The old cliché warns against judging a book by its cover, and this is especially true when sizing up a lover. You just can’t tell how sexually adventurous a person is by looking at them. Appearances don’t always deceive; sometimes they just obscure the truth. And I’ve learned over the years that just because she looks Amish, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a vibrator the size of a jackhammer under her bed.
This fact of romance became apparent to me over the span of six months many years ago. I dated two women, and both surprised me. Take the punk rock performance artist. She had so many piercings you could hear her walk down a hall, jangling like a bouquet of keys slapping against an apartment building super’s hip. She loved GG Allin, body modification magazines, and smoking hash. And when we finally slept together, with The Misfits blaring, I discovered she liked it Betty Crocker-style.
I’m not even sure any fluids were really exchanged. At any given moment, it would not have surprised me if she had produced a full-body dental dam with a hole in it. This is not to say she didn’t like sex — she did. But she had a very specific, certain way of getting the job done, and it was not what I was expecting. I’m not criticizing her; for most people, their sexual palette is a grand buffet full of all-you-can-eat surprises. She liked mashed potatoes, and her sexual smorgasbord consisted mainly of mashed potatoes, and I don’t think gravy was even an option. I was able, however, to convince her to leave her comfort zone and am proud to say I introduced her to the following kinks: sex on the couch, with the lights on, and on Tuesday.
Eventually we broke up, and I think it had something to do with the fact that I don’t know how to play the guitar. The next woman I started seeing, however, was the exact opposite. She had almond eyes, a teardrop-shaped face, and was so very heartbreakingly shy and compassionate. She worked with animals and possessed a serene, beatific aura. If you cut your finger in her presence, it would suddenly zip itself up and heal. She did not strike me as someone who was sexually experienced, and I decided I would educate her in the ways of the flesh. Why? Because I’m John DeVore: The Digital Dionysus, The Ayatollah of Heartandsoula, The Clitoris Whisperer. It was I who had taught two (TWO!) women the “reverse cowgirl” position (which, in retrospect, I admit is just doggy-style for lazy men).
The first time we banged, it was very vulnerable afterwards. The sex had been very basic, very 101, but we had a connection. As we snuggled, sweaty and giggling, she gently whispered, “Do you think that we could go to a sex toy store together?” Clearly, already, I was having a positive effect on this woman, I thought. And even though I had never been to a sex toy store in my entire life, I told her we would go together as soon as we were ready. No need to rush the blossoming of a woman who was obviously thankful that she was in bed with one John DeVore. She smiled, and before she zonked out, told me that going to a shop on New York’s Lower East Side was a perfect way to spend a Saturday, which happened to be the very next day.
We walked into the sex store, and I tried my best not to act like a stranger in a strange land. Granted, the shop itself wasn’t the temple of sleaze I had expected. It felt sort of like a Starbucks: soft jazz played; the employees were all young and hip; the décor was very clean and minimalist. And, of course, there were all the toys, oils, and fetish accoutrements. Like most guys in uncomfortable social situations, I turned the swagger on. I strolled over with her to a basket and picked up a small, circular leather thing.
“Heh, heh. Wonder what THIS is, huh?” I smirked.
“It’s a cock ring.” She replied without missing a beat.
“Oh, sure. I knew that. Wonder what it’s for, huh? Let’s ask …”
She cut me off, “It will make you harder, longer.” Then this quiet, shy little woman made a beeline for a wall of dildos. She lingered on one that looked like it should be dangling from underneath a horse. Then she proceeded to browse through the store with an authority that took me aback. She steered around the place the way I imagine a blind person navigates their house, with a familiarity independent of sight. Eventually, I went outside for a smoke, and waited for her to come out. I helped carry one of two bags. Her smile said it all: “This is going to be fun.” My slack face countered: “What the hell is going on?”
That night, I prepared our lair. I wore my best silk boxers, flossed, and applied my sexiest deodorant. Immediately, Portishead went on the iPod. Because that is the music of sex. And when she came out of the bathroom, I lie to you not, she was wearing a corset. I had been with women who’d worn fancy lingerie, but a corset? She had a tube of hump spackle in one hand, and a string of anal beads in the other. And then what hit me was a tsunami of raw sexual id.
Afterwards, panting, I tried to save some face. Play it cool. Ignore the fact that I had just been wrung like a ShamWow. I rolled over to her and said, “I had no idea you were so freaky!” She rolled over to me, with her almond eyes, teardrop-shaped face, and sighed. She was disappointed.
“Yeah … I thought you’d be freakier.”