He decided to simply approach every woman he found attractive. Probability, he figured, would be on his side.

October 13th, 2013, 12pm

It was 16.1°C. The breeze was light.

He had always heard that males hit their sexual peak around 18. He wasn’t sure what this meant, not really, not when he thought about it. Did it mean that his 18 year old self was better in bed than his 34 year old self? Or that his interest in sex was never higher than when he was a senior in high school? Or that the culture would forever and always consider his 18 year old self the most desirable version of whatever he was?

Regardless: he didn’t find any of it true in his case, especially his sexual appetite, which appetite was most definitely at a zenith and quite possibly still climbing. And he sincerely hoped no one would choose the 18 year old version of him over the one now walking back from the Bart toward his apartment.

In just the span of his commute—so far 30 minutes—he had surreptitiously (but quite seriously) ogled and vaguely imagined sex with four women. Five if you count the woman who’s legs had caught his attention from behind, but who,when she turned his way, turned out to be at least 20 years his senior and simply hadn’t done it for him regardless.

And now his fifth (or sixth). She waited for a bus in Oakland, legs crossed, head turned up the street, scanning the traffic. She wore knee high boots and a skirt patterned after a jungle cat. She had great hair. The knee high boots initially caught his attention, as he assumed it did for most men. Knee high boots, cleavage, heels, black nail polish, (certain) short skirts, red lips, these were the symbols for which he unwittingly scanned when in public. He didn’t choose these symbols. They were simply the ones that spoke to him: that person is attractive; you should notice that person; you should imagine being with them.

The woman waiting for the bus had very, very red lips.

He noticed all of it; he imagined her naked; he imagined a life with her; he thought about all of the various causes and effects that landed them both at this bus stop at this moment; he thought about all the other women—not just the previous four (five) from the last 30 minutes—but all of them who he had noticed and imagined naked and had been brought into his life for even just a moment; he resigned himself to walking past yet again, to noticing and ignoring and heading home to her, the woman he shared his apartment with, the woman he had seen naked a thousand times, the one who was an actual effect from an actual cause; and then he sat down on the bench next to the woman with the knee high boots and the great hair.

“I am now the guy who maybe doesn’t walk past,” he thought to himself, but wasn’t sure what came next. The woman was now checking her phone. He opened his bag and pretended to rummage through it.

He had two choices—say something or not—just as he had had two choices a moment ago: walk by or don’t walk by. With issues of morality, he thought, issues of desire and pleasure, there are only ever two choices. You go ahead with something or you do not. You kept going or you didn’t. You crossed a line or you backed away. More and more, he allowed momentum to carry him across whatever line lay before him. Was it bravery? Depravity?

It didn’t take willpower, that’s for sure. Crossing lines for drugs and sex took no discipline at all.

And so goes momentum.

“Hey,” he said, following the trail that had led him here, “I saw you on this bench and couldn’t walk by without introducing myself and letting you know that I find you attractive and basically, I am hoping you think I am attractive too, attractive enough that this doesn’t creep you out and you’ll skip whatever bus you are waiting for and come with me for a drink.” All in one breath, no stopping, momentum.

“Boyfriend,” she said, with a casual finality that made him realize he was not the first to approach her cold like that.

“Yeah, I got a girlfriend myself,” he replied.

“What are you doing approaching me?” she said, now more interested it seemed.

He didn’t say at first because he didn’t know what to say. He looked up the street and saw the bus approaching.

“I don’t know,” he said, but that wasn’t true. He knew, just as he knew he would try this again and again until it worked.

“All right.” She stood. The bus pulled up and exhaled. The doors opened as if someone had snuck up on them.

“Good luck,” she said and mounted the stairs.


He smiled as he walked home.

Cassie, Jordan and Samuel said thanks.

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Matthew Latkiewicz

A jack of some trades: youwillnotbelieve.us

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