Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Much Better Date

The other day I got a call from Simon, who’s in town for a few days on business. Simon is a friend of Luke. Luke is my crazy English ex-boyfriend; we’re still friendly. I've known Simon for almost ten years now. Anyway, Simon had emailed me to say he would be in New York on business, and did I want to get together? I was delighted.

I have always been fond of Simon. He is one of Luke’s friends, but fairly sane for all that. I saw him over the summer when I was in London, at brunch with Luke and Maia (one of Luke’s former roommates, I’ve known her for years, too) and Maia’s boyfriend. Luke and Jessie and Colin (another friend from college whom I’ve also known for many years now) had all informed me Simon was completely depraved these days -- sleeping with prostitutes (!) and hoovering about 10% of the GNP of Bolivia up his nose. Funny, because when you meet him you probably would not guess this about him. He’s got a very upright, veddy English manner -- pleasant and mild-mannered and wry and, in general demeanor, Luke’s opposite. But of course news of his Downward Spiral of Shame stayed with me.

Anyway, when we met up he looked much as usual, not “six months from rehab,” as Marian Keyes puts it. We had a drink at the same tapas bar I went to with Jeremy a few weeks ago. Jeremy has still not contacted me. I hate him. By “hate him,” I actually mean, why hasn’t he emailed me? Simon and I talked about work a bit, and his daughter, who is four. Simon had brief affair with a woman he worked with, and Sara is the result. He and Sara’s mother had broken up before he even knew she was pregnant, I think. Nonetheless, Simon sees Sara pretty frequently and gets along OK with his ex, I gather.

Simon said he really wanted a steak, would that suit me? Of course I am always in the mood for a steak. We walked to Smith & Wollensky’s, but the menu is pricey, so we decided on a place Simon had been to before, but could not quite remember its location. I tried texting Google and going into a few shops looking for a Yellow Pages before at last it occurred to me to call information. Duh! Finally we found the steakhouse, and ordered another round of drinks while we waited to be seated.

It was lively and crowded and behind the bar was a sort of sculpture of shellfish on a tiered platter-- sort of a glorious tower of lobster tails, a la New Jersey wedding, which looked pretty amusing. At this point we got around to discussing drugs... I’m not sure how it came up, but it was probably me who mentioned it, ’cause I wanted to see what Simon would say. He was gratifyingly forthcoming, saying that he’d been sort of rabid for a while -- at one point, he was buying Charles (as he, and Luke and that entire crowd call it -- “Charles” rather than “Charlie” is Simon’s own locution) three times a week and staying up all night, etc. He had been scared somewhat straight by reading about a Hollywood producer who’d been teetotal ’til 40, then spent the next four years on a coke bender and ended up in prison. “I sort of recognized myself there,” Simon said.

“Wow,” I said, pretending to be surprised.

Simon continued, “So I quit for a month. That was good.” And, he says, since then, he’s not been nearly as bad. Though “Cocaine is amazing, it’s really, really good,” he said wistfully. And now that he’s made an effort to keep his nose clean (as it were, heh, heh) he constantly gets texts from Luke taunting him: “Come and snort a big fat line.”

That’s Luke, all over. I scowled, “He’s bad news.” And we reminisced about Luke and his bad habits for a bit.

I asked him if he was seeing someone. He did not admit to sleeping with prostitutes, but said he had recently met someone at a party. I did say I was seeing a lot of fellows... showing off a bit, I guess. Was this a bit of a come on? I had no intention of sleeping with Simon... I told him how I was kind of making up for lost time, etc. He claimed to be impressed. I gave him the back story, how all this had started, with seeing Luke and Jessie (they used to date) last winter, and how, when they’d asked me if I knew where to get drugs, I’d been flummoxed.

“We should call Jessie!” Simon announced. Jessie uses a lot of coke and of course knows where to buy it. I generally only see her on weekends, and nights, when she’s more likely to be high. I like Jessie but am not that close to her, so I'm never sure just how worried about her I ought to be.

“I don’t want to be a bad influence,” I said doubtfully. After all, if he was trying to avoid cocaine, perhaps I shouldn’t--- “You want to? OK.”

I knew I had Jessie’s number somewhere... In the second tech-related stupid moment of the night, I trawled back through my text messages, before remembering that I’d written her number in my date book. Sigh. Simon immediately phoned her.

“Hello, Jessie? It’s Simon ... how are you? Oh, really...?” We’d woken her up. D’oh!

She was too tired to come out (“Heavy Charles night last night,” Simon diagnosed,) and that seemed to put an end to his plans for buying coke.

“We can just get drunk,” I pointed out, though I was well on my way already. I’d had several glasses and we were working our way through a bottle. As our very boozy, rare steak-heavy night wore on, we decided to go have a drink.

Our waiter recommended a place just around the corner. It was a dark, large-ish place filled almost entirely with men in suits. And the bartenders! The cleavage! It was amazing. They were all brassy blondes with plunging black V-neck tops and really impressive breasts. While Simon got us drinks I studied the menu: $300 for a bottle of Tanqueray! And that was the low end. Cocktails ran about $15, which is expensive but not outrageous for the neighborhood, but I could never bring myself to buy a bottle at a bar, it’s just a joke.

Eventually Simon returned with our whiskies. “These were $100,” he said. He was, he assured me, expensing everything.

What?!” This made the $300 bottle of gin look like a bargain.

“Well, I asked for the 25-year old whiskey,” he explained. “It was $25 for a shot, and I asked for two large ones.”

“But...” I was astounded.

“I guess it’s a double measure.”

We sipped our $50 dollar whiskeys. I was pretty drunk at this point, so I’m afraid the effect—not to mention the 25-year-old taste—was wasted on me. We were sunk down on a leather sofa. My miniskirt was riding up my thighs, and we were seated pretty close together. Simon showed no sign of making a move, but I think he might have been checking out my legs. Hmm.

The business suits at the next table stood up and began examining their billfolds. “They’re going to s strip club,” Simon predicted – I guess he would know. But it was getting late, and I was tired. At last I said, “I think I’m just going to get a cab home. I can drop you off at your hotel, it’s on the way.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course.”

We headed out into the cold, and caught a cab almost immediately. We settled in the backseat and Simon gave the driver the hotel address. “I don’t suppose you mumblemumblemumble the Continental?” he asked me.

The Continental was the name of his hotel, I was pretty sure. “What?”

“I don’t suppose mumblemumblemumble the Continental,” he repeated.

“Simon,” I said, “Are you propositioning me?” I tried, unsuccessfully, not to smirk.

“Er ... yes.”

I giggled. “OK.” I guess I hadn’t told the cabbie there’d be a second stop. I swear that wasn’t a conscious effort... I was pretty drunk after all.

So, feeling sneaky and dirty (I was going to a hotel room!) I followed Simon into the hotel and up to his floor.

He opened the door to his room. “I didn’t really have time... ah,” Simon laughed self-consciously. His suitcase was open and clothes were strewn on the floor.

We stood facing one another in front of his bed with the half light from the hall on us. “You haven’t kissed me,” I said.

“I was shy.”

