When I joined Open Salon eight months ago, I read poetry and political commentary. Times have changed. OS is now saturated with sexual content. It's a shame. What began as a unique and intriguing online journal has turned into a prurient tabloid. The change has left me disgusted. And angry.
Last week, it hit me: Everyone at OS is having great sex -- except me. Well, I'm tired of being left out. Just because I'm shy and nerdy doesn't mean I should be neglected. I'm a nice person. Who knows? Maybe there's a woman out there who finds me attractive.
In any case, I'm tired of women patting me on the head and calling me "that adorable little doctor." I want to be strong and powerful. I want to be an object of lust. I want to be ... Dr. Steve Blevins, Sexual Conquistador!
Last week I decided to make it happen. I went on the prowl. My prey: Bridget Anderson, front-desk clerk and hottest babe in the clinic. Bridget is a beautiful blond with gorgeous eyes and a perfect figure. She's not the brightest bulb in the clinic, but she's super-sexy. I called her to my office.
"Bridget," I said, "What I'm about to say may shock you, but I'm going to come right out and say it. I've been admiring you for months -- and I think you're gorgeous. I want you to know I'm deeply attracted to you and I'd like to make love to you tonight."
Bridget looked at me with breathtaking disinterest. She did not respond.
"Well?" I muttered.
"I'm listening," she said. "Go on."
"Go on? That's all I have."
She seemed disappointed. "That's it?"
She shook her head. "Don't you have something to offer?"
I understood the situation immediately.
"Oh, yes," I replied. "Let's see. Hmmm. Well, what if I raise your salary by a dollar an hour?"
Bridget closed her eyes and began counting on her fingers. I could tell she was struggling with the math. She then asked to borrow my calculator. I obliged. Ten minutes later, she put it away and pulled out her calendar. Another five minutes passed. She then smiled at me with self-satisfaction.
"Okay, Dr. Blevins, I can pencil you in on March 7."
"March 7!" I exclaimed. "That's in four months!"
She didn't like my reaction. "Dr. Blevins, this is the holiday season. Do you have any idea how busy I am? I'm sorry. March is the best I can do."
I was incensed. "Well, forget it! Just forget it! I don't want to make love to you, now or in March!"
Bridget remained cool. "Look," she said, "If you're that desperate, why don't you ask Tunesha? She's going through a dry spell."
I was angry. "Tunesha? Are you crazy? No way. There's no freakin' way!"
Bridget had had enough. She stood and glared at me. "Gee, Dr. Blevins, I didn't know you were a racist."
I was furious. "I'm not a racist!" I yelled, but she was already out the door.
I turned toward my desk and buried my head in my hands. I couldn't believe what had transpired. Racist? Me? How absurd! I had lots of black friends. There wasn't a racist bone in my body. Still, I wondered: Why had I rejected Tunesha so quickly? She was young and attractive. I had no reason to reject her. Was there a soupçon of bigotry in my subconscious?
I thought about it all night, and the more I thought about it, the more agitated I became. Tunesha was a fine woman -- and probably good in bed. More importantly, I was not a racist, and I was determined to prove it.
The next day, I called Tunesha to my office. As soon as she entered, I predicted trouble. Her eyes were cold; her arms were crossed. I'd never seen her in such high dudgeon, but I was determined to press forward.
"Tunesha, what I'm going to say will surprise you, but I don't care. I just want you to know that I find you very attractive. You're a wonderful person, and I think you're very hot. In fact, I'd like to make love to you tonight."
Tunesha's mood changed instantly. She donned the loveliest smile. I could tell she was thrilled! She jumped out of chair and wrapped her arms around me.
"I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!" she squealed. "You're not a racist! Bridget said you were, but I knew you weren't! You're wonderful, Dr. Blevins."
"Well, thanks," I said. "So, you'll make love to me?"
"No, sweetie," she replied."But you're so nice to ask."
"Don't get me wrong, Dr. Blevins. I think the world of you, but you're not really my type."
"And what is your type?"
"And what am I?"
I was not pleased.
Sensing my discontent, she said, "Look, if you really need sex that bad, why don't you ask the phlebotomist?"
"The phlebotomist? Which phlebotomist?"
"You know, Nathan."
"Nathan!" I yelled. "Are you crazy? I'm not gay!"
"But he is," she replied. "And who knows? You might enjoy it."
"You're freakin' crazy!" I howled. "You're totally and freakingly out of your freakin' mind! No way! There's absolutely no way!"
Tunesha's smile disappeared. "Well, Dr. Blevins, I guess I misjudged you. I didn't know you were a homophobe."
"Homophobe?" I yelled. "That's insane! I'm not a homophobe!"
Tunesha's patience had run out. She walked toward the door, shook her head in disappointment, and left.
