Josh and I were together for a year and a half. We had a relationship built upon the stuff the Under Twos so often are: You both like the same book, you both like Christopher Guest, you do the horizontal mambo and it’s not, like, awful, and the next thing you know you’ve met a family and celebrated an anniversary.
You know, of course, that at some point you’ve got to listen to the voice inside your head that runs her mouth about “long-term compatibility.” It’s just that, right now, in this moment, you’re having an awful lot of fun eating pizza in bed with someone else beside you. And, you know, compared to your friend Vicki’s boyfriend, Josh is an absolute GEM.
Vicki, a good friend since college, was four months into a relationship with this new guy. Don was 23 years Vicki’s senior. Vicki and Don were throwing a Halloween party to which Josh and I had been graciously invited, and decided to attend because, well, we lacked another invitation. Also, Vicki’s a decent cook so I knew the party would have decent finger food: A prosciutto-wrapped date, perhaps. A higher-end cheese.
In the months that Vicki and Don had been together, I’d decided I disliked him. Not “hate.” Just an active, decisive “non-like.” This was based on the facts that, generally speaking, I’m none too amenable to May/December romances, and Don seemed, in a phrase, creepy as shit. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. He just … was.
As the months rolled on and the relationship gained momentum, I thought, C’mon now, you: Vicki’s your friend. You owe her just a little bit of open-mindedness.
I gave her just exactly that, suggesting a coffee date with the happy, new couple. My mission? To get to know Don a little better, a mission successfully accomplished when he performed a vaginal massage upon Vicki. He did this in a coffee shop. In front of me.
“HOLD. THE. PHONE,” you’re saying, “There’s no way this guy massaged your friend’s vagina in a coffee shop in front of you. Surely you exaggerate.”
To which I reply, “Fine. But only slightly.”
What Don did do, was shove his hand between Vicki’s upper thighs and start aggressively, like, kneading. Vicki, for her part, had been wearing a miniskirt so as to provide Don with direct hand-on-crotch contact.
Suffice it to say that between the age gap and the vag massage and Don’s tendency to focus any and all small talk on the topic of how very hard he works, I found myself rather un-charmed.
And so in the weeks prior to Vicki and Don’s Halloween party, Josh, fairly, had been, like, “Can we please not go? You said he’s self-obsessed and … wait: Didn’t he, like, put his hand on her crotch? In which case: Why would we subject ourselves?”
In retrospect, of course, I’m well aware Josh was right. But at the time I was stewing over — pick your poison, won’t you please? — 1) Josh’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend, 2) his tendency to overspend, and 3) his BFF who’d shown up to a dinner party we’d co-hosted without bringing so much as a six-pack.
Nevertheless, I counter-productively dragged him along in retribution for all of the above. And, like I said, for the cheese.
Josh and I arrived to the party to find Vicki in sunglasses, white beret, and leather mini-skirt, and Don in a three-piece suit and what looked to be a motorcycle helmet he’d shellacked with whole walnuts. Glued to this walnut-covered helmet were various small horns, the kind you blow on New Year’s Eve. They were purple, these horns, and to the base of them Don had glued a dozen or so imitation, plastic diamonds.
“Whatever that is,” Josh whispered, “looks insane.”
“Indeed it does,” I said. “But let me remind me: Your friend showed up to our dinner party empty handed.”
At that point, we set aside our lovers’ spat so as to perform a civil exchanging of hellos.
“And what are you dressed as?” I asked Vicki.
“Debbie Harry,” said Vicki.
“And you, sir?” I asked Don.
“A busted nut,” said Don.
“How lovely,” I answered.
I wasn’t sure what a busted nut was, exactly. The problem was, I knew asking after any follow up details would gift unto Don a chance to talk about himself, and I frankly wasn’t in the mood to listen.
Vicki excused herself to refill an hors d’oeuvre platter. Josh scuttled off to pour himself a coffee cup full of top-shelf gin. I was about to head along with him, when Don placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Wait,” he said. “Don’t go. I want to tell you more about my mask. It’s a tribute to Vicki’s vagina.”
Josh had already escaped to an adjacent room. And – weirdly – here’s a thing I now can say: If ever a 55-year-old you’ve just recently met and distinctly disliked tells you he’s made a mask in tribute to your friend’s (his girlfriend’s) vagina, you won’t actually want to run away. You’ll actually want him to go on. You’ll actually want to hear his explanation.
“A tribute to Vicki’s vagina? Please,” I said. “Go on.”
“The walnuts are meant to be a busted nut,” said Don, “My busted nut. Because our sex life’s so amazing.”
“That’s … wonderful,” I said.
“Do you know about Vicki’s vagina?” he asked. “About its color?”
“I don’t,” I said.
“Do you know more generally about the varying vaginal colors?” he asked.
“I don’t,” I said. “Please tell me about the … ‘varying vaginal colors’.”
“Vaginas vary in color,” he explained. “Most are pink, some are blue. But the really special ones are violet.”
“And Vicki’s?” I asked.
Don closed his eyes. He inhaled as though working actively to calm himself.
“Violet,” he said. “Your friend – my girlfriend – has a perfect, violet vagina. It’s very rare. That’s why I attached the purple horns. In tribute to the color.”
“How … romantic,” I said.
“It is,” he said. “I mean, she’s really blossomed. Her vagina, that is. I’ve taught her to ejaculate, and when she does, it’s like a waterfall of diamonds.”
Don pointed to the various plastic, diamond-shaped things glued to the rims of the horns.
“Which is why I have the diamonds.”
“I see,” I said.
“I just thought you should know,” he said.
And, with that, he walked away.
In the seconds and minutes that followed, I charged toward Josh to breathlessly stage-whisper the highlights – “VARYING VAGINAL COLORS!” “EJACULATING DIAMONDS … LIKE A WATERFALL!!!” My reaction to Don’s revelation was to cuddle up against my boyfriend Josh, to gaze into his eyes with a renewed sense of appreciation and think, So WHAT if you don’t laugh when I burp, your music taste is pretentious, your glass is unceasingly, eye-rollingly half-full? So what about any of it? Because you know what? You know what you would never do? You’d never build a tribute mask to my vagina, and for that, my darling, I am truly, truly grateful. For that, I feel like we ought to stay together.
This, of course, occurred in late-October. Josh and I didn’t get around to breaking up until mid-March.