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Mario Golf as Foreplay

Brendan Sears | 29 Jul 2008 12:41
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I sit on the ratty pool table in Reggie's basement.

"Wasn't that more fun than what we were doing?"

My first kiss, if I don't count all the awkward pecks on the cheek. This was real. It's what I came for, and I got it, though I barely survived the full frontal assault on my face. We both have colds, our noses clogged to the point that I considered snorting Drano. She is hell-bent on shoving her tongue down my throat while I struggle to breathe without blowing snot on her face. Unfortunately, she isn't as considerate; one explosive sneeze later and I'm wearing a trail of snot from my left ear down the side of my neck and onto the shoulder of my Superman hoodie.

Without a word, I slide onto the shag carpet, crawl to the 32-inch Zenith of which her father is so proud, turn the volume back up and calmly pick up the green controller plugged into the second-player port on the Nintendo 64.

Sitting on opposite ends of the pool table, we silently finish our round of Mario Golf. I win and ask her mom to drive me home.

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Tally up the reasons I have biffed relationships. Narrowly eking out emotional immaturity and fear of commitment stands the number one culprit: electronic entertainment. Nowadays, the industry incorporates sex and love into more videogames, but how does today's gamer handle sex and videogames?

If my story is any indication, he (or she) doesn't.

***

Sophomore in high school, and I'm standing in Anne's doorway waiting for her. The third youngest of her seven siblings is playing on the family computer in the living room. I'll be damned if I can remember his name but I sure as hell remember what he was doing: cheating.

It's Age of Empires II. His enemies are throwing rocks at him while he commands a fleet of cyborgs and a car with laser guns on its hood. The little bastard used a cheat code.

"What's wrong?"
I think she asked twice before I noticed.
"Nothing."
She leans in, concerned "No, something's wrong, I've never seen you this angry before."
"You're right, you haven't."
"You don't get angry."
"You're right, I don't."

I stride up to Kato, my rusting '94 Cavalier, and for the first time in the seven months since we started dating, I don't walk around and open her door. We head to my house and watch The Cosby Show as I cool down, and she lists the things she may have done to upset me.

"I made you mad didn't I?"
"Don't worry about it."
"If I shouldn't worry, it isn't so important that you can't tell me."
"Bad logic."
"Please?"
"Your brother was cheating at his computer game."

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