I’d made my high school years tough by hanging with the “nerds” and the “geeks.” Not that it wasn’t correct to call us that, it’s just that I didn’t like being singled out and called names.
But I had to admit it.’It’s true, it’s what I am.’
There wasn’t a lot of uniformity in our group. We were distinguished by our prickly concentrations on our selves. Writing, drama, classical music, cooking, and long-distance biking were among our loves. At first mine was nineteenth-century novels and role-playing from them, but in my senior year I discovered photography.
As a freshman, I paid a little extra and got a single dorm room. Photography became my obsession. By the end of the year I’d had to buy two 40-gig external drives for my Mac and was more likely to lurk around the campus than study. Oh I got by, and that was okay, but classes didn’t excite me.
By spring I noticed my loneliness. ‘Living in a single room means just that: single. Alone. Solo. Unencumbered, that’s who I am.’ It didn’t meant friendless, because the guys on the floor were friendly enough, and I had acquaintances from classes. But I was lonely.
Many of the guys on the floor had girlfriends. Girlfriends who slept over with them, or who hosted them in their rooms. Girlfriends whose laughter echoed in my mind and whose shrieks of pleasure I heard through the walls at night.
Getting laid became my second obsession.
By November of my sophomore year my luck hadn’t changed and I concluded that I had to make some sort of change. I decided to move off campus and get a roommate.
The number of on-line ads for apartment-sharing was overwhelming. I set my criteria to walking distance to the library, male heterosexual roommate, separate bedroom, safe neighborhood, and bearable rent. Even then, it was hard to get the list to a manageable size. Then I saw this ad:
Male roommate wanted. Available immediately. Separate bedroom. Share kitchen. Safe building. Walk to campus. No smoking. Nerds, geeks welcome. It sounded exactly like what I wanted.
‘Does Google personalize even classified ads?’ I wondered. I clicked the link, asking about the rent and saying I met all the criteria.
I was still poring over the other possibilities when the ding told me I had a response. “Hi Carl, sounds great! Let’s talk.”
It was easy to spot Pete when I arrived at the student union. As he had described himself, he was tall and wore a plaid shirt, We exchanged information on interests, high schools, families, and majors. The rent was more than the dorm but that was okay because the university was trying to get single rooms back so they could convert them to doubles. They were offering to pay the difference between the dorm rent and an off-campus apartment for the rest of the year to anyone who gave up a single.
The situation seemed perfect, just what I wanted.
“Can I see it?”
“Sure. Let’s go.”
Pete’s former roommate had left a bedframe, dresser, desk chair, and desk. I’d have to buy a mattress, box spring, and bedding, but that was it. The two bedrooms opened onto the living room and were separated by the kitchen and bathroom. It was perfect.
“Can I ask you something, Pete?”
“Sure. What is it?”
“How come you said ‘nerds and geeks welcome’ in the ad?”
“To be honest, it’s because I don’t want to have jocks and party animals around. I’m a neat person who likes his peace and quiet. I usually study in my room. Is that okay with you?”
“Oh sure. I work on my photos till all hours of the night, if that won’t bother you.”
“No problem. Is it a deal?”
We shook hands on it, and Pete broke out two cold Sprites from the refrigerator.
“Oh, I should have mentioned one thing.”
“I’ve got some girlfriends. Could you make yourself scarce when they’re here?”
“You mean leave? I —”
“No, not leave, just hang out your room. We won’t spend much time in the living room, if you get my drift.”
“Okay, I guess, yeah, that won’t be a problem, sure.”
“I appreciate that. I go out once or twice a week and on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes I won’t be home until morning.”
I moved in the next week. We got along great, dividing the refrigerator into sections, sharing gallon jugs of milk, even taking turns vacuuming the living room and cleaning the bathroom.
The parade of women was unending. At least once a week a new girl spent the night with him or he was at a girl’s place. Sunday afternoons he was gone from noon to past dinner time. While the bathroom and the kitchen were between our rooms, I still heard all sorts of noise from their lovemaking.
I was envious, intensely jealous. What did he have that I didn’t? One night, just before Christmas break, I brought it up.
“It’s nothing special, that’s for sure. I have to work at it. I’d like to talk about it, but right now I can’t say anything more. I will, sometime soon. I just can’t discuss it now. I’m sorry.”
