Jode was a boy. Age nineteen. He sent me a message on a dating site. I’m not sure which one it was, but it was definitely a dating site, and not a hookup app. This I know for certain, because I do not use, have never used, one of those.
His message was sweet. Telling me that I have pretty eyes. Once I saw how young he was, I planned to delete the message without a response. The more I looked at it, though, the more I felt he deserved at least a thank you. Which is what I sent. Then this:
“It’s very flattering, but you are far too young for me.”
I figured that would be the end of it. I was wrong.
He sent me a reply, asking what difference his age makes. He wasn’t being sarcastic. His question was genuine. It was a fair question, so I took a few minutes to compose something tactful, offering an explanation, but not encouragement.
I didn’t think the exchange would go any further than that. Again, I was wrong.
We began having a conversation in which he seemed to be hitting on me, and I seemed to be telling him that I wasn’t interested, and yet I kept writing back, giving the impression that this boy did have a chance.
His arguments were thoughtful. Intelligent. Vastly more mature than I would expect from someone so young. Really, we are talking young, here. Nineteen. Not yet a man. Not yet the person he is going to become.
I’ve never dated anyone so young. It was out of the question. There was no way I was going to go on a date with a teenager. The youngest person I’ve ever dated was twenty-three, and he was too young for me then. I was comfortably over thirty, which I must say gave me a nice advantage in our relationship. He never challenged me.
There was a nineteen year old boy once, years ago, who did challenge me. We were not dating, although I was torn about that. I knew he was too young, but I also knew that he did things to me that I did not know how to handle. He was the first person I’d ever met who was happy to be gay. Also happy to be young. He made me want to be both, which I never wanted before, not even when I was both.
Now Jode was challenging me. He was using logic that I myself would have used at his age. I tried to explain that it’s far easier to write off an age difference when you are on the younger end of that difference. It’s not so easy when you are on the older end.
Everyone thinks younger is automatically more desirable, that all a person needs to be is young, but that is not true. Not anywhere near true. Youth is certainly attractive, but that attraction only goes so far. If I was the type of person who was interested in random sex with strangers in bathroom stalls, perhaps it would be enough. Since I am not, it is not.
I explained, as nicely as I could, that I was looking for an actual relationship. Jode said that he was, too. Then to prove it, he began sending me poems.
Poems. This extraordinary boy was courting me with love poems. Which he had written.
No one had ever sent me poems, and I have to say it was very romantic. I looked more carefully at this boy Jode. He was undeniably cute. Slender build. Soft features. He was studying photography at school, and had an instagram account. So I looked over his work.
His photos were good. Wistful. Lonely. There was longing there. I started to wonder if maybe we could at least meet once or twice.
It would not work out as a relationship, even though he insisted that he preferred older men. I cringed when I heard that. Older man. I do not think of myself as an older man, but of course, compared to a teenager, that is exactly what I am.
He told me his last relationship had been with a man who is older than I am, and it was a long term relationship. That made no sense. When did it start? When he was fifteen? Sixteen? What kind of man would date someone so young?
Just the sort of thing I did not want anyone wondering about me. I wouldn’t be able to introduce him to anyone I knew. I would feel ridiculous having dinner in a restaurant with a boy the waiter was certain to assume was my son. Same with the cashier at the supermarket, or the usher at the movie theatre…
All of this I expressed in writing, but he was impervious to what he felt was my limited thought, and began asking when we could meet.
So I began to play devil’s advocate with myself. What’s wrong with having an affair with a nineteen year old boy? Many guys would pay good money to spend just one evening with a boy like Jode. Yet here he is, practically begging to be with me. Who am I to turn away from love? Isn’t that what I’ve done all my life, and where has that left me? Single and now vulnerable to being described as… an older man.
Okay. I toyed with the idea of going on a sort of date. We didn’t have to meet for a romantic dinner. That would be uncomfortable. We could choose an activity. Like hiking. Or we could go to a movie. That seemed safe.
At this point, he started sending me text messages. All the time. Here is where the first red flags began waving. Here is the place where age began to matter, in a way I had not previously considered.
He was of the text generation. The iPhone attached generation. They came out of the womb clutching their electronic social media gateways, and their selfie sticks, and their need for constant stimulation.
He would get angry if I did not respond to his texts right away. Within minutes, there would be a bratty, petulant, tantrum:
“Can we please not do that thing where we make plans to meet and then you completely disappear?”
“Huh? I haven’t gone anywhere.”
“It’s been fifteen minutes! I sent a text and then took a shower and thought there would be a response from you but there is nothing.”
“Yes. It’s been fifteen minutes. Just fifteen minutes. My roommate came into the room and we have been talking and now I am writing back to you. Relax. No one has disappeared.”
This was perhaps the second or third time we tried to set a movie date, but so far had not been successful choosing which film to see. This decision apparently was overwhelming. Which I did not understand. How hard is it to pick a movie?
