OK, I'll admit it, I'm 24, damn near a virgin, no prospects, not one, so I go online and try to imagine my way into some guy's bed. But it ain't happening for me, mainly because I haven't the creativity to imagine myself in some stud's arms: I'm a little over-weight, girl-next-door attractive and unbelievably bossy. And I'm a pissed off: I'm tired of page after fucking cyber page of rail-thin skanks with plastic tits and I'm really pissed that they've become the online-standard, as if most of the women out there aren't built more like me.
But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm not the loser I think I am, maybe I just need a lot more exposure, maybe there are guys out there who appreciate a full-bodied bossy bitch like me. Who knows?
After a few weeks of indecision, I decided to go for it; I decided to seek a little feed-back about myself — and I would seek it out in more or less the same way that I found out that I could write smut: a few months ago I sent my stories to a porn site that elicited reader feed-back and they liked me, they really liked me! So, what the hell, once lucky twice ... whatever it is — I'd do the same thing with pics: I'd send them to one of those post-your-own-sexy-picture sites and get a little cyber feedback. What could I lose? As it stands now I couldn't possibly think less of myself.
When I asked her, I knew Annie was going to think I was nuts but I didn't expect the over-reaction. "Are you crazy? No way — not a chance."
But my logic prevailed: she is a professional news photographer with a local paper; she has the camera; she knows how to use it and, hell, somebody has to take the goddamn pictures, I would be busy enough trying to contort my body into seductive poses. So I decided on next Saturday, she reluctantly consented, and I said, "that will give us some time to dream up some poses."
"I'm not going there, Bets. I'll push the friggin' button but that's the extent of my commitment to this." She wasn't happy.
But I was, but it was a little scary, too, but kind of neat-scary — I was actually looking forward to it. But I knew that having the pictures taken would be the easy part — sure stripping in front of my best friend would take a little ... brass, but the hard part would be posting them: that would take real guts.
Or so I thought. But the easy part wasn't going to be as easy as I thought: I didn't plan on the little white umbrellas over the gazillion watt lights and when I complained, Annie's response was dismissive: "You said you wanted your pictures to look professional, this is what it takes."
Do you know why fat people wear black? It makes them look thinner — even an anorexic can look pudgy under the flood lights of the portrait artist, so when I pulled my sweater over my head I was expecting the solar bounce-back from the lights off my flesh. What I didn't expect was the feeling of utter helplessness, "What should I do now?"
"How the hell do I know! This is your gig."
She looked more scared than amused and that made me even a little more uncomfortable. And talking about uncomfortable, taking off my jeans reminded me of those times as a kid when I was just about to dive into a cold lake, you know, nervous about the impending shock of the cold water — only on the dock I had more clothes on than I did now. When I kicked off my jeans the broiling lights were frying a lot of white skin and what I think is a very sexy, semi-see-through pink bra and panty set that I had just picked out for the occasion (I knew looked a whole lot better on the manikin than on me). "Is it a 12 or 36?" I said, trying to deal with my nerves.
"The roll. How many shots on the film ... exposures?" I added the 'exposures' because I wanted her to know I knew something about photography.
"It's digital, you idiot. I can shoot you until ... until you realize how absolutely stupid this is."
I don't like being called stupid, although it seemed to happen a lot, so with renewed determination I crawled onto the white sheet, propped myself up on the two white fluffy pillows and I got seductive.
"Are you sucking in your cheeks?" Annie's camera was disdainfully at her side.
"Yes," I said, annoyed that by saying the word I was spoiling the affect.
"Don't — it just looks like you're sucking in your cheeks, and don't pose, either, you just look like you're posing. Look, do you know what you want to accomplish here; what kind of pictures you want?"
"The silk purse from the sow's ear kind."
"Can I make a suggestion?"
"We give it, say, ten-fifteen minutes, you just move around, do all the kinds of things you want ... get into all the positions you want and I'll click like hell and we'll see what we've got at the end, OK? No posing, just you moving and me shooting."
"OK, but remember who we're shooting for, I don't think anyone out there is going to give a shit about the colour of my eyes."