I moped about his secret for a week, bahis siteleri even thinking of following him. But he was a good roommate and I didn’t want to ruin that.
When the Christmas cards addressed in female handwriting began arriving, I sunk deeper into my funk. The two little boxes wrapped in red paper with gold ribbon that I stumbled over outside the front door one morning, with the cards addressed “Peter” tucked under the bows, did nothing to improve my mood.
Exams took my mind off my social zeroness, and then there were the holidays with my family. Mom saying “I love you” and my sister kissing me under the mistletoe didn’t do it for me. I couldn’t wait to get back to school.
Classes resumed and Pete and I fell back into our pattern. One Wednesday evening in late January, while we were watching television, his cell rang.
“Great! I’m really glad to hear it. Thanks for calling.”
Pete flipped the phone shut.
“Man, today is your lucky day.”
“You found ‘For a good time call Suzie’ and a phone number on a men’s room wall, written in neat script, and decided she was my kind of girl?” My sarcasm wasn’t funny even to me. Pete ignored it.
“I belong to a club. It’s where I go on Sunday afternoons.”
“A club?” He’d never said anything about any clubs he belonged to.
“A social club. The membership is limited, so someone has to leave before anyone else can join. It would be perfect for you, but I had to wait for an opening. That’s what the phone call was about.”
“What kind of a club? You know I’m not a joiner.”
“Me neither. But it has some real benefits.”
“Like it’s how I meet girls.”
The thunderclap rattled my brain.
“Tell me about it.”
“Look, I’ve already said too much. If you can make it, I’ll take you to the next meeting, on Sunday.”
The “clubhouse” was a big Victorian a couple of blocks off campus. There were maybe eight guys hanging out in the large living room, talking to an equal number of women. A bigger group was in the dining room, not all of them guys, noisily watching the basketball game on a wide-screen. They all seemed pleased to see Pete and he introduced me.
Mrs. McGowen, the owner of the house, was also the president of the club. She looked to be in her mid-thirties. Pete introduced us and, after some polite chitchat, she had me follow her to the parlor. After closing the door, she sat primly on the loveseat and motioned me to an upholstered chair. After the usual questions about family, major, and hobbies, she got to the point.
“Do you like sex?”
“Uh, yeah,” I said. “Sure. I mean, who doesn’t?”
“Do you like sex with women?”
“Best kind,” I said, in a chipper voice.
“Gotten any lately?”
I could lie, I could evade, or I could tell the truth. The truth was simpler. “No. None. Never.”
“I appreciate your honesty. What’s your take on the women out there?” she said, waving in the direction of the front of the house.
“They seem fine, nice, normal, like anybody else,” I parried.
“Well, they’re not. They, and you, are what people call ‘nerds’ or ‘geeks.’ Male or female, our society today pushes the idea that everyone has to look like celebrities. ‘Normal’ people don’t look like them. ‘Normal’ people look like you, like the people you met out there, just regular people.”
This was a little abstract for me.
“So why are you interested in my sex life?”
“Because this is a place where the members go to get beyond the ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’ label and meet people like themselves. It is a club that encourages its members to have a healthy relationship with someone of the opposite sex.”
“This isn’t a whorehouse, is it?” I blurted.
She smiled wanely. “Not at all. The club is for people who want to mingle and have relationships with people like themselves. There is no requirement for monogamy and we don’t encourage long-term relationships.”
“Yes, that’s what membership in the club is about.”
“And now I’m a member?”
“Not yet. New people have to be approved, unanimously, by the entire membership. Pete’s told several of us that you would be great for the club, and I can see that he’s right. That’s why he brought you here today.”
I had lost the thread of the conversation after “approved, unanimously.” Never gonna happen. “I don’t know if —”
“You haven’t heard me, have you Carl? Approval by the beautiful people isn’t what the members care about. You’re probably sick and tired of hearing that the ‘real you’ is what’s attractive. So it’s going to take a girl, or a couple of girls, to convince you that you, just like you are, are attractive and desirable. That’s what the club is all about.”
“How does it work?”
“These Sunday parties are just simple get-togethers, snacks and cards, watch the game. You saw the big-screen in the dining room? We have lots of chairs and couches for members to sit and chat. Members keep in touch by coming to the party. Attending on Sunday means you’re interested canlı bahis in having one or two dates during the following week.”
