I don’t believe in monogamy. The first time I said this out loud to anyone was at a party my roommate was having. It was supposed to be a party with my friends too but I think 2008 was one of the years I didn’t really have any friends. When my roommate asked where all my friends were, I just shrugged and lit a cigarette.
The only person I had invited was Brandon, who lived downstairs. The previous night, as I was coming home, I saw him through his window reading without a shirt on. He was wearing grey jogging pants and holding the book out in front of him as he paced across the floor. Sometimes he’d stop at his dining table to eat a handful of raw spinach before continuing on again. I smoked outside his window so that if he caught me staring at him I could pretend the cigarette was the reason for being there. This was the first time I thought about kissing him.
He still hadn’t shown up, and the only other guys there were talking about how one of them had stuck a chicken wing up his ass while the other filmed it; apparently it got a lot of hits on youtube. Everyone was outside on our rickety patio, which overlooked a makeshift tent that a crackhead named Big Dog and his girlfriend had built in our backyard that summer. It was really nice out so I mostly sat in a corner on the floor and smoked a lot of cigarettes and drank out of a pretty expensive bottle of wine, taking a drag of someone’s joint as it was passed along. I really just wanted this party to be over and for all of these girls in cut-off denim skirts and cellulite dotting their thighs to leave. This was the first time I realized that lame frat kids still looked like lame frat kids as adults. They were just a little older and their frat was the group of friends they watched UFC with after work, high-fiving each other and commenting on the waitress’s bust.
‘You really don’t know how to socialize do you?’ He sat beside me and took a swig of the wine.
I kept looking at him and then imagining him with his shirt off, reading to me out loud and feeding me spinach. I hadn’t even noticed him walking over to me until he said that.
‘No. I tried talking to that girl and she said she worked in an office organizing data files and then I didn’t know what to say. So I just smiled at her for a few seconds and then walked away.’
‘You should have come downstairs. I was just making dinner.’
‘What do you think normal people talk about? Like what do these people talk about when they have dinner with their boyfriends or something?’
‘Probably television. They probably share a show together and then talk about it. I think they also talk about the people they work with and things their bosses say to them. I imagine it’s really quite drab.’
‘What do you think they watch?’
‘Um. Grey’s Anatomy, Two and a Half Men, that one with the fat guy who’s a UPS driver.’
‘Oh yeah. What’s that one called? Maybe that’s two and a half men because he’s so fat.’
After this we didn’t really say anything. We just sat in the corner listening and watching the other people. I put my head on his legs so I could look up at the sky instead of at legs with fake tans and bad sandals.
‘I don’t believe in monogamy.’ I said this without thinking about it; somehow it just coerced its way out my mouth, without my awareness of its formulation in my mind or the function of my brain sending it to the back of my throat.
I think he asked me to explain but instead I talked about wearing a jet pack and swinging from the stars or sitting on clouds, both of which were obviously not possible. He said maybe I could just hang out kind of close to them instead. I said that I imagined a jet pack would have a hover function.
After that night I told every boy I ever went on a date with or met at a sweaty bar that I didn’t believe in monogamy, because I didn’t. I didn’t think it was possible to still want to have sex with the same person more than 1000 times. 1000 was the highest number of times I could imagine doing it with someone before it got too boring to do more than once a year. Or one person would be really bored and the other person would just do it because that is one of the benefits of long-term relationships, you can do it anytime. The one person who initiated it would probably be imagining other things, like maybe a pair of legs they noticed on the bus, or a porno they watched with a Hummer in the background, or a girlfriend they had sex with fourteen years ago.
When I explained this to him a few years after I had moved out and he asked me out to dinner, Brandon understood what I meant. I was lying on his legs again but this time on his couch and he started playing with my hair like he felt sorry for me, like he was thinking that I was sad and that’s why I had said it. He stroked my head like I was a kitten, newly separated from its mother but I mostly just felt sad for him.