The Y Chromosome
It’s the middle of August, and our first time at the beach together –
We’ve rented a small house in the south of Sweden for the weekend, since the beaches in Norway are significantly colder.
As we walk to the beach from the house, I look down at my right hand, remembering that I have unusually shaped nails, which are highly circular, with some of my fingernails even forming nearly perfect circles:
I realize that I’m likely just running through the typical anxieties that you have at the beach with others, especially in a new relationship –
My chest hair is probably a bit much for Sweden, my stomach is not its best, but my biceps look legitimately awesome in my jet black, Mountain Dew T-shirt, with cut-off sleeves, so I’m feeling pretty good about my overall situation.
We get to the beach, and it’s not terribly different from the beaches out in The Hamptons, with a really long shoreline, and sand that extends out quite far perpendicular to the shore.
The main difference is the presence of a significant boardwalk, and though there are great restaurants in the Hamptons, the quality of food in Sweden is world class, in my opinion on par with France and Italy, this beach being no exception, with excellent representation from basically every genre imaginable, as if they had transplanted Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and laid it upon a beach.
We pick out a spot fairly close to the water, since the tide is calm:
I lay down an oversized, rough khaki sheet, with an elaborate, but thin, blue floral print, that I bought in a small shop in the north of India, placing our towels down upon it, spaced out a bit, since the relationship is new, and the fact that she’s my colleague is always coloring our time together –
Two, white cotton, hotel style beach towels, that we’ve taken from the house.
I reach further into the plaid interior of my Herschel bag, removing a set of small Bluetooth speakers, that nonetheless have excellent, balanced low end sound, sunglasses for both of us, and before the spread is complete, I turn the speakers on, which makes a low frequency popping sound that shakes the unit in my hand, then pulling out my phone, ultimately kicking off a playlist that I’ve curated specifically for this occasion, that begins with, “Feed me Diamonds“, by MNDR (RAC Remix), and as the song begins, I place the speakers in the top center of the blanket, equidistant from each towel, with the full display being crafted to convey my shamelessly pretentious tastes in absolutely everything imaginable, and that I really just want her to have a good time with me.
“I’m going to hit the loo, but I’ll be back in a minute”, she says.
“Sounds good,” I reply, as I tweak the spread a bit more in her absence.
I’m still wearing my artisanal tank top, because I feel a bit fat, and I’m quite anxious in her absence, though I’m convinced it doesn’t show through the shielding of the Mountain Dew logo across my chest.
About five minutes in, I see her starting to walk back towards me, and while still walking, with the confidence of a concrete beam, she begins to take off her already somewhat see-through, white cotton sundress, and I can see her fit, but nonetheless plum body slowly come into view, like I’m watching a beer commercial, and I realize that she is bonkers hot –
I am so proud of myself at the moment, that I forget about my slight chubbiness, concluding that I must look pretty good to have pulled this off, but nonetheless keep the top on for a minute.
I take off my leather Brooks Brothers sandals, that have little palm trees on the straps, gesture for her to give me her Havaianas, that have a decorative bow across the top, which I complement, and with that and my backpack, three of the four blanket corners are now secured, holding down the fourth with her rather sizable beach bag, made of a finely woven, decorative straw, with a thin yellow print that matches notes from the bows on her sandals, the contents of which are a total mystery to me, given that I’m nearly certain that I’ve carried all objects of any utility.
I reach again into the backpack, this time revealing a Nalgene bottle, with a thick, grey, rubberized top, filled with a cocktail that I’ve made for both of us, consisting of Hendrix gin, fresh grapefruit juice, some mint, sparkling water, and a splash of limonata soda.
She’s selected the towel closest to where I’m standing, sits down, and while organizing herself, she grabs the back of my left calf, looking off into the water, as I shake the bottle aggressively to circulate the ice, and even out the temperature, pouring it into the classic red solo cup that I’ve brought, with two cups stacked, one into the next, completing my updated American cliché.
