The fluorescent lights of the tube sank me into a deep stupor. Between the barrage of unnecessary information about un-required products beaming down at me from above the windows and the peculiar paint-splattered design of the vinyl floor, I lost all interest in existence beyond the world of my own thoughts. Looking around at the grey faces of the mundane people surrounding me I knew I was not alone in feeling this way. And like most men with nothing better to think about, my thoughts soon turned to sex. It only seemed natural.
All was not lost in the ether of this miserable train ride. A radiant little soul sat opposite me clutching a worn out copy of Edward Abbey's "Fire on the Mountain". I instantly warmed to her. Not only did I warm to her choice of novel, but also to the fact she was reading it from a paper page and not from an electronic screen. I looked at her dainty facial features framed with long, auburn hair - which looked as if it had been woven from silk - and I looked to see if I could catch her eye as they danced across the page. She was engrossed and clearly did not wish to be disturbed. I wanted to approach her, however, and discover which passage of the book she was currently absorbing and whether she was enjoying it as much as she should. It could be the start of a blossoming friendship. It would be a lot easier to approach her in a bar, to seduce her and to never speak again, but to try to start an innocent conversation, to start something meaningful that stretched beyond sex was terrifying to me. I had heard of guys complaining about being stuck in the friendship zone. It was some kind of relationship status that meant a guy would never get to sleep with a female friend, like sex was the only reason for the origin of the friendship and he would be gutted that it would never come to fruition. It must take one helluva cruel bastard to hate women so much that they deem their friendship not good enough for them. It's as though attractive women aren't worthy of friendship. I couldn't wrap my head around it, so my thoughts returned to the girl. There were probably plenty of secluded benches in the next station where we could slip away to unnoticed and screw. I pictured the pair of us hidden around some urine soaked corner, sat on a half-rusted bench, with her on my lap, my fly open and my hand working its way up her summery dress, grinding our hips in animalistic delight. We wouldn't know each other's names but we would share something vaguely intimate, something carnal and primitive yet entirely hollow, before going our separate ways. We’d each find our own methods to deal with the guilt and to try to forget how low, empty and cheap we would both feel. I knew I would find the nearest bar to sidle up to and sink into oblivion, whereas she may well cry herself to sleep. It was neither glorious nor romantic but it was easy and the simple satisfaction and thrill of it would make it easy to forget any stigma or negative emotion attached, and to jump at the opportunity to do it all again with some other stranger.
I looked at her elegantly crossed legs pointed towards me and I wondered if being with such a beautiful creature wouldn't prove too exciting for me to cope with; particularly being with someone who was not only physically beautiful but also possessed a soul that sparked my curiosity and intrigue. I thought of all the things I would try to occupy my mind with in order to keep myself from getting overly excited. I wanted the deed to last as long as possible. I thought about dead fish. I thought about the President of the U.S. and the faces he may pull when sat upon his porcelain throne. I thought about the smell of antiseptic and I thought about the feel of grit beneath my fingernails. It all seemed farcical. To spend so much time thinking about sex when you can't get it or it's not around, just to try your hardest to think about anything else when you're actually with someone. The things some men must think about when trying to keep themselves from coming in their pants. I knew I wasn't alone in this practice; everyone wants to last longer. Finding out these thoughts would be a quicker way into the workings of a male mind than any Rorschach test. To conjure up thoughts that can prevent ejaculation while maintaining an erection is an incredibly bizarre concept to manage, and would speak volumes of the individual's psyche.
I am just a coward though, and without any form of Dutch courage on my side, I watched the fair angel glide from the chair opposite, and with a farewell smile disappear from the train and out of my life forever. I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I hadn't even noticed the train had pulled into the station. I had no intention of following her, despite the smile it would just feel creepy. Instead I remained on the train, alone, gloomily aware that I had one less friend in the world. I looked at the other grey faces around me and I knew that this was where I belonged.