Chapter 18. Lesbian Sex & The City




Part 1. Hate sex.


Nia and Imani had a classic lesbian breakup.


First, they sobbed.


“You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I can’t breathe without you!” Nia wailed. Even though their glamorous suite at the Jane Hotel boasted both a King-sized bed and two plush sofas, they sat cross-legged on the hardwood floors because girls who like girls are girls who like to hurt.


“You don’t have to lose me!” Imani cried, flailing her hands in the air.


Nia pressed her face into Imani’s lap. Tears slid down Imani’s swollen face. She watched them splash into Nia’s hair.


“But..but…I’m…I’m…just so, so scared of everything I’ve worked so hard to build…crumbling in front of my eyes,” Nia choked.


Their warm tears froze into sour icicles.


“All of this shit that you think matters? It doesn’t,” Imani spit, as she strutted to the floor-to-ceiling window and stared coldly into the soft flurry of snow blanketing Jane Street. “Fame, celebrity, all of that bullshit? It’s not real. It’s fleeting. It can be snatched from you in a second.”


Nia crossed her arms and gazed vacantly into her manicure.“How do you know what’s real, Imani?” she deadpanned.


Imani watched cigarette ash clumsily flung from the window above swirl into the wind. “Because I’ve lived for the recognition, the career, the fame. And I learned it was never mine.” The ash disappeared, becoming one with the film of gray smoke polluting the winter sky.


“It’s not my fault you got injured and your dreams of becoming a professional basketball player died.” Nia knew — in that moment — she’d taken it too far. But she was in too deep to back down. “You resent me,” she added, hating herself, but unable to stop herself.


And that’s when the icicles melted and turned into boiling hot rage.


Imani turned her head around in slow motion. “You are a typical fame-hungry, insecure narcissist!” She bellowed. “I’m done!” She grabbed her backpack and marched toward the door. It was twenty-one degrees and her winter coat was on the other side of the room. She briefly thought of turning back but quickly realized it would ruin her cinematic exit so she kept on marching.


“You’re just going to leave!” Nia screamed, throwing herself on the bed. Her elegant terra cotta limbs sprawled theatrically against the white french cotton matelasse.


Imani felt fire burn from her eyes as she silently marched, marched, marched like a lesbian soldier hardened from fighting the long battle of Sapphic Love, toward the door. Right as fingers curled around the golden doorknob she felt Nia’s hands grab her waist.


“Don’t go! Not like this!” Nia’s voice was hysterical; shrill and high-pitched like a bad horror movie.


“Nia,” Imani growled. “What is the point?


“The point is —” Nia tightened her grip. “The point is —”


“Nia, don’t make this harder than it already is,” Imani banged her head against the door.


“The point is I — I — don’t know! But you can’t go until you look at me!”


Imani desperately didn’t want to turn around and face Nia. She liked the character she was embodying. The cold-hearted butch, who had enough self-respect to keep her dignity and pride intact. But then —


she caught a whiff of Nia’s perfume.


And it was all over.


The next thing she knew, they were face to face, staring into each other’s eyes.


And that’s when something dangerous happened. The hot rage turned to deep longing.


They began to kiss. It was one of those kisses that’s so soft you don’t realize it’s gently, slowly, breaking you down until you’re a puddle on the floor. Nia massaged Imani’s back. Imani touched Nia’s cheek, lightly.


Nia felt herself sink. “I hate you,” she breathed into Imani’s mouth.


“I hate you too,” Imani breathed back.


And that’s when the deep longing turned to a primal heat.


They began to fuck. Hate fuck.


Nia yanked Imani’s hair. Imani’s pupils dilated. She felt junkie-sick as she picked Nia up and tossed her on the hotel bed. Nia’s body buzzed as she wrangled out of Imani’s grip and pushed her flat into the mattress. Imani’s body buzzed back as she experienced the weight of Nia’s body on top of her body, for the first time. Nia felt a rush of newfound power as grinded her hips into Imani.


Imani chuckled, she wasn’t going to let her win that easily. She was the athlete. She was in charge.


But the only kind of person more competitive than an athlete?


An actress.


Nia bit Imani’s lip hard. Imani pinched the backs of Nia’s thighs. Nia dug her nails into Imani.


Their sweaty girl bodies wrestled in the fight for control.


It hurt. So good.


They came at the same time, explosively, aggressively, jaws locked, eyes locked, hands locked, demon unleashed.


When it was all over, they lay on twisted, sweaty sheets staring into the darkness, in quiet understanding that nothing would ever be the same again.


 

Part 2. No sex.


