The Romantic Lie
March 15 2023
At lunch today, Ralph Machado came up to our table with a big stupid smile on his fat face and said “Sup, virgins?”
“Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked as he sat down at the table with a large “warm pretzel” from the school’s cafeteria’s kitchen.
“Cuz you never got laaaaaid,” he replied.
“Is there something you want to tell us?” said Sam.
Ralph bit into his warm pretzel. “Got pussy.”
My heart sank. “What are you talking about?”
Ralph grinned widely, continuing to chew the pretzel, “Was over at Rachel Weishberger’s house, tutoring her in precalc. And we were sitting in her dining room, and I could just tell she was in heat. So I put my hand on her leg. One thing leads to another. And then we just started to…. you know, make it, baby.”
“She looks terrible. And she’s a sophomore,” I said, lifting a forkful of chicken caesar salad up to my lips, “you’re just a messed up guy who took advantage of a fifteen year old Jewess.”
“Oh he’s jealous,” Ralph said. “You hear that guys? Scotty’s jealous.” He attempted to rile the rest of the table up against me, but they weren’t buying it. They just sort of looked at him disgustedly, shocked at his crassness. Shaking their heads in disapproval, at how he was a straight up lewd guy who kisses and tells with food in his mouth, not believing for a second that I could be envious of him.
Except I actually was jealous, threatened, even. You see, I’ve (perhaps delusionally) fancied myself the main-character of this friend group. For a number of reasons. To start, I’m the only handsome one, the one who’s been accepted to Drexel Early Action with an academic scholarship, the one who has that modern men’s haircut that’s super short on the sides and excessively curly on the top. I’m the one who listens to cool contemporary rap music like “BitchTalk” and “Murder Michelle.” And most importantly, most relevantly, I’m the one who’s been dating Esperanza Garcia since freshman year. So if anybody at the table were going to experience being inside of a woman, the smart money would’ve been bet on that person being I.
Ralph, on the other hand, has never been cool (like I am); he’s a laughingstock. The sort of kid whose belly hangs out over his massive light-wash relaxed-fit jeans, has blotchy skin, oily hair, and frequently succumbs to screeching and fits of rage. And sure, he’s kind of funny, fun to sit with at lunch, but he’s really such a sorry sexual specimen (if you were to ask me).
So you can see why I just couldn’t believe this slob was getting some before I was.
I mean, I’m not stupid. I’m well aware that certain basketball players of all genders have been having intercourse and impregnating each other since the 8th grade, but I didn’t think there was any chance someone in AP Physics would lose his/her/their virginity before I’d lost mine.
So this really pissed me off.
March 17 2023
Tonight, after a lovely dinner at the Panera Bread off Allegheny River Boulevard, my girlfriend Esperanza Garcia and I were in the backseat of my 2015 Subaru Outback parked in the Sweet Street Walgreen’s parking lot. We’ve of course…. pleasured each other in this exact location many times before, but tonight, I was eager to go all the way. I adjusted the seats and began taking her skirt off.
“Wait, Scotty,” she started saying.
“Is everything okay? Do I have your consent?” I replied.
“I mean, you don’t… not have my consent. Like you’re not raping me.”
“But,” at this point she was sitting upright, skirt (mostly) back on, while my hand rested anxiously on her thigh, “I don’t know if I want to do this.”
“Well why? Am I not handsome enough? Not smart enough?”
“No. You know I love you Scotty. It’s just… lately I’m thinking I might be… I don’t know… into girls?…”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“There’s just nothing… sexy about guys to me, lately.”
“Not even me?”
Now, of course I’m a pretty progressive guy, being born in 2005 and whatnot. But at this moment, when progressive attitudes towards sex began to affect me, began to prevent me from losing my virginity in the backseat of a Subaru, my mind couldn’t help but drift to reactionary places.
“You’re just watching too much of that lesbo porn,” I said. “I’ve read about this. A lot of straight girls like watching lesbian porn, but it doesn’t mean you’re lesbian.” I took her hand and tried to pull it over to my zipper.
“Scotty… please,” she pulled it away and looked at me with pure pity.
“Could you just… maybe for a little just….”
She shook her head no with tears in her eyes. I realized how pathetic (predatory!) I was being and came to my senses.
“Okay. You’re right. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t force you. I’m sure there are a ton of great girls at school who will take you to Panera Bread and let you get anything off the menu. I’m sure they’ll love it when you order a lobster roll and mac and cheese.”
Ugh. I was so hurt. I was destroyed. I drove her home and had half a mind to waltz inside to tell her parents, who were in the middle of watching “Hannity” in the living room, about their daughter’s new… identity. I’m sure they’d be thrilled, those Oz-voting psychopaths.
Oh I’m a monster. How could I even think such a thing?
March 22 2023
In Economics class today, Mrs. Auger was giving a lecture about dumpster diving.
