This is the story of The Count…….as told by The Countess…..
Hell’s Kitchen, NYC, 47th and 9th: An English bad boy sits in an Irish pub with his dad, buying round after round; I walk in and catch his eye. I strolled over, claiming the spot next to Dad and Junior at the bar. Just as I finished ordering, Junior leaned over to comment on my choice of vodka and lime, deeming it “serious”.
“Oh, I take everything seriously,” I smiled. I just couldn’t get enough of him. Seriously. Physically, he encapsulated everything I adore: tall, lean, dark short hair, piercing eyes, naughty twinkle.
“I’m Mark. This is my dad, who’s visiting from London,” he said, shaking my hand. Us American women…in the right situation, we appreciate handshakes with subtext and Mark’s over-squeezed with subtext.
Hell, his name could’ve been Phyllis and that would’ve been seriously fine. He knew that, too, which is why he kept touching my shoulder, the small of my back, getting me drinks because my GOD I downed that first one. Dad finally excused himself to the bathroom, patting Mark on the back before leaving.
“Take it easy on the pretty thing, Mark,” he smiled. As soon as he disappeared, Mark kissed me. We arranged to meet at the bar a few days later. I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend, just something hot. It’d been too long.
What an incredible kisser. He’s going to be incredible in bed, I thought.
God, Mark sucked in bed. I’m usually good at telling if a man is going to be good in bed, but the few times I’ve been wrong qualify as spectacular failures.
Mark qualifies as one of those spectacular failures.
We met at the bar as arranged, flirting over a few drinks before heading back to his place. He lived in a stylish, modern doorman building. As the elevator doors shut, I saw the doorman looking at me like, “Run, honey, run: like Forrest Gump, girl!” A bad feeling bubbled in my stomach. Doormen know a lot about the people who live in their buildings, especially in NYC.
Once inside his apartment, Mark began grabbing at me like a three year old grabbing at an ice cream cone. He came off like a playground crybaby more than a hot guy. Sloppy. He pulled and tugged at my clothes. I found myself on my back in a matter of minutes with even my breasts covered in salvia. I hung in there, not ready to give up hope. He pushed in with a groan that sounded like an old man passing a kidney stone, or like a sailor suffering through a shit with a massive hemmoroid. All hope was gone.
However, the worst was yet to come, because Mark liked counting.
Let me explain. As Mark thrust away with all the excitement of oatmeal, he whispered something in my ear. I wasn’t paying attention, as the thought of oatmeal proved to be much more enjoyable than sex with Mark.
“What?” I asked.
“How many men have you slept with? Because if you say like 20, I’ll be ok.”
Really, I didn’t know how to respond. I thought he might be some kind of misogynist that gets off on putting down women who enjoy sex. He might slap me if the number’s too high, I reasoned, gearing up to knee him in the groin and bite him on the jugular. I figured I could grab my clothes and run down the hall, get dressed in the elevator, then apologize to the doorman for not heeding his warning before asking him to alibi me for murder. Surely he’d understand. I saw how he looked at me, full of dismay. He knows all about Mark. I bet Mark doesn’t even tip him at Christmas, I told myself. Mark interrupted my happy murder plot fantasy with more whispering.
“So if it’s 20, like I said, it’s ok. But say you’ve been with like, 121 guys, and I’ll love it. It really gets me off.”
Well, why didn’t you say so, I thought. Made me furious to know that I could’ve just been shouting numbers and he might’ve already suffered a calculator overflow.
“121. I’ve slept with 121 men. Last week. And I plan to sleep with about 145 or so. Maybe even 121 more. I dunno; it could be 131. But there’s gonna be a lot more, I can tell you that…121!”
121 is not only an odd number, but an odd fixation. It’s like saying your favorite color is tan, or you just can’t get enough of celery Jell-O (Yes, such a flavor did exist!) The number did the trick, though. In no time, he rolled off then paced the floor, lighting a cigarette.
“Guess I’ll go. Need to be up early,” I muttered.
He handed me my clothes; I dressed, wondering where I should go for a drink. About 121 of them. As I exited the lobby, the doorman nodded. I bet he’s given that same sad nod 121 times, I thought.
When I told my friends about Mark, they gave me the nickname “121”, but I guess it’s better than “69”.
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