Translation: “André Wants a Shag”. A short story by Julia Wähmann


Julia Wähmann de Bel de Nonno

Julia Wähmann. Photo: Bel de Nonno

Julia Wähmann was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1982. She has written for the online magazine Ornitorrinco since 2014. In 2015, she published the standalone short stories, “Diário de Moscou” (“Moscow Diary”, Megamíni/ 7Letras) and “André quer transar” (“Andre Wants a Shag”, Pipoca Press). In 2016, she published Cravos (“Carnations”, Record), her first novel.

André Wants a Shag

“It’s not a sin, it’s a pagan life, so hold me til they play the tam tam tam tam”
Lulu Santos, Law of the Jungle

André wants a shag, or rather, André needs a shag. This isn’t a hunch, it’s a statement of fact, that he posted on his Facebook profile. He didn’t write “I want a shag”, “I’d like a shag” or “I miss shagging”. André was categorical: “I need a shag.”

André said he needed a shag one Thursday night, exactly the day I was already thinking that I wanted a shag too. According to an article I read that afternoon, Thursday is the best day to have sex. The same study claims that Friday is the best day to quit smoking, but no one noticed that. I don’t know if André read the article or not. The fact is that André needed a shag and I went to have a shower. A cold one.

One cold shower a day: it helps to prevent aging; it frees endorphins in small quantities, reducing anxiety, depression and fatigue; it improves the quality of your sleep; it slightly reduces body temperature (think of the concept of “freeze-drying” and voilà, you even get younger) and it has a smaller carbon footprint than a hot shower. I read this in a book that very Thursday afternoon, at work. For one very obvious and reassuring reason, the author of the work in question approached the benefits of one cold shower a day after having shown that: a) regular sexual intercourse protects us, in the sense that it moderates the occurrence of several illness, including heart disease and some types of cancer; b) having sex 3 times a week increases life expectancy by 10 years; c) 21 ejaculations a month guard against prostate cancer.

My endorphins and I stepped out of the cold shower. But I still wanted a shag. And André did too. Worse: André needed a shag – and I was starting to conclude that I did too. Needed. A shag. I wondered how many cold showers André must have taken before concluding he needed a shag. How much freezing water André must have used before shouting from the rooftops that he needed a shag.

It was easy to admit it. But it would be a difficult conversation, the one with André before shagging him. Clearly I wasn’t the most suitable person to have a shag with André that Thursday, given that before taking my clothes off, I wanted to establish an agreement in accordance with my desires and André’s, only to increase the possibility that this would be good for both of us (just between us here, casual sex never works out for me). I thought we needed some ground rules for this escapade, so everything was clear: André could take off my clothes, as long as he didn’t rip anything; striptease was out of the question, I’m too clumsy; slapping isn’t on; nibbling only on the neck; avoid positions that can lead to a slipped disk (on all fours, for example); avoid flavoured or fruity condoms (they make me feel sick); avoid a soundtrack; never, under any circumstances, put iTunes on shuffle; no spooning before falling asleep; phone the next day. Ok, the clause about phoning the next day didn’t make any sense for the sex that André needed and I wanted. Needed.

I chose a black dress, quite simple and elegant, without looking desperate or prudish. High heels were essential. No lipstick. When I got in the car, the radio was reading out the night’s horoscope for my sign: I was going to find the love of my life. I was confused. “Tomorrow morning I’ll order breakfast for us both”, sang Roberto Carlos[1] when I pressed play on the CD. Everything that day seemed scripted for a final scene with two people lying exhausted in bed. Quite when love came into the picture still wasn’t clear for me.

And it was then that it dawned on me: André was a strategist. With his virtual confession, he was setting himself up for many, many days of sex. It was going to rain women in his garden. As for me, I was going to shag André that one night and spend the rest of the year taking cold showers, even in winter, while he perhaps even started turning down one-night stands. Soon one Tuesday (the best day for working according to that article), André would write: “I can’t take another shag.”

When I arrived at the restaurant where my friends were waiting for me, I announced: “André needs a shag.”

They had no idea who André was, not even if he was tall or short, thin or fat, and I realized that not even I could remember André’s face. It felt like half a century since the night when André, drunk, had stuck his tongue in my mouth and kissed me. Now even the idea of shagging André seemed ridiculous, because if we hadn’t made it into bed that day, it was never going to happen.

My Thursday ended with my nightly routine of washing my face, moisturizing and setting an alarm for the next day. No sex. And no brand new lover. On Friday, before leaving for work, there was André’s post with lots and lots of comments. I clicked “Like” and wrote: “Me too.” I got into the shower. And decided to quit smoking.

[1] Roberto Carlos, “The King”, one of the most popular (and romantic) Brazilian singers—if not the most popular.

One Response to Translation: “André Wants a Shag”. A short story by Julia Wähmann

  1. Pingback: Translation: “André Wants a Shag”. A short story by Julia Wähmann — Nomadic Permanence: Rob Packer’s Blog | msamba

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