Jack was a classic Manhattan dyke. She’d seen the Indigo Girls perform live every summer for the last twenty years. She inhaled a pack and a half of Marlboro reds daily and slugged a six-pack nightly and never got sick. She incessantly grumbled about the “insincere activism” of the younger generation and the “gross gentrification” of the West Village; yet exclusively dated girls a decade younger and rarely went East of Sixth Avenue. She detested smiling hipsters but was wildly attracted to weeping intellects. She slept with the windows down in the winter, claimed the radiator would be the thing to kill her. She had neatly-trimmed nails and a barbershop cut. She was always telling her friends this would be the year she relocated somewhere civilized: North Hampton, The Cape, Key West.


But everyone knew Jack would never leave the city.


What most people didn’t know about Jack was this: Jack was a freak. Especially in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. She’d worked the door at a notorious underground sex club on Fourteenth street, donning only ass-less chaps and a patent leather dog collar. She’d had a year-long stint as a professional leather daddy at an exclusive downtown dungeon, where she secured a colorful array of private clients; including the wife of a right-wing Fox news correspondent and a twink-y gay boy with Daddy Issues. She’d taught a class on “Rope-tying, Bondage & Safe Words” at the LGBTQ Center in Chelsea. Under the pen name “Stone Jim” she’d self-published an anthology of queer erotica: “Butches, Ball Gags & The Bowery” sold in sex shops across the city. Depending on your sleuthing skills, you can still find a couple of used copies, sifting through the dark corners of eBay, ready to be shipped to your door for $7.99.


But after her ex-wife up and left her for a balding male stockbroker in ‘02 — she hadn’t had much of a sex drive at all. She’d tried to have a few one-night-stands but always ended up too drunk and too sad to make it further than a hand to the thigh. Porn made her feel dead inside and why masturbate when you could cry over a pint of Hagan Daz while watching Desert Hearts?


And even though she’d been casually dating Catalina, the hottest lesbian bartender in New York, for a solid two months, they had yet to have sex.


“You haven’t had SEX with her yet?” Gianna howled over runny eggs at the Waverly Diner.


Jack scowled into her coffee. “No.”


Serafina gasped. “That’s not like you Jack. I remember when you were Stone Ji—”


“That was a lifetime ago, Serafina.”


Gianna sighed. “I know yous had your heart broken by that colossal bitch, but enough is enough. Cat is hot. Cat is bright. Cat is into you. What’s the problem?”


Jack looked up from her murky brown coffee. Serafina and Gianna were staring at her, expectantly. She wanted so badly to lie. Tell them she was merely being “respectful.” A “gentleman.” That she wanted to take it slow because she had “real feelings.” But the longer she looked into her old friend’s faces, the more her walls cracked and cracked until there was nowhere left to hide. “Fine!” Jack croaked. “I’m nervous!”


“Nervous?” Gianna and Serafina sing-songed.


“I don’t know why I tell you guys anything,” Jack pouted, reaching into her pockets for her pack of Marlboros, slithering out of the red plastic booth, swagging out the front door, cigarette hanging out of mouth, matches ready to strike.


 

Part 3. Hurt sex.


Violet was working in the office of LINT magazine at 11 a.m. on a Saturday. There were so many things to run away from. Her fight with Gabriella. Her fight with Knife. Her fight against her body, her addictions, the haunting shadows of her past. When she was a teenager, running away was physical. She’d climb out the window of her hell-hole of a house and race down the street until she snuck through the back door of her neighbor, John’s house. She’d stub lit cigarettes into her legs, the excruciating burn helping her escape the pain of her suffocating family. She’d grab the closest skater-boy with a car and beg him to drive her somewhere far, far away.


But now running away was mental. And chemical. She’d type type type until her fingers bled and then avoid dealing with the gruesome mess by drowning herself in whatever drug or drink was available. And yes, most people can’t do both. And by both I mean withstand the grind of an intense career and survive the wear and tear of a hard-partying lifestyle.


But some people can.


And those people live in New York.


Violet loved the office when it was quiet. She liked to pretend she was the boss as she dreamily sat at her desk and dutifully clanked her fingers against the keyboard. It was one of the few times she felt in control. Like she was calling in the shots. Like the future was as certain as the sun, glowing orange, as it set between the skyscrapers of Manhattan.


She was grinning like a lunatic into her laptop when she felt a hand tap her shoulder.


“Fuck!” she screamed, her peaceful work trance broken.


“Sorry,” husked a voice so gravely, for a moment she wondered if it was Jack’s? She whipped her head around.


But Jack wasn’t behind her, oh no.


It was Sarah Cohen. The controversial new Editorial Director of LINT Magazine. She’d just left her big fancy job at Condé Nast for the scrappy up-and-coming little magazine. She’d just started the previous Monday and everyone on staff was terrified of her.


“Hi,” Violet squeaked looking up at Sarah who hovered above her, body encased in tight leather pants and a tight leather jacket (otherwise known as the lesbian tuxedo).