Of course that’s not true, I thought as I wound my fingers into his hair and cocked my head. He wasn’t shy, and it wasn’t nerves, or passion, or boredom, or even drunkenness ... all right, maybe it was drunkenness, a bit. It was just ... casualness. Why-not-ness. We kissed. Simon’s not much taller than me. We were almost eye to eye. Was this the first time I’d ever hooked up with a friend, with someone who I wanted nothing more from than just friendship and a little physical excitement? I felt peculiar. Or rather, I didn’t feel peculiar, or worried, or excited at all, really. I just felt like it might be fun. I don’t have any romantic or sexual feelings towards Simon. Although I could, I suppose. I took off my boots and he took off his sweatshirt. We tumbled onto the bed, and I straddled him. I eyed him as we made out. His hand slipped up inside my shirt and undid my bra. What the hell. I lifted my shirt and bra over my head, letting him get a good look at me.

We didn’t say much, just sort of smiled at one another as we kissed and worked our way out of our clothes. He wore briefs, not boxers. Which I always think of as old man, or, alternatively, little kid underwear. Naked, he was broad shouldered, muscular, pale. He briefly dipped his head and slipped his mouth across my pussy. I panicked, thinking about my salty meal...

“I’m not going to fuck you,” I whispered, when we were naked and I lay on top of him. I didn’t mention the prostitutes.

“I don’t have a condom, anyway,” he said.

His mouth sloped towards my breast, and he bent to suck a nipple. My hand slipped down around his dick. Like most Brits, he’s uncircumcised. It was tapered at the tip and then thickened out towards the bottom, like a pyramid. It was a good size. Meanwhile, Simon’s fingers were sliding inside me. It felt really nice; I was quite wet. His other hand slowly tweaked my right nipple.

I didn’t know what to say. I kind of wanted to talk, the way I usually do, with my arsenal of murmurings and encouragements: “I like your cock,” “Does that feel good?” “Your skin feels great...” but I felt a little shy. After all, I’ve known Simon for ten years. He’s my friend. It’s easier to be sexually bold with someone who only knows you in a non-friendly sense, I think.

I started rubbing his dick. I would have liked to suck him off, but frankly his sexual history was a bit worrisome, so I stuck to stroking his dick. He seemed to enjoy it; his eyes closed, and he half smiled. I leaned my head on my free hand and watched his face.

But I was so tired, and drunk, and, as Simon said, “It’s that 25 year old whisky...” so he didn’t come, and soon enough we were asleep, naked in the big hotel bed with the crisp, industrial white linens. I rolled over onto my side.

I woke from a confused dream when Simon got a work call at about 6:00 a.m., and when he came back about half an hour later I tried again to get him off. Still nothing doing. I feel asleep again, but when I woke up later, just before eight, I went back to his dick (I was determined).

“Tell me how you like it,” I said, moving my hand rhythmically up and down his dick. “Tighter?”

“Oh, yes,” he smiled.

I studied Simon’s face. He had a square chin and his dark hair had been cut short but was sticking up a bit.

At last, success! He came with a long sigh and I watched his face go slack. I lay with my head in his shoulder; he had broad shoulders. I breathed him in: he didn’t smell. It wasn’t like Lee, who smelled wrong, nor like Daniel or Jeremy, both of whom smell wonderfully boy: Simon just didn’t have a smell, to my nose. It was so weird! Like vampires are supposed to have no shadow and no reflection -- was this the olfactory equivalent?

It was almost time for me to get up. I wanted to say, “Please, let’s keep this between us,” but again, I felt tongue-tied. I did not want Luke to find out about this, I didn’t want to hear his endless ragging. But I didn’t know how to bring it up. Maybe Simon felt exactly the same way, and would be offended that he thought I’d think he might not keep his mouth closed. Or maybe he’d be offended that I wanted this to be a secret, like I was ashamed... I was too tired and hungover to marshal my thoughts, so I didn’t say anything at all, and decided to hope for the best.

“Well...” I said, after we’d both showered and I was dressed. It was time for me to go.

Simon tugged on his trousers. We stood facing one another, just as we had the night before. “I had a nice time,” I offered.

“Me too.”

“It was great to see you. All of you,” I added, because I can’t let a bad pun go unsaid. “Heh heh.... I’m glad I made you come.” We kissed briefly, politely. “I’ll talk to you soon.”


I left his hotel room, and in the elevator down I wondered if the other passengers could tell what I’d been up to.

I haven’t heard from Jeremy. Gaaah!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Maybe the worst date ever

I already didn’t like this guy.

Here’s what happened: My profile is on a number of personals sites. Usually, if a guy emails me and I’m not interested, I just ignore it. This is generally successful. But not with Mr. Knucklehead.

I’m calling him Mr. Knucklehead because I can’t be bothered to think up a fitting name for the man with whom I spent such an awkward and unpleasant few hours.

Well, anyway. Mr. Knucklehead didn’t take no for an answer. About a week after his first email, I got a follow up, asking if I’d left the country or something equally unlikely. OK, this second up email was quite witty, but I still didn’t find him attractive. I wrote back. Not to say “Thanks, but I’m not interested,” which, in view of later events, would have been best, but “Sorry, I’m really busy right now… maybe in a few weeks.” I was blowing him off, I thought, albeit it in a vague manner. The thing is, if someone wrote me that, I’d have gotten the hint. Obviously, Mr. Knucklehead wasn’t as schooled as I am in deciphering texts for passive aggressive rejection. Did he never go to high school? Or perhaps he wasn’t a neurotic with a history of compulsive email analysis? As it turned out, he just didn’t care that I wasn’t very interested. I guess he figured that once we met, we’d hit it off. I would never want to date someone who seemed so unenthusiastic— my poor fragile ego can’t take that. But Mr. Knucklehead was made of stronger stuff, apparently.

So, a few weeks later, I found another missive from Mr. Knucklehead in my inbox. At that point I thought, “Oh, what the hell, it can’t hurt.” How wrong I was! (Foreshadowing!) Stupid me.

The plan was that we’d get a drink. Mr. Knucklehead had expressed sympathy for me as a job hunter, and said he’d pick up the tab. We arranged to meet on a Thursday evening.

Well, he was almost on time, which was a point in his favor, but he still looked as unappealing as he had online. To wit: balding, badly shaven and short. None of these qualities is by any means a deterrent to me finding someone attractive, I’ve discovered, but in his case we were fighting an uphill battle, since I already resented the fact that I’d allowed myself to be dragooned into this date. But I smiled and prepared to endure the evening with goodwill if not actual enjoyment.

We were at a very crowded bar. Mr. Knucklehead decided we should leave, and swiftly led me towards the exit, without asking my opinion. I swallowed my disappointment, because the longer we searched for a place to drink, the longer our date would last.

Mr. Knucklehead expressed great surprise that all the bars seemed crowded, including the one we ended up in. But it was a Thursday night, and we were in Union Square! We halted in a dimly lit, noisy bar off Broadway. I figured an hour and a half should do it.

There was bar service, and a very nice though over-enthusiastic waitress promised us the next available table. Meanwhile, we stood and sipped our drinks. I was clutching my bag, and it has a clasp that closes the middle, rather than a zipper. “What’s this?” Mr. Knucklehead asked, grabbing an empty Ziplock sandwich bag from the top of my satchel and examining it.

“I just had some food,” I mumbled, completely nonplussed. What was he doing touching things in my bag? I wouldn’t reach into his briefcase! Worse, Mr. Knucklehead had a patronizing smile on his face, like it was hilarious that I hauled around a plastic bag full of pistachio nut shells.

