Nice Guys Finish Consensually

 

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Over the past few months I’ve found myself shrinking away from dating, and expanding into myself. Tinder seems repetitive, boring, and like a lot of work, and instead of validation from men, my fitness goals are becoming paramount. Spending an evening drinking, or watching Netflix with someone trying to navigate the logistics of a couch boner seems trite, especially when the reality is that it means I won’t get enough sleep. Not enough rest means I won’t be able to put as much into my workout the day after, and it hardly seems worth it for the 4 hours of build up equating to 6 minutes of couch sex, with someone who is 30, and still drives a skateboard.

In February I start a new training routine, and between that, work, and light socializing I am exhausted. My self love is higher than it’s ever been, and I inundate myself with motivational quotes, blog posts, success stories, and ted talks. I get my hair done, I take care of my nails. I turn down nights of drinking to drink a pot of tea and stretch in my living room. I use the calorie counting app on my phone, and I make sure I’m in a gentle deficit every day. I am treating my body and mind the way I wish I had my whole adult life. I realize that it has been this energy that I have instead been investing into whatever person I was seeing. For the first time I sincerely feel content in being single, and marginally afraid of committing my time to another person. My time now is more valuable than it has ever felt before. Unfortunately, even if one self loves oneself deeply, “self love,” can only sustain oneself for so long. Dedicated to staying single, and seeking non-comital sex, I turn back to my old dysfunctional love remedy, Dr. Tinder.

I know what I’m looking for here; I need the super hot guy who is just in town for a vacation, or business, or some kind of family function. Enter Anthony. He works as a personal trainer (perfect), he looks like an instagram model, (intimidating, but maybe not accurate in person), and he’s in town for his sister’s wedding. (Jackpot.) We chat briefly, he says it’s actually his half sister who he does not know very well. This is his first time meeting his future brother-in-law, and he doesn’t know anyone else at the wedding as he is not close with his family. He says he’s going out for a drink with his soon to be brother-in-law, and after we should grab one. I’m with a few of my friends, and we have had a few casual drinks at home, and are on our way downtown to dance at the gay bar. I bail on them, and agree to meet him outside of a cute local hipster-y bar. When I arrive he’s standing outside.

He’s so unbelievably good looking. He looks better than his instagram-ish pictures. I don’t know what to say, so I hold out my hand and make a noise that sounds like, “bbbvvvvffffffmmmhmm,” and he says, “Oh, wow, hi!” and gives me a hug. His body is dense, like a 200lb bag of flour. We step inside and it’s packed, but the server tells us there are two empty seats at the bar if we want. When we get ID’d I make a point to read his name on his license, but make a show like I’m looking at his ID picture. If he turns out to murder me I want to be able to tell the police his whole name. He walks behind me, and touches the small of my back, which is my secret swoon button. At the bar stools we are instantly close. His leg is touching mine. I am floored and uncomfortable with how good looking he is. He says, “I just have to say you’re gorgeous, and I’m glad to be here.” I don’t really believe what he’s saying, but I do think this confirms the fact that we’ll be having sex at some point, so I awkwardly say, “Merci,” which confuses him, and makes my stomach hurt. We decide to have a flight of beer each, so he can try some of the local beers, and I tell him I’m not much of a drinker lately, so I will need to drink slowly as my alcohol tolerance does not exist. He says something to the effect of that’s fine, and then talks non-stop about himself for an hour. Maybe he’s nervous, maybe he’s making a sales pitch, maybe he genuinely loves telling strangers about intimate parts of his life, but I can’t really get a word in. When I do get a word in it’s because he’s asked me a question directly, but the question also some how relates to him. I make a joke about being an axe-murderer that he neither acknowledges, or laughs at. He tells me I should do the ketogenic diet. It turns out he is a trainer for professional athletes. He was a professional hockey player himself, and then an injury prevented him from being able to continue his career. I think he’s enhancing some of his life details, so I excuse myself to google him in the bathroom. He isn’t lying, not even a little. He also owns his own fitness centre and trains trainers among training the professional athletes. Even if he is not a conversationalist I find this to be immensely attractive.

When the bill comes I offer to split it with him, and he says, “Well, I was hoping the night wasn’t over. Can we go one more place? For one more drink?” I say sure. He pays for the 25$ bill, and says I can get the next one instead of splitting this one. I agree, and we’re off. I take him to a cute martini bar where I had my first date with my ex. As we walk down the stairs to the front door he tells me to stop, and then takes a few steps down the stairs below me until we are at eye-level, and he kisses me. I’m a teensy bit drunk, and that coupled with kissing him makes me feel a bit dopey. We order a few drinks, and he picks a table where we can sit side by side. We steal a few quick kisses in-between drinks. He never stops talking about himself. He says he likes my personality, which I know can’t be true because I’ve talked less than a fish, but it lubricates the situation into sex seeming alright. When I go to the bathroom he orders 4 shots and more drinks. I’m kind of annoyed because I explicitly said I only wanted to have one drink, but I know there is no point in confronting this in conversation. When the 80$ bill comes he kindly lets me pay, as he paid the first one. Gentleman. When we leave he holds up my coat for me and helps me put it on, including doing up the buttons for me. I think he thinks that this is sexy, but it makes me feel like my mom pinning my mittens to my winter coat. He says, “You’re coming back to my hotel with me.” I say, “Okidokee.”

When we get to his hotel room door he pushes me up against the wall in the hallway and we kiss like a romantic movie, except it’s not romantic at all, and I feel absolutely nothing. His mouth tastes like gin. He un-locks the door and I’m looking in on a hotel room with two queen beds; one empty, and one occupied with a sleeping man. He says, “fuck,” and shuts the door. He explains that the man in there is the groom of the wedding tomorrow, and that he thought he wasn’t coming to the hotel after all. I’m disappointed because I gave myself a one-night only shame pass to sleep with this stranger, and now it won’t be coming to fruition. I say, “Well, I should go…” He says, “No fucking way.” He walks up and down the hall for a minute before stopping at a housekeeping door. He pulls out his room key and starts to pick the lock. After a few minutes he has the door open to a small closet-like room with a few vacuums, and some linen. He moves the vacuums to the side and there’s just enough room for us to stand. He pulls me in and shuts the door, and we’re in pitch black, aside from a crack of bright light where the hinges meet the door. He pulls down my tights. His hands are all over my body. I ask if he has a condom, and he says, “Oh, right.” I say condoms are non-negotiable as I’m not on any other form of birth control. I hold up my phone so he can use the light to put it on, and then we hear some people walking by. I hide my phone light, and he turns me so I’m facing away from him, and pushes himself inside of me while they walk by. He covers my mouth. We stay like that for a few minutes until we try to change positions, but there just isn’t enough room. He says, “I have an idea.” We dress quickly, and head back to the hotel room. Silently we walk passed the sleeping groom and into the hotel bathroom. He shuts the door and lifts me so I’m sitting on the bathroom sink. While we kiss he undresses me again, and then he moves his head to go down on me. Trying to stay silent I push him away and shake my head. I mouth, “That’s a boyfriend’s job,” and he rolls his eyes. Sex again. It’s okay, but I’m thinking about him rolling his eyes, and about the sleeping groom outside. I can’t get into it. He lifts my naked body and carries me out of the bathroom onto the couch. If I wasn’t still a little drunk I would have fought it, but in the moment I am curious as to where this will go. He lays me down and we have missionary sex for a few minutes before the scratchy hotel couch and snoring groom put me off too much. I mouth, “I should go.” He knods. I dress in the bathroom, and he walks me out. In the hallway we kiss again, and he says, “Come back tomorrow? I will have the room to myself then because he’ll be with my sister.” I say, “Sure,” and then I take a cab home.

