Zipless schmipless

“Straddling him, Lara reached behind herself to unzip her dress and let it fall in silky folds onto his waist.”

Here you have it, for the first time ever, an actual line from Fast Lane.

That I’m going to change.

I read part of my rewrite to my writing group—again, with only women in attendance—and every one of them liked the passage overall. Laurel, though, illustrated, with gyrations that made me fear for the well-being of muscles and tendons in every part of her body, the line’s impossible physical requirements.

“First,” she said, making like she was trying to scratch an itch between her shoulder blades, “Lara would have to reach up here and move the zipper down as much as she could, which isn’t very far. And then she’d have to go down around here and…”

This time she squirmed the way you might if you had ants crawling up your back, while crooking her arms in the way you fold a turkey’s wings before jamming it into a roasting pan.

Do all women’s clothes double as instruments of torture?

Anyway, here’s the thing. It wasn’t a sex scene. It was a fantasy. A man’s fantasy. Could a guy really be expected to know the rigors of shedding any article of clothing that might adorn a woman’s body? I don’t know about you, but in my fantasies, nobody’s thinking about the logistics of clothing removal. The clothes come off. Period.

But here come those turkey wings, wrenching all the fun out of Clay’s zipless fuck.

Okay, I know the term “zipless fuck” is mostly about sex without emotional involvement. But in Fear of Flying, Erica Jong does say that “when you came together, zippers fell away like rose petals, underwear blew off in one breath like dandelion fluff.”

Sounds like fantasy to me.

Still, I’m going to change the line. Laurel even had a good suggestion on how. She put both hands to her hips and shot them up over her head. Ending with a flip of her fingers, she said, “Pffft…the dress comes off.”

Works for me. Plus, now I can use “silky folds” somewhere else in the book.

7 thoughts on “Zipless schmipless”

  1. Thank you, Dave! You're too funny. Guess I'm too much of a realist to imagine zippers falling away like rose petals — mine always get stuck! HA! Anyway, wasn't it fun to hear all the alternatives? The ins and outs of zippers along the side of the dress, stretchy fabrics that may easily give way, but probably wouldn't be elegant enough, how to avoid getting tangled in anything except what you want to get tangled in, etc.

    As for the logistics of clothing removal — gobble, gobble — I wonder how many women who are dressing for a possible (or hopeful?) "entanglement" think about choosing an outfit that would save trouble and frustration for the guy — but that's another conversation!

    I remember an episode of "Happy Days" where Fonzie was in the boys bathroom showing Richie and Potsey and the other boys how to unhook a bra. He had the delicate garment fitted around an old fashioned radiator and in one flick of his wrist it was undone — flying off like so much dandelion fluff!

  2. The particulars of how zipped garments fall from bodies was a fun discussion, and it is details like these that can make or break a scene in a short story or novel.

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