When we were finally seated with our second rounds of beer (Mr. Knucklehead) and Merlot (me—for the anti-oxidants, of course) Mr. Knucklehead told me about his Worst Date Ever, with a whiny and over-talkative girl who expected him to buy her knick knacks at Duane Reade. I gave my standard First Internet Date speech: that, in fact, I haven’t had many bad dates. It’s true, except for my date with
Laurent. Possibly because I review all incoming emails for evidence of self-deprecating wit and an ability to spell, I don’t think I’ve encountered any entirely humorless morons. Or psychopaths, for that matter, thought I’m not sure if my criteria are particularly useful in weeding out the criminally insane. But, as I pointed out to Mr. Knucklehead, even my bad dates haven’t been so bad. You’re meeting someone new, which is interesting even if your date is not, and you’re both on your best behavior. Even if you aren’t attracted to the person, it’s two hours of your life and there’s usually alcohol involved. How bad can it be?

That last sentence was what I believe is known as the ironic lead in.

Anyway, I revealed that, in addition to job hunting, I also work as a temp.

“You have a job?” Mr. Knucklehead was surprised.

“Well, I temp,” I said, confused. I am looking for a full time editorial position. But I don’t sit around all day doing nothing – not every day, anyway. I mean, I have to pay my rent and everything.

And Mr. Knucklehead said, “Oh, I thought you were unemployed. In that case, this is your round!” He smiled. Menacingly.

“OK,” I said, taken aback. On one hand, Mr. Knucklehead had offered to take me out, and pay, in not one but several emails. And I really do think that on the first date, the person who does the asking does the paying. Even Miss Manners says so! On the other hand, Mr. Knucklehead had been under the impression that I had no source of income whatsoever. And perhaps it’s unrealistic for me to expect to be treated on the first date. As has been discussed ….
Here. And, finally, I didn’t have the chutzpah to refuse.

He looked at me; he was waiting for me to get the money out of my bag. Christ! “You actually have money on you, don’t you?” Mr. Knucklehead watched with a sour smile as I fumbled in my bag. “You’re not one of those people who says they’ll pay and then doesn’t have any cash?”

“No,” I said, coolly, and at last pulled a twenty out of my bag. Thank God I’d gone to the ATM prior to this date – I almost hadn’t!

“So you’re a temp,” he said. “I think you’re too old to be temping full time.”

Of course I’m too old to be temping full time. I’m 33. I have entitlement issues. I haven’t lived up to my potential since I was nineteen! Did he think I wasn’t aware of this? You are a creep, I thought. I gave Mr. Knucklehead my coldest, most unfriendly smile: “Thanks,” I said flatly.

I have never walked out on a date, and even though at this point I sort of wanted to, I didn’t have the nerve or the sense of drama required, at least not after only a glass and a half of wine. Besides, I was sitting on a high stool, and it would have been nearly impossible to engineer a graceful exit.

Mr. Knucklehead seemed to realize that he’d offended me, and while an apology would have been impossible, apparently, he sought to ease the tension by instead complaining about how wasteful we Americans are—Mr. Knucklehead is English. When our waitress came around with his next beer (he drank five; no wonder he wanted help with the bill) Mr. Knucklehead said, “No, no, no, you’ve got to do it this way,” when she poured his beer so that there was too much head. He said it nicely, but still. This was the friendly waitress who’d found us the table and insisted on replacing his dirty glass each round (prompting Mr. Knucklehead’s complaints about American wastefulness).

Our waitress smiled carelessly: “Oh, I’m sorry. They tell me how to pour, but I just don’t do it right.”

“You see, she knew,” Mr. Knucklehead fumed when she had disappeared back into throng. “She knew she wasn’t pouring it correctly, but she did it anyway.” And we stared as the beer’s foam returned to drinkable proportions. Jackass, I thought.

When Mr. Knucklehead finished his beer he announced that he was going to go home. We left the bar, and when it became clear we were taking the same train (in opposite directions, though, luckily) we started walking to the station. Everything he said annoyed me. At this point he could have been talking about his volunteer work with African orphans and I would have despised him. At the station, I gave him a big smile (of relief) and said, “Well, Mr. Knucklehead, I guess this is me.”

“We could do this again sometime,” he offered, like he was doing me a favor.

I paused, not quite sure how to respond.

At last I rallied: “It was so nice to meet you,” I lied, and smiling, I ran down the steps.

I'm sure there's a moral here somewhere.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

In Which I Get a Look At My Rivals!

I saw Daniel. He’d emailed me to say he hadn’t heard from me, and had missed me. … He missed me! What could I say? He was right. I never write him first – all part of either a)my manipulative plot to have the upper hand b)my terrible fear that repeated exposure to me and my emails will send him running in the other direction. But, he was right; I never write first.

Sorry, I wrote back. I just don’t want you to get bored. True, that.

That night at his place he showed me his Christmas presents; one of them was a new scanner. He took a picture of me, and then brought out a packet of photos.

“Look at these,” he said, and pulled out a packet. “These are from Halloween,” Daniel added, unnecessarily, as he showed me a picture of himself dressed as the devil, wearing a pinstripe suit and silly red horns. Cute. Wait: on Halloween, he was with Robin

And there, without any subterfuge on my part, was her photo. “That’s my friend Robin,” he offered.

She was wearing black lipstick and not smiling, so I couldn’t make a thorough evaluation. But, she was wearing a laced up bustier (leather, I thought) and from my anxious study of her picture it seemed to me that … she was not thinner than me. She had chin length blond curls, which I thought might be dyed. She looked perfectly normal, not counting the bustier and black lipstick. Not beautiful. Thank you, God, I thought.

“What do you mean, you don’t want me to get bored?!” Daniel laughed as we tumbled around on his bed. My mouth roved all over his skin. “You know I wouldn’t get bored.”

I shrugged (coyly?). ‘I just would always rather you be pleased to hear from me than get too many emails from me and think, ‘Oh, God, not her again.”

“I would never think that!”

Well, maybe.

I couldn’t wait to have him inside me; it’d been more than a week. When I slid onto his cock, I said as much. “That’s a long time,” I breathed.

And as I rocked up and down his dick it was such a relief, his body. Like, even though we’ve only been dating or having sex since October, he knows what to say to me (ahem, my name is good, as is implying I’m a slut), and our pelvic bones fit together just so, and I can stretch my legs in just the way I need to around his thighs. Oh, Daniel.

After I came he took a long time, as he usually does, fucking me on my back, with both my legs around his neck, and then just one, so he entered me from an angle. Then he put me on my stomach. When he fucked me I could feel his balls slap against my ass, and I pushed my ass up against him, jiggling it like I know he likes.

Afterwards we were lounging on his bed and he asked, “How big are your breasts?”

I raised my eyebrows at him. “I’m a B. I think,” I added, cause apparently the majority of women in the US wear the wrong bra size. Maybe I’m really a C! Probably not, though.

“And how tall are you?” I told him. “I’m asking because I have this friend in California,” he explained. Ah, the girl who’s had her tubes tied and likes vintage clothes! The girl Daniel has a crush on! “And she’s 5’2”, and is a 32GG.”

What?!” I said. “Wow.”

“Yeah, I’m just wondering…”

A 32GG?” I repeated. “This I’ve got to see. Daniel, show me her profile!”

So he did, and without a great deal of effort on my part, I’ve now seen two of my, uh, rivals.

