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Compartment 14B

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Vanilla life.

2005-04-25 - 12:41 p.m.

‘What,’ she wondered, ‘am I doing here?’

She surveyed the small crowd around her at the writing workshop. Seventeen people, she noted, and, besides herself, only two with hair that wasn’t cropped short. Black clothes, piercings, and funky jewellery and footwear abounded. There was one blond. There was one man.

She felt frumpy, lumpy, dumpy beside these cool, poised women; women who talked about writing erotica because it was their “political mission”. She felt like a mousey housewife (career woman, though she was). She felt like a Golden Oreo(TM) amongst the chocolates. She reached up surreptitiously and took out the pony tail and pins she’d bound her hair back with for her class at the gym. She finger-combed and shook her hair out, a small spark of defiance escaping against her uncharacteristic shyness.

She sat silently for the most part; when she ventured to open her mouth during a discussion time she referred to something her neighbour in the adjacent seat had said using “she”, only to be quietly corrected to “he”. She still had a hard time discerning anything masculine in him, even after she’d been told.

There were, it seemed, two men. At least.

She bumbled out an apology, adding that she shouldn’t make assumptions. He murmured something intending to be reassuring, though avoided her eye after that.

After the workshop was over she went down to the shop below the meeting space. Asking for help selecting a “sperm friendly” lube at the counter she remembered the number of women who, when given the exercise of describing a piece of anatomy on a randomly-selected file card and drawing one with a man’s body part, declared that it was hard for them. They had no experience, you see, with men’s bodies or writing about heterosexual encouters. She felt like a “breeder”.

Taking her small tube of Slippery Stuff(TM), she slipped out the door and fled back to her vanilla life.

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