Here’s Where the Story Ends-ish, part two

Read Part One, here.

Crazy I know, places I go
Make me feel so tired 
I can see how people look down  I’m on the outside   
Here’s, where the story ends 
Ooh here’s, where the story ends   

The week after Thanksgiving, I was kid-free and looking forward to seeing a new exhibit at our art gallery. Should I invite Mr. SN? I knew he wanted to go, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask him. Because every time I ask him to do something other than have sex, he either ignores the invite or turns me down because he’s working. So now inviting him somewhere has become risky, and I feel vulnerable and fear rejection.

I type out, “Would you like to see the exhibit at the gallery Friday night” and delete it three times. Instead I text my Cinema Gay, “Whatcha doing Friday night?”

“Hanging out with you, obviously!”

Right or wrong, this is my expectation. I want a romantic partner to react the same way. I want to know that the mere mention of me having free time is cause for joy!

I went to the gallery with Cinema Gay and another dear friend, and the gallery happens to be around the corner from Bohemiatown where Mr. SN lives. And somehow I couldn’t let it go that I might be so close to him and not see him. So I asked him if he’d like to meet me around 9 to go see a really cool light installation.

His responses left me wanting something else. He wanted me to come over, told me it was his preference to spend time with my lady bits over looking at cool lights. I told him that I was menstruating and not in the mood for what he had in mind, but did he still want to see me.

“Sure.”

How to decipher that “sure?” I now detest communicating over text. Too much room for ambiguity and me attempting to read between the lines. In future relationships, I may try to avoid it all together. “Sure” is not “SURE!” I consulted a sage friend and decided I didn’t need to see him after all. I texted that I only respond to “sure” when followed by “!!” and I’d catch him another time.

“!!” and “I was working…”

OK whatever. Immediately after the text, I so wasn’t myself. I was looking at my phone and being all weird at the gallery. I was distracted at dinner. It’s actually unfair for my friends that I’m so in my head. It’s unfair to all of you to have to keep reading this NEUROTIC bullshit when we all know I should have cut this off months ago if I was going to go for heart. But I wasn’t ready for heart then, and I’m scared now, but I want to try for heart at least.

He suggests meeting at the bar across the street from his place. I tell him I have a gaggle of friends there celebrating a birthday. He says he’s not feeling social, to just come up for a drink.

I go there anyway.


It’s that little souvenir, of a terrible year
Which makes my eyes feel sore
And who ever would’ve thought, the books that you brought
Were all I loved you for
Oh the devil in me said, go down to the shed
I know where I belong
But the only thing I ever really wanted to say
Was wrong, was wrong, was wrong   

We sit in his kitchen for two hours, drinking whiskey out of a mason jar. He reads me another chapter from his book. It’s all so familiar, but in a way that has me looking at the clock. If we are not having sex, and we are not going out to do something, is there any point in this? I could be having a drink with the Witches across the street, I keep thinking. Finally I get up and say, “I think I’m gonna go.” Is it disappointment I see on his face?

I use the bathroom (there is always toilet paper now), and when I round the corner back into his kitchen, he’s standing and looking at me like I’m a chocolate eclair. “Fuuuuck…” comes the breathy whisper from his normally guarded self. He is a giant man in a black t-shirt and I have no will power when he is looking at me like this. I am in his mouth, I am gasping for air. “Well,” I quip, “I think we were pretty well-behaved until now.”

“I don’t know,” he responds, “I don’t think I’ve been so well-behaved. Touch the front of my pants to see how I’m behaving.” And that was it folks. I was in his bedroom, making out and giving him pleasure in the blink of an eye, even though that wasn’t what I’d hoped for. I missed my birthday celebrating pals and instead let him drive me home. I left wondering if I’d gotten anything that I wanted and realizing I did in a strange way.

I want more, but not from Mr. SN. There’s more to this story, but I’ve already shared too much, and the new development is not my story to tell. It does, however, follow a pattern and the note in the previous post warns me to believe patterns. I want to keep enjoying Mr. SN on occasion, because what we have is sweet and spicy, but with full awareness that it lacks sustenance and nutrition. And when I’m finally ready to let go of Mr. SN, I think that a real meal will appear. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy some last bits of fun and exploration, enjoy being friends and lovers with someone who is delightful AF but with whom I cannot share my heart fully. It’s been a delicious ride and I’m grateful for the experience, but I’m truly ready to explore what else is out there. As my friend Brenda says, “When you find the right one, it will be easy.” I’m counting on that.

It’s that little souvenir, of a colorful year
Which makes me smile inside
So I cynically, cynically say, the world is that way
Surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise
Here’s, where the story ends
Ooh here’s, where the story ends

Here’s Where the Story Ends-ish, part one

Soundtrack for this post: “Here’s Where the Story Ends” by the Sundays 

  People I know, places I go 
Make me feel tongue-tied 
I can see how, people look down 
They’re on the inside   
Here’s where the story ends

Mr. Saturday Night has gotten confusing as all fuck. Or rather, I’m confusing the fuck out of myself by not being able to read Mr. SN, nor being able to flat out ask him anything. At the end of September, on the day I found out my employee had cancer, I was bereft. He hadn’t so much as asked me a question in seven days and while I now know why, at the time I was so over it.

Normally on a week where my kid-free time was coming up, he would have made plans with me already, knowing I will fill my time otherwise (planners gotta plan). But that week, nada. I deleted his photos from my phone and tried to pretend that I didn’t care.    Then in the middle of the day, PING!

“Whatcha doing?”

My heart pounded, why does he have that effect on me? Deep breath. “Struggling to work through emotional distress. You?” Did I need to be so honest? When would I learn to hold back?

He was sympathetic and caring, “Would a chat later help?” He’d been in my life for six months and had never called me on the phone. Not ever. I said it would be lovely, but didn’t hold my breath. I went home and had wine (and a Timothée Chalumet movie) for dinner.

Then my phone rang.

