The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi: Chapter Twelve – The Most Beautiful Woman in the World

I am convinced that Monifa is The Most Beautiful Woman in the World. There is no doubting my conviction in this. Granted, I haven’t met every single woman in the world, but compared to the supermodels and movie stars I see in magazines, Monifa beats them all by a mile.

A very LONG mile.

Monifa and I have been sitting at D’Angelo’s Café for nearly twenty minutes, chatting over lattes and grilled hummus sandwiches (which, I might add, are incredibly delicious!). Thankfully, Sam is nowhere to be found. It’s just the two of us, a couple of businessmen in the back, an elderly woman sipping coffee and reading the newspaper, Cathy and her assistant, Micah. Micah is a college student who’s studying art. And yes, he looks and acts like a stereotypical hipster. Whatever.

“I have to know, Ryan. If you could pursue your dream job, what would it be?” Monifa asks me.

“Hm. I would say I would love to be a professional biographer. I love reading biographies and think I would do a good job at writing one.” I’m not lying when I say this. Obviously, slaving away over smelly gym towels isn’t what I’d like to be doing for the next twenty years.

“Biographies? That’s so interesting. Is there anybody in particular you would like to write about?”

“Oh, no one really. I’m mostly fascinated with ordinary, average people who do extraordinary things with their lives.” I stirred a half package of sugar into my latte. I hope my waistline doesn’t object to this!

“So you have no interest in celebrities?”

“Or politicians, for that matter. I think they’re over-exposed as it is.”

I see Cathy eyeing us from her corner in the café. She’s fixing a sandwich at the moment, of which variety I cannot tell. She must be thinking how unusual it is for me to come in here with a beautiful black woman. The two of us do make an odd couple.

“I love adventure stories. You should write one of those.” Monifa’s posture is upright and proper. I don’t think she ever slouches in real life.

“What kind of adventure stories? I’m not really interested in writing any of those kinds of books, but I suppose I shouldn’t knock it unless I’ve tried it.”

Monifa smiles. Her face is so beautiful I want to take a picture of her and frame it on my wall. Her beauty transcends any feelings of lust or sexual attraction. Her beauty is like staring at a divinely perfect piece of art. If Cindi’s body is art, Monifa’s face is also art (but don’t get me wrong; her body is also VERY fine. But it’s obviously not as muscular or unusual as Miss North’s epic physique). I wonder how she can still be single. How can any heterosexual man resist this incredible woman?

“I like adventure stories involving most anything. The high seas, deadly volcanoes, mysterious islands, intergalactic planets, tropical excursions, pirate ships, anything. I guess this is what happens when your real life is so boring.”

“Boring? How could your life be boring? You’re a conceptual artist. Aren’t they the most inventive and wackiest of all people?”

Monifa lets out a quiet laugh. “I told you, conceptual art is my hobby. By day I’m a software tester. I wish I had more time to pursue art, but that’s what happens when you work too many hours in a cubicle.”

“Nonsense. I don’t consider what you do for a living to be your life. I think what you love to do to should define your life. Just look at me, for example. I work at a dead-end job cleaning mirrors, windows, dirty towels and locker room floors. That’s not even close to what I consider to be my life. It’s just what pays the bills.”

“I guess you’re right. I should find more time for my art.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, what type of conceptual art do you do? I have little to no knowledge about this sort of thing.”

“Essentially, I like to fuse all sorts of art into a cohesive whole to tell a larger story. In Ethiopia, I briefly worked as an actress when I was a young girl. Then I started to do modeling. Then I got into photography. When I moved to America I took classes in filmmaking and drawing. Everything fascinates me. I feel like I’m great at taking big ideas and making them simple to understand.”

“Taking big ideas and making them simple to understand? That’s almost what a historian does. Except they work in recording human activity, not creating art.”

“They can almost be considered the same thing,” Monifa says.

Wow. That’s…kind of deep. Monifa takes a last sip of her coffee and places the cup on the table. Does she want a refill? Or does she want something else to eat? I told her when we first got here that I’d pay because she’s new and I wanted to welcome her to the neighborhood. I also pointed out to her that I’ll probably be the only neighbor that she’ll know in our building. The people who live there aren’t terribly open to meeting those who live no more than twenty feet away from them.

Almost on cue, Cathy walks over to our table.

“Hello you two. Can I get you anything else?” Cathy takes a long look at Monifa. I think she would agree with me that her beauty is almost beyond compare.

“No thank you,” Monifa says sweetly. I nod my head in agreement.