So, big chested girl: from her photos, her enormous tits are not that obvious, though it’s clear she’s got big breasts… but who would actually think, Oh, yeah, there’s a 32GG? I was dismayed to see that she had red hair. The kind of boys I like always seem to have a weakness for redheads. It’s like shorthand for being pre-Raphaelite, and lithe and elegant and artistic. What I would like to be, but am not! Big Chested Girl was decked out in an elaborate strapless gown with heart shaped neckline, a basque waist, flared satin skirt, and a bustle, too, I think. Very flattering to the 32GGs, yes. And very flattering, period, in the other-worldly red-headed way she clearly knew how to work. She was sort of pretty. OK, she was pretty. But again, not thinner! Not fat, but it was a slight sop to my ego. Because although I’m perfectly happy with my 34B (or possibly C) boobs, I am well aware that Daniel is most decidedly a breast man. He must be salivating over Big Chested, Vintage Costumed Red Haired Girl. Fey, straight-haired, tied-tubes dream girl. Hmm.

The really bad part is that Daniel showed me her profile on the personals web site, and, as I’ve said before, I have a very good memory for names: I remembered her handle. I am tempted to look her profile up. But, as I tell myself, that way madness lies. I don’t want to be a stalker, after all. Thus far I’ve managed to restrain myself. Because really, this is not information I want. Nothing I can discover about her will be pleasing to me. And, oh, yeah: it’s none of my business. That too.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Naked New Year's Eve!

So on New Year’s Eve I prepared myself for my first Naked Party.

This was all thanks to Jake. Jake runs the writing group I don’t attend as often as I should. I like Jake very much. He’s hyper and intelligent and, I gather, a compulsive recorder -- someone who has cross referenced lists for all sorts of things, like what t-shirt he was wearing when Conan made his late night debut, that kind of thing.

Actually, Living Somewhat Dangerously -- the lifestyle, the blog, the grab for fame -- sort of owes its inception to Jake. It all started back in March, when he first invited me to a Naked Party. I was at his apartment, just before a writing group meeting.

“Uh,” I’d said, when he brought it up. “Is that...?”

“It’s just what it sounds like,” Jake confirmed.

“And at this party,” I continued, “Everybody’s naked?” Fact checking, you know.

“Well,” said Jake, “We tried having it with bikinis or underwear optional, but that didn’t really work.”

I pictured this. “So.” I paused. “And at this party, does... stuff happen?”

“Stuff?” Jake grinned. “You mean, is it an orgy?”

That’s exactly what I’d meant: “Yeah.”

“Well, sometimes, but that’s really late, at six o’clock in the morning or something,” Jake said judiciously. “Mostly it’s just like a regular party. We might order pizza, and drink beer, and play Tetris on my computer. Just naked.”

"Well," I said. The thought of being naked in front of total strangers was bad enough, but I suck at Tetris.

But later, it occurred to me that this was an offer I was unlikely to receive again and should therefore reconsider. It had come on the heels of a disturbing night on the town with an ex-boyfriend, his then girlfriend, Jessie, and some mutual friends. I’d met up with them at a bar downtown, and when I got there they were passing around poppers in full view of the bar staff. Then I was asked if I knew where they could score some cocaine.

Naturally, I had no idea where they could buy drugs. The last time I’d smoked weed was during the second Clinton administration. Anyway, all this depravity -- cocaine and poppers and nakedness -- made me realize that my life, which had none of these things, was pretty lame.

This was just before my 33rd birthday, and I started thinking about my future. Soon enough, I was going to want to get married, take on a mortgage and worry about exposing my precious brats to carcinogens and high fructose corn syrup. So far, I hadn’t lived a particularly crazy life. And, if things kept going this way, I wasn’t going to. I’d never though I wanted to live a depraved life, but when it occurred to me that soon it wasn’t even going to be an option, I started to rethink my position.

Within a few weeks, I had posted an ad seeking casual sex on Craig’s List, and started to live somewhat dangerously. A few months later, I started this blog.

I hadn’t made it to that Naked Party, but had promised myself, and Jake, that I’d turn up at the next one. And here it was.

So, like I said, this New Year’s Eve Naked party was narratively appropriate.

So that afternoon I got dressed, paying careful attention to my skin, slathered with The Body Shop’s shimmering Cranberry Body Lotion. It was the first time I’d ever gotten ready for a party without too much concern for my clothes. A very peculiar sensation.

The plan was that I’d go to Jake’s, hang out for a bit (the party was going to be small) and then meet up with Daniel and go out to dinner. I bought two bottles of cava -- one cheap, to mix with orange juice at Jake’s and one a bit less cheap, for me and Daniel.

When I got to Jake’s place, he sloooowly opened the door, peeking his head around to smile at me. I walked in and he gave me a hug. Jake’s a huge flirt, and very affectionate. He was naked, but, you know, I didn’t want to stare, so I was just looking at his face, sort of like my eyes hadn’t gotten around to checking him out.

“Hey!” I said. So: Jake, naked! He had a good body, lean and fairly muscular... I didn’t want to appear crass by checking him out, though. I mean, what’s the etiquette here?

It was just the two of us. “The others are going to be here later,” he explained. I took off my coat. Then I sat on the edge of his bed and unzipped my leather boots. What the hell, I thought. Next I took off my top.

We kept talking, so I was distracted and not too freaked out by the fact that I was undressing in front someone I was not having sex with. How often do you do that?

So there I was, completely naked, with another completely naked person, and we weren’t fooling around. I was determined to be all blase. Jake was seated in front of his computer, so I sat next to him. He started showing me pictures. Naked pictures! Jake is, in case this isn’t perfectly clear, pretty active in what I gather is a substantial pervy naked NYC community.

Then he showed me this photo of Hannah, who is in our writing group. I sort of idolize Hannah. She’s smart and nice and gorgeous, with really lovely, delicate features (blond hair, blue eyes, eyebrows like butterfly wings, which I think is poetic and weird and may be something Diego Rivera said about Frida Kahlo… Hannah’s eyebrows are not at all thick and dark, they really are delicately arched and, in fact, butterfly-like), thin but curvy and... wait for it... at least a D cup, I’d guess. In addition to all these qualities, she is a great writer, the first (and so far, only) person I’ve asked for feedback on my novel, plus very mature and ... only 25! Jake and Hannah sort of date, only I gather they date lots of other people too... frankly, if I were Jake, I wouldn’t date anyone else, I’d just marry Hannah.

So he showed me this picture of Hannah. In it, she was naked, lying flat on her back. She was surrounded by naked torsos – I couldn’t see any faces -- and several dicks were just pushed up close to her mouth. She had this look of delight on her face, like she was about to burst out laughing. This must have been at a previous Naked Party. I think Jake had hesitated before showing it to me. But I was glad he had.

So there we were, coolly looking at naked pictures of his friends (all of whom had given him permission to flash their photos around to ogling strangers; Jake isn’t a creep or anything). And I wondered if I should just say, “Hey, want to fool around?” Of course I didn’t; I hadn’t the nerve. That’s the problem with sex with your friends. The possibilities for damaging outcomes are just so much greater than you get when propositioning strangers. I didn’t want Jake to reject me, or feel bad about about rejecting me. So instead we just looked at pictures of naked people and talked, and I drank my cheap methode champagnoise, mixed with Tropicana.

At last two of his friends arrived. They were a married couple, and, as Jake explained, party policy was for guests to undress the newcomers. I found this incredibly uncomfortable, undressing this strange, though very friendly, woman. I couldn’t really bring it off, though I helped her tug off her sweater. So soon the four of us were naked, and sitting around, eating potato chips.

We chatted amiably enough, and the couple seemed interesting and friendly, but I had to get ready to go meet Daniel for our night out. At this point, I’d drank most of the first bottle of champagne. So I climbed back into my clothes and said my goodbyes, and hurried outside to find a cab.

