I never get nervous about first dates, but here I am, battling a fluttering gut and palpitating heart.
In less than 20 minutes he’ll round the corner and I will feel his arms around me as we hug hello. I will get to fill my nostrils with his scent and feel the vibrations of his own nerves through my fingertips.
I’ve strategically placed my purse on the seat so he must sit as close to me as possible. I don’t think he will mind.
The hotel lounge fragrance is both sweet and decadent and the staff are politely chatting with one another as bottles clink and ice is scooped. A gentle, pulsing melody floats overhead.
I’ve shaved my legs and even my pussy, but didn’t wash my hair. It’s my way to syche out the Universe. Or confuse it. I don’t know what I want with this young man tonight.
All I know is that if I had not shaved my overgrown snatch, he absolutely for sure would have ended up with his face buried in it later.
I’m angsty and lonely and restless. My hair is clean and my skin soft.
I itch, but cannot reach the spot. My body is a broken beautiful vessel, mine to abuse and worship in equal measure.
I’ve seen a lot of men this week, a lot of naked bodies and blood-filled organs. I’ve felt their urges, their demands on me to fulfill unrequited desires. Desperation clung to a couple, curiosity on another, friendly fun on a fourth.
I flipped through my phone looking for one soul I wanted to spend time with tonight and the only person whose name I could come up with was my own. Even the girlfriends I texted who ignored me were pale seconds to my own company. Fuck them anyway.
So off I go to the bar alone again.
There I will sit, unbothered, freshly bathed, willing and able in a bubble no one can see. Utterly alone surrounded by humanity.
The $100 I received in the bleary 7 am hour yesterday after a date as a little thank you gift will fund my escapades tonight. Perhaps I’ve moved my sex life forward in a new direction. I didn’t feel badly about taking the money. Have I turned a corner I was unaware was there?
How does anyone ever have interest in someone? I’ve forgotten how. Completely.
On the night of our second date when I asked him if he’d like to come up to my apartment and have a glass of wine Rex paused before answering.
“I’d like to talk to you about that, actually.” I waited as the city skyline shrunk behind us and lights blurred by. “I’ve been thinking and… I don’t want to be a part of your ‘story’.”
I sat there dumbfounded. What?? And what did that even mean??
We’d been texting all day every day for a week; he’d call me in the mornings on his way to and from work; send me sexy pics. We’d just had a terrific date and my offer for him to come up was just to talk more. I wasn’t ready to have sex with him.
What ensued was a long talk outside my building where I tried — and probably ultimately failed — to convince him of my sincerity about finding a beautiful relationship. My penchant for large penises loomed large in our discussion on his end and he was very clear that he didn’t want to be “one of many” with proof of my seeing other men on the internet for all to see.
We parted that night with a sweet kiss and a hug and then I shut my front door and cried.
I was serious about opening up, loving someone, bringing someone into my life and this man didn’t believe me.
I knew before we sat in his fancy car that night that it would be a struggle for any man to date me while knowing about the blog and I had given it much thought. How could I keep writing and be myself while also protecting my privacy and that of the man who was involved with me?
I found the solution: Just like how I am discreet in real life about my dating affairs, so would I be discreet on the blog. In other words, I wouldn’t write about anyone else I was dating while we were.
He worried that it might not be authentic for me to do so, but nothing could have been further from the truth. In fact, it felt exceedingly authentic. I wanted to make this as normal a dating experience as possible for the both of us.
We kept chatting for two more weeks, met up once more, and then we had pot roast, a meal I find generally distasteful; it’s dry, uninspiring, and not the least bit nostalgic. He loved it — practically licked his plate — and then told me he wasn’t feeling it for me.
I cried that night, too.
And then he disappeared for the weekend which gave me the opportunity to clear my head and figure out my next move. He was tremendously polite and whenever I’d text he’d reply, but I felt like I was keeping myself on his radar. When I finally heard back from him it was from my initiation, but then I let it alone. I wanted to see what he would do without my constant arm waving.
By the following Thursday (a week after I’d made him dinner) our conversations were pleasant but lasted only 5 or so lines a piece. Friday he was silent and so was I. And Saturday and Sunday until 9 days later when I texted him this:
So, not to state the obvious or anything, but it’s been a week since we chatted. Fair to say we’re not exploring options with one another anymore?? Or am I somehow mistaken?
