The Best Sex Takes Three Loads of Laundry

"Lint," flash fiction by Nathan Alling Long

The Best Sex Takes Three Loads of Laundry


Before my lover and I have sex, I cover myself in lint.

It’s not that we only have sex on lint day—as we call it—but it’s the best sex and on the days leading up to it, we get more and more excited.

It takes three large loads of laundry—only all-cotton, because we like to do things natural. We run the wash loads in the morning, one after the other, then take the screen and filters out of the drier and put the first load in. 

I go outside, naked except for shoes and a filtered painter’s mask, and stand in front of the drier vent. We live in the country, down a long dirt lane with no other houses around, so there’s no one looking. But the weather has to be just right—cool enough to make me want to stand in front of the drier vent for an hour without freezing or sweating.

Then I slowly turn like a rotisserie chicken, occasionally lifting my arms and legs, letting the moist hot air beat against my body. Of course, just standing outside naked on a cool day, having hot air caress my skin is pretty nice in itself. 

I don’t know how this all started exactly. I do remember one day my lover plucked the lint from my belly button and said how he liked the feel of it. Then he rubbed the tiny piece over me, as though he were buffing my skin with a tiny pad. It just evolved from there, I guess.

You might think that it wouldn’t work, that not much lint would gather on the skin, but it does. I don’t look like that hairy of a guy, but I heard that all humans have as much hair as an ape—it’s just finer. If you’ve ever seen the silhouette of a child’s cheek in the sunlight, you’ve seen them, hundreds of fine, silver hairs, like a wheatfield at dawn. 

It takes a while for the first lint to stick, but then it begins to cling to itself, like dust does as it forms cobwebs. I can feel it gather, a soft pink-grey fur slowly covering my skin. Sometimes I close my eyes as I rotate beside the heat of the drier and imagine that I’m a baby chick under an incubator, downy soft.

After each load’s done, my lover puts in a new load and starts the drier back up, quickly, so that I don’t get cold standing there naked. Then he folds our clothes as I return to turning slowly in front of the vent. 

It takes about two and a half loads to get a good coat. Once it’s thick enough, I take off my shoes and socks—and the mask, of course—and come inside. 

My lover is there at the door, already naked himself. He takes my hand, my incredibly soft, fluffy hand, and we walk together to the bed downstairs, which he has covered in a sheet, to gather the lint. Sometimes as we walk, I imagine that this was how he was as a child, heading off to bed with his favorite stuffed animal. 

On the way, we pass a mirror, and I can see myself, just for a moment. My head is easy to make out, full of detail—but my body is fuzzy, all its lines out of focus. It’s as though I have become a mere impression of myself, as though the edge where my body stops and the air begins has disappeared.

My lover lies on the bed on his back, and I gently climb up on top of him. He slides his fingers over my skin, his eyes gracing my grey furred body. I feel the softness I’ve become when he touches me, though I suppose he doesn’t exactly touch me. We are always aware, both of us, that he is touching something else, which is why, I think, we do this. We know there’s always that layer between us, the accumulation of tiny fragments of dust, the discarded fabric of our lives. And then as we have sex, we watch as it slowly sheds away, until we begin to feel again what it is that lies underneath.

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