He called himself Hung Daddy. An appropriate moniker, because he was hung, and he was old enough to be her dad.
Mornings were his favorite time to send dick pics, along with good morning honey hung daddy’s going to ram his cock in u. The two-dimensional photos captioned with such three-dimensional words were amusing distractions from her daily commute. His veins dripped from the tip of his dick like melted ice cream off a spoon. The eye of the dick, the thrill of the storm.
He followed a weekly schedule. On Mondays, the photos had an upward angle emphasizing the droop of his balls. Wednesdays gave her a birds eye view of his feet. She appreciated the diversity of perspectives, but had no preference, other than hating when he used zoom. He sent her some photos so close up all she could see was a beige, fleshy sort of sponge.
He never told her he was a banker, but it was easy enough to guess. Bankers were the only one who needed to pay her type for sex, because her type would’ve fucked anyone interesting for free.
She had guessed right, having done her due diligence in verifying him before their first meet up. His Linkedin was public. Senior Vice President of Citi Bank, Treasury: Global Liquidity Management Department.
She was intrigued by this banker who apologized before asking for sexual favors. Sry but could u send me a pic of ur boobs. Sry but can u wear a tight skirt. Sry gave him an air of shame for his transgressions. She forgave him because she did what he asked. All in good fun.
The day before their meeting, he venmoed her $500. Chivalry wasn’t dead, it was alive and rich with cash-flow.
She wondered why he thought she needed the money. He probably constructed a damsel-in-distress tall tale, an addict druggie fiend type of sob story. In reality, she used it for rent, for savings, for the occasional splurge on a vintage thrifted flowery dress. She refused to wear designer clothes out of principle, and at this point in her life, drugs were boring. She had already done all the safe ones. Not the ones people said they would never try. The fun ones, the ones that could be shared in a nightclub bathroom or snorted with strangers waiting in line for the loo or talked about casually like pasta noodles. Oh, you haven’t tried fusili? We have to do it sometime, it’s so different from spaghetti, cooks a bit differently!
She wasn’t inexperienced. She had done the bar pickups, the awkward wakeups, the cotton-mouthed subway rides back home, the going from work to the club to the classroom and back again. To be honest, if the banker had gone up to her at the bar, she probably would’ve considered going home with him anyway. With this arrangement, she got more than just a drink. If she was going to keep doing what she did, why not earn a little bit along the way?
She felt utterly bored and utterly removed from her friends, even those who did the same things as her, though never to her extent. She’d never tell them. There was a sort of power play here in this situation with Hung Daddy, one she couldn’t figure out exactly, because it didn’t really bother her. But it was implied any time an older man with more money paid her for sex. Implied by the media, implied by fiction, implied by anyone who was ashamed of their own predilections. She was not ashamed, but she knew only one kind of mess was accepted in her social circle. Her mess was not. But her mess was a glowing gemstone inside of her that she treasured, because it gave her value. The more stories, the more valuable you were.
She knew the importance of stories because she had traveled, she had packed up and left, she had never re-signed a lease and she had never bought a new sofa. She had learned that everything was transient—the free poster from the art gallery, the full-size mattress from the previous tenant, even the t-shirt that still fit her from high school. Yes, she had friends, old and new, and she had ex-partners on good terms and a dear brother and a dad who was loving and present and a mom was gorgeous and kind. But she knew, in the end, when the world collapsed in a fiery heap, all she would think in the split second before the inferno would be a thankfulness for the stories she had collected. Everything was transient except for herself. And that is what led her to him.
The first conversation in the coffee shop was short and quick, to the tune of the F minor Chopin etude scratching over the loudspeaker in the background. His suit sleeve scratched the back of her neck when they hugged in greeting, a short hug with both arms, left around her upper back and right just chastely at her lower. He smelled of baby talk and rusty dollar bills. His wilting body reminded her of dying bulbous tulips.
His voice was reedy, not matching the voice she used in her head when reading his texts. He asked her how she was, why she was doing this, what perversions had led her to this date. They always wanted to know why.
Her voice was persuasive, lilting, dripping with innocence. She asked him who he was, who Hung Daddy really was, and why he sought out sex for money. He told her about his divorce, his vindictive ex-wife. They always had vindictive ex-wives.
Then at this point it was a dance so practiced, neither of them tripped. They went to his apartment, a decor whose personality was that it lacked one. There were no pots or pans or woks or blenders in the kitchen. No art hung on the walls and no plants thrived under the massive windows. No semblance of home; the emptiness of a life worked, not lived. She crept around his apartment as he went to the bathroom to freshen up, stroking the white countertops, the dishwasher, the sterile tiles, the minimal pressed wardrobe hanging from his closet, devoid of any color other than blue, white, black.
