String Theory

I was out looking for Mr. No Strings Attached. My boyfriend had just moved away, and I was feeling lonely and horny, hungry for a get-your-rocks-off one-night stand.

"So what are you into?" the Grad Student asked me in the half-light of the bar. "I mean as far as your sexual fantasies go . . . "

"Tell me what you're into," I responded with flushed face. Nobody had ever addressed my sexual desires so directly. The thought of granting someone else's most secret wishes—and having mine fulfilled—gave me a rush.

A pause, a swig of Rolling Rock. He said, "I like it when dudes sneeze."

"You mean like hachoo?"

"Yeah—like hachoo."

"That's it?" I had pictured something a little more risqué. The entry in my mental encyclopedia's Elements of Fetish section covered leather, s/m, water sports, spanking—but sneezing?

"OK, I'll do it."

Back at his apartment I discovered that sneezing on demand takes effort and a lot of black pepper, the finer the better. His coarse grind wasn't doing the trick. I crushed it using the bottom of a bottle; I threw a handful into the air and inhaled the dust. I only once felt the prelude—the "ha" before the "choo."

After half an hour of fruitless effort, he suggested using a Kleenex to tickle the inside of my nasal canal. I took the tissue, twisted it, and inserted the tip into my nostril. I had to convince myself that this maneuver would work—common wisdom holds that picking one's nose in the bedroom is just gross. Then I felt a quick tickle, the sensation of contraction in my sinuses that indicates the onset of a . . . HA—CHOO!

He looked like he had just viewed the make-out scene between Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott in Dude, Where's My Car? His eyes glazed over. His arms hung motionless. He seemed frozen for a full minute. I waited for "Gesundheit."

"Can you do it again?"

And I did—about five times that evening before we jerked each other off and he showed me the door. Grad Student's fantasy did not extend to actually sleeping with men; I was to sneeze, then breeze.

We met up a few more times. I discovered that white pepper works best. (I wasn't about to shove another damned Kleenex up my nose.) But while the sex was hot, the relationship was not. We never kissed and never slept together. After the night he answered his cell phone while I was giving him head, I stopped returning his calls.

What am I into? I guess it's strings.

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