That Thing She Does with Her Tongue

Story Submitted by Henry:

Donna showed up for our date with a red, flaky patch all over her lower face and mouth.  Her online photos bore no images of this condition, so I was a little surprised.  However, I figured that it might have been a sudden, temporary medical problem, and I wasn't about to fault her on it.

A couple of times, not long after we sat down, she did this thing with her tongue in which she'd stick it all the way out, lick all the way around her mouth, jostle the skin flakes along the way, and slip it back in, between her lips.  It was impossible to miss, and it didn't strike me as something that would be good for her condition.  Still, she made no mention of it, and neither did I.

It became a distraction when she was in the middle of telling me something and stopped, sometimes mid-word, to do it.  She also made a noise when she did it.  Example:

She'd say, "I grew up with two dogs, and one of th..." tongue out, lick all the way around, "Unnnnnnghhaa," tongue back in, "...them was a greyhound.  The other was a red setter."

"I double-majored in psychology and math.  I wanted..."  Tongue out, "Unnnngghaa," tongue in, "I wanted to work in nonprofit development."

I wanted so badly for her to stop that, and it was difficult, at best, to stay silent about it.

After dinner, we went to a coffee house, and I offered to buy her a drink.  She sat down and I went up to the counter.  While I waited for our drinks to be made, I looked back at the table to see her swirling her tongue around her face like a greedy child trying to lick the last smudge of ice cream out of a sundae cup.  People at other tables glanced at her.  She seemed to take no notice.  I wanted her to stop.

Her face was mostly fire-engine red by the time I made it back to the table, and she had a small forest of skin flakes.  I couldn't take it anymore.

I asked, "Are you okay?"

She said, "Yeah.  Why?"

I said, "It looks like you might be breaking out a bit."

"My face feels a little dry.  Do I have a rash?"  She took out a compact and opened it.  I was expecting her to scream when she saw her face.  I braced.

She studied herself for a moment, closed the compact, and said, "Sometimes I get a little dry.  I'm on some new medication, so I'm just waiting for it to kick in.  Why hang up my life about it?"

I liked her answer so much that I toasted her mug with mine.  We didn't end up romantically involved, but we're still friends.  Her face has even cleared up since then.


  1. ...bet she gives a wicked 'rusty trombone'.

  2. This actually sounds like Tourette's Syndrome. No jokes, please, my brother has it.

  3. Or it sounds like some chick with a dry mouth who doesn't want her life to stop because of it.

    Or it sounds like bubonic plague. No jokes please, my great great great great grandparents died of bubonic plague.


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