8:30 am. She’s driving to work. "Honey, you forgot to leave money on the table last night."
"Hey," he says, "women should pay me for ***."
"Though that’s probably the most degrading thing for a woman," she says, "I would wholeheartedly endorse that."
"So the back of your knees are your weak point," he says.
"Oh God," she says, "I could feel them right now when you said that. Baby, all of me is my weak point. You are my weak point. I say, I don’t feel sexy. It’s not going to work. You just managed to get me in the mood.
"I just floated out on a cloud. My whole body, my mind, yeah. You were the antidote. I need to bottle some of your ***** for when I need to feel happy. It’s better than Lexapro."
"I think a three-pronged attack is best," he says. "…followed by whole body massage followed by a vigorous tongue lashing."
"Within an inch of my life," she says. "It’s ridiculous. All my defenses. All my worries. All my depression. I just have to give in. I can’t fight. I have to totally surrender. Then, when you **** me, that totally makes me surrender."
"It’s like drilling for oil," he says, "and I felt the oil welling up around my ****."
"Oh God," she says.
"You’re not used to my blunt language," he says.
"Yeah," she says. "It scares me. Your masculine energy is scary.
"It was funny," he says, "when he ***** my *** when I was ******* you. It helped me keep my ******. Maybe this is the ********* you’ve always wanted."
"I was looking at this article I published," she says, "and I can’t look at it. You are so lucky that you don’t have shame about what you write."
"I remember a teacher in high school," he says, "who said, ‘You wouldn’t care if you had a big fat pimple on the end of his nose. You don’t care how you look.’"
"I have deep shame," she says. "It’s one of the hardest things about my relationship with writing. Any writing. I want to die. I hate myself and I hate it. I want to throw up.
"I asked you about your writing once and it never occurred to you to feel shame about it."
"My writing is mainly blogging which is not writing," he says. "I feel shame in certain contexts when I run into people who are appalled or hurt by what I’ve written."
She laughs. "Otherwise you can put it out of your head.
"If you knew you were truly unattractive, you would try to do something about how you look. But at the end of the day, you know you’re attractive, so you don’t really care. It’s fine. It is a way of hiding."
"What are you wearing today?" he asks.
"Oh, you don’t want to know. It’s so inappropriately casual. Everyone’s in little suits and kitten heels."
"You’re dyking out," he says.
"I am," she says. "I so look like a lesbian today. But I’ve got that group."
"That’s right," he says. "You’ve got an image to uphold. Don’t let them know that a man was ******** you last night."
"I hope it doesn’t show, babe," she says. "I hope the ***** doesn’t start ******** out."
He says: "The rabbi is going to take one look at you and say, ‘You’ve been plucked’."
"Baby," she says, "don’t watch the movie (Return to Lonesome Dove) without me."
"OK, baby," he says.
"On my way back driving," she says, "I felt my neck tightening. I just shook it out for a minute. I’m becoming much more aware. Thank you for the most amazing night.
"I have this CD with writing assignments with instructors I studied with for years. There’s also a guided meditation. That would be super fun."
"You should bring it over on Sunday," he says.
She bursts out laughing. "Oh baby."
"He thinks I should go back to therapy," he says.
"Oh baby," she laughs.
"I’m going to get his email address," he says, "and just cut and paste that email I sent you."
"Maybe he’ll take it as well as Holly did," she says.
"Baby, promise me that no matter how sick you are and how tired you are and how you can’t leave your apartment, don’t watch that movie without me. Did you watch it?"
"I watched it. It wasn’t very good. I didn’t want you to suffer through a bad movie."
"I’m going to masturbate ten times a day," she says. "I’m going to have no sexual desire at all. You promised. You’re lucky you’re a sick man or I’d kick your ass.
"I have to know that I can’t trust you in this way. You’re not reliable with your movie promises. Oh well.
"Have you been following the debate about wearing crocs on Yom Kippur? It pushes my buttons too much, even when discussing it with Conservative and Reform Jews. I just get so riled up. I’m such a bitch."
"Do you talk out?" he asks.
"Oh God, completely," she says.
"Would you be OK with me coming?"
"You’re not coming," she says.
He thinks: "I wonder if I held your head up you’d need to talk out so much in these meetings… I should be there with you…but in a gay way."
"My dog loves to lick me," she says. "When I’m taking a bath, he licks my ankles. When I get back from a hike, he licks my arm pits. He doesn’t care about how I smell. Whereas for you, I try to be somewhat hygienic and attractive.
"My friend asked me if you shower. I said totally."
He says: "She thinks I’m a dirty Jew."
"I told her about your hovel and your clothing," she says. "Your beard. But I told her you are definitely hygienic. She thinks Jews are pretty disgusting."
"She hates Orthodox Jews?" he asks.
"Yeah," she says. "Contempt beyond contempt."
"That’s good," he says. "You guys can be contemptuous together."
"It’s such a bonding thing," she says. "Sometimes we tell each other the worst Jew stories we know… She has some good ones. She’s just honest… That’s how people think of them."
"Give me an example," he says.
"No," she says. "That would be like you telling about sex with your last girlfriend. When I asked you that, you said, I don’t remember.
"Your girlfriends? Are they on the submissive side?"
"Holly was a firecracker," he says. "She was a very dominant woman. She did like to be dominated in the bedroom."
