A User's Guide to Bringing My Ex-Girlfriend Shelley to Orgasm

1. Get a job. Preferably not one at the lumber mill or with the fire department in a small town in rural Oregon where you'll learn from men who haven't been laid in years to refer to the great majority of women as broads or twats even when they're standing around listening to you say this. Of course, any form of employment, no matter how marginal or temporary, is more effective than simply sitting at home on your ass watching reruns of Bass Master Challenge on cable and slugging down Evan Williams with a lemonade back.

2. Stop mentioning "maybe trying out a threesome" with her friend Becky who works down at Charlene's House of Hair on Commerce Street. This is especially important if Becky has just come back from her spring vacation in one of those Florida towns called Beach Something and she's got a deep tan and can't stop telling everyone about her new piercing "down there."

3. Insistence on listening to a cassette copy of your cousin's cover band work its way through side one of Steve Miller's Greatest Hits while the two of you get busy isn't going to do you any favors.

4. Remember to call her "Shelley" every time you're doing it, no matter how desperately you might be pretending she's really Heather Locklear or the new checkout girl at Family Dollar with the boob job. (Note: a slipup here can really cost you, not only in the moment, but in opportunities to try again for at least a month--cause no matter how big your junk is, it ain't reaching nothing from the living room couch, essè.)

5. Keep the nightstand drawer stocked with extra heavy duty batteries. And when she reaches for them, don't mention how they were pocketed from Family Dollar while the new girl, "y'know, the one the boob job," was flirting with you, because why pay when you don't have to, especially with money being so tight and all--and oh, yeah, she should probably know that the grocery money you didn't blow at the dog track got traded to a high school kid named Snake for an eighth of purple hair hydroponic and no, there isn't a whole lot left.

6. When, as a last resort, she quotes you one of those "women's books" that encourage honest communication between couples, it's guaranteed your surly remarking, "What the hell's taking so long? My last girlfriend could have had three by now!" will get your broke ass tossed out of her singlewide and into the chilly Oregon night with zest and suddenness, especially after your initial attempt at forthright communication involved the observation that her recent weight gain could probably be shed more easily if she stopped choking down a pint of Häagen Dazs Almond Hazelnut Swirl in front of the Hallmark channel every night and maybe joined the fitness center across from the fire hall and of course she shouldn't feel self-conscious--a lot of bigger girls have started going there now that the broad who used to run the place quit and moved her uppity twat back to goddamned Portland where she belongs.

About the author:

A Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of the 2007 Harriette Arnow Award for short fiction, Damian Dressick's stories have appeared or are slated to appear in more than twenty-five literary journals, including failbetter.com, New Delta Review, Gargoyle, Alimentum, McSweeney's (online), Caketrain and Vestal Review. He teaches creative writing at Pennsylvania State University (New Kensington) and is the founding curator of Pittsburgh's UPWords Reading Series.