Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I’ve been seeing someone. Just three dates, but it’s felt more real than any “relationship” I’ve had in quite awhile. On the first date, we met at a nice wine bar and had charcuterie, and he didn’t even try to kiss me. On the second date, dinner of oysters and a whole fish followed by dancing, all of it planned and paid for by him. We went back to his place and it was late so we both decided I would sleep over. I think neither of us wanted to necessarily have sex yet—we wanted to take our time—but seeing as I was in his bed, how was that not going to happen? We had sex and it was nice, and then the next morning (Valentine's Day!), we had sex again, and we both came. (You guys, I had an orgasm on fucking Valentine's Day!!) On the third date, he took me to a self-realization center and then we went to my favorite restaurant for dinner. Again, he paid. This time, he picked me up and brought me a tiny vase of handpicked flowers. All of this I found incredibly romantic and unexpected.

Something happened after we had sex. Something that frequently happens. I found myself thinking about him more than I had before. Missing him, wanting to see him again. My female brain had turned on. Whereas before I had felt casual about our dates, now I felt anxious about the next one and like I was counting down the days. What was happening to me? It was all the scarier because I felt I really connected with this guy and didn’t want to fuck it up by getting obsessed.

Let me back it up. A month ago, I went on an ayahuasca journey. I drank the tea and lay down for a six hour, closed-eye meditation, and let's just say I saw some stuff. I saw John the bartender and all the various guys I'd had sex with over the past three years and, in a sudden moment of clarity, realized that what I had been searching for outside of myself had actually been within me all along. I was filled with an intense feeling of being in love that had nothing whatsoever to do with any of these men—in fact, it was a feeling I had never quite achieved with any of them. I felt in love with myself. I know this sounds very new age-y and some of you might be getting ready to barf, but it was a big revelation for me and afterwards I felt truly invigorated. I realized I was happy being on my own, knowing that I didn’t need anyone else to make me feel good or fulfilled.

Then this guy came along. And he really took me by surprise. We had met at a place where he works and I was freelancing, and then ran into one another around the reservoir by my house—him jogging, me walking. He said we should get a drink sometime. I said yes, enjoying the possibility but also thinking it might never actually happen, and continued on my walk. Within the hour I had a text from him saying he had gotten my number from a coworker, he hoped that was okay, and how about tonight?

At the wine bar, I found myself telling him everything, even about my blog—a subject I’ve made it a rule never to discuss on a first date. I can’t explain it except to say that from the questions he asked, I couldn’t not talk about the real stuff that was going on with me. I told him about my ayahuasca journey, about my revelation that I am enough. There was no small talk. I told him about my three years of sluttery and how I felt them coming to an end, that I’d recently had an epiphany that I wanted more than just random sex with strangers. He enjoyed my candor and shared that he too had been slutting around since his fiancĂ© basically left him at the altar, and that he was also coming to the end of this period in his life. I was surprised at how easy it was to talk to him. I had been nervous about the date, in part because I wasn’t sure if we’d have sexual chemistry, and also because I was pretty out of practice at the whole dating game. On our third date, I explained to him, “I don’t date much. I have sex and long relationships.” He told me I should go on more dates. 

What I liked most about this guy was the lack of games. After our first date, he texted that he was “still smiling” and wanted to see me again. Even when I went on my angry feminist rants, he seemed to gaze at me fondly. As we lay on the grass at the self-realization center, he watched me watching a couple young kids playing and said, “children laughing is the best sound in the world.” He seemed to be waiting for a response. What was I supposed to say to that? When a man says something like this, the woman swoons; but if a woman pays too much attention to babies on an early date, the man is likely to run for the hills. It reminded me of that Sex and the City episode when Carrie, trying to get back together with Aidan, goes to his apartment in the middle of the night and throws rocks at his bedroom window. In voice over she says, “When men attempt bold moves, generally it’s considered romantic. When women do it, it’s often considered desperate or psychotic.”

This guy told me that he had talked about me with his best girl friends, and that he'd just bought a sail boat and that “we should sail to Hawaii!” Maybe it’s just me, but when someone says something like this out loud, I take them seriously. I don’t assume this is just something they might say to anyone who happened to be sitting nearby. But maybe I was wrong. Maybe this guy does act like this with every girl he meets—stares fondly into her eyes, makes her feel like he’s falling for her—when really he’s just equally interested in all humans. He told me on our second date that he felt that sex was a contract and that he was more careful with it now because he knew that women could get hurt. He said he had tried to have casual sexual relationships with women and it never worked out for this reason.

