"There's one thing I should make clear," he said. "I am a total manwhore."
I couldn't see why he couldn't have just said whore. The gendering of it seemed frivolous, surplus to requirements. The effect would have been the same.
"What else?" he asked. I looked at him blankly. I didn't know what else. It must have been a rhetorical question, because he continued without waiting for me to answer. "Oh yes. I'll try anything one. Or anyone."
That was definitely more than one thing. That was three things which he had clarified. He couldn't count. That said, if a pretty girl was lying in my bed making very clear she wanted to kiss me, I'm not sure I'd be able to count either.
Our protracted make-out session lasted several hours, but there was surprisingly little kissing involved. They tended to happen in short bursts, interspersed with long lingering eye-fucking, and bizarre fragments of conversations. We discussed his scars. He had one in the back of his leg from an air rifle. The result of growing up in the countryside, he said. He told me about the girl he'd met on a night bus in London while out of his skull on champagne, and the holodeck he was building at work. I offered stories about my parents' education and why straight vodka was always a bad idea. We had an argument over the ambiguities of the English language which ended in stalemate.
He was a self-described universal pervert. I was an unspoiled flower. It was something he would "bear in mind". It must be strange, the inequity in sexual experience. I wasn't bothered, but I wondered if it made him uncomfortable.
"You are a universal pervert," I said, quoting his own words back at him
"I resent and resemble that remark."
"If you're a manwhore, I suppose there is hope for the least of us yet."
"I'm not sure how to take that. Are you calling me easy?"
I wasn't sure how I'd meant it either. It was more an observation. He was not the epitome of attractiveness, coventionally speaking - and yet, he was rolling in women. It could be lies, but I doubted it. There was no air of boasting or arrogance to his words. They were just words. Really, I had meant it as something of a comparison. If he managed to have lots of sex, then I figured my prospects were also fairly good. If I felt that way inclined.
We were awake most of the night, but he never tried anything untoward. He didn't push or make me uncomfortable. He dozed off with his hand on my thigh. Later, he turned over, and I spent a long time with my face buried in his bare back, breathing in his scent.
I had problems with trying to be sexy. Make out sessions inevitably involve me dissolving into a fit of the giggles (though whether out of amusement or nerves, I could not say), no matter who my partner is. Often, he would stop, and look at me.
"What?" he asked, and I would laugh and tell him the random, inane thing which had triggered my giggling. Sometimes they were to do with him. Sometimes they weren't.
At one point, he had broken away trying not to laugh.
"What?" I asked, a parrot, reflecting his inflection of the syllable.
"The things parents say," he said. "About not getting into strange men's beds."
He's right, I suppose. He could be a murderer for all I know. He could have chainsaws in the oven and an axe stowed under his bed. I said as much to him. Why else would he have two sheds, unless one was for storing corpses? But I also know that he drives a vintage MG, which doesn't have the boot space for the discrete transport of dead bodies.
"Hasn't done me any harm so far," I said.
I wondered if he was upset by my lack of reaction to his promiscuity. Whether he had thought it would phase me. If anything, I felt reassured: he was a safe pair of hands. He knew what he was doing. I supposed I trusted him, at least a little, or I wouldn't have been prepared to share his bed.
In the morning he woke up for work and had a shower. I lay in bed a little longer and wondered if I would do this again. I drove home, dropping him off outside his work on the way, and he pecked me goodbye in the traffic jam.
I wondered if I would see him again.