Fiction

The Good Guy

Sometimes Ted would lie awake at night imagining a tribunal of all the girls who’d ever rejected him

Kristen Roupenian
Human Parts
Published in
62 min readJan 3, 2019

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Illustrations: Agnès Ricart

By the time he was 35, the only way Ted could get hard and remain so for the duration of sexual intercourse was to pretend that his dick was a knife, and the woman he was fucking was stabbing herself with it.

It’s not like he was some kind of serial killer. Blood held no erotic charge for him, either in fantasy or in real life. Key to the scenario, moreover, was the fact that the woman was choosing to stab herself: The idea was that she wanted him so badly, had been driven so wild with obsessive physical desire for his dick, that she was driven to impale herself on it despite the torment it caused. She was the one taking the active role; he just lay there as she thrashed around on top, doing his best to interpret her groans and facial twitches as signs that she was being crushed in an agonizing vise between pleasure and pain.

He knew it wasn’t great, this fantasy. Yes, the scene he was imagining was ostensibly consensual, but you couldn’t ignore its underlying aggressive themes. Nor was it reassuring that his reliance on the fantasy had increased as the quality of his relationships had declined. Throughout his twenties, Ted’s breakups had been reasonably painless. None of his affairs had lasted longer than a few months, and the women he dated seemed to believe him when he told them he wasn’t looking for anything serious — or at least to believe that the fact he’d said this meant they could not accuse him of wrongdoing when it ultimately proved to be true. Once he reached his thirties, though, this strategy no longer worked. More often than not, he’d have what he thought was a final breakup conversation with a woman, only to have her text him shortly afterward, telling him she missed him, that she still didn’t understand what had happened between them, and that she wanted to talk.

Thus, one night in November, two weeks before his 36th birthday, Ted found himself sitting across a table from a crying woman named Angela. Angela was a real estate agent, pretty and polished, with sparkly chandelier earrings and expensively highlighted hair. Like all the women he’d dated over the past several years, Angela was, by any objective…

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Kristen Roupenian
Human Parts

Kristen Roupenian’s debut collection, YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS, will be published by Scout Press in 2019.