You think you’re over the whole one night stand thing until you meet Zev. He’s cute and smart and has the same name as The Ex-Boyfriend but the party’s more important so you get really drunk and high and pretty much forget about him until it’s time to go home, at which point you jump in a cab with him and invite yourself to his place and that’s how you end up bent over his futon at four in the morning. While he’s banging you from behind you’re talking and saying the most outrageous shit you can think of, like do retards know they’re retarded and do scorpions drink their own poison for fun and he’s laughing and you’re laughing at all of it because you’re that high. Afterward, you find out that he works at the same company as The Ex-Boyfriend, and you wonder if they’ve done any projects together. You want to ask but you don’t, because if they had, that would be awkward.
You don’t expect to see him again, but at your friend’s next party you see him trying to flirt with this nerdy redhead who doesn’t know he exists. You do the whole drinking dancing smoking thing for a few hours, and when the party’s over you ask him if he wants you to mention anything to the redhead, there’s nothing to feel awkward about, but he says, No she’s a lesbian, so the two of you head back to his place and grab some pizza along the way. You want to get Doritos but you’re too high to find them in the store, so you buy cookies instead.
Like The Ex-Boyfriend, he’s obsessed with Game of Thrones and insists on showing you the first episode, which actually turns out to be kind of scary. You end up watching it for a while until the Dothkari, the savages, start murdering and fucking each other in front of the bonfire, which is when Zev grabs your boob, and pretty soon you’re fucking to people fucking on TV, and for a while there’s just a whole lot of fucking. He has a huge dick, just like The Ex-Boyfriend, uncircumcised, that runs straight into your G-spot and fills you up like a pillow. But what you like most is that he makes you come before he comes, and when you tell him that, he makes you come some more.
This time, after you’re done, he tells you about his crazy bipolar ex-girlfriend who was with him for seven years and got into rope bondage behind his back and turned into a prostitute after she dumped him. Like, actual sex in exchange for actual money, with strangers. You say, What? And he says, Yeah, she was an art student and needed money. Supposedly she was on all sorts of depression medication and started going to these rope bondage meetups where she met all these guys who’d tie her up and watch her hang from the ceiling. It’s not sexual, she told him. It’s more like a hobby, like basket weaving. And right after they moved to New York from Chicago, they got in a big fight, the cops got involved, and the next day, while he was at work, she moved her stuff to a friend’s place, and he never heard from her again.
He says, I don’t know why I’m telling you this. You giggle and say it’s the juiciest story you’ve heard all year, which is true. But how do you know she was whoring herself? you ask. Like, did you see the money? No, he says, but I read her emails. You’re quiet for a few minutes. His hand is warm on your body; you feel bad for him. How about therapy? you finally ask, and he says, I have.
His situation is so fucked up that you dream about it and wake up laughing. In the morning, you bang again and he invites you to his friend’s barbecue in Brooklyn, but you have a lunch date.
A couple weeks later it’s Restaurant Week, and you invite him to this steakhouse near Union Square that you’ve wanted to try for a while. He shows up wearing sneakers and a dorky work backpack on both shoulders, just like The Ex-Boyfriend used to do, and apologizes for being late. You sit down and order dinner, lobster bisque and a rare eight-ounce filet. The butter is soft, the steak is great, the wine is great, and the crème brulee is heavenly. He talks about his iOS project, you talk about yours. You show him your favorite cat videos on YouTube and he shows you Facebook pictures of his brother’s dog dressed up as Santa, beard and everything, and you’re laughing and he’s laughing and you both order a second drink.
Then, somehow, you don’t know who brings it up, but you’re talking about his ex-girlfriend again, and you can tell he’s so not over it. And because you want him to understand that you know exactly where he’s coming from, you mention The Ex-Boyfriend. You’re careful about what to say because this is the first time you’ve talked about him in three years, which is how long the whole thing lasted, and you’re not really sure how to do it. You try to tell Zev that you know how he’s feeling without revealing too much about how you’re feeling, and you’re trying so hard to be delicate about both his feelings and yours, but then he says, No, three years is nothing, totally dismissive. You tell yourself that he’s like this because he’s hurt and you’re like this because you’re hurt, but you can’t let it go, and before you can stop yourself you’re arguing, defending yourself and your dead relationship, yelling at him, your ears and lungs swelling with the sudden anger in your veins. You want to pound him into submission with your heartbeat and if not your heartbeat then your fists, and he’s yelling back saying your relationship is nothing—NOTHING—compared to his, and I’M SORRY, BUT YOU’RE DEAD WRONG, and that’s when you swipe your plate off the table and throw water in his face and the waiter marches over and asks you both to leave. You’re crying so hard you can’t even talk or see your bill, and when the waiter comes back he has to calculate your tip. You don’t even finish your drink.
Outside, in the street, you try to breathe. Zev asks if he can find you a cab, not because he’s sorry but because you look like you’re about to have an aneurysm, and you say, No—gasp—I’m going—gasp—to the subway. At the corner he turns to you and says, Well, I’m going this way and you say bye and he says bye and he goes his way and you go your way, and that’s the last time you hang out with Zev.