Instantly I am teenage Maria. OMGOMGOMG he is actually calling me. Hyperventilate. Miss the call. Do I call back?

He calls back. “Hi, it’s Sam. Just wanted to see how you were doing. You sounded like you needed some support earlier.” What? We had a nice chat that I don’t recall the details of. I think I was so surprised that he’d actually called that I just graded the whole call an A+.

It left me completely confused. Did he care? “All it proves is that he’s not a sociopath,” a friend said, probably my divorce and sex guru, Colette. Later that evening, he texted to check on me again. Was I wrong about him? Who goes from not asking me a single question for a WEEK to being so lovely? Why are men so confusing?

“PAUSE, breathe,” my therapist friend said.


People I see, weary of me 
Showing my good side 
I can see how, people look down 
I’m on the outside   
Here’s, where the story ends 
Ooh here’s, where the story ends 

Thanksgiving came and while last year I’d spent it with Theo’s family, this year I wasn’t there. I wasn’t invited. And while sometimes I think there might be a day where we could all be one big family, Theo is moving on (ish) and she is not going to want to have to meet his family AND me in the same go.

I had planned on spending it alone, working on my budget and other painful things that would feel good in the long-run, but then Mr. Saturday Night reached out, “Thanksgiving plans?”  I made us dinner (a failed mediocre attempt at Thanksgiving dinner) and answered the door in a wine-coloured negligee. Because I could. And because there’s nothing like dulling the pain of holiday traditions you have to say goodbye to like feeling sexy and having good sex. (I’m sure hiking alone or something would be on the list, but this works for me, k?)  He was 20 minutes early though, so I didn’t have on a stitch of makeup. I did have a new hairdo, which he noticed right away and complimented me on. He’s not a man of many compliments, so I took it.

He kept his hands to himself and we chatted and ate appetizery-snacks, while I OVERCOOKED the turkey. He was complimentary on the food and we enjoyed one of our typical great chats and eventually he said, “Let’s go get that p*ssy of yours licked,” or something to that effect, and really, if you could argue with that offer, then you are a stronger person than me and should go hang with Pema Chödrön in a Nova Scotian monastery or something.


It’s that little souvenir, of a terrible year 
Which makes my eyes feel sore 
Oh I never should have said, the books that you read 
Were all I loved you for 
It’s that little souvenir, of a terrible year 
Which makes me wonder why 
And it’s the memories of the shed, that make me turn red 
Surprise, surprise, surprise 

Mr. SN revealed something intimate to me that week, that a former lover had died of tragic causes, and I knew that might mean he’d retreat. Or maybe it’s just that my expectations are out of line with how he shows up. Maybe what I view as “retreat after reveal” is just him not even thinking about it, because he doesn’t seem to need as much connection as me. But either way it just doesn’t line up. Something sad had happened and I wasn’t the person he immediately sought comfort from. Just like how I didn’t call him after I smashed my car.

With a bit of distance (and a bit of therapy), I can see the gaps in the affair. They are the same ones I flagged in this post over the summer. Red flags matter, because over time they become giant landmines that you can’t diffuse. I wanted to be wrong. I wanted the story to write itself differently. But why?  I can’t seem to separate sex and the desire to love. I wonder if it comes from a super Christian upbringing, where girls made rules to get around not feeling slutty about wanting sex. Some girls had anal and called themselves virgins. Some of us thought that if we just married the guy we lost our virginities to, then we were still living “under His eye.” Is there a part of me that wants to love the person I sleep with? In that desire to make my lover worthy of my love, I start to fill in the blanks with things that are not there, but could be there if I just wished them hard enough, no? NO!

Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 9.35.49 PM.png

The list above was posted on Instagram and I loved it instantly, because who of us hasn’t been guilty of at least one of these items? Pick any past relationship and hold this list up to it.

  • Theo: Adorably charming and loveable, but all of the above apply to him.
  • Ali: 1, 2 and 4.
  • For Mr. SN, 2 and 3 jump out the most. And as a result, 4 and 5 scream at me.

I wanted this to be a summer lover thing, and now it’s fall and it’s lingering, because damn I am so attracted to him and he’s an incredible lover. And also, we are probably both lonely and get along well enough to fill time and scratch itches with each other. However I’m getting incredibly tired and bored of the sandbox. I’m a girl with an explorer heart, so I keep walking around the edges of the fence he’s put around what this can be, or rather the fence I’m perceiving he’s built, based on our interactions. And the truth is, maybe this is all he can give right now and so keeps reinforcing boundaries. So the question becomes, is it enough for me? And what is enough for me?

“Don’t fall in love with potential,” should be tattooed where I can look at it every day. I keep thinking, “Oh but this could be so great if he’d just let himself fall and start treating me the way I’d like to be treated.” I want to be adored, as the song goes. And Mr. SN, he doesn’t do “adoring.” And that’s not a slight on him, if that works for him, great. No this is about me and what I want and what I’ve always wanted. This is about the fact that what worked for me last spring and summer isn’t going to cut it for much longer.


To be continued…

Limit to Your Love

Another enchanting evening with Mr. Saturday Night… swoon. We made love in the late afternoon light, to the sounds of tango music that floated into his bedroom windows from the street festival below. He read me chapters from the novel he’s writing. I brought him funky beers from my neighbourhood and we chugged them when we’d good and earned them, washing down salty chips to get our electrolytes back up (it was hot and we sweated, a lot). We walked his adorable dog and then he made me dinner in his kitchen. He laid down on his kitchen floor and we talked until I decided to join him on the floor to kiss his handsome face. We made each other laugh out loud. And then he drove me home.

YEAH. IT’S LIKE THAT! FOR REALS! Sigh.

But parking for a moment the joys of sexual ecstasy, the history lessons received while snuggled down in the pillows, and the countless hours of delightful conversation, there are these moments of complete cloudiness for me. And in those uncertain seconds, I go to a dark place. I get frustrated by what’s NOT happening, instead of tuning in to what IS happening. But after stewing in my discomfort for a bit while alone in his kitchen, I got a little clarity into it as he walked me to his car (to drive me home) and told a story about a family member and her expectations.