His bedroom was where she first saw the socks. They sat in a plastic three drawer clear cart, the kind found at Target for ten bucks. It was a practical and versatile storage solution for any room of the home, a truly efficient use of space for a low cost. She herself had one back in college, a new one every year, easily replaceable, where she stored her broken pencils and rubber bands. He used them for his socks, two drawers full.
His socks were folded toe-to-toe, turned inside out to envelope both in one perfect little lump. Her mom used to fold socks this way for her, though she would often undo her mother’s work, taking apart and remaking the lumps as mismatched pairs on purpose. She’d insist that matching socks were boring, extrapolating the fact that her mother was boring too. She created sock combinations the way she cooked, a dash there, a pinch here. A blue sock decorated with clouds matched with a purple printed with pineapples. A checkered red and black together with a pale pink lacy seductive frill. An athletic no-wick no-smell ankle matched with a fuzzy slipper sock.
But Hung Daddy’s were all of the same variety. White gym socks with gray fuzz, reinforced heel and toe, gray heel and toe, cheap in packs of six from Hanes. She picked a lump of his up and weighed it in her left hand.
She suddenly remembered Lidia. They had met in the laundry room of their apartment building. The landlord was lazy, and left the building to grow dingy and dusty, enough that her pothos plant never grew past a few inches. But it was cheap, and there was free laundry accessible in the basement. So she’d lug her overflowing sack of dirty clothes each week to the dark underground that gave her the creeps, looking over her shoulder every ten seconds. The night she met Lidia, she had entered the basement and screamed in surprise, startled at the face peering at her. She had never seen another apartment dweller using the washer or dryer. They laughed at their shared shock, and introduced themselves. Her name was Lidia and her hair was untamed. Lidia was washing her delicates, made up of socks and sport bras and granny panties, all neon and patterned.
Somehow, meeting for the first time over Lidia’s dirty socks meant socks became a theme in their relationship. She spent hours at the cute boutique around the corner picking out the right wild socks that would frame Lidia’s feet best. She felt a thrill whenever she looked down on their walks and saw her gifts peep out flashing between Lidia’s white wrinkled sneakers and navy work pants. For their two-year anniversary she bought Lidia neon pink socks with SOLE embroidered on the bottom of the left and MATES on the right, and Lidia wore them whenever they indulged in tickle play, SOLE MATES flashing as she ran her hands up and down from toe to heel, delirious off of Lidia’s high-pitched glee.
And the sock reveries came faster and faster as if the boring décor of Hung Daddy inspired her mind to flash through her most colorful memories as a coping mechanism—before Lidia, her mother used to collect the family’s lost, lonely socks from the dryer and keep them in a paper bag by the laundry door. The unpaired were repurposed into rags that cleaned up spills, oil splatters, and the occasional vomit.
And before, when she was ten and her brother was seven, her parents finally splurged on home renovation after their dad’s first big business deal. Her and her brother celebrated the new hardwood floors by sliding around to the tune of September by Earth, Wind & Fire in clean knee high socks. They collided like meteors and fell like stars, laughing in a burnt out heap, limbs unused to the solid floor. Her dad’s business went bankrupt later but the hardwood floors stayed.
And when she was a runner in high school, her mom would pick up her running socks laying peeled and damp on the floor post-practice, sniff them, and always wince, loudly. Her mom knew they would smell terrible, but always took a whiff nonetheless, because it was a form of love.
And then she was shaken out of her reveries by the bedroom door opening. He was out of the bathroom, naked, hairless, clean and devoid of any grime, belly protruding but still muscular thick, in an old man gone to seed sort of way. He was grinning. And then, oh my god, she was pushed onto the bed and on all fours and her hair was thrust back and he was panting and her feet were hanging off the edge and
thank you thank you thank you thank you do you like it hung daddy likes this oh yes baby
She never met up with Hung Daddy again. They tried to make plans, but she was sick, or he had a business trip, or they both were too tired. Two weeks after the first time she saw him, she texted him randomly for $200. The excuse was for rent, but she didn’t need the money. She just wanted to see if he would send it. He venmoed it to her accompanied with the text, “r u ok?” She did not reply.
Years later she would be folding her socks at a laundromat, warmed by the routine churn of the dryers under flickering fluorescent lights. And she would suddenly remember him, his hairy hands, the eye of his penis, the din of the Chopin crescendo across the coffee shop, his lumps of white gym socks with grey fuzz.
About Jade Song
Jade Song is a writer and art director in Brooklyn. Her stories are published in Waxwing, AAWW’s The Margins, Blood Orange Review, and elsewhere. Find her at jadessong.com.