It's so late, it's early. My friend Simone and I are at her ex-boyfriend's in Beverly Hills that autumn morning for some reason. Peter is your typical L.A. slasher: basketball player/model/actor/producer. He's sitting behind a huge oak desk on a leather chair with stacks of specs and paperwork in front of him, a huge bottle of Fiji looking proportionate in his large hand.
“When I last saw Simone, she was screaming—what were you saying? Oh! I remember,” Peter mimics, switching into a high-pitched voice: “Fuck you and your fake-ass girlfriend!”
“Why, is she hot?” I ask, leaning forward.
Peter exhales and picks up a frame from a shelf to his right and hands it to me. I look at the life-size Barbie next to him in the shot.
“Oh, Jesus,” I say. “She’s gorgeous.”
Peter looks absently at one of the stacks of paper on his desk.
“You see all this?” he asks. “This is paperwork for the dog.”
He's relocating to Tokyo.
“You’re really doing this,” says Simone. “And she’s going with you?”
“She’s coming with me.”
“You’re going to support her?”
“No, she’s doing her own thing, modeling, etc.,” he says, taking a sip of his water. He looks at me. “Are those real?”
“Your tits.” Point-blank. Like we're at a casting call.
“My god,” he leans back in his chair. “You could put you on a street with Heidi Klum and all the models in those ads that are supposed to be sexy and they could never be as sexy as you because they just don’t—you’re the real deal.”
I feel like a specimen in a Petri dish. With big pores. You know, the stuff “real” women have. I'm somewhere between flattered and horrified. Leaning more closely toward the latter.
“They don’t make women like that anymore,” Peter says, finally.
I'll bite. “Like what?”
“Who like sex. You exude sex. You’re, like, in heat. But you sit there with that ring on your hand so naturally, it makes me crazy.”
A ring, both a decoy and deterrent, depending on how you use it.
“Do you want to come to bed with me?” Peter asks.
“I have this ring on my hand and you have a girlfriend.”
“I do,” he says, picking up the picture and looking at it. “I do, I do.”
“Jesus, what’s your problem?” Simone asks.
“She doesn’t like sex like I do,” he confesses. “You ever get in bed with someone who’s like, ‘OK, let’s just do this,’ but you can tell they’re not really into it? It’s not the same if they don’t want it like you want it. It makes you not want it.”
“Pete, why are you with her?” Simone asks, softening her voice.
“She’s a nice girl. She’s so sweet. She’s uncomplicated.”
“Oh my god,” I whisper. “She’s a Jackie.”JACKIE AND MARILYN
My friend Sugar, a lover and connoisseur of men, has this theory about men and the women who plague them. These women, she says, can be divided into two categories: the Jackies and the Marilyns.
“Jackie O,” she says. “She's the woman who is the mother of your children. The woman who has dinner ready every night, does everything she commits to do and has sex with you every Friday night after the kids are in bed. She keeps the house in order, her career (if she refrains from housewifery) in check, and always compliments her husband on a job well-done.”
Jackie is patient; Jackie is kind. Jackie bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Jackie, without a doubt, is the woman a man marries.
“She’s gorgeous and hungry,” says Sugar with a laugh. “She whispers, 'I want to fuck,' in your ear while you sit next to her in a business meeting. And instead of 'let’s go get some lunch,' your lunch is Marilyn.”
I knew a man who married a Marilyn once. He couldn't keep up sexually after a few years and was nearly driven insane by her inability to function within a household as he expected.
“Run the dishwasher?” she asked him staring at the machine (in nothing but stilettos and ropes and ropes of pearls). “How?”
At first he thought it was cute. And at first, she was more than willing to learn all of these things and do them. It was so much fun to play housewife. It was kinky to cook in nothing but an apron and Louboutins. It was sexy to sit in lingerie on top of the washer reading trashy erotica during the spin cycle and playing with herself. It was delightful to go grocery shopping at midday among all the stay-at-home moms—wearing nothing under her coat but thigh-highs.
It was even fun to throw dinner parties and entertain people whose conversations about highway construction and the square footage of their houses bored her to tears, with her hand on her husband's crotch under the table.
Then, one day Marilyn woke up as her husband was dressing to go to work.
“What's for breakfast?” he asked her.
He'd told her the night before he was too tired to make her cum. Could he just fuck her really quick and she could get herself off after? He had an important meeting really early, after all.
