind of way.”

“…Well if that’s the case, what about Trotsky?”

“…Cory Booker!”

“That Poe and his raven…”

Typical Tuesday night shenanigans. Sitting around a small table after a few vodka and somethings and half-bottle of coquito, a group of my peers and I decided to smoke and name famous people we’d screw. Famous as in a historical and literary context – as only graduate students would, naturally:

“….So Lockerbie meant nothing to you?”

“…And come to think of it, the guy from Random Family – what’s his name? – Boy George! Yeah, I’d definitely have to do him. Mmm.”

“…Have you ever gotten disappointed when a guy took his pants down? Like you looked at it and said to yourself ‘no’?”

“What’s your number?”

“…I’d need a legal pad and some scotch to give you my number…”

The conversation shifted in intoxicated waves, from sketchy sex symbols to those who actually had been between our legs over the years. A form of drunk confessions mixed with memory blockage (or memory prompts, depending how you look at things) confusion, anger and shame shrouded by absent-minded judgment.

I never really thought about my “number” – you know, that invisible yet wholly real number of sexual partners one has in the course of a lifetime. Actually I’m lying. I think about it all the time: how many people I’ve slept with in a year, over the years, how many lovers I’ve forgotten about – intentionally and by accident, how many men came and went – my doing or their own, and how many more I may have to go before that number stops multiplying.

I think it goes without saying that after a woman reaches a certain age (or gets married, whatever comes first) she stops counting. I certainly have. Out of forgetfulness, out of rebelliousness, out of shame. I just refuse to count. What’s the point, if you’re using protection and praying every now and then? If you’re not pregnant and don’t have an STD, you should be in the clear. Right?

That same evening, someone told me her number. A few years older than I, her number was only a small fraction of men I’d slept with in… let’s just say a small fraction of time. Although it was double digits, it made me think: was my number too high? Am I, or was I, promiscuous? What determines promiscuity and falling in love too easily? And who even cares? Another woman yelled out her frighteningly low number, which I suspect she had been lying about. Her said number was the amount of sexual partners I had in 2013. I remained quiet about my number, although my internal thoughts were quite loud.

***

Lower Manhattan, circa 2009. I didn’t have my glasses on, that was my excuse. He walked toward me with a childish grin across his face, eager to say hello. I politely returned the greeting and kept walking. As I entered the subway station, it occurred to me that I had slept with said man and never returned his calls afterward.

He was clingy. His dick was small. I had met him at Webster Hall in its sweaty basement in the dark, drunk. On a rainy Sunday, I drove to his apartment in Harlem and he cooked garlic bread and Spaghetti-Os. We went to the same college.

***

At 15, Jayson with a ‘Y’ was first. We made love on his tiny twin bed on the ninth floor of a housing project. Tupac played in the background as I rode him to the finish line. His mom cooked us dinner in the kitchen one room over.

His yellow Yankees baseball cap and black flight jacket smoking a cigarette. I thought he was cool. He had gotten kicked out of the school district but hung outside of my high school after 3PM. A mutual friend hooked us up.

My mom hated him. And his “stupid skateboard.”

***

Stephen – no ‘V,’ all criminal – stole my heart. He said he was 34 but looked older, still lived at home. Thick Yonkers accent evocative of the movie Goodfellas. He was 5’7 with large brown eyes and thinning brown hair. Straight teeth a dimple in his left cheek. Sex on the first night on top of his makeshift bed: mattress on an air hockey table in his mother’s basement. I awoke to his sister doing laundry.

I fell in love. He fell in love. For a summer, that is. Last summer.

Terrible, I know. But the sex was marvelous.

***

Leo was my best friend. His best friend was my ex-boyfriend. James was a friend to both of them and also screwed two of my friends. And that sums up my high school experience.

***

Then there was college: Wayne had a lazy eye, but an attentive penis. The guy from the on-campus deli whose name escapes me had five kids and fucked me on the couch by a Christmas tree. There was Danny, Kendall, Mike, some nameless drunken mistakes. I once had sex with a friend of a friend in a hotel bathroom because I was bored. Frenchie was French with a French accent and an African penis who needed a green card. I can keep going, but I’ll stop.

***

Kristopher and I dated on and off for the past two years before I realized I was the other woman. He resembles a Ken doll and is a struggling writer who is doing more struggling writing good writing than struggling financially. The sex was okay enough to go back and fun enough to form a relationship, but I need more than just a pretty face. About three inches more. As it goes.

***

Jon choked me while in missionary position. Thought I’d like it. I did not – or his microscopic penis. Met him at a nightclub once upon a time, like 2006. We made out by his car. Jon made strange noises that sounded like a horse. I definitely did not return his phone calls.

***

Jason from Brooklyn kissed me in the rain. He chased me down the street after I drunkenly cursed him out. Twirled me in the air and later twirled his tongue between my thighs. Jason was during the Period of Jon and his lighthearted choking. Jason told me he loved me… and then went to Vegas. The Vegas pictures he posted on Myspace were disturbing and made me cry.

On again, off again – we tried to make it work. We made love in his living room one afternoon until the mother of his children walked in. Baby mother and I fought each other – her in jeans, I wrapped in a bed sheet. She threw a lamp at my head but missed. Jason and I broke up probably about a month or so afterward.

***

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