Publishing · Sara Dobie Bauer · Writing

Magic realism and coffee house sexploits in “You’re Glowing”


Omnia Vanitas Review is a small, literary erotica press. They are “a delicate mixture of féminine écriture, new narrative, and clit lit.” They are, self-admittedly, publishers of “pretentious porn.”

My short story, “You’re Glowing,” might not be pretentious per se, but it is pretty, considering the men in the story literally glow. Catherine, the editor, said, “It was the colors. Nothing captures me like color.” She called my piece “joyful, irreverent, flushed.” She said Ella Fitzgerald played in the background as she read, which just felt right.

True, this is X-rated, but it’s X-rated with class and comedy and a cute coffee boy named Crosby. I think you’ll love it.

“You’re Glowing”
by Sara Dobie Bauer
An Excerpt

It’s been so long, I don’t remember how to get laid. I don’t only mean the two years of stagnancy at the end of my marriage; I mean Paul and I were married for ten years. I haven’t hit on a guy in over a decade, and I’ve never in my whole life asked a man for an afternoon boink. I’m setting myself up for failure. What was I thinking? I’m thirty-nine years old, horny, and alone.

I snuff out my cigarette and sigh a cloud of smoke. Then, I think: coffee. Coffee makes everything better.

My usual place is only two blocks from the newspaper stand, so I walk slowly and think of all the movies I’ve seen. Women can order men, right? Massage therapists who come to your house and get naked? I’ve seen that in a movie before, I think.

My shoulders slump. I don’t have the guts to do that. Might as well close up shop. Drag a gate over the door and let the cobwebs grow.

I pass the black Harley on the sidewalk. It’s always parked outside my coffee shop. Then, as he’s leaving, a guy in a gray suit holds the door for me and smiles. He glows red. I scurry inside.

My coffee boy is behind the counter. His name is Crosby, and as usual, he glows pink. He’s reading the newspaper and doesn’t look up when I walk in. His shaggy, dark brown hair covers his forehead and eyes. He yawns as I approach.

“Hey,” he says. He’s reading the entertainment section. Maybe he’s gay, what with the whole glowing pink thing.

I put my fingertips on the edge of the counter and study the menu on the chalkboard above his head, as if I don’t know what I’m getting. I always get the same thing: the Vienna Latte, with cinnamon and honey—which makes me realize … I just got divorced. Maybe I should try something new.

“The usual?” Crosby turns the page.


He looks up at me. “Are you okay?”

“Yes.” I don’t look at him, because the pink aura around Crosby is throbbing today, and I think if he touches me, I will fall across the counter in the thralls of orgasm. “Café Mocha, please, double.” I dig in my wallet for cash and toss a five-dollar bill near the register.

I turn away from the counter and take a seat at a tall table near the front window. I used to sit at this table with Paul, and I realize it doesn’t matter if I just ordered not my “usual” drink; I’m still just usual me, despite the divorce. I’ll probably never get laid again. I’ll grow old in the apartment I used to share with my husband—the one I got in the settlement—and die with a vibrator in my gnarly, old woman fingers.

Crosby sits down across from me and hands me my mocha. He’s poured the foam in the shape of a heart. “What’s with you today?”

I don’t touch my drink. “I just got divorced.”

He’s silent for a moment—this man who I’m guessing is in his early twenties. Before he started glowing, I used to enjoy watching him work. I know he has a little scar on the bottom right edge of his lip, and he smiles a lot. He’s got bright colored eyes that change color depending on what he wears. Crosby is what women consider “cute.” I used to enjoy talking to him, before all men started glowing with sexual energy and before a simple touch equated to an ocean between my legs.

I actually jump when I feel his fingers on my left hand. I look down, and his thumb and forefinger hold on to my wedding band. Slowly, he wiggles the ring off and drops it in the center of the foamy heart of my mocha.

“Hey,” I say. The heart is now empty in the middle.

I look up at Crosby, and he’s smiling. He doesn’t have a line on his face, not like Paul. His skin looks baby ass smooth. His dark brown hair falls like ocean waves up and over his head. His arms are crossed on the table, and I follow the line of forearm muscle up to the edge of t-shirt fabric that strains against his biceps.

The pink has been replaced by dark magenta, and he’s glowing like some blinking stoplight at midnight.

“Will you have sex with me?” I ask.

He blinks his eyes, slowly. “I don’t even know your name.”

Read the rest of “You’re Glowing” at Omnia Vanitas Review HERE.


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