Three days later — today — and I haven’t heard back. I think it’s safe to say we are no longer dating and I am now released from my self-imposed censoring. I will begin again to track and share my life until the cycle starts anew with someone else. If it ever does.
What started out as something promising — checked nearly every box I had — has now devolved to a man in his 50s ghosting me.
I don’t regret one second of this little exercise, though; I learned a lot from this affair of two spirits.
I learned to allow someone else’s inertia to reveal their feelings; to believe someone when they say they don’t want me — a lesson that was nearly impossible for me to grok with The Neighbor because he never left me alone. I learned that sometimes people’s desire for politeness over conflict will keep you spiraling a drain; I learned that when things are tough you can determine a lot about a person and how they communicate about it. And I learned that no matter how skilled I am in the kitchen I will never, ever like motherfucking pot roast.
A fine looking, grown ass man — who’s also looking for something serious and whom I met on AFF — grilled me yesterday via text.
“How many guys are you talking to these days??”
I was taken aback. Prior to this question he’d asked me how my day was going.
“My day is going alright. And why do you ask that?? That’s sort of out of left field.”
He insisted it wasn’t. “It’s just a question.”
I was honest with him and said I was, though I use the term “dating” only to mean I’m chatting with and occasionally going for dinner or drinks. There are no feelings involved or sex. I’m browsing. Then he called me a “serial dater.”
I didn’t know what that was so he clarified that it’s dating more than one person at once.
I was confused. Isn’t that the definition of dating?? Then he explained his opinions further.
“It’s harder to get to know one guy when you’re dating several don’t you agree? Nothing wrong with it, it’s just harder in my experience to get to know someone when my time is split between multiple people.”
I pointed out that clearly I don’t agree and he went on to say it one more time for good measure: you can’t successfully date if you’re talking to more than one person.
And maybe that’s true for him because he’s a man and he doesn’t get a dozen incredible emails from a dozen great women a week like a woman might (like I sometimes do). How can I possibly decide who to invest my time in if the criteria are first come first served?
So whoever sent me the email first gets the girl?? I don’t think so. I think we all have to earn someone’s time and being first in line is hardly considered doing any work.
Likewise, he clearly doesn’t want to be one of many and this was his way of strutting around the coop. And I can respect that to a degree, except we’re not meeting people in grocery stores, dances, and shopping malls anymore (I heard that’s where it used to happen prior to the internet, anyway). We shop online with endless choices.
Today women are inundated with suitors and men are put in the undesirable position of having to stand out and they can do that in one of two ways: complain about the game or pretend it doesn’t exist.
You can guess which one is more appealing.
No one wants a man who gripes that there are others when it’s the very nature of what we’re all doing. I’ve thought a lot about what he said and I keep returning to the same conclusion each time: Until the cream rises to the top, you keep on churning. Eventually the right person will show himself.
I texted Rex late yesterday afternoon. He had just finished the last ride of the weekend and was on a high. He’d had an incredible weekend on his bike in the middle of no where and it had exhausted him, he said.
He texted today to say good morning and I sent him a couple of pictures of Peyton making us breakfast (literally the closest thing to breakfast in bed I’ve had in my entire life).
Then the day dragged on.
My back aches from my pelvis to my chest, my body feels contorted, my heart feels dark and heavy. I am physically miserable, psychically stalled.
Thank God I have Peyton tomorrow, Valentine’s Day. The single most excruciating day of the year when you are forced to remember your relationship status by every person wearing red to work for their Happy Hour V-Day dates later in the day.
“I’m not feeling it between us.” He made a back and forth motion with his hands at chest level. “I think you’re very beautiful — very — fascinating, intelligent, really funny, but I just don’t know if it’s there between us.”
I sat beside him, about 18 inches away, a wine glass in my hand. I looked away, swallowed. I felt trapped and helpless, foolish. Of course he doesn’t, I thought. Men never want me.
I’ve spent the last couple of days fighting that voice and it’s left me low and energy-less. I hate that voice.
Since none of this is happening the “normal” way for me I have been out of touch with things. None of our dates have lent themselves to anything more than a brief goodnight kiss. He’s responsible and has dogs and has left after every one and declined to come up after another when we instead sat in his car outside my building where I worked really hard to convince him I didn’t actually care about dick size, only the size of a man’s heart.
