A Woman and Her Secrets

Essay, second prize in the Asinine Prose Contest

by Ed Kornfeld

WOMEN HAVE THE STRANGEST NEED to tell you things you don't want — and don't need — to know. Especially after the first few months of dating, just as a relationship is threatening to get serious. Trust me, I've done a lot of early dating, so I know.

When things are going well and you've rounded the bases a few times, a woman starts to look at you like the other initial on future monogrammed towels. So she decides it's time to tell you Her Secret.

There are some Secrets you need to know. Like ''I have a husband'' or, similarly, ''I have herpes.'' These are, without a doubt, good things to add to the little file folder you have on her in your head. It allows you to move forward (''Let me get a rubber'') or close said file (''Let me get you a cab'').

Which is all well and good, and I am grateful for that kind of intel. It's the other stuff, the stuff I never need to know, that gets to me. One thing about it is how women tend to present these kernels of needless knowledge at the absolute worst moments. For example, in a sleepy, post-intimate moment, she might scoot her body up to yours and then blurt out eight words that make your sphincter dance: ''There's something you need to know about me.''

Of course a million possibilities run through your mind. Was she born a man? Is she a Trekkie? Did she slaughter children in My Lai? But it's never something you expect. Like she pops out with, ''I once fisted my college girlfriend.'' Now how am I going to get any sleep after that?

It's incredible! I've heard, ''I use to steal from my grandmother.'' And ''I did acid all through junior high.'' Then some women pull their Secret using something completely unrelated as a segue. Like people at dinner are talking about the World Series, and swear to god this happened to me, later on she's flossing and says, ''Speaking of baseball, you know, I once had both my cousin's balls in my mouth.''

Holy cow! What was I supposed to do with that? Was I supposed to say, ''I thought you preferred coffee,'' or ''Aw. Do you keep in touch?''

See? Data I did not need to know. Our relationship does not improve with my enlightenment via said fact.

Of course, what this fact-bombing is is obvious: tests. We're being tested. Are you strong enough to be my man? That's what she's thinking, fellas. This is what I consider my darkest secret, the one that makes me feel like a dirty girl and not in a good way (like when I flirt with a car mechanic or gorge on pudding after you go to sleep), something I have never told my bffs, but that you must must know!

But I don't! I don't must!

These little tests — which I always fail — are unnecessary. Why bring up the past? I want to get to know who you are now!

You know, I could have some secrets of my own. Ever think of that? Like, how my sister and I dry-humped one long Saturday afternoon? You sent her a scarf for Christmas. Or that sometimes I masturbate in front of the dog — on purpose. No, didn't tell you that. Or how about the time I blacked out on whiskey and woke up in bed with a gun, $200 in small bills, and a bucket of fried chicken. I don't want to know how it happened.

I don't even want to know my own secrets sometimes.

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