Clouds part
Just to give us a little sun

There’s a limit to your love
Like a waterfall in slow motion
Like a map with no ocean
There’s a limit to your love
Your love, your love, your love

It’s too soon to even use the word “love.” That’s not what this is, and I’m often so certain that that’s not even where “this” is heading. But I’m using one of my favourite Feist songs as the inspiration for this post. Because if anyone knows the realities of love and pain, it’s Leslie Feist. If you’ve never listened to her, go and seek some of her music out now. She’s a national treasure.

There are times where Mr. SN is so closed, and if I focus on those infractions, then I miss all the times when he tells me something really personal and intimate. He can go five days without texting me, and then I think he’s just not that into me, but he always re-emerges and when we’re together I don’t get that feeling at all. He’s into me. He wants to spend hours with me. It’s in between visits that trouble brews, when there are these long lags where I don’t quite know what’s going on or where his head is at, and the writer in me is very good at filling in blanks with nonsense.

There’s a limit to your care
So carelessly there
Is it truth or dare
There’s a limit to your care

There are moments where it all feels so vulnerable and exposed that I want to leave and say this is over. I am still longing for him to truly HOLD me, for example, and when that feeling comes over me while we are naked, I want to run. And I think I want to run because I can’t seem to ask for what I need in that moment. I’m still wondering why I can’t say, “Do you mind putting your arms around me?” Sometimes it’s actually not so exciting, or the conversation lacks honesty where honesty would satisfy my curiousity, and in those moments where I feel one of our walls up, I want to leave. But I’m missing the bigger picture as a result.

I can’t figure it out, what’s holding me back, or what’s holding him back, but each time we’re together, eventually it’s like a tiny piece of the puzzle reveals itself. We each give the other a clue about what makes us tick. Two passionately curious individuals who are (maybe?) both wondering which one of us is going to expose themselves first. And often, during these moments of honesty and vulnerability, there’s a little window where I think, maybe, just maybe, we could fall in love. Which is bananas. Or is it? Am I fast forwarding rather than letting things unfold? Yes. Am I letting what others think, based on data I’ve given them (which I’m learning that I need to keep to myself) influence my thinking?

I love, I love, I love
This dream of going upstream
I love, I love, I love
The trouble that you give me
I know, I know, I know
That only I can save me
I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go
Right down the road

My friends and loved ones don’t want to see me get hurt again. They believe I need someone to take care of me, financially, emotionally… but I’ve gotten pretty good at taking care of myself. And truly, even *I* know that I need to find someone who is at my level. So when I do find myself wondering whether “this” is “anything,” the universe has a way of snapping things back in focus.

There’s a fake Kurt Vonnegut account on Twitter (actual Vonnegut is deceased) that posts some great life insights, in honour of the late writer. I read this today before heading out to see Mr. SN.

And isn’t there something profound in that? Should we not just be loving the aliveness we each see in the other? What does that look like?

Now the key to that quote is in “whoever is around to be loved” — this does not mean the person next to you, but it implies that someone is present and ready to be loved. I know, after today, that there are some pretty big heart hurts in Mr. SN’s life, ones that cause him to put up walls or give me a small sandbox to play in. Ones that make him wince and shut down if I ask something that brushes up against his pain.

There’s a limit to your love
Like a waterfall in slow motion
Like a map with no ocean
There’s a limit to your love
Your love, your love, your love

But no one controls our emotions but us. And if I do “fall” then that’s my choice. It doesn’t mean he has to love me back, though from experience that gets painful in a hurry.  And what I love about this slow, steady pace is that events and feelings can just happen, in their own time, like the flame of a candle rather than a bonfire.

No one knows the right path, because there isn’t one singular “right path” for any of us, especially couples. Instead there are a million opportunities to grow and to tune into the “now.” The key to a long relationship, if I reflect on it, is in the choosing of the partner. But it’s also in our expectations. If we continuously focus on what’s NOT happening (as I often did in my marriage and STILL DO in any interactions with Theo), we will miss what IS. Full stop.

I know I’m not “supposed” to fall for the guy with the roommates and the boho lifestyle. I know I’ve been advised against it by countless women whom I respect and love. And so I’m pacing myself, but trying not to miss the fact that every date we have leaves me with a HUGE smile on my face. I may not be spending time with someone who is filling up my heart, but I am sharing an experience with someone who is feeding my mind and, to some extent, my soul. There’s personal growth happening here, via this path I’m choosing to be on, and that should not be discounted.

I can’t read your smile
It should be written on your face
I’m piecing it together
There’s something out of place, ooh

On his end, I don’t get a lot. I have no idea what he’s thinking about all this. But I do know that in the moment, there is a mutual pleasure in being in the company of the other. I’m not going to spend much time agonizing because he never says I look beautiful (I KNOW I do) or because he never says more than, “I had a lovely time, thank you.” I’m not going to get an “I’m thinking of you,” but I might get an “I read this thing and think you might find it of interest.”  He doesn’t speak my love languages, but do I actually NEED him to right now?

And then, BOOM. My horoscope came through on Chatelaine.

“It doesn’t need to be perfect, or even what you think it “should” be in order for it to be exactly what you need. This week will confront you with a pretty simple situation that feels really complicated. Don’t confuse potential for reality, or the past with the present, Moonchild. Accept things as they are in the present moment and do what you need to in order to grow. Nothing stays the same, nor is it meant to. Actively co-create your life, my love.”

If I can stop my mind from spinning, and I can stay focused on all that he brings to the table RIGHT NOW, then I think I’m good. And for those who are doubting that I’m making the right choice, I hope some of this writing leads you to see that this is all from a place of clear thinking. I don’t want another man to makeover. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Even if this thing with Mr. SN is not a forever-ever thing, I’m completely OK with the fact that it’s a “delicious for right now” thing. And if that leads to feelings, that’s OK too. I want to explore who I am as a woman who is not afraid to take emotional risks.

