The first reported incident of a woman eating a man is thought to have occurred in Dallas, late summer, in the home of Mary Hunnam, 35, and her husband, Jonathan, 34. Scholars initially considered this the inciting incident, but that was later demonstrated by further research to be a misnomer. Because the idea was not contagious, did not migrate from one woman to the next on the wind like great bursts of tawny pollen, or by tidal drifts, trash afloat on the broad ocean’s face. Rather, it was made manifest in all women, all at once. Or at least within the span of about a two-hour period. The early timeline remains hazy.
Hunnam, a data entry specialist, has been relatively tight-lipped about the event. We know from careful reporting by female and nonbinary journalists that she began, as many did, with the shoulder. It is not currently known how Hunnam’s husband initially reacted, but any woman thinking back to that day can easily envision his response to the second, more assured mastication.
Due to higher rates of female fetal mortality and sex selective abortion, the worldwide gender imbalance before the event stood at 51.9%, in favor of men. This has since shifted significantly. Many members of the remaining adult male population, popularly referred to as the Not All Men movement, have expressed at great length, through scholarly articles, thinkpieces, film, oration, folksong, culinary interpretation, critical analysis, podcasts, teleplays, installation art, sculpture, computer programming, skywriting, term papers, and practically all other mediums, the male experience of the event. To this day little has been said about the experiences of their female counterparts. Silenced by shame, shock, or otherwise the pragmatic need to keep the world going in the absence and amidst the lingering unsanitary mess of what had been the world’s adult male population, women have yet to give voice to their actual lived understanding of the event—divorced from practical factors such as statistical analysis, health implications, cleanup efforts, etc.
For those who ingested our own husbands or other intimate male partners, it’s not difficult to recall the intended’s immediate reaction to that first, testing bite. “Hey,” he might have complained, retreating slightly on the shared mattress. “That hurt!” As though that were not the biter’s intent. Some others may have turned, offering a curious but hopeful glance, interpreting the act as an initiation of sex. They would, of course, prove to be sadly mistaken.
The initial resistance and then give of skin, freckled or monotone, wiry-haired or smooth, pocked and bulging or sleek and hard. That rush of blood, salty and metallic, followed almost certainly by the flare of need as the object of the woman’s bite pulled away, crying out in pain, shock, confusion. The floss-string slip of sinew between incisors. The look on his face as she, in control but unable to cease once begun, bared red-stained teeth, then lunged. The hunger, unruly in our guts, painful but also necessary, the scream of it, the bite.
Steph Sorensen (she/her) is a feminist writer mom living in Pittsburgh, PA. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming from Barrelhouse, Mississippi Review, Matchbook, Gulf Coast and Necessary Fiction. She was named a Good Hart Artist Residency Writer-In-Residence for 2021, and was awarded the Anne G. Locascio Scholarship to attend the 2020 Mendocino Coast Writers' Conference. Her poetry has been nominated for Sundress Publications’s Best of the Net 2020. She can be found @phenompen and stephsorensenwrites.com