The script was the same, yet different.
I sat on his lap, naked and spent, resting in the cradle of his big arms. He stood and turned and gently lay me down on the crisp hotel bedding. I promptly fell into a demi-sleep, drunk off the $350 bottle of wine we’d split and the dozen orgasms.
His giant paw had slammed into me as I urged him on and I came in great rushes and filled his hand; his white mustache had crushed against my lips as he breathed in my orgasm like a drowning man. He hadn’t touched a woman in 5 years.
Franklin almost hadn’t come to meet me, he’d confessed. When I shared my pictures with him on Seeking Arrangement he’d found a couple of them to look “hard.” “Like you were a retired dancer.”
“Gee, well thanks for taking a risk on me.”
“You’re much more beautiful than your pictures, Hy. I was very happy to see you walk into the bar.”
He was an enormous man — more bear than human — and more than a foot taller than me, possibly a hundred pounds heavier. He wore a brown houndstooth blazer, those type of 1980s metal glasses that all business men used to wear, and smelled delicious.
He’d been conned at least twice in the six weeks since joining the site, but the few hundred dollars he’d given away were such an inconsequential amount to him he laughed it off as a learning curve.
After cocktails, dinner, wine, and dessert, we headed to the lounge of a nearby hotel where he grabbed me and kissed me. It turned me on that he’d told the servers and wait staff to pay attention to us and they’d be rewarded for their attentiveness. It turned me on that he oozed power and confidence. It turned me on to feel so small in his presence, taken care of.
He insisted I get whatever I wanted at dinner and urged me to not think of cost. How different life must be to not have a care about money. Everything I do from eating to dressing myself passes through the “Can I afford this?” filter. It made me giddy and nervous.
“I think what you want is a boyfriend,” he’d said over dessert. “You want to hang out with someone you like and who likes you and to not always rely on him for money. That sounds like a boyfriend.” I was too embarrassed, too afraid to answer. Is that even true? I couldn’t say and I quickly changed the subject.
At the copper bar in the swanky hotel, my lips swollen and my belly buzzing he leaned in.
“Wanna get a room?” he murmured hotly. I nodded.
At the front desk I held his hand and giggled. In the elevator he cornered me and smashed me against the mirrors with his weight, his hands roamed like a lech and I arched into him.
We left the room in a tangled, wet mess two hours later; I had to relieve the dog who’d been cooped up for 12 hours. He didn’t need to stay without me and I suppose $500 for a couple of hours wasn’t a big deal. He walked me to my car, kissed me again and sent me on my way.
It’s unclear if he is interested in me beyond our night together. I have thrown my hat into the ring, but he has yet to respond. The entire transaction, the entire night and ensuing days, have felt like they happened to someone else. His lack of response has not affected me; he will either want to see me again or not.
His tender post-coital care came close to cracking me. Kindness is my kryptonite, it’s the big spoiler. Use me, fill me up, leave me and I will stand tall and still. Show me a soft side of you and it is my undoing. His distance since the date has allowed me to shore up the hardness he said he saw in my images. Perhaps he was right. I have been in the trenches for so long…
The story could end there, but it doesn’t.
Enter stage right a British expat who lives 1000 miles away, Luke. He’s my age, tall, beautiful and neglected by the woman in his life. We stumbled upon each other – as people do – completely by accident and have found in one another a salve to the wounds we carry. With him I admit to even having them. He knows me as Hy.
He’s realized he’s a man who is alive and not a martyr searching for meaning in the drudgery of his life and I have realized (again) that I want to be cared about and accepted. Cherished. Ben first lit me upon this notion and I have had a wobbly several months since our time together. I’ve fucked and frolicked, but as usual have kept to myself emotionally.
Luke is literally in my pocket and is the last person I think about and the first when I wake up. I want to make all his dreams come true then set him on a plane stuffed full of affection and sex. I want the person sitting next to him on the plane to look at him and think, “That guy looks goddamned happy.”
He’ll arrive home satiated knowing he’s not alone and that someone sees him and I can be safe from long-term vulnerability even while feeling the ghost of his arms around me. I fully recognize the irony of this, but it feels like a step in the right direction. At least I’m trying.
Ben is across an ocean and so busy I don’t hear from him for weeks at a time. Our distance (among other things) was the golden key to unlock my own secret yearnings for deeper, softer, kinder things in my life. I was forced to admit to having a heart again, but not suffer the vulnerability of trying to maintain the exposure.
Luke is closer, can see me more easily than Ben, but he is still far away both literally and figuratively. He has commitments at home that would forever prevent him from being nearby long-term. We will always be apart even if our feelings are together.
