Sex in Public
Hannah K Gold on liminal space, exes, and that odd line between public fucks and private ones
Every public fuck is a ghost story. There was this one summer I spent between freshman and sophomore years of college, on a break from life, which, sadly, at the time, meant on a break from my boyfriend. I was lonely and working for a theater company off Times Square – building sets, and escorting high school theater campers to and from Chipotle, and buying dollar slices of pizza for myself, and other such activities which go uncompensated – the most perfectly unassuming backdrop for a campy, transcendental romp.
Unfortunately that romp was with my “not boyfriend.” Somehow, though he was in Chicago for the summer, he frequently ended up in New York, and we fell into a habit of having sex almost exclusively in public. We’d warmed up to it in the spring as the relationship began to chaotically unspool – in the empty classroom, in the “stacks” – and he started hooking up with a friend of mine.
By summer we were existing in a liminal space, to say the least. The relationship was in the doorway between second chances and final endings, a phantom of what it had been and it was no longer for us. We were admitting it with our bodies but not yet with our intentions. Of course I’m not saying that every time you had sex in public it was tied to something destructive or on the verge of ruin in your life. I’m sure people have good reasons for fucking in public. In fact, I did too! I just never enjoyed it.
On a hot July day, while the 2010 World Cup angrily evaporated to its last sweaty drop, my ex and I were lost in Riverside Park. Or, not lost, but in parts unknown – maybe it was Central Park. We were drunk on the day, wordlessly scoping out a crevice and found ourselves in a deserted, cavernous go-cart garage, consolidating like an apparition out of the manicured wilderness.