My life is so blissfully peaceful and slow these days. My phone lays just like a lump of metal and glass and gadgets rather than a hyper doorbell.
I have nights alone with The Great British Baking Show and This is Us and I waffle between urges to try my hand at homemade croissants or curling up into the fetal position and crying because life is just that beautiful.
And I love it.
Love it, love it, love it.
I can’t believe I’m saying that, but its true. I love the stillness and the quiet.
My own shock about it is rather deafening, really, and that’s the loudest thing in my life: the boom of my disbelief.
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.
We stood in the parking lot with another car’s lights shining on our legs. The restaurant lights cast a shadow on his face, but I still saw his smile. I closed the distance and stood on my toes to touch my lips to his.
Instantly I knew our kisses matched. A nibble here, a nip there, a chuckle. I felt his smile against mine.
He made a pleased sound. “Mm, I think we’re going to have some fun.” I giggled and kissed him again, let my hands roam up his broad back and to his neck. He smelled good, too, this big, brawny man.
I flashed back to the night I kissed Bones for the first time and that pleasant surprise at being kissed expertly. It’s so rare, that perfect kissing match.
I don’t put too much stock in it beyond the pleasure of the moment, but a good kiss is something special. It feels like catching a glimpse of the first firefly light or seeing a shooting star streak across a dark night sky. It feels lucky.
The date had been pleasant, but the kiss instilled a sliver of hope I hadn’t felt as we talked over dinner. He was outgoing, bold, sexy, confident, very successful, a father, and filled with stories to share. I shared my own stories, but not because he asked. He never asked.
He texted later to say that he’d checked both chemistry and communication off his list. I have only checked chemistry; date #2 will help decide the communication box.
Earlier in the day my mother asked me if I was going on a date for my dinner plans. “Yes,” I said obliquely.
“Ooh! Who is it?” She tried to sound casually interested, but didn’t even come close.
“He’s just a dude, mom.”
“Oh, ok.” She sounded hurt, but there’s no other way of describing him. He is just a dude I met — on a sex site — and I knew very little about him beyond one pleasant late night phone conversation.
My sister called minutes later and also inquired about my evening plans. “I’ve got a date.”
“Stay home and talk to me,” she said.
“No, I made a commitment!” I laughed.
“You’re such a Golden Retriever, Hy. You say yes to everyone.”
I didn’t like that she said that and don’t think it’s true. “No, maybe he will be someone worth knowing,” I said, “and I won’t know unless I go out with him.” I hung up and drove to the restaurant thinking about what she said.
I’m the first to admit that I might give a man more chances than he deserves, but can you blame me? What if someone is spectacular on the 3rd date? The 5th? I suppose if there’s nothing by #5 it’s a pretty done deal and even sometimes I know by #1.
It’s the repetitive nature of the whole ordeal that gets tiresome. The date, the kiss, the processing. Wash, rinse, repeat. It’s like a tedious chore on the one hand and a meditative practice on the other. After all, everyone loves to slip into a nicely made bed.
I made calamari for Peyton last night and the oil popped and sizzled on my wrist as I held the pan. It hurt that hot-oil-hurt, long, low and seething, but I didn’t miss a beat. Shit had to be done.
I fed the kids (mine and the neighbor girl) and was in bed by 10. The week had been long and full. I also hadn’t heard from Rex.
After our misbegotten pot roast date things slowed to a whimper. We texted Sunday when he got back into town and a little bit each morning throughout the week, but by Friday that disappeared and I almost hadn’t noticed.
Today, Saturday, I woke up naturally to a soft blue light and a purring cat. Sometime in the late afternoon a blister popped. It was some hours after that I relalized I’d heard nothing from Rex since Thursday morning.
Such a shame I had to get burned at all, but so be it.
Patience isn’t something I’m very good at. I have so little control over much of what happens to me that I compensate with the hunt for instant gratification. At least then I feel activated, in charge.
Immediately checking my phone when I hear it ding.
Uncorking the bottle.
Unbuckling his pants.
His hot, hard flesh in my hand.
My body wrapped around his.
I can saunter and seduce and feel powerful when in reality I have absolutely none. I’m just a passenger on this rock like everyone else, circling a bright little star.
I often wonder how others see me. I present myself so clearly here. I’m naked, raw, vulnerable, available. But what does everyone else see? How would people who know me describe me? What do they see?
I see a slightly plump middle aged woman who’s horrible at picking men, stellar at her job, passionate about her child, and invested in her art. She’s deeply private and can’t rely on most of her friends and so has turned to the internet for a richer, more supportive community.
She drinks too much on occasion, occasionally forgets birthdays, and frequently yells at her spastic dog.
She also catches and releases everything not deadly or a cockroach and will move mountains to be there for you in your time of need even if you can’t move a speed bump for her.
I have days where I think I’m hot and wonderful and days where I’d like to slice the fat off my body — though thankfully with age those days number in the less than 5.
I wish I read more. Can you tell I don’t?
I hope I seem honest here; I really aim to be. But sometimes I just can’t believe my eyes. Is this even really me??
I’m at once proud and ashamed of my life; I’ve done so much. It’s overwhelming and humbling and frustrating.
I’m still trying to figure out the balance between what you and I see of me. Are we the same coin, but different sides? Or two completely different currencies? Which is more valid?