Sex and Sexibility

“You write like a man,” he told her.

She sipped her chocolate martini. “How so?”

“Straightforward. Active.” He leaned in and she could smell the gin fumes in his throat, welling up from his round belly. “No maudlin sentiment or insecurity.”

She considered this as she surveyed the hotel bar. Dark, polished wood shelves lined with liquor, behind them mirrors presumably intended to let the bartender keep watch over patrons while his back was turned. She could see the reflection of her eyes, but the bottom of her face was lost in a bottle of Jameson.

“I presume you mean that as a compliment,” she said finally.

“Of course. Other women write the same trite, banal garbage for their women readers to consume like greedy children eat candy. But you… you are a true chef of words.” He grinned, and she imagined he was pleased with his analogy.

“Delicious. So there isn’t a single other woman out there who can appeal to your refined palate?”

“Not one.”

“Not Atwood, or Lessing, or–”

“None. I see a woman’s name on the book cover and I ignore it. I know I will only be disappointed.”

She crossed her arms. “What if they used a male pseudonym?”

He shook his head and moved even closer, laying a hand on the bar next to her drink. “It’s still obvious when something is written by a woman. Anyone can tell after a few sentences. You, though… perhaps. You would almost certainly double your readership. Appeal to those of us who avoid women writers.”

She looked down at his hand. “But not women in general?”

His smile broadened. “Where would we be without women?”

“Alone in a hotel bar, I suspect. Tragic.”

“Tragic indeed.”

She looked up at her reflection and saw another pair of eyes approaching behind her.

“Sorry I’m late,” her girlfriend said, wrapping an arm around her waist and kissing her neck.

“It’s all right,” she said. “This gentleman was explaining to me how I write like a man.”

Her girlfriend smirked. “I’ve never thought so. Every inch of you is very, very much a woman.¬†Ready to go?”

“Definitely.” She regarded the man beside her, whose jaw was trying to unhinge like a snake’s. “Tragic,” she said thoughtfully. “Without a woman, you’re alone in a bar. Without a man, I’m still going to get wildly fucked.”

She raised her glass and downed the rest of her drink. “Cheers, asshole.”

13 Responses to “Sex and Sexibility”

  1. LOL! Reminds me of a girl I knew in high school who wore a button (buttons were big back in the 80’s) that read: “How DARE you presume I’m heterosexual!” (But she was, oddly enough)

  2. OK, so, the whole story I’m thinking to myself, “Oh gawd, I write a woman, I do, how can I stop?” And then I relaxed and actually read your “delicious” story. FANTASTIC ENDING!!!
    I loved her parting shot! Love, love, loved it. I want to use it on some sap some day.
    Now, back to my maudlin sentiment and insecurity….

  3. LIKE a woman, I write LIKE a woman. (Am thinking I write more like a preschooler at this juncture….) Did I say how much I loved this story?

  4. Tony Noland says:

    I write like a woman, too. Or so I’ve been told. http://www.tonynoland.com/2009/10/fridayflash-445.html

  5. Brilliant. A wonderful riposte to VS Naipul

  6. marc nash says:

    Nicely lancing the square set jaw

  7. Mari Juniper says:

    Oh, oh! Amaaazing story, Val! This man is an asshole indeed. Man, I had the same thoughts as Cathy, but now I’m just glad I write like a woman, this way there’ll be no chance I’ll meet a guy like this in real life. *whew*

  8. Adam Byatt says:

    Very clever play on character and gender.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  9. Aleatoire says:

    Haha, that was a good read, Valerie.

    I was just swinging by to let you know that I am hosting a blogfest.

    Keep up the great writing! =D

    -Tara

  10. ZJW says:

    Really nice dialogue. I feel like our “antagonist” here is one of those likable assholes — I wouldn’t want to meet him, but he makes your story more fun than would a plain old misogynist. If I have any complaint at all, it’s that I would’ve liked to see his reaction at the end, once he regained his composure. Would he have admitted defeat and bowed out gracefully? Or would he have glowered and ordered another, perhaps stronger drink?

  11. Expertly woven and written. Of course, I am a man. Oh what would I give to be f@#$ed wildly. On the serious side though, your poetry is the kind that inspires me.

  12. Eeleen Lee says:

    You have great economy of style and control. THis piece reminds me of those submission guidelines for romance publishers – male authors have to use female pseudonyms or else female readers will get turned off etc…

  13. Timoteo says:

    Okay, I’ll cross that approach off my list.

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