I separated from my husband just a year ago. The day before Mother's Day, to be exact. We were just kids when we married sixteen years ago, so breaking up was a seismic event in my life. We'd been together almost my entire adult life. Obviously I couldn't jump into dating right away. I decided to take a year off from men and just work on myself. Do therapy. Work out. Learn how to make myself happy -- which, it turns out, I already knew how to do quite well. And then, finally, after this self-nurturing incubation period I would be ready to enter the world of 21st century dating.
My first post-divorce "dating" experience was way more tawdry and hot than I'd ever expected.
All of my friends told me the same thing: You have to try online dating. So I held my nose, did the research on how to create an irresistible profile, and I jumped in. I uploaded those photos and started weeding through messages from complete strangers. It took less than 24 hours to get one that made my heart pound.
"I think you're truly adorable.... You come across as charming, honest and real," the writer said. He added a little bit about himself, details that made him sound like your classic Renaissance man, then added "Please write back because it would put a smile on my face. Graciously, R -- PS You have a beautiful smile." His photo showed a dark, handsome, intense-looking man. I was already hooked.
Of course I wrote back. We exchanged a couple messages, and he said, "How good are you at an intelligent, shamelessly flirtatious phone conversation? My intent is to entice you out for coffee and conversation and high school kissing." Oh God. I don't know how to flirt, and all my wits left me at that instant, but I did my best. We chatted and he had an adorable English accent. I was pretty much screwed at that point.
We agreed to meet at his office the next day after work -- not at a coffee shop as I'd originally imagined. He was tall and skinny, a little older than his photo looked, but elegant in a suit with a pocket square. We chatted politely. On the phone and over email he kept bringing up the shameless kissing -- and I'd been hesitant at first. Now facing him, I just didn't see how we were going to get started. But he had definitely done this before.
He took me by the hand, led me to the wall, and started kissing me, gently around my face at first, then full on my mouth. I thought it was okay, but I wasn't feeling any sparks, yet. Then he started putting his hands all over my body, and it felt so amazing I just let him. Long story short, we ended up on the floor under his desk engaged in some serious heavy petting, half-undressed. Then, he ended our session abruptly. He wanted to see me again. Tomorrow. And then the next day. And then again and again. He walked me out to the elevators and I teetered out, a little dizzy with the most ridiculous grin on my face.
A minute later my phone buzzed with a text. "You are incredibly lovely."
We did the same thing on Wednesday and then Thursday, which happened to be my birthday. As he kissed me he told me I was gorgeous, that he loved my body, that he loved how it responded to him. I couldn't believe how turned on I was. I was completely out of control and it felt so exciting.
Even before becoming a single mom, I've been committed to the ideal of being an independent woman. Post-split it became even more important that I be in control, totally self-sufficient, self-contained, super-woman. And I think that's why it felt so delicious to surrender to this clearly experienced seducer. Well, that's what he was.
I knew where this was going. I could tell. He was not interested in my soul. He was never going to invite me to dinner. This was a fling, purely physical. And it was incredibly sleazy to make out with a man under his freaking desk. But I decided to go along with it anyway, just for the experience.
Meanwhile I lost my appetite. I was in a constant state of excitement. My whole body was vibrating, always. I couldn't sleep, either.
I knew it wouldn't last forever, but I was hoping it would last for a couple of weeks at least. I had the day off on Friday. We made plans for him to stop by my apartment that morning on his way to work, but that morning I got a text from him saying he'd slept in. "When else can i see u tday?" I had a busy day with a window open around lunchtime. I didn't hear back. After a while I sent a flirty text (I'm a fast learner, I'd figured it out) saying I was sorry we couldn't... (fill in the blank). He wrote back to say he'd been in meetings all day.
Without going into too much detail into what he does for a living, I knew he was hitting a particularly busy, high-priority moment at work -- not just from him, but from the news. So I didn't think much about it. But I also just wanted to nudge things a little bit away from pure sex and into, you know, the human realm. So over the weekend I called him over the weekend just to talk about books and what we're doing and what I wanted him to do to me the next time we saw each other.
Monday morning he sent me a series of flaming hot sexts. We had an exchange while I was in my kitchen, trying to eat my granola and yogurt, and while my son was telling me in excruciating detail all about a Lego spaceship he'd just built. Life is surreal that way. My cheeks burned and I got excited again. Later I texted him. Could he squeeze me in that evening for a little... you know. "Wld love to..but in a mtg from 530 to 630."
Okay, at this point I could either be naieve and trusting, or I could be realistic. My instincts say he's seducing the woman of the week, and I go with that scenario. At any rate, I feel blown off. We barely got started, and it's already over.
Apparently R was only into the chase. He was a hunter who killed, had a taste, and moved on. It seems a sad and unsatisfying way of life. My appetites run larger than that.
I have to be perfectly honest here, because I believe in feeling your feelings and all that. My feelings were hurt. I couldn't believe anyone wouldn't want more from me than a couple days' worth of making out. How could he make me feel so special one moment, then so forgettable the next? I came home and cried in the bathroom. I emailed two of my friends, my online dating guides. "I'm not cut out for this!" My sweet friends talked me off the ledge and assured me I'd eventually meet someone who would see everything I had to offer, who would be interested in me for a DATE and sex, not just the sex.
So I got back out there. I went back online and changed my profile photo. I tweaked my profile a bit. I got some more bites. This is what I signed up for. I'm dating because it sounds fun and to expand my life. I have no regrets. It felt amazing to be desired like that, even if it lasted for just a few days. But next time? I think I'll have to require at least a meal and an hours' conversation before I allow myself to be ravished like that again.
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