Yes, I’m in love with love. Yes, that may get me hurt more than the average person. Yes, I should choose wisely when I finally decide to lay roots with someone. But dear reader, please understand that I am completely accepting of the impermanence in all things. I am no longer afraid of a man who may not be able to show he loves me in the way I’d like him to, because I truly love myself.  The end of a relationship doesn’t upset me anymore in the way that it did. Sure it will hurt, but I have survived it before and know that no matter what, I will rebuild and keep moving forward, until I have no life left to live. I surrender, completely, to what each moment will bring.

I love, I love, I love
This dream of going upstream
I love, I love, I love
All the trouble that you give me
I know, I know, I know
That only I can save me
I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go
Out on the road
Because there is no limit
There’s no limit
No limit, no limit, no limit to my love

Songwriters: Jason Charles Beck / Leslie Feist
The Limit to Your Love lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

Smashed, sex, skunk, smashed, serenity

I should have known when my horoscope suggested the hell that would erupt from three planets being in retrograde. But what does one do when they only kinda-sorta believe in astrology? Stay in bed for a month? Not an option.

It has been A WEEK! What happened to me was enough to put most people in hospital. I’m shaking my head trying to understand why I am still standing—with a smile on my face, no less. I have truly, never felt more grateful to be alive, healthy, with most of my mental health in tact.

A day after dancing to Stevie Wonder in a field under the super powerful Blood Moon, I had a fairly busy day. I picked up the adorable dog of Zofia and Lars (of the Peaches), whom I had offered to watch for a week while they travelled around Europe. Saw the movie Eighth Grade with my “cinema gay,” a dear friend for almost two decades whom I love going to see art house films with. Then ended up going to see a Chicago House DJ I was a big fan of…

The women I went with (my Witches crew) were all doing E or M or whatever the kids call it these days, because the late night house music scene does pair nicely with a lick. I have not touched the stuff since 2003, and with all the fentanyl-laced horror stories I’d heard of the current stuff going around, I decided not to chance it 15 years later. Also, I’m a 40-something mom, and given I’m already playing in enough spaces that would make my children shudder, I decided to pass. Instead I got stupidly, embarrassingly drunk; the kind of drunk where you don’t realize you’re drunk or how much you’ve been drinking so you keep going because you’re in a social situation that makes you feel a bit out of your element.

I was so drunk that I picked up a HUGE Georgian man with a thick accent, but not so drunk that I gave him my real name and number. But drunk enough that I left before the Chicago DJ came on, because I’d puked in the bathroom and had the spins.


The following day, I convalesced in my “convalescing chair” (AKA a zero-gravity chair). I knew I had to pull it together eventually, because I’d offered to make Mr. Saturday Night dinner. I am getting used to the parameters of this relationship: We meet, we have a toast and share stories over food, and it’s often book-ended by seriously hot sex.  Every. Other. Week. There is some sporadic texting in between, which we’ve established is not his A-game.

BUT HELLO! I have an attentive lover with a cool job and an incredible mind. He is gorgeous and makes me laugh and literally asks nothing of me. He still doesn’t hold my hand, but to be honest, we’re not walking down the street so much these days. I can’t recall what it was that I asked him a few weeks ago, but something along the lines of, “How come we haven’t gone to X together?” And he replied, simply, “Because we are doing this at the moment,” and then proceeded to make me have an orgasm that shot out the top of my head.

I AM HAVING HOT SEX.

And yet I am not able to stay there, in the “I am having hot sex” zone. I’m constantly wondering if we’re veering into a relationship, or what that looks like, and what my people would think of him, and, and, and. Why? We’ve already established that this current affair is all I have space for at the moment. Are we so programmed by society to try to turn every encounter into a “RELATIONSHIP”? I am truly trying to be mindful of this and reprogram myself. This is so good right now. Enjoy it, Maria.

I will blame my hangover on the stupid decisions I made that night. We were in the midst of insanely hot sex, in between sex courses, if you will. And so it wasn’t a “condom on” moment and somehow he slipped inside me. And I didn’t immediately jump off. Instead I had a beautiful, shuddering orgasm with him unsheathed and inside of me.

We had had a discussion about birth control, namely that I feel like I spent too long taking synthetic hormones and didn’t want to do that again. I have done my duty for procreation and avoiding it, and I don’t want it to be mostly my responsibility anymore. Also, everybody is fucking everybody in this brave new world and I don’t want a disease. And yet, it happened. And I didn’t stop it.

Condoms protect you against pregnancy and disease, but what I didn’t account for was that condoms also protect you against FEELS. Everything about the experience felt so intimate. I suppose firsts always are. But this subtle act, whose impact could be HUGELY disruptive (or even deadly), changed the nature of “us,” leaving me so vulnerable and tender, that when he left I could feel myself falling.

AND I FREAKED THE FUCK OUT.

If I was falling, was he falling too? Should I allow myself to fall? Should I, instead, consider dating other people to prevent myself from falling? I made a panicked call to Dr. X the next morning, who reminded me that I’m an adult, who is smart and— when grounded—is not going around subconsciously choose another version of my ex. “Give yourself a break!” she admonished. And she’s right, I’m too hard on myself, and my childhood patterns of being made to feel like I shouldn’t trust myself, my own gut, because I’m too sensitive, too romantic, too trusting rear their ugly inner voice. A lifetime of being gaslighted. I second guess myself. I forget that no one can know me like I know myself. I forget that I, too, am trying to choose what is best for me, what will protect me from getting hurt again.


Later that week, reading out on the back deck, adorable dog at my feet, I caught the faintest whiff of skunk musk and decided we should come in. I tried to coax my sweet charge in. He made it to the threshold, looked into my eyes and was suddenly off like a shot. It took a moment to understand what he’d caught by the neck in the back bushes, until the overwhelming stench took over. This sweet little, maybe 18-pound dog had just viciously murdered a skunk. What. The. Fuck. Was. I. Supposed. To. Do. Next?

