I don’t like getting naked around other men. It’s not a sexual issue, but rather a safety concern. You see, in my formative years, I attended an all-boys high school, located on the border between Kansas and Missouri — a fitting spot, considering the school itself teetered between being an institution of learning and a training facility for prison. I can’t remember a single day when some unsuspecting child wasn’t hit in the balls. The thought of stripping and exposing myself in front of those animals would send me into a state of panic. When gym class ended, I’d wet my head in the sink and pretend I’d just showered. I never took off my underwear. I wasn’t just a year younger than my classmates; I was frail and hairless. I cried every morning, begging my parents to let me skip today’s Lord of the Flies re-enactment. I knew eventually one of these brutes was going to rip off my little dick, and sadly, this fear never went away.
It’s why my heart was pounding as Jess and I followed the couple from Pasadena into their hotel room. Brian and Claire ushered us inside and shut the door. Brian pulled out their bottle of vodka from the fridge. Claire put on some music.
“I hope cranberry juice is okay?” Brian said.
“That’s great,” Jess said, taking the plastic cup.
I noticed an open suitcase in the corner. I saw bras and underwear.
“I’m just sitting down because my feet hurt,” Jess said. “This isn’t an all-play bed, is it?”
Brian and Claire laughed. “No,” Brian said.
I started laughing too. I still didn’t feel comfortable being in their room, but I no longer felt they were trying to rape us. I sat on a chair by the vanity mirror. Claire joined Jess on the bed, while Brian stood off to the side, clearly unsure where to sit. I realized everyone was just as nervous and uncomfortable as I was. We made a few jokes about the weirdos we’d seen. Brian said he’d accidentally gone into a room with three biker chicks earlier. They yelled at him for having pants on.
Claire started touching Jess’s hair. “Your wife is hot,” she said.
“Yes, yes she is,” I said.
Brian asked, “How’d you hear about this party?”
“I, uh, saw it online,” I said, suddenly embarrassed.
“We kind of thought there might be single girls here,” Jess said. “But I don’t think single girls come to these things, and that we were stupid for thinking they would.”
“Yeah, we came here for the same reason,” Claire said. “But I don’t know…yeah…”
“So…do you two consider yourself…swingers?” Jess asked.
“No, I don’t know what we are,” Claire said. “We just got married really young. Like right out of high school. And…I don’t know, I guess we sort of missed out on some stuff.”
Brian said, “We only started looking into things like this a month ago. We’d fantasized and stuff, and there was one couple we met, but we were too shy and it got really awkward.”
He was so earnest and a little nerdy. It was charming, but still mostly uncomfortable.
I think Claire sensed my unease, because she quickly asked, “What about you guys? Do you consider yourself…?”
“Swingers?” Jess said. “No. We’ve had two threesomes with girls, but that’s over like five years together.”
Everyone took a sip. No one really knew what to do or say.
“Can I borrow my wife?” I said.
“Oh, sure,” Claire said.
Jess got up and followed me to the bathroom. I wanted to go outside, but I heard people in the hallway.
“What’s up?” Jess asked.
I whispered, “I just…want to check in with you.”
“Are you okay?” she whispered.
“Yeah, I don’t know. I just…we said we weren’t going to do anything, and now we’re in this room and they’re nice and all, but I…just don’t know what you’re wanting or expecting…”
“I don’t want to do anything with him, if that’s what you’re saying?”
“I mean, do you…want to see that?”
“No, I mean, she’s pretty, but, you know, I don’t want to do anything.”
“She is pretty, right?”
“Would it bother you if I…?”
“No. That would be awesome.”
“Okay, cool. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
We kissed and walked out. Brian and Claire were trying to look like they hadn’t heard our entire conversation. Brian asked, “Everything alright?”
“Yeah,” I said. “We just… If, uh, something is going to happen here, and we’re not saying it is, I mean, we’re not expecting…”
Jess jumped in. “Is it okay if it’s just us girls?”
“Oh, we would prefer that,” Claire said. She turned to me. “Not that you’re not…”
“Oh, no. And you’re…I mean…”
“Cool,” Claire said. “So it’s just us,” she said and walked up to my wife, who started to fidget and blush. The first kiss was sweet and awkward. Claire’s hand started traveling down Jess’s back. Brian seemed on the verge of giddy. Then Jess said:
“Actually, I, uh, I’m going to step into the ladies’ room.”
Everyone sort of looked at each other. Realizing we might be thinking she had to poop, Jess quickly said, “No. I just…I wanna take off my Spanx. Sorry.”
“Oh, thank God!” Claire said. “I’ve been wanting out of these all night.”
Claire lifted up her dress and peeled down her Spanx. Jess followed suit and they both were laughing, and then stripping and falling onto the bed.
Brian and I didn’t really know where to go. We were both just standing there with our drinks, giving each other little nods while our wives went at it. Finally, he sat on the corner of the bed. I sat on the other end. I still had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. My face was right next to Claire’s butt. I felt like I was staring too much. I turned and looked at the painting of a camel on the wall.
“Hey, this isn’t fair,” Claire said.
“Huh?” I squeaked.
“Why are we the only ones naked?”
“Yeah,” Jess said. “Take it off.”
I wanted to kill her.
Brian looked over at me clearly waiting to see how we should proceed. “Aw, fuck it,” I said and started unbuttoning my shirt. Brian and I were trying not to make too much eye contact, especially as he took off his belt. I was suddenly afraid of what was behind his zipper. What if he’s got a huge dong?
He was only about 5’9, but I’d seen videos of little men on the Internet packing Yule logs. Then I thought, Or what he’s got a micro-penis? How am I going to look at that?
Suddenly, I’m back in high school, terrified to get naked with another man, petrified of being judged, ridiculed.
Finally, I got down to my socks, which I just decided to leave on. I was vulnerable enough. Brian and I sat on the corners of the bed. The girls had clearly forgotten about us. Brian, trying to get comfortable, tentatively leaned over and propped himself up on his elbow. He was really close to me. He turned and whispered:
“Your wife’s really beautiful.”
“Yeah, yours too.”
He kept whispering to me, and I have to say, being naked on a bed with another man is really weird, but it’s even weirder when the guy starts whispering to you.
I tried not to be too obvious as I moved away from him. I crossed my legs, which just smashed my balls. I was very aware of my penis. I was not aroused at all. I became self-conscious. Here I was, a few feet from two gorgeous women making out, and I’m not hard at all. But, on the other hand, I was actually closer to the naked man. What if I do get aroused? What would that mean?
The room started to spin. I stopped breathing. There was a hand on my thigh. I opened my eyes, expecting to see Brian, but it was Jess. She kissed me and asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah…” I kissed her again.
The night went on, but nothing worth writing about happened. We got dressed and exchanged email addresses. Claire said we should go bowling or catch a movie.
“Yeah, that sounds great,” I said, but I knew this was going to be the last time we saw them. They were nice, but I was going to have too many hang-ups.
Jess and I gave them a final hug and walked out into the night. The sun was going to be up soon. Our car was parked across the street, but I didn’t want to drive. I’d had too much to drink.
“Are you hungry?” I asked.
Neither of us had eaten a carbohydrate since before the wedding in Texas. Jess spotted a Denny’s down the block. We took a booth in the back and ordered biscuits and gravy and a hamburger.
“Oh my God, this is so good,” Jess said through a full mouth.
“We should’ve just done this.”
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