The First Time, In The Backseat
My first OkCupid date was on my twenty-third birthday. Sitting in the booth seat across from me,
Patrick didn’t look entirely like his online self ––his boyish smile, wide brown eyes, and button
nose were attractive features independently, but didn’t quite manage to fit all together on the
same face at once. I decided it didn’t matter.
At some point mid-conversation, it occurred to me that no one knew where I was or what I was
doing. The secrecy felt empowering and mature. Patrick’s frat boy style and gelled military
haircut ––both omitted from his profile’s photos–– belied an impassioned past. Less than a year
earlier, he’d been living with a thirty-five-year old woman and her toddler, replacing the absent
deadbeat dad. He said he loved her but couldn’t ignore the reality, or really, the good fortune
that ––at the age of twenty-four––he still had the irresponsibility of his youth to live out. Leaving
mother and child, Patrick avoided an apparent burden but couldn’t ignore his guilt. He had
recently moved back in with his parents.
None of what he was saying was attractive to me, but he either didn’t realize, or he didn’t care.
Brash and unabashed, Patrick had no hesitation in admitting he lived with his parents ––he
didn’t even think of it as something to admit––and the irreverence projected a cool confidence
that wryly contradicted first date etiquette.
He didn’t give a fuck what I thought of him.
Across the room, a three-year-old shrilled and we both looked over.
“She looks like a real slutty cunt, huh?” Patrick whispered, leaning in over the table, with a
We were there for three hours before my dad texted me asking if I’d be returning home to make
our 6:30 birthday dinner reservation. Walking to my car, I sensed that the night was ending
prematurely for Patrick. He began to tactically widen his strides, until he was facing me besides
the car. Holding the car keys inside the lock, I turned to kiss him. He grasped my neck. I let go
of the keys. He softly grunted, while I bit his lower lip, and then inhaled a sharp breath through
his teeth when I did it again.
“Do you really have to go to dinner now?”
After texting for two hours, feigning passionate urgency in hazarding ideas for how we could
have sex somewhere else besides inside a car, I was invested in the fantasy. I liked the taste
of his mouth more than I’d expected, and the prospect of a first-time car sex experience was
irresistible to me. In psychology they call that novelty-seeking. I once was a Psych major, and
as mediocre of a reputation as that degree may have, the ability to self-diagnose is one of the
most useful skills you can hope to have by graduation day.
I hoisted myself up into his enormous, teal, Ford truck, reaching for the grey plastic handle
above my head ––the immediate impracticality of a utility vehicle–– if only we were hauling a
boat instead of trying to have sex. He drove no more than a couple miles, pulling me over to
kiss him as he sped through the dark, before he parked the car in front of a dog park.
Four years prior, as a senior on my high school cross-country team, I’d run a 5k race around
the dirt trail perimeter. Looking out beyond the dashboard, past the forest green, chain-link
fence, I thought, How far I’ve come. My innocence was a distant memory dating back to my
long-distance running memories, and was now coming around full circle, catching up with me.
I smirked at the quaintness of the “Closed after Sunset” sign. Intended to keep the youthful
indiscretions of night time out after dark, it was now facilitating a desperate fuck. As quickly as
the momentum of anticipation had been built up, it was now, as a matter of fact, deflating into a
“How do you want me?” As soon as I said it, I knew I’d use that as a line again.
Patrick reached a hand around my waist, pulling me on top of him. Bending my knees to frame
his lap, the back of my head nearly touched the rearview mirror. The intensity escalated quickly
within the confines of the fleece-covered front seats—the faster we had sex, the sooner we
could stop having sex. Arching my back, bracing my hands against the top of the car seat, I
started rocking my hips forward and back. I opened my eyes to see Patrick’s mouth gaping.
Tensing his lips to expose the top row of his teeth, he let out a short breath.
“Ooh, easy, slow down.”
A nearby streetlight illuminated the fogged windows with a faint burnt orange to resemble a
sauna. His orgasm sounded exasperated as he let out a heavy shriek, his face and chest
covered in cascading beads of sweat. He was still catching his breath while he removed the
soggy condom, leaned sideways from under me to the passenger seat, rolled open the window,
and threw it onto the asphalt parking lot. A montage of every discarded condom I’d ever seen
flashed through my mind––the fabled scandal of their origins demystified in an instant.
As we drove back to the parking lot in silence, I decided that I never wanted to see him again.
The sex had felt hasty, instead of spontaneously lustful, but I wasn’t so much disappointed with
rushed, mediocre car sex as I was surprised by how unmoved it left me.