“Now, can anyone tell me the best place to go dumpster diving?” she was asking.
Then, Isaac Choi (a real teacher’s pet) raised his hand and she called on him. “Um, Miss Auger, I believe the best place to go dumpster diving is Dunkin’. Krispy Kreme as well and Tim Horton’s. Because, since they bake items fresh daily they have to throw the leftovers out at night.”
“Very good, Isaac,” she said with a smile, as she advanced to the next powerpoint slide which reiterated what he’d just said.
And despite this being pretty interesting (did you know Dunkin’ uses special unscented garbage bags (and puts them in a special place) for the leftover donuts they throw out so they remain safe to eat for homeless people and socialists?), all I could think about was the new crop of boys who’d managed to get laid lately. Isaac (Choi, mentioned above), Rajat Agrawal, and Maximillian Sampsen have each come into lunch over the past few days giggling ear to ear, full of pride, all but begging me to smell their fingers.
All the while, I was getting absolutely 0 p-word. It was driving me crackers. And I wasn’t even, you know, craving orgasms, etc, etc. It wasn’t about that at all. In fact, I’d ceased my regular habit of viewing the (ethically produced (feminist)) pornography we get assigned each week in health class. The real trouble was, in my mind, that these boys had access to some experience that I still hadn’t. I’d barely been sleeping, instead staying up late into the night tormented by shame and humiliation over my inability to commit the act of fornication with any living human woman.
I took my phone out and opened up Snapchat, and sent a disappearing message to Laura Acardi (a freshman who always views my stories) saying “Do you want to have sex in the gender neutral bathroom during sixth period?” and she responded within a few minutes saying “Yaa :).”
A wave of relief washed over me. It really was this simple. Everyone really is just as sick and twisted as I am.
We exchanged a few more messages (transcribed below)
Me: I could tell u liked me
Laura: Hehe how ?
Me: U always watch my story...
until finally it was time to meet. I entered the bathroom first, locked the door, then sent her the following message
Me: Knock twice when you're ready and I'll open it up for you.
which she did shortly thereafter.
Once we were in the gender neutral bathroom (the one on the second floor, where everyone goes to have straight sex), things progressed rather quickly (kissing, touching, etc etc), and then when it was time to seal the deal (so to speak) I reached into my Eddie Bauer backpack to take out the Trojan I’d been saving for this very occasion.
“Oh, you don’t have to use that,” she said.
“What do you mean? You’re on birth control? As a freshman?”
“No, I’m already pregnant.”
“What do you mean you’re pregnant?”
“Yeah, I just got the positive test yesterday.”
“Well… whose is it?”
“Not sure. Maybe Pat Migs? Or Myles Z? Or maybe—”
“You fucked Pat Migs? And Myles? And more? All in the last month?”
“I mean yeah. It’s just seyuss. Everybody’s doing it…”
“What do you mean just seyuss? … And why would you pronounce it like that?”
At this point I was almost entirely…. unfit (if you know what I mean) to engage in intercourse.
“Okay. Great. You know what. Maybe later. I’m not really feeling up to this,” I told her, as I put my Zara pleather joggers back on.
“So you’re just gonna leave me like this? All worked up?” she asked.
“Uh, yeah? You’re effing pregnant… Have some decency, slut!” I spit back, slamming the door behind me and heading off to Black History where I was already 11 minutes late for a lesson about Jewish slave trading ships.
March 23 2023
Realized I might’ve been a little harsh on Laura Acardi back there. I mean, sure, she was having sex with an absolute ton of other guys and didn’t bother to tell me until I was seconds away from…. from sharing a womb with her unborn child, but when I went home and talked to my older sister Bianca on the phone about it (she’s on spring break in Miami Beach this week), she said this sort of thing is pretty typical behavior for girls, and that if I don’t get used to it now, it was going to continue to blindside me for years to come until I finally get beaten down by life and resign myself to a loveless marriage to some “roastie” with a “complicated past.”
“What did you just say? A roastie? What is that?” I asked her over the phone, already looking it up on Urban Dictionary, stunned when I saw its dirty definitions. “Oh that’s sick. Bianca, where did you even learn such a misogynistic word? Do girls go on 4chan now or something?”
“Grow up, Scotty,” she told me. “Women hate other women more than you could ever even imagine.”
This was last night.
I tried messaging Laura again during lunch today:
Me: Hey bb! Sorry about the other day. Are you busy tonight? I'm ready now.
Laura: FUCK OFF PRUDE!!!!!!!!
and I figured, I deserved this. It was, after all, pretty sex negative of me (I should talk to my licensed clinical social worker about my antiquated attitudes about women’s bodies…) to react that way.
March 24 2023
At this point it was pretty clear that I was letting this whole virginity thing occupy far too much mental real estate. I mean, I was pretty debilitatingly fixated on this crap, and for what? It’s just seyuss right?