When he dropped me off that third night, a Saturday, we made out furiously outside my front door. He was ending the night prematurely because he had to get up very early the next morning to help his friend build a deck before a baby shower and, as he explained, he liked me and wanted to get to know me better. Meaning, I guess, he didn’t just want this to be a sex thing. That honestly didn’t occur to me, as I found myself much more drawn to his personality and our emotional chemistry than the physical aspect of our connection. To me, the physical was just an extension of how we were connecting on so many other levels. He told me, "what I'm looking for is a best friend who also makes me really horny." Aren't we all, I thought.

He asked if I wanted to see a movie the following Wednesday and I said yes. I had already invited him to a concert on Friday, so now we had two dates for the coming week. My roommates were out of town and I had said he should come over and I’d make him dinner—he suggested we do this on Friday before the concert. I warned him that we shouldn’t make too many plans, but I found myself wanting to make more plans with him, even thinking about distant future plans that I really shouldn’t have been thinking about. Excited, I started to design the menu for Friday night.

On Tuesday night, he called to say he probably couldn’t do a movie on Wednesday after all because his work week had gotten insane. I put a smile in my voice and said, “Sure! No problem! What about Friday?”
He hesitated, “Well, the thing is we’ll probably be shooting all day Friday into the evening… but I might be able to make it.”
“I don’t want to stress you out!” I yelled happily into the phone.
“You’re not! It’s stressing me out that I can’t see you.”
“No problem!”
“Why are you so cool?” He asked, a delighted tone in his voice. My face reddened, thinking of the Amy Schumer sketch about the “Cool Girl.” I’m not, I thought. I just didn’t know I was allowed to not be cool in this instance. After all, we’re just casually dating.
“Well, if you can’t make it Friday, please just give me some notice so I can find someone else to go with me,” I said. He promised he’d let me know tomorrow. We hung up, and I was irrationally flooded with disappointment. I almost burst into tears. What was wrong with me? What did I expect? Why had I built this into some big thing? Here we had made two dates this week, and he had essentially cancelled both of them. But why did I care so much? How could he have known that I already had a full menu planned for Friday night? I felt emotionally raw and out of control. I didn’t like this feeling. I was having PTSD from the time when Mr. Intimidated told me at the last minute that he couldn’t come to the Sleater Kinney concert with me, and I couldn’t find anyone else to use the ticket, so I ended up going alone. I wasn’t going to let that happen again. I decided to preempt the situation. I invited another friend whom I hadn’t seen in awhile to come with me to the concert. He said yes. I felt better, gaining back some sense of control.

When I told the guy that he was off the hook for Friday, I expected him to say something like, “Bummer! I wanted to see you.” Instead, he said, “Haha! Okay!” I suddenly realized that, despite the intimate behavior and loving way he looked into my eyes, he actually did feel pretty casual about this. Maybe all men felt casual about everything all the time. I was apparently incapable of feeling casual about any guy I fucked. And here he was, apparently not really caring that he would now not see me for over a week. I suddenly realized I wanted even more than this. Even more than a man who would bring me flowers and plan interesting dates, I wanted someone who showed up when he said he'd show up and who understood that I’m a planner and when I plan something and someone throws a wrench in my plan, it stresses me out. Maybe he doesn’t know this about me yet, maybe he won’t like me anymore when he realizes I’m not as cool as he thought, but that’s a risk I’ll have to take. I can be the Cool Girl a lot of the time, but not all the time. And I need to be with someone who doesn’t require that of me.

I don’t know what the future of it is. We’ll probably see each other again—after all, we do have tickets to attend Dan Savage’s amateur porn festival Hump! when it comes to LA in March so, unless something comes up and he has to bail, we’ll probably still go to that.

I find myself very vulnerable lately, and also full of expectation. There is so much I want and I really can’t let the whims of a man control my emotional state—it happens too easily of late. I know I’ve said before that I should stop having casual sex but I think I need to take it a step further and instigate a three dates before sex rule of thumb. The culture tells us that sex is casual and no big deal, and even I have spouted this same logic on this very blog. But I think I was underestimating the power of sex, the power it has over me. I have taken it too lightly, and it's not fun anymore. It's been a learning curve for me to even realize that by saying this, I'm not slut shaming myself, but actually protecting my heart. No matter how casual and cool I try to act, I can’t deny the effect that sex has on my emotions and my general sense of well-being, not to mention my ability to focus. I think men don’t really understand just how hurt we can get. Because we’re literally letting them inside our bodies. They don’t know what it’s like to be that vulnerable.