Sunday, July 03, 2011

"My wife's fat as a cow!"

"It's my wife. She's..."

"She's what?"

He was sitting at the bar as if in a foreign country, wearing his pinstriped suit like a uniform against the elements. His hair was measured and pristine, demarking his good graces with society's mores. He sat like a banker who'd never explored life because he was a banker who'd never explored life.

"Maybe I shouldn't say anything..."

The banker's bar mate was relaxed and bored, drinking the atmosphere as he'd done countless times before. Every once in a while he'd run into these "uptights" who'd walk in looking lost, peering over their shoulder to see if anyone was watching, and seeking outward approval. Sometimes he took them under his wing, sometimes he threw them under the bus, as the case warranted.

But it was obvious the banker was asking permission to speak freely.

"Spit it out, man. You're a free man here."

"Well, it's just that she's changed over the years. It's been twenty years now..."

"And what? She's fat as a cow?"

The banker swiveled in surprise. "Yes, my wife's fat as a cow. She just keeps bloating and bloating. It's her whole body, her head round like a pumpkin."

The banker demonstrated with his hands the roundness of her head, pleading his case.

"I see, I see. That happens, my man. Believe me, you ain't the first guy stuck in that boat!" The man of the world knew there was more.

The banker was relieved his immoral inadequacy was received sans outrage and fury. Truly, he felt the bar mate had every right to slap him and bid him speak no more. "I just don't understand it. She keeps eating and eating like someone's going to take her food away. We talked about it once and she said she can't help it, she just has to." She had to because it was the only thing that made her feel good anymore.

"Tell her you don't want a fat wife. Tell her it's for her own good, for her health and all that."

"I did tell her it was for her health. That's when she told me she can't stop. I was thinking maybe it's a disorder but I couldn't push it any further. I felt like if I did she was going to tell me something horrible." She was going to tell him she felt miserable and trapped.

"Horrible? Like what? She can't live without cake? Look, there's tons of women out there, they take care of themselves, they like to look good. She's just taking advantage of you 'cause she's got you wrapped around her finger. You need to stand up for yourself!"

As the blushing bride

The smoky room, the self-confident chatter in the background, and this man of the world before him intoxicated the banker. How thrilling to openly speak these illicit thoughts! It's like joining a club where everyone understands you. All these years avoiding "sinful" bars - what had he been missing?

"I admit, part of me feels that way. You know, it's two people in a marriage - "


" - and I've made massive amounts of money" - fulfilling his unwritten contract - "so I just sort of thought she could...well, like you said it's for her own good too."

The man of the world was leaning towards the bus option for the cowardly banker. "Listen, man, life's too short! You can do better -"

"Oh, no!"

"You got two choices here: spend time with someone you want or spend time with someone you don't want."

"It's not as simple as that..."

"Sure it is! It is if you're a man."

"But I made promises. Her parents, my family, the kids...everybody. They'd think I'm a heel if I left."

"You wanna be a heel or a sucker? Don't you dream of being alive? Haven't you thought about being a free man and getting what you want?"

The banker was in edgy territory now. These bar people are fearless and know everything about life. They don't shelter themselves away, living behind lies and strained smiles like I do. He must think I'm a fool! The banker replied as expected. "Yes, I have thoughts like that but..."

"But what? You're going to die for your marriage? You're going to keep secretly praying she's going to lose weight and get sexy again? You're just going to hold in all those desires until they eat you up? Where's the nobility in that?"

"But I made promises."


"Yes. We both went to the same Bible college. Her parents teach there. Everyone thinks I'm this great responsible guy. People in my church, at just don't understand!"

"Well, are you a great responsible guy?"

The banker blinked. No one had ever asked him that question before and not expected him to lie. But it was only this moment he realized he had been expected to lie, as if in some unspoken communal agreement to never break the chain. Suddenly it occurred to him he better speak honestly now or he'd die alone and unknown.

The pious couple now

"Well, I don't feel like I'm responsible." The banker waited for a prompt to reveal his horror, his unsavory dark side, his moral turpitude living outside society's approval.

