My third date with The Socialist (a week ago yesterday) was just as warm and snuggly as the first two. I drove out to visit him in the suburbs, to his very guy apartment with a goth mix playing and Smiths posters all over the walls. He was wearing a Smiths t-shirt that matched the rest of the aesthetic, and all of it felt very homey and familiar. When I was nineteen, my boyfriend-type-person was a goth guy who took me to a rave club on Friday nights, and that seems to have influenced most subsequent decisions.
I felt so cozy sitting on his (velvety black) couch with my feet in his lap, talking about books and life and politics. I was SO RELIEVED when he made fun of the idea of a rigged 2016 primary! I told him he deserved ten blowjobs for that, and I meant it, but maybe I need to set my bar higher than “only buys into SOME misogynist news cycles.” Kinda where we are right now, though.
In bed, it was easy and warm. He knew just how to kiss me and just how to fuck me, didn’t mind when my exuberant moans rattled the walls of his crowded apartment building, though he did eventually get up and close the window. I couldn’t contain my joy, and he didn’t want me to.
After a couple of snuggly hours, I got tired of the goth music and (this is seriously one of the best date things that ever happened to me) put on one of his TWO Monkees playlists, singing along to cheery retro deeps cuts with his whole heart and his whole face. This, to me, is the miracle of dating, the way that, in spite of every wall and flaw and trope, a near-stranger’s perfect goofball humanity can shine out of him like the sun, and I am sometimes lucky enough to be there, naked and satisfied, to witness it. (And, in this case, laugh my head off.)
Definitely not hot songs, but I climbed all over him some more anyway—"Another Pleasant Valley Sunday” indeed.
The trouble started when I tried to tell him what I needed in terms of post-snuggle communication. He had disappeared for most of the week following our excellent second date, and as I tried to ask for something other than radio silence I felt stupid and needy and a little flower of hurt bloomed in my chest. I knew I wanted him to be more present by text, but everything I said felt like it had the potential to scare him away, everything kept coming out wrong.
We did spend a very pleasant half-hour joking our way through the emoji keyboard (Upside-down-smiley-face makes a much better ping than the businesslike thumbs-up, don’t you think?!) As I was putting on my pants, though, I knew I had to try and get serious, and he could not have looked more miserable about that.
I explained that praise is a really important part of sex for me. “Praise” makes it sound more BDSM than I meant it to. What I really meant was…softness. Kind words. He hadn’t given a single tiny sparkle of a compliment, and I explained that I couldn’t read his mind to tell if he liked me. He argued that he wouldn’t have had me over if he didn’t like me, but that is just nonsense when it comes to sex. (And I have, like, five years of blogging to prove it.)
“I’m just not good with praise” was the verdict and so was “I just don’t like all the talking.” I said that if we were fucking, he needed to communicate better, and he seemed to take it to heart.
On the long drive home, my phone chimed, and I got my hopes up that maybe he’d said something sweet. When I pulled up at home, I opened the phone and saw…more bantering about emojis, which is admittedly fun and cute but also nagged at that little void in me where kind words should’ve been. I have all the kind words to offer, and I wanted to believe that I deserved some in return.
He pinged the next day, but the connection felt broken. There would’ve been so many things to chitchat about all week—the Blue Wave! The new emojis! Orange heart! But my phone was silent except for reminders from ResistBot, so I had to admit that The Socialist didn’t like me the way I liked him.
After I let him go, I felt a return to myself, a relief from the emotional hangover that had made the sad election anniversary even harder to navigate.
What I want is simple, I want the cute person to tell me I’m cute. What isn’t so simple is remembering that I deserve it.
As the dust settled and I sent my OKC app to the cloud for a breather, I realized something I’ve never been able to non-judgmentally take in about myself before: sex is a scary thing to me. It’s all of the wonderful things, too, but sharing my space, my body with someone takes a deep investment of trust. I’ve always wanted it to be no big deal but with a sensitive body and soul and a heart that will leap into action at the least provocation, I have to take care of myself. I have to admit what I need.
So it’s a sad week, guywise, and I’m disappointed, but this is also a good, big step. I listened to him when he told me what he had (and didn’t have) to offer, and I believed him. Instead of treating the difference between us with self-sacrifice and eventual resentment, I treated us both kindly, setting us free to find a better fit. Sigh-go me.