I have little experience with dogs, and frankly dogsitting was an attempt to see if we could manage adding a canine love to our family. But now I was in over my head. What do I do? Tomato juice? No that’s a myth, I think. Uh, uhhhh, uh… I called Theo. Out of habit. He was just about to go to bed and offered to Google it for me. Um, thanks?

I hung up and called my pal Blanche from up the street, who has lots of experience with dogs. She had all the stuff and drove over, helping me to bathe a dog for the first time, one who was covered in skunk musk, no less. I bathed him again the next morning and decided that if I’ve experienced one of the worst things a dog owner can live through, then maybe I could hack being a dog owner after all.

(I made Theo come over to deal with the skunk carcass and bought him dinner as thanks.)


I put the rotting skunk in several plastic bags and out on the curb for the city to pick up. Then I passed it, stinking in the flaming hot sun, while I packed the car for a week away at the beach with the kids. I was so proud of myself, covered in bike grease, tits sweating, for doing it all by myself.

On the way up, I decided at some point to stop using GPS navigation and to teach my kid how to use a map instead. But GPS had rerouted us to avoid traffic and we were on unfamiliar roads. My kid got distracted and we missed a turn onto another highway. I was so eager to get up there and to start the holiday (especially after the week I’d had), that I turned into a farm house driveway to get back to the missed highway. I perceived a break in traffic and proceeded.

BAM!

An SUV was approaching and I’d somehow failed to see it, as had my co-pilot. In milliseconds, the front of our car was shaved clean off. My children were beside themselves with fear and panic. I felt beyond terrible. What had I done?

Fortunately, by a complete miracle, no one was hurt. The tow truck driver said that even a second difference in the collision, our car would have flipped. The officer was incredibly kind and compassionate. (And hella handsome. In fact, I considered trying to find him after to ask him out.) We were a short drive from a key landmark by the cottage we were staying at, so the tow truck driver took us there, where family members met us to help us take our things to the house, before our car was towed away. We are incredibly lucky. We were on the beach two hours after the incident. I had to check if I had a horseshoe shoved up my arse. I have never been more incredibly grateful to be alive.

I wasn’t distracted by a device, but my mind was so focused on the future, on the destination, that I completely missed the present moment of the journey.

BAM! Life has a way of teaching you the lesson you need to learn.

I am on a journey with Mr. SN. He is a gift, a miracle of sorts. He is building me up sexually and in some ways spiritually. Whether by what he does, or what he doesn’t do, he is teaching me about boundaries, about choices and decisions and consequences. He is teaching me that some things that I’ve prioritized in the laundry list of things a man should bring to the picnic matter less than I once would have thought, and that other things—ones I hadn’t even considered—matter more.

The universe does not give us what we want. The universe gives us what we need. I clearly wasn’t paying attention to that, and BAM! If you’re reading, I hope this is a reminder to be gentle with yourselves and to be mindful as you go about your day to day.

I have to stop focusing on the destination. I have no spot on a map that I’m trying to get to at the moment, and even if I was, it would be irrelevant, because the future does not exist, except in our minds. By the time we experience “the future,” it is the present. Be present. Be careful. Look both ways, multiple times, before crossing the street. Enjoy the ride. Don’t become obsessed with the seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months where you have to wait before proceeding. Proceed when the time is right. Proceed when it’s safe to do so. You will get there eventually, even if you don’t know where “there” is quite yet. In a mindful life, it’s the road shows you where you need to be.

The Man-Boy Who Was Saturday Night

For the past six weeks, on Tuesdays, on the weeks where I usually don’t have my kids on the upcoming weekend, I receive a text from Mr. Saturday Night, AKA “He who is not a great texter.”

“What’s your weekend shaping up like?”

I am trained through corporate life to answer in the moment. I don’t want to play games, I’m too old for that shit. You ask, I’ll answer. My phone is never more than 12 seconds away from my person, which is fucked up but is what it is.

“What have you got in mind?”

“How about I go down on that sweet pussy of yours for an hour, feed you dinner and then have you for dessert?”

I mean, YOU GUYS! Who am I to turn down an offer like that at the moment?

The first two times, he came over to my place. I made us dinner the first time, and the second time, he had me for a meal, then took me out for a meal, then had me for dessert as promised. Swoon.

But as I’ve already documented all the things that are not sitting well with me, I’ve had to continuously check my nature, which is to “catch feels” as the kids say these days.


We’d arranged to see each other Sunday for a change, but he knew I was free Friday night and I found myself waiting for one of his adorably lame texts about the weather or the sky. And just when I’d given up, I got, “Friday the 13th! (purple devil emoji).” I’d been holding back, I’d been wanting to message and didn’t. And he came through. There was a swoony satisfaction in that.

Sunday came around. I spent a delicious day, reading in my favourite chair, cooking myself a delicious late lunch. He ended up having to work, so our hangout moved from late afternoon to the evening. I was excited, because he lives above a bar I epitomized as the ultimate boho experience when I was a drama nerd of a teen, who went to protests and watched Woodstock every weekend, and wanted nothing more than to live above a store, windows open, curtains billowing, jazz playing.

I passed all the sweaty, gorgeous, half-naked hipsterites sitting out on terraces. An illegal house party was blasting beats in an alley. I became conscious of how I’d dressed like a 20-something, in a floral romper, the short shorts barely covering a lifetime of cellulite, but I decided I was very Lena Dunham and shrugged it off.

I took a breath. This is what I wanted 20 years ago, this boho life. My heart smiled at the idea. I pushed open the gate and made my way carefully up the metal fire escape. His kitchen door was open, and he stood there, staring at me with hungry eyes. I melted a bit and then looked around. Record screech.