The next day we text a little, and I’m in a lifted mood. I text to say it’s fine if he can’t meet up again and needs to spend time with family, but he’s “dedicated,” to the idea. I tell him I’m waking up early for a workout so it would have to be at a reasonable hour and he says, “No problem.” At 10pm that night I’m getting ready for bed when he texts to say to meet him at the hotel in half an hour. I say alright, but explain that it will have to be a brief visit. At 1030pm I have parked. I’m walking the five minute walk to the hotel, when he calls. I answer and I can hear a female’s voice in the background. He says, “Hey girl, where you at?” and they both laugh. I say, “Uhhhh, should I be turning around? I can go home if you have other plans.” He says, “What? That’s just my cousin. She’ll be gone. Don’t worry.” I keep walking, and I’m hoping that his cousin leaves quickly. Even though he is unbelievably good looking, I am not proud of the situation I’m welcoming. What if I knew her in some obscure way? When I get to the hotel he’s standing outside holding a spray painted pineapple. He says, “Hey Gorgeous.” I say, “Ello, ello.”

Back in his room he hands me his laptop, and says pick out some music. He goes into the washroom and comes back out with his suit jacket off. He is wearing dress pants, a dress shirt, and a tie. His clothes fit him really well, and he looks handsome. I put on “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” by Death Cab for Cutie, and we both laugh at how it reminds us of high school. He sings a long a bit, and I joke that maybe he’s too drunk for this, and I’m taking advantage of him. He laughs and says, “Naw, actually I didn’t end up drinking very much.”

His is bossy in bed. I don’t have a choice or an opinion about the position we are in, and he speaks to me the way I imagine he speaks to his clients. I feel like I’m being guided through a sex workout, and it’s not as hot as I would have anticipated. He forcefully goes down on me, and I say, “please don’t, I think it’s too intimate,” and he says, “Bullshit. You already stopped me once,” and keeps going. Even though he is a Ken doll my body stops being turned on because he is not listening to me, and not dominating me in a loving or sexy way. He’s being a dick. He throws my body around a lot, and I think that it’s so I can see how strong he is. He picks me up and carries me to the couch for a while, and then we walk back to the bed. Back on the bed I’m completely turned off and wanting to go home. My body doesn’t want to have sex anymore, and it’s starting to hurt more than feel pleasurable. I tell him I think I’m done, and he says, “Just wait.” After a few minutes his violent and fast movement powers down, and he puts his body weight onto me. This is usually my favourite part of sex, and the part where I want to be held and kissed. I have a one second epiphany that this is why casual sex feels so terrible, because this moment doesn’t exist in the potential that it could. I want him off of me, and I want to shower. He slowly removes himself from me and I see that he is not wearing the condom that he was when we started. I’m yelling and I can feel tears building up in the back of my eyes. I say, “Did you come in me? Are you fucking crazy? Is this what you do to women? What the fuck just happened?” He says, “I didn’t think you’d care.” Apparently he took the condom off walking between the couch and the bed. I say, “I TOLD YOU I AM NOT ON BIRTH CONTROL, NOT TO MENTION I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT YOU,” and he says, “Wow, I’m really drunk, and obviously I don’t have STD’s.” I say, “Bullshit.” I grab my clothes and go into the bathroom to pee and get dressed where he can’t see me. I put my head in my hands and cry while I’m peeing. Then I get dressed and get progressively more furious. When I exit I am storming for the door, and he tries to hug me. He says, “I guess we’re not cuddling then?” and I shove him away from me. He takes a step back and falls dramatically as if he was 400 times drunker, and I pushed him 6000 times harder. He says, “Look I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to.” Then it’s blurry. We yell back and forth and then I leave. I’m so upset. I wonder if I have been assaulted. I was part of every choice that got me into that hotel room. I welcomed and wanted all of it until the last second. I feel violated, and tricked, and like I have no recourse. I don’t know anything about his health record, but I know there is the likely possibility he’s had unprotected sex with former partners. I am scared of what could potentially happen, and I feel helpless and stupid.

In the morning I take a Plan B pill and miss my day of training. I am irritated that a lame sexual experience cost me a night dancing with my friends at the gay bar, 80$, sleep, my health, and my training. I delete Tinder. Again.

Czech. Czech Mate.

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The first few weeks of ‘seeing eachother’ go fast. For the first time in my dating life I am empathizing with cliches I have blamed men for. It turns out wanting a guy when your 21, isn’t the same as seeking a stable partner when you’re 27. I’m finding I’ve grown out of caring about trivial things, but the big things matter so much more. Deal breakers really are deal breakers, people don’t get excused for being hot anymore. He texts me too much. He wants to cuddle when I don’t want to. He seems to think I owe him my weekend and evening time.

We are trying to navigate sex in a way I think is meant to show respect for the other, but also be a little cheeky, because it’s new after all, and it should be exciting! We send the occasional ‘I’m coming over to go down on you’-esq texts, but the precursor doesn’t match our in person energy. Each time we see each other bed is an anticipated end result, but when we get there I find it feels forced. I like holding his hand, I like when he kisses my neck, I like when he spoons me and runs his hands on every part of me, I like when he whispers he’s going to take me on a ‘hot dog date.’ He’s cute, and he’s funny, but he has a nervous energy. His anxiousness and my anxiousness creates an acutely awkward sexual experience. I learn he waivers from difficulty maintaining an erection to premature ejaculation, and sex isn’t easy in the way I’ve known it to be. I want to comfort him and ease his apparent embarrassment, but I find my own ego taking a blow. I know that this is not a reflection of me or my body, but when I feel him deflate in my hand I can’t help but think I’m doing something wrong. He doesn’t want to talk about it, but quickly mentions he stopped antidepressants two weeks ago and thinks this is to blame. A week before he told me he stopped six months ago. In the rare moments of syncing together I like the way he takes charge. He says he wants to see my face and be able to kiss me during sex, which I like. He is always kind to my body, even if it we aren’t the puzzle pieces I want to be. One night he tries to stay over after late night sex, and for the first time with him I’m not opposed to it. We toss and turn for a few hours. We’re too hot, too cold, too close, too far, and too quiet. I can feel him awake beside me. At 3:30 he says, ‘I can’t sleep I’m going home,’ and I say, ‘no problem, I understand.’ With other men I think I would have felt abandoned, but I’m sincerely happy to have my own space when he goes.

The next afternoon he comes over, and I make us muffins and we have tea. We have sex, and go for a walk. He holds my hand and kisses me intermittently, and we talk about future dates. He reminds me that he’s going to get more busy with training and I reassure him that it’s fine, and that I actually find it very attractive that he loves his body in that way. I want him to think I’m supportive and not hindering his goals. He kisses me goodbye, and says he might come crawl into bed with me later, after he goes to the bar. I never see him again.

