(Or: Why God invented BFF’s)
“Allison, I’m telling you, you need to try this. Honest to God, it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made for my hormones.”
“Which is exactly why I shouldn’t even consider it. I’m too old to be listening to my hormones.”
Sara stops in the middle of the frozen food section of our very local grocery store and puts her hands on her hips, glaring at me with her big brown eyes.
“And if you don’t take care of your hormones, who will? Rick the Dick?”
“Shhh, Sara!” I look around to make sure no one is listening to our conversation. I’m glad to see that, for the moment, we are alone.
“Well? Is he?”
“You know he’s not.”
“And we know why he’s not, too. Because his dick has been in service to at least four other women that we know of. At this point, I’d be afraid it might fall off inside you if you went back for some.”
“Oh my god, Sara, hush! Someone’s gonna hear you!”
I look around frantically, but thank God no one has appeared around us. Sara stares at me, half imperiously and half with pity.
“I don’t care and you shouldn’t either! I’m tired of women acting like having sexual needs is a bad thing. I’m all about embracing it. Girl, I wasted twenty years of my life thinking vibrators were evil. I still can’t figure out why the hell I listened to my mother.”
I’m the one who stares imperiously now.
“Sara, a vibrator and a young hot guy are two totally different kinds of toys. If you were trying to talk me into getting a vibrator, I’d be all for it. But this is totally out of the question.”
I watch Sara’s ruby stained lips fall open.
“Holy shit, you don’t have a vibrator? Allison, what the hell? Aren’t you afraid that thing is gonna get cobwebs and shrivel up from lack of use?”
I feel myself blush when I look up and see a little old lady sitting in a motorized cart frowning at us. Holy shit. How did I miss her purple hair when I looked around a minute ago?
Please God, let her have forgotten her hearing aid today!
“All right. That’s it,” Sara says suddenly, reaching for the few items in my buggy and dumping them onto a shelf in one big heap. “We are going to the naughty store. Today starts the liberation of Allison. Or at least your hoo-hah. I’m making it my mission in life to help you let your inner cougar out of the cage. That bitch has been in captivity for far too long.”
She takes my hand and whirls me around, abandoning my cart and dragging me toward the exit. Our heels click loudly on the scuffed floor, attracting the attention of everyone in our direct vicinity.
And so, of course, this is when Sara chooses to be even more obscene.
“I’m gonna find you the biggest plastic cock on the market and you’re gonna use it if I have to tie you down and do it for you.”
I want to effing die.
I am horrified to see the head of every bag boy turn in our direction, even more so when I recognize two of them. They go to school with Sophie, my 15-year old daughter.
“Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod! Sara, shut up!” I hiss at her.
“I will if you’ll move your ass. This needs to be fixed. Today. And there’s no time like the present. Sophie won’t be home for another two hours. That’s just long enough for me to change your mind.”
“Like that’s gonna happen,” I murmur. “Don’t hold your breath, Sara.”
“We’ll see, Miss Sexually Repressed. We’ll see.”
One humiliating hour later, Sara and I are pressed together in front of my computer, flipping through an online catalog of men. Well, I say “men” lightly. These males are somewhere between guydom and manhood, with guydom being that place in which the masculine form of our species gets stuck for the several years after high school and surrounding college.
I can’t believe I’m doing this.
“It just feels wrong to be looking at these kids in any kind of sexual way.” I look uncertainly at my insane friend. She stares back unapologetically.
“Trust me, Allison. They want you to look at them that way. And they’re not kids. They’re legal.”
I scroll past one that doesn’t look a day over sixteen. “Cheese and crackers, Sara! This is somebody’s kid! I guarantee you his mother doesn’t know he’s a gigolo.”
“Cheese and crackers? Really?" She looks at me skeptically. "Besides, he’s not a gigolo, you prude! He’s an escort. Big difference.”
“An escort who, at the end of the night for a little more cash, will have sex with people. What do you call that?”
Sara’s laugh has a wicked edge to it. “I call it my good fortune.”
“Sara, I’m serious.”
“So am I. But look, this is how I see it. I’m helping Chaz live out his dreams, too. He’s getting to do things and experience things that most men twice his age will never know.”
“I’m sure that’s true, but you’re never going to convince me that a twenty-year old would normally have any interest in someone our age. For God’s sake, Sara, I got out of the shower this morning and scared the shit out of myself when I passed the mirror. I actually wondered for a second whose body it was. I’ve got bags and bulges in places that should never be lumpy and there’s some weird excess skin on the backs of my arms that makes me look like a flying squirrel. A flying freaking squirrel! What twenty-year old in his right mind would wanna have sex with a flying squirrel?”