“Alright. Holler if you need anything. You know where I am.” With that, Cathy walks away and winks at me when she’s out of Monifa’s line of sight. Does she think we’re on a date? Who goes on a date on a Monday afternoon?

There is a long pause. Oh great. What should I say next?

“If you had unlimited resources and unlimited time, what type of…art project would you want to create?” Ah ha! I just asked an art question that allows her to express herself. When it comes to attracting intelligent women, I hope I’m on to something.

Monifa pauses to think and finally speaks: “I would love to create a series of tableaus. Do you know what that is?”

“Uh, sort of. It has something to do with pictures, right?”

“Yes, it has a lot to do with photography, but the type of tableaus I’m interested in created involve real people in real situations. I’d love, for example, to create a series of still images of people, all types of people, young and old, every body type, every shape, color and ethnicity, relating to each other in the real world.”

This is my chance to shine. I’ve read about artists doing these sorts of projects. If I can impress her with this, who knows how far I can go with her?

“You’re referring to a ‘tableau vivant.’” I smile as these words leave my mouth.

“Yes! A “tableau vivant!” You’ve heard the term before.” Monifa looks impressed with my knowledge of art. Score for me!

“I have heard the term before. They’re living pictures. So, you’d like to create living pictures of all sorts of people doing what they do in real life.”

“Not just real life; but in a surreal, enhanced version of life. Picture this: A large group of skinny, beautiful women surrounding a larger, overweight woman in a circle and pointing fingers at her, while the woman in the middle crouches over and weeps. Or a group of racially-homogeneous schoolchildren turning their backs to a mixed-race    child–”

“Or an interracial couple,” I blurt out. I hope my interruption doesn’t bother her.

“Yes, that would also be powerful, especially if the schoolchildren were in their teens.”

“What’s stopping you from pursuing this sort of project? I realize you said time is always a factor, but isn’t that just an excuse we use? I tend to think we use the “time” excuse because we’re afraid of what actually doing this project could lead to.”

“What do you mean?” Monifa finishes her sandwich and turns her attention completely upon me. Her dazzling black eyes pierce through me like an Olympic archer’s arrow.

“Well, I think we’re afraid of pursuing our dreams because we’re afraid we might fail, which wouldn’t just shatter you accomplishing our dreams, but your desire to dream of anything again. If our dreams remain fantasy, we can always take comfort in knowing that we’ll never fail.”

“But how do you know you’ll fail if you never try it? If you keep on wishing for things, they’ll never happen unless you take action.”

This is where I can definitely go in for the intellectual kill.

“Maybe this is why you should pursue your dreams instead of just talking about it.”

Silence. DEAD SILENCE. DEAD, DEAFENING SILENCE.

Just what I thought would happen. Dead, deafening silence. Monifa’s gorgeous face wrinkles as she thinks hard about what I just said. I genuinely hope she gets out of her artistic funk and pursues her photography, or whatever art she likes to do. It’s a damn shame when young people talk about wanting to do something but never even try to do it. Rationalizing your behavior can be the ultimate form of suicide.

Gee, I should write a book about this.

“You know what, Ryan? You’re right. You’re absolutely right, one hundred percent right. I should pursue my art. Of course, in small chunks. I can’t do everything overnight, you would agree?” I see that Cathy has returned to the back kitchen. I think she’s conceded that we’re not going to order anything else today.

“Of course, I completely agree. Start out small. Right now, you’re doing nothing. So doing something would definitely be an improvement. Start with something modest. How about creating two or three person tableaus? I’m sure we can totally find volunteers who’d be willing to pose for a few shots. Seattle is full of artsy-types who would do anything do get into the “art scene.’”

Monifa grins. “I’ll think about this. I’m confident I can get something off the ground. But I just moved here, so I–”

“Ah, ah, ah! There’s that thing about making excuses. Do you have a camera?”

“Yes.”

“Great. Is it unpacked?”

“No, but it’s not hard to find.”

“Great. Think about some ideas, and feel free to knock on my door any time to run them by me. My ear is always open to new ideas.” Holy shit, did I just give her an open invitation to come over to my apartment whenever she likes? I’m really getting bold.

“I would like that. I like you, Ryan. I’m glad we’re neighbors.”

“I’m glad, too.”

There is another period of silence, but this time it’s way more awkward. I think it is time for us to depart from here and go our separate ways.

“Pablo should be done with your unit by now.”

“Yes, he should be. I’ll pay for us.”

“No, no, no! Your money is no good here, at least not today. I’ll cover this, my treat.”

“Thanks! You’re very sweet.” Monifa leans over and kisses me on the cheek. I feel my entire body melt at the sensation of her soft lips covering my face. Is it possible to get a heart attack just by being kissed by a beautiful woman?