One. Or two. Dates. During the week. Me?
“Each member has two markers. After the Sunday party the women place their markers on the days when they’d like to go out. The men put their markers on top of theirs to signal that they will ask them for a date. The man is responsible to call and arrange the date.
“Where you go or what you do is entirely up to the couple. But you have to go Dutch, because we don’t want any suggestion that you’re paying for something.”
It still didn’t seem like it was describing something I could have. Me. On a date. Dutch. With a girl.
“You’ve heard about the three-date rule?” I heard her say.
“Oh sure. First date kiss, second date fondle, third date . . . , uh, sex. Right?”
“Right. Only here we have a first-date rule.”
“Sex on the first date!?”
“Yes. That’s the club’s iron-clad rule. If that’s not okay with you, then we are not for you.”
“What if, you know, I don’t like her?”
“Then don’t put your token on hers. You have to circulate, get to know the members, so you can make an intelligent choice. And the other members will be doing the same.”
“What if she doesn’t like me? I mean, I’m not the most attractive guy around.”
“You’re not hearing me, Carl. This is a club. If you’re voted in, that decision has been made. It means they like you.
“When a woman puts her token on the board, she’s agreeing to go out with whoever puts his token on hers. Your responsibility is what a man’s always is, to treat her nice and satisfy her needs. Which is why you both joined the club.”
“Suppose I find someone I really like, and want to be exclusive with?”
“In that case, you and she must drop out of the club. That’s the main reason we have vacancies. And you should know that you cannot re-join the club.”
She paused, pulled her legs up under her, and continued.
“The club operates for the benefit of its members. You must agree to date only members, never anyone else. This rule is partly to give everyone a chance for dates and partly because of STDs. You are required to take and pass an STD test for admission and take a new one every six months after that. If you fail the test, you cannot continue as a member.
“We also have a ‘no condoms’ rule.”
“It means that the use of condoms is forbidden. The women are all on the pill.”
I must have looked confused.
“Carl, I realize this is a lot to digest at one time. You should think about this, sleep on it.” She rose and went over to her desk, picked up a business card, and handed it to me. “Here’s the address of the clinic that will do the test. The next party after the test will be your interview. I can’t guarantee anything, but my experience is that new guys are always welcome, especially by the women.”
The party was pretty much as Mrs. McGowen had described it. Pete took me around and introduced me to the over thirty-five members who were there. A mixed group was watching basketball on the wide-screen. The others were hanging out in the living room and a clump of the women was off to one side, loudly playing cards. I was framing the scene in my mind when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the women gesturing toward me to the others in her group. She was checking me out. For sex.
Pete slapped his cell shut.
“You’re in! I knew it would happen. C’mon, let’s go back to the house and see who’s on the board.”
I recognized a couple of names, one of whom I’d had a conversation with, about Margaret Bourke-White.
“How do I choose? I don’t want to be embarrassed. I’ve never, you know, eh —”
I blushed red as a fire engine. “Yes.”
“I lost my virginity in the club, last spring. The members who’ve been here for a while know how to treat a new guy.”
“Do I have to tell them? Can’t I just, you know, fake it?”
“You could, but what’s the fun of that? When a girl knows that she has a virgin, she makes a special effort. Trust me, I had the time of my life.”
We looked over the board. There were twenty-seven tokens, four of which had been covered.
“What nights do you want to go out this week?”
“I don’t know. I guess sooner rather than later. I’m nervous.” I sucked air. “Tuesday. I’ll do it on Tuesday.”
“Here, try this one,” Pete said, pointing to one of the tokens on Tuesday. “Now, what other day would you like to have a date?”
“Uh, Friday, I guess.”
“Okay. Recognize any of the names there?”
I did. In fact, she was in the living room right now.
“Do you like her?”
“Yeah, we’re in the same English Lit class.”
“Well, make your choice.”
I laid my token on hers. I wrote down both names and their phone numbers and walked back to the apartment in a daze.
“Look, I remember how I felt on my first date. I’d never gotten to second base with a girl. I was terrified güvenilir bahis of behaving like a dork, not knowing what to do. I was scared that she’d laugh at me and tell everyone how I’d made a fool of myself.