On Sunday I work a 16 hour shift. We are short staffed, and there is an outbreak, meaning my workload is heavy. He told me he would call me today, but he never does. I feel like I’m drowning, and a kind word from him would’ve made tremendous difference. The next day I’m at work when he texts me: ‘Hey, you working?’ And I say yes, and that I’m pretty busy. I put my phone down on my med cart and put on a gown, and mask to enter an isolated patient’s room. Just as I’m gloving my phone flashes with a text from him. He says he wants to talk about ‘us.’ He’s getting ‘too busy,’ and it’s ‘not going to be fair to me.’ I don’t have time to process what I’m reading because I’m busy, but as time starts to go by in my shift I feel nauseous. I say I will call him on my break and he says he ‘can’t talk tonight.’ I’m irritated that he has started a conversation like this without having the time to finish it. I’m also irritated that he knew I was at work. I tell him I need to focus on my patients when I’m working, and I would have preferred to talk in person or at least over the phone. He says he agrees, and we agree to talk in person the next day. The next day comes and any time I suggest ‘doesn’t work,’ even though I am the one working and going to a team meeting in the evening. I am trying to slot in time for a conversation I feel is too soon for us to be having, and he’s making it impossible. I remind him this is his issue, not mine, but I would like to resolve it sooner than later because I have a busy week and I have other things I want to put my focus on. He asks me to phone him after my meeting. When we talk he leaves his house so his friends can’t hear him, and I wonder why it matters. He says he’s going to be gone a lot, and really busy when he is home. He says he likes me, and he’s really sorry, but he needs to train harder and focus on climbing. I am not angry, but I am little hurt. The pattern of meeting a guy, having then chase me, sleeping with them a few times, starting to like them finally, and then them becoming uninterested is so predictable I feel stupid that I didn’t expect this to happen. I remind him we can’t break up because we aren’t dating, and that I am surprised this is happening. In my perception we were still learning who the other was, and deciding if we wanted the other as a partner. He says he agrees, and still wants to see me, but I would have to, ‘let him be in charge,’ and I would have to be okay with seeing him ‘rarely.’ He seems offended when I laugh, and say ‘no. I want to be a partner, not a cheerleader.’ I remind him that I’m busy too, and that I’m training too. He kindly reminds me that he’s only dated ‘professional’ athletes before. I laugh again. He agrees to come over the next day so we can talk in person. By the time the conversation ends I feel unsure, but somehow at ease. I think we have worked through a hiccup.

It’s Wednesday and he was supposed to come over at 7pm after training. I refuse a much needed overtime shift and clean my house, and change my sheets in anticipation of him coming over. At 5pm I’m just getting out of the shower after shaving my legs when he texts me that he’s not coming. He says he’s ‘coaching’ and he ‘forgot.’ His tone has completely changed with me and I know that he will be busy ‘coaching’ indefinitely. I’m so frustrated at how my time is being treated, that I insist on knowing what’s actually happening. After again telling me he’s coaching he says, ‘tbh, I just am not into this enough to make any sacrifices.’ And I say, ‘please leave me alone now,’ while I feel my face get red. I feel so defeated. I was cautious, I was kind, he pursued me, and he expressed no problems until now which gave me no opportunity to fix things. I feel confused enough to cry for a minute, and then I remember I wasn’t crazy about him either. I know I’m feeling the sting of rejection more than the pain of erasing where I pencilled him into my future. I get very high and eat cheesecake in the bathtub for the second time in 4 days.

After a few busy days I feel back to normal again, and I don’t miss seeing his name on my phone. But on Sunday when I can’t sleep, against the rational part of me begging myself not to, I text him. I text him to say I was surprised things ended before they started, and that I think it’s worth actually trying before quitting. Im not sure if I believe it when I send it, but in this moment I feel profoundly lonely. There are still condoms we used in my bathroom garbage. He answers, ‘I just don’t like you that much. Sorry.’ I feel like puking. I delete every trace of him from my phone. For the first time in a long time I feel genuinely unmotivated to keep trying to date. At 3 am on Sunday I lay in child’s pose in my bed and think about how I’m going to buy higher quality groceries, and up the intensity of my training. I think I need to like myself a lot more to make up for the man with erectile dysfunction and a receding hairline who didn’t.

Czech, Please.

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We met for coffee at Uptown, a pretty outdoor shopping centre, about a week ago. I knew before meeting him that he was athletic. His Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube videos that I preemptively poured over taught me that he is a world record holder for speed climbing. In 2015 he was athlete of the year. There are tons of pictures of him in all his handsome-faced muscley glory. I consider cancelling before we meet because it’s so intimidating. I think he must be the kind of guy that only dates models, because he looks like he could be one as well. I am an active person, but keeping up with a world class athlete is daunting.

He is from Czech Republic, and his accent is so cute! He is as good looking as I expected, but I hadn’t anticipated that he would be nervous, too. Why would he be? He has so much going for him that it makes me feel clumsy in his presence. While we talk he rolls and unrolls his tag on his tea bag, and he fidgets his hands continuously. There aren’t many breaks in conversation, because I ask him a lot of climbing questions. At the very least I figure he can teach me something. He doesn’t know I’ve googled the bejesus out of him, and it is quickly clear that he is modest. I wonder if he down plays his success because women would find it attractive. We hug goodbye, and later I’m surprised he texts to ask me out on Sunday.

Before Sunday we end up going to a movie together, and taking a long  drive to a beach after where we sit and talk for hours. I love listening to him, and I love the respect he has for his body. He treats it the way that men who love cars treat, well, the cars they love. He trains 4-5 hours a day, and coaches classes and one on one sessions for climbing as his day job. He talks about a friendly competition he has the next day, and says he is considering not doing it because he has a cut on his finger. Not letting a cut heal could affect his training, and it’s so refreshing that he listens to, and respects his body in that way. He eats incredibly clean, and drinks only occasionally. When we say goodnight I think he means to kiss my cheek, but instead he kisses my open eyeball. It’s awkward, we don’t address it, and I get out of the car quickly.

We spend most of the day together Sunday. We hike, and then he comes to a charity event my friends are hosting downtown. He ends up meeting a lot of my friends very quickly, and he does well. He tries to make conversations, and he doesn’t cling on to me, which I like. We have taken separate cars, but I have parked about five blocks away. After he drives me to my car and we finally kiss. It’s awkward, but it isn’t bad. It isn’t really exciting, though. I like how he has been treating me. He always initiates, he communicates, he’s kind, he’s respectful, he gives me the reassurance I have craved with other men, he’s gorgeous, and I want to like him. Why don’t I feel the pull I think you’re supposed to?

Last night we agree to see each other and, ‘do something chill,’ as he’s leaving today for the weekend. I’m happy that he let me know he was leaving, and initiated seeing me before he went, but a weekend away doesn’t seem that long to me. He texts to say he’s coaching until 7, and then will have to eat something first, “unless I want to cook for him?” I say that I’ll pass on the cooking. He says, “I can’t wait to see what you’ll wear tonight.” At this point I’m thinking we’re just going to be at my apartment with a bottle of wine, and I’m kind of annoyed I’m expected to dress up. I tell him to aim low, and it might just be sweat pants. And he says, “you are always so cold, I expect gloves, boots, and toque.” I explain that if I’m expected to impress him I will stop wanting to, and then ask what he’s wearing. He says he understands and, “thinks I’m pretty no matter what I’m wearing.” Even though it’s a tiny interaction it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I think cooking for someone you like for the first time is an intimate experience, and I’m nervous to cook for him already. As a professional athlete he cares a lot about what he’s eating, and I would like to understand what a dinner for him looks like before I make one for him. Frankly at this juncture I’m not sure that I want to make him dinner at all, it’s just too rushed and it is something I have to offer. I think tonight we’ll probably have sex, and I am infinitely less phased about that than cooking for him.

