What he says: “I’ll call you.”
What he means: “I’m going to text you. In a week. Maybe.”

What he says: “Can we talk about this later?”
What he means: “I never want to talk about this.”

What he says: “As a child, I was sexually aroused by Pinocchio’s relationship with Geppetto. Especially the idea of the artisan lovingly carving Pinocchio’s buttocks and thighs. In fact, when masturbating or even during lovemaking, I regularly summon this image.”
What he means: “I’m not looking for anything serious.”

What he says: “Let me clarify the Pinocchio thing.”
What he means: “I feel like I can be myself around you.”

What he says: “Geppetto’s sturdy worker’s hands hewing a miniature boy out of wood certainly isn’t the only thing that makes and keeps me aroused. I find lots of other things arousing. Like, for example, people and situations.”
What he means: “I need space.”

What he says: “Put this Geppetto mask on.”
What he means: “I prefer you without makeup.”

What he says: “I’m a naughty wooden boy and I love my big, real daddy.”
What he means: “I’m afraid this is going too fast.”

What he says: “So if I’m really letting you in here, I think this attraction, or compulsion, really, dates back to this experience I had in second grade with my art teacher, Mr. Kirby. So one time when I was making this papier mâ·ché owl, he touched my back in this loving, fatherly way and it made me feel protected, and special, and I wasn’t even aware of it, but also sexually aroused. And I saw Pinocchio around that time and Mr. Kirby and Geppetto kind of blended together.”
What he means: “I’m tired.”

What he says: “While we’re on the subject, I can’t say I’m immune to the charms of Jiminy Cricket.”
What he means: “I’m not looking for anything serious.”

What he says: “Something about how that little top hat fits so snug over his plump olive head gets my Geppetto rock fucking hard.”
What he means: “I’m afraid of commitment.”

What he says: “Part of me regrets going into the whole Pinocchio thing because I can see it’s freaking you out, but another part of me is hoping that you’re game enough to roll with this.”
What he means: “I’m not into your friends.”

What he says: “Wait, don’t go. I was just kidding about that Pinocchio stuff. You sure are gullible!”
What he means: “I’m a naughty wooden boy and I love my big real daddy.”

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Jen Spyra’s funny collection, Big Time, is available at a bookseller near you.