Stefan has the perfect look without trying too hard. He speaks native German, almost perfect English and better French than me. He has the perfect creative job, the one I should be having by now. He has all cultural references down to a T, he can talk about anything without falling short. I laugh like a maniac, like I’m the happiest girl in the world. I don’t know whether he makes me laugh or I am doing it myself in order to seem like the pixie girl of every guy’s dreams. But I am having good clean fun and actually enjoying conversation for a change, without feeling the need to walk away like I have felt with all the other dates. He thinks this is my first second date since I got here, in my new life, but I’ve had others out of boredom. This is the first second date I want.
Stefan’s apartment is the dirtiest I’ve ever seen. Not that there is slime everywhere but there is something profoundly male that reeks in every corner. Some corners, however, are slimier than the rest. His bathroom is even worse than the one I used in the bar where he took me for a drink before we got to his place. There are old feces dried up and stuck to the insides of the toilet bowl. I use his bathroom for the first time on a break we take after we start having sex. It almost makes me throw up.
With Stefan there is the widest discrepancy between what he seemed to be and what he is. I should refrain from overlapping his persona and his hygiene but I don’t. Is that even advisable? Even his actual physical appearance is something unexpected. With his hipster clothes on he looked in good shape, like someone who takes the time to groom a little, just enough not to go overboard. But when he took everything off, I had to take a long surprised look at his face just to be able to associate this now familiar head with a body that seemed to belong to someone else. His body is the only thing that betrays him about his age. His mind, his behavior, his speech and his opinions are a 25-year-old’s. So is his face. But that could be due to the mask of hair and glasses he likes to wear. His body is much older. So is his fucking.
He fucks like I would have imagined a more mature man would, had I ever given that a thought. It’s interesting to realize there is an infinite amount of things one could devote their thoughts to. I am so used to Dimitri’s ways that I instinctively expect Stefan to come fast. The first bout of sex has me waiting and wondering when he is going to come. I even ask him whether he has, at some point. He says no in an adorable German accent. Throughout the night he forgets his perfect international English accent to the point where he slips in a German word from time to time. I never go out of my accent. I do slip once and whisper “Baby” to his ear like I used to with Dimitri. I feel awkward for a second and hope he didn’t hear it.
Stefan goes on and on for hours. It feels so new to me and eventually I let go of thinking and abandon myself to the clean pleasure of sensation for the first time in my life. I don’t do it completely, still. I still have the lingering thought of his time limit. It strikes me now that I’ve started looking for a temporal profile to attribute to every male I encounter sexually. The expiration date of all men.
Sometimes we take breaks and talk a little, laugh and talk some more. But during these breaks I stay mostly silent and he drives his fingers across my body and my hair. At times, his fingertips barely touch me and that’s when my pores travel somewhere else. My skin has left me. For the first time I have no control over my body. So this is what it feels like? To have sex. Just sex. This sensation lasts a moment and then I shake myself off this path. I return to normalcy. To self awareness. I remember Dimitri and that I have to text him to let him know I’m not sleeping there, “home”, tonight. I get up, send the text message and go to the bathroom even though I don’t need to. But the curtain must drop between acts, I guess. Here are the feces again. I wonder how long they’ve been there.
In the kitchen, a spider moves around the water faucet. I turn it to pour some into a glass because I’m thirsty. The faucet trembles in all directions; it needs fixing. I ask Stefan how he bears to use it like this and he replies, amused. “But it’s perfectly fine, it’s working.”
In bed, things go in succession. We go through all positions, we stop, we laugh and we go again. Stefan smells like sweat and has been since he took his clothes off. I wonder how long the sweat has been there. I’m thinking it’s so strange that I’m enjoying myself despite this overpowering stench. I don’t understand how I am accepting and liking this man of such improper hygiene. I never would have thought.
Everything feels good, sexual and innocuous, like children’s play. Is this what sex is supposed to feel like?
At some point, I ask him whether he’s ever going to come. He says I have to orgasm. I laugh in genuine disbelief at the idea that this is possible and tell him that I never come. He is very serious when he says I am going to orgasm. It is a matter of honour, he adds. Then I understand that he will not stop until I come and this realization makes my head spin. He goes down on me and I come. As soon as I recover, I deny to myself that it happened. Some glitch on my nerve endings.
He grows tired and we go to sleep. I doubt I am going to fall asleep as my chronic insomnia does not play well with new beds. However, it is quiet and my mind drifts peacefully to some place close enough to sleep. In the morning, he continues to fuck me like I have expected him to. I have slept not facing him, of course. I curve my back to let him know I am ready to let him in and he comes.
Then I play more of the clumsy femme fatale act and leave the bed in a focused state to pick up all the pieces of my clothing and go home. He does not care whether I wait for him or not. I wait. And in that waiting all my carefully practiced barricades turn to nothing. I know it, he senses it and everything comes back to hurt me as always. On the subway I ask him whether we should keep seeing each other although it is clear he is deflecting the topic. I don’t want a relationship, I only want human closeness, I am thinking, but I am unable to utter this thought in a sentence, or perhaps I say it to him out loud. It doesn’t matter anymore.
We kiss on the mouth, I tell him his breath smells like pussy but he is already away into the crowd. We are strangers now.