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.