Primer, by Paxton Robel
Can someone define a relationship for me, please? Thank you.
To say that I’m a bit confused is an understatement. If you must know, I’m having some trouble understanding the rules of engagement for good girls. Be nice, don’t fight, don’t upset anyone. Don’t hurt feelings. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. Curl up and let the world walk all over you so that they think you’re a nice girl. Nice girls don’t talk back. They eat in moderation and sleep eight hours every night and go to work five days a week. They don’t show too much cleavage and never think about owning thongs... let alone showing them off. They only date men they can marry. Sex? Only after said marriage. Only for procreation. In the missionary position. In the dark. Orgasms are optional. Passion is for the naughty women, for whores. No wonder our men stray.
Nice girls settle down and stay down. They lie down and play dead. Maybe they roll over before they die so people can kiss their holy little good girl ass in gratitude.
I don’t want to be a nice girl.
I tried it and then contemplated suicide. But I opted for attempted homicide. Death to domestication. The dishes piled up until he yelled at me. Then the little mouse I was scurried and cleaned and was duly rewarded with a pat on my head. Good girl. Sit. Beg. Roll over. Go fetch my slippers, will you? May as well carry them in your mouth, you’re about the same status as Fido over there. Well, almost. One can’t knock him up, eh? Ha ha ha.
Ha. Dutifully the good girl laughs while the woman imagines denting his skull with the brass ashtray he likes to keep for decoration.
Ha ha. She promises herself that she’ll use the nearest heavy object the next time. If he asks her to bark, well, she might use the fireplace poker. The way to a man’s heart isn’t his stomach. It’s through his chest.
Ha ha ha. The angry woman within begins to scream and to seeks ways to do so aloud.
The good girl’s necklines got lower while her skirts got higher. She bought lacy new barely-there silks and satins. When she dressed each day, she dressed for the man that the woman within thought about. The one at the office whose anger seemed to match her own.
She wonders if he’ll be the same as the others. Prim and prudish in that odd male way. The sort that desires his women pristine and pure but longs for them to play the role of the naughty girl. She wonders if he’ll be put off by some of her tastes, though she senses he needs them.
Good girls don’t go to heaven. They end up in hell. Self-denial and deprivation. The sort of hell that leaves them watching everyone else enjoy what they deny themselves. All the while their clocks tick on.
One minute of goodness. Two minutes of goodness. Three minutes of goodness... tick tick tick... a time bomb in the making.
Is it an affair when you’re trying to save your life? Not from suicide, not from a literal death. From a worse one. The sort where you die but you keep breathing for thirty or forty more years. When you know you’re pulling into yourself just as you hit your sexual peak and the words you swore over a decade ago come back to prod you on and when he’s as ready as you are and when you do you feel alive again... or is it just survival?
I’m not letting it pass me by, not again. Once survival was retreating and starvation. Now it’s a feast from all angles. An orgy. Dipping in and tasting him, trying him, eating foods smothered in honey and ice cream on heated plates at Mexican restaurants. Serving myself up to him as well. Honey and heat.
Survival means just enough to get by, at lacking excess, at needing more. Survival suggests just making it through to the next day. Surviving is what I was doing. Survival is a beige bra.
This, this is the deep pink and the cerulean blue and the vibrant red – complete with their matching panties. This isn’t survival. Perhaps it started that way, grasping onto the proverbial life preserver. But it isn’t survival anymore. The honey’s too hot.