by Marcie Rich

I'm standing at the jukebox at the Speakeasy...I haven't had sex in six months. It's not that long. I've gone much longer. I once got lost in the deserts of chastity for 4 years. I'm lucky I got out alive. But, six months. That could be tricky. Could be the gateway right back to the desert.

The last actual naked man I beheld was #7, seventh notch on my lipstick case, my 24 year-old jewishboy, guitarplayer boyfriend beautiful like a young biblical king raised in a garden where everybody is naked and has unabashed love and curiosity for their own bodies!

That's not an easy act to follow. However if I don't get another one under my belt soon, this thing just might get away from me again.

That's when a man appears next to me at the jukebox. He asks me to play some Steely Dan. He's so handsome he's like a pretty Othello. But he's very cleanly clipped and dressed.

Not my type.

His name is Benjamin. Benjamin worked for the Obama campaign in Minnesota. Benjamin bloviates for a while like I'm some undecided Minnesotan, until finally I tell him the president was not my first choice-

and it wasn't the old geezer either. It was the lady; and I'll be darned if that doesn't make Benjamin like me more! I punch "Dirty Work" into the jukebox.

An hour later, Benjamin starts to steal sincere touches down my back, up my arm. He has a certain charm, but I'm not dazzled. Do I want to be dazzled...Do I want to get another one under my belt? I don't usually have to think at a time like this. Oh it's so easy for the body! But mine is off somewhere-loafing around-I don't know where! I have got to get back on the horse, and I think I'm going to have to use my mind to do it-first thing I tell myself is:

There are worse things than being clean-cut. (Which is true.)

Well after midnight my resolve about screwing Benjamin is still tenuous-I remind myself that the most important thing is getting back on the horse-so I let the horse follow me home.

We're in my bedroom. We're kissing. He's mostly doing the kissing:

Go with it, I coach myself. Go with it.

He seems very pleased...I've been at work all day. The last time I bathed was over 24 hours ago; I tell Benjamin. He says:

Oh yeah I've been working all day too. I didn't have a chance to take a shower either.

(No way. There is no way this man did not take a shower before going out.

I don't know why he would lie about such a thing but Benjamin is clean as a whistle. He smells like-soap...maybe witch hazel?...it's almost like rubbing alcohol.

I don't really like it. [Maybe that's why he's lying.] Do I want a dirty boy?

I don't think so. Though I do find it annoying when a man wants to take a shower right after sex.)

Regardless, this cowgirl intends to get back on the horse. And to do that, she needs a washing, not a full-fledged bath, but a simple washing. I excuse myself.

When I return, Benjamin is lying on my bed naked, and my mind is fully aware of his aesthetic beauty. You would have to be in another room to miss it. I am standing naked at the end of my bed...do I detect a moderate, primal stirring?? That is a penis after all. And a fairly large one.

It looks to be the second largest I've ever met. (The largest belongs to #4, a Professor of Environmental Science, a New Englander, yes, Professor Johnson has the brawn and the brains.)

Naked on my bed, Benjamin says: I can't believe you don't have a boyfriend. You're so appealing.

Thank you, I say.

I haven't had sex in ten months, he suddenly confides.

Really? Is that a campaign-trail thing?

Not really, he says. I've also been experimenting with not masturbating.

Really?? Why??

(I know there are people out there, perfectly good people, who believe masturbation is a waste of your most precious essence, your very jing itself, but I think there's something weirder about not masturbating than not having sex. I think a rule against masturbation is excessively self-denying, maybe self-torture, is it self-hatred?? Unless of course you're addicted. Or you do it in public. That's not cool.)

Benjamin explains: I suspect masturbation compromises the body.

Like how? I ask.

It's false for the body, he says.

(False for the body? Why, some of the greatest orgasms I've ever had were orchestrated by me! I think this fellow may need a good screw more than I do. That's when Benjamin asks:)

Are your breasts real?

...Why yes, I say.

(Honestly, who would go to the trouble of getting such small, fake breasts?)

He says: They're really nice.

...Thank you, I say.

And we commence to orchestrate a smashing orgasmic success for him.

And there is a moment just before it happens for him when I feel the beginning of a glimmer of something, nowhere near an orgasm, more a dark caress in the middle of space the promise of a new frontier!!

And then it's gone. What was that place??

It's 3:30 in the morning. It would be okay if Benjamin leaves, but he doesn't. I set the alarm for 5. I'm not interested in cuddling. He seems to sense this. Two bodies, naked, separate, no passion. He falls asleep. And I?

I am awake. I am pretty sure we opened a door here tonight, a door to I-don't-know-where, but no matter how far I have to travel, across 70 deserts if need be, I will go to that place of the dark caress! True to the cause, Benjamin continues to spread hope.

At 5:15, I watch #8 walk out the front door. I thought he might ask, but he never did ask, to take a shower. He leaves a little dirtier than when he arrived, but his work is accomplished. Benjamin just may have a future in Washington.

Go Benjamin. Go spread hope.

Cue: "Dirty Work" (Steely Dan)