For a person who likes sex and writes about it, I've had a paltry fantasy life. Nicholson Baker's "Vox" was the first book I masturbated to, just a few years ago. Afterwards, I was so pleased at combining my two favorite in-bed activities -- and with my own feminist self-sufficiency -- I just stopped there and never tried talking dirty myself. It took a push from my editor to get me onto the astral plane, where I spent a long, sweaty Monday hooking up with invisible lovers.
I perused the back of the paper and called a chat line that welcomed "Ladies Free." A cheesy woman's voice, full of italics and innuendo, guided me through the touch-tone machinations. You record your introduction, then browse the introductions of everyone else on the line, pressing 3 to request an audience with the ones who sound good. Meanwhile, a beep announces the gentleman callers who have pressed 3 in response to your introduction. Hitting 7 during someone's introduction, explained our prerecorded madam, blocks that person from contacting you.
I entered the arena as Val -- younger, thinner, taller and bigger-breasted than I am. Then I listened to the messages of everyone else -- almost all men -- and hit 7 on about two-thirds of them. Among those I deep-sevened were the "daddy looking for a girl who needs spanking," the fellow seeking "horny bitches to get with," and all the guys who talked about their hobbies and wanted a girlfriend. The latter gave the chat line a deeper texture than I'd expected, more of the real-life mess of lust and loneliness and hope.
I pushed 3 for make-contact-now with Danny, aka caller 24, who had a pleasant, deep voice and sounded enthusiastic but nonspecific. (Nobody was too filthy -- the rules forbade last names, phone numbers and vulgar language.) When Mistress Cheesy told me to "get ready for a live connection with caller 24," I took my shorts and underwear off, lay down on the floor and pushed my shirt up over my breasts. I said "Hi Danny," and he said, "Hi Val, how's it going?" I told him truthfully that I hadn't done this before and asked him to take the lead. I was ready for "What are you wearing?" or "What do you look like?" but his first question was "Do you have a boyfriend?"
I said no, no boyfriend. He asked if I'd be interested in meeting him. I said no, I want to have phone sex. He asked why. I thought about telling him I was writing about it, but then decided that would make him self-conscious. I steered the conversation back to sex. He got going, asked where I was touching, and then we chatted about my nipple and its hardness. He ran his phone tongue down my phone body, and I mirrored what he said with my hand. We spent a lot of time eating me out.
It was easier to come up with the words than I'd expected, in part because it is so collaborative. It just won't work if you lie back and wait for him to do it to you. I did have some trouble imagining the events we were describing because I kept picturing what was actually happening: a guy masturbating while he talked on the phone. I was surprised at how that image together with our voices did enhance my enjoyment, even if they didn't go together. I worried that it was rude to interrupt his scenario, but went ahead and asked him what he was doing, partly because it went with what I was visualizing and partly to find out what word he used for his, you know. I was glad he went with "cock," which is a little more pretentious than "dick" but better captures the noncontemplative beauty of an erection.
I wondered what physical laws I could break in a fantasy. Could my arm suddenly be 6 feet long so I could reach down and grab his cock while he went down on me? Why couldn't we be as elastic as people in "Alice in Wonderland" in our own fantasy? And he could be the man I'd dreamed of for years, the one with the second mouth nestled in his pubic hair who could eat me and fuck me at the same time. These thoughts made me happy, but I decided not to lay them on Danny. I suspected that he had some visual template, one that varied a little according to my self-description, but did not include a boa-constrictor right arm. Turning him into a Salvador Dali painting with that second mouth seemed even more presumptuous; just because I liked the shape-shifting didn't mean he would.
I pulled him up and rolled his balls in my hand and stroked his cock. He dragged himself up my body; I put his cock in my mouth. I considered talking like my mouth was full for verisimilitude but decided that was too silly. Then he said he wanted to fuck my tits. I looked down skeptically, but then I took the Wonderland blue pill and poof, they were big enough to envelop him without undue squishing. We didn't discuss his size at all. I wanted to seem interested, but what if it was small and he didn't want to talk about it? It was so fun puffing up my breasts that I just went ahead and made his cock small for sucking and big for fucking without telling him. This morphing was great -- the zipless fuck transcending not just clothes-awkwardness but body-awkwardness too.