He picks me up and we go to a brew pub near my house. It’s packed when we get there, and there is a wait to be seated, so I suggest we try the dive bar close by. It’s super dead, aside from a table of very drunk middle aged men, and some young tattooed dudes playing pool. We look out of place. We go to the bar and I order a beer, and he orders a margarita. The bartender stares at him, and I try and explain that this is not the right venue for a drink like that, so instead he gets a pear cider. He says he only likes Czech and German beer. When we sit and talk he is sincerely a sweet man, but above all he is so funny. I haven’t seen him yet when I haven’t been reduced to ugly laughing. It’s a combination of his unique perception of human nature, and his imperfect English that makes me enjoy any story he tells. And he is gorgeous. We touch a few times in the bar, and it doesn’t give me the stomach flip feeling that I want it to. He’s doing everything right, but I feel like I am at a pub with a guy friend, instead of on a date with a world class athlete. When we leave to go back to my house I suggest picking up a bottle of wine. He says one drink is enough for him, and he wants to feel good tomorrow, and I find that so attractive. I didn’t really want to drink more than one drink either, but I was offering to be a good host.

When we get back to my house we have a snack, and sit and talk at the kitchen table. He is lovely to my dog, and he keeps making me laugh my most honest laugh. He goes to the bathroom and comes back to find me playing with my dog in the living room. He puts his hands on my waist, then on my neck, and then we’re kissing. It doesn’t feel bad, but it doesn’t really feel like anything. He says, “I want you so bad,” and I don’t really know where he’s coming from because I don’t feel that way at all. I think he would be a fun beer pong partner.

He pulls me into my room and we’re kissing on my bed like teenagers. Again, not bad, but we have an awkward rhythm, and he really wants me to know he has a tongue. He kisses my neck, he kisses my stomach, and he pulls my tights down and kisses the tops of my thighs. It’s all very clumsy, so I talk the whole time. In a kind tone he tells me to, “shut up more.” He tries to go down on me and I say, “thankyou, but no.” I explain that seems way too intimate, and it will make me uncomfortable. He is nice about it, but I can feel him deflate a little. His body is ridiculous from the extensive training he does. When he takes his shirt off I can see for the first time that his body is defined like a male stripper, or Tarzan. His hands are rough and calloused from climbing, and I like how they feel when he touches me. His body is intimidating, so I move to turn off my bedside lamp. He says, “no, you’re sexy, I want to see how your body looks when I’m with you.” He is kind, he’s smart, he’s hilarious, he takes amazing care of himself, he’s on top of me…. and, nothing. He is perfect on paper. I want to like him and wonder if it can happen slowly. I think sex could help us or sink us. We talk about how it can be awkward at first with a new partner, so I think we are on the same page with wanting it to be good, but not really feeling it.

When we start to have sex it’s with the same uneven cadence our kissing had. We can’t sync together, and he seems nervous. He makes exceptionally high pitched noises I wasn’t expecting and it throws me off. Very early on his hands are in places that I don’t want them to be, and he says, “put your finger in my ass.” I pretend I don’t understand on account of his accent, and he doesn’t push the idea. Now I’m zero percent into what we’re doing, and I instantly get terrible, overwhelming menstrual cramps. I tell him I want to stop, so we cuddle for a while. He tells me a bed time story about an evil sheep named, ‘sheep-sheep.’ As we wind down from the weird brief sex he tells me he needs to find his phone to set his alarm, and I say, “oh, do you think you’re sleeping over?” I know it comes across harsh, but the assumption that I want someone waking up beside me is annoying. I’m worried my period isn’t over like I thought it was, I want to take my make up off and my contacts out, I want to eat a snack in my underwear in the kitchen, and I want space.

We attempt sex once more before he leaves, and he says “this is good? This is so good?” And I kind of nod and cheer him on wishing it felt more normal. When he finishes he notices that there is some blood. I stand up quickly and it is like someone has survived a shark attack and tried to sleep it off. It’s a disaster, and I’m embarrassed. It’s all over him. I start to take the sheets off the bed and he gets up to help me, and he reassures me that it’s ‘normal, and fine,’ and he ‘doesn’t care.’ He is sweet to me even while I’m pushing him back. He has a quick shower, dresses, and we kiss goodnight at 2am. He texts me when he’s home to say goodnight and tells me to sleep in in the morning.

Today I am the confusing mix of not being attracted to the perfect man and wanting distance, and just having had sex with the perfect man and wanting acknowledgement. He is away on a trip with some friends, and for the first day since we met he doesn’t text me. Now that he isn’t investing time in me, I want him to. Is that really all it is? I go to bed thinking about him, but glad I’m sleeping alone.

My Republican Wonderwall

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In September Eryn and I venture to NYC to celebrate her 30th birthday. We arrive a few days before and spend time with her friends in Brooklyn. The night before her birthday we move to our Air BNB in the upper east side. Tomorrow we have a full day planned, including a very exciting hip-hop tour in the Bronx, complete with chicken and waffles. We plan to have casual cocktails at a bar a friend has recommended, as it’s her cousin’s bar. We decide to keep the night low key, and save the real party for tomorrow. The location is excellent, and the bar is lovely! I get chatting to a middle aged man about the up coming election, and on my other side Eryn is in a hilarious conversation with a no-bullshit middle aged women.

We. Are. So. Drunk. The next few hours are more like pictures in my mind than a memory film. I have a few crystal clear still frames, and the rest of the time was my body acting on its own accord. These are the images I have retained from the next few hours: we have switched bars, I think there’s tequila in what I’m drinking, and at some point Eryn realizes we are in a gay lounge. I’m giving a man and his boyfriend my phone number, and promising them we will attend a birthday party for one of them tomorrow. A man declares himself a professional ballerino, and Eryn says, “I’m a dancer, too!” At some point two dudes are talking to us.

Now I’m in an elevator of an apartment with Eryn and the two dudes. I’m having a conversation, and also staring at the buttons. I wonder if this is our Air BNB. Later, I will find out the men had made mention of some weed at one of their apartments, and apparently it was enticing enough to us at the time to go home with complete strangers. We get off the elevator and I have no idea where I am, and I think I should try and casually learn the names of the men we’re with.

The apartment is nice, it’s a studio, and the blonde tells us he pays 3400$ US a month in rent. Killer view, and huge for a studio. I ask if they both live here, and get a hard no. I think they think I’m implying that they’re gay. In hindsight we did meet at a gay bar, so unless they had already cleared that mystery up then I think that was a fair question. They met in the army, but from what I remember neither still serve. They’re both attractive and in excellent shape. The one I’m chatting to looks like he could knock over a building. Later, when I google him, I will discover he competes in muscle competition things.

Eryn is half way between sitting and laying on the couch when she starts to vomit. It is the most casual and relaxed vomit I have ever seen. It’s like someone turned on a tap on the back of her head and she has low water pressure. She makes no effort to move, and is unphased by this recent development. She vomits all over herself in a delicate lady like way. The three of us are paying attention to her now, and trying to problem solve. Blonde guy brings out some mega expensive looking towels, and I tell her to sit up. He puts a few towels across her and she continues to vomit onto them. We eventually realize bringing a bowl is what people normally do, and so he does. The man who has been chatting up Eryn picks her up and carries her to the bathtub. He places her into the empty tub, fully clothed, and hoses her down with the shower nozzle. At the time this registers as both perfectly normal, and very considerate.