And yet, I want him all the same.
I imagine waiting for him at the airport. He quickly closes the distance between us when he sees me standing there nervously, wraps me in his arms and kisses me deeply and passionately. I hope everyone around us is jealous as they see our affection and joy in one another’s arms.
It feels like we’d be stealing a moment, but I can almost taste him I want it so badly. I want to be a fucking thief because with him I don’t feel hard. I feel soft and real, nearly a whole woman with an entire back story. Not just some sex-kitten ready and willing for anything.
“I’ll let you fuck my face, my ass, my pussy, all of it. You just can’t leave for 3 days and you have to hold me close and look at me like you’re the luckiest man alive,” I texted. Tears filled my eyes. My biggest fantasy and my darkest secret is to be cherished while I am ravaged.
“You are, without any doubt, the sexiest woman I have ever seen or spoken to. There’s something about you. I’m getting butterflies…” he replied. And later, after he picked his name for the blog, encouraged me to lay it bare for him in this post when I told him I was feeling overwhelmed.
“I like what I see,” he said again.
How could anyone find me aloof? How could anyone think I was unaffected by men?? I am avoiding pain and searching for myself. I’m not trying to hide. Clearly I’m a walking contradiction: I’m hard, I’m a puddle; I’m distant, I’m a shadow; I’m bold, I’m bashful.
I have successfully managed to untie my self-worth from the behaviors of men, but have I let loose of the ribbon entirely? Does my understanding that I have no control somehow translate to apathy? I don’t think I’m apathetic — Luke proves that, Ben proves that — but I am terrified of the closeness and now I worry that it’s trickled out and changed colors in the light of day. It’s ugly out there.
Franklin’s silence is logically frustrating, but emotionally I am a flat line. Never mind I think we could be great friends and have a very mutually beneficial relationship. I feel a distant stillness about his non-response He’s just yet one more man who wasn’t right for me for one reason or another. I let go of any kind of “us” the day after I lay naked beneath his great bulk and didn’t hear from him.
There are so many others that I never bothered to include here, men whose time on the stage of my life was so brief, their impact on me negligible, that they are included in the credits as “Crowd Member.” They’ve contributed to the story, but only as moving props. Or as fucking ones, as the case may be.
And I largely felt nothing for any of them. Just blips on the radar regardless of how they behaved afterwards. It bothers me how little I feel sometimes for these local men, but it’s effortless. I come by it naturally. Perhaps after years of mistreatment I have become a product of it. No wonder the prospect of Luke’s affections and attention is so utterly irresistible.
He says he has hazel eyes with green in them. I imagine they’re like a sun-dappled forest, both deep and light, waiting. I want to lie down on the forest bed and melt into the leaves and moss.
I want to look deeply into those eyes as I breathe his breath and hold him in my hand, feel him beneath my fingertips. He won’t leave me because he can’t stay.
I may have overshot my target and accidentally convinced men that I don’t need them or want them, but the truth is I used to be open and I was punched again and again like a soft-bellied idiot. No, Hy. Goodbye, Hy. I don’t want you, Hy. It was fun while it lasted, Hy. You’re all wrong, Hy. I chose poorly again and again until I finally wizened up and took my soft self to a higher place where no one could touch me and when I’ve come back down I am no longer soft. It’s not untrue. But is it wrong?
A savvy, keen-eyed reader lovingly bludgeoned me in emails for months about how imbecilic I was with men. She wasn’t wrong. I grew hardened, memorized my lines, set my sights on the end of the story and skipped over sagging, boring plot lines. I don’t regret it. I’ve done what I needed to do, but now in the face of pure kindness I am forced to peel off a layer or two of armor and slow down.
I don’t want to be so hard that I miss opportunity, but nor do I want to be so soft that I am beaten to a pulp. My friends come to me with all manner of dating questions, their hearts on their sleeves and I chuckle.
I remember when not hearing from a man after a date used to hurt. I remember when long delays between correspondence bothered me. Today, those are failings I don’t tolerate and I quickly move on to the next. No fuss, no fight, just go. Whether that’s emotionally or physically doesn’t matter. I’m gone.
This push-pull of hard and soft is the battle between my sense of independence from the pitfalls of dating while my need to simultaneously flex my heart. I may have stated it before, but it has become increasingly clear to me that my next relationship may very well have to start here. As Hy. How else can I possibly get past my own fear and armor? My very soft underbelly is always exposed here and I am all of me: sentient and sexy, longing and lascivious.
Since I’ve come to realize I am more Hy than anyone else, it may also be time for Hy to be the star of the show.