“Here, take $10 in case there's tax.” He holds out a bill.
I shake my head, uncomfortable taking money from him. We're
standing outside Trader Joe's and the air is spicy. Gaffer Guy is trying to buy me one of those cinnamon witch brooms TJ's is
selling for Halloween. It costs $3.99. Again, he pushes the bill at
me, again I shake my head.
“Fine. Suck a dick. I'm trying to buy you a present.”
This is just how he talks, I don't take it personally. I relent
and reach out my hand but he's already shoved the cash back in his
pocket and he won't offer again. I feel remorseful – I've made
I haven't written in several weeks partly because I don't know how
to write about what's going on. I also feel lately like a really big
failure as a feminist, and I think I'm a little embarrassed to
talk about it. Especially in light of the criticism I received from
“Anonymous” on my last blog... I'm warning you, friend, it gets worse.
I don't want to say I'm dating Gaffer Guy because it usually
doesn't feel like that's what's happening, but we do hang out a lot
and sometimes it does seem relationship-y. He buys me flowers and
brings them to me at work. We go out for lunch and beers often, and
he always insists on paying.
He comes up with these strange plans, always on his terms, and I
go along with them.
“I need your help with something.”
We're going to grab tea before he has to head back to work.
“You come over tonight after work and tomorrow morning at the
butt-fucking crack of dawn, drive with me out to Sunland to look at
this BMW. If I like it, I'm gonna buy it. Then you follow me back
to my place in my car.”
“Okay, if I help you with this, you have to at least give me one
kiss.” This is in reaction to last night when I sat with him and
his buddy drinking beers for several hours and didn't even get a kiss
goodnight. I've become very frustrated with his apathetic physical
attention – getting him to fuck me takes much coercion and
sometimes a little guilt-tripping. I swear I've never had to work so
hard for sex – this must be what it feels like to be a guy.
“Uh yeah. If you sleep over there will be lots of kissing.”
That's all I need to hear.
These moments when he needs my help are advantageous for me,
because it means I might get laid. It also means he can't crap out
on me at the last minute – when something comes up that he
considers more important than seeing me (which is pretty much
anything – like helping his friend move big rigs in the middle of
the night, for example). We're best when we have a task – he comes over to help
me hang my paintings, I drive with him to Sunland to buy a BMW. This
way we can pretend we're not just hanging out because we like hanging
out – we really need each other's help.
That night, we meet for drinks at the British pub by his house.
There's an incredibly loud rock cover band jamming in the main room,
and we take turns screaming at each other over our beers. I enjoy
the vibration of the music through my body, and it's so loud I'm forced to stick my face into his neck with my lips hovering beside his ear every time I want to say something - this proximity is usually a no-no, and I take full advantage. The band members are
dorky and excited and look to be having a blast. He orders a chicken
quesadilla and I'm not hungry but I eat with him anyway. His eating
schedule is out of whack and I often have two dinners when I see him
– one healthy and full I prepare for myself at home early in the
evening, one junky and incomplete I share with him late night over
I tell him I'm thinking about moving to London, that my godparents
have a place there.
“We should just go there for a couple months. Tell them we're
coming to stay with them.” Nothing he says ever makes any sense to
me. The other day he told me I should move into his guest bedroom
and pay $800/month and we could be roommates. I told him he really
is crazy, that it was pretty much the worst idea I'd ever heard.
“Well, for one, you would start resenting me the second I moved
in. For two, I don't want to listen to you fucking other girls in
the next room. And then there are a billion other reasons it's a
“Ouch, man, that hurts.” Yep, he calls me 'man'.
We walk home to his place and he's doing the dreaded slow blink
that always tells me it's going to be a real challenge trying to get him to
have sex with me. His dogs greet us at the door and Gaffer Guy
promptly feeds them their dinner. Then he takes two hard-boiled eggs
out of the fridge and spends fifteen minutes torturing the dogs by
putting the eggs on the floor by their feet and making them wait to
“Daddy's home. Whose the boss?”
I beg him to just let them have their treat. He looks annoyed and
makes them wait longer. Finally, he says “Thank you” in a
sardonic voice and this is their cue to eat their eggs.
“I'm tired man,” he tells me again. I now know this
translates to “I probably won't have sex with you tonight. It's
not you, it's me.”
He changes into baggy boxers and a wife beater and crawls into
bed. I'm wearing sexy, coordinated underwear but I see this is not
going to have any affect on him so I take off my bra and panties,
leave on my skirt and shirt, and join him in bed. He hits the
lights. We lay there for a moment in the dark and I'm playing it
very passive aggressive. I refuse to be the one who makes the first
move again, but I'm also
going to be totally pissed if I don't get some tonight. I'm on my
back – not my sleeping position, but I want to make it easy for him
to kiss me. And miracle of miracles, he actually does! After a
moment in the dark, he takes a deep breath as if gearing himself up
for something, leans over, takes my face in his hands, and kisses me
long and deep. We start making out, feeling on each other's bodies.
He crawls on top of me...
Afterwards, we hold each other. I kiss
his neck, he kisses my shoulder and squeezes my arm. He likes to
give me a little back and shoulder massage after sex, which I
thoroughly enjoy. Even though I know it's my consolation prize for
not coming. I've still never had an orgasm with him, which is
strange because I'm obviously very attracted to him, I want him all
the time, and I enjoy our sex a lot. To be honest, I don't really
care that I don't orgasm. I mean, it would be nice, but it's not the
reason I have sex with him. He just feels good to me, and in this post-coital moment, I feel close to him. It's not
We wake up early and get ready for our
road trip. Neither of us shower, both wear clothes from the night
before. We head out to Sunland and it's Saturday so there's not much
traffic on the road. We listen to Blue October's Sway and he
talks shit and makes me laugh the whole time.