On the couch I continued my case, “I want to get to know you, Rex, I want to unwrap you and discover the man inside. To learn about you. I find you interesting and kind and sexy. I want to keep learning about you. You intimidate me because you’re so grown up and accomplished; I’ve never dated an adult before…” My voice sounded desperate and clingy to my ears, but there was nothing to do. It was all true.
I looked away again when he didn’t respond and he said something about me shutting down. I dragged myself back up to the surface. “You’re right. I am. I’m trying. This is just so hard for me.”
I looked at him, my face an implacable mask. He said he couldn’t read me. I told him that was the point.
I have never felt something slip through my fingers the way that evening did. He licked his plate, but was passing on me it seemed.
“What are you thinking?” I asked. He said he didn’t know. “Well, do you know what I’m thinking? I’m sitting here wishing I could kiss you.”
He looked surprised. “Go ahead,” he laughed. “You should always kiss me if you want to.”
I leaned over on my knees and kissed his warm lips. His hands stayed below my hips, perhaps on my thigh. He began to talk. I asked him if he wanted me to stop. He said, No, but I felt like I was forcing myself on him.
I pulled away and he followed me, kissed me more. I breathed him in and waited as my hands roamed his neck and jaw. Nothing.
“I have to get going. It’s a work night.” It was 10:30 when the failure really sunk in. Either there was just no chemistry between us or my strange flailing the previous two weeks had set the stage for this.
“Do you think you knowing about Hy made us both think we were more connected than we really are?” I’d asked before I’d kissed him.
“No! Definitely not!” he jumped to say. “I don’t think that at all.”
We stood up and I walked to the kitchen to send him home with leftovers. He kissed me again at the island and it was intense and sweet, but still stopped short of full-blown passion. I don’t know why.
He dipped down once or twice for more and I eagerly met his lips, but he seemed already halfway out the door.
I handed him his baggies and tinfoil-wrapped pot roast and walked him to the entryway and told him I was free on Saturday if he wanted to hang out again. There was still so much more to say and explore, right? The kissing was good, wasn’t it?? I didn’t know which end was up, perhaps more talking and spending time together would sort it out.
“Ok, sure. I might be going out of town for a bike trip. I’m not sure. I’ll let you know.”
We kissed again and he left and I crawled into bed with the animals.
It’s Saturday night now and I didn’t hear from him about going out of town or not. I assume he did, but perhaps not.
I went on a date with a man recently who was incredibly eager to meet me. He leaned in at the bar as I sipped my glass of Chardonnay and his hand occasionally grazed my thigh. I had no doubt of his attraction for me and I felt the chemistry buzz between us as I imagined what his body would feel like over mine.
We parted ways with a steamy, but appropriate kiss against my car under an abnormally warm winter sun, and I drove away contemplating chemistry and connections.
Another night I had a date with a different man who really liked me. It was our second date (the first was coffee a week before and his eyes lit up when I walked into the Greek coffee house). He texted me nervously the morning after because he was worried he might have said something that put me off, but the truth is as I sat across from him sipping cider under a chilly moon I couldn’t muster an attraction. I tried, but it just wasn’t there.
There was nothing he said that made that happen. It just was.
And as he kissed me and earnestly held me close my heart sank because I felt nothing in return except his soft lips and nicely groomed whiskers. I had to tell him, like Rex told me, that I didn’t feel it between us and if Rex feels as little for me as I did for that other man then that hurts. Not a lot, not a little, but somewhere in the middle like when you studied really hard for a test, but still only got a B-/C+.
As I drove home from work for lunch he texted to say he had something to confess.
We’d had our first date the night before at a swanky downtown restaurant. He was tallish, lean, bald. A very snazzy dresser. A good looking man whose arm ink peeked out from beneath the cuffs of his tailored blazer.
I sipped on champagne and he on sweet whiskey and as we shared our small plates we chatted about our dead pets, nudity vs. nakedness, and failed marriages. I ranted about never allowing a man into my life that wasn’t loved and accepted by my child. He ranted about not sending him emails at work unless the certified letter didn’t return first.
It was a really nice date topped off by a polite kiss or two and a twinkle in my eye.