“Didn’t happen. She was wonderful. Just remember: insert tab A into slot B, then wiggle.”
I called Margery and we agreed that our Tuesday date would be a movie at the multiplex and then dinner. My Friday date was Karen, for dinner in the student union.
As I waited for Tuesday, I couldn’t believe how calm I was. Talking with Pete had helped a lot, because I was afraid of the same things he had been afraid of. I resolved to stop masturbating after Sunday night, to store up energy for what was going to happen. Since I didn’t remember meeting Margery, so I checked her Facebook page but there was no photo. I settled on a made-up girl with medium tits, brown hair, a short nose, clear complexion, and a loose blouse. I broke my resolution in the shower on Monday morning but held out afterwards.
We did scissors-paper-stone to select the movie and came up with a chick flick. In the darkness she put her hand on my thigh. She leaned into me and slapped my arm when some of the more wacky scenes came on.
Dinner at the Olive Garden brought out that she was part Italian, on her mother’s side, and that she liked old movies, particularly Blazing Saddles. I got her to use my pocket camera to snap away at everybody in the restaurant — waiters, other diners, and me. After we paid the bill, I took her into the kitchen because I wanted to photograph the cooks. She mugged with the chefs and laughed when she looked into the back of the camera and saw herself.
Pete had volunteered to vacate the apartment, so that it wouldn’t be awkward to bring Margery there. I got us Sprites and we cropped and printed the best of the photos, which included two she took. We spread them between us on the couch.
“These are great! You’re really good,” I said, and meant it. She smiled, then kissed me.
I was kissed. For the first time. By a girl. Who wasn’t my sister. Who very likely was going to have sex with me.
“So are you,” she said.
“That was very nice.”
“Want to do some more?”
She gathered up the photos and placed them on the floor next to the couch. Then she leaned into me and reached behind my head, drawing me closer and pushing her breasts into my chest. She opened her lips and used her tongue to pry open mine. When her tongue entered my mouth, I pushed back defensively and she just pushed harder. I pushed harder still and moved my hands to her waist. After a couple of minutes she gently pushed me back onto the couch and lay beside me, on the outside.
“That was so nice. I’m glad you like to kiss.”
“I’ve never — “
“Shhh,” she said, putting her finger to my lips. As I stopped talking, she slowly wiggled that finger between my lips and ran it along my teeth.
It was soft, with a sweetness I will never be able to describe. I licked it, at first tentatively and then, when she didn’t pull away, more assertively. I wrapped my lips around it and sucked it into my mouth. She wiggled it back and forth and I ran my tongue all along it.
In my excitement, I shifted my hips and knocked her off the couch. She landed with a thud on the floor.
“Oh no! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to — “
Instead of being mad, she came up grinning. “It’s fine, this is fun. C’mon, can we go somewhere wider?”
My bed was a double. Was she already —?
“In here,” I gestured at my bedroom door.
I extended my hand and she swung to her feet in one motion, standing tight against me. I walked to the door, opened it, flipped on the light, and stepped aside to let her enter. I followed, closing the door behind me.
“You ought to lock it, don’t you think?”
“Oh, yeah, right,” and I flipped the latch.
As I turned around she was smiling. “You keep a neat room. Can we sit?” She sat on my bed and I moved to the desk chair.
“Please, sit with me, here,” and she patted the bed.
“Oh, yeah, right,” and I moved to sit beside her.
We kissed, and again she gently pushed me back. We fit easily, with no chance of falling off. With her breasts again tight against my chest, her bottom hand drew my head toward her while the top one reached for my shirt buttons, opening them while she distracted me with her tongue.
I wasn’t catatonic, but I wasn’t participating much either. Her warmth and persistence gave me confidence to stroke her hair and shoulder and then reach for her hips to pull her closer. She snuggled against my erection.
When we broke, breathing heavily, she set up on her elbow, smiling. Kindly, I thought.
“I love this, and I want it to be just right. Will you let me do things and show you how you can do them too?”
“Will you? That would be great!” I was so relieved
“Unbutton my blouse, then unhook my bra,” she said, moving closer to me. I was tentative but she stayed steady. She had me pull her blouse out of her pants, then turned away so I could see her back and the clasp of her bra. As its tension released, I caught a glimpse of a breast springing free. When she turned to face me, she shrugged, and there they were.