They were from different worlds, but life,Aquaman
like the sea,
has a way of bringing people together.
Turning off the TV, I rolled over to kiss my boyfriend goodnight. He moved his head away at the last second. “That’s the 25th night in a row we’ve watched Aquaman,” he said. “Do you have, like, a thing for Jason Momoa?”
I couldn’t believe the accusation that I, someone who savors Merchant Ivory productions, would watch a movie 25 times consecutively because of some shallow attraction to its lead actor and not because the movie was a triumph of plot points executed underwater.
“I suppose he’s cute,” I volunteered cautiously. “But is Jason even considered hot by Hollywood standards? I wouldn’t know, I’ve been so busy admiring his embodiment of the titular character.”
Sean sat up in bed and flicked on the bedside lamp. “You’ve never cared about superheroes or their cinematic universes. You’d never even seen a DC movie until four weeks ago.”
“Films,” I corrected him. “I had never seen one of their films.”
It was true. I’d never been into comic book stuff, but something tight-jeaned about super wet Aquaman gushing to the ocean surface in an orgasmic explosion felt different. I couldn’t put my finger on it.
The next night, Sean beseeched me to justify a 26th viewing of what he considered a mediocre superhero movie that was largely panned by critics and fans alike.
“The rich lore of his origin story taps into our collective fear of the ramifications of an unholy alliance,” I explained. “For me, the story grows richer with each subsequent viewing.” Before I finished my didactic speech, Aquaman was onscreen and my pupils had dilated to the size of commemorative supper plates, indicating that my reptilian hindbrain had taken over and would be speaking on behalf of my forebrain.
“He’s not someone I would want winking at me in person,” I assured Sean 20 minutes later, apropos of nothing and jolting him awake. “What is he, like six-foot-seven? A wink from a guy that size feels more like a threat than a flirt. No thank you.”
“I was sleeping,” he said flatly.
“Do I like Jason as an actor and performer? I do, preferably both at the same time,” I said. “If there were a gun to my head and I was forced to kill him or make out with him, which would I choose? Obviously, I’d make out with him because I’m not a murderer. But things would never go further than kissing. Not unless you gave me another higher-stakes ultimatum involving something a lot more graphic.”
“Jesus, I never introduced an ultimatum!” he huffed.
The next day, I found a therapist on TikTok. She was a well-credentialed, fully vaccinated high school student. Our sessions were free until she turned 18 or had racked up enough court-ordered community service hours, whichever came first. It wasn’t perfect, but a much better alternative to the neighbors calling the police, who would delicately adjudicate our disagreement with lethal force. Within minutes, the therapist directly asked me if I was attracted to Jason Momoa.
“I think the fact that I’m not bowled over by rugged features and devilish charm would pique Jason’s interest,” I said. “Not that I care if his interest is piqued because he does nothing for me emotionally, and being swayed emotionally is a sign of maturity that I can only assume he would find incredibly arousing. Not that I care if he’s aroused, of course. As much as I want my unborn children to thrive—and thrive they would with those dominant, sunkissed Hawaiian genes, my God!—I can’t imagine having to commit to Jason just because I’m having his babies. I barely know the guy!”
After googling psychoanalysis, she administered the Rorschach test to both of us to figure out if our main problem was sexual. Sean passed with flying colors. I predictably identified every image as the spatter pattern of a merman reaching climax.
As the session drew to a close, the high school student convinced me to find someone more accessible, like a person who isn’t a famous actor with whom I have no way of crossing paths. I’m kind of above the whole fame-and-money schtick anyway. That’s not the right carrot for Jason to dangle in my face if he wants my attention. Also, he’s married. I don’t do “open” relationships. I want a real man who doesn’t have two children by another woman who is his wife. Not for me. Besides, there’s nothing less sexy than a gorgeous celebrity who is out of my league not expressing interest in me because he doesn’t even know I exist.
Aquaman was terrible.