Exactly twenty minutes had passed since we entered German Bakery. Twelve minutes of awkward silence followed eight fleeting ones of introductions. He seemed more relaxed than me, sharing pictures of us and our appetizer on Snapchat. Out of the blue he quizzed, “Have you ever tasted an avocado?”. “Never… why do you ask?” I replied, amused by the question’s randomness. “Because my life was incomplete until I discovered avocados! They were such calorie-savers back when I was a dancer!” he intoned, twisting his arms in the air gracefully as if rehearsing a move. “You were a dancer?” – All that Grindr showed me was that he was visiting India for a year as part of his exchange programme, and working as a Marketing Executive for an MNC in Pune and, in brackets, a ‘bottom’.
He bemoaned, pursing his lips dejectedly, “I got the paunch back when I quit dancing”. He pulled up his lavender cardigan without warning to show his, by my standards, a completely flat tummy with a barely-there navel. ‘Where is the darn paunch he’s moping about… Did he do that deliberately just so I could sneak a look?’ I wondered, and subtly craned my barely-there neck forward under the pretext of pandiculation. Preliminary review: ‘Torso spotlessly shaved’. A man with a shaved torso weirdly reminded me of a seal… Now one might ask ‘Why a seal of all warm blooded creatures on planet Earth?’. My explanation goes as follows: Seals belonged to ice bodies, and were inaccessible to tropical grizzlies like me… Oh, whyyy did I have to remain such an unkempt, overweight MESS?!
Being insecure about my weight and appearance was not new to me. In his company though, I was even becoming conscious about my ‘brownness’! He was my first date, like first-ever-ever, and boy he was white as a ghost orchid! Our skin colours contrasted like hues of a Rothko… and if you’re wondering who Rothko is… there’s the internet to enlighten you. Anyway, I’d be lying if I denied envying him in every respect – he had the perfect blonde hair, perfect blue eyes, perfect skin tone, perfect figure and perfect manners. In short, perfect… first-world attributes. Mulling over my litany of inferiorities only exacerbated the wounds to my self-esteem, so I tried hard focusing on stuffing my 22% body-fat face with Swiss Cheese Fondue – the main course. I could hear my brown friends (colour consciousness galore within me) whispering in my ears, ‘So what if he looks like the ‘after-model’ of a before-after commercial? So long as your willy remains free access forever unlike Netflix, he won’t bother!’… Yeah, speaking of sex… that was another elephant altogether that was waiting in a room yet unexplored. What if my wiener turned out a peapod next to his aubergine? I had to admit: I had just no physical asset of my own to vaunt – none whatsoever! While he could drop his pants without a care in the world and post a pic to Instagram in his Andrew Christian’s.
I didn’t want him to think I was a total glutton, so asked him to share the dessert: mango cheesecake. “Can we grab some avocados from Nature’s Basket on our way back home?” he requested, giving an affected puppy-dog look that was nevertheless cocksure of getting an ‘Aye!’ from me. These white people sure have things their way every single time. I myself couldn’t escape longing for his acceptance, ready with my ears pricked up to please him. “Yes… it’s just a stone’s throw away… We can go”. His eyes lit up instantly. “You must buy some for yourself”, he suggested, and although there was no condescendence or insult in his tone, I shrank in my seat on hearing that. The way I interpreted it was – ‘Get on a diet of avocados and lose some weight, you slob!’. And why wouldn’t he want a lean-me? He’s an ex-dancer. Before joining the MNC, he probably mingled with ‘models’ that were getting like fifty grand just to rent their manicured-pedicured-face-lifted-to-perfection bodies for an afternoon shoot. He might have been offered a role in some mainstream porno as well… not the fetish-kind, where fatsos like me held reservations.
Although I found it queer that my admiration and envy did not incite any instant sexually attraction. Maybe I was expecting it too soon; maybe it happened in a flurry when we broke the bed, that is, IF we broke the bed. The possibility of losing my virginity to a dapper ex-dancer and hottie-marketing-executive was undoubtedly intimidating, and I certainly didn’t want to screw things up even before we called for the cheque.
I was elated to hear that he loved the food.Inspite of my objections, he paid for my share of food and desserts as well, quipping as he handed the waiter his credit card, “Trust me, its way cheaper for me. And consider this a reward for intuiting my taste buds perfectly!”. Next stop: Avocado wish-fulfilment, Nature’s Basket. Like an Indian wife taking her vows, I walked behind him. I did not object to this arrangement though, as it gave me ample time to scan his physique. Aside 1: narrow, womanly shoulders; shapely dancer-butt – an equilibrium of fat and muscle – clinging to his skinny jeans. My sniper eyes, locking in long enough, could appreciate it the way artists appreciate their muse. In fact, it would have been hard for me to pen a passable couplet in its name, that’d probably be like – ‘Dancer Butt, Fine-Cut, like a Diamond: Buns to Strut… But I Wasn’t Aroused’. My willy remained staunchly discontent. Giving up for the time-being, I shifted my gaze to the Oreo-brown possibly-hetero store employee sorting Hersheys from Schmittens in the adjacent aisle. Aside 2: non-descript looks, loose pants, saggy buttocks. This was not the guy that I should be ogling at, but within no time I was ,and I was deeply ashamed by my sexual predilections. That man handing chocolates was probably from a different caste, class, perhaps economically and intellectually inferior, and unlikely to be an achiever in life. Nevertheless, my eyes feasted on him as if he were a chocolate fountain overflowing!
