This isn’t the hottest part of the story, but it’s necessary. One of the primary sensations of Bill was the feeling of clicking—not in the romantic sense (although there was that too) but in the sense of internet addiction. I think of him most still on days when I end up checking my email too much. The songs went back and forth all day every day. There were 140 songs between us before we even met.
I sent him the above Girl Talk song and he told me that he “Once spit iced tea on Girl Talk, back in the day.” I can’t BELIEVE I kept talking to him after that! Could anything be more dealbreaking?! He might as well have spit on a unicorn. But as he listed himself as “drinks: never” I thought maybe he was recovering or something. Also, he was really good at picking out songs.
The Monday before we were supposed to have our date, he asked for a rain check. He’d run into some financial trouble over the weekend (I already knew he’d been laid off) and wouldn’t be able to make it. I didn’t know what it could be—jail? Falling off the wagon? My imagination ran wild and I was afraid to ask. Anyway, I thought he was blowing me off. I said I’d hold off on songs until I knew he was actual.
But I didn’t hold off on songs, I started in again the next day, but since he was in a bad place and I was worried about being ditched, the songs were off. I kept sending sexed up/motivational songs and his kept getting angrier.
Grey Dancer was set to speak at the local erotic literary salon that night, and when I said I’d “Say hi to the famous rope guy” for him, he got really pissed off and sent a song that scared the bejeezus out of me: “Burn Like Trash (at Jackie’s Funeral)” by Machines of Loving Grace. I’m listening to it now and it’s actually not that scary. But at the time it chilled my blood. I told him I was scared and sent “Up in the Dark” by The New Pornographers to try and bring things back to adorable, but I was pretty sure that was the end of the road for us.
Hearing Grey Dancer read that night was predictably transformative, but it was one of his fans who actually sort of married me to the idea of ropes. She said that when you have rape in your past you never really let yourself lose control during sex, that part of your energy is always spent trying to make sure everything’s safe, trying to keep your guard up. She described the feeling of being able to be released from that care, and I knew that that feeling was exactly what I needed.
The next day, I sent a farewell note to Bill, signed “Can’t hug every cat.” I wrote a preliminary FetLife profile saying some vague things about wanting to learn to trust men.
But I really couldn’t get Bill out of my head. A nice boy took me to a performance at the circus school, what a nice date, but all I could see were the ropes. I got impatient with nice boys (SO GLAD I GOT OVER THAT) who didn’t spark the thrill/fear that Bill had. I have to laugh at myself- a teenagerlike crush on a Bad Boy. Sheesh.
A few weeks went by with me reading his facebook updates and combing the Tumblr I’d inspired him to start for signs that he was thinking of me. I liked the way he related to his female friends on fb—it made him seem cuter and less scary. Finally, I wrote to him and song-sending resumed. He was back on the kitten calendar in no time.
My favorite day of songs was a whole day of the Nineties: Blur, James, Revolting Cocks, Crash Test Dummies. We exchanged doomed love songs and I sent him Amy Winehouse singing “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” The day of our date, I sent him “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and he wrote back:
The last song he sent before the date was a chase montage from Midnight Express, full of apprehensions and patdowns. I decided that this boded well.
Next time: Oh my GOD that kiss.