I got dressed for the night out at Marc’s. I wore my pink cocktail dress, which is very form-fitting and requires a foundation garment (read: girdle!) not to mention a strapless boned bustier which really digs into my ribs. It was much less comfortable than being naked. It’s hard to breathe in that thing, but I strapped myself into it in the interests of vanity.

By the time Daniel and I got to the restaurant I was starting to get a headache -- all that cheap cava. By the end of the meal, my head was killing me. I had gone from being mildly cheerful to hungover -- I had barely been drunk! My head hurt so bad. The plan had been for Daniel and I to return to the apartment, drink and fool around, which would hopefully lead to magnificent New Year’s sex, but as soon as we got back I stripped naked (the clothes were binding, after all) and dosed myself with three Tylenol and the prescription painkiller the ENT had given me for my TMJ. Then I lay on the bed, literally moaning in pain. My head hurt so bad, I don’t know when I’d had a worse headache. Ow, ow ow. Happy New Year’s.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Picture Tells a Thousand Words, Most of Them Wrong

The night following my jaw trauma revelation, I met Chris.

He’d emailed me via the personals, and his photo was very cute. From his vague profile, it looked as though he was in a relationship. When I asked him if this was the case, he said it was, and that he and his girlfriend had an open relationship.

I wrote back to say that if by an open relationship, he meant that his girlfriend was actively OK with him sleeping around, then that was fine with me. Then I recounted my story about Jon, who claimed to be in an open relationship but who, in fact, just slept around while his girlfriend tolerated it. Chris said that, yes, really, it was an open relationship, and his girlfriend saw other men, too. So we agreed to meet.

I don’t know why, but I wasn’t thinking there’d be much spark. And I was right! We were due to meet at a bar on Ninth Avenue, and it was heaving, which always annoys me. When we met I thought, You look nothing like your photo! He must have been at least 30 pounds heavier than he had appeared online! I thought the camera added ten pounds, but not in his case.

All the tables were taken, so we edged up to the bar, where Chris insisted on paying for my mojito, which came with a real stick of sugar cane, yum! He said that he insists on paying, he likes to be polite. Etc. After my discussion with Jeremy, I must say this was a nice respite.

We talked a lot, about our jobs and families and stuff like that. I had a second drink. He kept holding my eyes for a bit longer than necessary, so finally, to ease the tension, I said, “Are you going to kiss me?”

He broke into a grin and started to kiss me. That was a dumb move on my part, cause I’d been thinking that although Chris was perfectly pleasant and smart, I wasn’t interested. But there we were, making out.

There was a couple next to us at the bar, and the woman was pretty drunk. She started kissing the guy, and then I felt her arm snake through mine. She thought my arm was his! Giggling, I pointed this out to her. She was mortified.

“Oh my God, I’m so sorry,” she gasped.

“That’s totally OK,” I insisted. “It’s nice to have someone stroke your arm.” Well, it is.

But she bought us a round of drinks .. gah! I was feeling very drunk.

Eventually Chris and I left, and said we’d get together again. But I wasn’t sure. On one hand, I wasn’t really attracted to him. On the other hand, I had just spent the last hour and a half making out with him, and he had bought all my drinks. That seemed to argue in favor of a second date. Though agreeing to a second date with a guy just because he insisted on paying for my mojitos seemed counter-productive, and if we had a second date I might feel obliged to sleep with him, as a matter of politeness ... But one can't fuck a guy solely to seem well mannered.

Then I reminded myself that my goal here was quantity, and and Chris would be another notch on my bedpost, should I ever happen to have one. And just cause you’re not attracted to someone doesn’t mean the sex can’t be good, right? Until I began Living Somewhat Dangerously last Spring, I’d operated on the principle of never getting it on with someone I wasn't very, very attracted to. Even when I’d been too drunk to exercise judgment, I’d never hooked up with someone I didn’t think I really liked. But kissing guys I've been lukewarm about, like Eddie (prior to this blog), and, come to think of it, Jeremy, who at first didn't hold any great attraction for me -- well, the experience has been extremely enjoyable and enlightening. So maybe getting it on with Chris would be fun. Just how attracted do you have to find a person in order to sleep with him and enjoy it? Of course, if that person is really good in bed, you might start finding them attractive during the act…

The next day Chris emailed me, saying he found me “ridiculously attractive.” Very flattering, and though I couldn’t say the same I wrote back to say that I was going out of town for a bit, and would be in touch soon. That ought to give me some time to mull it over, I figured.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Wages of Sin ... Ouch!

On the morning of Thursday the 21st I went to the ENT. I was worried about my ear. Last year I had a bad ear infection and I was afraid I’d contracted it again, especially after the pistachio episode, when chomping on a nut had led to a horrendous shooting pain from my jaw to my left ear.

The ENT looked at my ears: “They’re both clear,” he said. Then he felt my throat and said, “The muscle here is very tight. You’ve had some jaw trauma. Do you chew gum?”

“Yes?” I lied, thinking, Oh, my God, it was the deep throating! Jaw trauma, indeed!

“You have TMJ. Try applying a warm compress to your neck twice a day for a few weeks.” He took a tongue depressor and looked down my throat, and I was afraid he was going to nod and say, “Oh, I see: you’re a pervert.” Luckily, the doctor didn’t seem to find any evidence of my behavior. He gave me a prescription for some painkillers and told me not to chew gum for a while.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Casual Sex Sparks Domestic Fantasies!

The next day I had a date with Jeremy. We were meeting in his neighborhood, which I took to be a sign we might end up at his apartment. Sometime between meeting him and now, I don’t know when -- I’d decided we’d have sex, if I had any say in the matter.

Once again we ended up in a quiet corner of a dimly lit wine bar, eating tapas. At last, as we gave up on our food, he kissed me (Or did I kiss him? No doubt I gave him hints) and wound his arms around me. I think he was feeling me up.

“I can’t do this here,” I said, smiling and burying my head against his shoulder. Which meant: Let’s go back to yours.

Which we did without further discussion. Jeremy lives on the fifth floor of a walkup, and by the time we reached his apartment I was panting.

He has what was originally part of a larger apartment, and since he moved in, has been making improvements. To wit: he tore up the bathroom floor, put the bathtub in the kitchen, and no longer has a kitchen sink. He’s on his fourth contractor. Jeremy showed me his plans for the apartment (sadly his bedroom will be quite small and just opposite the front door) but after he'd walked me through the projected redesign, we started kissing again.

He had a low Ikea bed with an extraordinarily thin but heavy comforter, mmm. Naked, Jeremy had a fairly large stomach, as I’d surmised. It stuck out, like a little kid’s. In the dark I kissed his hairless chest and soft skin.

His dick wasn’t enormous, but what the hell. I went down on him, as is my wont, licking and sucking. As we were about ready to have sex I made my little speech: "Um, listen, I just want you to know -- I'm not monogamous," I said. "I'm very careful and always use condoms, but I wanted you to know..." I floundered.

Yes, there was probably a better time to broach the topic. I just hadn't been able to figure out when it was.

Jeremy looked surprised, but then he rallied: "I'm dating other people, too," he said. I kind of doubted that.

I decided to forgo asking Jeremy my list of questions, since he's a nice Jewish boy and I guessed that the chances of him having had sex with men, prostitutes or drug users was fairly small ... a bit of prejudice in his favor, but I felt confident that his sexual history would not give me pause.

We started kissing again. When Jeremy put on the condom I announced “I’m going to ride you,” and lowered myself onto him. “You like that?” I asked. This was a rhetorical question. I hoped.

“Yeah, I do,” he breathed.

