Doing It In The First Place
by Christopher James
Our second date was the sex date, where Tankya had confirmed for herself that my good form on the first date wasn't a lucky aberration. We had Italian food at Giorgio's, where she complimented me on choosing pasta over pizza. She couldn't stand men who ordered pizza on a date. We went to watch a movie she'd been recommended. Next to the cinema was a funky little bar with two-for-one cocktails and dancing. "Just because they're two-for-one," she told me, "doesn't mean we have to drink them. I'd rather grab a bottle of wine. Red, please, a Chilean merlot if they have it, something Australian if they don't. Absolutely not a Cabernet, though." We left the bar a little after midnight. She'd approved of my dancing. We took a taxi to her place, and she suggested we skip any additional small talk and head right on into the bedroom.
Inside the bedroom she handed me a printed list of sex rules she insisted I follow.
"You're very prepared, aren’t you?" I said, trying to joke.
"Just read the list, please," she told me. "I'll be in the bathroom, freshening up."
The list was printed on both sides, and throughout it the words DO and DON'T were capitalised, screaming off the page. "You didn't get it laminated?" I said, through the bathroom door.
"I used to," she told me. She sounded like she was sitting down. "I had to keep updating it so frequently that laminating became more hassle than it was worth."
The taps in the sink started running, but behind it I could hear the melodic tinkle of her pee. I doubted Tankya would enjoy me conversing while she urinated, so I sat on the bed and pulled off my shoes and socks, and looked over the list.
DON'T bite. DON'T scratch. DON'T pinch too hard. DO undress me. DON'T undress yourself. DO whisper in my ear. DO kiss me. DON'T lick me – I am not a lollipop. DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, punch me. DO go down on me. DON'T expect me to go down on you. DO stroke my back. DO squeeze my nipples gently. DON'T touch my clitoris directly with your finger. You may stroke AROUND the clitoris. DON'T finish before I do.
It went on. I skimmed the rest quickly. It seemed like an awful lot of rules for sex, and I wondered just how many different guys she'd slept with. As the list went on, the rules became increasingly specific.
My name is not BITCH or BABY. If you must address me during sex, you can use my name, TANKYA, or, at a pinch, TANKS.
If I say I'm tired of being on top, that means we switch positions. DON'T propose I remain there for a little while longer because you 'feel a big one coming on'.
PLEASE and THANK YOU never goes astray. However, sometimes less is more. ALSO, I do not require a blow-by-blow post-match analysis.
You may smoke ONE cigarette only after sex, whilst I wash. DO NOT smoke in the house. There is a balcony just down the hall.
If I fall asleep, for God's sake, DO NOT continue sex. At that point you can take it as a given that you've failed. Give it up, cowboy.
I finished reading just as Tankya came out of the bathroom. She smelled good, and I think she had done her hair up differently. She was still wearing the dress she'd had on all night, but I could see her panties behind her on the bathroom floor.
"Do you need me to sign and date this?" I asked, waving the list.
"That won't be necessary," she said.
She took the paper from my hand, dropped it to the floor, and kissed me. While she slowly unbuttoned my shirt, I removed the belt loosely balanced across her hips. She pushed me onto the bed, and I lifted her dress up over her head. She undid my trousers and pulled them down. We started making love.
Throughout, I made small errors, which were punished with DON'Ts. When I did something right, I was rewarded with a DO. I remembered certain facets of the list, such as no punching, no biting, no continuing sex after she'd fallen asleep, but for the most part the exact rules slipped my mind. Through trial and error, I came to a better and better understanding of what she did and didn't want. Towards the end, everything was accompanied by a marvellous concerto of DOs. Miraculously, for our first time, we came simultaneously. It felt fantastic, really, really good. We lay flat on our backs side by side, our smiling faces tilted towards each other.
"Thank you!" I said, remembering rule number seventy-four. "That was wonderful!"
She frowned a smidgeon, but she was smiling as much as I was. Both of us enjoying the euphoria that comes with good sex.
"I'm going to wash now," she said, jumping up and pattering over to the bathroom.
Whilst she was gone, I went to the balcony to smoke my allotted post-coital cigarette. When I came back, she was in front of the computer, tapping away. She didn't look up, although she must have heard me come in.
"Do you want to take a shower?" she said. TAP-TAP-TAP. "After that, would you mind letting yourself out? I need to be up early in the morning."
"Sure," I said. I walked up behind her and she covered the screen with her hands.
"I'm updating the list," she told me. "I'm sorry, but I can't do it if you're watching me."
"Okay," I said. I went towards the bathroom. "You want to do this again some time?"
"Sure," she told me. "I'll let you know when I'm free."
Even with the bathroom door closed and the water from the shower running, I could still hear the depressing sound of DON'T DON'T being hammered out on the keyboard. I wondered what I'd done wrong.
Christopher James lives, works and writes in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'The Final Time'