We get up, push our chairs in and I walk over to the counter. Cathy has since returned, reading a trashy fashion magazine.

“I’m paying for the both of us.”

“Who’s the girl, Ryan? She’s quite a looker,” Cathy whispers to me as I hand her my debit card. She swipes it and returns it to me. I put it back in my wallet.

“New neighbor. Next door. Sweet thing. I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.”

“Holy fucking shit. She’s gorgeous, honey. You better act fast or else someone else will, trust me.” Cathy’s advice is always straight and to-the-point. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

“I trust you, Cathy. I trust you. I’ll see you later.”

“Bye,” Cathy says to me. “Bye!” she yells to Monifa as we head out the door.

“Good bye, Cathy. It was nice to meet you. You have a lovely establishment. I’ll be returning here often,” Monifa declares as we leave.

We stroll back to the apartment building across the street. Sure enough, Pablo is finished with his work. Monifa and I shake hands as we retreat to our respected units, separated by nothing but a thin, sound-proof wall. I close the door and collapse onto the couch.

“Wow, what a day. What a way to spend my Monday,” I tell myself.

Imagine this: I’m now next-door neighbors with The Most Beautiful Woman in the World and this Saturday I’ll be losing my virginity to The Most Muscular Woman in the World.

Not bad, Ryan Takahashi, not bad at all. Looks like I’m finally starting to move up in the world.

It’s about time!

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25 Things About My Sexuality

On March 24, 2012 yours truly was featured on the blog 25 Things About My Sexuality.

25 Things About My Sexuality is a blog where people anonymously submit 25 facts about their sexuality, much like that Facebook trend a few years back when people wrote notes expressing 25 (or 15 or 16, depending on how you first heard of this trend) interesting facts about themselves.

People are very open about themselves on this blog, mostly because talking about one’s own sexuality can be very liberating and because of the blanket of anonymity that goes with it. Nobody knows your name or where you live. What they do know about you is everything from your sexual orientation to how you lost your virginity to what kinds of dildos you prefer. Reading through these posts can be very enlightening, completely voyeuristic, a bit disturbing and sometimes hilarious.

I submitted my 25 facts to the blog’s editor and you can read them here or down below. You will definitely see how many similarities I share with my alter-ego, Ryan Takahashi. Enjoy!

1. I am a 25 year old heterosexual Japanese American man.

2. I am single and have never had a girlfriend. I reside in the Pacific Northwest and could very well be a victim of the infamous “Seattle freeze” syndrome where people in this city have a difficult time making friends. Maybe it’s the rain that brings us all down emotionally.

3. I am a virgin (laugh all you want!).

4. Please don’t get the image in your mind that I’m a hopeless loser who can’t talk to women. I can talk to women and have plenty female friends. I can be a bit shy and introverted at times, but the major reason why I’ve never had sex before is due to Item #4.

5. I grew up in a conservative Christian household. My mom is a moderate but my dad is definitely on the right side of the religious spectrum. I love them both and would never trade them for different parents. I grew up in the church believing sex outside of marriage is a sin that can lead to damnation in Hell. Though I’m a Protestant, I definitely have that “Catholic guilt” complex going on in my life even as an adult. I still go to church (I go to my mom’s church), but I don’t go as often as I did when I was a child. I still believe in God, even though I tend to question the church’s teachings.

6. I went to a private Christian university and received a great education there. I’m definitely a proud alumnus. But as expected, casual sex was not something that happened openly on my campus. Yes, non-marital sex does happen there, but it isn’t nearly as prevalent as it is on other campuses across America.

7. A smaller reason why I am still a virgin, outside of religious guilt, is my ethnicity. I’m Asian. And we all know the stereotype associated with Asian men: They all have small penises. It’s a stereotype that I openly laugh at and joke about in public (when I’m with friends, of course), but it’s a stereotype that deeply hurts me inside. The “Asian Men Have Baby Penises” stereotype goes deeper than just external anatomy. It desexualizes Asian men and places us in the category of being “less than a man” or “not a real man.” This social emasculation gives me a somewhat low self-esteem in the romance/sex department. I need to work on changing that.

8. Though there are plenty of exceptions, I find in my life that white Caucasian women are far less likely to date an Asian man than a man of any other race. Though interracial relationships are more common today than it used to be, the white woman/Asian man dynamic is still a very rare occurrence.

