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On Explaining Eartha Kitt to My Fuck Buddy

On Explaining Eartha Kitt to My Fuck Buddy

Lauren Yates

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“A man comes into my life and I have to compromise? For what?” -Eartha Kitt

He wears the hell out of his gas station jacket, khaki and covered in patches. It is no red velvet bra with cups the size of my hands, but I like this pleasant ambush—a smoothie too sweet to be hiding kale.

He likes joints best, the least efficient way of getting high, but,
for me, the most familiar—a diner with sub-par food I could cook
myself for cheaper, but my friends are always there, so I go, too.  

I suggest ordering pizza. He says we should each choose a topping. He picks pineapple. I don’t know what other topping goes with pineapple, so he picks bacon. We smoke and eat pizza and watch Harriet the Spy. Nothing goes better with smoking than fucking and nothing goes better with fucking than nostalgia, the prosciutto to my figs, my yuppie alternative to bacon and pineapple. If Harriet were real, she would be queer and my type, though the Boy with Purple Socks is a close second. I cringe when Rosie O’Donnell kisses a man.

And then the queen Eartha Kitt appears on-screen. I had forgotten Eartha Kitt is in this movie. My plaything for the evening asks, “Who’s that?” and I think of compromise. How I have become brick-and-mortar for men to lean on and graffiti, because, in their eyes, this is what a wall is for.

I tell him she sang “Santa Baby” and played Catwoman and voiced Yzma in The Emperor’s New Groove. My first instinct is not to fuck a man who does not know who Eartha Kitt is, but he is the first man I feel safe with since the one who has forgotten that he tried to kill me.

Compromise is doing whatever it takes not to end up alone. I let him inside me like an old friend. He does not leave as soon as he comes. We watch an episode of Bojack Horseman and he does not sleep over. This is everything I want from a relationship. Wanting more, a rookie mistake.


Lauren Yates is a poet and therapist-in-training based in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in APIARY, Whiskey Island, XOJane, and the Bettering American Poetry anthology. When she isn't writing poems or processing feelings, Lauren enjoys perfecting her side eye, mourning TV shows that were canceled too soon, and striving toward the perfect playlist. 

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