I realized this afternoon, while sitting through a lesson on Macluarin serieses (calc is the last class of the day), that I could just go to a straight up sex worker in Pittsburgh. It just made sense. I mean, I had my own Subaru I could drive into town with, and there were hundreds of them (“full service” sex workers) advertising their “products” all over Telegram, BeReal, and Hipstamatic. It’s wonderful how easy they’ve made this.
Plus, I’d be getting my coitus career started in style, with a total pro who could really show me the ropes—someone sexy who’s probably been with like… a hundred men in her life and wouldn’t expect any sort of commitment or intimacy out of me. It would be perfect.
Within a few minutes, I’d found a slender blonde haired woman (face partially obscured) who went by the name “Evelyn Johnsen,” and whose Telegram bio read “Hey cutie… I sell my content and I’m down for a meetup!”
Me: Hey, you look great. Do you think we could meet up tonight?
Evelyn: Sure. Can you come to Pittsburgh? I live in Polish Hill. Your location looks a little far.
Me: Yeah I can drive down in my Subaru. Do I need to do anything to prove I'm not a cop?
Evelyn: No lol the cops don't care about prostitution at all anymore. Just bring $180 and your fine self, babes.
Me: Does 10:30 work?
At home, after dinner, my mom was passed out on the couch, snoring after a couple sizable glasses of pinot noir. She works so hard, she really does. She’s the chairwoman of Abort Autism ASAP!, a nonprofit that helps pregnant women get ultrasounds to screen their fetuses for autism, so they can, you know, abort them. They’re also sponsoring research to try to detect autism earlier than the second half of the third trimester, which will be nice if it ever becomes cost effective enough. It’s really great work and I’m so proud of her. Donate if you can.
But anyway, it was about 8:00 and I needed to get some money to pay for the prostitute I’d contracted via my cell phone in the afternoon. Most nights after dinner, I talk to my dad through a locked bathroom door while he sits on the toilet playing high-stakes video poker using a cryptocurrency gambling “dApp” based in the Bahamas. Tonight was no different.
“Dad?” I said, approaching the bathroom door.
“What’s going on, son? I’m tilting bad right now, dammit.”
“Oh, how much are you down?”
He let out a grunt and I heard the toilet flush. “Well, I’m up for the night, but barely. I was sitting on a quarter Bitcoin about twenty minutes ago. And now I’m hardly up a single ETH, dammit.”
“How are the washing machines doing this week?” I asked.
“Oh, well, come on Scotty, you know those things are cash cows. People are always gonna need to wash clothes. That’s the difference between us and animals. We wear clothes, and what do we do when they get dirty, dammit?”
“We wash them, Dad.”
“Exactly, son. Everybody loves clean clothes. You should’ve seen the bag of quarters I sent Andre over to the bank with this afternoon. He looked like ol’ Saint Nick carrying that huge sack of quarters, heh heh.” The toilet flushed again. “You can come in now, if you want.”
I opened the door. “Good to hear you’re doing well. Because I need some money, actually.”
He buttoned his pants and smiled at me, nodding his head as he spoke. “For a girl huh? That little Mexican number you’ve brought back here?”
“No, she became a lesbian, actually.”
“Better for you anyway, heh. You know, dammit, I see these Latinas come into the laundromat sometimes and they’re very high maintenance, heh heh. I’m only kidding, son. I’m sure she was a nice girl.” He walked over to the sink and started washing his hands.
“She was, yeah.”
“And at least she’s not out there with some other guy, heh heh. I mean, that would be painful. But if she’s out there running around with girls, hell, what’s the big deal?”
I really hate talking about this kind of thing with my dad. He’s clearly from a totally different generation (he was born in 1959) and is really only capable of alienating me with his stupid boomer ideas about sex and love.
“Yeah, uh huh.”
“So how much do you need?” He pulled out a wad of loose hundred dollar bills from his pocket. “Look at this wad of cash. This is the type of wad of cash my dad used to have when I was a kid. Back then cash was king.”
“Why did he have such huge wads of cash?”
“He just liked it, son. He would carry wads of cash that could choke a horse, dammit. Have you ever heard that expression?”
“I think I’ve heard you use it before. Is it only for cash or can you use it for other things too?”
“I think just cash. What do you need? Three hundred?”
“That’d be good.”
He counted out five twenties and two hundreds and handed it to me.
“I’m proud of you, son,” I heard him say as I ran away to put my coat on and drive into Pittsburgh.
It’s about a twenty-five minute drive from my parents’ house in Oakmont into the Polish Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh proper. A nice winding ride along the Allegheny, peaceful, even, this time of night. I parked my Sub(aru) across from the John Paul Plaza (Polish people are obsessed with this one Polish pope. I don’t know much about him; he died the year we were born) senior living facility and walked the remaining three blocks, trying to clear my head, cool off as I could feel warm blood rushing and pulsing through my ears in anticipation of the consensual I was about to be having.