“What are you doing here?” Sarah frowned, her glossy black eyebrows furrowed at the top of her forehead.


Violet felt a twinge of irritation pulsate through her veins. She was a damaged person. And while damaged people have the most indestructible, die-hard work ethics you’ll ever witness — they have a visceral hatred for authority. “I come here every Saturday morning to get ahead,” she couldn’t help but primly clip. Sarah Cohen might be the boss, but I was here first, she thought to herself, unable to stop herself from glaring.


Sarah wasn’t used to anyone looking her in the eye, let alone staring at her, like Violet. Violet’s eyes looked like two blood moons. She couldn’t stop her lips from stretching into a grin. There was something about Violet’s blatant lack of fear of her that was…refreshing. “Alright,” Sarah huffed, her stern face bright and twinkly.


“Well,” Violet snapped her laptop closed.


“Well?” Sarah ran her fingers through the soft buzz of her undercut and looked at Violet curiously.


Violet grabbed her navy peacoat from behind her chair and draped it over her. It dramatically fell over her shoulders, like a witch's cape. She stood up. “I should really get going —”


Their eyes burned into each other.


“See you Monday,” Sarah stuck her hands into the pockets of her leather pants.


Violet noticed Sarah’s leather pants. They looked expensive. Designer. Her mouth watered. She fought back the primal fashion girl instinct to ask her where they were from and instead trotted down the big cemental hall toward the elevator. “See you Monday,” she lilted, her Balenciaga banging hard against her hip.


Right as her finger pressed the elevator button, Violet felt full of holes.


She was overcome with an insatiable missing for Knife. That beachy blonde hair. That dilapidated charm. The comfortable silence. The need to never ever explain herself because Knife understood. Then she felt the empty space of Gabriella. The best friend she’d ever had. The shiniest girl she’d ever met. The closest thing to a sister she’d ever known.


Then her heart ached for her mom.


Then…for herself. The girl she’d been before the chemicals hijacked her personality.


She swiveled her head and looked at Sarah. Sarah was casually typing with an open beer, her face glowing static from the silver light radiating from her laptop. “Wait!” Violet’s voice echoed across the open workspace.


“What?” Sarah’s glossy black eyes stared at her from the top of her laptop.


“Why are you here?”


“Um. Work, Violet.”


“Really?”


“Yes, really.” The nerve of this Violet girl. “Why are you here? Really? You don’t make enough money to work on a Saturday.”


Violet laughed. “Truer words have never been spoken.” She dropped her giant, tattered Balenciaga. It clanked against the cement. “I’m heartbroken.”


Sarah took in Violet, a lowly staff writer, in a strangely preppy peacoat, torn black stockings, brown hair swept into a haphazard bun, last night’s black eyeliner smoky and smudged, gazing fearlessly at her superior, vibrating with speedy sadness. Fuck it. “Me too.”


Violet paused. She took in Sarah. Sarah had a corporate, put-together swag she wasn’t used to. But at this moment, it felt like the most comforting thing in the world. Like a solid foundation, she could safely crash into.


“Can I give you a hug?” Violet asked, knowing it was wildly inappropriate and deeply unprofessional — but hey. Heartbreak in the winter will weaken the impulse-control of anyone, right?


Sarah nodded. She rose from her chair and loped toward Violet, steady like a thoroughbred. “I shouldn’t be doing this,” she sighed, wrapping her arms around Violet. “But I get it,” she added, quietly, her voice suddenly smooth like whiskey neat.


Violet let her body melt into Sarah. Sarah felt different than Knife. Her body was soft and stocky, not sharp and weightless. She smelled different too. Sarah smelled like a clean, modern art museum. Knife smelled like home.


Sarah held Violet. Violet felt very different from Marissa, her partner of five years, who’d just left her for a tech job in the bay area. Marissa was all pilates muscles and Jergens body lotion. Violet was delicate and desperate and warm and slathered in grapeseed oil.


No one would ever know who kissed who first. They only could feel the moment their lips smashed together. The moment their tongues worked themselves inside each other's mouths and their hipbones introduced themselves.


“Can we take this somewhere else?” Sarah asked after fifteen minutes of touching and kissing.

Violet was officially free from the hurt. From herself. She wanted to stay on vacation for as long as possible. “Yes.” Violet pressed her body into Sarah’s. The buttery leather of Sarah’s coat squeaked against the wool of Violet’s coat. “Fuck yes.”


Before either of them could process what a bad fucking idea this was —they were naked in Sarah’s low to the ground, oval-shaped bed, fingers inside each other.


They had slow sex.


The kind of sex you want to draw out because stopping means confronting reality. And getting lost in a stranger’s skin is so much sweeter than gazing into the bright, fluorescent light of reality. For hours, they explored each other’s unfamiliar bodies, like scuba-divers slowly swimming in the dark underbelly of the ocean for the first time.