I liked hearing Danny breathe harder, and I asked if we should try to come together. He beat me to it but seemed to enjoy hearing my orgasm. Our post-coital chat was cozy; I said he'd taken my phone cherry and that it was more fun than I thought it would be. He asked what made me try, and again I considered spilling the beans about my writing. But instead I said friends told me it was fun. Girlfriends or men friends? he asked. I thought, great, with all the self-absorbed, no-attention-paying men in the world, I get Columbo on the line. I am never comfortable lying, and was even less so with this person I'd been intimate with, even though he was a faceless stranger.
I was starting to wonder how one ended such a conversation when I got my call waiting beep and bade Danny farewell. It was a salesman. I thought I wanted to come again, so I went back to listening to messages. I got patched in with a second guy who wasn't as nice as Danny. Our chat reminded me of bored kids passing the buck in front of the drugstore -- "I don't know, what do you want to do?" During one long lull, I flashed on Jennifer Jason Leigh in "Short Cuts," saying, "Oh, baby, I'm so wet," while she changed her kid's diaper. I felt suddenly depressed, but I assumed that etiquette required one finish what one had started. I was soldiering on when suddenly I heard Mistress Cheesy guiding me through the menu again. I'd been gonged! My date had just pushed disconnect in the middle of our halfhearted chat, which was a relief but also stung a bit.
I hung up and started writing, and soon I was horny again. A few days earlier, I had told my writer friend Shane about my assignment and in my e-mailbox I'd found a message from him: "Why don't we have phone sex?" I felt a jolt of "Yeah!" when I read that, quickly followed by confusion. Shane is a guilt-ridden, self-destructive Irish alcoholic whom I had a rather violent crush on last year. We dated very briefly before I decided to heed the signs, nay billboards, proclaiming his unsuitability. But I like the sound of his cigarette-scratched voice, and his stream-of-consciousness chatter during real sex was funny and erotic and fun. I e-mailed him and left him phone messages and wrote some more.
Shane didn't call, so I went back to the chat line a few hours later. There were more men to choose from at night. One recorded introduction consisted of four thumps with muffled rings: Was someone hitting the phone with his cock? I listened a couple times and couldn't tell. The best guy on there was Andy. Like Danny, he sounded boyish, enthusiastic, fun, not all serious and Gothic. One of the first things he said was "I like to go slow." My heart fell a bit; I knew I would get myself off faster the second time in a day.
Andy's preferences were eerily like Danny's. He kissed me all over and wanted to talk a lot about eating me out. My little cross section of chat-line men was decidedly unphallocentric. Again, I brought his cock into the picture and steered him toward penetration. Andy also wanted to fuck my, or rather Val's, big fluffy breasts. (Is this just the best visual or something men and women don't do enough of in real life?) After we came (again him then me) I asked, "What's post-coital chat usually like on here?" and he said, "Do you want to tell me your fantasies or the weirdest thing you've ever done?" I could tell by the way he asked that he wanted to tell me, so I asked back. He was telling me about his bi-curiosity when call waiting beeped.
It was Shane, who jumped right into "What are you wearing?" I'd stopped putting my shorts back on hours ago; I'd begun to think of my pushed-up shirt as the day's work uniform. Shane talked about my real body, not my Alice in Wonderland body, and told me he'd replayed our sex from last year many times. I slowly switched gears from imagined to remembered fantasizing. I asked what he was doing now, and he said he had a pile of laundry on him, but he wished it was me. "Clean laundry," he clarified, and I felt a rush of affection.
He talked his tongue down my body like the others. But he branched out from the standard litany of "hard" and "wet" more than Danny or Andy had. The Catholic Church dripped into our conversation like hot wax; he said he loved how much I loved fucking and he loved how bad I was. As he got more excited, his words lurched between corporeal and abstract -- he was saying "free" when we came.
Shane had exulted about freedom during real sex, too, and I think it's why the thought of phone sex with him appealed. I'm not sure why he mostly stays inside a prison of celibacy, but it made our sex -- both in person and five miles apart -- feel like a glimpse of sky.
I also felt free during my Monday on the phone. Not only didn't I go to an office, I didn't even wear pants to work. I fucked three guys in one day without guilt. My body could do and be anything I wanted.
After I said good night to Shane and hung up, I had sex one last time, on my own.