Sharon Olds

The Solution

Finally they got the Singles problem under control, they made
it scientific. They opened huge Sex Centers-you could simply go 
and state what you want and they would find you someone who 
wanted that too. You would stand under a sign saying I Like to Be 
Touched and Held and when someone came and stood under the 
sign saying I Like to Touch and Hold they would send the two of 
you off together.
        At first it went great. A steady stream of people under the
sign I Like to Give Pain paired up with a steady stream of people 
from under I Like to Receive Pain. Foreplay Only-No Orgasm 
found its adherents, and Orgasm Only-No Foreplay matched up its 
believers. A loyal Berkeley, California, policeman stood under the 
sign Married Adults, Lights Out, Face to Face, Under a Sheet, be- 
cause that's the only way it was legal in Berkeley-but he stood there 
a long time in his lonely blue law coat. And the man under I Like
to Be Sung to While Bread Is Kneaded on My Stomach had been 
there weeks without a reply.
        Things began to get strange. The Love Only-No Sex was
doing fine; the Sex Only-No, Love was doing well, pair after
pair walking out together like wooden animals off a child's ark, but 
the line for 38D or Bigger was getting unruly, shouting insults at the 
line for 8 Inches orLonger, and odd isolated signs were springing up 
everywhere, Retired Schoolteacher and Parakeet-No Leather; One 
Rm/No Bath/View of Sausage Factory.
        The din rose in the vast room. The line under I Want to Be
Fucked Senseless was so long that portable toilets had to be added 
and a minister brought for deaths, births, and marriages on the
line. Over under I Want to Fuck Senseless-no one, a pile of guns.
A hollow roaring filled the enormous gym. More and more people
began to move over to Want to Be Fucked Senseless. The line snaked  
around the gym, the stadium, the whole town, out into the fields. 
More and more people joined it, until Fucked Senseless stretched 
across the nation in a huge wide belt like the Milky Way, and since 
they had to name it they named it, they called it the American Way.

spoken = Linsay Rousseau