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Rented Men 

It's a whole new world when you can pay for a job well-done

Grant keeps saying I have lesbian taste, even though I am neither a lesbian nor have I ever tasted one. But still, he feels that just because I buy crap from IKEA and drive a PT Cruiser -- in other words, just because I have a sense of practicality -- I am automatically a repressed lesbian and I should just drop the hetero act and situate my strap-ons right now.

"It's the truth," he insists, taking another sip from his pussy-ass iced Americano probably made from coffee beans plucked from leopard turds on the floor of the rainforest.

"Look who's talking, you stupid puckered poohole," I tell him. "You've only been gay for maybe 20 percent of your entire life at the most. Don't talk to me about the truth, because the truth is you don't know shit."

But the real truth is I don't think Grant is really gay, I just think he's really horny and other men are the only creatures on the earth who can match his appetites. My theory is he kept it all in check for the first 40 or so years of his life so he could father a child with his first ex-wife, who mysteriously doesn't speak to him anymore. I personally think she should foam at the mouth and fall all over herself in gratitude for the fact that Grant stayed straight long enough to father their wonderful kid, but I am incredibly biased seeing as how I love Grant madly, but not the father-my-child kind of love or even the satisfy-your-appetites-on-me kind of love, but the you're-a-stupid-puckered-poohole kinda love, which is the best kind.

Now that we got that out of the way, it was time to get down to the real reason I was there watching Grant gingerly slurp at his artisan coffee elixir, and that is because I need him to help me pick up Mexicans, because if anybody is an expert at picking up Mexicans, it's Grant. Back when he had his Honda Element, otherwise known (by me) as the Bionic Anal-Sex Vessel, he would troll Buford Highway almost every night and pick up prospects like plucking berries from a bush. He would never go into explicit details with me because there is still that odd sort of gentleman side to him that is so maddening, but to this day he prefers Mexicans over any other kind of 'cans. He eats them up like popcorn shrimp.

My own appetites are embarrassingly pedestrian by comparison. I don't need men in my life right now for anything except painting my duplex. The tenant, Fred, is moving in any day, and the place still looks worse than that Iranian shit pit they pulled Saddam out of. It needs paint, putty, plaster, caulk and a total HAZMAT hose down. I've been working on it so hard this past week that my hands look like I clawed my way out of a coffin.

My guy friends are all pretty useless in this regard. For example, Keiger came over the other day to say hi, and while he was there I asked him to help me position something. OK, it was a rusty burglar bar, and OK, it was pretty heavy, but you would have thought I had asked him to build me a bomb shelter. He spent the entire rest of the visit brushing off his Bermuda shorts like an obsessive-compulsive coming off medication.

I can't deal with that. I'd rather just rent men. I hear it's a fairly easy process. You just go to Home Depot and they're supposed to be hanging out there in the early morning, hoping to be chosen. The only problem is I thought I should have a guy with me to do the brokering, and I thought Grant should be the guy because I've already way overtaxed my relationship with Lary. The last time I went to Lary's, just to borrow his jigsaw and then get a 10-hour tutorial on how to cut countertops, he got his shotgun out and started to reassemble it, which is his secret signal to let me know he needs me to get the fuck out of his house.

But I had to go alone to rent the men because Grant sleeps until 7 million o'clock on Thursdays on account of his bartending gig at the Local the night before. In short, I could not wake him up if I detonated grenades on his bed. At the Men-Rental Depot, my selection process entailed picking the man with the kindest face and then asking him to choose his own workmate. I then took them to the duplex, told them what to do and they set about doing it.

When I came back in four hours, it was done. It was that simple. I didn't have to beg, wheedle, bawl, promise marathon blowjobs or anything. All I did was pay them and when the work was done, they went away. The best part is I didn't have to hear about how five years ago they once loosened a lug nut for me and that right there is reason enough to forever harangue me for being a burdensome, ovary-bearing albatross in their lives. This "pay/go-away" process is much better. It's like I discovered a whole new world.

"Lesbian," Grant taunts me.

"Call me Rosie," I say.

Hollis Gillespie is the author of Confessions of a Recovering Slut and Other Love Stories and Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales from a Bad Neighborhood. Her commentaries can be heard on NPR's "All Things Considered."

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