When I lived in Korea I would go home with men just to avoid having to go home by myself. Especially during a brief time when I had broken up with the only friend I had there.
It wasn’t only the solitude I hated, I loathed having to communicate to a cab driver my address. Uiwang-si, where I lived, is awkward to pronounce, but it was mostly the fear of being discovered, for not being a real Korean, that made trying to speak it my nightmare.
But one night, at one party it wasn’t a man who wanted to take me home. Her name was Christina. We had met previously at a writer’s workshop in Seoul in my attempt to make friends.
When I got to the party, she trapped me in the kitchen with one of her short stories by handing me her pages and asking if I would read them right then and there, and to tell her what I thought. “Right now?” I murmured. It was so obviously not the right time that I didn’t know how to respond to the request. So I agreed because that comes automatically to me.
The party was far away from the city. It was tucked away in one of these hilly landscapes that is cute in the day but remote in the night. A place that made me wonder as soon as I got there, how I would get home.
I didn’t know how to speak Korean in order to call a cab. I didn’t have the capacity to ask someone to help me get home. I did however know how to make someone want to take me home.
I spent the night flirting with someone to ensure that he would want to go home with me. But after glancing at his watch, he told me he was heading home. I felt my cheeks get warm. I had run out of time to convince him to take me home.
It would have been simpler if I wanted to go home with Christina. It became more and more apparent to me through the night that she wanted me to read more than her story. Even if I had reciprocated the attraction, I thought she was annoying.
Suddenly, the guy who I had been flirting with all night came back. He had missed his train. I hurried back to him and told him my plight of how I had to get out of going home with Christina, who couldn’t stop insisting on having a sleepover. I needed a reason, an excuse. It took convincing, but he finally agreed to come home with me.
“I know what you’re expecting when we get to your apartment. And I can’t give that to you.” He said in the cab, I remember the windows were down. I felt safe.
“What do you mean?” I asked, a little defensive. “What do you think I expect?”
“Sex. I just don’t want to disappoint you. But I’m impotent. I can’t get hard.”
“Oh!” “That’s totally ok!” I assured him, but he didn't seem convinced.
Truly, I was so relieved. So grateful for his impotence. I had just wanted a ride home.
We spent the night spooning, and in the morning he got up first, took a shit in my bathroom and left without a word.