Jason, (I figure out his name is) and I are alone on his couch. He’s a mega babe. He pulls my legs across his lap, and is rubbing up and down them while we talk. We kiss intermittently, but I think we are aware of the fact that the space is small and there are two others hosing down puke in the shower. At some point Eryn, and man who’s name I don’t know, come out of the bathroom and say that they’re heading back to our Air BNB. I try and give her my serious, ‘are-you-okay-eyes,’ but she gives a convincing enough, ‘I’m fine’ that I feel alright with it.

Jason and I are alone in fabulous New York apartment. His big chocolate lab is laying by our feet. Jason explains that he has PTSD from seeing 8 close friends die in combat, and that his dog is a therapy dog that he takes everywhere with him. He tells me about how he was engaged once, but she cheated on him while he was away. He says at 37 he’s not getting any younger, and would like to be married soon. He owns a villa in Amsterdam and says he’s going to take me for a little trip. I say, “WHAT! OKAY! LETS GET TICKETS RIGHT NOW.” And were back to kissing. At a point he stops and says, “I want to play for you.”

What follows is one of the funniest moments of my entire life. Jason moves across the room to a stool with an acoustic guitar leaned against it. In front there is a microphone set up that I had not paid notice to until now. He sits on the stool, picks up the guitar, and starts to tune it. There is nothing I find more uncomfortable than unsolicited performance. I know that I am also ‘on’ now because whatever comes out of hot Jason’s hot mouth needs to be met with praise. He plays a few chords and I make a face like I’m watching an elementary school’s Christmas pageant. He starts to play Wonderwall, and any ounce of wanting to have drunk holiday sex leaves my body quicker than a sneeze. When he starts to sing the words come out kinda monotone and in the heaviest New Yorker accent I have heard to date. Aren’t accents supposed to dissipate when you sing? How is his heavier? I’m clenching my teeth together and trying to remove myself from this moment so I do not laugh at hot Jason, and his deeply sincere drunk wooing. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I do want to relive this moment tomorrow, and the next day, and forever. I take my phone out ever so slightly and hold it by my thigh. His eyes are closed intermittently, and he’s not really paying attention to me, so I think I can get away with filming him. I get the shortest clip ever when he notices, and he snaps. The music is over, he stops singing, and he’s genuinely furious with me. I lie and say I wanted a picture, but for one quick second I’m a little scared. I’ve poked the PTSD bear, and it did not feel great. As fast as he was angry he is sweet again and starts to kiss me. With one hand he lays me on his couch. When he lays on top of me he is so muscle dense that it winds me. It’s almost 4am, and the alcohol is starting to wear off, and my rationality is starting to kick in. I need to go. I need to check on Eryn. I need to not have sex with Wonderwall because I don’t want to right now. He says he’ll walk me down and hail a cab for me and explains he’s ‘super connected,’ and any cab I take will be paid for. I realize I don’t know really anything about him so I say, “okie dokie.” The second funniest moment of my life is when he lifts me with one hand on the small of my back, (seriously, think about it) and puts my heels back on with his other hand, like I’m a life-sized Barbie. I get into a cab that he hails, (and kinda shoves me in). It is not paid for.

I get home to our Air BNB and crawl into bed with Eryn, and we discuss the evening happenings. Much to my tremendous joy she has tried to engage the man she was with earlier in a conversation about, ‘what it’s like to be a black man in America,’ and he has no interest in discussing it with her. We sleep through our alarm, and miss the hip-hop tour. I puke until 4pm, and we are both feeling low. That night we eat Brooklyn cheesecake in our bed to celebrate Eryn’s birthday and the worst hangover that two Canadians have ever had in the upper east side.

He texts me and asks me to see him before I go, and I say sure, but I am ambiguous about a time frame. On our last night we agree to drinks, but he cancels last minute, and I’m kind of relieved. Over the next few months we keep in touch, and he says he wants to visit me. At this point my heart isn’t really in it, and I am still wanting the man from summer. He sends me pictures occasionally, and he really is handsome. He’s also lovely via text.

On Christmas Day he texts me a picture of himself and his dad. I zoom in to his face and see that he and his father are both wearing red ‘make America great again,’ hats. Fuck. I instantly write him off, but later I get to thinking that it’s not entirely fair. It would not be very progressive of me to hate him based on his political views, right? Maybe his dad asked him to wear the hat? We’ve never been anywhere close to discussing politics. He says he will come and see me at the end of January and I say, ‘can’t wait!’ Except, I can wait. I wonder if a medium attraction, and the love of a good story will out weigh the potential weirdness of entertaining Wonderwall. I wonder what he thinks about Trudeau. I wonder how much protein I’m supposed to feed that many muscles. I wonder if he will actually like me in any real way. I mean after all, he could be my Wonderwall?

To be continued…(maybe)

A Love Lesson from Former Pro Golfer, Channing Tatum

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It’s a Wednesday night and I have the day off tomorrow. A girlfriend of mine comes to stay the night from a nearby town. She’s a teacher, and so she is on winter holidays, meaning tonight we can afford to risk hangovers. After some martini catch up we head to one of my favourite dive bars. It’s about 10-1030 when we arrive, and the tiny bar is pretty full. We start a tab, grab a few drinks, a bucket of peanuts, and squish into booth seats between a couple making out, and a large group of people.

We are in conversation when we are interrupted by an engineer who describes himself as, ‘ten beers drunk,’ and he asks to sit with us. His friend isn’t long behind and tries to direct him elsewhere, but eventually they join us for some uncomfortable conversation. They’re nice, but one has a girlfriend, and we’re not interested. Eventually, they go. Later, after politely turning down a drunk chef, he describes us as, ‘his last resort, anyway.’ Sweet. We get more drinks, and move seats to an empty table across the room. We get comfy in the booths and talk about out what’s new, what’s old, and what maybe will be one day. We’re finishing up our drinks and getting ready to go when in comes a Greek god.

From behind he is Channing Tatum. He is so gorgeous. He’s wearing a sweater, a toque, perfect fitting jeans, and hipster boots. We both notice him, and declare him too hot to engage with. He ping pongs around for a while, and spends a lot of time standing near our table, but close to the bar. Out of no where he turns around and asks, “do you mind if I sit with you girls?” We do not mind.

Pretend Channing Tatum is lovely. He used to be a professional golfer when he lived in Victoria, but has now moved to Ottawa where he works for the government doing something secret-ish with some intelligence something, I don’t know. I’m drunk enough to say, “I don’t believe you,” several times and he tells me I am, “the worst” several times back. I figure he’s too attractive to be interested in me, so I don’t have anything to lose. He’s 32. Married once for four years, no kids. Gorgeous. Did I mention he is beautiful? He makes conversation with us equally, and after a half an hour or so he invites his other two friends over. They’re both cute, and they seem nice, but Channing is a charismatic gun show. He pulls focus like a hot cult leader. There is a lot of friendly banter until all the sudden the bar lights are on. At the end of the night there is the exchanging of phone numbers with the promise to play Catan the next day. My friend and I jump into a cab, and (he’ll later tell me) he is surprised when we leave. My friend tells me at a point in the conversation he looked over at her and mouthed, “I like her.”