Sure I felt stupid, really stupid but as I squirmed all over her bed, most of the time without underwear, I kept my eye on the prize: the pictures were going to find me fans — they had to be out there somewhere.
Annie was busy all week, or so she said, so I couldn't see the results of my labours until the following Saturday — that pissed me off and I told her so as I entered her apartment.
"I work, Bets, a lot more hours than you do."
"You didn't have a spare hour during the week?"
She laughed contemptuously, "A spare hour? It's going to take you a lot longer than that to go through these — there are 314 of them!"
"I wasn't composing, Bets, I just more or less put the camera on autodrive and held down the button. If there's any quality here, it's only because of the quantity — I just couldn't quite bring myself to concentrate on framing your ...," she laughed, "your, you knows."
When I sat down beside her in front of her computer I thought I knew what I wanted, I had seen enough of this kind of stuff on the sites, but most of it was either shot from a lousy angle, out of focus or way too dark. With all those lights, my pics were going to be as bright and cheerful as I wish I was.
"Ready?" she said.
"Action," I replied, and in an instant I filled the screen.
I liked my smile, it was warm and welcoming and open ... just like my pussy. "Son of a bitch," I said, in wonder, "I'm going to send that to the world?"
"Why are you doing this, Bets, I mean why?"
She sat back and looked at me, at least I think she was looking at me, I was too busy checking myself out to notice — it was me from an entirely new angle, Jesus, talk about T and A. "Feedback," I muttered.
"Do you have any idea how stupid that sounds?"
I snickered, "As stupid as I look?"
"You don't look stupid, Bets, you look naked."
"God, no kidding. Are they all like this?"
"No, in some you have underwear."
"No, I mean this good, God, it's beautiful, I mean, you didn't have much to work with but boy, look at it, I'd put that on my mantle if I had one. It's stupid but God, am I ever fucking sexy. Next!"
"Here, watch," she move her hand and positioned the cursor over the arrow on the top right of the screen, "hit this to go to the next picture, hit the back arrow to go back and hit this flag here," she moved the cursor over to a flag icon in the menu, "to identify the ones you like," then she got up.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm not going to sit through your anatomy class, Bets, Saturday is cleaning day."
It's amazing: the shock of seeing yourself au naturel is absolutely shocking ... but just for a minute or two then you're no longer looking at yourself but at some image on the screen and you're becoming as critical of that image as if it was a perfect strangers or even an enemy, that's how critical you can become: thighs are too fat, ass is too big, pussy is too hairy — but strangely, it isn't depressing because somehow that isn't you you are criticizing, you are your mind and emotions, the copious corpulence on the screen is only a virtual reality of you, run amuck, or maybe it's that you just get deadened to the naked reality of the pictures, who knows? But it's kind of fun clicking an arrow that leads you to another, even more intimate angle of yourself, even if you're on disconnect.
By the 98th picture, after about an hour, I had flagged maybe four pics — all fairly discrete, none with a wholly identifiable face. The 99th was none of the above: it was full frontal nudity shot over my hairy crotch, past my rubbery tits to my grinning teeth, it was shockingly, even obscenely graphic but before I clicked the 'next' arrow to escape it I notice ... it had already been flagged! Annie had flagged it! Jesus, this one! The worst! Why? I was about to wheel around and ask but I think I was too embarrassed. Me? Too embarrassed? I shrugged and moved on.
I phoned Annie that night at about 11:30, after I had been in bed for half an hour. When she picked up with a sleepy 'hello,' I said, "Numbers 99, 137, 139, 142 and a few in the 250 range had been flagged when I got to them. Why did you flag them?"
Dead air ... then a meek, "I liked them."
"Oh," I said, not expecting this, "Talk to you tomorrow."
You know, when you've got a lousy image of yourself you can think that someone who gives you a compliment is an absolute fool or a horrible liar. That was my first thought when I heard Annie's words. But Annie is no fool and she's no liar. But she did say it, I had replayed her words over and over in my head, 'I liked them' — she did say it, I heard her ... and I had heard that long silence, too, that long awkward silence like when you've been found out and you don't know what to say. To my ears both the silence and the words sounded strange, really strange, but together, they sounded flat out weird.