Neither of them came. They couldn’t. Because the whole point of hurt sex is to anesthetize the pain. And coming meant feeling…everything.


 

Part 4. Dream sex.


Far, far away in the suburb of Bayshore, Long Island a beautiful, queer 55-year-old woman slept in the guest room of Republican sister’s house. The woman’s name was Valentina. And she had knocked back one too many glasses of Moscato that night.


Valentina had picked a fight with her sister’s husband, Leonardo.


“Ya know, Leo, you really did the whole family a dis-fucking-service by not taking that job in the department of education,” she slurred, waving a rhinestone wine glass around the air, like a wand.


“Yes, Valentina,” Leo sighed. He’d seen this act a million times and wasn’t in the mood for theatrics tonight.


Valentina had lit a cigarette in the house even though she knew it would rile up her Republican sister. Maybe that’s why she did it.


“Val! I told you! My only boundary is that you don’t smoke in the house!” she screamed, violently fanning the air with her leopard print faux fur throw.


Val rolled her eyes. “‘Boundary?’ Give me a freaking break. You go to therapy twice and now you’re using all this ‘boundary’ jargon? Let me tell you, I’ve been going to therapy for thirty-five years —” her voice trailed off. Her eyes fell heavy.


The next thing she knew she was in the guest bed dreaming of her time living at the Chelsea Hotel in 1979, having mind-blowing, heart-racing, coke sex, with the one that got away. A fabulous, eccentric heiress from Nigeria, who wore mink and only purchased art from young, struggling artists. “Serafina!” she cried out in her sleep so loudly she woke herself up.


She opened her eyes and peered into her surroundings. A framed photograph of Ronald Reagan was hammered into the powder blue wallpaper.


At that moment she vowed, no matter how broke she was, she’d find her way back to the city. She had to.


Meanwhile, on a bi-coastal flight from LAX to JFK a swaggy, well-known DJ was sound asleep, shaved head leaned up against the cool window. White clouds floated next to her. Natalia Gonzalez was finally on her way to her new home, in Manhattan.


But in her dream, she was already there. Feverishly kissing a bionic mega babe. They’d met months ago in the city. In fact, they’d had a threesome with the mega babe’s best friend. But in this in-flight dream, there were only two people: Natalia and Gabriella. Her fingers were in Gabriella’s mouth and Gabriella was moaning loudly. Right as her hands worked their way down the skin-tight latex of Gabriella’s pants, the plane hit the ground.


“Welcome to New York,” squeaked the flight attendant over the loudspeaker.


 

Part 5. Fuck up your life sex.


A cool blonde with beachy hair and bloodshot eyes tapped her long fingers over the wild curve between a sultry brunette’s thigh and hip. The sultry brunette wriggled her tight dress over her glitter-dusted limbs and threw it onto the floor of the cool blonde’s West Village studio.


The cool blonde slid down her black distressed denim to reveal black Calvin Klein men’s underwear. There was a bulge in the underwear. The cool blonde was packing. The sultry brunette smiled as the cool blonde crawled on top of her.


“If this got out, this could really fuck up our lives,” the sultry brunette whispered into the cool blonde’s skin. Her flesh was pale and bloodless, like a junkie, and juxtaposed dramatically against the sultry brunette’s deep olive glimmer.


The cool blonde knew it was true. If their hookup got out, it would fuck up their lives, royally. But that was precisely the point. Burn everything beautiful in your world down, so it can’t seduce you with its intoxicating eyes, ever again.


The sultry brunette had a different agenda. She just wanted to feel wanted. You know what that feels like, right? Feeling undesired will shatter your self-esteem and when that’s shattered, the part of your brain responsible for making good decisions shatters in solidarity.

The woman she was currently dating she liked. A lot. But the woman hardly touched her. And that made her feel invisible, young, dumb.


“Do you want me?” the sultry brunette asked, looking into the cool blonde’s arctic blue eyes.


The cool blonde stared at the sultry brunette. She was gorgeous. Shiny dark hair that fell past her nipples, electric green eyes, smooth thick thighs.


But for some reason, she wanted to crawl out of her skin and run down 16th street, skinless.


The cool blonde, who was as high as a kite on a myriad of substances, suddenly felt very sober. She realized there was still time to undo this dire mistake that she’d never be able to take back, ever. One that would ruin her shot with the one girl she’d ever really loved. One that would villainize her in her community. Alienate her from her chosen family.


One that she would regret for as long as she lived.


But she was too far gone. “Yes,” she lied, running her hands down the sultry brunette’s soft stomach. “I want you.”


The brunette didn’t believe her. It felt all wrong.


But Knife and Catalina did it anyway.




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