Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the Engaged Woman Considering Airplane Sex: Female, 31, Los Angeles and London, publicist, bisexual, engaged.
6:45 a.m. I wake early and anxious and spoon with my fiancé briefly before I jump out of bed. My passport has expired, and I’m counting the minutes until I go to the U.S. Embassy for my emergency appointment. The irony. I’ve spent the last two months encouraging a troop of Brazilian creatives to make sure their travel documents are in order for their U.K. press tour.
9:30 a.m. I hit the computer at work. When it’s press week, I think about nothing but deadlines.
5:15 p.m. The team takes a taxi to the Strand. London at night never fails to impress me: the pale stone under a navy sky, golden illumination. In taxis, I feel the power and history of the city most acutely.
6:30 p.m. The event is good. Their English is strong, which comes as some relief. The room is brightly lit and buzzing with Brazil specialists and media. A photographer takes my picture and captions it with “Pure charm.” I feel flattered, like I’m made of flesh and blood, not just the person making sure everyone shows up where and when they have to. The Brazilian who is traveling the most for us smiles mischievously when I touch his arm and thank him for coming.
8 p.m. We take a short walk through the old market at Covent Garden and slip past the queue at a private members club. Two glasses of English Champagne later, Mischievous Grin and I are having Vieux Carré absinthe atop the Centre Point tower. London spreads out beneath us, a network of starlight. I feel a bit dizzy. He reaches out to touch my arm. “You have incredible collarbones. You shouldn’t be allowed to show them.” I pull away out of his reach. He is tall and heavy, with light coffee skin. He acts like his body is a gift waiting to be unwrapped. He asks if my boyfriend and Fiancé know about each other. I tell him I’m just lazy about calling my fiancé my fiancé. They are the same person.
11:45 p.m. I crawl into bed with Fiancé, and I tell him about my night. He laughs and renames Mischievous Grin “Brazenis,” Brazilian Penis. We fall asleep before we can have sex. Press week exhausts me.
6:45 a.m. Fiancé and I wake up. He pushes his erection against me.
9:30 a.m. Work.
8 p.m. My colleague and I shepherd the Brazenis from a public engagement to dinner.
9:30 p.m. After dinner, we walk up an impossibly quaint street: second-hand bookstore, a veterinarian with a hand-painted sign. At least one vintage shop specializing in clothing from the twenties. “Colleague,” I say, “is this store expensive? That dress is a perfect bridesmaid dress for my sister.” “I don’t know, but it would look lovely on you.” Colleague is a true English gentleman. Impossibly polite and gently complimentary. Fiancé and I like him very much. I stare at the sparkling, gray, beaded gown, imagining my sister’s form filling it out. She has a modest chest and dancer’s limbs. I’d have to buy her a slip, since it’s completely sheer. Brazenis says, “It would not only look good on you, it would look the best on you of all things.”
9:45 p.m. Colleague goes right where the Brazenis and I go left, and we part at the top of the leafy road. We walk down one of London’s main arteries, past descriptionless storefronts and gas stations towards King’s Cross St Pancras. He bumps his body against mine, lavishes me with compliments. When we arrive at the tube, we are talking about eye color. “I hate green eyes,” he says. Without thinking, I say, “But I have green eyes.” He stops, lifts my glasses. There are so many little betrayals of our social contract, where he is the company’s client and I am his publicist. This is the worst yet. I say good-night and walk away. He calls after me, asking me to stay, get a drink, anything. I don’t care if I’m being rude, I don’t look back.
10 p.m. I don’t handle this well and have worked myself up on the tube journey home. His aggressive flirtations remind me too much of the advances of a man I dated for two years who left me black, blue, and mentally wrecked. Fiancé is sweet and says, “Not everyone who flirts with you is a sociopath.” He fondles me in the way that makes me feel womanly and pretty. “It would be an insult if he didn’t fancy you, and of course it’s more fun to court a woman who is taken.” We are too tired to have sex.
5:45 a.m. I wake early with Fiancé, who is taking a last-minute business trip before our holiday in Los Angeles. We’ll meet at the airport in two days. I do an obsessive check of the documents I need for my appointment at the Embassy, as if when I stop touching them, an evil elf will spirit them away. I dress to look responsible in case anything goes wrong.
9 a.m. I arrive early. Guards with guns populate the Embassy grounds. I’m ushered through security. The young, handsome guards scan my bag. I wouldn’t mind if I set off the alarm and they had to pat me down. Nothing beeps. They wave me through.
