My favorite thing about this last week was going to Christmas at my own local Unitarian church—usually I’m out of town so I’ve always missed it. Since I went by myself, I expected it to be sort of a solitary, reflective evening—I stood at the cookie trays long enough to watch all of my peanut butter blossoms disappear and then made for a pew, drew myself inward and listened to the choir warming up.
Then this couple I’ve been crushing on for like a year walked in, all vitality and smiles. They happened to choose a pew with room for one more, so I made a beeline to go sit with them. Just as always, they were rosy-cheeked and friendly, either full of natural well-being or having just smoked a bowl, or both. We chatted about their pre-church walk in the woods and their upcoming holiday plans. I learned that they live nearby and often have brunch at the little place down the street from me, and promptly invited myself along. I found out that he grew up Unitarian and asked him what is was like to have so much less shame. They’re both musicians for a living and I was a little intimidated singing next to her since she’s a voice coach, but actually we sang together beautifully.
We giggled, grinned, and sang our hearts out through the service, singing all of the verses of the original carols with capital G God left in—not always the case with Unitarian songbooks, but I liked it. The packed church was beautiful and reverent as we passed the light from candle to candle for “Silent Night.” I felt so grateful to be home and then and there I committed to making my own church part of the yearly Christmas routine.
It made me so happy to have spent that time with the cute couple, not in a hitting-on-them way but just enjoying them and seeing that real, playful, spiritual love is a possibility in this world. I liked sitting next to their love and knowing it was real, knowing that I’d put myself on the right path toward finding it for myself.
As I walked home that night, the thought came to me clear as Christmas lights: “I’ve moved on.” It felt like I was walking into a new life. According to every Christmas movie ever, it’s a terrible tragedy to be alone on Christmas, but that moment of hearing myself felt just as festive as any other part of the week. Just listening to the chime of my own soul was a quietly awe-inspiring thing.
Christmas day, as I’ve already written, was pleasant but sad towards the end. I was glad to welcome Sweetie over and eat out favorite things, watch some Project Runway and do our family calls. In true Cindy Lou Who fashion, I didn’t miss presents at all, not the giving or the getting. I felt simple Christmas joy in my heart.
The night was rough, though, lonelier, and in the dark I started to scroll through all that was missing. Christmas falls on one of the longest nights of the year, and it really felt like it. I was glad to be home safe and warm to grieve in my own bed, and when I woke up the next day I was glad that it wasn’t Christmas anymore, just an ordinary day.
Friday I’d made a date to meet an OKC guy for the first time—he was cute and I was glad to entertain him as a possibility. We met in his (Slightly upscale, compared to mine) neighborhood. He could have been the ghost of everything I thought I wanted when I first started dating guys—tall, gentle, beardy, hipsterish in a well-scrubbed way, fairly inscrutable.
He was pleasant enough but I didn’t feel a spark or a pull, so I was somewhat surprised when he invited me down the street to his apartment, ostensibly to meet his cat. I’d already made up my mind that this could be a casual sex afternoon and if that’s how it turned out, and that’s how it turned out.
I loved his apartment. It was boyish and dark and full of pop culture toys. I could imagine taking many naps there. The very sweet orange cat was ensconced on a pillow beneath the window next to a Kermit the Frog doll. “That’s his sleeping friend,” the guy explained.
He (the guy, not Kermit) got very familiar very fast, so fast that I felt like “Huh?” but I went with it. It’s amazing how quickly bad decisions can was over me sometimes, like I’m in the cast of Girls or something. Not necessarily a good look at 39.
His dick as big but the rest of him was just kind of too smooth. He touched me sort of gingerly, like he wasn’t sure how to work me. He kind of fucked me like he thought I was fat and I feel apologetic to myself for the distasteful way he moved my belly aside—Dear Belly, I love you, I’ll try to never let it happen again. His couch smelled like cat pee and when I had the sex-moans that sounded like sobs, he said “Don’t cry, baby,” and I think I might have actually rolled my eyes at him.
I was getting off and bored silly at the same time and I told him he could be rougher, but I don’t think he could. He had these amazing big hands that couldn’t smack convincingly, what a waste.
Eventually we admitted that it wasn’t working and parted ways with no drama at all. What a blessing, a bad match that only lasted part of an afternoon. He tried to make noises about being friends but his number was deleted (I’d never even put his name in my phone) before I was half a block away. My only regret was that I never got to ask him why he had a set list of Hall & Oates songs on his fridge. Was he in a Hall and Oates cover band, or had he been to see a Hall and Oates cover band on a night significant enough to warrant the posting of a souvenir? Or had he been to see Hall and Oates themselves? Ironically or unironically? I’ll never know.
I felt wretched as I walked back to the bus stop. After all I’ve been through, all of the genuine and special moments I’d experienced, how did I let meaninglessness slip in, as it were? The simple answer is, I wanted a penis in my vagina, and he certainly provided that. Also now that I think about it, I was trying to gloss over some deeper feelings I was having about other characters. Not a good strategy, but nothing to feel terrible about. Though I wouldn’t repeat it, I’m kind of turned on writing about it (Pause for personal time…) and I’m glad I took a risk even though it didn’t pay off. They can’t all be beautiful stories. Though I’m not going to make any pronouncements swearing off vanilla guys or casual sex in hipster apartments, I am not, in fact, on Girls. I am a grown-ass woman who knows she doesn’t have to settle for disconnected. On (slowly) to the next things. Especially after hearing this in the supermarket really cracked me up and made me love my weird life: