Sexless in the City

Sometimes reading romance novels doesn’t quite prepare you for a love life...

For this 30-year-old urbanite, love is always a misadventure: The Harvard Lickwit, Hippie the Groper, the 5% Man, and the Ad Weasel. These and many other men wander in and out of her life — but never her bed.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Pop sexology

Not to be confused with the academic discipline of the same name ...

My roommate, as we recently discovered, likes men who are “small, quick and furry.” We interpret this to mean hairy, since her boyfriend is — moderately. I can’t speak to “small” or “quick.” For my part, I seek sexual experiences “expansive but contained, turbulent and active.”

Our source of this insight? A little game I learned Wednesday night after an evening with a conservatively dressed flamenco dancer (she danced, we watched, and wondered if her clothes were typical). While it may be somewhat cheesy, our post-show game sure as hell beats those fortune-teller fold-ups from middle school, and those cheesy “don’t scroll down and cheat!” quizzes college friends used to forward. If nothing else, it’s less controversial than “Is it Mein Kampf or” a Valentine’s Day guessing game I played and won, earning two passes to the moderator-comedian’s show at Caroline’s. (This had nothing to do with my internet dating days, I swear!) Advantages of this game include:
  • the frequency of “wet” among players’ chosen adjectives
  • the ease of remembering how to interpret the answers when you try this game with friends.
We were four Wednesday night, three women and one man, informally celebrating my birthday and a lovely summer evening in Manhattan. Since not all of us knew each other well, one friend who often leads travel groups introduced us to her sexual-psyche game. It worked well since she didn’t call it more than just a “game.” What’s more innocuous than describing your favorite color?

But that, indeed, is the first question. We went round and answered in turn: red, pink, blue. Next came the twist: three adjectives why we liked the color. I said, “passionate, vibrant and cheerful.” The woman to my left, who liked pink, said “retro, nostalgic and pretty.” I’ve forgotten the blue-man’s words, except there was some curious pairing of “serene” and “energizing.”

Next we moved onto favorite animals. Mine, more by default than anything, was horse (perhaps a holdover from childhood fondness for the Morgan). Pink Lady chose a dog, Blue Man an owl. I was hard-pressed to defend my choice, lapsing into aesthetic terms: “elegant, graceful ... lithe” (this required some definition for the table; I struggled and came up with “muscular; the way you move”). Pink Lady’s reasons included “cuddly,” and Blue Man had a pairing of “wisdom” and beauty (possibly “elegant?” Maybe he mixed up “owl” with “falcon.”).

Our final “favorite thing” was body of water, although there was some discussion whether this referred to bodies of water seen or experienced (one might like to see the ocean but take a bath). Blue Man chose jacuzzi for reasons I can’t remember at all. Pink Lady chose a waterfall because it’s “wet, majestic and long.” I had a strangely clear image, to my surprise: the perfect thing was a bay. It gives you a bit of sea, but with the reassuring sight of land. So I said quickly, “expansive but contained,” and then, “turbulent ... active” after slight hesitation.

My friend, who was our ringleader, was laughing by this point because she knew all of us though we were strangers to each other. “That’s so perfect!” she kept saying.

Whether or not that always applies to the answers given is largely a matter of specificity. My roommate, who is an artist, chose pink as well when I played the game with her, upon arriving home. But she said because it’s “soft, reddish, quiet.” Your color is supposed to equal your self-image. While passionate, vibrant and cheerful seem reasonably accurate for me, I doubt my roommate primarily thinks of herself as “reddish”! Then again, she has sometimes opened our fridge and commented not on how much or little food it contains, but the color scheme of the produce, pasta and condiments inside (“We have so much orange and yellow!” I guess that’s better than ochre or magenta...).

Your animal (surprise, surprise) represents your ideal mate or lover. Mine is chiefly valued for his looks, apparently (and the way he moves; maybe I should just judge men on their dance ability!). Since neither Pink Lady nor I had said anything like “humor” or “intelligence,” we were quite disappointed by the animal = mate interpretation. My roommate’s choice of “prairie dog” was certainly the funniest — hence, “small, quick and furry.”

Finally, your favorite body of water, according to this view of things, represents the ideal sexual experience — or at least what you want in a fuck (Friend, the Ringleader’s explanation of this left something to be desired). Roommate chose the fairly dramatic “fjord” but was puzzled by her choice of “cold” in addition to “deep” and “mysterious” (maybe she meant “wet” along with Pink Lady). Clearly there is room for word-choice wiggle room.

But hey, it beats talking about the weather at the next stranger small-talk session. Or maybe it’s what to ask next time you speed-date.

In case you need a cheat sheet, once again that’s:
Favorite color: ________
Adjectives : 1. ______ 2. ______ 3. ______
Favorite animal: _________
Adjectives : 1. ______ 2. ______ 3. ______

Favorite body of water (e.g., ocean, lake, swimming pool, swamp, etc.): _______
Adjectives : 1. ______ 2. ______ 3. ______