In the dark I moved above him. “I was checking out your tits when we first met,” he sighed as I angled myself so he could suck my nipples.

“Yeah, did you like them?”

“Yeah, I did,” Jeremy said, smiling at the dark. I liked how he didn’t just say “Yeah,” but “Yeah, I did…”

Despite my efforts, I didn’t come. So he got on top of me and started thrusting away. This was a revelation: he fucked me really, really hard. I mean, he reamed me, just kind of slammed into me. I was totally taken aback. But I kind of liked it.

After he came, we lazed about in one another's arms in the dark, and Jeremy said he didn't want to be single anymore: "I'm ready for the next stage," he explained. "Most of my friends are married now and having kids, and I see that and I want it, too."

And then he said, “You know, I kind of wish you were five years older…” meaning, I think, in the same place as he is. When he had asked me about my current, uh, lifestyle, I'd explained that yes, I did want a steady monogamous relationship, marriage and kids, only in about five years' time. And when Jeremy said he wished I was older, I felt the stirrings of, I don’t know, not affection, cause I liked him already, but a different kind of interest. Jeremy’s a bona fide adult (after all, he owns his own apartment!) but he has shaggy hair and listens to Yo La Tengo. He's so smart, yet he's not condescending and doesn’t even seem that much older than me, perhaps because he looks a bit like a kid. And it’s so nice to meet a man who wants marriage and children, and fairly soon, unlike some people I could name (Daniel). And isn’t afraid to say it. Even though I don’t want those things right now, I do want them eventually and it occurred to me that Jeremy, or someone very like him, could be that eventually. The thought was both surprising and appealing. I spent the rest of the night drifting in and out of sleep, fantasizing that Jeremy and I were cool grup parents in his remodeled East Twenties' apartment.

Anyway, soon it was Monday morning and I had to go to work. Later he emailed me:

“I’m sleepy but that was really fun.”

Good form, emailing the person you’ve just slept with right away! Jeremy appeals more and more.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

In Which I Follow Through on My Resolution. Not.

(NB This took place in mid-December...)

So I psyched myself up to dump Daniel. We had plans to meet and I had rehearsed a speech:

Daniel, listen. I can’t see you anymore. I think you’re great and I really like you, but… I guess that’s the problem: I like you a little too much. And I find myself feeling jealous and uncomfortable, and I can’t do that.

So I want to wish you all the best (how noble I was!) and say I’ve enjoyed every minute that I’ve spent with you.

In my mind he was confused and put up at least a token protest. I had it down pat.

Then he called. For a moment I froze, staring at his number as it appeared on my cell phone’s screen and then I just let it ring. A minute later I heard he had left a message. In which he said he was looking forward to seeing me and to give him a call. Which I promptly did.

Daniel asked if I wanted to have dinner at about 8:00 (the original plan was to meet for drinks) and I said, “Sure… that sounds good,” panicking, thinking, I can’t dump him if I haven’t had a few gulps of a gin and tonic! After dumping Daniel I had planned to go to Ned and Olivia’s party. Not cause I’m callous, but because I knew I’d be feeling terrible and would not want to be by myself with my misery. But their party was starting at early… So I called Daniel back and suggested we meet at 7:00.

Then I flounced into the kitchen and told Jenny how I’d messed up, and couldn’t dump Daniel. I had told her earlier in the week that I was going to break up with him (if we could be said to be dating, which I guess we could) and Jenny said she thought I should. I felt really saddened by that, more than when Caroline agreed with me when I told her I thought I should end it.

Next Marc called to say he was too sick to go to Ned and Olivia’s and I burst out with my problem. “Please come!” I said, but no go. I got ready to leave, and for the first time I wondered if I really would go through with the break up. You don’t have to do it tonight, I told myself. You could do it next week. Or even tomorrow. But that would have been selfish, fucking him and then dumping him, although I would have liked that last fuck… Anyway, it was only as I was on my way to the subway station that I realized there was no reason whatsoever I shouldn’t break up with Daniel; I could do it just as easily at dinner as I could over drinks; alternatively I could do it after dinner, over drinks. Was I was looking for an excuse not to do it? I thought, I’ll say something when he notices I’m being weird.

When I got to the restaurant Daniel wasn’t there. When he appeared it turned out he’d been outside for the past twenty minutes, and had left me a voice mail message. We were seated, and Daniel stretched his arm across the table and took my hand and beamed at me. I clutched at his palm, half reluctant, half loving it.

I kept waiting for him to notice there was something wrong, but he didn’t. “I saw my ex this week for a booty call,” he said sheepishly, and I repeated that to myself, trying to gauge how much it hurt to hear that. “Anyway, it’s totally over now. She just wanted to get it out of her system, and now she has.”

“I don’t think having sex with your ex means that’s its over,” I snickered. “That’s not what it usually implies.”

“Well, in this case, I think it’s over. We’re not going to have sex again.”

Right. “What else did you do this week?”

“Well, I saw Robin on Thursday,” Robin. “She lives right around here…” all the while he was still holding my hand and smiling. And I didn’t say anything, but just gradually relaxed into his presence, basking in the way he looked at me and clasped my arm.

Well, I don’t have to break up with him tonight, I consoled myself as we left the restaurant hand in hand. When we got to the Flatiron Lounge we found ourselves in two arm chairs so we could not cuddle but, again, Daniel stretched his arm out to stroke my hand.

“Do you have plans for New Year’s?” he asked after we’d ordered our drinks.

I rolled my eyes, as if to say, Don’t ask. Figuring he was planning on ringing in the new year with Robin, I’d made other plans, sort of. The very day Daniel had told me he and Robin were going to Atlantic City, I’d got to work to find an email from my friend Jake, inviting me to his Naked Party on New Year’s Eve. (More on this later). The timing seemed propitious. Also, it was narratively appropriate, since it was Jake’s invite to his Naked Party back in March that first started me on my sex quest. So I wrote back to say I would come. But then I’d asked my friend Dana what her plans for New Year’s were, and she didn’t have any. And as it turned out Olivia didn’t either, since Ned would be away skiing (which I think is a flagrant violation of the Boyfriend Code, but anyway) so we agreed that later in the evening we would all get together at Marc’s and cook dinner. Marc was going to the UK and I would be watering his plants (that is, I would be crashing at his place, which is very centrally located). I didn’t go into all this.

There was a flyer on our table, announcing a New Year’s Eve party at the Flatiron Lounge. Daniel has been a huge fan of the place since the first night we went. He’s taken Robin a few times, I know. I also really like it -- it's not too loud, with really plush, comfortable chairs and exotic, if expensive, cocktails. “What are you doing?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” said Daniel. “I haven’t made plans yet.”

“We could go to this,” I suggested diffidently, indicating the flyer.

“It might be expensive.”

I shrugged. “Do you want to do something on New Year's Eve?”


“I mean,” I said, biting the bullet, “Do you want to do something with me?”

“Sure,” he smiled.

I smiled back. And I didn’t regret it at all, I didn’t feel like I was making a bad decision and the idea of breaking up with him seemed totally silly. Daniel was kissing my hand and stroking my knee and looking all lit-up and smiling goofily, and I daresay I looked exactly the same. You can break up with him after New Year’s, I thought, but I might be kidding myself here. “I figured you were doing something with Robin,” I blurted out. “Otherwise I would have asked you earlier.”