I didn't phone Annie the next day, nor the three days after that. Even after thinking it through, I didn't know what to say to her, I mean, after careful and painstaking evaluation — God knows, I thought of nothing else but this — the simple fact appeared to be this: the pictures of me that Annie liked, maybe 12 of them in all, just happened to be the most obscenely provocative pictures of the bunch, all tits and pussy, some of them without a trace of face. And that was the bottom line here: she couldn't say, 'ya, I really like this one of you' when all it showed of me were my tits resting on my belly and a thick jungle of pubic hair with my insides hanging out, I mean, who would say that? That's the question I'd been asking myself over and over for the past four days and that lead me to a larger question, one that I had never really asked before: who is Annie? Because the Annie I thought I knew, and I've known her most of my life, we've been best friends for God's sake, the Annie I thought I knew would never say such a thing — the Annie I knew would be cleaning her fucking apartment instead of looking at pictures of a naked friend.
Troubling. And then it became more troubling because it started to excite me, the thought that Annie would flag such pictures. At first, I was kind of shocked by it and then I was just surprised and then I got kind of curious as I thought about it and then I became a little intrigued — this was over a few days and then on Thursday night it kind of floated into my head as I was cruising porn sites. I always look at lesbian pics mostly, the real kind of lesbians not the phony posed ones, I really liked that the 'natural' women looked so intense and they didn't seem to care that they were fat or flat or hairy or ... whatever. In the better ones, the ones I liked, the women seemed really focused, really into it, really uninhibited — they seemed a whole lot more interesting to me then the shots of those cyber-women with their perfectly injected tits and their amazingly tanned legs wide open for a raging cock.
As I said, as I cruised the porn sites, and I did a lot of it that week, Annie floated through my thoughts, but an Annie I had never know before — pretty soon this one was lying on a bed in front of me, I don't know why but I just started to imagine that; I started to replace the women on the screen with her. In the one that stayed with me the most, she was lying on a bed with a woman's fingers on her white nylon panties and the woman was sucking Annie's breast — Annie sort of became the picture on the screen and it just seemed to make so much fucking sense, and it stunned me for a moment — because it seemed to fit: I could see this happening and then I don't know how but I sort of placed myself in the picture, too — it was my hand on Annie's panties and my mouth at her breast and when I imagined that, fear stabbed at me and I stabbed at the power switch.
That shut the computer off but not me. I've never imagined myself in a lesbian picture before; I just liked lesbian pictures because the women seemed so accepting of each other, so real and maybe a little powerful, too, that they had the power to express themselves, they weren't just sitting back waiting to get rammed by some lust-driven power-monger. Well, sure, I liked to look at the bodies, too, they were so varied, so interesting and some were even worse than mine. But now, about mid-week, I wasn't just dealing with a bunch of anonymous cyber-images, I was dealing with something a whole lot more real and physical than that: I was deal with the image of me and my best friend naked on a bed — and I was liking it. Not at first, at first it just scared me and I fought it off. But, later, when I fired up the machine again, I fired up myself.
I touched her all night and I was touching her when I phoned her in the morning to confirm dinner at her place that night.
You can talk yourself into almost anything. When I knocked on her door, I had talked myself into wanting to experiment with my best friend, I wanted to have sex with her, I wanted to know what the whole lesbian thing was about — that's all that I had been thinking about for the past 24 hours; I had worked myself into my first sexual lather and it didn't seem to matter to me that all my excitement was over ... a girl.
And that girl was opening the door and looking at me and when she did I came crashing back to reality. I had seen her face a million times before: homely, serious, familiar — it wasn't the face of my fantasy, it was the face of my best friend.
She was more nervous than usual, I knew it was because of the pictures but I didn't say anything, I just opened one of the two bottles of wine I'd brought, poured us each a glass and settled into a chair and watched her cook. And that's all it took: just seeing her move about was enough to morph her reality back into my sexual fantasy. I knew her look well: she is short, a little over-weight, really big breasted and a little bit pretty in a very self-conscious, very shy kind of way but as I watched her move about the kitchen I realized that never mind the face, this was the body of my fantasies and the words just came out of me, "Annie, are you a lesbian?"
