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 ┬ádrive 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.

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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)