Model 3.5

by Catherine Weiss

when i meet my third-and-a-half boyfriend/my number one dating priority is SOCIETAL ACCEPTABILITY/he is a model slash actor slash retail associate at abercrombie and fitch/HOT DAMN SAYS ME IN 2004/my puka shell necklace glinting over my artfully layered gap tank tops/he checks alllllll the societally appropriate boxes if you know what i mean/and i hope that you do not

you know how sometimes when you preface an ex/you start by disclaiming the at least they didn’ts /and it says so much about what they did/like/he never hit me/but

my new boyfriend is saying things out loud at my smiling face/i am grateful he’s a human being in the same room as me/because i am 19/i call him refreshingly honest/like there’s nothing more romantic than the phrase/“i expect regular anal and will get it elsewhere if i need to”/which, by the way, is a very silly ultimatum

you know how sometimes your boyfriend’s name is chris/and his roommate is a cop named kris/but with a k/and you pretend like that’s a super funny story/and you pretend like being alone in their studio apartment with them does not make your skin crawl/and pretend you agree borrowing real handcuffs for sex is totally hot/until chris shows you how much it isn’t

it is april and in two months i will be diagnosed with severe mental illness/i wonder what his excuse will be/chris is seeing his ex behind my back/he thinks i don’t know because i don’t say anything/because he and i are now facebook official/chris being tall/cheekbones being CHISLED/we are so compatible he says/i am learning compatibility is compromise plus a man doing what he wants/and the months invested in this cardboard cut-out are just the price i pay for looking less lonely than my friends

you know how sometimes your boyfriend uses the n-word in front of you/and you ask him maybe not to/and he thinks it’s funny how ridiculous you’re being/and societal acceptability starts to seem like an elaborate joke you’ve been playing on everyone you meet/and what can you do except freeze the smile/when the only person laughing holds the keys you need to leave

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