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The “Me” Decade and the Third Great Awakening

Well—for God’s sake!—at just that sublime moment, likely as not, the goddam peanut would be popping out of her tail! As she smiled sublimely at her conquest, she also had to sit in her chair lopsided, with one cheek of her buttocks higher than the other, as if she were about to crepitate, because it hurt to sit squarely on the peanut. If for any reason she had to stand up at that point and walk, she would have to walk as if her hip joints were rusted out, as if she were 65 years old, because a normal stride pressed the peanut, and the pain would start up, and the bleeding, too, very likely. Or if she couldn’t get up and had to sit there for a while and keep her smile and her hot hormonal squinted eyes pinned on the men before her, the peanut would start itching or burning, and she would start double-tracking, as if her mind were a tape deck with two channels going at once. In one she’s the sexual princess, the Circe, taking a meeting and clouding men’s minds . . . and in the other she’s a poor bitch who wants nothing more in this world than to go down the corridor to the ladies’ room and get some Kleenex and some Vaseline and push the peanut back up into her intestines with her finger.

And even if she’s able to get away and do that, she will spend the rest of that day and the next, and the next, with a deep worry in the back of her brain, the sort of worry that always stays on the edge of your consciousness, no matter how hard you think of something else. She will be wondering at all times what the next bowel movement will be like, how solid and compact the bolus will be, trying to think back and remember if she’s had any milk, cream, chocolate, or any other binding substance in the last 24 hours, or any nuts or fibrous vegetables like broccoli. Is she really in for it this time—

The Sexual Princess! On the outside she has on her fireproof grin and her Fiorio scarf as if to say she lives in a world of Sevilles and 450SL’s and dinner last night at Dominick’s, a movie-business restaurant on Beverly Boulevard that’s so exclusive, Dominick keeps his neon sign (DOMINICK’S) turned off to make the wimps think it’s closed, but she (Hi, Dominick!) can get a table—but inside her it’s all the battle between the bolus and the peanut—

—and is it too late to leave the office and go get some mineral oil and let some of that vile glop roll down her gullet or get a refill on the softener tablets or eat some prunes or drink some coffee or do something else to avoid one of those horrible hard-clay boluses that will come grinding out of her, crushing the peanut and starting not only the bleeding but . . . the pain! . . . a horrible humiliating pain that feels like she’s getting a paper cut in her anus, like the pain you feel when the edge of a piece of bond paper slices your finger, plus a horrible hellish purple bloody varicose pressure, but lasting not for an instant, like a paper cut, but for an eternity, prolonged until the tears are rolling down her face as she sits in the cubicle, and she wants to cry out, to scream until it’s over, to make the screams of fear, fury, and humiliation obliterate the pain. But someone would hear! No doubt they’d come bursting right into the ladies’ room to save her! and feed their morbid curiosities! And what could she possibly say? And so she had simply held that feeling in all these years, with her eyes on fire and her entire pelvic saddle a great purple tub of pain. She had repressed the whole squalid horror of it—the searing peanut—

—until now. The trainer had said, “Take your finger off the repress button!” Let it gush up and pour out!

And now, as she lies here on the floor of the banquet hall of the Ambassador Hotel with 249 other souls, she knows exactly what he meant. She can feel it all, all of the pain, and on top of the pain all the humiliation, and for the first time in her life she has permission from the Management, from herself, and from everyone around her to let the feeling gush forth. So she starts moaning.

“Ooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh!”

And when she starts moaning, the most incredible and exhilarating thing begins to happen. A wave of moans spreads through the people lying around her, as if her energy were radiating out like a radar pulse.


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