Shocked, I sat down and began thinking. What a terrible thing she had said! I wasn't a homophobe. I had lots of gay friends. How dare she accuse me of that. Still, I asked myself: Why had I rejected Nathan so quickly? He was kind and courteous, though somewhat melancholic. He seemed very lonely and he never spoke to anyone, but so what? Maybe he was an interesting person. Maybe he was fun. And why was I being so judgmental? Maybe a little gay sex was what I needed.
The following day I decided to give it a whirl. I called Nathan to my office.
"Nathan," I said, "What I'm going to say will surprise you. Don't be shocked. Just hear me out. You probably think no one notices you, but that's not true. I've noticed you, and I think you're really neat. In fact, I find you very attractive. Now, I know this will come as a surprise, but I've been thinking a lot about this lately and I'd really like to make love to you."
Nathan stared at me blankly. I couldn't tell if my words were registering with him.
After a few mintes, he broke the silence: "Dr. Blevins, I didn't know you were gay."
"Okay, well, aren't you a bit, um, mature to be experimenting?"
"I'm not experimenting."
He seemed puzzled. "Do you have the swine flu?"
"No, Nathan. Just answer the question, okay?"
"Well, Dr. Blevins," he stammered, "I think you're fantastic and, um, everyone likes you. In fact, you're the best doctor I've ever worked with. But, um, if it's all the same to you, I'll take a raincheck."
"A raincheck? Why?"
Nathan's discomfort was noticeable. "I think you're a fantastic doctor --and please don't take this the wrong way -- but, with all due respect, you're not my type, though you're a really, really great doctor."
"And what is your type?" I asked.
"Manly," he replied.
"I am manly!"
"Well, Dr. Blevins, to be quite honest, you are super-nice, and I really don't mean this in a bad way, but you make my metrosexual brother Cliff look like Brad Pitt."
Nathan knew I was angry. Seeking to remove himself from the spotlight, he said, "Dr. Blevins, I've got an idea! Why don't you ask Shirley out! Shirley really likes you. I'm serious. She told me so. I promise."
"Shirley? Shirley who?"
"You know Shirley. Shirley in the gift shop."
I felt the blood pooling in my face.
"Shirley!" I yelled. "Shirley has Down's Syndrome!"
"She's a high-functioning Down's," he corrected.
I was seething with rage -- and Nathan knew it.
"I'm sorry, Dr. Blevins. I didn't mean to upset you. I didn't know you had a problem with the mentally challenged."
That was the last straw.
I jumped out of my chair, grabbed Nathan by the collar, and roared: "Listen, Nathan, and listen good. I don't have a problem with the mentally challenged. In fact, I LOVE the mentally challenged. And guess what? I also LOVE the gays. And guess what else? I LOVE the blacks. But you know what? I DON'T WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH EVERY GODDAM ONE OF THEM!"
Exasperated, I put on my jacket and prepared to leave, but Nathan wouldn't let me go in such a mood.
"Dr. Blevins, this may sound, um, crazy, but have you ever thought of, maybe, going home and making love to your wife?"
An arctic air entered the room.
Nathan had mentioned the unmentionable -- and I was loathe to admit my vulnerability. A flood of emotion entered my heart. I bowed my head in embarrassment. I was torn: I didn't want to discuss this, but I did want to unburden myself. Finally I gave in.
"Nathan," I confessed, "Susan has lost interest in me. She doesn't care about me any more. I love her very much, but she doesn't feel the same way. I don't know what to do."
Nathan looked confident for the first time.
"Dr. Blevins, I don't mean to pry, but do you ever bring flowers to your wife, or read poetry to her, or play the piano for her, or massage her feet?"
The question stung. Sheepishly I replied, "No, Nathan. I don't."
"Well, maybe you should," he argued. His face was now expressive. He looked dead-serious.
"Thanks, Nathan. I appreciate the suggestion. But if I did those things, Susan would have me committed."
"Well, Dr. Blevins, with all due respect, I think you've crossed that line already."
I paused for a moment and reflected on his advice. And the more I reflected on it, the more brilliant it seemed.
"You know, Nathan, maybe you're right. Maybe I should pay more attention to Susan. I tell you what. I'll give it a try -- just for you."
"That's the spirit, Dr. Blevins! I'm proud of you."
I looked at Nathan. His concern for my marriage was real. He truly wanted to help me. This inconspicuous phlebotomist was, in fact, an engaging and empathetic young man.
"Nathan," I said. "I'm really impressed with you. You are wise beyond your years. How do you know so much about women?"
"Oh, I'm gay," he replied.
I smiled and thanked him for his counsel. I then walked him to his car and bade him farewell.
Driving home that evening, I felt invigorated. I thought about Susan. I loved her very much and I was determined to rebuild our marriage. At each stoplight, I dreamed of what we could achieve with a little work and lots of love. And I hoped that Nathan would one day experience a dream as uplifting and inspired.