Thursday, 14 November 2013

What I Love About by E. P. Henderson

Read by Saffron Chan


I love how they're smart and dumb at the same time. Like they can program the remote but they can't think of a good gift for a buddy they've known for seventeen years.

I love how they're vain and too vain to show it. You yawn into a strange bathroom one morning and while you're rummaging for the dental floss you disturb a bottle of Rogaine or Just For Men hiding at the back. Bathroom cabinets are the custodians of profound secrets – just investigate the host's at the next dinner party you go to.

Medicines and cosmetics will tell you all you need to know about people, and more. Health and beauty – the two things money can't yet buy. Who knew that glamorous cougar wore dentures? Who knew the guy you just fucked has erectile dysfunction? When he detoured to the bathroom on the way to bed you thought he was brushing his teeth for you. Little did you know he was necking a few blue pills.

Another thing I love about men: their unpredictable penises. Like candy, they come in every conceivable size, shape, color and flavor. Like candy, they reward assiduous sucking. And for God's sakes, who doesn't like candy?

Knew a guy once had balls the size of his dick – longer, actually. He was real good at giving head; had to be, I guess. Some sort of Darwinian mechanism, compensating for those wacky low-slung testes.

Knew a guy, too, whose erect penis was basically a baseball bat – not in size, though he had no reason to complain – but in shape. It was wider at the tip than at the base: looked just like a club. If Captain Caveman was running late for work, he'd probably grab Jim's dick by mistake on the way out the cave.

Here are some other things I love about men: Jim, and his World Series dick. Mike, and how he held my hand while he slept. Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch and Sundance. Dashiell and his morning push-ups, and how when I sat on his back while he did them he'd pretend not to notice, just breathing a little harder. Andy's extensive collection of 90s electronica, on MiniDisc. Bill's biceps. Lenny's limericks, which he wrote me for every birthday, even after we broke up. Abe's abs.

I love men, and I loved these men.


Where to begin, right guys? OK, I love a lot of things about women, but these most of all. I love that they see beneath the surface, at least when it comes to the people they fall in love with. Men are very images, women are more verbal. Why do you think men's porn is full of pictures – tits, ass, pussy and tits again, around and around in a three-note cycle as predictable as the red, amber green of traffic signals? Why do you think women responded to Fifty Shades of Grey? It sure as hell wasn't the pictures. The only image in that book is on the cover, and it's a necktie, which I can tell you from experience, is not an erotically charged item of apparel unless you're tying someone up with it. Which I guess was the point. But I digress.

Women go beyond looks. Not for themselves, sadly – show me a woman who's completely comfortable with her body and I'll show you a post-op transsexual. Women imagine that a saggy ass, mismatched boobs or a giant zit could genuinely mean that nobody will ever love them, but men know better – especially straight men.

You know how sometimes you're walking along the street and you'll see a stunning woman with a guy who looks like a pitbull made love to a frog? OK, she might be a gold-digging tramp, sure, but it's just as likely that she's daring him with no cash incentive, that she thinks he's the hottest man on God's earth, and that it was his passion for tattooing, vintage bikes or Japanese haiku that first captured her heart. And I'm willing to bet that that girl wouldn't call herself beautiful, but she would call her boyfriend handsome.

Tits, too, I love – let's not forget the tits, now. Or breasts, boobs, jugs, mammaries, lady lumps and many far more respectful and poetic terms. Ask a straight guy what kind of tits he likes on a woman and he'll probably give you a cupsize, but the truth is, if you love women, you love all tits. Lesbians know this, right girls? Tits are tits like dicks are dicks and while you may have personal preferences, just like with pizza, it's all good.

Large, small, hard, soft, matronly, perky, flat and high, heavy and low, splayed and stretchmarked even; I love brown nipples, black nipples, soft pink ones like puppies' noses; pierced ones and saucer-sized and nipples the size of my thumbtip. I am an equal opportunities lover when it comes to tits. They are, quite simply, awesome. Cunts too, are wonderful, but like bathroom cabinets, they hide their secrets better. I love the unavoidable out-there-ness of tits. It is simply impossible to ignore a wonderful pair – whether you're male or female, your eyes are irresistibly drawn to them. They are, literally, fascinating.

And here are some other things I love about women. Sarah Bean and her crochet scarves that she knit when she was sad. When I was away on business for three months she gave me a scarf when I got back that was seventeen feet long. She wound it round my neck a dozen times and kissed me, and said “don't ever go away again”. But I had to.

Frieda my first girlfriend, my Girl Friday I called her, who left misspelled love notes in my locker so that everyone would think I was dating a remedial student instead of the smartest girl in school. I never met a guy as fond of practical jokes as Frieda. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in Thelma and Louise.

Amanda's hats, of which she had over a hundred; every date a different hat, all as beautiful as she was. Lamorna's clitoris, pink and fleshy like a miniature dick – you could roll it round your mouth like candy corn and it was just as sweet. Eve's Adam's-apple. Soraya's tiny waist and wide hips, like an Indian Barbie doll. Jennifer's habit of doing advanced math problems when she couldn't sleep.

I love women, and I loved these women.


I love that when you shout at me for no reason you always think better and apologise no more than fifteen minutes after. You always apologise and say “let's never fight again”. I love that your hugs are a little too tight. I love that you display a puppyish enthusiasm for and wonder about sex that does not fade. I love that you are really fucking good at fucking. I love that you deliberately wear mismatched socks to test my powers of observation. I love that I don't have to say if you're male or female and that it couldn't matter less.

I love men and women, but most of all I love you.

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