Daughters of the Dirt / Sarah Higdon

Woman Seeks...
by Diane Fleming

My therapist says we'll work on writing a new personal ad for me. We'll do this every couple of months to see where my self-esteem is at. We'll see if it's at rock bottom or if it's moved up a bit -- to the pit of Hell.

"So, what are you looking for in a man?" she asks.

"Well, he has to like sex. I don't want any more deviants who only like sex with their own hand and a telephone receiver -- and you know the woman on the other end of the line is a great fat woman with a moustache and stockings rolled down around her ankles."

"Ok," she says, "Write that down."

"And he has to like to read -- or at least he has to know how to read," I say.

"Well, what does he need to look like? You want him to take care of himself, right?"

"Oh that doesn’t matter. Fat or thin, that's ok. But I don't like Velcro shoes."

"What interests should he have? What else can you tell me about him?" she asks.

"Well, he should probably NOT like to watch golf. He should probably have a job. I don't care how old he is. He should be nice."

So my new ad reads: "Seeking fat or thin man who likes sex. Must be able to tie shoelaces. Must know how to read. Only nice guys without putters need apply."

I start receiving pictures of large naked men with tiny penises. Their attached letters read: "I want to suck your wet pink pussy."

And though I see the value in that idea, these aren't exactly the results I want. I start over, but it's all wrong.

I write, "I like to write erotica." But that attracts the perverts.

I write, "I'm a single 42-year-old woman with two kids, one of whom is manic-depressive, and a crazy psychotic ex-husband who lives in town." Well, that attracts no one.

I go to the convenience store to buy aspirin and soap. I stare at the clerk, who is better looking than any of my pink pussy suitors. I wink at him, seductively waving a cold beer from the back cooler. I offer him my winning lottery ticket, which he accepts. With the winnings, he replaces his Velcro golf shoes with crazy new-fangled shoes with ties; he hires a personal trainer and a reading tutor.

The world looks damn good.
Diane Fleming has published a book of poetry, Trip to Normal, and recently won first place in The Austin Chronicle's Short Story Contest (2001) for her story, Valium.  She is currently a technical writer at Vignette. She is grateful to her writing teachers from SWT and Austin Community College, to her writing group friends, and to her once and future therapists. Originally from the Northeast, she found her true home in Austin six years ago.