The Northville Review
an online literary journal
I Want to Sit Courtside at a Lakers Game

Roxane Gay

I want to wear a simple but sexy outfit. Jeans, not intentionally torn jeans but actually worn jeans, slim leg (not skinny leg) boot cut jeans that flatter long legs. I want to wear a low cut wife beater and a silver necklace that hangs down the center of my chest and big hoop earrings like a fly girl. Even though my mom always told me good girls don’t do it, I’m going to let my bra straps show. I’ll wear my hair in a slick ponytail that has just enough bounce and I’ll rock a killer pair of heels, stilettos, of course, you know the kind, they’re painted red on the bottom. My lipstick and fingernail polish are going to match and I’m going to wear a lot of dark eyeliner. A pair of thick-framed black glasses is going to complete my look. I want to look sexy. I want to feel smart.

I want to go to the game with my hot Hollywood man and my best Hollywood girlfriend. She’s hot too. The three of us, we’re going to sit with our legs expertly crossed in those leather wrapped chairs with the thick cushions embroidered with the Lakers logo. I’m going to sit in the middle of my hot man and my best girlfriend and all night I’m going to have a little smile on my face. You know why. We’ve all heard the rumors. They’re totally true. We’re going to be surrounded by the other beautiful people, the ones you recognize and love and hate and hate to love. We’re going to talk with those fucking beauties about that starlet and the cokehead and the model and the has-been and sometimes, she or he will be the same person. We’ll speculate about the old guy who brought a girl young enough to be his granddaughter but isn’t his granddaughter because every once in a while you see him sticking his tongue in her ear. We’re going to talk deals and back ends and points and salaries. We will talk about everything without saying anything. We will drink alcoholic beverages in clear plastic cups, sipping slowly from straws until we can’t hardly feel our skin. We will glow and we will beam beneath the fluorescent lights and the sweaty basketball bodies and the stares of hundreds of camera lenses and millions of people who all wish they knew what it was like to sit there, vibrating on display.

Once in a while, my best Hollywood girlfriend is going to lean into me and she’s going to be warm and I’m going to smell her perfume. She’s going to rest her hand on my knee and whisper something, anything, doesn’t matter, but her lips are going to brush my ear and I’m going to feel a sharp twinge and later I’m going to tell her, “Let’s go freshen up.” I’m going to cover her hand with mine and our fingers will curl together and we’ll hold on tighter and tighter and I’ll feel like we’re all alone at the center of this crowd. In that moment, it will feel like the center of the whole world. I’ll turn to my best girl and our lips are almost going to touch and we’re going to smile at each other. She’s going to kiss my neck, just below my ear because she knows what happens when someone touches me there and then she’s going to look straight ahead and I’m going to look straight ahead and we’re going to pretend we care about what’s happening on the court. When Kobe shoots a beautiful three-pointer from well beyond the arc, we’ll both nod appreciatively. We’ll still hold hands. You’re going to watch this happening and you’re going to think we’re lucky, to be so close, to be such good girls who are friends. We’re going to know something you don’t know and it won’t be what you think you know.

My hot Hollywood man, he’s the real Lakers fan. He’s a student of the game. When we go to Lakers games he wears slim designer jeans and black motorcycle boots and a white button down shirt because he knows that’s what I like. My man’s going to sit on the edge of his seat, the one closest to the Laker bench, and he’s going to shout things to the players and the referees and sometimes he’s going to stand and gesture wildly. His hair is going to look amazing. His hair is going to look like he’s put no effort at all into its appearance. I’ll know the truth. When my man sits down, he’s going to sit real close like, with his hand resting inside the back of my jeans, just brushing my ass and I’m going to sink into that. When one of the players looks at me a little too hard, he will pull me into a dirty, wet kiss right there. He’ll hold me against him real tight, and his shirt will be damp with sweat but I won’t pull away. He’ll make it clear who I’m going home with. He’s possessive like that. Sometimes, we’ll look up and see that dirty kiss replayed on the Jumbotron and I will roll my eyes but I won’t mind. I love a jealous man.

About the author

Roxane Gay's writing appears or is forthcoming in Mid-American Review, Rick Magazine (formerly The Mississippi Review Online), Cream City Review, Annalemma, McSweeney's (online), and others. She is the co-editor of PANK and can be found at Her first collection, Ayiti, will be released in 2011.