Do I Know You?

 

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Do I know you?

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AFFIRMATIVE

Do I know you? What kind of question is that? We’re basically soulmates. Sure, I only met you last night during karaoke at Suite, but I can say with absolute certainty that, in the words of the great Kelly Clarkson, my life would suck without you.

While the faceless torso pic on Grindr was what initially drew me in, it was your hair that sealed the deal. The way it cascaded down your neck in soft curls, blending in perfectly with the tufts peeking out from the collar of your doubtlessly ironic Brooklyn Nets t-shirt. Later that night, running my fingers through the tangled swirls of your back hair, I knew you were The One.

I hope I’m not coming on too strong. You did give me a strange look when I stuck my tongue in your ear because I saw a bit of wax clinging to the fuzz. You have such adorable ears, though, twisting away from your skull and dotted with these precious little bumps. You said they were from some infected piercing and full of pus but whatever, okay? I accept you as you are, and that’s what’s important. My friends might have said you were kind of ugly, but they’re some fools—you’re better than beautiful, you’re interesting.

I know that we can’t really have children together (unless you have a sister who wants to be a surrogate! Just kidding. Sort of), but I already ran our Facebook profile pictures (why haven’t you accepted my friend request yet???) through one of those baby face generators and, let me tell you, our kids would be the absolute cutest! I wonder if little Jimmy (you like that name, right? I was also considering Richard, or maybe Aiden, to be trendy) would have your bald spot and my eyes. That would be perfect.

I know I don’t know much about you (I’ll save the screencap of our first conversation forever. You: Hi. Me: Hey! You: Horny? Me: Yes. You: You don’t look like your pic…) but honestly I don’t think there are too many more things you’d need to actually tell me in order for me to feel this way about you. I could tell how gentle you were from the way you really made sure that we used enough lube, and your tenderness was so obvious as you carefully wiped the cum out of my hair. And sure, you weren’t willing to use a condom, but like, whatever, right? Who needs words when we can just join mouths instead? It seems so much more efficient that way.

I’m starting to get a little worried, though. The only text I’ve received from you is that blurry shot of your dick you took in the bathroom before we hooked up. We know each other biblically. This must be the beginning of an epic love. The Bible has so many couples, doesn’t it? Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Sodom and Gomorrah, Adam and Steve—those are all gay guys, right? I skipped those sections of Lit Hum, truth be told. Anyway.

Text me back.

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NEGATIVE

Absolutely not. Do you realize how bold of a question that is? Knowing someone is the most intimate way to relate to another person. It amazes me you’d have the nerve to even suggest it.

To know a man is to enter him both physically and emotionally. When I think of the knowledge of the flesh, I see two spirits, wandering through the darkness, coming together to light one another up from within. The bathroom where we hooked up was too well lit for that to happen, and besides, I was already glowing on the inside from the 12 vodka Red Bulls I had consumed before I could stomach an encounter with you. And I’m sure you’ll have something to say about the natural fluorescence of male ejaculate, but just save your breath.

Come on, don’t get all mopey on me! It’s not just you. I’ve had sex with just about everyone in Suite right now, but do I really know any of them? I certainly can’t say I know Dan over there by the bar, or Torsten, who is absolutely killing that Kelly Clarkson song, even though I know what their penises look like. And just because you’ve seen a mechanical reproduction of my penis on that beloved device you keep fingering doesn’t mean you know me.

In fact I’d venture to guess 25 percent of the men walking past me on Amsterdam have seen it, most of them on a screen. That’s right, I’m proud of my member, and I like being appreciated for it. But that doesn’t make me okay with the unreality of 21st century sex life. I just don’t know how to say no to the avalanche of positive reinforcement I receive whenever I whip it out, digitally speaking (with the right lighting and filters, maybe even a geotag).

Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn—all of these digital networks allow efficient and equitable distribution of pictures of my penis, but they also take me, you, and the rest of society further from real knowledge of the flesh. Sometimes I regret this lack of connection. I long to know another person in the Classical or Biblical or Literary sense—any sense, really, other than the Grindr sense. I wish I could experience knowledge of another person, to quote Tom Stoppard, “not of the flesh but through the flesh, knowledge of the self, the real him, the real her, in extremis, the mask slipped from the face.”

Was that too pretentious for you? Me too. Because at any given moment there are 13 people in cyberspace who are hoping to take a peek at my pecker. Needless to say I don’t have time for any of that deep shit. And when I look around a place like this, or straight ahead, into your eyes, or down at my glowing rectangular pseudo-self—I’m happy not really knowing anyone.

I know what you’re thinking: that despite everything I just said, we have a special connection because you purposely infected yourself with my ear pus. But let’s be honest: I’ve got a lot more you could have infected yourself with, and none of it is particularly deep or meaningful. If I had to describe your knowledge of me, it could only be done with emojis. And only if there existed blowjob emojis.