What could he possibly have to confess??
“I have followed your blog since we first met at AFF.”
My stomach dropped and my eyes widened. I was at a stop light and felt suddenly jittery.
We’d “met” on AFF well over a year ago and only recently reconnected via OKCupid where he’d pointed out the older connection. “Small orbits,” he’d called them.
“Wait, what??” I texted back. “What blog?”
He texted the URL.
Immediately I thought back over everything I’d said the night before, how I’d carried myself, how I had appeared. Had I measured up? Did I sound genuine? I talked about my missing cat and my exhusband, mentioned dating my neighbor — all things that are in this blog.
Well, at least he knows I wrote the truth, I thought.
My first impulse was to post the screenshots and share, but I pulled up short and asked him for his permission. (I cannot ethically post about anyone here without their permission if they know it exists. If they don’t know, it’s none of their business; I have to protect myself first.)
“Blue pill or red pill, Mr. Orbit?” I asked him.
He said he trusted me and then we sent each other photos of our animals because I guess that’s what you do when you’ve been outted as your alter-ego and the world hasn’t caved in on you and the handsome man on the other end of the secret seems to like you anyway.
And so here we are: Uncharted territory with a Hy/Me hybrid blend and a man I’m going to call Rex.
It was the third time it stung and hurt in rhythm to his thrusting digits that night. I told him to stop, but his long fingers kept moving inside of me. He’d pushed things farther than I’d wanted all night long and now we were naked on my bed.
“You’re hurting me!” I said and pushed at the arm and wrist connected to my body.
“Stop!” I said again, firm and angry. “You are hurtingme!!”
He pulled his hand out and kissed me drunkenly. “I’m sorry,” he said.
I explained to him how to touch me and let him restart.
It hurt again. I cried out again. I yelled at him to stop again. I pushed his hand away again.
He wanted to fuck then, but I said no. He pouted and begged, kissed my neck and touched my pussy. The wine fuzzed my brain and it was much too dark in my room to clearly see that he needed to just go away.
I let his touch calm me and when he slithered down to put his mouth on me I held my breath. “Do not suck on me,” I said. “It will hurt; I’m too sensitive.”
“Don’t suck!” I said again and pushed at his shoulders. He didn’t budge and continued to suck. I felt my labia pulled away from my body by the suction and I hated it, that awful, tugging sensation.
“Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!” I shouted. “I just told you not to suck!!!”
I told him to lap at me. “Like an ice cream cone.”
I wasn’t there anymore.
I was in a black space with no exit, thick and viscous. My arms and legs were mine, but they weren’t free. This man was doing these things to me that I was supposed to enjoy, but I wasn’t. It hurt, it pissed me off, it felt pointless, I felt lost.
It finally ended somehow and I was submerged in upside-down darkness and only wanted him to leave. He wanted to stay the night. “No, you need to go home. My mom will be here at 8 in the morning.”
He pouted again and recoiled from me. As he gathered up his clothing he complained they were wet from my ejaculate. I told him to shut up, incredulous.
Because I’m a woman and trained to be polite I hugged him goodbye, but he was terse and walked out stiffly. Several minutes later he texted to tell me how much he liked me.
Late the next morning he texted to say he’d left some things behind and that he’d had an incredible night with me. I’d found his boxers already, but he’d also left his work keys. I searched the couch hoping they weren’t there, but they were: two shiny silver keys on a ring, a big one and a little one, much like my delusion and self-respect.
I haven’t told him they are here. He wants to see me again. I don’t want to. Keys or no keys.
I don’t know how to proceed. Do I tell him how I remember the evening or do I just say “Sorry, this isn’t going to work out for me.” I want to disappear and not think about the disaster that was my Friday night, erase it completely from memory.
I wonder if I could be wrong about everything, that maybe I was begging for it. Maybe I did sometimes, I don’t recall that clearly. Never mind. It doesn’t matter. It will soon be rolled into the other stories I have of nights similar to that one. Of being over-powered by their desire and choosing the path of least resistance and saying, Fine, ok. I’ll do it, when truthfully, I don’t want to, but am too scared to say No only to have him say Yes we are because then it really is bad. And scary. And my fault.