It was like I sat in the Hot Tub Time Machine and went back to 1998. Which is roughly how long my handsome, charming lover and friend has lived there. There were interesting places to look everywhere. His room was giant enough to house a king-size, a couch, a chair and a huge desk that looked out onto the famous Bohemian street where he lives. There were books and records and chairs and kinda clothes and stuff everywhere. And the world’s most adorable pup. I stood against the desk, admiring photos, when he came up behind me, pulled my hair off my neck and held it hard, while the other hand slowly crept up my leg, along the curve of my ass and started exploring and his mouth kissed and bit the back of my neck until the air in the room should have triggered a fire alarm. Then he threw me down on his bed hard and reminded me that he knew exactly what he was doing.


But remember how we lived in those days? Remember the apartments that were charming at first, but filthy and crumbling on further inspection? Remember how living with roommates was?

I found an actual archeological video clip from 1998 to help you understand.

Except, my beautiful lover is not 20-something. He’s 50-something. And while I try not to judge anyone’s financial situation, I think what was irking me was how disastrous it was. Food that had been cooked and left to dry out in its pot on the stove. Roach traps in the bathroom. Dirty pile of clothes in the corner of his giant bedroom. And having to look roommates in the eye after having loud, body-rocking G-spot orgasms in the room next door, knowing full well that I’m NOT “the first girl that’s come around in a long time.”

And no toilet paper.

Yep. Unlike Carrie Bradshaw in the video above, I did not spend the night. And I was smart enough to look before I peed. “Uh, where do you keep your toilet paper?” He was supposed to go get sundries but had been called in to work, he explained, then apologized, scrounged, and procured me a cocktail napkin covered in images of coffee beans and latte cups. I rolled with it, like I was cool AF, but inside my brain was screaming, “Peter Pan! Run!”

He’d warned me ahead of time, because he’s not obtuse, that the place was a disaster zone. He was surprisingly vulnerable in his own space. We went to an old haunt for dinner (to really hammer the 1998 bit home) and as usual, the conversation was great. He asks many thoughtful questions, and our tangential conversations are full of giggles and belly laughs. We talked about how the apps are necessary, but that they miss some of the magic that comes with getting to know someone first. I talked about how consideration and politeness are really important to me and he said he felt the same. Then he took me back to his place for round 2, as he does after a meal now. And he never finishes himself until round 2. That’s how generous he is, or maybe it’s an age thing, but I don’t mind because the score is totally working in my favour for once!

So here’s the thing. We lay in his bed looking at all the awesome projects he’d produced. He’s so proud of his work, it’s inspiring. He shared so much of himself in that bed. And after we’d given each other what we were both there for, I nearly fell asleep next to him, still slightly wistful that he may never spoon me. I’ve never slept over at anyone’s since Theo left, nor have I let anyone sleep over. It’s how I will know when something is getting serious. Sleep equals trust equals feels. (Plus I open-mouth gargle snore.)

“I could almost fall asleep,” I murmured, lying on my tummy, head in my arms, the closest thing to snuggling myself without looking ridiculous. He was on his back, looking half asleep himself. I knew he had to work early the next day, so I was surprised when he said, “Well I’ll drive you home, of course.” There was something so lovely and chivalrous about that. And I was happy, because it meant we got to talk more before ending the night.

So we put our clothes on, had a quick chat with the roommates about landlord troubles, and eventually made our way to his super cool vintage station wagon, dog in tow, all the way across town to my humble abode. We kissed goodnight, and that is that.


I woke up the next morning with a clearer sense of what this is. I’ve done “Fixer upper” and also, he doesn’t want to be renovated; he’s curated a life he seems quite happy with. He wouldn’t want my help in changing that life and I just couldn’t resist wanting to “improve” it. It’s just that I don’t do authentic boho anymore. I’m aspiring for vintage meets Anthropologie, which might make me a douche, but so be it. I’m a grown-ass person, who has an Amazon subscription to toilet paper so that I NEVER RUN OUT!

He’s my lover, and a friend, though not a close friend, yet. But I enjoy his company immensely and for now I want to keep him in my orbit. I like how I feel when I’m with him, even the uncomfortable parts. It’s probably never going to be anything more, and I’m OK with that. I’ve decided not to change or hide who I am, though I’m consciously scaling back a bit. If I scare him off, so be it. I gotta be me. The girl who is going to bring you a book. The girl who will want to kiss and caress your whole body affectionately. I’m not going to hide my affectionate, touchy nature, just because he’s not affectionate. I lived like that and it was painful.

But I’m also not quite ready to reach out for his hand on the sidewalk, not just yet. Not ready to ask, “Can we spoon?” Because he seems to have some kind of code, and I would hate if I asked him to cross a line and somehow managed to make him fall in love with me when, logically speaking, this might never be anything except what we share together. Maybe not spooning and not holding hands is how he keeps a boundary between his dick and his heart. And perhaps I’d be wise to keep a boundary too.


I’m getting closer to lasering in on what I want in my next long-term relationship. I’m starting to form an idea in my mind of what kind of person could be my equal. And that’s a delicious thought. Mr. SN comes close in many ways, but we are from two different worlds, and based on his behaviour, we won’t ever be more than companions. Which is so delicious right now, I could bathe in it. And don’t I deserve a wee bit of fun after all I’ve been through?

 

Cecile and Valmont

cecilevalmont2

I’ve begun to think of Mr. Saturday Night as Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovich) to my Cecile Volanges (Uma Thurman) in Stephen Frears’s brilliant film Dangerous Liaisons. After our last encounter in the bedroom, I joked to some girlfriends that having sex with me is probably like fucking a 17-year-old, because dammit, I’M SO NEW!

Now let’s be clear, Valmont is an evil character, prioritizing his own game of power and desire over what’s even in his own best interest. He destroys nearly everyone in the story, just to try and win a game with the Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close). But there are these moments of levity and hotness, when he seduces the young, virginal Celine, awakening the desire within, teaching her the ropes in the bedroom, that I find compelling in my current circumstance.