And from then on I just didn’t think about it, and I knew there was no way he wouldn’t be inside me later and I was really glad.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Jeremy, Again

The following Monday I again went out with Jeremy. This time we met at a tapas bar on the East Side. I’ve been there a few times and have always liked it. When we met I took the bull by the horns and kissed him (open lipped, no tongue) on the mouth, since I figured he wouldn’t. He seemed pleased by it. Once again we ordered wine and talked a blue streak. Jeremy was reading a book by a writer I’d never heard of. I read a good deal, but even more to the point, I have a very good memory for names. Not to mention I also used to work in a bookstore, and a library – I see a lot of books. I was very impressed to see he was reading something so obscure (it was an Englishman’s My Life Among the {insert ethnic group here}-type story. I like a man whose reading extends beyond the Dave Eggers-Jonathan Franzen continuum and into the world of Penguins and minor dead guys.

I haven’t written much about Jeremy. I found his profile on a personals site and hotlisted him; he emailed me a day later -- he'd seen that I'd hotlisted him! (Again, passive aggressive, but quite useful!). He has dark brown hair in a sort of schoolboy’s haircut and wears jeans and wool sweaters and looks about 28. As it turns out, he’s five years older than I am.

We have a few things in common – more things than I have in common with anyone else I’m currently seeing. We’re both non-religious Jews (OK, like about 30% of this city’s population, but still); we’re both from the tri-state area and we both have two graduate degrees and one sister. Both of our sisters have one child. Not to mention both of us look younger than our actual ages. Both of our parents are a bit older and both are still married. Do you know how often I meet a guy my age whose parents are still married? About never. Nowadays, I feel almost like meeting a guy whose parents are married is about as common as meeting someone who grew up in New York City. That is, not common at all.

In addition to all these interesting but, OK, ultimately not terribly important commonalities, Jeremy is an architect who owns his own apartment. I sort of swooned when I heard that. Oh, God, that’s embarrassing. But first of all, I think that being an architect is cool. As he explained it, “It’s a combination of art and science,” and he’s right. I like the idea of that combination as a career – cerebral but arty, scientific and aesthetically impressive. But of course, I really liked the idea that he had bought an apartment. I thought he probably had some money, despite the fact that he’d told me architects don’t make much. (I didn’t know that. I thought most working architects bring in a good salary, on par with doctors or lawyers, though perhaps not New York City corporate lawyers). Of course, Jeremy’s ideas of a decent salary and mine may be totally different.

Any way, at the end of the night we entered the subway together and on the escalator down to the platform we started kissing. I missed my train (well, it was about to leave anyway) because we were kissing, and once again I left him with a strange dislocated sense of wellbeing...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

In Which I Come to a Decision, Which is Sort of Momentous

On Saturday night, while I was at Jessie’s party, I kept wondering what Daniel was doing. And longing for him. Imagining him with Robin. I got a bit drunk, and as I walked to the subway station I even cried a little. Thinking: I have to end it.

Subsequent thinking has confirmed the idea. There’s no way around this: we have no future together, since I want two kids and he wants a vasectomy. And even if we did, he doesn’t want a relationship. And even if he did, that’s not to say he would want one with me. But he doesn’t want one. He’s twenty six, and recently out of a three year relationship. And, you know, I don’t want a relationship either. I want to keep sleeping with Jefferson (and whomever he might choose for me to sleep with!). I just don’t want Daniel to sleep with other women. Men, OK. Women, no. Robin? NO.

Which is ridiculous – there’s no reason here. Just jealousy. This can only end in tears: mine.

Anyway, all day Sunday I couldn’t find my way around the idea, and I got a session with my therapist Caroline specifically to bend her ear about it. She agreed with me. “I think he’s dangerous for you,” she said, after I’d outlined all the problems. The thought of Sweetheart Daniel (as we call him in my apartment, because me -- and my roommates -- all agree that he’s a sweetheart) –lanky, geeky, gentle Daniel as dangerous, felt awful. And of course, she’s right.

The other thing Caroline said was that the worst thing about the way our sexual mores have changed is that it makes us ashamed to have feelings. And she’s right about that, too. I have no qualms writing about deep throating Jefferson, but I was originally not planning to post the brief entries (here and here) in which I’d moaned about how jealous I was of the fact that Daniel went to Atlantic City with Robin and not me. That sort of information, to me, seemed to shameful to reveal. It negated my hard-won perception of myself as emotionally carefree, sexually liberated and in charge. It showed me to be just another girl who’d gotten in over her head. It seemed to signify that I had not matured at all since Michael left me in a puddle of misery back in 2002, or even since I was a lonely and self-pitying teenager, nursing crushes on unavailable boys. But, Caroline said, there isn’t anything to be ashamed of. And she’s right. I love Caroline.

Daniel emailed me last night, saying he wanted to get together soon, as well as this weekend. I ruminated all day, getting used to the idea. Finally emailed him to say I was busy this week, but we should go out on Saturday night. When I guess we’ll go to the Flatiron Lounge, site of our first, gorgeous and fantastic date, and tell him I can’t see him anymore. Because I just can’t. If I continue to see him yes, it will in part be a power issue, because ‘the more loving one’ will be me, and I’ll be consumed with envy and longing. But also it will hurt, and it will be better to end it now than in three months, when I’ll have to admit that I love him. Please God, let him at least seem a tiny bit downcast when I tell him I can’t see him anymore.

I wish it weren’t like this. I wish I were a less emotional person. I’ve always been vulnerable like this. I wish I had a thicker skin. I wish I didn’t like Daniel so much. It’s ironic: I can’t see him anymore because I’m so crazy about him. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Going Dutch: a Discussion (with Kissing!)

I had a date with Jeremy. He suggested we meet at a place near where he works, off Avenue A. It was one of the first really cold nights of the year (one of the very few, so far) and walking to the bar in the darkness I was a bit frightened. I don’t care how yuppiefied Alphabet City is, it still evokes that terror and admiration that it commanded when it really was the worst neighborhood in Manhattan, not so very long ago at all.

Anyway, it was a nice bar with an exposed brick wall and dim lighting. We sat and drank and talked. Jeremy was personable and intelligent but as he talked I thought, “He reminds me of someone…who?” Then I thought: Amy! I went to college with her. Maybe it was the nose, or the shape of his lips, which were a dark red, like he bit them. But it was hard to feel attracted to someone who reminded me of a girl. I mean, he wasn’t effeminate. And thinking of that, then I noticed who else he reminded me of: Grandpa from The Addams Family! That was definitely the nose. Or do I mean The Munsters? Anyway, gah! I mean, a very youthful looking Grandpa.

But Jeremy really was very easy to talk to and I ended up telling him about temping, and my search for a job with a steady paycheck.

When he asked for the bill he said, “I don’t believe in paying for dates, but I’d like to treat you tonight…”

“Okaaay,” I said. He doesn’t believe in paying for dates? What’s up with that? “You don’t believe in paying for dates?” I asked.

“Well…” he said, and then he went on to say that the last time he had been on a date and offered to pay the woman (I was going to write girl but no, she must be a woman) said, “Why would you want to do that?” which put paid to his offer.

“I would never not let someone pay for me,” I said rather emphatically. “I’m broke.” True. “But also, I don’t know, it’s a date. When you go out on a date you should be prepared to say, ‘This is a date. It’s important, I’m making an effort. I think rituals like paying reinforce the sense that it’s an occasion. It should be.”

I recounted this conversation later to my roommate Jenny, who pointed out that this was a bit self-serving on my part. So it is. Does being a feminist mean I can’t let a guy pay for me? I certainly do appreciate the gesture (and, let’s face it, the savings), and like the sense of formality and solicitousness it suggests. According to Miss Manners, the person who does the asking does the paying. But I don’t really ask guys out, so I never expect to pay. I think a guy should pay on the first date. That being said, I generally offer to contribute my share.