We’re in the cab home when he texts me to reiterate that I am, “the worst.” I text back, “miss me already?” He replies, “side note you are super incredibly cute and I wish you were here with me right now.” Because it’s getting near 230, and we’re ‘saucy’ drunk, (as he describes it) when he turns the conversation sexual we get down to brass tacks quickly. My friend who is staying on my futon gives her blessing to have to listen to other people have sex, and I find myself in the bath rushing to shave my legs. Then, what seems like five minutes later, he’s buzzing in. My heart is pounding as he walks from the front door to our suite on the second floor. He opens the door and says, “I have been waiting to do this since the second I saw you,” and kisses me.

He is a walking muscle. He’s made of granite. He’s so strong. He picks me up and pulls me onto his lap facing him. From then on we are tangled together until 1030, and I’m not sure if we even sleep. When we try to sleep, he spoons me, and it wakes us both back up, and we find each other again. He is a generous and kind partner. He asks me constantly, “Is this okay?,” “What do you like?,” “Can I…,” and, “How can it be better for you?” Even in our down minutes, between hours enjoying being squished up, he is passionate. He treats my body like it’s an honour to be in it’s presence. He calls me beautiful repeatedly. He runs his fingers through my hair, and holds my head. He kisses and rubs my back. He talks about women with the up most respect. When I express my gratitude he says, “isn’t this what your boyfriends do for you?” And I feel strange saying no. Channing tells me I deserve to be with a man who kisses the back of neck until I fall asleep. Do I? For a brief second I think about the drift racer who kissed my neck just over a week ago.

We both know this will likely be our only night together. Graciously he tells me if he lived here he’d love to take me out properly. I don’t know if anything he says is true, because I don’t know him. I do know that he is the only man who has said, ‘make love,’ that hasn’t made me gag. When he says it there is a sincerity my ear hasn’t caught before. Channing has shown me, at 27, what it feels like to be desired, appreciated, and satisfied, if only for a brief moment. Was it supposed to take this long? Can that kind of sincerity come so quickly and be so temporary? I won’t ever make Channing dinner on his birthday, but I know I don’t want be making dinner anymore for men on their birthdays, who don’t make me feel like I can sit in bed naked in daylight.

After 7 hours of enjoying him I am depleted, exhausted, and satisfied. For the first time in years I feel seen. I walk him to the door and he puts on his jacket and boots. He presses his entire clothed body against my naked one and he kisses me goodbye. I shower and go back to bed with my hair still pulled up on top of my head. I think about the drift racer from Christmas time, and resist texting him. I wonder who he woke up with today. I wonder if he kissed the back of her neck.

The Pilot who had Fake Eyebrows

img_5795Pilot guy and I matched a few days ago on tinder. I decided to be like Carrie Bradshaw when she got dumped via post-it, and not waste time pining over a guy that did not have the decency to treat me respectfully. Onward and swiping leftwards. Pilot guy has cute pictures, and is charismatic over text. A few times he’s overtly sexual, but he’s also quite funny. Because tinder can be ambiguous I decide to be direct with him, and I tell him “I realize you’re a pilot, and it’s the holidays, but I’m ultimately looking for legitimate dating, so if you’re in transit that would be a problem.” He says he lives locally. He tells me to meet him at Clive’s Cocktail Bar at 6 on Boxing Day, and I tell him I’m on antibiotics and up at 5 the next morning, so I won’t be drinking. He says, “they make virgins.”

I believe in bringing my own vehicle to first dates so I have an escape route, but it’s raining and my windshield wiper on my car is broken. I don’t have time to fix it, so I tell him we can pick somewhere closer or I will be late. He suggests picking me up, and I break my own rule in favour of convenience. Also, this means we won’t have that terrible moment of trying to guess who the other one is.

He texts me to say he’s outside, but we can’t figure out which parking lot he’s in, so he says he’ll drive to the front door. When he pulls up he yells, “OH HI PRINCESS, WHAT’S WRONG, DON’T WANNA GET YOUR HAIR WET?” Oh good! He’s obnoxious! When I get into the car he starts speaking a stream of words that will not end until I am home again. He’s tall, and has long arms, and some how they’re already touching me. His right elbow is up near my left shoulder, and his arm is kind of dangling. When he talks he taps me for emphasis, and he’s 2-3 inches away from my left breast, which is alarming. I say, “uh oh, you’re already touching me,” and he says, “I like how sassy you are.” He’s good looking, and he knows it. If he stopped talking for a minute, and didn’t touch me he would be 70% more attractive. He takes us to Cactus Club downtown, and I’m a bit concerned we might run into someone I know, because from the amount he’s touching me I would have to introduce him as my boyfriend, and not my ‘new friend of ten minutes.’

We sit at the bar and look through the drink menu. To his credit he says it’s fine that I don’t want to drink. I do wonder why I’m sitting at a bar then? I get a virgin blackberry ginger mojito that I don’t want, and he gets a virgin caesar. Why couldn’t we have just gone somewhere for tea?

I’m sitting in my chair properly facing ahead, and he is sat completely sideways in his. Both his legs are touching me and his left hand is touching me every few minutes while he talks. Because I have already suggested that he is too close several times and he hasn’t backed off, I finally stop the joking tone when I say, “you’re too close to me.” He says, “you have to break the touch barrier soon or girls put you in the friend zone.” Throughout our short date he will word barf out a few more ‘dating rules,’ for me that make me feel like I’m being sold a shitty car. He talks about sex and dating like we’ve known each other for years. He tells me the world is, “easier for a woman.” I say, “excuse me?” And he says, “have you ever been in a club?” I say, “have you ever been in a job interview?” He says he’s not “getting into a feminist debate right now,” and changes the subject. He pulls out his phone to show me a video of him flying, and there are tinder notifications from other girls. Fair, but it makes me feel weird. Have I sent tinder messages to guys when they were on dates? He is a fighter pilot, which means if the time comes he will bomb people. I say, “that’s a massive weight to carry, does that stress you out?” He says, “no, some people should die.” Cute. Out of nowhere he says he lost all his hair once and his eyebrows are fake. He is a conversationalist.

It comes out that he actually lives in Alberta and is here for the holidays. I’m annoyed, because I’m not interested in dating tourism, and have been explicit about that. He says, “yeah, but I knew you’d like my personality.” I tell him I would like to go home now. While he’s driving me home he talks about his ex girlfriend with the ‘short vagina.’ He says he could never date another girl like that again because she didn’t like sex. Is this his way of weeding out girls with short vaginas? Is that a thing I was supposed to be concerned about in dating? He asks to come up and I say, “no,” point blank. He says he’ll, “show me how to play guitar, and guitar is a euphemism for his dick.” I again say “no,” on account of I don’t require ‘dick playing’ lessons on this Monday night. I’m impressed he knew how to say euphemism. He asks again, and I laugh so hard I cough. He says we’ll ‘make out for five minutes and I’ll go.” I say, “bye.” He says, “night babe,” and I just say, “ugh.”

When I get in the door I text my dear single same aged friend, who I text all my dating woes too. She validates my overall disgust, and mild disappointment in a way only a solid woman to woman friendship can. I make tea, and bring it to the bathtub where I also eat a quarter of a gingerbread house.

