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Split Decision

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 PERSONAL ESSAYS



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I have a problem, which I’m sure you’ve had too. However, before I tell you the problem, I need to make sure you’re not my in-law. So, if you are an in-law, don’t read this. Though I’m sure in-laws have this problem too. It is this: When the relationship ends, what do you do with the contents of the sex drawer?
   My problem used to be small, as I used to be really poor, have a lot of one-night stands and move every few months. My sex drawer was like a toy chest from the harsh days of Little House on the Prairie. As I drove more deeply into my twenties, I started making some money, sticking around and taking things with me when I did move. That’s when the leftover-sex-toy dilemma began. But it was never this bad. I never had a relationship that lasted six years before. Plus they were my six most prosperous years, and he and I always had fun in the sack — so I just acquired more and more tools and decorations until the drawer was absolutely bulging. Things were always good in there; our problems lay beyond.
   Separating a joined life is not easy. The judge is taking care of who gets what of the house, cars, IRAs and children. The remains of the sex drawer — I don’t think His Honor wants to go there. I guess the decent thing to do would be just to empty it all out and begin anew. But where to empty it? Take the Astroglide, for instance. I wouldn’t want to slather gel from the same tube onto new boy parts. And yet there’s three-quarters of a tube left, and it cost twelve dollars. I’m a Yankee. We don’t just throw nine dollars worth of anything out.
   I have found a good home for most of it. I sold my chain-mail bikini for ten dollars at a yard sale, to a gal who said she was going to hang it on her wall. I gave my feather bra and panties and Cum Shots porn video (a cherished birthday present) to a friend who had a baby some months ago and might be able to use something to get back in the mood. I gave my Polaroid camera to a neighbor girl, to be used for very different purposes than it used to be, I hope! I removed the extra batteries from the drawer and distributed them throughout the house to make more prosaic machines run.
   But some items nag at me. Like my “black bullet with silver studded harness." I never used it on my man. It was a phantom, a promise between us. “Don’t make me get the black bullet,” I’d say. Or, “Remember the black bullet?” I’d wear it once in a while when we went out on dates, because

The black bullet was like the third child that we’d talk about but never got around to having.

I have penis envy and my ex has penis fear. I took pleasure in his fear, and he took pleasure in the pleasure I took in his terror. I guess the black bullet was like the third child we’d talk about but never got around to having. When our relationship died, so my dreams of using the black bullet. To use it on anyone else would be like laying your head on a dead person’s pillow. I refuse to sell it on eBay, I’d rather not give it away, and I will not throw such a precious item in the garbage can. It’s practically an heirloom.
   Ghosts of several of my life’s best moments are housed in these conical vessels of varying size and texture. If I were handier, I would melt everything down and make new ones. But I’m not handy, and I can already imagine the smell of burnt rubber lingering in my basement forever, never letting the memories go.
   Looking over the remains in the drawer, it occurs to me that I bought every single one of these items with my own money. I guess my ex, despite his rabid Democrat-ness, was never totally able to shake his Old World upbringing. He believed, somewhere deep in his soul, that the one with the cock brings enough to the table already, and the one with the hole has to make up for what’s lacking. Of course, that line of thinking is one of the reasons we’re now separated by the really big hole of divorce. It’s not one of the big reasons though, really. I kind of liked that about him — the secret machismo lurking underneath a vacillating exterior. His limber, scaredy-cat, raw, sexist and slightly gay masculinity was a challenge the bullet and I could never completely conquer, and never completely resist.
   My ex did make one contribution to the sex drawer: a Seka and John Holmes photo-pictorial magazine someone once gave him. It’s not sexy; it’s kitschy. I can return this to its rightful owner with no regrets. Thank God the Mandate mag is mine. A pair of telephone line repairmen naked save their tool belts … now that’s dangerous and unusual, at least in my neighborhood. John and Seka were pure, classic porn — they were at the height of their game, the war for recognition had been won. Things were easy for them. My Mandate men were still fighting for their rights. Ah, fuck it. I guess I’ll keep Mandate in there just a little longer, despite having pored over it many a night with my lovely ex panting in my ear. The power of Mandate supercedes — for the moment, at least — the power of memory.
   One more thing I know won’t be going anywhere is my “Realistically Veined!” pink vibrator. While her compatriots leave the drawer one by one, she stays nice and snuggled in right where she is. You know that James Taylor song about divorce? “Some of them his friends, some of them her friends, some of them understand.” Well, Realistically Veined! is a real side-taker. My side.  


©2004 Lisa Carver and Nerve.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lisa Carver is the author of the books Dancing Queen, Rollerderby, The Lisa Diaries and Drugs Are Nice. She’s written for Hustler, Index, Icon, Feed, Newsday and Playboy, among others. She lives in New Hampshire.