The upshot was that Jeremy paid for me, and then walked me to the corner. He was going to go in for a peck, I think, but I launched myself at him, and there we stood, making out on the corner of Avenue A and 6th Street. I didn’t know if I found him particularly attractive, but it seemed like a good idea. Also, it was freezing and he provided some body heat.Then we said goodbye and I made my way to the train, bemused, with the memory of his lips against my throat.

Monday, January 01, 2007

At Long Last (for Once) Consummated!

First, thanks to Jefferson for the mention. Hey!

Of late, my MO has been to go to bed with a man within a few hours of our meeting, if we’re going to have sex. Viz: Daniel, Roger, Alejandro, Eddie …

But with Jefferson it was a bit different. His escapades – detailed so amusingly on his blog --made me think he was most definitely not for me. That is, I was afraid he was much too …well… advanced.

Anyway, as I’ve written, back in October we had a drink and started talking, and since then I haven’t been able to shut up. And then last week he told me that his HIV test had come back negative – so –

I thought I wouldn’t be nervous. I even thought I could do it sober. But when I left my office my stomach was in knots.

When I turned up at his place instead of the prolonged talk we have had on our previous dates, we immediately kissed and he lugged me over to the sofa. There I curled up against him and nuzzled his neck. He took off my shirt. Then he started removing my trousers.

“Wait!” I said. “Let me take off these first…” I rolled down my knee-high stockings, anxious to give it some panache after
last week’s stripping debacle. “Cause I wouldn’t like to be naked except for knee highs, which are the least sexy item of clothing in the universe,” I explained. “Can I have a drink?”

"Uh huh," Jefferson didn’t move.

So I sprawled naked on his couch and we kissed, and then Jefferson picked me up and carried me into his bedroom. “I’d feel really bad if you got a hernia,” I said. Which was a sexy and mood enhancing thing to say. Not.

In his room he slid me onto his bed and loomed over me, smiling. “I’m going to fuck you now,” Jefferson said, parting my legs. “That was the foreplay,” he added, sweeping his hand across my thigh: “Telling you that I was going to fuck you.”

“Ah.” I smirked.

He put a condom on and pulled me towards the edge of the bed. He swung my legs around his neck and slid towards me. “You really are tight,” he said, after a minute.

What I was, was incredibly nervous. “I’m nervous,” I said.

After a moment Jefferson paused. “I’m nervous, too,” he said, which I appreciated. He slid on top of me. “Let’s have that drink.” He didn’t move. We started rolling around on the bed, and he was pinning my hands to the bed, and teasing me – about how I look, and my weight, and I blurted out, “Do not ever say anything about my ass!” I wasn’t mad, but I was serious. I mean, nothing is guaranteed to make me more miserable than negative comments about how I look. Which is totally obvious from this blog, and is a strong indication of my tiresome vanity and need for approval and other really unattractive qualities. Ahem.

“Boy. We’ve got to work on you,” Jefferson said. And then he said nice stuff about me and my greedy ego was soothed.

But eventually he got us drinks and we sat propped against the wall, and started talking – again. I told him about the first time I had sex (with Dennis Trainer, that schmuck. Now a neocon in DC) and about my ill-starred affair with John Killian, on whom I had a tremendous crush in college. As it turned out, he had a crush on me, but was still dating the woman I had thought was his ex. Good times. Again: not.

Jefferson told me about going down on this girl as a college student, while playing Patti Smith’s Horses on the turntable. I pictured this (“Horses! Horses! Horses… Do the Watusi!…”) and started giggling.

When he started talking about how he hooked up with his male college roommate, I got kind of excited. “OK, I’m just going to climb over you a bit,” I announced, straddling Jefferson and bending over his torso. “Keep talking…”

Again, he smelled what perfume bloggers call “gourmandaise” – like food. “This time you smell like buttered popcorn,” I said. And not the crappy fake butter you get at the movie theater, either. Jefferson laughed.

I was getting all turned on, hearing him tell me about his old roommate. God, I love hearing about two men getting it on. We started fooling around. At last Jefferson asked, “Should I go down on you?”

I gasped, “No, you’ve got to fuck me, please.”

This I think he liked. Again, he pulled me to the edge of the bed and placed my legs around his neck. Then at last he slid into me, and I was so grateful. I think I thanked him.

He fucked me for a long time.

Then we stopped and talked again, and drank a bit more whisky, and I said, “You know how you said you might ask me to sleep with someone of your choosing?” He’d emailed me about that.

“I said I would tell you to sleep with someone of my choosing,” Jefferson corrected, ever dominant. He straddled me.

“Yes, but I reinterpreted it,” I explained. “Well, who were you thinking of?” Because, my God, I found this idea pretty exciting. Only I was afraid he’d want me to sleep with someone who wasn’t as careful about using condoms as Jefferson.

“Really nice guys. Really cute….”

“I mean, … are they careful?”

Jefferson laughed, “Well, I can only speak for then when they’re with me…” He slipped on a condom and started fucking me again with a kind of ferocity. “You asked me to get… tested…” he panted, “…And I thank the woman who stuck a needle into me that I can fuck you… Cause you are totally worth it.” (He said something like this. I can’t remember exactly.)

“One...” I was breathing heavily, too. “I didn’t ask; you offered.” This is true. I would never have asked; I thought that would be rude. Also, it would have been like abrogating responsibility, in a way. Oh, I don’t know. “Two,” I met his eyes: “You had me anyway.”


Afterwards, we lay sprawled on his bed. “I think I’d like it if you called me a whore,” I said, apropos of I don’t know what.

“Oh no,” said Jefferson. “You have to earn that. When you fuck one of my friends, then I’ll call you a whore.”

I'd have to earn being called a whore? Of all the sexual stuff we've discussed, I would never have thought being called names was the one that might meet resistance from Jefferson. This is the kind of statement Daniel is happy to provide for free... Was Jefferson's refusal some sort of kinky submissive thing? Or a kind of applied economics?

“But then I wouldn’t want it,” I said. “I mean, if it were true I don’t think I’d want to hear it.”

“No, afterwards,” said Jefferson sensibly. “While you’re doing it you want to feel protected, and safe.”

Clearly, Jefferson knew whereof he spoke. I shrugged.

Then we talked about me fucking people in front of him. The idea is unnerving, certainly. But, right now, the drive to live somewhat dangerously, and take a few (calculated and with due regard for my sexual health and safety, natch) risks makes the prospect intriguing rather than horrifying. I like being intrigued.

Women came up. I've never so much as kissed another woman. But, hey. From the vantage point of Jefferson's bed, with the reality far away, it seemed like a reasonable idea. “Well, I’d probably do it," I said. "More cause I’m feeling experimental than anything else,” I added. Cause I couldn't see fooling around with girls on a regular basis. I'm not that cool, after all.

“You don’t have to do it, you know.”

“I know.” Funny thing, I trust Jefferson. “I’ll probably do it.” I knew that if I'd really been scared, or turned off, I’d have revealed my doubts and fears earlier. Like, as soon as he brought it up. I was getting used to the idea. “I put my money where my mouth is,” I said, fiercely. Cause, you know, I do.

It was already really late, and he had to go. We got dressed and he showed me a recent post -- a very cute boy in a bathtub. Is that who Jefferson meant? That he wanted me to sleep with? Oooh, I hope so.