I feel much better since I’ve fucked someone else.
I know, I know: drama queen. But I don’t feel quite so terribly awful about Jeremy now that I can moon about Evan. Does that make me one of those women whose entire self esteem rests on whether or not men are prepared to sleep with her? I guess this would be a change from the olden days, when my self esteem rested on whether men were prepared to go on a date with me. Or am I a nymphomaniac? More likely just a shallow hedonist who finds sex a welcome distraction from obsessively mourning imaginary relationships…
Evan and I met at a crowded, brightly lit place on the East Side. It seemed very noisy, but the waiter led us to a fairly quiet and secluded table in the back corner of the room.
“So how have you been?” I said.
“Really, really busy,” said Evan. As it turned out, he’d received a big and surprising promotion, which I congratulated him on. “And you?”
“Actually...” I paused. “It was a pretty bad week, actually. But it’s over now.”
Oh, I got dumped and had hysterics for four days straight. That ought to go over well. “Bad news and stupid and annoying things,” I hedged, thinking of how poorly I had taken to my new temp assignment, and how much I was dreading returning to the office on Monday.
“Ah, it’s not really appropriate for me to discuss,” I said airily. I didn’t want to treat Evan as a psychotherapist, which doesn’t seem like good date behavior; also, I didn’t want him to think I was trying to use him as a psychotherapist.
We each ordered a glass of wine, and then Evan blurted out, “Are you pregnant?”
“What?! No, I’m not pregnant.” I smiled, bemused. Or maybe he thought I had a STI! “I’m totally healthy,” I added, just in case. And I explained, “I was just really wary of talking to you like a psychotherapist.” I said, “You know, like how the other night you told me that every woman you date tells you all about her therapist and what meds they’re on. I didn’t want to do that.... What happened was, I was seeing someone, and it ended really badly.” Well, objectively it only ended really badly for me, but whatever.
“I’m not pregnant,” I repeated. Which was one thing, anyway. “I mean, I would have told you if I was.” Imagine that, we’re dating for two months: Oh, by the way, I’m pregnant!
“I wouldn’t expect you to,” said Evan sententiously, “I mean, that’s something between a woman and her doctor.”
Well, right. I mean, if I’d been pregnant and planned to have an abortion. Right. A distinct pall hung over the air now. OK.
But eventually our conversation got back on track and Evan asked me a bit about my writing; I told him about the novel I’m working on. He expressed concern at being nosy, but, I assured him, “I think I can speak for most aspiring writers when I say I love talking about my work. I’m just afraid of boring you.”
“Do you have a blog?” he asked.
I froze. “Why do you ask that?” Which was a dumb thing to say. It was defensive, whereas I should have just said No. Or Yes, for that matter. But I didn’t want to lie.
“I don’t know,” said Evan. “You know, you’re a writer, it seems like most writers have blogs these days.”
I paused. “I do have a blog,” I said finally. “But I can’t give you the link,” I added wretchedly. “The blog isn’t... it’s not... it’s ... graphic,” I finished.
“Your blog is about your sex life? You have a sex blog?” Was it my imagination, or did Evan look decidedly impressed?
“Um, yeah. I mean, I write about dating and stuff, too, but there’s a lot of sex in it.” When I’m lucky, I added silently. “I know, it’s sort of hypocritical,” I went on, “I’m perfectly prepared to share my sex life with however many strangers come across my blog, but I’d rather people I know not see it. Most people I know don’t know about it,” I added, “Even my close friends.” This is true. A grand total of seven (well eight, now, with Evan, know of this blog; five people actually know the address, and two of those are my therapist and my psychiatrist).
“No,” said Evan thoughtfully, “I think it makes perfect sense.”
“Yeah, it feels much safer that way. I don’t think it’s hypocritical at all. I think it’s really great,” he added. “How you’re very up front about liking sex and writing about it...”
“Really?” I asked. He nodded. “Cool.” That was a relief. “I think I’d like another drink,” I said. This conversation had been pretty draining.
“Yeah, you look like you could use one,” said Evan. Oh I did, did I?
“So, does it feel weird,” he asked, “When you’re having sex, do you find yourself thinking about the blog, and how you’ll write about it?”
“Well, yes and no,” I said. “On one hand, I notice things-- I thought of Jordan, from whom I had felt so detached-- “Because some things you can’t help but notice, especially when you’re sleeping with someone new. Because, you know, sex is weird and funny and strange.” I paused, “But I do also feel caught up and sometimes overwhelmed by sensation... I don’t know.”