9:15 a.m. I sit in a waiting room filled with babies and young families. I try to read through some work files but am too tired. I close my eyes, nervous that something will go wrong and this visit will turn into bureaucratic hell. I imagine sitting in a little room with a desk between me and the counsellor, pleading for my passport. “Now, miss, I can give you your travel documents, but first let me have a look at those pretty feet.” I settle happily into the fantasy, imagining this nameless, faceless man in a not-quite-smart-enough suit sliding his penis between my toes.
10:15 a.m. Getting my emergency passport is much less exciting.
Noon: I meet Fiancé at Heathrow. I like the feeling of being reunited. He’ll age well; those deep smile lines around his eyes, a full mouth, his two front teeth slightly too big, making him look boyish when he smiles. I want him to pull down my tights and ram me against the cold porcelain of the nearest bathroom sink. We greet each other with a deep kiss; I tell him about my fantasy, and he squeezes me tenderly. We can’t wait to be naked with each other, but neither of us really enjoy sex in public spaces.
12:10 p.m. “Do you want to join the mile-high club this time?” I ask.
“Not really,” he says. “Everyone will notice we’re both gone, and then we have to sit with those people for eleven hours.” I think about the sink in the airplane toilet, that awful smell. Still, we haven’t had sex for a week. Public spaces are often so ill-equipped for sex.
8 p.m. On the plane, I think about giving him a hand job underneath his blanket, but the presence of the older woman to my right makes me think better of it. Instead, I watch Savages, starring Blake Lively, the fuel of my masturbatory fantasies, who gets slammed by an actor playing a buff veteran and then a threesome with the other male lead. I can barely appreciate it, I am so tired and heavy with red wine, altitude, and claustrophobia.
6 p.m. On Pacific Standard Time now. At home in bed, in a delirious half sleep, Fiancé gives me the deep, hot shaking shag I’ve been wanting all week.
4 a.m. Fiancé and I have another quickie. He knows I love them in the morning. We lay happy, spent in the dark of the early morning.
11 a.m. I strip off in front of the mirror to take my first shower after the plane ride. Homecoming is a reckoning. Like many Californians, I grew up with a culturally inherited eating disorder. I drop my cotton dress around my ankles and worry I won’t like what I see. To my surprise, I love my large breasts, swelling hips, and slim waist. I want to put on a bikini, but we’re going out. I pull out a lemon-yellow miniskirt and a low-cut silk blouse with an insect print and cork platform wedges. Fiancé wraps his arms around me and grabs my breasts from behind. The first time he did this, I exhaled the words Thank you, so now it has become our custom.
Noon We wander a farmer’s market with my family. My sister is working at one of the stalls selling Buddha’s hands and the last of this year’s starfruit crop. We bump into one of my father’s employees, a young man he recently hired. I spot Fiancé in the crowd. He greets me with a kiss on the lips. When we walk away Fiancé says, “I like the way that guy looked slightly disappointed after I kissed you.”
5:45 a.m. Fiancé and I cuddle in bed, pressing our bodies into each other, laughing and whispering words of love.
6 a.m. I’m on the computer, answering e-mails.
9:30 a.m. My father and Fiancé bring me back pancakes from their breakfast. I am so excited by food that I eat all three cakes and the bacon.
5:30 p.m. We travel to the airport to pick up a friend who has come to spend Thanksgiving with us. We’ve known her since Fiancé and I first met. She is petite, intelligent, and wonderfully English: polite, filthy, and easily flustered. We have a running fantasy of having a threesome with her that is part joke and partly truly arousing.
6:30 p.m. In the car on the drive home, we take the coastal route. She tells us about the last men she’s slept with and asks how she and I will find a waxing salon. She keeps herself bare, apparently. I tell her about the Korean spa she and I are going to. Fiancé can’t believe I’ll finally get to see her naked. Fiancé whispers to me when we get out of the car, to rile me up, “She’ll see your big clit at the spa!” “Shut up,” I say. “I have a way that I tuck it in so no one sees.” It is something I am and am not at ease with, at least not since a younger lover asked me years ago, sheepishly, if I had once been a man. I thought he was an idiot for asking, but the comment left a trace. I haven’t seen enough clitori to know if I’m somewhere in the middle or oddly large. Size is a feature of our trifecta of amicable flirtation. Next to Guest’s sparrowlike frame, my flesh is pendulous, like I was raised on milk, honey, and meat.
9 p.m. Guest and I bake walnut-chocolate and pumpkin pies and drink wine with my family.
Noon Thanksgiving preparation is in full swing.
5 p.m. My family raises a toast to welcome Fiancé into the family.
7:30 p.m. Jet lag and turkey hit us. I fall asleep in my bed with my head pressed against Guest’s, who is watching a movie with Fiancé.
TOTALS: 1 colleague’s advance rebuffed; 1 Embassy guard fantasy entertained; 2 acts of intercourse; 1 worry about size of clitoris.