Click one of the links to start exploring topics, ideas, books, art, music and coffee...

Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

Written by Ciena Leshley

Many times, a fling ends and you look back and realize that you should have seen the trash fire coming from a mile away. You recall all the moments that made you cringe, but that you just ignored cause, well, you’re young and dumb. Who has time to listen to their gut when they’re sloshing back Buds and making out? Now if I were to look back on my time with this particular beau, I’d probably get goosebumps from all the red flags I just didn’t see through my rose-colored glasses, but to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure if I’ve had a single moment of self-reflection in my whole life. So if ya’ll could point me to the lessons I should learn from this, I’d surely appreciate it.


Anyways, here’s a titular tale of Bruce Springsteen and sexual deviance!

(Spoiler Alert: no I did not go on a date with Bruce Springsteen.)

It is date number six in two weeks and by anyone’s standards, that is a lot. Me and beau have almost non-stop been chillin. We saw each other so much that in two weeks we had done karaoke together twice. (By the way guys, not sure if you know this, but Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA is actually low-key racist. I found that out the hard way…). I had met his friends and his roommates. He had come out with my friend and I when she was having a rough night. It was a lot.

Now this guy isn’t anything particularly spectacular. He looks somewhat like Danny Devito, but younger and with more hair. He was short, and a little stout, but like super smart. Too smart for his own good even, and funny. He had really cool friends and a healthy knowledge of cool bars in Bushwick. All-in-all, he was average. But he was also available and willing to do stupid last minute things on weeknights.

On date five, I had learned that he was moving to San Jose at the end of July for a job. It was a slight blow since we were having so much fun, but it was also pretty clear that that was all we were having. Now here’s where things get juicy, and also where it might be NSFW. So as date number 6 rolls in, we still have not had the sex. This is a little strange. But as I am going to his house to watch a 1980s French-German psychological horror movie, I figure it’s bound to happen.

I get to his (amazing) apartment. It’s a two story place in a brown stone. I’m talking rose garden in the backyard, large french doors separating the three bedrooms, CROWN MOLDING. He’s already drunk when I get there, but I brought a six-pack so I get started on catching up. We play with his roommate’s bunny for a while then watch our movie on his projector (so Brooklyn). We drink and are both in awe of how wonderful this movie is. At this point we’re both feeling the booze (him more so than me, he had had a head start).

The movie ends and we move into his bedroom. Things start to get hot and heavy, and I make reference to him having a condom, here’s how the convo goes:


Me: “Do you have a condom?”

Him: “No.”

Me: “Uh.. oh.. Okay. coool. I guess we can just sleep then.”

Him: “Fine.”

Me: “What?”

Him: “I’m just not really into sex right now.”

Me: “Okay, that’s fine.”

Him: “Can I masturbate on you though? Some people let me do it sometimes.”

Me: “uh ...no.”

Him: “why not?”

Me: “That like, doesn’t really do anything for me. Like if you want we can run and grab a condom, but..”

Him: “Look, I’m just not attracted to you in like, a sex way.”

Me: mouth agape, naked in his bed, after he asked to MASTURBATE one me.

Him: “I think we should just be friends.”


Me: Leaves.


And look, I’m not really one for reflection, but I can assure you that’s some mad B.S. And I can tell you that life is hard and knowing what you want is hard. It’s hard to be okay with yourself, especially as the rest of world feels like it’s spinning wildly without you. When you are uncertain about jobs and friends and the rest of your life, it can be easy to go along with shit you’re not comfortable with just because it’s some form of validation, but as we can tell from the above; A) all men are trash, even if you think you know them, and B) your boundaries and your comfort are important. I told this man no, that I didn’t want him to make a mess on me and ignore my needs, and he turned around and tried to insult me into doing what he wanted. Clearly, he wasn’t worth shit, but I can’t be sure that five months ago I would have had the strength and clear-headedness to walk away.

So I guess if there’s any advice I can give, know your limits and yourself, and stand by both. And stop listening to Born in the USA!


The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch

Turning Right off Honeymoon Avenue

Turning Right off Honeymoon Avenue