It will probably sound like an overstatement to say this, but in that moment, my world cracked wide open. I was raised midwestern and ultra-Catholic. In that strict, efficient moral universe, there were rules—some tacit, some explicit—about the way one did everything, and I followed them. I'm sure this at least partly accounts for why I spent my early twenties dating nice, vanilla-pudding business guys and having lots of polite, missionary-style sex. These guys gave perfume or cashmere as gifts and frequented the kind of restaurants where waiters comb the tablecloths free of crumbs between courses. I love beautiful gifts and fancy restaurants as much as the next girl, but the men offering them bored me. It all felt so predictable. There was no heat.