I lift the top cup out with my finger tips, which is fizzing a bit due to the sparkling water and limonata, but at no risk of spilling, and hand it to her –
I kneel, and again, reach down into my backpack, withdrawing a small ziplock bag containing torn mint, that I then use to dress her cocktail as she holds it, and I can see that she enjoys the spread, as, “Eddie“, the Oliver Nelson Remix, begins to play.
About thirty minutes have passed since we sat down, and while sitting up a bit, resting on my elbows, I look at the water ahead, and as she’s laying on her back, I can see that her eyes are closed through one of my many cheap pairs of wayfarers, this time featuring a glossy black frame, with the name of some shitty bar in Nantucket emblazoned on both temples, close to the lenses, at an angle, the text pale blue in color, fit for a frozen margarita cup, complete with an underline accentuating the name, “The Chicken Box” –
I notice her sandy foot in my view, with her left knee raised, and her right foot perched atop, not annoyed at all, that some portion of sea has been obscured by her frame, as “Dreams“, by The Cranberries starts playing –
I really like her, so this is good –
Completing the scene of the day at the beach, with the lovely girlfriend, beautiful weather, music I love, playing with a magnificent clarity, just waiting for a vodka slogan to appear in the sky, blasting out from the exhaust of American fighter jets scrambling above, confirming my impulses for empire, of which I am clearly an ambassador.
Then I notice her toenail is exactly the same shape as mine –
“Look at your foot,” I say excitedly, quite loud.
She holds up her right foot into the air, pointing her toes forward, staring at them for a moment, with her gorgeous leg fully extended, like a flying gazelle, then taking off her sunglasses, extending her arm, her palm up, blocking the sun with her right hand, perhaps expecting to find a bug, she wiggles her toes, sand falling off a bit, and looks at me, smiling.
“Now look at my foot.”
I lift my right foot to the side of her’s, in roughly the same position, but with a bit of distance, held perfectly still, for comparison.
She leans in to observe, and then says,
“OK, that is a bit weird.”
There’s some discussion about the frequency of this in nature, and apparently, she hides the ball a bit, perhaps embarrassed, as I insist on seeing pictures of her family, convinced that I’ll find a doppelgänger:
I instead find out that her mother looks exactly like her, just older, which only adds to my concerns, and as I stare at her, now instead worried that we’re all slightly permuted versions of the same person, producing deliberately engineered, scientifically calibrated incest –
Some kind of secret project to produce hot, bright, belligerent people, scattered about the surface of the Earth.
She confesses that her mother does not have the foot in question, but that her father does, leading to one of those discussions that overly educated people have, that sound convincing, referencing articles from The Economist, but are nonetheless unscientific gibberish, ultimately leading us to the conclusion that this type of foot is likely carried by the Y chromosome.
As we both nod in agreement, with confidence, but modest professional apprehension in our conclusion, she puts her sunglasses back on, and takes a sip from her cocktail, again wiggling her toes, staring at them, then smiling at me –
This is what happens when you pay people too much money.
I’m still bothered by this, so I decide to lean in and give her a kiss, as she’s resting on her elbows, staring into the sea, she turns towards me –
As I gently remove her sunglasses afterwards, I can see that she’s freckled a bit near her eyes, which I stare into both romantically, and clinically, to find that they are nearly identical to mine in color.
I run my fingers through the right side of her wet hair, doubling back to remove some sand, to deflect from the intrusions that I’ve imposed upon her, then leaning back to examine her frame, I realize that she has a smaller version of my unusually broad shoulders, built like a capital T, and I’m left feeling a bit gay, dating someone that intersects substantially with my own physical appearance.
She sees where I’m looking, and laughing a bit, she notices the same things in me –
“Howdy!”, she says, feigning the accent of an American bumpkin, looking directly into my eyes, shaking the same foot –
I impulsively grab her, kissing her quickly, then roll over her, without putting much pressure on her body.
When to her right, I scoop her up, snaking my left arm under her back, ultimately pulling her onto my body.
Her face now directly above mine, I can smell the ocean on her lips, and as the wind blows, her wet hair flails, as we stare at each other with some seriousness –
I place my right palm on the side of her face, my thumb gently resting near her eye, laying with my back in the sand –
She sneaks away, inching her wet body down a bit, and falls asleep on my chest.