“Maybe I just have boring sex,” said Evan. “I don’t think I’d have anything to write about.”
“Well I’m a writer,” I pointed out, “I mean, that’s my job, to find the story.”
“So, will you write about this?”
We were both working on our second drinks; it was after 11:00. I hadn’t had much to eat and was feeling a little buzzed. This was not a bad sensation; especially as I was enjoying our conversation. At one point, while explaining something, my hand brushed his. This was, in fact, entirely accidental.
“You brushed my hand,” Evan smiled.
“Yeah. I wasn’t being coy,” I added. Since my great fear is coyness. My hand lay close to his on the table, but we were no longer touching.
“So I could brush my hand against yours now,” he said.
“But then that would be awkward and I’ve ruined the moment by dissecting it,” said Evan.
Was this his MO with all the girls he met? A psych-out based on purported awkwardness? That’s how I do things: he was stealing my lines!
“Wait,” I said after a moment. I shifted my leg until my foot was resting against his ankle. “How’s that?”
He smiled at me. “You’re really cute,” he said.
We compared depressive episodes – surely this isn’t standard second date conversation?—and Evan said, “Oh, I could tell you were on more than one antidepressant.”
“You could?” I was horrified: “Do I come across as that unstable?”
“Oh no,” Evan hastened to reassure me: “I mean, I’ve got a specialized knowledge, you know.” Well, I suppose.
“How could you tell?”
“Just the way you talked about medication; I don’t know. I’ve been on antidepressants, too.” This was followed by a round up of the drugs we had tried (“You were on Trazodone? Me, too!”) This was very interesting but kind of confirmed my suspicions that Evan was not the most happy-go-lucky of men. I myself am not the most carefree of women, but on dates I do take pains to appear reasonably cheerful.
Then our conversation wended its way back to the heart of things: “So with sex,” he said, “Do you worry about diseases?”
“Oh, I’m paranoid,” I said. “I have this list of questions that I ask.”
“What, you carry them with you?” he started to laugh.
“Well, not all the time!” Not tonight, certainly. After he had jerked away from my chaste kiss on Monday night I hadn’t thought he’d be so keen to get his clothes off with me.
“So what are the questions?”
I recited as many as I could remember. “I could print them out for you,” I offered.
“That’s OK!” he laughed.
“I’m going to ask you,” I said, then turned my head away: I had just told him I was going to sleep with him.
“What?” he asked.
“I mean,” I said, looking at the table, “I’m going to ask you the questions.”
At long last he leaned across the table and kissed me, and I stretched my arm out to stroke his hand, and touch his neck. We kissed some more, and gazed at one another smugly.
I was on my third glass, and Evan his second. But it was 1:00 am and the cafe was closing. And we’d been getting on so well! “We can make out when we get outside,” I suggested as I struggled into my coat.
Outside we did just that; it was pretty cold. I snuggled up close to him. “I could kiss you for hours,” I hinted.
“You could come over to my place,” said Evan, who clearly is good at hints.
Ha! “OK,” I said.
“We don’t have to have sex,” he added.
“OK,” I said again; honestly, I didn’t feel that strongly either way. If he wanted to wait, that was good, cause I could see the pleasure in anticipation here. On the other hand..
We took a cab back to his place. I feel the backseat of a cab is a natural place for a drunken make out session, but I wasn’t really drunk enough to enter into it with abandon, and it appeared that Evan was not really drunk at all. So I settled for sitting close to him and kissing once or twice. We got out of the cab and I followed Evan into a deli.
“I’ll just stand right here,” I said, and stationed myself in front of a copy of Us Weekly while Evan went to purchase condoms (I assumed). When he was done we walked around the corner to his building, which was a modern high rise with a doorman.
Evan lives with two fellow psychotherapists, two older women. The thought of them seeing me padding around the apartment in a t shirt and bare feet filled me with horror.
“They won’t hear anything,” Evan reassured me. Nonetheless, we went very quietly to his bedroom, which was off the kitchen.
It was a fairly small room, in the center of which was a bed was covered by several thin quilts. I sat on the bed and we started to kiss. “Let’s take these off,” he said, pointing at my boots. I unzipped them: “Oh, God, I didn’t shave my legs,” I cried. As I unrolled my tights another thought hit me: “And I’m not wearing nice underwear, either!”