I walked up the steps of the apartment Evelyn told me she lived in, sprayed a few spritzes of Binaca into my mouth, swished it around, then knocked on her door, around 10:20. A few seconds later an attractive woman in her late twenties, wearing short shorts and supporting a toothbrush between her teeth, opened the door and looked at me confusedly.
“Hey?” I said, “It’s me? Scotty? I’m here to make it with you?”
I walked inside and started taking off my shoes as she walked into her bathroom and kept brushing. “Yep, that’s me.” Her apartment was lit dimly, with several candles of different scents harmonizing together to create a very feminine, perfumy atmosphere. On the walls were several posters and paintings that straddled a fine line between art and pornography.
“Is this some kind of joke?” she said.
“What do you mean?”
“You’re a child, a little baby,” she spit into the sink and wiped her mouth with a towel hanging on her door.
“Uh, no I’m not. I’m here to bang you,” I told her.
“How old are you? Are you even——”
“Evelyn, please. I know I’m not the world’s most physical guy… but, I’m 18, I swear,” I took out my Herschel Supply Company cardholder and showed her my Pennsylvania drivers license. “Look, right here, I turned 18 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day!”
“So you’re an Aquarius?”
“No, Capricorn. But I’m friends with a ton of gay guys and women and they say I’m an Aquarius cusp.”
“Uh huh. Let’s go sit in the other room.”
She led me into another room of her apartment, past piles of laundry, old books, Polish looking religious ephemera. We sat down on some aging upholstered chairs while she lit a cigarette and blew it out the window.
“Why are you here, Scotty?” she asked me.
“To have sex with you for money,” I replied.
She smiled at this, flattered, surely. “I get that, but why are you seeing an old whore like me?”
“I think you’re beautiful. It would be an honor to lose my virginity to you ma’am. But the real question is, why is an old whore like you so worried about a little baby like me?”
She took a drag off the cigarette and smiled at me. “Do you smoke? Do you want a bogey?”
I don’t smoke, but I thought it would make me seem more mature if I did. “Of course,” I replied, and took one from her, lit it, and began taking nervous puffs (I actually have experience smoking things because I smoked weed every day for 2 months during my junior year after our school field trip to the Sunnyside Medical Cannabis Dispensary).
“So you’re a virgin?” she asked.
“Well, for now…”
“For now,” she repeated.
“But I don’t see why you care, I mean, I think I’m pretty cute. I’ve been accepted Early Action to Drexel with an academic scholarship, my money’s as green as the next guy’s….”
“But aren’t there girls at school you could be doing this with?”
“It’s too much work,” I protested, “I just want to get it over with. I’m like, the only guy who hasn’t had sex yet and I feel terrible. I wake up every night in a cold sweat thinking about how everyone is having sex except me.”
“A cold sweat?” she asked.
“Yeah, a cold sweat! And it’s not fair that everyone else is having sex except me.”
“And you thought coming here was going to solve your problem?”
“Yeah, I want to have sex.”
“For the wrong reasons. You should have sex with someone to have a baby. With your wife.”
“You’re a prostitute! What are you even talking about?”
“It’s too late for me. I’m already ruined. But you haven’t been beaten down by life yet.”
“Ruin me. Ruin me. Beat me down.”
“You don’t even want to have sex. You want to stop feeling left out. Your desire’s all mimetic.” She shook her head dismissively.
“Have you heard of Rene Girard?”
“No, who is she?” I asked.
“No, it’s a guy. He was a guy who said sometimes you only want stuff because other people have it or other people want it too.”
“Well that’s pretty fucking obvious, isn’t it?”
She put out her cigarette, looking defeated, but endeared to me. “Come with me into the bedroom,” she said.
I followed her into the bedroom and lay on her mattress. “This mattress cost $15,000,” she said, lying next to me and holding me in her arms like a tiny little baby.
“It must be nice being a whore. You get to have sex all the time, and make a ton of money for it.”
“Oh, Scotty.” She kissed me on the forehead. “You’re sweet. You’re going to make so many girls so happy. So soon. Just not me. Not tonight.”
So I couldn’t even get this whore to have sex with me for money. And that’s why, by the time you get this email, which is going out to everyone on the Drexel Early Action Class of 2027 Facebook Group, I’ll already be dead. My life sucks. It’s over. I’m gonna take all of my dad’s pills and half of my mom’s pills and tie a plastic bag around my head and sit in my Subaru while it runs with the garage door closed. Because I can’t do this anymore. So sorry guys. You won’t be partying with Mr. Scotty in the fall. I’ll be frigging dead.
matthew davis is like a uhhhh “writer.”