PERSONAL ESSAYS




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"I'm working on lying less," my date said from across the table.



"You lie often?" I asked him.


"No," he said. "I mean, no more than anyone else does."


"I don't lie," I lied, being sure to make eye contact.


"What I meant was, I am working on being more honest with myself," he said, looking at the menu.



We'd just seen The X-Files: I Want to Believe, which I didn't think was very good. And so in the spirit of honesty, I told him.

"I liked the movie," Glen said. "But I was expecting there to be aliens."


"Exactly! The X-Files is always about aliens!"


It was Friday night and we were on the second half of our third date.

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I was nervous because I had decided earlier that I was going to have sex with him.


"I'm having a great time," Glen said, popping an olive into his mouth. "Aren't you?"

"Of course!" I said, but I wasn't really sure. I was too excited to call it a bad time, but it wasn't exactly registering as a good time either. Also, since I'd already decided how the date was going to end, having a bad time was no longer an option. I was determined to have sex with him, and I wasn't about to let his personality or anything else stand in my way.


"It's just nerves," he said, "Because we're still getting to know each other. It will get easier."


"I'm sure that's it," I agreed, not really sure that I did agree. It was more that I wanted to agree.

 



After dinner, we went back to his place and he tickled me for a while on his couch. I'm not actually ticklish, but it would have been too uncomfortable to just sit still and stare at him straight-faced while he pinched me all over, so I writhed and giggled as if it were a wonderful torture. Seeing what a success the tickling was, he kept at it, surprising me every ten minutes of our kissing with tickle attacks. It was exhausting. I thought about telling him I'd been miraculously cured, so that he might stop, or else confess fully to the lie, but it seemed too hard.



One lie begets another, inevitably. And so, after another minute, when I could stand it no more, I grabbed his crazed hands firmly and looked in his eyes. "Listen, Glen!" I said, and then told him I was frightened because he was clearly more sexually experienced than I was.



He relaxed and asked me how many men I'd been with.



I made my eyes wide. "I can't tell you.

I thought of the smallest number plausible for a woman my age. "Three," I said, twirling my hair and looking up to see if he was buying it.

It's too embarrassing." I turned my face away.



"Why?" he asked gently.



"Because it's so few!" I lied.



"That's okay," he said. "I don't want to be with someone who's been around the block. You can tell me."



"How many women have you been with?" I asked.



"You really want to know? It's not a little."



"Of course. You're so charming and handsome. What's it, like fifty?"



"Something like that," he said, apologetically. He lifted my chin and looked into my eyes. "I'm sorry I've been with so many women. But if we're together, I promise I won't be with anyone else." He brushed the hair from my eyes, and for a second I worried he was going to tickle me again, but instead he asked, "So how about you?"



I thought for a moment and began blushing — the result of my planning to outright lie to him. I thought of the smallest number plausible for a woman my age. "Three," I said, twirling my hair and looking up to see if he was buying it.



His eyes flashed with the look of a person who's found money in the pocket of a pair of pants they haven't worn in months. "That's okay," he said, kissing me on the forehead.


        

  




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Commentarium (21 Comments)

Jan 09 09 - 1:55am
ja

oh wow, this is my favorite nerve story in a long time. brilliant!!

Jan 08 09 - 2:50pm
vpl

This is like dirty Bridget Jones. Take that however you want.

Jan 08 09 - 4:33pm
CMDR

Brilliant writings...yes i appreciate the subtleties of all if it.

much love and hair,

-Commander

Jan 08 09 - 7:23pm
h

*giggles*

Jan 08 09 - 9:16pm
bOt

it made me uncomfortable. there was the story, which was cute. and then the detached observational stuff, that makes me wonder if everyone operates from such false pretenses. I know it's a story.. but I felt sorta sad for the person that wrote it.

Jan 08 09 - 9:37pm
mpb

I started this feeling like it was going to be the usual good, personal Nerve essay. And then it became clear it was fiction. Seems odd. Maybe label fiction? I mean, the bit about braiding pubic hair could have been a little attempt at humor in the middle of a true story, but it was so sort of creepy and bizarre that it undid the mood of the rest of the piece. I usually like the personal essays so much. Oh well, apparently others thought it was great, so there ya go.

Jan 08 09 - 9:47pm
FC

C'mon - braided pubic hair? Any girl I ever knew with hair so thick & long would sport a moustache like dad's!

Jan 08 09 - 11:36pm
J

Bwahaha! Loved this essay!

Jan 09 09 - 2:38am
bb

that was funny

Jan 09 09 - 3:23am
tb

I thought this was brilliant! And I actually laughed out loud a number of times. I like the way the surrealistic touches are unexpectedly slipped in ;) and make you do a double-take. And it all ties together with the film. Good job!

Jan 09 09 - 10:54am
RD

Almost every sentence is a good laugh. I loved visualizing the ponytail and scrunchie. Also, as if to conclusively prove he's lying about his hair, he also lies about brushing his teeth.

Jan 10 09 - 11:34pm
ms

I thought it was kind of shitty. Maybe if it wasn't labeled 'personal essay', I would have been more into it.

Jan 11 09 - 12:35am
MS

Why would you style your pubic hair into a side pony-tail. I seriously don't get it. I wasn't into this.

Jan 12 09 - 1:07am
MP

HUMOR AND INSIGHT AT ITS HIGHEST LEVEL. WONDERFUL WRITING, WITH FRESH PERSPECTIVES ON THE COMEDY OF SEX AND LOVE. THIS PIECE HAS MADE ME A NEW NERVE READER.

Jan 11 09 - 9:07pm
nr

i loved the unique voice...immediately drawn in and liked the narrator. loved the big underwear. happy to see nerve get away from the sexy shocker voice type pieces. my only criticism (not that it matters) is that i didn't believe the scrunchy part. scrunchies are too big and unwieldy for pubic hair! although i guess if hers is barbie hair length...and of course it does work if one accepts and doesn't mind that the piece is actually creative nonfiction (and comic absurdist creative non-fiction at that), rather than personal essay... i didn't believe that she would have that falling in love feeling because
of her comment that he's not too smart. how can that change so quickly?...well, i guess sex can make it change, or make it seem like its changed.

Jan 12 09 - 2:02am
RD

I'm just assuming that this is fiction. The scrunchie idea is of course a joke as, I'm sure, is the big underwear: both hilarious visuals. Fantastical might be a slightly better description than surrealistic.

Jan 12 09 - 3:06am
P LI

I don't care if this was a personal essay or fiction. . . this was an excellent piece of writing. Made me think, and also laugh out loud several times, which I can't say of most of the nerve stuff lately. Regarding the debate over truth or fiction, I think it is somewhere in between, fitting the "truth is out there" theme.

Jan 12 09 - 8:23am
ARH

Laugh out loud funny.

Mar 05 09 - 6:41pm
DM

Crabs?

May 16 09 - 8:23pm
llw

First really good laugh i have had in a long time. Thank you.

Jan 21 10 - 3:00pm
DD

This article was absolutely phenomenal, especially the part about wearing seemingly unsexy underwear so that guys think that you never engage in casual sex. You are a star!