The first guy who ever asked me out on a date was a customer of mine. Now, don’t get the wrong idea, I was a cashier at the supermarket and he used to come into the store late at night. During my shift.
He was tall, handsome, always smartly dressed. I remember a long grey tweed overcoat that was particularly sharp. He looked like a runway model. I’d watch him furtively as he shopped. When he would approach my register, the conversation would be sparse, but there was hardly a shortage of smiles. Flirtatious glances. His name was Tom (he usually paid by check, which is how I got his name and address.) I’d fantasize that he would ask me out. Then one night he did, only I didn’t know it. Not right away.
The phone rang in the office as I was getting ready to close. A man on the other end was saying something that I could not absorb. He may as well have been speaking Chinese. After making him repeat it three times, it finally registered that he was asking me to dinner. To go to dinner. With him. On a date.
I burst out laughing. It was too much to take in. How could I go out on a date with some guy over the phone? Some disembodied voice? He did not give me his name. I did not think to ask. Who was this guy? Why would he think I was gay? He told me he had been in the store that night, which was how he knew I was there. The more I laughed, the more I felt bad that I was laughing, and tried to smooth things over, not wanting to hurt his feelings. Which encouraged him to ask me out again.
Finally, I had to say no thank you, and to insist no thank you, then thank him for the kind offer and wish him a good night. After I hung up the phone, I remembered the tall handsome runway model had been in the store not half an hour before. Just enough time to make it home, unpack his groceries, and muster up the courage to place the call.
It was him, my fantasy date, and I turned him down! Each time I saw him after that, I tried to let him know, telepathically, that he should ask me again. That I would say yes. Guess he wasn’t psychic, since he never did.
The past few weeks, I’ve been combing through the handful of guys I’ve dated, or almost dated. Missing some of them. Dreaming about one or two. I had a long dream about the first guy I sort of dated. Long story, complicated situation. He wasn’t gay, nor was I. We were perfectly matched, but neither was ready. Four years of dancing around the topic without so much as a kiss.
His name was Paddy. Paddy the prep school boy. Four years younger than I was, and I was fairly young, at that. I’d never been kissed. In fact, Paddy was the first person I ever wanted to kiss. There would be moments when it seemed like a kiss was the most logical thing to occur next. We’d be sitting close to each other in a movie theatre. Whispering so as not to disturb. I’d gaze down at his lips, he’d gaze down at mine. Kiss me, damnit, kiss me.
He must have been thinking the same thing at the same moment, but without one of us willing to make the jump, how could it happen? What we would do was wrestle. On the bed. Off the bed. Onto the floor. Knocking over furniture. Rug burns. Was he as aroused as I was? Did he know I was aroused? There were so many times I thought the rough play was going to lead to, well, rough play. It never did.
We talked about it. Alot. Too much. About our feelings for each other. Perfectly natural, considering how well we got along on so many levels. Romantic feelings were bound to arise. Logical. No need to act on them, of course.
How I wish he would have grabbed me and torn off my shirt, pulled down my jeans, tossed me over his shoulder and took me to his bed. How I wish I would have grabbed him in a dip, kissed him on the mouth, grabbed his ass, slapped his ass. How many nights were we both hovering at the same brink? Romance hanging heavy dense misty in the air between us. Only to evaporate unbreathed uninhaled undrunk unswallowed.
It ended badly. With a Dear John. From me to him. I’d had enough. The phone rang three days in a row, unanswered. He left no messages.
He’s now an ordained minister in some church in another state. Couldn’t write it any stranger. A man of the cloth. So far from the frustratingly, exasperatingly, cerebral guy I knew.
Dreamed we were in my old apartment in the city. Having a conversation. The time was now, though. Re-connecting with a straight guy who used to sorta be my boyfriend. Woke up feeling as if the dream really had taken place.
Then there is my last boyfriend, whom I broke up with when I found out he was seeing another guy. No animosity. I just wished him well and called it a night. He wanted to see me one more time. As much as I longed to feel him in my arms, and kiss him goodbye, and look into his eyes, and tell him how I wished that I could have made him happy, that I could have been the one he chose, I declined. Our last date had been on my birthday (and included a birthday spanking,) so I wanted my last impression of him to be of that, and not of a tear-filled break-up. Now, though, I am fantasizing about spending an afternoon with him. Catching up. Daydreaming about him cheating on his boyfriend with me. If he so much as touched me, I know I’d be all his.
I’m also thinking about that one roommate I used to fool around with, when he was living here. I’d love to have him for an afternoon, as well. With him, there was never a commitment involved, we both understood we were just playmates, and that was fun. Really fun. I remember the night we climbed up onto the roof to watch the meteor shower that was supposed to be visible in our corner of the sky. It wasn’t. There were shooting stars of a different kind. Tiny, tingling, timid ones. Inside. I wanted to take advantage of the obvious romance staring right at us, promising to engulf us, to pluck us off the roof and send us falling into the sky.
He had a boyfriend, though, and so did I. We stayed as we were. Uncommitted playmates. He always smelled so damn good. This playmate roommate. I used to tell him it was what I would miss when the time came for him to move on. I was right.
Guess this is a time to think about old loves. To make way for new ones. It’s the funniest thing with me, I spend so much of my life alone. Single. Yet, on the rare occasions when I am in a relationship, it feels as if that’s how it’s always been. The exception feels like the rule. As if I’m normally half a couple. When the truth is the exact opposite.
I have a facebook friend I recently re-connected with, after removing him from my friends list once. One of the times I trimmed that down. Now I know why I took him off.
He writes long and desperate pleas for love and attention. As his status updates. For all his friends to see. “Why doesn’t anyone love me? Why don’t I have a boyfriend? Why am I always so alone?” Like that. Ew. Icky.
Of course, he’s hoping to be flooded with reassuring comments from friends and family, telling him how great he is, and how he’ll find the right prince charming one day. There is something so Oprahish about airing emotional laundry in public. It’s a real turn off. So is desperation. Potential partners can sense it, and run for the hills.
Which brings me to me. Maybe I turn people away, for a different reason. The converse reason. Maybe I come across as if I couldn’t be bothered? Invitations to dance turned down. Laughed off. Break-ups taken in stride. I’m anything but lonely. Maybe self content isn’t always a good thing.