One night, I stop in a little market on the way home from work. I drop a pack of batteries and a cheap bottle of wine on the counter in front of the cashier.
You so funny.
Not gonna lie: after work, I sometimes like a bottle of wine with a screw-off top. Shit. Hands get tired from writing on a board all day. And I need the batteries to take a bootleg selfie and pass it off as a real author photo for a magazine. Using an actual camera seems less ghetto than the dirty lens (which I can’t seem to clean) of my iPhone.
“Yep. Just me. Just me and my camera.” I string out the second “just” just long enough for him to know I was fucking with him.
He actually man-giggles — doesn’t seem to get I’m joking.
“You know I’m thinking I should probably go back and grab another pack.”
I’m pretty sure buying batteries is enough for this guy to think I am about to crack open my Cupcake and start working it out as soon as I get upstairs.
I do take the picture.
He’s young enough to be titillated by pretty much anything.
We’re all titillated by the idea of a woman fingering her frustration because we never talk about it. Go see Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon — a movie so focused on a guy’s “sex addiction,” it involves him tossing too many tissues in the trash to count. So many guys I know are more than willing to talk about how many times they have to get in the shower, every day, for just a few minutes. And so many people I know have some anecdote about a man, in public, going at it all alone. I’ve written before about a man on a stoop in Baltimore. One of my friends told me about a man in Cincinnati rocking yellow sweat pants, both hands down front. Always no harm no foul.
Back in the ’90s, the controversy surrounding Divinyl’s “I touch myself”¹ trumped the previous year’s panic over Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” video (the one with the Black Jesus²).
In Don Jon (spoiler alert), Scarlett Johansson’s character breaks up with “the Don” because of his handy work during Internet porn viewing sessions.
In college, a friend does the same thing.
“He’s cheating on me!”
No he’s not, hon. And while we’re being honest, go ahead and acknowledge the fact that you, too, take care of business, though maybe not with porn or battery-operated feelers.
“Would this be a deal-breaker for him?”
Judging from the kid at the market, nah.
It’s pretty ridiculous that I’ve gone through this whole column without once using the word masturbation. The Divinyls, actually, don’t say it, either. Their song is really more of a traditional love song than anything else. And, like the song, I haven’t come to any conclusions — at the end of the lyrics it says, “repeats and fades into end.”
Time for more batteries.
¹ You’ll be singing this song all day. Major earworm.
² Not just black. Black and shiny. Super black.