"OK. So why's that? Ya kill somebody?"

"Oh, no. Nothing like that. More like...well, it started with this girl walking down by the beach in this black thong. Her butt was perfect" - again he demonstrated with his hands - "and she wasn't ashamed and just let it all hang out like a real woman. I just couldn't get that moment out of my mind. She's stayed with me ever since."

"So what you going to do about it? Get ya some piece on the side and use that to make your marriage work."

"You can do that??"

"Sure? You think you're the first guy in history who's had obligations? Lots of great men had affairs. It keeps them alive."

"I just don't think I could ever do that. I've been doing something else instead."

"Like what?"

"Looking for pictures." The banker hoped for some tempering of his sins in the man's eyes but found none. "I started looking for pictures of other girls on beaches. I'm searching all the time. It's like if I don't find some new ones every day I can't grow, I can't feel alive."

"So what's your wife gonna do if she walks in and catches you wanking off to hot babes on the internet?"

"Oh, she'd never catch me!" assured the banker, a bit perturbed he actually had to admit his masturbatory ways.

"That ain't the point! She's already caught you! You're guilty in your own mind. Women know shit like this. You gotta figure out what you're going to say to her."

"What can I possibly say to her! Look, this is crazy. I shouldn't have said anything in the first place." The banker suspected he was being laughed at but was too afraid to admit it.

Changing men's lives

"Relax, you're among friends here. You think on the list of sins on this planet a little porn amounts to a hill of beans? It's nothin'!"

These people are so different than church. They take impure thoughts so seriously there and here he dismisses them like a traffic ticket. Who's right? Maybe the church elders have just been manipulating my guilt all along, convincing me it's more serious than it really is. Jesus in heaven, who is my real friend?

"It's not really porn. Just girls in bikinis."

"Even better! You're human! So what?"

"You make it sound so...small."

"It is small! See, I tell ya what. You tell your wife she looks like them girls in the pictures you'd be all over her in a heartbeat."

"It's true!"

"Tell her you don't like doing it but you're trying hardest you can not to stray and keep things together. She's just gotta change back is all!"

"It's true! It's all true!"

"See? You're a man. You got no say in your urges. Women don't understand that and want you to believe you can control it like it's a bad habit or somethin'. That's why there's no talking to them! If she ain't gonna take care of you you gotta find somebody that will. Them's just the rules of life."

"I want to be happy with one woman forever."

"Course you do! But she ain't lettin' it happen! It's up to you, man. Do what you want. Another few years you gonna be dead inside and be everything you hated as a kid. I can't live your life for you. Nobody can."

To the banker it seemed the bar grew quieter - or at least more distant - as the various possible paths of his life played out before him. Was it true self-denial is the actual sin, not his desire to live? How could he walk away and ever be called a good man again? How could he stay and not be revealed for the fraud he is? Could he really make it work with a bikini girl on the side? But hadn't he lambasted in unfathomable fury men who'd acted like that? Without realizing it, he spoke aloud.

"I'm fucked..."

The bartender gave a gentle nudge. "You need a refill there, mister?"

"No, no," replied the banker still distracted. "I better go now. Thanks."

His bar mate bid him well, exhorting him to "think about what I said, OK?"

"I will. I will. Not sure really what to think if you know what I mean."

The bar mate gave a knowing wink as he turned to the bartender who dished out a gentle scolding.

"You really fucked with that guy's head. You know he's got to find out why his wife's eating so much. He goes up to her saying he wants some hot chick to fuck he'll get his head blown off."

"Yeah, I know!"

"You're a real bastard, you know that?" smirked the bartender. "You want another one or is it getting too close to time?"

"No, I better go. If that hippo wife of mine catches me here it'll be hell. I just wish to hell I could be there for his next conversation with his wife. I bet it's a good one!"

"We've all got to go around the block sometime."

"Yep, ain't no lie worth livin' - but we's all doin' it."

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