“Damn it, Allison, would you stop being so down on yourself? Men don’t see us that way. Thank God! They see these warm, soft, beautiful, sensual creatures that smell fantastic and fuck like wild cats. We know what we want and how we want it. They don’t care that our arms look like Dumbo’s ears. They care that we can suck a golf ball through a garden hose and make them come in two point two seconds flat.”
“Sara!” My ears turn red.
“And you need to stop doing that, too. Loosen up a little. You know, it’s not the end of the world to drop an F bomb or talk openly about a blow job. Don’t you remember high school at all?”
“Of course I do. I remember falling in love with the guy I thought was my soul mate, getting pregnant with our beautiful daughter and having what I thought was exclusive sex with him for fifteen more years before finding out he was cheating on me.”
“Damn, how long were you in high school?”
I sigh in exasperation. “Sara, I want to move on, but I need to do it slowly.”
“That’s exactly what you don’t need, Allison. You need to reach down deep and find that wild, courageous girl you used to be before Rick the Dick put an arrow through your heart. And your vagina. You need to find the real you. The one he doesn’t control anymore. And I’m here to help you. You like penis! No, you fucking love penis. You just need to remind your vagina of that. Girl, you’ve got this. You’re totally going to own it.”
I say nothing. Instead, I just stare at my best friend in the world. I know she has my best interests at heart. And I know she’s the one person on the planet I can trust completely and utterly. So why am I balking? What do I have to lose? My life as I knew it before is over anyway.
“Fine. I’ll give it one shot, but I’m not promising that I’ll sleep with some random kid that’s only a few years older than my child.”
Sara squeals and throws her arms around my neck.
“Oh my god, we’re gonna have so much fun!” She claps her hands excitedly before settling back down in her chair beside me. She slides the mouse over to me. “All right. Let’s get your account set up while I’m here. You have to be sponsored by a member to even have access to the site. Then we’ll find you a toy.”
“I think I’ve seen enough toys for today,” I say somewhat somberly.
“This is not a bad thing, Allison. It’s a good thing.” She stares at me for a few seconds then lays her hand on my arm. “Okay, let’s do this. Pick the guy you like and I’ll do the rest. Deal?”
“You sound like a creepy used car salesman right now,” I announce. She glares at me with her Realtor of the Year for the Greater Las Vegas Area stare.
“I guess,” I say with a sigh.
She grins triumphantly.
“Not the enthusiasm I was hoping for, but I’ll take it.”
“Mom, I really need this. Won’t you at least consider it?”
Spatula in hand, I turn to look at my daughter. “Sophie, do you have any idea how much a private swim instructor probably costs?”
“No, but I’ll get Dad to pay half and it won’t be that bad. Mom, all the swimmers that are Olympic hopefuls have their own private coach. You know I’ll never make it anywhere with Mr. Sullivan.”
“Mr. Sullivan does a perfectly fine job, Soph. It’s because of him that you won State last year.”
“I know, Mom. But that’s not good enough if I ever hope to make it to the Olympics. Please. At least say you’ll consider it. Kayla even knows a guy who was on her college swim team. She says he’ll do it until I can get good enough to qualify for another one. That probably means he’ll be cheaper, too.”
“Don’t ‘Sophie’ me, Mom. You treat me like I’m some airheaded kid. I’m more responsible, more dedicated than any of the girls my age. I never get in trouble and my grades are almost perfect. Do this one thing for me. Pleeeeeease.”
I look into the wide, pleading hazel eyes that are so like my own. This child is my one true weakness, my very own brand of Kryptonite.
“Fine. Get me some information on the guy Kayla knows. We’ll start from there. But you are asking your father, young lady!”
Her smile is like a thousand watt bulb; beautiful, young and innocent. So like mine twenty years ago, back before Rick the Dick made me resent anything with a penis.
“I will. Thank you so much, Mom.” She leans across the island and pecks my cheek.
She really is a good kid. I just have to ignore the parts of her that seem like Rick sometimes, like the crease she gets in her mouth when she glares at me. Or the way she stands when she is annoyed, with her hand on her hip and the glazed, pissed off look in her eyes. Her eyes are mine, but that particular look is Rick through and through.
I sigh. She’s half Rick, but she’s half me, too. And that makes her awesome. She’s a good kid. And she’s mine. Rick can go to fucking hell.
I sigh proudly. Sara would be proud of me. I might not have said the F word, but I definitely thought it without flinching.
That’s fucking progress.