Sex & Suburban Lunacy

by Helen Argiro

  • Literary (Genre) Satire
  • Literary (Length) Short (under 1000 words)

A short story from the book... TALES OF SEX & SUBURBAN LUNACY


“These men are all freaks,” Madeline says when she calls me at work to tell me she’s fed up. “Where the hell are we supposed to go to meet a normal, decent man?”

“No idea,” I say, because it’s the truth.

“You know the guy I was telling you about who I met on Plenty of Fish?”

“The British guy you\'ve been dating?”

“Not anymore,” she says.

“Okay, what happened?”

“Everything was going fine. We’d gone out the last three Saturdays in a row. He was charming and polite, and he’s fit and dresses nice, which, as basic as it sounds, is not easy to come by in the average fifty-plus male category.”

Madeline proceeds to tell me that after they saw a movie last night, they stopped into the Rose & Crown for a bite to eat. He ordered fish and chips, and a diet coke. She ordered a cheeseburger and a Carlsberg Light, and he got all huffy with her.

“So, he says to me, ‘I really don’t approve of alcohol during the week. Weekends are fine, but not during the week,’ this is what he says,” Madeline tells me. “And keep in mind, I\'ve been out with him three times already and all three times he’s had his fair share of wine, scotch or whatever. But now it’s Wednesday, so suddenly it’s taboo to have a beer with dinner.”

“So, what did you say?”

“I said, ‘Fine, then, don’t drink.’ Then he goes on to give me this long lecture about how he can go weeks without having even one drink and that I shouldn\'t drink during the week, either. According to him, alcohol of any sort is only acceptable if consumed on a Friday or Saturday and he ends off his speech to me by saying, ‘… there is nothing more unattractive, my dear, than a lush.’”


“I know. So, I told him that washing down my burger with a half pint of light beer does not make me a lush and I don’t appreciate him suggesting that it does.”

“So, did you leave him there?”

“No, because this all took place before our food arrived and by then I was starving, so I just thought, okay, I said my piece and that’s it, next topic. And that’s when things started to get weird.”

“What do you mean?”

“Out of the blue, he asks me if I have any fetishes.”

“Oh, no,” I say, because in my experience any time a man asks a woman that question, it’s because he has them and he wants the woman he is with to become an active participant in sharing his.

“So, I say no, because I don’t. And I try to change the subject, because, really, I don’t want to be asked if he can suck my toes or try on my underwear. But, of course, he starts asking me if I have any leather outfits and how he’d like to see me in a pair of tight leather pants, so he can smear mink oil all over them with his bare hands, yada, yada and, honestly, it just got worse from there.”

“What does he think this is, 1985? The only people wearing leather pants today are hookers or the occasional gay man with bad taste.”
“I don’t know what it is with these men,” Madeline says. “When did they all become sexual deviants? Where are the normal men who just want to have good, old-fashioned sex and not have it all mixed up with a bunch of creepy stuff.”

“Like I\'ve said before, the normal guys are the ones who got married in their late twenties or early thirties and stayed married. I see these guys all the time. My cousin is one, my brother is another. Dave next door; they’re just regular guys,” I tell Madeline. “And it appears that what we’re left with now are the outcasts and rejects. If it’s like what you\'ve said, and the majority of over forty men online dating are divorced, it’s probably for a good reason. Some woman probably got sick of their bullshit and threw them out.”

“I’m also starting to think that these dating sites make it far too easy for men to just casually discuss this sort of thing and whatever other weird shit they\'ve been up to,” Madeline says.

“Sure. Think about it, if Mr. Plenty-of-Fish-and-Chips approaches enough women with his fucked up desires, he’s bound to find one who’s going to eventually agree to participate,” I say. “It’s a numbers game. There are millions of people on these dating websites. If you don’t get what you want from one person, you just move onto the next and the next and the next, until you hit pay dirt. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.”

“You know, I think you’re right,” Madeline says. “Up until yesterday he seemed like the perfect gentleman. I liked being with him and thought he actually had some potential. Then he starts talking about leather pants and mink oil and having his bottom spanked with his mother’s old riding crop; it was all just so unappealing.”

“So, what happened?”

“Well, I guess when he saw that I was unreceptive he decided to take a different approach. So, last week we had made plans to go to Harbourfront for the jazz festival this Saturday night. So, he says to me, and this is a direct quote: ‘Instead of going to Harbourfront, why don’t we dress up like homeless people and spend the night under a bridge.’”

“You’re making this up,” I say.

“I swear, I’m not. And he wasn\'t joking, either. He had this whole elaborate thing choreographed. He said he’d already picked out clothes for us from Goodwill, and we could steal a shopping cart from the Walmart lot down on Cherry Street and wouldn\'t it be romantic to sleep in a cardboard box together under the stars in tent city with all the other homeless people. Can you imagine?” Madeline says. “I was both stunned and appalled. This guy’s idea of romance is sleeping on dirty asphalt and contracting a bad case of head lice.”

“So, how did it end?”

“I said, ‘Thanks for the movie and the cheeseburger. It was nice getting to know you; please don’t ever call me again.’ And then I left. I went straight home and deleted my online profile, took two Tylenol and went to bed.”

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