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A Confession From the Other Woman

Starry-eyed youth — and that hair! — sent her down a bumpy road to bad love karma.

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I didn't know if my boots were made for walking, but I guess I should've thought about that before I parked in that fucking Berbiglia lot. I lifted my throbbing head from the couch cushion just in time to see my sticker-clad Corolla being towed away.

My aggravated cries of "Shit! Shit! Shit!" woke up the couple in the other room. It was their apartment. We came here after his band played a show. The bar was lax on carding people, so I got in pretty easily. We had some drinks. I remember at some point wearing a pink cowboy hat and dancing like an asshole with this girl from work.

I also remember foolishly agreeing to crash here and him saying that if he and his girlfriend were fucking and the headboard rocked against the wall, I shouldn't be afraid. It made her uncomfortable, and I pointed out that they didn't have a headboard.

She assured me that everything would be OK. She made me breakfast. "You'll get your car. I'll make sure sleepyhead helps you." God, she was nice. And pretty. Like, fashion-model pretty. He stayed in bed, moaning about his hangover.

She left for work, and I slipped into their room. I tried to wake him so he'd help me get my car. "C'mon, you bum," I pleaded. He pretended to wake up, but instead he grabbed my wrist and pulled me on top of him. He tugged at my shirt, and I tried to put up a fight. But I wanted him to take it off. I smashed my face into the black, thick curls that framed his dark, ogling eyes. The smell of his hair was a distinct blend of Aveda product and something else — his essence, I guess. It drove me crazy. The Hair God was having a terrible time undoing my bra hook. I finally had to do it for him.

At the side of their bed was one of those JoyCam Polaroid cameras that took stamp-sized photos. He said he took a naughty picture of his girlfriend and now he was going to take one of me. He snapped it and watched it develop. I was too embarrassed to look at it, but he said it was sexy. He wanted to keep it but said I'd better hold onto it. He stuffed it in my back pocket.

What if I'd left it there and she'd found it? She'd have known that he was a disgusting creep and I was a duplicitous little slut.

Hair God and I had begun our relationship innocently enough. We worked at the same restaurant, and we'd toss back a few after a busy Friday night shift. I was just getting my beer legs, so it was rough keeping up with a seasoned boozer 10 years my senior. After work, we'd hang out in the basement of this other guy we worked with, listening to records and talking about his band's future. I'd stare longingly into his flirtatious doe eyes, hanging on every word between bong hits and swigs of beer.

Before I met him, I was tits-deep in the throes of a hapless alterna-girl phase: oversized, plaid grandpa slacks paired with an overbearing, crass sense of humor; both donned in a self-effacing attempt to prove that I was as clever as any boy. The result wasn't terribly sexy. Boys continued to ignore me, and I slowly began to accept life as the terminal virgin, unkissed and untouchable. When I met him, I waved goodbye to the golf pants and said hello to the Lolita look: knee socks, flouncy little skirts and pigtails. The poor sap never had a chance. Hair God told me that I was cute and funny. He made jokes about being in love with me.

A couple of the girls I worked with warned me about him. "Yeah, one night, years ago, we got drunk after work and had sex," one of them told me. "It was really bad." Never having done it before, I didn't know what bad meant. And how could he be bad at anything? I mean, he was gorgeous, and his band once opened for Nirvana.

At home, I scribbled in my diary, "Why can't I have him? Why can't Hair God be mine? I'd been a good, virtuous girl. When is it going to be my turn?" I longed for Hair God to end his relationship with his striking, sweet-as-pie girlfriend and declare his undying adoration for me.

Finally, his pretty, lovely, adoring girlfriend went across the sea to visit her family. After a night of too many drinks, Hair God and I began our depraved little affair.

And now I had in my pocket this naked Polaroid, a physical reminder of our indiscretions. I was still the lily-white virgin, but I was no longer pure.

I didn't want Hair God to help me get my car back. I left the apartment, still wearing the clothes from the night before. They reeked of alcohol and cigarettes. The daylight shocked me into regaining some semblance of composure. I walked the mile and a half to my apartment, cursing him and my stupidity and these boots that were hurting my feet.

"That's it!" I said. "I'm not doing this to her or myself anymore!" I got home and took off the previous night's clothes. The Polaroid fell out of my pocket. I couldn't look at it. I was ashamed. Not because of my nudity but because I had become every girlfriend's worst enemy: the Other Woman. I threw it in the garbage.

I wish I could say I stuck to my guns and gave up Hair God forever, but I didn't. We continued our torrid tumbles in the backseats of cars and other secret places. It was the same struggle every time. I'd wrestle him, trying to meet his lips with mine, and he'd palm the crown of my head, pushing down while he undid his pants. He always won.

Eventually, I lost my virginity — not with him, mind you. Soon I realized his idea of sexual satisfaction was severely one-sided and not at all what sex was about. If I had known better, our affair would have ended as soon as it began.

Because of the choices I made early in my sexual career, I'm paying the price on the receiving end of a constant flow of bad love karma. I still attract the roving eye of other women's men. Luckily, my constitution is stronger seven years later. And I've had guys I've loved snatched up right under my nose. As much as this pains me, I have learned to accept my possible lot in life as the permanent singleton — unattached and un-girlfriendable, until I'm somehow absolved.

Now Hair God is in a band that's a UK darling with face time on MTV. He plays all over the world, followed by swarms of young women willing to get down on their knees just to be near him. How's that for bloody karma? — Anonymous

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