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Written by Arielle Greenberg Bywater. Arielle, a first-time Jewrotica writer, is co-author with Rachel Zucker of “Home/Birth: A Poemic“, and author of “Shake Her”, “My Kafka Century” and “Given“. She is co-editor of three anthologies, most recently “Gurlesque” with Lara Glenum, and is the founder-moderator of the poet-moms listserv. She left a tenured position in poetry at Columbia College Chicago in 2011 to move with her family to a small town in rural Maine. She now teaches in the low-residency MFA program at the University of Tampa.
I was flying across the country to fuck a guy and when I arrived he was holding a red rose or something awful and maybe that’s what made me tell him that someone had almost proposed to me on the plane over. And maybe it was the fact that I was flying across the country with the sole intention of fucking this guy—I mean, of being fucked by this guy—that made the guy on the plane want to talk to me: I am not, under normal circumstances, the type to be almost-proposed-to on a plane, but maybe there was a kind of hormone of about-to-get-fuckedness like a red rose perfume that I was putting out while on the plane, or something juiced up in my eyes. Invisible energy rays of availability. Maybe what the guy on the plane said was something like, “Someone like you ought to be married by now,” and I called that an almost-proposal, knowing it wasn’t but wanting to seem even more desired than I already was to the guy who was about to fuck me. Maybe I thought the almost-proposal that was not really a proposal at all could be packaged as a kind of fucking dowry, even though I didn’t really need one: I was definitely going to get fucked. No, I think I mentioned the almost-proposal to prove I was better than a red rose or red carnation, to prove that I had wide appeal. And maybe the guy on the plane had said this to me because we had talked for awhile and he liked me but not enough to fuck me but was Jewish and I was Jewish and he thought he kind of owned me on behalf of the race of the Jews. He was my age and so that would be odd, that sense of ownership, but then again, he was Jewish. I think I thought that maybe the guy on the plane was smarter than the guy on the ground and this embarrassed me. The guy on the ground had gone to a very good college but buying and presenting me with the red rose was dumb, and embarrassed me. I think I said, “Noooo…” when I saw him walking up to me with the red rose and I think I started walking away from him in a sort of subtle and slow diagonal. Maybe I had a thought of “Maybe I’m fucking the wrong guy.” Maybe that’s why I translated the mention of marriage on the plane into a proposal. And maybe I was going to fuck the guy on the ground, rather than be fucked, because in this particular red rose situation I definitely owned the power even though I was not wearing any pants.