And now: “What's for breakfast?”
Suddenly, it was no longer kinky. It was no longer fun. It was expected.
Marilyn ignored him and went back to sleep. And when she woke up and found his socks on the floor just feet away from the hamper, she picked them up and stuck them in the paper shredder, effectively ruining both the socks and the machine.
Later that week, the couple went out to dinner and when Marilyn tried to reignite desire between them by shooting him lascivious looks across the table, he asked her to stop because people might notice and it made him uncomfortable.
Do I need to tell you how this story ends?
“The average young brute on the street would scoff at anyone questioning his ability to please a Marilyn,” says Sugar. “'Baby, I could satisfy you all night long! You have no idea how I work it, baby girl! Woo! Damn, what I would love to do with those sexy thighs and ass. I would have you screaming, girl!' And even if a man doesn’t say it, he thinks it. Because most men expect a Jackie O and are bewildered when the bedroom door opens for the millionth time that night and Marilyn says, 'I want more.'”
“It's not just sex, though,” I tell her. “Marilyn is hungry for intensity. You can fuck her all day and night, but if it loses intensity—if what is between you loses intensity...”
“She gets it elsewhere,” Sugar says. “Marilyn doesn't take well to starving.”FEED ME YOUR FIRE
Our friend Lisa is a typical Marilyn. She was having this insane affair with a man whose name she didn't know, whom we called Mr. Smith. They had one of those connections where they discussed incredible things but never told each other any personal information. She had no idea where he lived or whether he was married or single. All she knew was that they regularly co-wrote the most bizarre and explicit erotica to one another over text message and that every few weeks, he would list a time and place and she would show up and screw him senseless.
“He e-mailed me 'Jaan, tonight, 7pm' and attached a picture of a monogrammed handkerchief,” she told me. “So I showed up in a black Chanel with my hair up and a mourning veil on. And when I sat, without missing a beat, he said, 'Jane, I sincerely hope you have no regrets.' And I started crying and threw the water in his face and started screaming that I hadn't thought it through and he rose and took me in his arms and I was still screaming and everyone was looking and he basically had me dragged to his room by hotel staff. As soon as they closed the door behind them, he pushed me against the wall by my throat and screamed that I had chosen this and my intent was written all over the money I'd paid him and that if I ever made a scene in public like that he would kill me, too... and then we had the most violent sex imaginable.”
In case you're confused: this is all a fantasy. Lisa is not a widow and did not have anyone killed. This is the kind of thing she and Smith had been doing since they met.
That is, until one day, when Smith went on a sabbatical without telling Lisa. Months passed without a word.
He seemed surprised when he finally messaged her toward the end of the year and she wanted nothing to do with him.
“Don't feed me fire and then expect me to live on air,” she said to me over coffee that night.
I feel sorry for the man who assumes a Marilyn is an easy, breezy, no effort type of affair. If you think Jackie's cold look when you walk in late to the dinner party is hard to face, you've never felt the sting of a Marilyn whose expectations in the great theater of passion are not being met.
“If a man is smart, he will partake in Marilyn's chaos in small increments,” says Sugar. “If he’s a greedy fool, he’ll marry one.”
“Unless he can match her, of course.”
Sugar rolls her eyes.
“Honey, I have been with many men and I have never met a single one who knew how.”WHICH ONE?
“I'm not afraid of being the perverse creature I was born to be with you,” I said to Tristan one night. “People are attracted to it, but they can't really deal with it. It's too hot, too weird, too dark, too raw. They become consumed by doubt—is it just this? Am I a tool for her amusement? But you... you're not afraid of it.”
“You are a divine mixture of intelligence and imagination without filter from the mind to tongue.”
“Oh, I have a filter,” I said, exhaling a plume of smoke. “I just seek out the situations where I don't have to use it.”
“Where would you have to use a filter?”
“Remember that once upon a time I lived in suburbia,” I said. “I was to be smart, but not too smart. Welcoming, but not too friendly. Sit up and smile, look pretty, write thank you notes.”
“Don't feel too sorry for me,” I said. “I can play the Stepford wife masterfully. I would have just preferred that it ended once the dinner party was over.”
“Why couldn't you get crazy afterward?” he asked. “Most of the time that's why relationships fail—the girl the guy fell for, in all her craziness, dies along the way.”
