Rigorous
Volume Five, Issue 4



Twyla Durden

Erin Cantrell-Martine


It’s 1999 and I’m on the verge of fifteen sitting on my aunt’s bathroom floor. Cool icy white tiles sticking like a solidly frozen ice cream pop to the back of my lean thighs. Baskets of hand-milled soap, bath bombs, and dried flowers. I can hear the tv’s muffled mumble from the other side of the door. I am in a trance fingering the pages of the July edition of W magazine with Brad Pitt on the cover. He is wearing a pleather jacket the color of dried blood and a blue shirt paneled with men on motorcycles. His pelvis peeking out just above the cut-off of the photo. I imagine glossy track pants below, a bulge creating a sharp peak at the zipper. The magazine in my lap feels as if it is radiating, inside I tingle and twinkle like pop rocks. I turn the page to the main spread: cigarette dangling from lips, a forest fire, and a cow color clueless baby bunny held sturdily, his hands wrapped around it’s back and belly. I flip to the next page and look over my shoulder like a fugitive. Brad in a writhing tableau, clutching at a cement brick wall cradling the back of his head and then face down as if in defeat, black sweatpants tugged down revealing taunt rounded cheeks. A Greek statue pushed over possibly broken but even if missing pieces still a masterpiece. My face, my heart and further below are Georgia summer heat and humidity. This moment would be a crime in my mom’s house. This magazine is contraband. In this moment, I encounter the first of these thoughts that color my future desires and sexual encounters. I wanted to be him and I wanted to fuck him. I envied his prideful boyishness. Wearing a mesh shirt that read “HUSTLER” in red letters and open mouth he dared. I imagined myself in that same picture, same outfit, same pose. You look like a whore. Or... “that girl is fast”, as my mom would say. Hair buzzed off with army fatigue cargo pants and a colorful print shirt. It would be a witch hunt. You look gay. Here this pretty white boy was playing dress-up in my fantasy of me. And it burned.



Erin Cantrell-Martine: “This essay explores the tension of what sexuality meant to me as a 14/15 year old black girl and the desire for the nonconformity and gender-fluidity allowed for attractive white male pop culture icons.”




Top of Page

Table of Contents






Visit our Facebook page          Visit us on Twitter


editors AT rigorous DASH mag DOT com
webmaster AT rigorous DASH mag DOT com