Roger and Taylor stood between their cars. Roger lit a cigarette while Taylor stood with his hands tucked in the pockets of his jacket. They’d decided to take their quarrel outside. Roger took a few quick puffs to make sure his stick was well lit before addressing Taylor.
“I like a fat, sexy woman,” Roger said. “Don’t try telling me what I do or don’t like. And don’t try telling me it’s wrong, brother. Those are fighting words.”
“You only like them because they’re easier to get,” Taylor insisted.
“I like what I like. Just cause you go for those frail things don’t make them any better.”
“We know they’re better. There’s studies that show what men prefer and it’s not fat women. There’s preferences of hip to waist ratios that don’t correlate to fat women.”
“Okay,” Roger said. “But their preferences aren’t mine.”
Taylor couldn’t give up the fight. He’d invested too much of his life in being right about everything he’d decided upon, so every choice, no matter how mundane, needed to be the right one.
“But slimmer women are better. Fat women are bad examples for all of us. Bad examples of how to take care of ourselves.”
Roger exhaled his cigarette.
“So your going after the fit ones is as much about body ethics as it is about aesthetics?”
“You’re a fucking moron,” Roger said.
This proclamation – this difference of opinion – regarding Taylor’s wit only stoked the flames, for there was now more to debate the just fat women, it was now just as much about Taylor’s wisdom as it was about corpulence.
“It’s a fact. Fit is healthier than fat. And the thinner ones are harder to catch. The fat ones are just castoffs. They’re like shooting fish in a barrel. You’re taking the easiest way out.”
“So you got more of a work ethic than me, too? That’s what you’re saying?”
Taylor leaned against his car.
“In a roundabout way, yes, I suppose. And higher standards for myself.”
Roger shook his head while taking another drag.
Taylor went on, “If you had more self-respect and higher ethical standards and higher standards for yourself, you’d be more like me. You’d be attracted to what I am. We’d be able to agree.”
People generally dislike conflict. That much Taylor really knew. And it’s not always easy to tell when he’s just playing around or truly being an arrogant prick, but, for Roger, the round of shots from last call seemed to make it pretty clear.
“You do understand we’re just talking about what we prefer to fuck, right? This isn’t even carnivore and vegetarian/vegan shit we’re talking. It’s essentially which wing sauce you prefer to me.”
“Comparing women to chicken wings is sort of misogynistic,” Taylor said with a smirk. “Whether they’re fat chicks or not.”
Roger tensed. Taylor liked it, knowing he was at least being seen and heard enough to provoke.
“Motherfucker, I know it’s hard for you to understand, but there’s different strokes for different folks. What you prefer is one thing and what I like is another. Why you always gotta go making it about so much more, especially in the ways it serves to put yourself over?”
“Because some things simply are better than others. That’s a fact.”
“Yeah, motherfucker, but not all things. I like bacon on a cheeseburger and just cause you don’t, don’t go laying that Jew or Muslim shit on me, trying to make the choice about some motherfucking moral principle, you disingenuous cocksucker.”
Roger was really getting steamed while Taylor was savoring the titillating tension between the spotlight and the percolating threat of violence. He was enjoying it as much as the attention of the women who so rarely gave him any.
“Dude, there isn’t any reason to get angry if we’re just arguing preferences,” Taylor said.
“You slimy bitch, it’s not about my preference being better than yours that’s making me pissed. It’s your sneaky, slimy, cocksucking ways of trying to put yourself over.”
This confirmed it. This dispute was, beautifully, all about him.
“I think you’re just kidding yourself about liking fat women,” Taylor said. “You’re taking the easy way out.”
Taylor rarely got fucked. He hadn’t coaxed any emotion or attention out of any of the serving girls, either fat or thin, all night. So this was his next best thing for a Saturday evening. If he was truly as wise as he thought, he might question whether all of his was masochism – a form of self-punishment for his utter ineptitude with those serving girls.
Roger asked, “But you wouldn’t say that about my bacon cheeseburger, right, asshole? That I’m kidding myself about my cheeseburger?”
“I think you’re taking the easy way out, is all I’m saying. And it doesn’t make you a better person to be on the side of the marginalized or oppressed or whatever.”
“It ain’t about taking sides,” Roger raged. “It’s not a political or ethical statement, just like bacon on a cheeseburger isn’t. It’s simple preference. It’s just about what I like. It’s accepting the facts. It’s about accepting me for me without having some cunt like you twist it up for their own perverse pleasure.”
“Well, I just think you’re taking the easy way out.”
Roger decided to try to calm himself.
“Well, I just think you’re taking the easy way out, too,” he said. “I think you ought to be sucking dick. That’s what I think you really want and need. But you’re taking the easy way out by daydreaming about all this skinny-girl pussy. It’s the easy way out for your conscience, but it really ain’t. You’re tormented inside, brother. What you really need is some warm, musty cock to suck on. Some balding, middle-aged, high school football coach’s cock to gobble on.”
Taylor is a coward, but he desperately needed to be right too. He was walking a fine line, he knew, but one – either the arrogance or cowardice within that duality – had to win out. Moments like these are often the truest test of a man’s character. Which prevails – cowardice or stubbornness and arrogance? Of course, should things go south for Taylor, he was plenty clever enough to spin his stubbornness and arrogance into standing up for his lofty principles.
“You shouldn’t refer to them as fat, either” Taylor said. “You ought to show them more respect. They prefer plus sized. “
“I prefer you shut the fuck up, motherfucker, before I put this plus sized shoe up your motherfucking ass.”
Taylor smirked again. He had made his decision.
“Sucker, you’re about to get laid out. I’m warning you now, take your hands out of those pockets. I’m warning you now. If you don’t, you can’t call what’s coming your way a sucker punch.”
“You’re threatening me?”
Roger flicked his cigarette to the ground.
“How can I be any more plain?” Roger asked.
He looked around. There was nobody else in the lot. Roger knew where they were parked, there weren’t any cameras, so Roger slammed his fist into Taylor’s face. Taylor hit the cement like a sheet of wet snow sliding off a roof.
“There you go, you trim little cunt. Try telling me now what I like.”
Roger stood over his nemesis considering whether to kick him in the face or balls for good measure. He considered kicking him once for polluting what had been his pure preference for and appreciation of fat women. He considered kicking him again for corrupting his pure appreciation of bacon and maybe even kicking him a third time for adulterating his previously unreserved appreciation of garlic chicken wings.
Instead, Roger stepped away, leaving Taylor splayed out on the concrete to wallow in his stubbornness, vanity, arrogance and conceit that, with his bruised and swollen face, would be a reminder on Sunday of all his principles, at least.