The Rules of Attraction

by Bret Easton Ellis

For Phil Holmes

The facts even when beaded on a chain, still did not have real order. Events did not flow. The facts were separate and haphazard and random even as they happened, episodic, broken, no smooth transitions, no sense of events unfolding from prior events—

Tim O’Brien

Going After Cacciato

FALL 1985

and it’s a story that might bore you but you don’t have to listen, she told me, because she always knew it was going to be like that, and it was, she thinks, her first year, or, actually weekend, really a Friday, in September, at Camden, and this was three or four years ago, and she got so drunk that she ended up in bed, lost her virginity (late, she was eighteen) in Lorna Slavin’s room, because she was a Freshman and had a roommate and Lorna was, she remembers, a Senior or a Junior and usually sometimes at her boyfriend’s place off-campus, to who she thought was a Sophomore Ceramics major but who was actually either some guy from N.Y.U., a film student, and up in New Hampshire just for The Dressed To Get Screwed party, or a townie.

She actually had her eye on someone else that night: Daniel Miller, a Senior, a Drama major, only a little g*y, with blond hair, a great body and these amazing gray eyes, but he was seeing this beautiful French girl from Ohio, and he eventually got mono and went to Europe and never finished his Senior year. So this guy (she doesn’t even remember his name now—Rudolph? Bobo?) from N.Y.U. and her were talking under, she remembers this, a big poster of Reagan that someone had drawn a moustache and sunglasses on, and he was talking about all these movies, and she kept telling him that she’d seen all these movies even though she hadn’t, and she kept agreeing with him, with his likes, with his dislikes, all the time thinking that he might not be a Daniel Miller (this guy had spiky blueblack hair, paisley tie, and, unfortunately, the beginnings of a goatee) but was still cute enough, and she was sure she was mispronouncing all these filmmakers’ names, remembering the wrong actors, naming the wrong cinematographers, but she wanted him and she could see that he was looking over at Kathy Kotcheff, and she was looking back at him and she was getting incredibly smashed and kept nodding and he went over to the keg to get them some more beer and Kathy Kotcheff, who was wearing a black bra and black panties complete with garter belt, started talking to him and she was getting desperate. She was going to go over and drop some names, mention Salle or Longo, but felt it would be too pretentious, so she walked up behind him and simply whispered that she had some pot in her room, even though she didn’t but hoped that Lorna did and so he smiled and said that seemed like a good idea. On the way up the stairs she bummed a cigarette that she was never going to smoke from someone and they went to Lorna’s room. He closed the door and locked it. She turned the light on. He turned it off. She thinks she said she didn’t have any pot. He said that was okay and brought out a silver flask that he’d filled with the grain alcohol punch before it had run out downstairs and she was already so drunk on that plus beer that she drank more of it anyway and before she knew it they were on Lorna’s bed making out and she was too drunk to be nervous.

Dire Straits or maybe it was Talking Heads were playing downstairs and she was blind drunk and even though she knew this was like sheer madness she couldn’t stop it or do anything else. She passed out and when she came to, she tried to take off her bra but was still too drunk and he had already started f**king her but he didn’t know she was a virgin and it hurt (not that badly, only a little bit of a sharp pain, but not as bad as she had been taught to expect, but not exactly pleasant either) and that’s when she heard another voice in the room, moaning, and she remembers the weight on the bed shifting and realizing that this person on top of her was not the N.Y.U. film student guy but someone else. It was pitch dark in the room and she could feel two pairs of knees on either side of her and she didn’t even want to know what was going on above her. All she knew, all that seemed certain, was that she felt nauseous and her head kept banging against the wall. The door she thought he locked flew open and shadows came in saying that they had to put the keg somewhere and the keg was rolled in, knocking against the bed and the door closed. And she was thinking that this wouldn’t have happened with Daniel Miller, that he would have taken her gently in his big strong Drama major arms and undressed her quietly, expertly, taken the bra off with grace and ease, kissed her deeply, tenderly, and it probably wouldn’t have hurt, but she wasn’t with Daniel Miller. She was there with some guy from New York whose name she didn’t know and God only knows who else, and the two bodies above her continued moving and then she was on top and even though she was too drunk to stay on top, there was another person holding her up, propping her up, while another touched her br**sts through the bra and kept f**king her and she could hear the couple next door arguing loudly and then she passed out again, then woke up when one of the guys hit his head against the wall, slipping off the bed taking her with him and both of them hitting their heads against the keg.