It was surprising, he thought to himself later on, how much individual bodies did not resemble one another, even in bed with the lights off and the blinds drawn. He had expected that, with relationship after relationship behind him, one girl would be basically, even if not completely, identical to the next: after all, did they not all have ten fingers, ten toes, two arms, two legs, two breasts, one head, one mouth, two eyes, one vagina? But even when their uniformly revealing clothes came to lay on the floor he was surprised to learn that the skin of one’s body was taut and another’s was loose, how small hands on one are relentlessly cold and others’ were soft or callused or bony, how the pubic hair one of was wiry, uncomfortable, prickled like thatch and the next was strangely soft as down. Even from the inside they never felt the same and that was strangest of all.
The disturbing prospect occurred to him that he could never just have sex, full stop. If he was to have sex he would always have to have sex with a particular woman, beauty marks and clammy skin and deep blue eyes and all; he could never simply satiate the urge and dissociate the act from a person. This was the most frightening of all, that Sex, the nameless, faceless commodity which was bought and sold every day really did not exist—only specific people having sex existed: sex was a state of being that only existed as a coterminous spot between two. It meant, at last, that the principle of being a bachelor, independent, was flawed. Unworkable and exhausted. It meant that he could not be happy simply in and of himself. That in some way he would have to rely upon someone else for his happiness.
When he made this realization he felt suddenly untethered. It was with some horror that he found that his life had been based upon a core axiom which he had never before admitted: I am enough. And when he realized that he was not enough, that there would have to be something more in his life, something he could not control, that would never be safe, never be his totally, he was afraid. And he knew he must change.