Jackie Summers paints a picture of the irrepressible urge to flirt with women as the warm-weather clothes come out.
The equinox has come, and gone. Daylight saves time, reclaiming its dominance over darkness. My brown skin slakes in sunlight, infusing my libido with renewed fervor. Primal urges rise in me, in tandem with the mercury. I hear the beat of tribal drums, rumbling like thunder in the distance…
I ignore them.
The preponderance of perky breasts poking skyward, free of their cotton and underwire prisons, proudly proclaim both their defiance of gravity and the end of hibernation. Clothing, inhibitions, and the burdens of commitment are sloughed like so much dead skin, in preparation for the return of the hunt: Wabbit Season is upon us. Springtime in New York City is impending; the clarion blares the invitation to attend a ritualistic pagan fertility festival that will last from Memorial to Labor Day, the likes of which would make Caligula blush.
Politely I decline; I’ve simply no desire to join the melée.
I’ve self-diagnosed my malaise as a symptom of having flown too close to the sun. Each new season I engaged the rank and file blessed me with deeper skill and cunning, while cursing me with an addiction far more powerful than any drug: maturity. The craving for metaphysical stimulation, once experienced, transcends all base desires.
In my quests for quarry capable of appeasing my avaricious appetites, I’ve ascended Olympus, and descended into Avernus. I’ve cavorted with Amazons, reveled with Valkyries and seduced Sirens. I’ve wrestled angels and ravished goddesses, infused their essence with my own, and then nuzzled them, while enjoying the gentle throb of orifices attempting to return to their natural shape.
I have flown half a mile from heaven. And I have fallen from the sky.
Thus did the rites of spring grow wearisome. Hunting wabbits no longer seemed fair to them, or me. Chloé hammered home the final nail into this particular coffin.
The shoe department at Saks Fifth Avenue is of sufficient size as to boast its own zip code. Chloé was doing her best to end the recession single-handedly, when she barreled shopping-bags first out of their revolving doors, almost knocking me over. I caught just the slightest glimpse of aquamarine eyes peering at me over the rims of her oversized sunglasses. The familiar thundering of tribal drums summoning me to action drowned out the din of midday traffic; I knew I had to speak.
I raced down the street to catch up with her. “I see you’re on the go” I said, “but I just have to ask you: Are you in love with anybody right now?”
Chloé paused; she looked perplexed and unsure how to respond. “I don’t mean are you dating anybody at the moment” I continued. “You’re beautiful. I’m sure you’re seeing someone, or at least, someone thinks they’re seeing you. But are you in love with anyone? Because if you’re not, I’ve got to talk to you. You have to give me your phone number.”
It wasn’t something I’d said, or even prepared to say to a woman ever before, and it’s not something I’ve ever repeated. New York women are notorious for being difficult to approach, and rightly so, as the second they step outside of their homes they face being harangued by a contiguous stream of men, intent on getting into their well-fitting jeans. Armed with this knowledge, as they leave their homes each day they adjust their vestments, refresh their lipstick and don their bullshit-proof vests.
Herein lies the beauty of wabbit season; with time you grow to understand that the power of a semi-automatic rifle with laser-sighting pales in comparison to that of a well placed word, or turn of phrase. Insulting a woman–which seems to be a popular technique these days–takes no skill. The ability to approach a (possibly defensive) complete stranger in a manner which allows her to drop her guard, requires deftness. If you can’t be fearless, if you can’t be spontaneous, if you can’t read the subtle nuances and inflections of body language, if you don’t develop an instinct for improvisation and rapier repartee, you will spend an inordinate amount of time alone.
That said, Chloé was clearly disarmed, as she promptly doled out her digits. We started dating, and almost immediately I knew it was a mistake. Chloé was beautiful; distractingly so. A buyer for a major retailer, she was good-natured and kind, in a way that gorgeous women simply never have to be. Sexually she was gymnastically nimble, and voracious.
It would have been perfect, if only she’d been a foreign exchange student who spoke no English, or had I been a Gulf War veteran who’d suffered a debilitating case of hearing loss. Tinnitus would have been preferable to the melodious tone of perpetual yak issuing forth from her pretty, indefatigable mouth.
Chloé was intelligent, but about as interesting as soap bubbles. I knew she shopped for a living, but I could never understand why that seemed to be the only topic of conversation she seemed interested in exploring. Listening to her dole on endlessly about clothes and shoes made me want to stab myself in the eardrums with a flaming ice-pick, after which if some person were to be so kind as to piss into my ears so as to extinguish the blaze, I would have been much obliged. I swear, I could actually hear brain cells committing seppuku when we conversed.
Mind you, I’d planned on killing those brain cells with whiskey, but at least their sacrifice was not in vain. I wasn’t about to let a silly little thing like thinking interfere with our consummation.
I recall laying in bed late one night, after an evening of acrobatics suitable for Barnum & Bailey. Propped up on my elbows, I was listening to her yammer about an upcoming shoe sale. It was two A.M.; not so discreetly, I yawned.
“Am I boring you?” she snapped, clearly irritated at my disinterest.
“Not in the least” I countered. “Please, continue with the blathering blatherskite.”
Always congenial, she inquired what had gone wrong between us, several weeks after we’d stopped seeing each other. “From the first moment I saw you” I confessed, “I heard drums. Rhythmic, pulsating, hypnotic beats, churning in my subconscious. I can hear them right now, trying to drown out my ability for logic and reason. But I know for myself, I need full orchestration; whole symphonies. I want brass and strings, woodwinds and timpani, allegro y sotto voce and everything in-between. What we had wasn’t sustainable. You’re an amazing woman but I need more than just mind-blowing sex.”
When I heard myself say those words, I knew that wabbit season no longer for me. No matter how much you crave hasenpfeffer, if you’ve skill as a marksman it’s downright unsportsmanlike; what fun is there in a game you can’t lose?
A series of emotionally tepid, intellectually languid relationships, simply can not satisfy the yearning for greater depth. Maturity serves as both blessing and malediction; once you’ve suckled ambrosia from the teat of a woman who is capable of setting both your mind and heart on fire, there is no return.
When eagles mate, they fly up to the edge of the stratosphere, lock talons, and make love whilst free-falling toward oblivion. With any luck they finish, separate, and catch wing just before hitting the ground.
That’s love, as a life or death experience. Is that too much to ask?
Photo—Young man flirting on street from Shutterstock