I see Childhood Crush once more before he heads back to San Francisco. He comes over on Sunday afternoon for a couple hours before he’s due somewhere for dinner. Again, I feel unclear about what he’s doing here. He doesn’t want any coffee; he doesn’t want to sit outside even though it’s a beautiful day; apparently he wants to hang out in my room. He seems anxious, like he’s waiting for something.
He sits on my bed and tells me about his fucked up family. He calls his mother, “the neediest woman in the world.” She is always broke and asking him for money, and she never pays him back.
“Once I had to borrow $10,000 from my dad to give to her,” he tells me. “She is not his favorite person.”
His dad is a pretty famous writer who remarried a much younger Chinese woman and now has two kids with her. I wonder how his father could hate the mother of his first born child, and also see how that could really fuck up said child.
“Me and my dad don’t get along,” says Childhood Crush, but it’s also clear that he really looks up to his father. I know from my mom (still living in the small town where we grew up) that there is also a history of neglect there.
I can’t help but draw the parallels between Childhood Crush and Gaffer Guy. Another wayward Man Child, Gaffer Guy also didn’t respect his mother and had a kind of hero worship/loathing for his rich and powerful father. This I see is a recipe for disaster with young men.
“No wonder you’re so angry,” I say, playing the therapist. I actually enjoy hearing the more personal details of his life. It’s far more interesting to me than the laundry list of his professional achievements. I realize we are both in a transitional phase of our lives, we are both bored and wanting change, and we are meeting one another at this specific moment for that very reason. Perhaps to show us both what we don’t want anymore—letting go of old habits.
He gets up and starts pacing around my room. He eventually sits down in my desk chair. He asks me to close the blinds because the sun is shining in his eyes. It’s very warm and I can feel myself getting sweaty. My face feels hot and I think it must be bright red—it gets redder as I think this. He tells me about the friend he’s staying with, who is at this very moment getting dumped by his girlfriend. He won’t tell me how his friend knew he was going over there to get dumped.
“Man, I told him he should just break up with her first.”
“Maybe you’re not the best judge right now,” I laugh. Considering he’s still reeling from getting dumped himself eight months prior.
“He’s my friend but he’s kind of a pussy.” He tells me about how his friend can’t fix anything around the house.
“Men should be able to fix shit,” he says. I have to agree.
“Just like women should be able to cook something,” he goes on. I laugh.
He says his friend is “stuck on the models.”
“You should know about that,” I say.
“Nah, I’m done with models.”
I have to say his history of dating models makes me feel weird despite myself. He seems generally obsessed with hotness and youth. He talks a lot about “hot girls.”
He opens my bedroom door.
“Where’s the bathroom?”
While he’s in the bathroom, I lie down on my bed. When he comes back, he lies down next to me. It’s almost time for him to leave for his dinner. He stares at my breasts.
“How big are your boobs? D cups?”
“No, C. I actually wore a 36-B most of my life and then I got fitted a couple years ago and the lady told me I was actually a 34-C. It was awesome. I gained a whole cup size that day!”
He continues to stare, unamused by my story.
“Was that uncomfortable?” I think he means being told I was a cup size larger than I had thought my entire life leading up to that point, and I start to respond when he interrupts me.
“No, I mean wearing the wrong bra size.”
“Oh, no. I don’t think so. They’re pretty similar.” I realize we often have moments like this, lost in translation—on a fundamental level, we don’t understand what the fuck the other is talking about.
“If you want, after your dinner you can come back here and we can have sex in this bed.” I smile at him.
“Fuck later. How about right now?” He chuckles.
He remains next to me and puts his arm under my shoulders. We start to kiss and he takes my breast out of the top of my dress, sucking on my nipple. The exchange feels oddly sexless, as though performed from a sense of duty rather than any real impulse. He awkwardly crawls on top with his arm still under me. It feels like a lazy choice—exerting as little energy as possible.
He gets between my legs.
“It’s pretty sweaty down there,” I warn him, half-jokingly, but actually I’m serious. I can feel the heat and moisture between my legs.
“Oh.” This seems to interest him.
I go to pull my dress over my head and he says, “No leave it on, I like the dress.” He fingers me a little bit and then takes a condom out of his pocket and starts fucking me without taking my underwear off. He buries his face in my neck and pounds into me. I try to slow him down—he keeps pounding. He kisses me, his whole weight pinning me to the bed. He doesn’t look at me. Eventually, without a sound, he comes. And it’s over. He rests his face in my breasts for a moment, and I pat his back. He gets up and takes off the condom, tying it off and dropping it in the trash. He pulls on his jeans and heads for the bathroom. I fish the condom out of the trash and wrap it in a tissue. That familiar feeling of post-coital disappointment washing over me.
“Sorry to bang and dash,” he says when he returns. I walk him downstairs and kiss him goodbye.
“I’ll give you a shout later,” he says and bounds up my steep driveway.
I don’t see him again before he leaves. When he’s back in San Francisco, he texts to ask if I used the rest of my fancy condoms yet. I realize he thinks, probably from things I’ve said, that I’m constantly fucking random guys when the truth of the matter is he probably has a lot more sex than I do. I wonder if this is the reason the sex felt like he was masturbating inside of me and also why he didn’t go down on me at all—because he thinks I’m a slut, and not necessarily in a good way. My response to his text is to send him a picture of my boobs. I can’t explain this except to say it turns me on to do so.
I’m on a hike with my forty-something friend Paula and I tell her about Childhood Crush.
“Did you get your gold back?” She asks.
I just stare at her, a quizzical expression on my face.
She explains: “When you’re young, you admire people and look up to them because you think they’re special. But it’s actually not them. It’s you. You’re projecting all your good stuff onto them because you’re not ready to hold it yet. So, I wonder if you got your gold back from him and realized what you thought was special about him was actually you.”
This idea had never occurred to me before. She explains it's from a book called Inner Gold by Robert Johnson, and offers to lend it to me.
“I wish I had known that for the last 28 years of my life.” She nods.
“And the answer is no—I didn’t get my gold back from him.”
When I was younger I remember my mom warning me about sleeping with guys too fast, not for any punitive reason but because she said, “one tends to fall in love with men when you have sex with them.” At the time I took this to be a very old-fashioned idea, and until recently I’d considered myself immune to this cliché notion of sex-induced female attachment. But I suddenly understand what she means. I think there’s something chemical that happens to a woman when she has sex with a man. Maybe because they literally put their things inside us, inevitably some remnant is left behind. A glue that binds us to them, despite ourselves. It must be biological, because it feels completely out of my control. It makes sense—in nature if a male has sex with a female, it is to impregnate her and her impulse then would be to keep him around to help provide for the baby. Right? This is the only explanation I can find for the fact that after I have sex with a guy, I can’t stop thinking about him. No matter if the sex is good or bad or whether I like him or not. I find that it takes a couple weeks for this to cool off—and often the more I don’t see him, the more obsessed I become. When I see the guy, usually it’s disappointing. By that point I’ve made up so many stories in my head, his real life presence can’t possibly live up to my expectations.
Now that I know there’s perhaps a biological reason for this cycle, I can stop being so hard on myself about it. Or perhaps, practice not having sex right away. This could be the solution to my problem—if I don’t have sex with douche bags, I won’t think about them so much. It’s too late for Childhood Crush, but a good lesson for the future. I’ve had my fair share of bad sex, and as I age, it too gets old. It’s no longer worth the emotional roller coaster it causes. I feel like at this point my expectations are so low that if I met a man who was interesting, attractive, funny, and remotely good at sex, I’d fall in love instantly. Now that’s a scary thought.