Mr. SN is an incredible lover. All that actor training means he reacts IN THE MOMENT. He is constantly reading signals and changing up strategies and moves accordingly. A lifelong bachelor, he has probably had dozens of lovers (I’m at six sexual partners at this point) and clearly knows the female body and how to give it pleasure. But what’s more, he revels in giving a woman pleasure, over and over again. He is rough in all the right ways, like he knows just what I need for sexual healing right now. “You’re a gift,” I told him last Saturday night, revelling in the beauty of what occurred between us. “YOU’RE a gift!” he replied and that’s all I needed to get to fireworks. BOOM!

So as I’m writing, I’m realizing what’s standing in the way of all of it IS ME. Me thinking, “What is a beautiful man like this doing with a big-nosed weirdo like me?” Me thinking, “Oh this is never going to work because…” I’m trying, desperately, to stay in the moment, stay grounded, but I can’t help but think, “Would my parents like him?” WTF?! I’m not looking to bring someone into all that again just yet! But traditional dating norms are so ingrained in my psyche, that I can’t shake the romantic fantasies of something that needs to be, to quote Outkast, “forever-eva?”


OK here are the things that bug me about this relationship. Let’s get them all down, shall we?

  1. Lovers, he’s had lots of them, and that’s intimidating for a girl like me. He talks about them A LOT. So I’m having to work through some feelings of insecurity there. We went to dinner in between sex courses and I caught him looking at our young female server with interest. And I couldn’t tell if this is part of a game that he’s playing with innocent little me. Like was he leering intentionally or absent-mindedly. But I DID NOT LIKE IT.
  2. He doesn’t hold hands. Or spoon. Or kiss the top of my forehead affectionately the way Ali does. I get that everyone is scared to catch feels in this brave new world, but sheesh! And I can see it, clearly, how we start out not speaking the love language of the other and how I change and bend to fit the person I’m with, rather than advocate for what’s going to work FOR ME! To his credit, he does ask me a dozen million times, “What do YOU want?” But it’s in a way that makes me nervous, because I’m not used to speaking those things out loud in a relationship. Is this even a relationship?
  3. He kinda tells the same stories over and over, and it kinda works for us, because I have memory problems and can’t retain a lot of the details he so easily spits out. He can recite poetry from memory, give detailed historical facts and dates, and I barely remember them because my brain is funny from 20 years of working on the internet. But while I don’t remember the finer points, I do remember that he’s told me this stuff before, and I can’t help but wonder if that’s all there is to him. If he’s nothing but these perfectly polished stories, worn into pretty beads from years of honing the telling of them.
  4. I’m stuck on the fact that we are not financially in the same place. He lives with roommates, “to help with the rent.” I live with roommates too, but I’ve birthed them. I don’t NEED someone to make as much as I do, but it definitely helps to take the awkward out of who pays for dinner and whether we can do more than meet in a bedroom. If there was a future here, I’d long for travel and trips to the theatre. I also have lived in an income inequity situation, where I made 70% to Theo’s 30%, and while I think that Mr. SN is a more evolved human when it comes to ideas around gender, I really think that most men do not like when their women make more than them.
  5. He ignores texts when it suits him. He has this particular affliction especially when I say something too forward, or send a selfie. He’s controlling in the bedroom, which suits me very well as someone who has to have her shit together in all other areas of her life, but I can’t help but wonder if this non-response is a subtle control technique too. It was really bugging me, but I decided this morning that I would not give a fuck, because at my age, one only has so many fucks to give and if I want to send a selfie, I damn well will. Deal with it. I would, however, really like a dude that texts to say he’s thinking of me. I want someone who sends links with, “Saw this and thought of you.” Between this and the no-PDA, Mr. SN does not have longevity with me, and I have to remember that before I fall for someone who is just going to make me angry over time for not being who I want them to be. Been there, done that.

Holy fark, you guys. Writing it all down so concisely really helps to slay the demons that are plaguing me. Right now I’m in a small beach town on a giant lake, and the ENTIRE COUNTY has the same name as Mr. SN. The museum is named after him, the county roads, the local bakery specialty. It’s not a good place to get thoughts of him out of my mind. There’s even a sign a block from here that has the same word that’s tattooed over his heart, along with http://www.exploreHISNAME.ca under it. It’s torture. I think (?) he knows this. So his silence over text is extra tough on my soft Cancerian heart.

But it’s my last day in my early-forties and the heat wave finally broke. I’ve got a solid bike ride with my kids planned today and a lot of doing nothing. I’m putting a reminder on my phone that says, “Men ain’t shit” (saw that here) to remind myself that I don’t need some dude taking up my valuable brain space. Show up for me in the way I need or fuck right off. That’s what being in my mid-forties is going to be about.

When reading about Viconte de Valmont now, having not seen the film in many years, it’s clear that he raped Cecile and that in the novel that is expressed as a way to seduce an inexperienced woman. I’m writing that point down because memory and the mind are funny and are often not to be trusted. My fantasizing about this older, experienced conquistador taking control of my body is flawed. You can imbue any relationship or experience with the lens of your choosing. I must be vigilant to ask, “Is that true?” of any idea I concoct around these relationships and my thoughts about them. Because it would be so easy to manufacture something that’s not there and then wake up a decade in, wondering how you got there. Wondering why this person is not the person you fell in love with. And I’m just not willing to fall into that trap again. I’m worth too much for that.

Bad scene

So I had an icky experience Friday night. And I kinda knew it was going to be icky but I did it anyway.

This is not full Cat Person territory, but it’s definitely on the spectrum. Before we go any further, let me make it clear that I am mad at myself, but don’t have full regret because this experience was indicative of something I need to work on with myself. There is some regret, however. Because this guy, he was all talk. I should have known by how he didn’t ask me any questions about myself that he just wanted sex. And now, three days later, I’m less mad, because people are allowed to just want sex. They’re just not allowed to keep “innocently” pressing you when you’ve expressed that you don’t.

Jared was a random white dude. Short, British-descent, bald and scruffy, super cute face. He teaches English and as soon as he started to tell me his story, I was red flagging all over the place. He was so much like Theo. Charming, sweet, oblivious to his privilege. But unlike Theo and Mr. SN, he didn’t make me laugh. I was enjoying mild flirting, but there were no belly laughs. Shared laughter is so key to who I am, and a HUGE turn on, and on this date, it was sorely lacking.

