Shameless, Honey

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When you raise a little girl watching James Bond movies, you probably expose her to some violence, some sex, some foul language before most kids hear whispers at the back of the bus on long field trips. When a little girl with an abusive father constantly threatening her safety watches James Bond movies, she sees herself in the women on the screen. She forms a connection with those women. Together they struggle for survival against bad men. And what is the most powerful tool a Bond girl can use to her advantage? Her pussy. Honeypot. The little girl takes notes. She waits for the day she has power.

Memories of James Bond fade by high school, but the girl finds a comrade in the deranged desperation of Lana del Rey. She confuses risk with freedom and sex with power. Glamorously dangerous and seductively strung-out, she thirsts for domination over men, but receives only jabbing jack-hammer fingers in a parked minivan.

The unfamiliarity of college tempers her for bit – just long enough to find her pursued by her male confidant. She unwittingly falls into her first relationship, but never stops evaluating her power. She recognizes her status far above that of her partner in appearance, social maneuverability, and intelligence. Like a TLC channel hoarder, she cannot cut him loose for fear he might prove useful. He white-knuckle grasps the frayed edges of her as she dances and dallies with others, always collecting her connections. This one buys her alcohol. This one invites her to top-tier parties. This one holds her and gives her advice. This one is for the namedrop. This one is for the challenge.

Her status symbol of hunky football player ignores an ‘I have a boyfriend,’ ignores a few no‘s, muffles a scream, holds her wrists to his mattress, presses his thighs over her feet and thrusts. She always felt most powerful on top, now she bows her head and hides her tears in her long curls. She wanders into the dorm hallway afterwards, naked but for an open-knit cardigan draped loosely about her frame. She is unsure of what she expected to find in the hallway. It was 4am empty. She has to report to work at 6am. She sits in the men’s bathroom for a few minutes, hoping someone would walk in and see her painted toes under a stall door. No one does, so she returns to his room, dresses quickly, leaves. She can’t remember if he said anything. He might have complained about the wet spot on his bed. She squirts when she’s in pain. High school guys taught her to feel embarrassment from the fluids they took as a compliment and a novelty.

She washes him off of her immediately. She does not sleep. She goes to work.

Two weeks later, he still texts her late at night as she lies in bed with boyfriend. She explains it away but lacks her usual flawless grace and iron-clad alibi. Three weeks later, she can no longer suppress the stomach bile, vile guilt she cannot fully comprehend, the need to bend and break before she can mend herself. It is 2 days before Valentine’s Day. She tells the boyfriend. All she says is football player’s name, and he knows. Cheating whore, he yells. He throws a shoe.

Freezing temperature nights pierce less than the screams. He hates her. He says he needs her. He says they’ll heal together. He’ll teach her how to be dutiful. Love sacrifices. He never acknowledges what was taken from her, only shames her for giving what belonged to him.

Months later he begins to take – socially, emotionally, and physically. They fight. She does not recognize herself. She becomes violent.

In January, nearly a year since football player, she moves to a new city – temporarily – and revels in the first plunge into freedom she’s felt in a year. She takes a lover. When she returns home a month later with juicy plum-colored bruises celebrating ecstasy dancing down her neck and chest, she leaves boyfriend.

And so begins her rebuild.

She finds solace in a harem of witches. She asks them, “I can be anything now. What will I be?”

“Shameless, honey.”