I was watching her closely, she was stirring something on the stove and with my words she tightened for a moment as if startled, then her shoulders slowly sagged as if she was feeling utter defeat. "Yes," she whispered.
The admission was oddly shocking to me, even though I was prepared for it — I mean, it meant that I didn't actually know my best friend, someone I had known most of my life. How can you not know your best friend is a lesbian? "Do you want to talk about it?"
She didn't say anything, she just slouched over the stove, pushing at some food in a pan.
"What's there to talk about?" Her voice was still almost a whisper.
"I want to talk about it, OK?" She didn't move, didn't say anything so I got up and went over to her, "Are you hungry?"
"Neither am I." I turned off the dials, pulled the pan and pot off the burners and took her by the arm, "Come on, let's talk." She went with me to the couch and sat down while I returned to the kitchen for the wine bottle and her glass which I filled and handed to her, "Let's celebrate."
"Celebrate?" She straightened from her slouch and stared at me.
"You've come out for God sake, that's a reason to celebrate if there ever was one."
She laughed, sort of, and drank, then said, "I haven't come out."
"You're gay, you just admitted it, that's coming out."
"I've admitted it to you but you aren't going to say anything ... are you."
"No, of course not." I took another drink while looking at her — I was finding this really exciting ... and a bit titillating — I've never talked about lesbianism with anyone before, "So what's it like to be gay, I mean, do you get turned on a lot?"
"Come on, Bets." She put her glass on the table and slouched back into the corner of the couch.
"No, I mean it, ... I mean when you pass a chick do you, like ... get the hots, is that the way it works?" I honestly didn't know.
"Ya, all the time."
"Seriously?" she looked up, "To me it means that I'm more or less miserable all the time."
"Miserable? Why?" This really surprised me.
"I have no identity, Bets, not even to myself ... unless you call being really fucked-up an identity."
I laughed, "It's an identity, Annie, it's mine," I laughed again, "but we're all fucked-up, aren't we, everyone of us, in one way or another?" I hadn't planned to bring it up, but with all the talk of being fucked-up I did, "So what about those pictures? Why did you flag them?"
"Come on, Bets, jeez."
"No, seriously, why?"
"I don't know," she got up, walked over to her desk and came back with a CD, "There all here."
"All of them?"
"Yes!" She said, emphatically, as she slouched back into the corner of the couch.
"Didn't keep any copies?" I was smiling coyly.
But she wasn't looking at me, "No, of course not."
"Shit," I said, "I can't even excite a lesbian." I laughed, I though it was funny.
But she didn't, she quickly looked up at me, "Is that why you asked me to take those pictures?"
"No, of course not, I had no idea you were gay then, but now that I know you are, it's a bit of a downer that you haven't said they're pretty.
"They are pretty, Bets."
She laughed, "Sure."
"No, seriously, did you think they were sexy?" I hesitated for a moment, "I mean, that was the point."
She shrugged and didn't look up, "Yes."
"Do you ever go online to check out ... other lesbians?" I have often wondered if other women, even non-lesbians, liked to look at other women, I mean, I did.
For some reason it didn't surprise me. "Never?"
"Why not?" I mean, why wouldn't she? I did, regularly.
"I just don't."
"So the only pictures of a naked women you've ever seen have been of me?" I could tell she was uncomfortable with this but I just waited her out.
"Yes," she finally admitted.
"And you didn't find them sexy?"
She looked up at me now, a little defensively I thought, "I said they were sexy."
"Did they turn you on?" Her eyes were on mine and I had the feeling that for the first time in our life we were finally having a real conversation.
"Come on, Bets."
"Did they?" I demanded.
I think she was looking for a way out but she couldn't find one, "Yes," the admission was almost inaudible.
"A lot?" I could see she was going to give me another 'come on, Bets,' so I repeated more forcefully, "A lot?"
"Did you masturbate?" When she slumped back into the corner of the couch, totally defeated I added, "I want you to say 'yes,' Annie, I would really like it if you said 'yes.'"
That kind of stunned me a little, I was really surprised she'd admit it — it must have taken a lot of guts. "A lot?"
She seemed absolutely defeated now; she looked like she had been caught with her hand in the proverbial cookie jar; she looked like she was about to cry. "Yes."