We had some snacks and drinks at a hip establishment downtown halfway between our places. He was pretty open and honest in conversation, but there were some red flags for me. For one, all his movie references were in what I call the “I never considered the need for female narrative” space: Taxi Driver, Godfather, Tarantino. No dude, we are no longer discussing Polanski’s art separate from the man. (Yes that literally came up.)
He said he’d had a midlife crisis and went back to school, only to discover that he hated his chosen career. I should have dashed then. Because, um, hello, didn’t I just live that five years ago? But instead, I decided to ignore ALL THE SIGNS, all my Jiminy Cricket inner voice, and go back to his place once invited.

I went home with him thinking we were going to hang out and listen to records. And yes, makeout. That’s what we’d agreed to. I made it clear I wasn’t there to have sex. Truth be told, I wanted to save my sexual energy for my date with Mr. Saturday Night the next day. Why was I even out with this guy? I’d texted friends saying I was only feeling 6/10 about this one, but it was clear from our conversation that he was super excited to meet. I did look damn good, I’ll admit. I’d worn a flirty dress and heels, only to have him show up in t-shirt, jeans and kicks, a.k.a. Theo’s uniform. Why didn’t I listen to the voice in my head?

As soon as we were in the cab, it was clear that all he wanted to do was sexy time. I am so uncomfortable with taxi makeouts, like the driver does NOT get paid enough to hang out there while you put your hand up my skirt. There were five bajillion times that I could have said, “You know what? I’m not feeling this,” and walked out or grabbed a cab. But I was like, “Nope! You need to have experiences! Bad ones and good ones.”
I’ve been super sexually lucky so far. All the men I’ve slept with, save for my borderline-date-rape one-night-stand, have been fairly generous lovers. But this dude; he was in such a hurry. All his talk about going down on me for half an hour was total bullshit. Also it was clear from his moves that he was a porn addict. The narrative, the performance was a porn one. This was about him, what he thought of himself as we went through the motions, how he felt bringing a woman like me back to his place — all of it feeding his narcissistic narrative. I know, I’ve lived it with Theo, although Theo (when not depressed) was a thoroughly thoughtful lover.

He wanted to talk the ENTIRE TIME. If that’s your thing, cool, no judgement. But I talk all day, every day. For me sex is a way to escape my brain chatter. He wanted to talk fantasies, but I kept thinking, “I’m not drunk enough to share that with you!” and also, “I just fantasize about a guy who wants to buy me dinner and can afford a life that matches and enhances mine and then actually makes me have an orgasm without expecting dick all from me.”

But no, he wanted me to talk about the idea of two girls at the same time. So fucking boring to me now, after a lifetime of that kind of talk with men. By the time I was down to bra and panties, I realized, “I don’t like this guy!” And then I remembered my friend Lara telling me about the guy she didn’t like who made her squirt and took her to a sex club. Jared was making a similar claim about making me squirt, so I tried to go with it.
He made a big show of it; put a towel down on his bed (he mentioned being OCD at some point), and then went to town with his fingers in a way that’s left me feeling a bit injured, frankly. He was good to ask me to tell him if pressure was too much and so on, but I was mostly just trying to go with it, tried to disengage from my brain and experience my body, but he was so impatient that we kept switching activities.

He was not nearly as sexually perceptive and explorative as he made himself out to be. He’s asked about my likes and dislikes in the restaurant and I surprised myself by being fairly clear. So why did I not continue to establish firm communication and boundaries? Why is coercion a thing?

I have no time for impatient boys. I will not get into details about the horribleness of the sex and how it ended, but let’s just say that it’s not going to work for me. Nope. NOPE!

This is not about shame or my religious upbringing. I’m mindful enough to know that my whole upset with myself is around not going with my gut. Disappointed that I ignored the little voice, the same voice that says, don’t buy some dress off the internet without trying it on! This felt like getting a dress from Instagram that arrives and looks just meh, and you knew it in your heart but clicked in the moment,  spent the $60 you really knew shouldn’t go to this and then waited three months for it to arrive from China. So you shrug, forgive yourself and move on.

There was a moment, after we’d negotiated some rules of engagement, after he’d tried to wear down my boundaries and succeeded, where everything we’d discussed went out the window, mostly because he’s a shitty lover with shitty aim. And his reaction to his stupid blunder was, “There’s no chance you might get pregnant, is there?” Dudes, this is on the list of things you should never put yourself in the position to have to ask. Especially right after you’ve splooged. That is really bad form.

I went to clean myself up and found myself making the face one makes when you’ve just been thoroughly disgusted by something you’ve eaten, but you’re trying to be polite to the chef. I tried to force a smile and went back to his bed to listen to music. But after a while I just wanted to get out of there. So I made an excuse about an early yoga class and said I should go. He looked a bit wounded, “You’re not feeling remorse are you?” Again, dudes, this is not a thing you should have to ask. Had he respected that this wasn’t on the menu as I’d stated from the beginning, “I don’t fuck on first dates,” then he wouldn’t be wondering that.

Yes, we were two consenting adults. Yes, I knew sex was a possibility (despite what I’d outlined) when I chose to go back to his apartment. Yes, I could have been more explicit in my no sex boundary. But I don’t own all of it.

Ok fuck, I want to move on so let’s process what we learned.
1. No wasting time on guys you feel 6/10 about before a date. I could have gone out with my girlfriends and been way happier.
2. If your rule is “I don’t fuck on the first date” don’t break that rule for a guy you are only 6/10 about at the end of the date.
3. Speak up!! If something doesn’t feel right, say it. If something’s not working for you, say it!

Fortunately, the weekend got sooooo much better after that experience. Of course Jared seems to think we are going out again. Had I not LEFT MY EARRINGS AT HIS PLACE, that would not be true, but damn those were expensive earrings! To be continued…