"Which one was Holly [Randall]?" she says.
"The pornographer. The photographer and the alcoholic. She’s very similar to you. Very strong. Dominant in the outside world. Contemptuous towards men. ‘I’m going to stay close to all the ex-boyfriends I want.’ She had pictures of her exes all over the house. I’d look up from her bed or go to the frig and there they were.
"She was very well-read. Her parents (Suze Randall and Humphry Knipe) were well-read. They’re erudite pornographers.
"I sent Holly the same email."
"And she was cool with the whole religion thing?" she asks.
"Yeah," he says. "She had zero interest in joining me. In her life, she had never been inside a church or synagogue.
"I’ve dated a lot of women who are contemptuous of men. There’s something in that that appeals to me. Ballbusters."
"Are you always super-thoughtful, considerate boyfriend?" she asks.
"Yeah," he says. "Holly would say, I’d never know what you feel unless I was reading your blog.
"I express my feelings via my writing. Doing it orally doesn’t come naturally to me."
"You’re clearly a very doting man," she says. "That’s your general MO with women?"
"Yeah," he dotes. "I tend to be attracted to women who are contemptuous."
"I am a taker more than a giver," she says.
"As long as I can give you pleasure," he says, "I feel good. If I can’t give you pleasure, if I can’t do things for you, I feel awful. If I can give something to you that you find valuable, then I feel competent and manly, but if everything I try to do for you, you are contemptuous and dismissive of, then I feel emasculated."
"Oh," she says. "Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.
"I hadn’t thought about that until today. That’s definitely a pattern I do. I look for men who are very doting, but then it doesn’t turn out well. Seriously."
"Why is that?" he asks, sinking in his chair.
"Because I lose interest when they don’t have anything to give me," she says. "It’s almost karmic. I keep on playing that out."
"You get bored?" he asks.
"I realize that I can give a lot of those things to myself," she says.
"So you don’t need them," he says. "They’re not worth the aggravation."
"I like that you are so poor," she says. "I definitely know that I am interested in you and it’s not for the money. That’s a really big thing. I’m never going to do that again."
"Did ****** support you?" he asks.
"Very much," she says.
"Is that why you were faithful to him?" he asks.
"No," she says. "I made that decision a while before he was paying the rent."
"But why did you make the decision to be faithful to him?"
"Because he scared me. He basically said, it was his way or the highway. I was like, gulp, OK. He lay down the law really early on. You’re like afraid to tell me things but if you say anything, I’m like a little obedient dog. So know your power in your speech. It’s not only in the bedroom. You just say stuff and I’m like OK."
"I guess he was manly and assertive," he says.
"I told him about your ***uality and what it did to me," she says. "I told him about David Deida.
"Monogamy is more my nature, but at 22 with my friend from YULA, we were club-hopping. Our goal was to get on the best lists in the city, to know everybody and to be photographed for the society pages. I was working as a model. My boyfriend would bust me constantly flirting with other guys, but he wanted to get his ass kicked. It was something he needed karmicly and I provided it."
"In my senior year, I should’ve applied for an MFA. It was the most obvious thing in the world. I was way too scared. Until eight years ago, I was like a little bunny."
"You didn’t feel like you were worthy of getting an MFA?" he asks.
"God no," she says. "For an MFA, you have to take a GMAT, the test for graduate school. That’s like math and stuff. I thought, I’ll never be able to do this. I thought about the whole application process. I went to New York and I started modeling."
"You’re not fond of Jews," he says, "and yet you’d like to live in Israel?"
"Oh no," she says. "I like secular Jews just fine. The people I knew from day school, they’d go to nice restaurants and not wear their kipa. They were very cultured and sophisticated, not like the Brooklyn Jews. Israel is so secular.
"I don’t know what I even want. I’m so used to always having a goal. I don’t have one anymore. When you have a goal, you never feel lonely. It feels like a reason to get up every day."
"I feel like I’m still ******** **** *****," he says. "I’ve felt very bonded to you all day."
"Me too," she says. "When I heard your voice this morning, I just started getting very excited.
"You feel very clear in your purposes."
"I’m not always sure how to get there," he says. "Life is a narrow bridge. The important thing is not to be afraid. Lie lie lie lie lie lie lie. You love hearing me sing."
"I so lost my sexual attraction," she says. "Judaism provides that for you? A sense of hope and goodness and something?"
"Yeah," he says. "I don’t know how one could be hopeful if one thinks that this world is all there is. That Hitler and Mother Theresa have the same fate. There’s no rational reason to be happy or hopeful."
"Yep," she says. "In all the happiness studies, people who are religious are happy."
"And people who are conservative," he says. "And married."
"Definitely," she says, "a lot of the time I think there’s nothing to live for. I get really scared because I don’t really want children. I don’t believe in anything. The only thing I believe in is the present and even now that just turns into the past."
"How can you be anything but unhappy with that worldview?" he asks. "Unless you delude yourself that there is some meaning you make up."
"Oh," she says, "all meaning is made up."
"I believe it is real," he says.
"To me, it is very simplistic," she says, "and I’ll never be able to do that. Faith. Blind faith. Naaseh vnishmah (we will do and we will understand, the Israelites said at Sinai according to tradition), no way."
"I’ve never said naaseh vnishmah," he says.
"I believe in chocolate," she says. "And not much else. It’s definitely pretty scary."