The Art Of One Night Stands (Frankie – 2007)
This article was originally published in Frankie Magazine #18. It was also published in The Sex Mook (Vignette Press 2007).
One Night Stands – the methadone clinics for intimacy junkies. For many, this grope on a rope mentality is too depraved to consider. It conjures up conjugal imagery of a greasy footballer and a Midori soaked netball specialist in a soft porn yawn. For us fragile art-folk, it’s either long term relationships or thoughtful glances followed by conversations about bands, a kiss on the cheek and a cryptic Myspace message if you’re lucky. Right?
That was my assumption as I found myself dumped in the bacteria filled wading pool of singledom, at the end of a seven year waterslide of serial monogamy. Ah, the twists and turns of arousingly routine mixtapes, movies, and massages. I had somehow managed to slide from one relationship to the next, always knowing where my next emotional meal was coming from, but now my heart was homeless. I was standing in Speedos on the icy deck of the singles scene – haunted by Catholic guilt, exposed, neurotic, broke, depressed and desperately horny. I was going to fit right in.
I had a faint idea how to survive in the single world. Piecing together my memories of movies and books, I realised that at some point I would most likely have to talk to a girl. Finding this too far-fetched, I discovered a communication loophole when I began to frequent an open-mic poetry night. Little did I realise but like most art scenes, the gig was just a shopfront for an in-house debauch-fest of idiosyncratic mess-ups. As a performer, material became ‘ice-breaker spam’ for the introflirted audience. These nights provided an anaesthetised entry into the neon cauldron of the uncommitted, as I honed the use of my ‘Greydar’ to find girls as lonely as me.
What initially perplexed me about the ‘Twelve Hour Delve’ was the way I’d turn into Disclaimer Boy. The lovechild of Hugh Grant and Woody Allen, Disclaimer Boy’s trademark move was rescuing the situation through a devastating combination of apologies and explanations. “I don’t normally do this kind of thing.” (CRASH!). “I don’t want to give you the wrong impression.” (KAPOW!).“ “I can’t handle a relationship at the moment.” (WHAP!). Disclaimer boy would often find that by saying he wasn’t serious about the situation, he gave the situation a graven gravity. It was also revealed to him by his arch-nemeses ‘Clarity Girl’ that he probably would have a relationship if he found the right person, and that he was really saying ‘It’s you I don’t want a relationship with, you indie slapper.’ (OUCH!)
As a One Night Stand, the sex bit itself was always characteristically wayward, amateur and blurry – something like the storyboards to an adult film made at TAFE. The amount of alcohol consumed pickles the diorama of semi-conscious fantasy into some bizarre primal screensaver mode. As the mouse of morning stirs, the gummy window of your mind maximises, followed by the familiar catchcry of ‘Nude, where’s my clothes?’ You are then faced with the anti-romance of the post-apocalyptic Achilles heel – the One Morning Sit.
Many people successfully avoid their breakfast of regret flakes by nicking off in the early hours. I could never do this, due to my other superhero Ex-Christian Sense Of Guilt Nice-Guy Man. This often led to some truly awkward half-hugs in the kitchen, followed by the mutual appearance of urgent things to do. I am utterly fascinated by the paradox that sharing your entire body with a stranger is okay, while in the morning the concept of holding hands is far too intimate and fingertips turn to snails.
They say sex is never devoid of emotion, I would agree, but add that most bars offer a great range of heart tranquilisers. For years I decided that I was too sensitive and romantic to do the One Night Stand thing, but if necessity is the mother of invention then I could take out the grand final on The New Inventors with the complex justification program I’ve come up with. The truth is, it’s not for everyone but, as the comic says: Is it a laugh? Is it a cry? No…yes…maybe? It’s Captain Experiment! Figures sold desperately.