A Great Thing Badly
I’ve done a great thing badly.
I’d forgotten how all-consuming falling in love can be, like a fire ripping through a house, tearing at the walls, spurred on by an unquenchable thirst for oxygen, consuming all within its grasp. My recent reliance on casual encounters has left me calloused. I assumed there were no chinks in my armor, no access to my heart. Haughty, I took pride in my ability to separate the physical from the emotional.
And I was pretty damn successful at it… up until 12 days ago.
Nine months ago, we met on one of those hook-up sites where people pretend to be there for something other than casual sex. Oh, there are exceptions, and this man was one of them. He was LTR oriented. My idea of long term? Over 20 minutes. But he had something much more traditional in mind.
I contacted him on a whim, deciding that if he, like so many others, never responded - no big deal. For me, it’s a numbers game. You throw out as many lines in the water as possible in the hopes that someone bites.
We clicked instantly.
He seemed a bit out of my league. And something about his use of language when he responded indicated that he was intelligent. His flirtations were witty and ripe with promise of the kind of sexual exploration that appeals to me a great deal; the man was a bit kinky. And handsome. To these eyes.
We exchanged emails and continued to feel one another out. I let it lapse because I got the sense that he really was searching for ‘the one’ – that mythical creature that has eluded me for so many years, the one I had begun to believe simply didn’t exist.
Summer came and I wanted to be outdoors. I removed all my on-line hook-up site profiles so I could focus on enjoying the season.
At the end of summer, out of the blue, he checked in with me via email. He wanted to know how the BDSM camping thing went. We wrote back and forth. Enough time had elapsed that, while I remembered him (I saved all his emails in a folder), I had forgotten that big red flashing light; the one that said ‘Stay Away’. However, logistics worked against us and nothing came of it.
Fast forward to a month ago. I’m horny and trying to think of ways to hook- up without resorting to going back on the hook-up sites. That’s where those folders in my Outlook account come in handy. I hit up a few fuck buds from the recent past or those that have shown an interest. This man is one of them. He’s one of the few who return my email.
He wants to know what changed my mind.
I really should have paid more attention to that question. I assumed he meant about getting together again. But, based on what has transpired, I think he also meant something else.
So we meet, for coffee. Another red flag; most people who hook up do not screen their tricks at some anonymous coffee shop. We end up talking for three hours straight. And he catches me totally off-guard, because, going in, I have this one-dimensional view of who this person is based on our shared sexual interests, and, unbeknownst to me, it turns out we have a ton of stuff in common. In fact, he reminds me of me about twenty years ago. Self-flattery, to be sure, but we truly do have a lot in common.
And then there are things we don’t have in common. He’s damn hot. Huge arms. Broad shoulders. Small waist. He’s wearing a very flattering, tight baseball-style black and grey shirt and a pair of dark jeans that leave NOTHING to the imagination. His buzzed head is super sexy. I like his smile, his eyes, his cool glasses, his perfect ears. I find him to be very, very attractive. I assume he’s 28 years old (and out of my league).
Ten minutes into the conversation, I start to assume that nothing of a sexual nature is going to happen, so I relax and enjoy the conversation – which I don’t force – and my latte. Three hours pass. It feels like one. We talk about art, theater, working out, fashion, hipsters, pets, past relationships, our families. He reads. He sings tenor. We both love farms. We cover so much.
Surprised by the time, I excuse myself, telling him I have to go feed my dogs and get to church. We stand to go. He rides his bike everywhere, which helps explain his fantastic legs in those skin tight jeans. But, of course, it’s not just his legs that look incredible in those jeans. OMG! There ought to be a law. I pay him a compliment and he makes some comment about enjoying my ass as I walk away. This surprises me, because during the previous three hours sexual attraction was never discussed. I leave puzzled and try to sort it out on my way to my car.
What just happened?
And he’s masculine, but there’s nothing put on about it. I mean, he talks about softer stuff, like fashion, and theater, and music, and his cats (he has two). And I find myself wondering if I met him in, say, a work situation if I would assume he was straight. Maybe I’m just being stupid. And while I would question it, I would assume he was straight.
Well… not in those jeans.
Almost immediately I start wishing I had met him twenty years ago; before I’d become so bitter and jaded.
There’s an email waiting when I get home. It contains the word ‘giddy’. No one I know uses that word, except me, and I know exactly what he means when he does. He’s very complimentary and he’s definitely attracted to me. He says it’s all he could do not to kiss me on the spot.
Something about the email nags at me, but we make plans to see each other the following Monday. However, Sunday morning, at five a.m., I decide to spell things out for him. After a nice soft intro I get right to the point.
“I wanted to clarify something before we continue. I am not long term relationship material. I don't know if you remember that, but it used to be part of my on-line profiles. I'm more of a fuck bud or friends with benefits these days. You mentioned that you don't do the one night stand thing. Well, I don't either... I'm more of a 20 minute-stand-thing guy. More on that later, if you care to hear.
To be honest, I'm simply too damaged. We sort of started to touch on that, but, trust me, where I'm coming from, we hardly scratched the surface. I can actually laugh about most of it now, but if anything, I serve as a cautionary tale and something most people can't deal with. Happy to talk about that more. I try to be pretty open about sharing stuff. And, hell, I could talk to you about almost anything.
I'm also older than you. So, I know myself pretty well. And, if you care to get to know me, I'm afraid you'll see exactly what I'm talking about, so... maybe you should consider me a bullet you dodged.”
He writes back and tells me that we should just see where things go and that he won’t be pushing any sort of agenda. That’s enough to get me to lower my guard.
We go out three times. We make out twice. He’s an amazing kisser. I live in awe of his body.
And I fall hard.
Really, really hard. Harder than I ever thought possible. Like back when I was 18 years old.
We’re sharing music and movies and dreams and castles in the sky.
I’m perfect for him. I can say that with absolute confidence. And he’s perfect for me.
We make plans to see each other this coming weekend, both Saturday and Sunday. But something’s not right. My stomach is in knots all the time. I hurt. I start crying for no reason. Old tapes start playing in the background. I find myself being sucked down into some weird abyss that I vaguely remember from my past.
I go to bed early, thinking I must be really tired. And I cry. Sob. It’s nuts. I’m nuts.
So I get up and write an email.
I explain how wonderful I think he is in great detail. How fucking amazing he is and how he simply blows me away. Then I explain how damaged I am and how I wouldn’t wish me on anybody. I don’t want to harm him in any way, but fear I may already have done just that.
“I wish I had known. I wish I had trusted the universe enough and waited for you. But I didn't. I've come to see that my life is something that I have created by forcing things into being rather than allowing them to evolve naturally. I thought that is how you build a life. And I have been wrong. That is how you hurt people.”
And yes, I’m… I’m full of shit. I’m a total a-hole. I’m a jerk. An idiot.
But that’s long been the case.
I don't know what I will do now. Stop all this casual sex, I think. It's taken someone like this wonderful man to make me realize just how selfish, destructive, and pointless all of that is.
He was perfect for me. I was perfect for him. And I know we’ll never see each other again.
Yes, I’ve done a great thing badly.
Last night I broke someone’s heart…