“I told the owner I'd be coming with
my girlfriend so she doesn't think I'm a serial killer.”
“You should've said I was your
sister. Then we could've really given them a show.”
It's a beautiful morning and I watch
the sun climbing higher in the sky as we cruise up the freeway.
We drive down a suburban street that's
not quite as upscale as we were expecting. We joke about a shopping
cart in the front yard across from the Beamer's house – not a
promising sign. The woman who owns the car comes out to greet us and
we all pile in to take it for a test drive. Gaffer Guy naturally
wants to check the pick up speed and zooms along the residential
streets, narrowly missing a couple of early morning joggers and
blowing through a stop sign.
“Whoops, didn't see that one. Sorry
The owner and I hold on for dear life
as he puts this baby to the test. The owner tells us the windows
recently started having issues going up and down and Gaffer Guy
deduces they're off the tracks. The car is supposed to be $4,000.
“Let's say I give you $3,500 cash
right here right now. Knock off $500 so I can get those windows
fixed. It's probably going to cost a bit more than that but...”
The owner sounds slightly defeated but
she agrees. He's good at getting people to do what he wants.
As she's signing over the title, her
husband comes outside with their 4 month old baby wearing a little
hoodie with bear ears. He's got orange and black Halloween socks on
his tiny baby feet.
“His first Halloween,” says Gaffer
When the baby sees me, he opens his
mouth wide in a big smile. He does it again and I laugh, feeling
that familiar biological pang. Despite myself, I can't help but
think that Gaffer Guy might notice how this baby is drawn to me
and... I have to cut off this train of thought. It's coming from my
uterus, which is not where my best decisions are made.
Gaffer Guy is counting out hundred
dollar bills into the owner's hand.
“Gotta make sure it's all there. She
likes to go through my wallet.”
Meaning me. I roll my eyes and glance
at the husband, who laughs, realizing this is a joke. Gaffer Guy
likes to pretend I'm his high maintenance girlfriend when we're
amongst strangers. He's fond of saying things like “I need to make
more money. This one needs new shoes.” Or, “Gotta go buy the
girl breakfast.” Yes, it's a slightly sickening role play but I am
so not this girl so I find it funny, and I sort of enjoy playing the
straight man to his crazy.
He's also fond of acting out dialogue
between us, naturally imparting a high-pitched squeal for my voice.
When he does this in front of strangers, I try to get them on my side
by telling them: “I don't even need to say anything. He acts out
both our parts.” In some moods I enjoy this caustic banter, in
others I find it incredibly offensive and it makes me hate him.
Strangers watch our display with a mixture of sympathy and confusion,
unsure whose side to take and whether or not this is a joke. I wish
I knew. They probably think we're both nuts and we deserve each
All papers signed, hands shaken all
around, we say goodbye, and Gaffer Guy hands me the keys to his old
car. I follow him back onto the main road where we stop at a gas
station so he can fuel both cars. He buys me a protein shake and we
get back on the road. I follow him as he pushes 85 on the freeway,
clearly enjoying his new ride. I hang back – I will not follow him
Back at his place, I park the Corolla
he will be returning to its owner – an older gay man I call
Liberace because of the way Gaffer Guy imitates his voice. We kiss
goodbye like lovers loathe to separate. He holds me tight, squeezing
my back in places as though trying to memorize the way I feel. He
asks me what I'm doing later. I can't believe how much time we're
spending together. I can't believe I'm still doing this with this
person I have vowed to stop seeing more times than I can count.
My only justification is that I've seen
a side of him that makes it very difficult for me to walk away. And
I know it's a female cliché and believe me I hate myself for it, but
I see all this raw potential in him and I watch him completely
wasting it and fucking up his life, and it makes me want to be a good
influence on him. There, I said it – we can all go throw up now.
The other part of it is purely chemical – that animal
attraction I can't seem to shake. It's hormones.
He texted me the other day:
“We both know I'm an asshole.”
“You sure are.”
“And yet you still love me. Who's
I think he's just waiting for me to
come to my senses. I know my friends are. No one, including him,
understands why I keep coming back for more. I wish I knew what to
tell them. Why him? Why am I so drawn to this particular flame?
I'm trying not to be too hard on myself about this. I expressed to a
girlfriend that I think he's much more vulnerable than me and I'm not
worried about getting hurt – I'm stronger than him. She shared
with me this sage analogy:
“Are the people on the Titanic any
less vulnerable than the Titanic itself? I mean, the ship's gonna
sink and they're all going down with it.” I laughed and told her I
have a really great life vest.
Will I heed her warning advice? No. I
can't seem to listen to reason right now. Not about this. Sometimes
I think about telling Gaffer Guy, “you know what, I think I'm
done.” But the only reason I would actually do that would be to
hear him say “No! I'll stop being a dick. I don't want this to be
over.” And I know he will never say that. Because he's not a guy
who fights for what he wants, and his ego refuses to admit he
actually likes me. Sometimes when he's drunk, he tells me he loves
my face. If I told him to fuck off and never talk to me again, he
would do just that. And that scares the shit out of me.