Sext

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Sext
The first time I sent a salacious picture to my partner, I felt time stretch. After taking a good 15 minutes to get the right angles to exaggerate my V-lines and to reveal just enough, I clicked send. I waited; the little wheel turned and turned above the word “sending” for what seemed like ages. I waited after it had sent. I wanted a reply. I checked my phone. I put it down. I snatched it up and checked again like a fool.

*

For a song that begins, “Call that n****, fuck that textin’ shit. If a n**** don’t pick up, guess it’s them hoes he wit’,” Junglepussy’s “Fuck Texting” is surprisingly empowering. What begins with semi-unfounded insecurity is quickly subverted. Throughout the verses and the choruses, the song’s speaker demands to be heard, takes control of the situation. Junglepussy’s persona simultaneously punishes and seduces with a dexterity only a Scorpio could manage. 

Whenever I listen to this song, I feel simultaneously scared and a bit turned on. There is something about a voice that is confident and forceful that elicits both of these responses in me. The lines of the song—like “it’s my world you can’t do what you want” or “I’m a greedy ass bitch, needing more than an entre”—have such an authority that I can’t help but to sit up straight and promise to obey whatever mouth they fall out of.

After nearly an hour, I got a reply. It consisted of three letters, “Ooo.” My heart raced but not in a good way. Neither of us continued texting. It was the beginning of summer, and I had spent the past two months working nearly 80 hours a week. My partner felt equally stressed. Our sex lives had diminished. 

I saw my partner a few hours later. She said hello and headed out to the porch where she spent the next two hours smoking and scrolling through Instagram. She didn’t bring up the text, not then, not ever. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I started prepping for dinner. I tried to heat things up.

*

In the song’s second verse, Junglepussy cartwheels between being the supposed mistress and the persona that began the song. It mirrors the jealous brain—how the other woman must have a “hocus pocus pussy” to make your man disappear, how a picture seems evidence of infidelity, before switching into insults to both the presumed other woman and the man. Neither side gets worked out. Junglepussy’s persona doesn’t get a full answer to her questions and her man never calls her back and the other woman never fully materializes.

*

“Fuck Texting” samples Kraftwerk’s 1978 song “The Model,” the lyrics of which are a textbook example of male gaze. The subject of the song is seen only as an object of desire—sexually, financially, lyrically. The sample, tweaked and geeked by Shy Guy, aka Andy Marvel, is perfect for an anthem of taking no shit to flip upside down.

Junglepussy’s speaker is the exact opposite of “The Model.” She does not sit back and wait. She hops in her whip to confirm that she needs to give her man’s leash a curt tug. She destroys his consumer products. She is the camera. She threatens that her man will treat this other woman like he’s never seen her. She has complete agency. 

*

I wish I could kiss my partner. I wish I could make her days less stressful. I wish I didn’t have to work so much to be able to pay my half of the bills. I wish I didn’t harbor resentment when she tells me she doesn’t have the energy to deal with me. I wish we were in a place where the power balance wasn’t so precarious, where neither of us were so sensitive, so sleep-deprived the wrong phrasing could be perceived as a slight.

Things went this way for a half a year, getting better and then sliding back. We both worked on ourselves. We worked on our relationship. But mostly we gave each other space. We didn’t text if we didn’t want to. We didn’t talk if we didn’t feel like it. We allowed ourselves to breathe. We each had to let go of our own sense of agency and let time relax the knotted muscle we had become.

*

“Fuck Texting” balances presence and absence in such a chaotic way. Junglepussy’s persona is leaning on her man without him knowing it but she’s also not there. The women who ride her man’s dick are simultaneously there and not there. Her man looms over the entire song even though he never makes an appearance in the song—not in person, not over the phone, and not over text.

While the relationship in this song is far from perfect, I think the balance between presence and absence is essential for all relationships. The acceptance that there will be times when all parties will be present and times when one or more cannot be there and times when the vacillation between presence and absence is synchronized and times when it is not. In the moment, it is hard to accept that one’s beloved is not there, but it is also necessary.

*

“Fuck Texting” ends with a voicemail. In it, Junglepussy’s persona explains why she felt the need to threaten her man. She implores him in a voice both embarrassed and sensual to call her back. The final two seconds of the song are nearly silent—a slight hiss, a little crackle. In this moment, I feel most palpably the power of desperation, how constant presence can leave no room for development, can choke something, anything dead. 

I never sent another steamy text or picture again. In fact, unless it’s an emergency or we’re separated for long periods of time, my partner and I rarely communicate via our phones. I can’t speak for her, but I have accepted that absence is as important as presence, that time alone does not cut into time together but enriches it.


Photo by Mert Kahveci on Unsplash.

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About Author

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Brian Clifton is the author of the chapbooks MOT and Agape (from Osmanthus Press). They have work in: Pleiades, Guernica, Cincinnati Review, Salt Hill, Colorado Review, The Journal, Beloit Poetry Journal, and other magazines. They are an avid record collector and curator of curiosities.

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