“Most men are fiercely attracted to the Marilyns of this world, but most want to come home to Jackie. You can't change a woman, but she may dabble or try to change herself. If she does, eventually, her essence rebels. She can't be what she isn't.”
“What happens if you want both?” Tristan asked.
“Then you marry Jackie and have an affair with Marilyn,” I said, turning and looking at him.HYBRID
“Can a woman be both?” I ask Sugar and our mutual friend Katya, dipping a piece of bread into the balsamic vinaigrette at the center of our table.
“Maybe—if she's schizophrenic,” Sugar replies.
“Katya, help me out here,” I say. “You're a Marilyn and you're a mother. You don't think you have a little bit of Jackie in there?”
“Don't get me wrong—Marilyns are not incapable as mothers,” she replies, looking over at her daughter, who's playing with a stuffed dolphin on a chaise beside us. “A Jackie will survive terrible starvation at the hands of a man in the name of preserving stability for her children. A Marilyn will pack up her children and carry them off to a place where she is well-fed because she knows her children will experience her soul wither no matter how good her poker face.”
“Don't feed me fire then expect me to live on air,” I repeated what Lisa had said.
“Exactly,” Sugar says.
“I still think there are men who can match a Marilyn,” I say.
“Well, honey, if you know one, give him my number,” Katya says.
“Not a chance.”
That night, I can't sleep. I go to bed and toss and turn, my mind spinning. Finally, I get out of bed and go to my desk, where I write Tristan an impassioned e-mail, which reads, in part:
There is no pleasure in expectation. There is no beauty in demands. It must all be given, and given freely. It must always, without a second thought, happen because it is born of art and beauty and self expression, not because it's needed or, worse, required.
How can you be essential to me yet not required? What an impossible, maddening contradiction. I don't want you like that. Schopenhauer nailed it when he said doing something like this to passion was to half one's rights and double his duties. The vilest thing our society does to love is domesticate it.
Let us be chemically changed but not pent up behind walls of glass.
I don't have to tell him—I know he knows this. Even more strangely, the simple knowledge that he exists is an all-consuming flame that feeds me.
Or maybe there is such a thing as a Marilyn-Jackie hybrid.
AV Flox is the editor of Sex and the 405--what your newspaper would look like if it had a sex section.BLOGGIE TREATS: THE MARILYN EDITION
What never to ask: The List by 30-F London.
I wasn't sure I could actually remember all my past liaisons, relationships - yes, flings - most (there were always one or two that were forgotten), one night stands - maybe, if I thought long and hard. As such, the list was born. Scribbled on a piece of paper duly folded and hidden behind the cover of my diary, a list of men I had been involved with, not all sexually, but intimately.
A few years later and a different ex, a jealous and possessive ex found the list. This particular ex found it difficult to comprehend that I had been intimate with a man other than him, never mind a list of them. How many people one has slept with shouldn't be judged as negatively it is. I still think a more dangerous question to ask a partner is 'How many people have you truly been in love with?'.
What never to do: The Oppressor by Sugar Kane.
“A sweatsuit?! You think I would look hot in a sweatsuit?!” I said over the phone.
“Yeah. A sweatsuit and some sneakers. Damn that would look cute. That would make me want to fuck you.”
“Sneakers?” (I think I vomited a little bit in my mouth)
Our conversation turned into Anteyus talking more about him not wanting “his girl” (me) showing off all her “goods” when in public. I was appalled. Why is it that some men think women dress sexy to get male attention? And even if we do want attention, would it not make him feel like more of a man because all these men want what only he has?
All I have to say is this: I will dress however I damn well please. If you can’t handle that, go find a fucking Jackie O.
And, finally, the best available advice on how you keep her: Live Each Day As If It Was Your First by Denee King.
What if, instead, we lived each day as if it was our first?
Remember all the amazing 'firsts' when you were little? The first time you rode a bike by yourself, the first time you made a snow angel or tasted 'snow ice cream'.....the first time you liked a boy and he liked you back...the first time you rode a roller coaster or held a puppy?
But those firsts were just the beginning of many firsts. The first time you set foot in the crystal blue Caribbean water....the first time he kissed you.....the first time you saw something so beautiful it literally took your breath away...the first time you held your baby. The feeling is so intense and spectacular that you want to soak up every second of that minute.
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