He’s telling me about his job, something to do with engineering. I’m interested and I’m not – I feel as though he’s filling the time according to some rule of sexual etiquette I’ve never learned. Set the scene, chat up your prey, seduce them slowly and deliberately. That’s not the way younger men do things. It’s not unwelcome exactly, just unfamiliar.
He leans over, lifts my feet and settles them in his lap. Still talking, he massages them, making slow deep circles. I haven’t had a pedicure in ages and normally I’d be embarrassed by my rough heels and chipped nail polish, but I find I don’t care. It feels nice, but the smile he gives me as his hands start to travel higher, stroking my ankles and calves, doesn’t have the effect I think he intends it to. It’s suggestive and rather cheesy. I’m more amused than aroused.
We only met hours ago, introduced by a mutual friend, yet already he knows more about me than any one night stand ever has. That’s partially her fault – telling him over dinner that I write a blog, encouraging me to tell him my crazy stories. And because I didn’t think it mattered, because I looked at him and saw nothing but a friend of a friend whom I’d likely never see again...I did. We shot pool and threw out statistics and sordid tales like playing cards.
“I’ll stay because I’m drunk, but I’m not having sex with you”, I’d said only a short while ago. The streetlights in the parking lot made him look like a pirate when he smiled – black hair, whiter than white teeth, deeply tan skin and that damn mustache. We both knew I was lying.
We stop speaking and he stares at me, the cheesy smile becoming a dirty leer. I can’t help but grin back because this feels rather ridiculous. I’m going to fuck him for sport, because he’s 20 years my senior, because I’m drunk and curious. I’m not sexually attracted to him at all, though he’s moderately good looking. I’m even more amused when I realize his reasons may be similar – he might fuck me for sport, because I’m 25 and I doubt women my age beat down his door on a regular basis.
He stands up and pulls me to my feet, leading me down one hallway then another. His room is open and spacious, shuttered windows cover two walls. The bed is tall, headboard cattycornered causing it to jut out into open space. Soon I’m sprawled across it naked and for once, not even a second of self-consciousness plagues me. Maybe I should stop sleeping with men I’m not initially attracted to more often.
I’m surprised by how good he is, how attentive and tireless, how kinky. For someone I’m sleeping with just because I can, he’s exceeding my expectations. But occasionally he looks at me in a really intense way, almost glaring, and with that mustache...I have to stop myself from laughing.
I fall asleep next to him, which is something I never do. Not the sort of cat napping I tend to do before sneaking out with my panties in my purse, ensuring they have no idea that I snore and occasionally drool, but hard sleep, only waking when he nudges me for more sometime near dawn. I scratch “low libido” off of my older man mental stereotype list.
He asks me out to dinner and, before I really have time to think about it, I say yes. He’s been reading my blog and he likes it. It’s strange to know that a one night stand could read what I write, but even stranger still that I’m seeing him again. I’m not sure I can write about him, knowing he’ll read it.
There’s standing room only at the bar while we wait for our table and I suck down three Jack and Cokes before we’re seated. He has just as many, but I have a feeling that’s a regular occurrence. I want to have sex with him again because it was good, but I’m not sure I can do it sober. His age is no longer a novelty notch for my belt and more like some strange self-experiment I shouldn’t be doing.
He asks if I like wine and I say that I do. He asks if I like red or white and I say that I prefer white. He says he prefers red and orders that, assuring me I’ll like it.
The waitress pours a little in our glasses and though I consider it, I don’t do the pretentious swirling and sniffing. We both raise our glasses to our lips and he nods at the waitress. I nod too, even though I think it’s rather bitter, and she fills our glasses, leaving the bottle on the table.
“Do you like it”, he asks.
“Yes”, I say, to be nice.
The dynamic has changed with this dinner. I’m nervous for the first time and I think it’s because it feels like a date. I’m filled with mixed emotions about it – I’m amused, horrified, excited. Somehow just sleeping with him doesn’t seem as bad as going out with him.
We empty the bottle of wine and I feel infinitely more relaxed. I totter out the doors in my heels, pausing to pull a pair of sandals out of my purse – it’s a long walk back to the car and I doubt I can manage it in those death traps. It’s a nice night for it though and the conversation and laughter flows easily. His laugh is very high pitched and it makes me laugh harder, turning it all into a big vicious cycle.
When we get back he offers me a drink. I take it, shedding shoes and pants as I meander back through the hallways to his bedroom. I climb up on his bed and decide I’d like nothing more than to jump on it.
I haven’t jumped on a bed in years, but here I am in my lacey boyshorts and shirt, drunkenly bouncing around his mattress like it’s a trampoline. I have no idea what he makes of this, since I’m too busy laughing and enjoying myself, but when I stop, he’s right there at the edge, pulling me to him. I wonder if he thinks I’m finally acting my age.
He invites me over to his place to watch the bowl game. I’m reluctant because I have my period and that means if I go, I’m going for the express purpose of hanging out and nothing else. Spending time with him without sex on the menu seems like a waste, and possibly another step in a direction I’m not sure I want to go, but I’m bored. I don’t care if he sees me looking bloated in a pair of leggings, with minimal makeup.
We drink beer and watch the game, playing beer pong at half time. When my team is still losing badly in the third, I make him turn it to something else. We get on his computer, look up YouTube videos that make us laugh and share them with each other. I sit on his lap and it feels a little awkward, but most likely just for me.
