The Importance of Staying on Brand

Swipe. Swipe. Swipe. Ugh. This is dull as ditchwater. Travel, partner in crime, more travel, active life, eat clean, travel, travel, travel, sapiosexual. I think I am going to die of boredom. These women are all perfectly lovely, but can’t someone say something original?

Damn, look at her! “Comes at a price.” A price? What’s her deal? I wonder if she’s a working girl. Regardless, she’s gorgeous. But not really my thing. I should let this one go, but, ahhh, I’m curious. I’m not agreeing to anything, and it’s extremely unlikely she will swipe right on me anyway. What harm could come of it?

Bing! *You have a new match.*

Wow, I wasn’t expecting that. I wonder if she’s even a real person.

“Hi Sara, I’m intrigued by your profile. Tell me more.”

“Hello James, I’m so glad we matched. I’m very straightforward, to the point of being blunt. I’m not looking for a relationship, you got that, right? I’m looking for a one night sexual encounter, and I’m open to almost anything, within reason, but I have one condition, and it’s non-negotiable.”

“I’m even more intrigued, although you may find my taste to be rather conservative, given your appetite.”

“Conservative is fine, but the condition is anything but conservative. It would be better if told you over the phone.”

“I’m all curiosity. Here’s my number…”

“Hello? Sara?”

“Hi James.”

“Nice to connect. How’s your evening?”

“It’s fine. I will get right to the point. Here’s my deal. What I want in exchange for sleeping with you, and doing pretty much anything you want, is I get to brand you.”

“Whoa! Did you say brand? Like with a hot iron?”

“Exactly. Finally someone who understands without a lengthy explanation. You wouldn’t believe how many men have no idea what I’m talking about.”

“Wow, Sara, that’s insane. Is that some sort of domination-ownership thing for you? Like then I’m your slave forever?”

“No, not at all. Not a slave thing. And definitely not forever. It’s just my little … turn-on.”

“Well, that’s quite a price. I appreciate you being so forthcoming, but that’s not something I see myself agreeing to.”

“Wait, before you dismiss it so quickly, let me explain a little further. My brand is actually quite small. I’m not saying it won’t hurt, because it will hurt a lot, but it’s manageable. It will leave a scar, but the scar will be small and you can choose any place on your body, so it can be completely inconspicuous. And the pain is an intense sensory experience by itself. It’s the kind of experience everyone should have at least once. And afterwards, trust me, I will make it worth your while. Don’t dismiss it out of hand. It could open up doors for you that you didn’t even know were closed.”

And that is the beginning of how I came to have a small, odd, S-shaped scar on the back of my left ankle.

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