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Look Who's Talking Now

by Lauren Singer


Ryan, who is 7 months and 24 days my senior,
says if I want to be extra in-the-know about how to be sexy,
I have to get my facts straight and stop asking adults these questions.
“Don’t you get it?” he tries to warn me. “They know nothing.”
If you really want to be sexy, you have to touch butts, he explains.
It’s called foreplay. I spend the next too-long chapter of my life assuming
that full on intercourse is called fiveplay and when trying to use this in context am reminded
that my mastery of sex is just a collection of things I misconstrued and isn’t that just
adolescence defined?
But this summer, I am hungry for education, ten and a half, and ready to learn.
When pairing my immense desire to be a sex guru before I turn 11
with the trust I have in Ryan’s elder wisdom, I throw caution to the wind and embrace the forbidden.
We have done the research. Upon much reflecting, we, in unison, decide
that “Look Who’s Talking” is the sexiest movie that either of us have ever seen and
after rewinding, pausing, and rewinding again all vital amorous moments of
this pornographic swoon-fest, we are ready to re-enact the butt-rubbing that will
transform us from innocent neighbor kids to highly in-the-know sexual gods.
In Look Who’s Talking, Kirstie Alley, in all her buxom glory, dons a purple halter-style bra,
all spilling out and fleshified, with seductive know-how she lures John Travolta
to his knees with this sashaying hip-swivel, leads him into worship, and then devours his face with her
breasts. Unable to resist her, he heaves himself against her, in blind turns and ritual spins they
land on her mattress, all breath and sweat, to commence with the meeting of the butts, and
from there, who knows? The scene cuts. My desirous ache to
know just what it means to reach pure ecstasy is ever-interrupted
by Bruce Willis playing a creepy talking baby, which will invade my erotic template for years to come,
but one can only imagine.
I, myself, do not have a purple halter bra, but I do have a Little Mermaid nightgown,
and I reason that, when tied in a knot at the waist,
this fits the bill, as Ariel’s sea shells are as good as I’ll get and
besides, as Ryan dutifully points out, what I have are mere
mosquito bites in contrast to Kirstie’s swollen globes.
He, donning a Ninja Turtles t-shirt, is my mushroom-cut pre-pubescent fantasy, we’ve wrestled
in mud and played chicken in the pool but never have we gone down such romantic roads before.
The first time you touch butts should be special, and thank God, I’ve been saving myself for Ryan.

It’s the 90s. We aren’t allowed in each other’s bedrooms with the doors closed
but it’s totally fine to spend entire summer evenings perusing the
cemetery behind the Protestant church,
so who needs locked doors when the only risk of being barged in on is by
Hamil John Frank, died 1846, which is honestly half the fun. What’s better than a summer ghost
but a summer ghost who after having witnessed your first budding attempts at second base
will surely rile all the spirits in suburban bacchanalia, go forth from your graves repressed
corpses, be free and touch butts with us!
There is a clearing behind the graveyard where we are told by local teenagers
that Satanists sacrifice house cats and stab each other there for fun. We have to be quick,
lest we be taken up by their enchanted spells, they’ll carve us alive and draw
pentagrams with our blood if they catch us here upon sun down, and besides,
it’s Kraft macaroni night and Are You Afraid of the Dark comes on at eight.
Dawdling is not an option.
All we know of our bodies thus far is the shame we have been taught by our parents,
are lead to believe that our worldly questioning is a thing of disgust and that
the curiosity that has led me to ride the arm of the sofa bed or causes Ryan to
keep throwing away his sheets means that the tingly sensations are somehow
not the normal stirrings of our inquisitive designs. No one is around to tell me I am not a
freak show, and so we find ourselves re-enacting decidedly unsexy sex scenes
in abandoned churchyards because no one could just tell us it was fucking okay
to ask questions.
So here we are, creeped out but in a good way, the John Travolta
to my Kirstie leaning in with an open palm, ringlets of overgrown grass
enclosing my ankles as I balance between gravestones and wait for the
impassioned fondle that will define my carnal musings and with one fell swoop
he grazes my shank with impressive gusto, bends at the waist for his
reciprocal squeeze and upon getting a handful of his meaty rump,
he farts so loud and indelicately that I am startled out of my libidinous reverie
and fall, all forward motion and heart-racing, into Hamil John Frank’s ancient tombstone,
crack my lip against the rock, and scream into the night, is it pleasure? Is it pain?
Who can tell anymore, it’s all blood and butterflies, I’m a changed woman,
my virgin butt has been groped by the gassy spectacle of all my grade school daydreams.
Ryan, don’t you know I always cheat in Mash so we end up together?
Ryan, your unwashed fork from my bowling alley birthday party is in a ziplock bag in my bedside table,
when I put my tongue against the tongs, we might as well be frenching!
Ryan, one day you will break my heart, but tonight you solidify your place in two years
worth of journal-fodder, Dear Diary, Ryan is such a hunk. Ryan is a dream on Air Jordans,
did you know he’s growing leg hair?
He rides his bike without a helmet and I live to be a vessel of his love!
But it’s not because he farted in my hand.
It’s because he jumps to my rescue, puts me on the handlebars of his Huffy,
rides me to the nearest road-side and stops up my wound with his favorite shirt
so the Satanists won’t smell my blood. Asks “are you okay?” in the way only
a ten year old in love can mean so earnestly, kisses the side of my lip all
covered in gore out of instinct and honesty, and it’s the closest thing to safety
I’ve ever felt.
Eventually I stop bleeding all over the sidewalk and he walks me back
to my bike, we ride home slowly not sure if we are allowed to talk about
the tension that just broke between us, so we laugh about the fart and
make it home in time for SNICK. We don’t know how to sit on the couch
together anymore and we become a collection of fidgeting limbs
all aware of space and distance. It’s painful and delicious.
My bloody lip becomes a secret between us, we come to learn that
butt-touching when paired only with more butt-touching is not the
frenzied fancy we chalked it up to be and only weeks later we are joking
about what dumb kids we used to be. In all our efforts to accelerate maturity
we didn’t realize this would be the last innocent summer.
We grow apart, of course, and aside from
getting thrown into a closet by our friends during a drunken
7 Minutes in Heaven five years later, we don’t find cause to explore
what might have been between us. But I do find too many opportunities to watch
Look Who’s Talking and smile to myself. The first piece of lingerie I buy intentionally
is unmistakably an homage to Kirstie.

And sometimes, in the quiet solitude of all the lives I could have lived
I think about Ryan, who just celebrated his second Father’s Day and
married that nice girl from high school who tries to sell me organic cosmetics.
Sure, he gives you goo goo eyes now, Alison, and I’m not saying ya’ll aren’t cute and everything,
but before he was yours, he once farted on my hand in a graveyard and
I’m not trying to minimize your love or anything,
but you just can’t recreate that sort of intimacy.

06/24/2019

Posted on 06/24/2019
Copyright © 2020 Lauren Singer

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