The Cup of Tea that Wasn’t Really ft. The Australian

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It’s October and I’m bored. I have recently had a summer dating situation fizzle pretty hard, and I’m listening to a lot of Whitney Houston. I miss having someone to be Whitney-Houston-singing level mad at. I miss having a predetermined date to things. I miss having someone to get breakfast with when I’m hungover. I start to Tinder. I’m chatting to a man who is 25, meaning he’s two years younger than me. He says he works a lot, but has today off, and wants to grab tea. I’m so, so, so, desperately hungover from the night before, which makes me not want to go, but also exacerbates how lonely I feel today. We agree on tea at 7pm. It’s fall, and I think I can get away with a sweater, a big scarf, and my hair up. It’s tea after all.

He picks me up in the most ridiculous custom painted sports car I have ever seen. I wish I could tell you what it was, but I have no idea. It’s painted in a way a 14 year old might pick out for a car on a video game. He’s tall, he’s handsome, hes Australian, he’s…wearing a three piece suit?! I’m very aware that I am wearing a sports bra.

He drives like an asshole. He tail gates, his music is incredibly loud, and he’s speeding excessively. I am intrigued with how poorly we are matched. I turn his music down and say, “I can’t hear a word you’re saying.” He laughs, turns it back up, and keeps talking. I’m yelling now, “I KNOW YOU’RE TALKING, BUT I CAN’T HEAR YOU SO I CAN’T ANSWER YOU.” He drives around town for a while in no apparent direction. Eventually he takes us to the highway. We are going 160km in a 90km zone, and I’m horrified. I ask him if he’s an organ donor, but he can’t hear me on account of his music. I turn down his music and ask him to please, please slow down. He says he, “gets bored a lot, and use to race cars.” He slows down to a saucy 130km, and I don’t have the guts to tell him to slow down more. He takes me to Bear Mountain, to an over the top fancy restaurant. I’m thinking about my sports bra again, and how the smell of food is going to make me hangover hurl. What happened to tea? He asks if I’ve been here before and I say, “no, I’m poor.” He says, “not me.”

Sports bra.

He orders an appetizer, a meal, a scotch, and I order a pot of tea. He insists I eat something. I say “no, I feel sick.” He orders me soup.

Sports bra.
He mentions money 95 times in ten minutes. It just won’t stop. He tells me his parents are loaded, and he had an incredible education, and now has a subsequent high paying job. He explains what he does, but I don’t understand, so I file him under ‘business guy,’ in my brain. He doesn’t really ask about me, but I’m okay with that because I want to dissolve into the soup I don’t want, and take this sports bra with me. He’s not particularly warm, but he’s disarmingly good looking, and he has an accent so I feel like I should be impressing him. I should be wearing heels. I should have highlighted my cheekbones and had my hair down. I want this deplorable dick bag to like me, and I’m not sure that I appreciate his company. He pays, I offer to pay for myself, and he laughs in a condescending way and says “nurses make shit money.” Back in his car and back to driving irresponsibly, turning his music loud, and talking about money. He is taking me on an indirect route home, which I find obnoxious. I have headache, and I want to go home. The 45 minutes I allotted for this date has already turned into 2ish hours, and my patience all at once runs out. I tell him I can’t handle any more money talk, and he needs to slow down. (We’re going 170km). He says he “knows how he comes across,” and that sometimes he’s “covering his own insecurities.” He also says he is often used by women for his money. Those two statements are in such a wildly different tone from the rest of the night that I start to care about what he’ll say next. He tells me why he’s in Canada, and about a girl who broke his heart. He talks about his stressful job. The only two things he knows about me at this juncture are my address, and the fact that I’m hungover. I could be any person in this car.

He takes me to a beach near his house and drives us down a secluded ramp, and we’re out of public view. This date is getting to be four hours long. He turns off his car. I say, “I have to go home and let my dog out.” He says, “your dog is okay, you leave it when you’re at work right?” He awkwardly puts his hand on my thigh and I say, “mmmmnope.” There’s a really long uncomfortable silence that I decide needs to be filled, so I spew out a non-stop stream of words with the thesis being ‘I’m not having sex with you.’ He says, “I like when you’re uncomfortable, it’s cute, but you’re making shit up.” He turns the car on and drives like an ambulance back to my condo. We agree to see each other again, but I’m pretty sure we repulse each other.

Sports bra.
A few weeks pass and we don’t speak. The man from summer and I reconnect briefly, just long enough to make it sting again when things inevitably don’t work. I call the Australian and tell him I want to go out again. Now. He asks what I would like to do, and I say there is a show about a transgender woman downtown in an hour. He agrees, I’m surprised. I wear my ‘vegan leather’ pants because they are my second date pants, and they make me feel like bad Sandy. He wears a three piece suit. The show is excellent, he laughs at all the right parts, and gives a poignant critique after. He is a level of rich that I can’t relate to, and don’t understand. He has a homophobic driver, named Butters, who he ends phone conversations with by saying, “Okay, thanks baby, I love you.” Who is this guy? We get into his car and he drives like we are on a go-cart track. People flip us off constantly. We’re at a stop sign by a group of people out side of a pub, and I recognize one of the guys to be a guy who had sex with me a few weeks ago, and then instantly told me he ‘doesn’t date.’ I think he can see me too. Sucker. Look how boss I am in this boss car in my vegan pants.

We go to a pub I didn’t know existed. It’s pricey, and has every kind of scotch you can imagine. He’s good at chatting to the bartender and the servers. He’s friendly and polite. We drink about 200$ worth of scotch, and my brain is out of focus. We leave his car and take a cab to a bar on the 18th story of a building, and sit in a big window room. He asks me to stand with him across the room for a second at a look out point, because the view is really incredible. It is. His hands are on my shoulders. I have a zit exactly where he’s touching me and I’m super aware of it. One hand moves to my waist, and the other tilts my head and he kisses me. I think it should be romantic, but it feels so orchestrated. I know I’m one of many who has had that kiss. I’m so drunk. He orders meatballs, and I eat one. I could eat 17 more, but my vegan leather pants disagree. He says, “I want to show you my house.”

He has an ocean view penthouse in one of the most expensive parts of town. He also has two Tibetan Mastiffs that are the size of lions. The house looks like it has just been moved out of. There’s no art on the walls, no clocks, no pictures. There are a few couches, an x-box, and a dining table. Butters is there with his girlfriend feeding the dogs, and they leave when we arrive. Butters thinks we’ve already met before. Hm. His bedroom is massive, and looks like a fancy hotel. The entire back wall is a view of the city. There’s art in here, there’s some kind of special lighting. He wants to cuddle. I want to vomit scotch and meatball. I say, “if we have sex I’ll puke, no offence.” I haven’t shaved my legs which is how sober me helps remind drunk me to leave my vegan pants on. Within 20 minutes we’re both naked. Well, I’m naked, he’s pant-less, but still wearing a collared shirt. His tie is undone, at least. I tell him I’m not sure that sex is the best idea, and that I should go. We’re kissing, and maybe I’m not being particularly thoughtful, but I like the attention. I’m thinking about the guy from summer. We start to have sex when he pushes himself on me, and I think I should care more, but I don’t. After a few minutes of laying on my back thinking about how I can’t wait to puke, and wondering if I have any sourdough bread left at home, I stand up. I go to the bathroom. I take my phone and see that guy from the summer is texting me. He’s out, he’s been drinking, he wonders what I’m ‘up to.’ I tell him to “go outside the bar in twenty minutes and I’ll pick him up in a cab.” I leave the bathroom without vomiting or peeing, both of which were imperative at the time. I dress quickly and ask his address for my cab. He asks why I’m leaving so suddenly, and says he wants to cuddle. I lie and say I’m too tired. He walks me to the cab and kisses me goodnight, which I don’t really care for, but seems rude to shirk off now. The cab driver asks me if that was my boyfriend and I say, “no,” and then we don’t talk anymore. We pick up the guy from summer outside the bar. He’s chatting up a girl outside and keeps touching her when he talks. I’m yelling at him to get into the cab, but he hasn’t heard me yet. Finally he sees, comes over, and gets in the back seat. He sloppy kisses me hello and says he, “can’t wait to get me home.” The cab driver scoffs just loud enough for me to hear.

