So we’ve been thinking lately about privacy.
We’re scheduled to spend the weekend in a beach house with a bunch of gays, one of whom we are crushing on. But because the house is so crowded, this could potentially entail fooling around, dorm-room style, with other people in the room. Oddly enough, while in college, this idea would have appalled us. Yet now that we are adults, living on our own, it’s not so upsetting.
And here’s why: New York effectively erases your personal boundaries with strangers.
If your roommates are home, you’ll find a way to stop even the springs in your mattress from squeaking. But if they’re away, you’ll wake the neighbors. You won’t even smooch at the dinner table with friends, but you’ll grope your date in front of a cabbie. Earlier this summer, we had sex on a rooftop, even though there was a house party two roofs away. One time we even met a person who had seen us, from another apartment building, through our window, having sex with our boyfriend. He turned white as a ghost when he saw the two of us at a bar.
What about this city desensitizes us like this? Have we stopped regarding our fellow citizens as human beings? Or does it make us all secret exhibitionists?
Maybe we should start rating one another. Sometimes, the women who live on either side of our bedroom have sex at the same time. We get moaning in stereo. We don’t know either of them, but sometimes we want to cheer them on. Because our neighbor to the east has a boyfriend who clearly satisfies her. But our neighbor to the west clearly needs to teach her man a few things – mostly about rhythm. We’re often tempted to yell through the wall: “pace yourself, or you’ll never make it!”
Then again, she knows that we like to play Erasure’s Greatest Hits during sex. So perhaps we’ll refrain from judging.