This story is the second one in Bender's new book, The Color Master: Stories. Janet and Daniel have been married a while, maybe just five years but at least that many. At dinner in a French restaurant, Daniel divulges that when he was in college, his roommates brought home prostitutes. Although, he didn't partake of the women, it is something he thinks about. "But I sometimes think about the idea of it." And it is this thought or idea that sends Janet on a quest of self-discovery. She begins by focusing on her own body and then performs as a prostitute for her husband by forcing him to pay her. She then tells him that everything for her is "in terms of currencies" and she finds she's lost interest in sex without payment. She realizes she is so resentful that being paid is the only thing that assuages her. She also considers charging her friends and father per word for her time. Janet's mother is never mentioned so I am assuming she lost her mother at an early age which adds to her resentments.
Janet asks the department store clerk wearing the red ribbon around her neck questions about her finances and sex life. Then she realizes that she is "one hell of a big resentment." Then we watch Janet and Daniel realize that their marriage is probably over although neither admits it out loud. Sometimes an insignificant event or thought or word can set into motion something life changing and his divulging this detail of his college life set into motion Janet's self-discovery.
"The Red Ribbon" was first published in Electric Literature.
Aimee Bender's web site
03 April, 2010
Read Stephen Dixon's short story, "Once He's Home," published in Boulevard, No. 74 & 75. Old man is trying to remember the events of meeting his wife thirty years ago who has since suffered a stroke. It's told in 3rd person POV but so close that it feels like 1st person POV in a seven page long single paragraph. I enjoyed reading it three times back-to-back.
Listened to Aimee Bender read, "Fruit and Words" on the program Authors @ Google. A woman and her boyfriend decide to marry, rush to Las Vegas, the boyfriend backs out and the woman drives home, stopping at a small store and has an interesting experience with mangoes, the old woman store owner, and words created out of their denotations. The first one she sees is "nut" made out of several kinds of nuts but it's when the store owner shows her the argon and zenon and air words that the young woman becomes frightened.