Evan tumbled onto the bed beside me. We started to kiss. He took off his shirt. I had seen very little of him; I wanted to get a better idea of his body. My fingers traced his fine, hairless torso. He was squarer than Daniel, thinner than Jeremy, firmer than Jefferson, taller than Simon.
“Listen, are you sure you’re not too drunk?”
“I’m not drunk at all,” I promised. “Really.”
“OK, I wanted to check.” And he slid on top of me, covering my body with his. We made out for awhile, my mouth seeking his skin in the dark. He whispered: “I want to make love with you.”
“That’s really nice,” I whispered back. “I like that. I don’t hear that very often.” I don’t mean like, Oh, woe is me, no one ever wants to make love with (or to) me, I’m only available for fucking or sex. I mean, make love, that’s not a phrase you hear a lot. Even when I’ve been in serious relationships with people I actually loved, that wasn’t a term we used, really. The phrase is loaded, not just with emotion, but with the potential for embarrassment; it’s redolent of soap operas and a lack of irony. But to hear Evan say that-- well! Perhaps I was projecting, but I think it takes a good deal of bravery to tell a stranger you want to make love with them, and not just fuck them. And even if this is just how he gets unwary women into bed, well, it’s pretty effective. I want to make love with you. I liked that very much.
SIDEBAR. There’s only one other time a man has said that to me. It was about four years ago. I was dating a Dutch guy named Jonas. And on our third date, (we had yet to have sex, this was prior to my career as a round heeled woman) we were fooling around on his bed and he whispered, “Want to make love?” and I sort of swooned. Did he say that because he was Dutch, and didn’t recognize how loaded a phrase it is? Or did he say it cause he’s Dutch and was a sensitive welfare state liberal guy? We didn’t have sex until a few days later, and then immediately following that, he called to tell me he could no longer see me as he was still in love with his married ex-girlfriend. I behaved much as I did over Jeremy. To wit: hysterical crying fits. Not to mention swallowing a handful of Ativan in a fit of pique. (“You were on Ativan?” Evan had been impressed when I’d listed the anti-anxiety meds among my list of pharmaceuticals: “Did you like it?”) Ahem. SIDEBAR ENDS.
I ran my fingers down along the length of Evan’s body, trying to get a good look at his dick, hiding under the covers. He slipped his fingers along my clit. I sighed. After a while he reached over and pulled on a condom. “Can I ride you?” He nodded. I slid on top of him.
I looked down at him and sighed, smiling. He looked really, really gorgeous. “What name were you going to call me in the blog?” he asked.
“I was thinking Kenneth.”
“That’s my brother’s name.”
I fit him inside me, and held his gaze as I started to ride him. “Is that good?”
“Yeah.” He clutched my tits. “Oh, God, yeah.”
I fucked him for a while. “Can you hold my hips?” I whispered, and he obliged, putting the pressure of his hands against me while I rode him.
It felt really good but I didn’t come, though I was close, and at last I slipped off him and he climbed into me. It felt really secret and cocoon-like under his covers.
At last we fell asleep and I slept soundly, which I generally don’t do in a stranger’s bed. In the morning we cuddled, and I shielded myself from the sun spilling in through the blinds. He had to go to work, so we were on borrowed time. “Listen,” I said, leaning over him: “Do you think you could get inside me again or do we not have enough time?” I really wanted him inside me.
“I think I can manage it,” Evan said, hiding a smile, like he was pleased despite himself. Again I rode him and he hung onto my hips, pressing down as I rode him, but again I couldn’t come. Then he turned me over and slid one leg up so it rested on his neck as he twisted himself inside me from behind, with me on my side. This was done in what I thought of as a rather expert way, like it was a position he was very familiar with. As I guess he was. “Oooh,” I said, and my voice seemed to come from far away.
But then it really was time to get up. Evan took a shower while I read one of his textbooks. At last we took a cab to his office. This time we were both sober and it was daylight, so there would be no drunken making out, so I contented myself with a brief, close-mouthed kiss as we settled into the backseat. “I have to say goodbye here,” Evan explained as the cab drew up to his office. “In case one of my patients is waiting on the corner.” We kissed again, chastely. His lips were soft; his whole face was soft, sort of bleary and pleased. We exited the cab together and I gave him an awkward wave as we turned to go our separate ways. If a wave can linger, that wave did.