I am clear that No means No, but when a drunk woman is half naked on your lap and her hard limit is your hand in her pussy, but it’s ok to suck on her tits I get the confusion. I understand the risk, I understand the world I live in. It’s not set up for me to have hard limits if others are soft.
I blame myself for not having the guts to kick him out the second I felt it was sideways. Instead I tried to salvage it, make his mistake and boorish behavior ok so it wouldn’t be a scary assault, so he wouldn’t see he’d gone too far and reached a vulnerable place in me – both literally and figuratively. I let him stay and I attempted to make the night mine, not his, and all I really accomplished was confusing him and hurting me.
I clung to the Prosecco bottle and my glass, careful to spill not one drop.
“Seven! Six! Five!”
Tina’s little idea for me to be her date for the night had panned out well enough. I’d curled my hair into beachy waves, stuffed myself into a dress which had to eventually be swapped out, and gone out with low expectations.
“Four! Three! Two!”
Her two friends, a couple, bounced next to us, their glasses held high among all the other gold, silver and bronze liquids sloshing in the air. I hadn’t talked to anyone but these three all night long. Except for the stranger who bought me a bottle of Prosecco, whoever that was. Thanks, dude.
And then the big climax.
The room exploded with little horns and cheers and the band banged on their instruments as kisses rippled through the room from strangers and friends.
We left shortly after — having drained 4 bottles of bubbles — and walked happily, loudly home in the dark. I like to think cars honked cheerily at us as we meandered home, but I doubt any driver would be trying to attract attention past midnight on New Year’s Eve. But the mood was jovial, full, warm.
I awoke at 7 in Tina’s sister’s bed alone, but for Tina’s sister’s cat, Pierre. I was fully dressed and the Spanx which cut into my thighs were my wake up call.
On the drive home I thought about the last several of my New Year’s Eves. I was married on New Year’s Eve exactly eleven years ago. We threw an epic party that my friends and I still talk about fondly. We’d chosen that night because of the disaster which New Year’s seems to always become and now we wouldn’t have to ever worry about it again! Ha. Oh, naive, Hy!
The first New Year’s alone was spent with my very closest friends. The Neighbor was not yet in my life, though he must have been nearby celebrating. The next I’d invited him to come over while I stayed with Peyton, but he went to a party instead. The next we shroomed together, the following we went to dinner and I discovered more hurt and betrayal, and the last one together we spent like rags drying on a line: dismal and limp with my friends. He’d break up with me 3 weeks later.
The next, alone and completely heartbroken still, I spent with Ashley. She and I had played softball with TN and she knew him well. Saw his struggle, mine. Our love, our colossal collapse. But it was dark and singular and sparklers still make me nervous from growing up in a drought state and I couldn’t enjoy their hissing, spinning, maniacal screams into the treetops.
This year was different, though. Although alone, completely and totally, I was surrounded with energy and a wild abandonment. There was no sorrow like the first. No longing and yearning and disappointment like with TN. No settling for plans. Just a decision to enjoy myself.
I spoke to no one — except the generous stranger — and didn’t want to. My goal was to feel alive, to feel full, to feel beautiful and strong.
This year, I have decided, I am going to attempt to achieve something I have never tried to do before: to find love. And not to stumble upon it, to luck out in finding it, but to actively and intentionally seek it out.
I will follow the trails of some men I’ve met under the “old regime” to their ends, but in the meantime I have hit pause on my AFF* profile — as well as my other pursuits — and reopened OKCupid in order to achieve a better platform for real conversation.
As of January 1st there are no less than 5 men who have wowed me with their words, good looks, and yes – desires for a long-term relationship. The amount of effort required in culling the herd of potential boyfriends is vastly greater than that needed to find a fun roll in the hay and I am already completely exhausted. Coyness is seen as a brush off; I must actually respond in kind!
But, I’m also determined to change my life.
I’ve long been afraid to let myself do something like this, to set goals. Fear of failure, frustration and the overruling feeling that it’s futile have all kept me away, but at 41, I can no longer say my current methods work all that well. I have been plagued by mostly mediocre sex all year long and I realize that more emotional effort is required to get things right.
I’m not going to “Just enjoy myself until I find something more serious.” I’m going to look for the serious… and hopefully also enjoy myself. I might not even kiss on the first date. (Go ahead and scoff. I just did.)