I’m on a man diet. For real.

I have purged my life of all the unnecessary noise of men pawing at my door and am only allowing one knock at a time.

After indulging the nihilistic Hyacinth a couple of weekends ago I completely wiped the slate clean.  I got rid of men around the world and at my doorstep.  I stopped engaging with anyone who might not turn into a real life option for love.  I had to realize my own despair while abandoned in a brightly lit hallway to accept my loneliness for what it’s become: overwhelming.

I have made false connections with too many for too long.  So what if we have light, witty banter for a week?  So what if he’s hot?  So what if he’s into me?  And secondly, how do I know anything about this person – beyond those superficial things – in only a week or two that would warrant me giving them my time?  A piece of myself?

Realizing the truth of my “connections” with these men, this false intimacy, has made my decision-making easier than ever before.  I see the Matrix of Dating suddenly and am swiping the bullshit aside like a curtain blocking my view.   I can’t expect something real from something temporary.  No rose will grow from granite, so why would I expect it to?

My diet from men means I’m making healthier choices, not that I have stopped eating sugar – er – men altogether.  Right now I’m nibbling on only one man and though he might not be the healthiest option my approach is sound, the landing should be good.  At least my therapist thinks so.

I haven’t written about him before; he’s young – 14 years younger than me – tall, handsome, fit, hung, submissive, financially secure. sexy, flirty, filthy, engaged in what we’re doing, open and open-minded, not allergic to cats, politically aligned with me, doesn’t want biological children, intelligent, attentive and… lives with his girlfriend of 6 years in a non-hierarchical polyamory relationship.  His other girlfriend of two years lives in her own little poly pod 2 hours away.

And despite the girlfriends, I am extremely excited about him because my choices have been thoughtful and I am applying great restraint to let this unfold gently, naturally.  I want the intimacy to be real.  I also don’t know that the girlfriends will be a problem.  I’ve never tried to date a poly guy before.  Maybe I won’t care; maybe they’ll make it better for us.

Things have been different from the start.  I insisted on corresponding via email and waited at least 5000 words a piece before I used the number he gave me to text.  I made it clear that texting was not for days long conversations that could be had in 30 mins over the phone, but for flirting and possibly pics.  Due to his age, he had a slight aversion to speaking on the phone, but he carved out a little time over the weekend to chat and it was sweet and lovely and I appreciated the effort immensely.  He surprised himself with enjoying it as much as he did (seriously, what is wrong with Milennials – and even some of us Gen Xers – that a phone call feels too intimate when you’re trying to date someone???).  I could have invited him over 10 times during a rainstorm this weekend, but I refrained, and instead set a date two weeks away.  I want to be certain he’s worth my time.

Now we wait eagerly each day for the other’s email and text little mailbox emojis when the deed is done in between sizzling hot pics and sweet chatter perfect for text.

I still check the pots to see if anything interesting has been caught, but ultimately throw them all back in.  No one compares to this glowing young man of summer.  In fact, one man on OKC who spoke to me in lengthy nonsensical, look how funny I am with words! guy just cut me loose because I hadn’t responded to him since Friday.  That’s how most of us should be, actually.   Truth is, I wasn’t interested, which is why I forgot to check my email there.  Sorry, dude, but you did the right thing.

My diet feels like clean eating for my heart.  I love the quiet, I love that Peyton has more of my attention, I love that when my phone chimes I know it’s someone I actually want to chat with, I love that my time is well spent, and most of all I love that this feels right.

I might still be eating bread and brie – a leftover from my time in France – but I’m also hitting the gym four times a week; I feel good.  My Man Diet is similar: I’m making good decisions, but with some indulgences thrown in here and there, judiciously and with care.  Just like any good diet that can be stuck to for the long term it can’t be all about deprivation.  It also has to feel good.

A new normal.

I started a post Wednesday afternoon and wrote:

I’ve had sex a grand total of 10 times with 8 men in 2017.

I went back to pick up the thread today and realized I need to strike through those numbers.  It’s now 12 times with 10 men.

The post was going to be all about how I’ve slowed down, how my insatiable thirst for men and their dicks, licks, and tricks had all but subsided.  But then Wednesday and Thursday happened to me.

In the span of 24 hours I had sex with a sexy dad I met at a birthday party for a mutual child-friend a few weeks ago, lived out one of the hottest fantasies of my life with my massage therapist while on his table and clock, and spent an evening filled with laughter and a little lust with a 6’6″ ex-con whose open candor disarmed me completely.

A post about slowing down doesn’t exactly fit.

But I’m not up to my old tricks, either.

Six weeks ago I wrote to The Neighbor, started a(nother) Whole30, and began working out 4-5x a week at Orange Theory.  Not drinking freed up a lot of my energy and dedicating myself to my fitness recalibrated my priorities.  I also did some heavy lifting with TN.

I wrote another letter, revised it, sent it, and he responded.  All while 100% sober and focused on myself, while sticking to my guns (and standards) with the men I’ve been attempting to date.  I feel like a completely different person.

One of the most important things I’ve just learned is that when I make choices that ultimately harm me — be they drinking too frequently, not caring for my body, or not facing the demon of a bad breakup — it fucks me up.  I suspect it would fuck up any human being.

Confronting bad men and kicking them out of my house when they yell at me, not dating someone whose beliefs are at odds with mine, cutting off contact with someone who assaulted me and telling him why, eating better, exercising.  All of these things have helped me to feel like I’m valuable and once I feel I’m valuable it doesn’t matter what other people think of me anymore, does it?  And their attention is no longer such a crucial aspect of my life.

Take me or leave me, but I know I’m worth effort, compassion and love no matter what you do to me.  And the very newest trick I’ve learned is that you have no place in my life if you don’t fit that criteria.

No more excuses or second-guessing.  I don’t care if this is your first ever Tinder date or that you remember things differently from me.

And so I rolled around with Mr. Young while his baby slept in the other bedroom and his kisses made me melt into a shimmering puddle of desire.

And then after 90 minutes of what can only be called a sustained post-coital response to his deep and connective touch I asked if I could touch my massage therapist and he said yes.

And then the felon arrived exactly on time and opened up about his time in prison in a way that touched my heart and I felt nothing but admiration for him, even as we lay wrapped in each other’s arms after he eventually lost his erection in a puff of his frustration, regret and embarrassment.

There’s also The Hippie, a tall, gentle, pot smoker with a daughter on the opposite custody schedule as me.  His magically curved cock is a delightful ride; his fuzzy face and deep eyes are safe.

So I’m not slowing down; there is just a new normal.  A wonderful new normal.