"I seem to remember you're a talker, right?" my friend Daniel asked me suddenly. He was peering into the slot on my laptop where the battery normally belonged, eyebrows furrowed. "How long did you say until it loses its juice?"
"Not very long," I said. "Maybe 30 minutes. If it were a man, that might be acceptable. But a laptop fading out after half an hour is beyond frustrating."
We were sitting in a dive bar around the corner from Daniel's apartment, a dark dank place that reeked of pungent beer, filled with pool-playing unshaven characters sporting greasy raincoats. I'd promised my token techno-nerd friend all the Rolling Rock he could drink if he could figure out my computer problems, but somehow I hadn't envisioned him poking and prodding my Toshiba in the middle of this cesspool.
"Ugh," I said as I tried to unstick my shoe from a spot on the floor, "I'm going to catch something horrible just sitting here. Why couldn't we have met at your place?"
"Trouble in paradise," Daniel said, his face darkening. "Apparently I'm an insensitive clod with significant hang-ups, possibly borderline, concerning my attitudes toward women and sex. And all because I asked her if we could stop the baby talk in bed." He raised his eyes heavenward. "Forgive me."
Daniel was one of the few straight men I knew who seemed to have no problems dishing the dirt when it came to the bedroom. He'd been sleeping around a lot in the past year, but all that came to a grinding halt when he met the Psych Dissertation Chick -- I could never remember her name. He'd kept me away from her since they moved in together. I suspected this was because he and I had drunkenly slept together once a few years ago, and he, in a flash of brilliance, had revealed this little bit of history to her.
"What kind of baby talk?" I asked. Daniel was hardly the cootchy-coo sort of man.
"Well, in the beginning, there was a lot of talking in bed. And you know, all the raunchy stuff that I like. And that I think you like too, if I recall correctly."
"Sure," I said uncertainly, wondering if he was basing his memories on our one tryst or something revealed in my column.
"What is it that you like to say? Is it 'pussy' or 'cunt'? I can't remember, but you're one of the few women that's ever said that in the heat of the moment."
"I don't remember either," I said. "It depends on the guy. Some men get really offended by that kind of talk." I wondered why I couldn't remember my night with Daniel more clearly. Maybe it had something to do with size. But no, I'd remember that. "Anyway, go on," I prodded.
"Well, she's really into that talk too. Or at least, she used to be. We'd talk about threesomes, about men she'd like to fuck, about how she'd like to go down on me in a public place. It was really hot, incredibly exciting." Daniel shifted in his vinyl chair. "Then, she moves in, and all of it stops. I mean, I like that goo-goo, romantic, I-love-forever-baby stuff too. But do we have to talk about it all the time? Every time? Whatever happened to that down-and-dirty chick I used to know? So I said something."
"OK," I said, "but when did you say it?"
"I admit, in retrospect, my timing could have been better. Maybe I shouldn't have said it right then and there, when she was flat out below me. OK, OK. That was bad. But still, what is it with you chicks? How come the change? Is it just hormonal? A nesting instinct? The whore has to step aside for the virgin?"
"I know you're being facetious, Daniel," I said. "But women can say that. You can't."
"I said it to her," he said loudly, "and I'm not ashamed. And stop calling me Daniel -- that's another thing you chicks always do. My name is Danny." He unlatched the top of the computer and stared at its black screen. "One of the reasons why I liked her so much -- and could I have another beer? -- was that she seemed to have that perfect mix of sexy and sweet when we, you know ..." He made a rolling motion with his hand.
"Now you're getting shy?" I asked. "Say it. When you fucked."
"Well, that sounds horrible," he said as he watched me get up and go to the bar trying not to touch anything on the way. I returned and matter-of-factly handed him his green bottle. "I guess I'm getting a little, oh, God help me, hypocritical. But these things that you girls do -- I just don't get it. I don't mind all the hair products and makeup and stuff in the bathroom. I don't mind the Pottery Barn catalogs, or the Al-Clad sauté pan that she insists she has to have. I don't even mind her panties and bras drying on the shower rod for days on end -- I sort of like it. But how come we have to get so goddamned lukewarm and gooey in the bedroom? Every single time. Whatever happened to the threesome talk, the raunchy words? Gone, gone, like that." He snapped his fingers.
"Well, think about it. Too much of any one thing is boring. Can't you mix and match? Start out with the 'Oh baby, ride me like a horse,' and move on to, 'I love you like the sun the moon the stars and now my life is complete.'"
Daniel grimaced over the loud crack of the pool game in progress. "Do you really say that?"
I drank some of his Rolling Rock and handed it back to him. "Maybe it's an issue of trust. It would help if you didn't keep your, ahem, female friends away from her."
"Well, I kind of blew it with that too," he said sheepishly, as he handed me my computer. "I used you as an example of a dirty talker."
"Brilliant." Now I'd never get to know Daniel's girlfriend well at all. "There is such a thing as talking too much."