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Anatomy of a Dry Spell (A Complete Timeline)

Day 1: Funny, it's about to begin, and you don't even know it. Just as the Ice Age began with someone casually remarking that they should've worn a scarf today, your dry spell commences with an uneventful 24 hours without sex. In fact, you're still focused on last night. You not only have the memories, but the physical evidence-longer hairs on your pillow, a wine glass stained with lipstick, welts from a tennis racket. It was quite an evening, and you're feeling blissful and bulletproof.

Week 1: It would have been a good idea to have programmed her number into your cell phone instead of drunkenly attempting to etch it into a napkin with a swizzle stick. On the other hand, you suddenly recall something she said about a boyfriend and a pitiless stare and mixed martial arts. But there's no shame in a week without sex. Please, you're not a rock star.

Month 1: This isn't a problem. It's a breather, really. It's just a lunch break: you'll enjoy a Panda Express combo platter at the food court and buy some shoe laces and razor blades, and when you're done, your cubicle will be waiting there to give you head. But it couldn't hurt to think about, you know, the future, maybe put the word out. You've heard mixed reviews about online personals.

Month 3: You don't have a black book. Frankly, you haven't been with enough people to justify a directory, and the swaths of untouched alphabet would only embarrass you. You do have a few emails stored, however. Last you heard from your ex Carla, you were chided for not attending her commitment ceremony. ("For the last time, I do not blame you for making me a lesbian. I thank you for it.") In your note to Danielle from about a year ago, you accused her having the personality of norovirus. But then there's Beth, whom you met through a mutual acquaintance and chatted with for fifteen minutes before you each remembered urgent, fabricated errands you had to run. Awkward, but perhaps not beyond redemption. Suddenly, you're typing: "It's been a few years, but I was wondering why it is we never managed to hook up again. Anyway, how are things in the Dean campaign?"

Month 5: Your reunion with Beth never happens, but you are on her mailing list for pictures of her ferrets. Meanwhile, you continue to prowl the personals, eschewing anyone who has written the words "friends first" or "family oriented." Sure, maybe someday, but right now you just need a woman who somehow finds the top-to-bottom mediocrity of your profile reason enough to play with a nipple. You have also visited the Casual Encounters section of Craigslist. Naturally, you haven't replied, because you're certain that the classifieds are placed by escorts or men or cannibals.

Of course, there have to be, you know, one or two exceptions, right?

Month 7: You've tried your luck at the bars a number of times, but your confidence has decayed, and your patter, such as it was, would now be more charming and persuasive if delivered by a telemarketer. In your email of abject apology to Danielle, whom you not only accused of having the personality of norovirus but the intellect of twelve generations of incest, you explain you were merely intimidated by a strong woman. She writes back just to remind you that she only fucks half-brothers. Fair enough.

In your personal ad, you relax your preferences for height and weight.

Month 9: Hello, strip club! You enter The Kitten Cabaret with a certain amount of superiority: you'll never be one of those gargoyles who lurks near the stage feeding cash into G-strings. In fact, you fully expect the woman giving you a lap dance to say something like, "What's a swinging guy like you doing here?" Drinks after her shift, perhaps? Instead, she grinds against you vigorously, but disinterestedly. You can tell she's thinking about calling plan options or something, attuned to the environment just enough to determine when Usher's done singing. Having spent your money for kinda nothing, the question seems, if only briefly, reasonable: "Would I pay for the real thing?" Maybe one of those "massage" places, which when you think about it isn't prostitution at all. It's just more comprehensive therapy.

In your personal ad, you relax your preferences for distance and drug use and language spoken. Yep, you'll cross state lines for a Laotian ether addict.

Year 1: You write to Carla, who's so, so glad to reconnect. She's still happily involved with Susan; in fact, they were married officially on the Cape and are now expecting their first child. This is all grand, but you only wrote to her because you thought deep down she missed cock, and the honeymoon photo of her and her wife in snorkeling gear shames you.

Your friends-who've been no help at all-assure you it'll happen when you least expect it. Since you couldn't expect it any less than you do at this moment, you can only assume you're moments away from fucking one of your friends.

Year 1, Day 7: You're on the subway. A woman boards and pulls out a paperback, a book you've recently read and haven't yet forgotten entirely. The seat next to her is vacant. Funny, it's about to end, and you don't even know it.

Oh wait, there's her boyfriend.

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