9. Related to Item #6 (this is more of a long essay than a list of 25 Things!), I find women of all colors to be beautiful. White, black, brown, red, yellow or mixed, women are unbelievably beautiful creatures. While most of my crushes have been on young Asian women (my current crush is a young lady who is half Japanese and half white), a gorgeous woman of any race or ethnicity will make my head turn. While I personally understand why some people prefer one race over the other, my sexual attraction is colorblind.

10. While my sexual attraction is colorblind, my preference in relationships is not. For reasons I cannot explain, I’d prefer to settle down with an Asian woman than a woman of any other color. Does this make me racist or tribalist? Perhaps. This unexplainable preference slightly bothers me.

11. Returning to the subject of Asian men and penis size, I am somewhat of a gym rat and spend anywhere between 6 to 8 hours at the gym per week working out. I mostly lift weights and do light cardio and stretching. While I don’t look anything like a bodybuilder or a professional athlete by any stretch of the imagination (I love watching football and baseball, but playing sports has never been my strength), I think I look fairly good naked. But my major insecurity when naked is that little penis hanging between my legs.

12. Is my penis really small? Truthfully, probably not. But that belief is so ingrained in my psyche that I believe it is. There’s an old joke that guys who have small penises drive large trucks and SUVs to compensate. Because I drive a medium-sized sedan, I compensate by building muscles at the gym. My toned body is my way of compensating. I have no idea if it works.

13. I’ve come to define my fear of having a small penis as “Small Penis Syndrome.” Those who suffer from SPS don’t necessarily have a small penis; they just think they do. SPS is all psychological and has little to do with reality.

14. Speaking of going to the gym, in the locker room I do what every guy does: I do research to see how I “measure” up. As far as my empirical observations go, flaccid penises come in all shapes and sizes. What really matters is the size of an erect penis, which of course no one has in a locker room. That would be awkward. But my casual observations lean toward Asian guys tending to have smaller endowments than our white, black and Latino peers. Is it true that black men have larger penises? Maybe. Some of the black guys that work out at my gym seem to be very well endowed.

15. I have two main fetishes that I don’t consider to be that odd: older women and female bodybuilders.

16. Being attracted to older women is pretty normal and has been explained many times. Older women are seen as more experienced, in need of sexual liberation (or awakening), it’s taboo, it’s looked down upon by society at large, etc. I won’t go into much detail about this.

17. Attraction toward female bodybuilders is a little less common but still not too far out there. I love women with large muscles. I find them incredibly sexy. I don’t find skinny, bony women to be that attractive. A thick, strong woman with big, bulging muscles is a major turn-on. Though I’ve never personally met an FBB, I’ve seen toned, athletic women at the gym. And trust me, they make it difficult to concentrate on my workout.

18. My idea of heaven on Earth would be to spend the night with a female bodybuilder. Just Google Lisa Cross, Karen Zaremba, Lynn McCrossin, Yvette Bova, Victoria Dominguez or Denise Masino to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

19. I watch porn occasionally, but what really turns me on is reading sexy scenes from romance books. Romance books written by women are preferable. One chapter out of a Linda Howard novel can turn me on more than watching an hour of mind-numbing predictable porn. I find most porn to be boring or disgusting.

20. I sometimes watch porn to see how well-endowed the male performers are. Some are very large, others appear more normal. Because I’m not attracted to men, I have no idea what sizes of penises straight women and gay men prefer to see in their porn.

21. I think there should be more Asian men doing porn, which is odd considering I don’t consider doing porn to be that noble of a profession. The more we see Asian men as sexual beings, the better society will become (and the dating pool for me!).

22. When I do watch or look at porn, I usually search for muscular women. Whether it’s two FBBs doing a lesbian scene, an FBB going solo or an FBB having sex with a man or fellow male bodybuilder, I prefer to see a muscular woman in action than a skinny, surgery-enhanced girl with fake breasts.

23. Speaking of which, I am not terribly crazy about breasts. I find a woman with small breasts to be more beautiful than a woman with large melons on her chest. And I consider myself to be a leg guy. A great pair of legs will make me go crazy. If the stereotype is that Asian men have small penises, there’s also the hurtful stereotype that Asian women have small breasts. I would imagine this stereotype would hurt them just as much as the small penis stereotype hurts me.

24. I masturbate about 4 to 5 times a week. Since I was 12, I’ve masturbated using the same method: I lay face-down naked in my bed and rub my penis against the mattress till climax. Essentially, this simulates missionary sex. Never once have I manually stimulated myself to orgasm, which is how we normally picture male masturbation.

25. And now, a factoid you’ve all been waiting for: When erect, my penis is 5.5 inches long and 4.75 inches in circumference. There you go. Is that small? Or normal? Or in between? I’ll let you decide.