Moving to the couch, I watch some sort of criminal drama show he’s put on. When he returns from the kitchen with more beer, it’s to a commercial with a Star Wars reference. Laughing, he bends down in front of me, eye to eye, and says, “Aly, I am your father.”
I’m appalled and I know my mouth hangs open as proof. He is, indeed, almost exactly my father’s age. I internally shake myself and laugh to hide how much that goofy little sentence rattled my cage, but I doubt it’s convincing. I’m not sure which part bothers me more: The fact that he could be...or the fact that he said it, even jokingly.
We go out for drinks and play pool at a bar around the corner. I’m having a good time and getting fantastically drunk until a group of young couples comes and sits in our empty area. They’re playing other games and apparently waiting to use the pool table I don’t want to give up.
He solves this problem by inviting a couple to play against the two of us. Soon we are laughing and chatting with them and he’s buying everyone rounds of shots. The girl playing opposite me is a hair stylist and we talk shop. She gives me a business card with her name on it and drunkenly mentions a discount. We are fast friends now, as only two drunken women who are strangers can be, and she rolls her eyes at me when her boyfriend admonishes her for not paying attention.
“So are you two dating”, she asks. Her face says she’s genuinely interested in the answer and when I look up at him, his expression mirrors hers.
“Um, ha ha.” I shrug and laugh, then decide to go the easy route. “I don’t know”, I say looking at him again, “are we dating?”
My knee jerk instinct was to reply “well, we’re fucking...”, but when I saw his face I wasn’t sure if I should.
“Yes, I guess we are”, he says.
A short time later, I see someone I know. It’s only Travis, my cousin’s old high school boyfriend, someone I only speak to out in public, but I’m suddenly very self conscious about my...date. He starts to come toward me to say hello and, rather than letting him come all the way over, I meet him halfway.
We hug, exchange pleasantries, cover the usual “who have you seen, who’s doing what” topics and he introduces me to his girlfriend. I see Travis glancing over at our pool table curiously, but I offer no explanation about my company.
“Who was that”, he asks when I return.
“Oh, that was just an old friend from high school. He dated my cousin for a long time.”
He makes a comment about me not introducing him and I feign surprise, apologize. I’m drunk after all – social niceties easily escape me. But I’m relatively sure he isn’t buying it.
The boyfriend of my new, drunk friend tells him how lucky he is to be taking me home. Maybe he thinks so too. Maybe that’s why he chooses to ignore my poorly concealed slight. Maybe we really are using each other equally.
He makes me breakfast the next morning and we sit at his dining room table. This is new.
I look at him and try to imagine introducing him to my friends and family as my boyfriend. Premature, yes, but all this time I’ve been spending with him makes me picture it and, in my head, it looks painfully awkward.
We go to a Mexican restaurant near his house. I order a burrito and he laughs at my exaggeratedly Southern pronunciation. But this dinner feels different. I think we’re both losing what little bit of interest we’ve had in each other.
I’m not around often enough, I don’t contact him much, and I happen to know that he’s seeing other women, going out of town with them. I don’t mind, since I’ve been sleeping with someone else when the mood strikes me, but I have a strange feeling that he thinks I will.
Or, maybe I’ve had it all wrong from the beginning. Maybe he’s not my fuck buddy that I’m sort-of-but- not-really-dating because classifying it makes me feel weird. Maybe I’m his...and all these dinners, drinks and hangouts are just bonuses for sharing the fountain of youth.
That was the last time we saw each other.
The next time we spoke was through text message, discussing plans to hangout. He was supposed to let me know what we were doing and after the original “let’s do something”, and my affirmative reply, he just never wrote back.
I didn’t even pursue it, didn’t bother to ask what the hell happened, because I already knew. He’d fallen in love with another woman he’d been seeing, someone closer to his age. Go figure.
I wasn’t hurt and when I look back on it, we had a good time together. You can’t really regret great sex and fun dates. I was, however, a bit angry about the invitation he never bothered to cancel – I found it extremely rude. But still, even after that slight, I couldn’t write about him.
He asked me once, after we’d seen each other a few times, why I hadn’t written about him yet. He was well aware that I generally don’t leave an interesting man, date, or sexual encounter untold.
At first it was because I thought he wouldn’t like it – no man I’d slept with or dated had ever had access to my blog before. I figured he wouldn’t want me to put all of his personal business out there. It’s certainly not for everyone. But no, he seemed to really want me to talk about him. Maybe it had something to do with ego.
When he told me to go for it, that he didn’t care, I was actually excited. I’d been a little disappointed that there was finally something I wasn’t technically allowed to write about.
But when I tried...the words wouldn’t come. Somehow, knowing he’d be reading it had me blocked. There was the tiniest part of me that didn’t want to offend him in any way, but the main problem was this: What if he disagreed about our time together? What if he said it didn’t happen quite that way? I didn’t want to be challenged.
That was last year and I’ve since realized a few things about writing and relationships.
Everyone sees things differently – writers especially. There are details that stand out in our minds that other people find so insignificant, they don’t even register. And more importantly, everyone feels things differently. Everything I’ve said about my time with him is true – it’s what I felt, it’s what I thought and if it differs from the way he remembers it, that doesn’t make it wrong. It just makes it mine.
I’ve wasted a lot of time these past few months trying to avoid things, people, emotions. It’s one of the reasons I’ve had such a hard time writing...because writing, for me, is the opposite of avoidance. This story is my way of giving fear and avoidance the middle finger, a step toward getting back some of what I feel I’ve been missing. And, of course, to finally give him the post he deserves.