“Do you know avocados can improve your skin and hair as well?”. My white date had found his avocados. “Wow” I muttered, continued to be distracted by the employee, whose buttocks took a broad and square shape as he squatted to sort out the lower racks. Strong sign of a straight butt – simply no effort put in sculpting the lower body unlike women and queers. Yet, as if some charm had taken control over my willy, I was incredibly aroused. My date had no inkling about my mental cruising. He was jumping with joy on finding the avocados, exclaiming like a 10 year old halfwit, “I need to put this one on Snapchat!”. Pulling out his phone, he spoke with an exaggerated drawl, “Look what I fiiiiinally found in IIIndia!?”, and blew kisses into the phone. He then held the screen to my face and added, “Hey, say hi to Keaira!”. I gave an awkward ‘Hi’, unable to register the entitlement among these handsome white men to act however they wished to in public with total impunity. My dad would’ve smacked me like there was no tomorrow if he saw me treat my phone like a paramour. “I guess we’re good to go. Don’t you want something for yourself?” he asked, as we proceeded towards the billing counter. I didn’t want him to think I was broke and needy, so I grabbed a Hershey bar. He smiled at me on seeing the chocolate and took a photo of me with his iPhone. “Looks like someone isn’t ready to give up being a sweet tooth!” he jested, and I flushed immediately. His words came off to me like ‘Looks like someone isn’t ready to give up something that is potentially harming his chances of getting a man…’. I should’ve heeded his dinnertime advice and packed some avocados for myself!
He readily paid for my purchase without a second thought. I was sweating that he would eventually expect something in return for sponsoring my dinner and shopping. The worrying made me sweat, as in actually perspire like crazy until my tee shirt had turned moist. Gosh, I had become the rancid cesspool of sweat and smell and hair and fat! He wouldn’t even want to touch me with a stick, forget letting me stick it up his arse! I prayed that he was staying over at my place only to crash and canter away in an ‘un-disrobed’ state next morning. Maybe I was over thinking; maybe he didn’t want sex at all. Perhaps his home was in the outskirts and he just didn’t want to ride back alone so late. I was forgetting that he was a white-skinned foreigner after all – vulnerable to robbery, rape, kidnapping and murder in this third-world shithole. What could he brag about by having sex with me? He was the colour of milk, and I, of poop. I would’ve rejected darker men myself just for their skin colour, even if my willy went wonka for them like an out of control hosepipe.
“Have you had sex before?” he asked. The absence of euphemism set off an explosion of butterflies in my stomach, and a million thoughts swarmed in my head. ‘What if he laughed out loud if I told him I was a virgin at 24? I could lie to my straight Indian friends, tell them I was having a heated sex life, tell them I was ‘dining out’ eight times a week like a bird-of-paradise, and still get away because of the stereotypical notions they had about gay guys. But he was white, and most likely an early bird at dating and sex. He’d surely sniff out my lies and I’ll end up making a fool of myself. Oh why did I have to be so afraid of sex? Why did feelings of imminent guilt take over at the mere thought of dropping my pants? Why did I have to rebuff those lascivious hunky-dory/femme/uncle suitors who had hinted me with an unsubtle scratch on my palm like it were a lottery card? Why was I so convinced that I would underperform? That I would not ‘ooh ooh’ and ‘aah aah’ like Britney in her albums? That I wouldn’t achieve the acrobatic finesse exhibited by those ripped porn actors? Sex with a handsome white man was definitely on my bucket list, and I didn’t want to end up being the stereotype of a desi mard – lusting after anybody and everybody but hopeless at sex, and a tiny willy.
“Yeah, I mean… I haven’t tried a-a-anal… but given like hand j-jobs and… blowjobs” I replied, stuttering. He smiled back vaguely and remained silent. ‘No…No! He knows I’m bluffing!’, thought, panicking badly. ‘Be calm. Be calm. Think of something else’. I diverted my attention to the UBER driver, an effortlessly unattractive and beaten middle-aged working class man, who was responding to us in a bruised and beaten-to-a-pulp English just to impress my white date. Just as I shuffled to my left to catch a better glimpse, I felt something slide gently down by back. My heart skipped a beat; my date wanted me to snuggle up to him! “You can rest your head on me if you like” he whispered. I couldn’t believe that he was cool with me littering his expensive cardigan with my unworthy sweaty-soaked treasure trove of dandruff (thankfully, the lice were exterminated by puberty and haven’t made their comeback since). As I gingerly placed my head on him as if he were a Jenga Tower, I was thinking ‘Little boner about to pop anytime… anytime… anyyytime… ‘. Nope, no boner. ‘Gosh, he isn’t expecting a slumber party at home – willy, why aren’t you in a mood to ride the waves today?’ I cried to myself agitatedly. He began humming Britney Spears’ Toxic, possibly that I’d hum along and it’d be ‘a moment’. But I sat there frozen like a frightened kitten, desperately wishing we reach home. ‘Divert your mind. Divert your mind. What else do I think about? From this angle, I can only see the profile of the cab driver. What a hairy guy he is. That beard of his is bloody undergrowth. His arms look so heavy. And look at those disgusting cuts and spots on his palm… And why do these bhaiyas have a predilection for metal rings? His face looks more tanned than dark… I’m sure he hasn’t buttoned his shirt – that’s how these guys usually sit, with their hairy chests flashing brazenly like some Terry Richardson work. I wonder what his wife feels when she slides her fingers down his shirt, down his man boobs with their knobbly nipples… down that hairy burly belly of his. Imagine having to blow him, your face buried under his burly thighs, his hard as rock penis stuffed in your mouth like a Kulfi…’. The humming stopped. I came back to my senses, and realized I had been stroking my crotch all this time and had a slight boner. ‘Oh my gosh! First that Hershey-sorting store employee and now I’m fantasizing about this butt-ugly cab driver even with this gorgeous white-boy by my side! Why’s my taste in men so god-awful?’ I wondered, completely dismayed.