The romantic, thoughtful, endearing young man who had been courting me was turning into an immature, moody teenager. Which, naturally, is what he was. Proving my point that the age difference would indeed be an issue.
“Nevermind. I’ve already gotten undressed and am staying home.”
Enough of this. I picked up the phone and dialed his number.
“Are you mad at me, Jode?”
I was gently teasing him. My voice calm and reassuring. Whatever fit he has worked himself into evaporates almost instantly. Now that we have gotten past the temper flare, we can get back to working out the details of our first date. Which really should not be so difficult.
It’s raining, and he doesn’t think he wants to go out tonight. At first. After speaking with me for a few minutes more, he is having second thoughts about that. Maybe he does want to see a movie, after all.
“If that’s what you want. If not, we can go some other time.”
“I think I’m just going to call someone to cuddle with.”
“What does that mean? You don’t want to go out, but you want to meet up with someone to cuddle?”
Yes. He says he will use one of those hookup apps to find a complete stranger for a cuddle date tonight. This Jode is sounding less and less like the serious relationship minded young man who began a courtship with me, and more and more like an A-list West Hollywood circuit boy.
“Well, that doesn’t make sense. If you just want to cuddle, that’s fine. We can do that. Why don’t you come over to watch a movie on Netflix? We can snuggle up on the couch.”
He agrees to this plan, and we hang up the phone, but the texts continue. Now he is happy, and relays every step of the short drive. His last text is sent from where he is standing outside his car, in front of my house.
Jode is cute. Taller than I thought he’d be. About my height, which is not tall, but for some reason I thought he was going to be shorter. He’s slender. Dressed in a tight tee shirt, snug fitting jeans, and a coat. Which he does not remove, even though I offer to take it.
The first few moments are not as awkward as I was expecting. Standing in my living room with his hands in his pockets, there is something about him that reminds me of John Mayer.
We flip through a few movies on Netflix before landing on a horror flick. I don’t mind the idea that my arms will be around him for the scary scenes. We settle in, although he is still wearing his coat. Has he not yet decided to stay?
Oh. Clearly he has. I can feel him pressed against me, and he is already hard. So am I.
“Can I kiss you?”
Kind of sweet that he asked permission.
“Of course you can kiss me.”
That continues for a while. No complaints from me. I’m rather enjoying this warm boy snuggling against me. His lips are sexy. There is the reminder of John Mayer. It’s the lips. I’m perfectly happy to make out on the couch until the movie is over. This cuddle date was not such a bad idea at all.
“Can we go in your room?”
Oh. So he wanted more than a cuddle date. Okay, we can go in my room, but we are not having sex. I’ve explained to him, more than once, that I am not promiscuous. That I was interested in a relationship, and was under the impression that so was he. We had discussed this in the early stages of the dating site courtship. I was not being coy. I meant what I said.
The whole conversation about our age difference included my feelings that many men would view him as a boy toy, but that I was not one of those men. His feelings echoed mine. He wasn’t looking to be used for sex.
It seems he hadn’t realized that neither was I.
In my bedroom, his jacket came off. As did his tight tee shirt, his snug fitting jeans. His body was exactly what you would expect from a nineteen year old boy. Trim and toned and smooth. He wore very sexy briefs, made from a silky stretch fabric.
My clothes were also off, or partly off, but we were definitely not having sex. Which I had repeated several times tonight. We’re just going to kiss some more…
“Are you safe?”
“What?” Does he think that’s all that is necessary? To ask if I’m safe?
“Are you? I need to hear it.”
He’s kidding. Yes, of course I am safe, but does he have sex with any guy who says he’s safe? With no protection? We are not having sex tonight, I say again. What I do not say is that he should not be jumping into bed with strangers and having unprotected sex.
He takes hold of my full erection and tries to place it inside him.
“No. Sorry, but not yet.”
He tries again.
“Because it’s too soon.”
Between kisses, I point out that this is only our first date.
“Okay, then I’ll leave.”
What? He’ll leave if I don’t have sex with him? I wrap my arms around his waist and gently urge him back into bed. There’s no rush, I whisper. Let’s just explore one another. Which I do, giving him warm wet kisses all over his body. Slowly.
His torso is amazingly smooth. His bottom as well. Round and firm. Ripe fruit. I bite.
“Is that all I get?”
Smile, laugh. I will gladly kiss his bottom some more.
Later on, when he does get up to leave, I have my hands on his body as he gets dressed. Slide under the shirt. Up his thighs with the jeans. Slap his butt as he bends over for the socks. He has nice feet.
With the coat, my arms embrace him in a cozy hug. Which we hold for a long time. He makes a halfway joke, wondering if this means goodbye. Am I thinking that I won’t see him again?
I’ve said nothing like that, but neither do I deny it. He’s sweet, this boy, but despite the poems, he appears to have wanted nothing more than a night of fast love.
When he gets home, he sends me more texts. He’s eating Oreos. Emoji emoji wink.