Note: This is only a draft
©2016 Phoebe Alexander All Rights Reserved
count twenty-three people by the time we've finished our tour of the
house, minus the bedrooms that had closed doors. It's a little
overwhelming, but I am relieved there aren't more in attendance. I can't
remember anyone's names. Actually, I remember faces and names, but
cannot attach the correct names to their corresponding faces. There was a
Cathy, a Mike, a Joe, a Beverly, a MaryAnn. Maybe another Mike? I'd say
most everyone seems to be in the 30-50 year age range. A nice mix.
Amanda gestures from the kitchen. "Come and get a drink! I'll introduce you to my fiancé!"
wonder how I missed him the first time around. But then again, I also
missed Shanna's husband, Tony, so that makes me wonder if they are
(were) behind one of the closed bedroom doors, and if so, with whom? I
see Amanda's fiancé leaning against the granite countertop and he does
not appear to have recently exerted himself, sexually or otherwise. He's
tall, tan and lean with blonde hair and blue eyes, almost as young and
fresh-scrubbed as she is. They pretty much make the most adorable couple
I say hi and he gives me a kiss on the cheek., filling my
nose with the scent of a fruity craft beer or possibly a cider. I watch
Amanda put her arm around his waist and lean into him and he bends to
kiss the top of her head. I can't help but let the following thought
swirl around in my brain vigorously enough to start the rumblings of a
headache: Andy and Amanda are pretty much Ken and Barbie. They even have
matching names. What is lacking between them? Why do they feel like
they need to be with others? Why do Shanna and Tony?
I mean, I
know why I'm interested. I have a sexy husband at home, but he doesn't
want to put out. Or he can't. I need to feel wanted again. But if Rob
wanted to knock the boots a few times a week, would I even be here?
Probably not. Looking at Andy and Amanda, I would bet money they are
taking the skin boat to tuna town every chance they get.
I end up
in the living room with Brandi. “So how does this work?” I ask,
watching Shanna flirt with a group of three men near the doorway to the
hall where the bedrooms are.
“Just like any party, really,” she
answers. “You chat someone up, talk about what you like, dislike. And if
there's enough interest and agreement between partners, you go off to
find an empty room. Closed doors mean don't come in. Open means you can
watch or ask to join.”
“Wow, okay, that seems weird.”
“How so? People hook up at all kinds of parties. Here there's actual deliberation and consent. It's much safer,” she explains.
you don't end up waking up hungover underneath some smarmy frat boy
like you did in college,” I say, and she nods. Not that I ever did that
in college. Nope, I was the world's most straight-laced co-ed. But
sometimes I feel a little left out that I don't have any tales to tell.
disappears on the arm of a broad-shouldered younger man with a shaved
head and a tattoo on his forearm of a skull with a snake coming out of
it. He looks a little rough for my tastes, but to each her own, I
suppose. She is wearing that dress she showed us last night, and I've
personally witnessed every male in the house undressing her with his
eyes. I imagine a good number of them are hedging bets about whether or
not they'll be able to literally undress her by the end of the night.
women wouldn't want to feel objectified like that. Is it any mark of
accomplishment to have an entire roomful of men salivating as they plan
what they'd do with your body if given the green light? Some women would
be disgusted by that prospect. Some would find it utterly humiliating.
I'm absolutely fascinated. While everyone is nice to me and even mildly
flirtatious, I don't get the vibe that men are drooling over me or that
anyone is chomping at the bit to bump uglies with me. So I have to
wonder what it would be like to be viewed that way, the way Shanna is.
She's like a golden-haired, bronze-skinned sorceress, a legion of men
under her magical spell. I've always wondered what it would be like to
have that power. Even if I'm just now admitting it.
Rob has never
made me feel sexy. And since he's the only man I've ever been with, I
don't really know what it's like to feel that way. From the moment we
started dating, he cast me in the role of “good girl,” setting me on a
virtuous pedestal apart from all the promiscuous sexpots he dated from
the cheerleading squad. He's never once called me sexy; he's always said
he respects me, that he admires me for the way I think. As if being
sexy and being admirable are mutually exclusive.
disrespectful to find a woman sexy? Does it take away from her
intellectual prowess? I've always bought into that dichotomy of good
girl versus slut, but I'm starting to come around. I wonder why a woman
who wants to be regarded as a sexual creature with needs and fantasies
and desires is so intimidating. And I know I'm wondering this because of
the changes that are happening in me. I'm a good person, a mother and
wife, a teacher. I'm not a slut. So why am I apologetic about wanting my
sexual needs addressed? I can see how someone like Shanna – also a
wife, mother, teacher – would feel empowered by embracing her natural,
primal femininity. This lifestyle is a celebration of womanhood, not an
exploitation of it.