The Grinch Who Stole my Dignity

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I knew that he would never be my boyfriend on our second date when he said, “you’re really funny.” I am really funny. I am the deeply unattractive mix of ‘really funny,’ and competitive, and it has always been boner poison for me. Once a guy sincerely deep gut laughs at one of your jokes he starts to care less what you would look like making those jokes naked. I digress.

It’s noon, the day after a date I have been looking forward to for two weeks. For context it was our fourth date, our first being about a month ago. We had the perfect first date. We decided to meet for a drink at a pub between our houses, not knowing it was music bingo night. It was so full we had to sit at the bar, and by the end of the bar night I had watched him be lovely to the people sitting around us, slay at music bingo, and have excellent taste in beer. He was charming and lovely. He was a varsity rower, it shows. He is passionate about his hobbies. He’s a little bit self deprecating, but not in a way that begs me to disagree. He walks me home. We have the perfect first kiss. He comes in. He stays the night. I feel like I would like him to leave 12 hours earlier than he does, and I misinterpret this as him liking me. (Actually, I think he was waiting to be offered a ride home.)
The other two ‘dates,’ are him coming over to Netflix and talk about his ex. A lot. I tell him I want to make it clear that I’m looking to actually date someone, and I’m not in the pursuit of something casual. He says he’s “in a weird place.” I say that’s fine, but if he’s not looking to date someone then we really have no reason to carry on. He says he wants to keep talking, and implies things could be different over time. I want him to think I’m ‘chill,’ and confident enough to be okay with that answer, so I say it’s okay. He kisses me goodnight at the doorway, and it’s so good I think I could be fine with waiting for him to figure it out. Maybe?

After date three I go home to visit family for two weeks. He tells me he got his first phone when he was 25, and is ‘bad at texting,’ and he’s not lying. It’s okay. I don’t need to text. He keeps initiating it though, which is endearing at first, because he’s trying. He’s just such a different person over text, his punctuation makes him sound permanently angry, and I know the concentrated effort I’m putting into coming across cute/chill is not reading. It’s not working for me, I feel deflated when I see his name on my phone and open a text that says, “I have glue on my hands,” when I really want to see one that says “I miss you, and I’m thinking about you too.” I suggest we don’t speak until I’m back, or we talk on the phone instead of texting. He completely ignores those suggestions favouring the idea that he will text me every 48 hours to explain how his sinuses feel. Okay? Magically, he manages to text me about his ex. I suggest I am the incorrect audience for that. He had a taco today. I have been looking forward to the Christmas show at the Belfry for quite some time, and I remember how our first date felt. Surely we could get that again at the magic Belfry Christmas show! I’ll wear the unbelievably expensive dress I bought for my brother’s wedding reception! He’ll wear some version of formal! There will be wine! The show will make us warm and Christmas-y, and he’ll realize I’m cultured because I love theatre. I ask him to come with me, he says, “I guess.” Jackpot.

Finally, it’s last night. Date night. I remind myself to keep my hopes at bay, and then I don’t. I text him to ask about the logistics of driving, and he gives me a weird vague answer. I ask again, he tells me he got called racist at work today. I ask in all caps, “AM I DRIVING OR ARE YOU?” He says he will, and I say “GREAT.” I tell him we should be there for 7. He asks what to wear, and says he’ll wear a tie. (Cuteness!) At 6:15 I text to say, “just to clarify we need to be there for 7, so I’ll see you at 6:45?” A few minutes later he says he’s downtown, out for dinner with friends, and needed a ride home that never came. He makes me do all the problem solving, which eventually whittles down to I’m driving, I’m going downtown to pick him up, and I’m leaving 25 minutes earlier than I expected to be, because I have to leave right now. 25 minutes pre-date is crucial hair/makeup time that I now have to squeeze into a one minute slap and dash. I’m unimpressed that he did not communicate this to me in a considerate way. Had I not texted him at 6:15 would I be waiting at 6:45? Would we have made the show? I pick him up and he’s wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a plaid shirt over top that he got mustard on. He smells like alcohol. We get to the beautiful Belfry and my dear friend Eryn, who works there, gives us two free drink tickets (babe), so we go to the bar. He seems like he doesn’t quite fit into this world, or maybe he doesn’t want to. I talk about past shows I’ve seen, he doesn’t really seem to be listening. We take our seats, (the ones I booked carefully two weeks ago) and the show starts. I wait the entire time for him hold my hand, or put his hand on my leg like he has before, but when I shift in my seat to uncross and recross my legs he leans away from me. I touch his arm to ask him a question and he pulls back. I’m sinking. The show ends, and I ask if I’m driving him home. He says we could grab a drink, so we do. He has three beers, I have one. We talk, and he’s so charming. There he is! The guy hiding behind all those ambiguous shitty texts. There’s varsity rower guy with a big enough heart to hand write 30 Christmas cards. He asks if I want to meet his dogs, and I’m beaming. It’s the first time I’ve been invited into his world in any capacity. I drive us to his house where he shows me his driveway full of cars. He’s into drift racing, and works on his own cars. We go inside and I meet his roommate, we smoke his hookah, he smokes a joint, and they show me videos of themselves racing. They banter together in a cute way. I’m freezing, and trying to find a way to sit on his couch in my over priced dress that will make me look maximum skinny/not get covered in dog hair. He gets smoke all over me. I don’t like it. I tell him I’m cold so he gives me the world’s biggest most ridiculous coveralls that he wears when he works on cars. He says, “you look wide now.” Cool. His roommate goes to sleep, finally, and we’re alone. He kisses me, and then carries me to his room. We talk a lot about lighting. Finally, he turns them off. We have fourth date sex, which is pretty excellent. We cuddle. We have round two fourth date sex, which is even better. I really like him. I tell him. We’re spooning. He’s kissing the back of my neck. He talks about his ex. I say, “every time I tell you I like you, you change the subject.” He tells me he’s, “not really into this.” He implies we’re friends. I say, “no, no, see, I don’t do this with my friends.” He says, “what else would we be?” I start to cry. Maybe it’s because I’m naked, or because I’m embarrassed at this semi expected rejection, either way, I don’t want him to see. He says he, “cares about me as a person,” and I laugh the most manic batshit laugh I can possibly laugh. I put my dress on, and leave his room holding my bra. I put my coat on slowly, waiting for an apology that never comes. I leave, and ugly cry in my car until I get home. I cry in the shower at 230 in the morning, and my tears mix with my makeup and the water. I cry in bed until I’m asleep. I wake up at 10 and realize I won’t be getting the money he owes me for his theatre ticket. I download Tinder again on my phone, and go back to sleep.