Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Romance of the One Night Stand

By Lisabet Sarai


After a solid week of roses and candy, hearts and flowers, I'm just starting to recover from Valentine's Day. When you write erotic romance as I do, you are more or less required to participate in the romantic frenzy. Over the past seven days I was involved in two different Valentine's blog hops simultaneously. Every email I sent out to readers, every promotional message or invitation to my blog ended with the obligatory “Have a Happy Valentine's Day”. All my publishers had contests dedicated to love. Every day I received notices of Valentine's release parties, Valentine's chats, Valentine's treasure hunts, special Valentine's prices, et cetera. I spent more than an hour yesterday collating entries to my own giveaways and sending out notifications and prizes.

I'm exhausted. Not that I have anything against Cupid's Day, mind you. I enjoy a candle light dinner, a glass of wine, and the intimate aftermath as much as anyone. It's just that my notions about romance aren't exactly conventional. For example, in contrast to the Happily Ever After crowd, I tend to find one night stands deeply romantic.

I'm not talking about Erica Jong's zipless fuck here, a chance conjunction of bodies with physical pleasure, and perhaps the shattering of conventions, as its primary goal. I'm talking about the sense of erotic connection I've sometimes experienced in the arms of a stranger. The one night stands that live in my memory had a sense of rightness that amplified every sensation. Two individuals blundering through life, we collided by chance, and for a brief, beautiful time, we became one creature. Bound by lust, and perhaps loneliness, together we lit up the night.

Traditional romance celebrates the concept of soul mates. Some of the lovers who shared my bed just once seemed to know me so well, I was almost ready to believe in that sort of destiny. At the same time, bittersweet regret always lingered in the background, the specter of inevitable parting. The shadow of pending farewell threw the immediate pleasure and joy into sharp relief.

For me, one night stands are erotic exactly because they don't last forever. The transience heightens the intensity. Rationally, I understand that the magical feeling of connection may be an illusion. Relationships based on chemistry alone rarely survive. What if I'm not deluding myself, though? What if this man really was “the one”? How deliciously tragic to know that we'll go our separate ways! And how sweet to imagine an alternate, impossible future, a future of endless nights, equally incandescent. The fantasy thrills me exactly because I know it will never be fulfilled.

No wonder I have such trouble adjusting to the tropes of romance .

I've tried to capture the eroticism and transcendence of one night stands in some of my short stories (though reviewing my back list, I'm somewhat disappointed to realize how few). Perhaps the purest expression can be found in “Shades of Red”, available in my collection Spank Me Again, Stranger. A young woman, fascinated by the red light district in Amsterdam, rents a window for herself. A stranger engages her services, seeking the discipline her costume seems to promise, and she discovers that indeed she does have a talent for dominance. The bond they share as she beats him is not at all what she expected.

***

He's shy and grateful afterward. I sit in the armchair, watching him as he dresses. He's definitely a handsome man. When he pulls his wallet from his pocket and tries to give me a hundred euros, I shake my head.

"Thirty. That's what we agreed."

"But you gave me so much – just what I needed."

"Never mind. Business is business."

"Please..."

"I said no. Are you going to start disobeying me?"

He smiles, puts most of the money away, and presses a ten and a twenty into my hand. "Thank you. Thank you so much." For a moment I think he's going to kiss me. I wish that he would. But that moment passes. He reaches for the door, squeezes past me in the crowded room and is gone, into the night.

I lean back in my hired chair staring at the bills in my hand. I'm sweaty. My hair has come loose from the clip and is tangled down my back. My arms ache.

When I unlace my corset, my breasts tumble out, the nipples as hard and sensitive as ever. I unsnap the leather panties, drenched and stained from my juices. They make a sticky noise as I pull them away from my pussy. The ripe smell of cunt rises, mingling with the bitter scent of semen. I reach for the vibrator, conveniently to hand in the tiny room. The cool stainless steel cylinder slides deliciously into my swollen cleft. I flip the switch to high and writhe helplessly as the vibrations trigger one ragged, ecstatic climax after another.

Epiphanies? Revelations? I don't think he'll forget this night. As for me, I know that the memory of his red-streaked buttocks and tear-stained face, my power and his surrender, will fuel intense orgasms long into the future.

I still feel high as I lock my door behind me and step into the street. I'm naked under my coat. Every sensation is frighteningly acute. A random breeze plays in my damp, bare sex. The smell of spilled beer mingles with the tang of autumn leaves.

The alleys are still crowded. I hear snatches of conversation in a dozen languages, riffs of jazz and rock and roll. I sense the beat of the men's hearts as they congregate around some red-lit rectangle of glass.

A lithe male figure in a turtleneck brushes past me and my breath catches in my throat. Images flood my mind, images of pale, pliant flesh, offering itself to me.

It occurs to me, as I make my way back to my five star hotel and my ordinary life, that perhaps I am the one who was marked this night.

***
I defy you to tell me that's not romantic.

7 comments:

  1. Love this post, Lisabet, and I quite agree with and relate to what you say (as I interpret it). I too have often found one-night stands to have a particular connection that goes far beyond what society generally seems to credit them with. I don't know if I ever connected this to the actual adjective "romantic" (which has seemed rarely forthcoming in my vocabulary), but I think you make quite a case for why I could.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi, Emerald,

      I use the word "romantic" far more liberally than the genre does. What could be more romantic Romeo and Juliet, for instance? Or Tristan and Isolde? Or Cathy and Heathcliff? Romantic for me is about intensity and passion, not longevity.

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    2. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/romance

      a (1) : a medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural (2) : a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious (3) : a love story especially in the form of a novel
      b : a class of such literature

      I aspire to be able to call the stories that I write this kind of erotic romance.

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  2. If anyone is interested, I realize I have an even better example of a romantic one night stand on my free stories page:

    http://www.lisabetsarai.com/refugeoftheroad.html

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    1. I found that a beautiful story, Lisabet—and definitely apropos your post. Thank you for sharing.

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