Sometimes I must stay away from my friend Hiram, for his mind not only runs in a sexual rut, so to speak--not unusual, that--but it also runs to the bizarre, the outlandish, the silly.
Just the other day he said, "You know, to me a woman-tasting makes much more sense than a wine-tasting."
I sighed. Against my judgment, I said, "Go on. Explain."
"Oh, let's say twelve naked women lie down on beds in a large room, and a taster briefly explores their vaginas with, in my case, his tongue and mouth. You'd rinse your mouth between tastings. You'd note your findings on a card."
"What is wrong with you?" I asked.
"What do you mean, as if I didn't know?" he replied. "What's wrong with me, according to you, is that I'm Hiram, one enthralled and obsessed by women, by the female form, as expressed by individual women-people."
"Hiram, you'd have to hire them. Sex workers. Do you want to be going down on sex workers? Or were you thinking of asking for volunteers among your acquaintances?"
"The latter," he said--in a mumble. "Now I see the flaws. The logistics are impossible. Ah, but what if? What if! Each woman with her own particular taste. I am sucking, licking, and fondling the pudendum of each. Some shaved, some not--perhaps one of them pierced on the labia. I am--I'd give each one a red rose!?
"Very thoughtful of you. I suspect they might want more."
"Indeed," he said, missing my point. "And I'd want to give it to them--sucking toes, licking thighs--kisses, nibbles. Burying my head in there, but gently, giving my all. I'd feel obligated to satisfy each one."
"Hiram, try thinking normal thoughts."
"Only right before I go to sleep, my normative friend. The normative numbs me; it is of our zomboid culture."
"Women aren't bottles of wine."
"I know that, you sententious bastard!" Hiram was animated, to say close to the least. He drew attention from other patrons at the bar. "That's the point--to taste women, a woman, not wine. To taste! I feel as if I can taste them now!"
"Keep it down, fellas," the bartender said--not his first time having to admonish us.
I bought Hiram a glass of red wine, pinot noir, and left a tip whose size was appropriate for our having been admonished.
And here I am, thinking Hiram's non-normative thoughts, imagining myself as the taster. The taster.