As tonight will be the second playdate of round two with Mr. Sweetface, I really should get around to honoring date one. These things take waaaaaaaay longer to write about than they used to, which is probably a good thing.
Three years ago, I broke things off with Mr. Sweetface for not-a-very-good reason, so when I ran into him at a poly gathering over the holidays and realized I still like hugging him, I got his number and asked if he’d want to start things up again—and he did!
His life is really full—he has two young kids at home and of course wonderful Mrs. Sweetface, so it took some time before we got together. In fact, it almost fell apart in the planning phase—I felt like he was being a little careless and not keeping me in the loop, so I did what I SO WISH I’d done with Mr. Makeout Music (And, okay, what wish I’d stuck to with The Professor…)—I had a boundary.
I honestly thought that would be it—I’ve had so many experiences of pushing back and getting trolled, (See you never, Tinder.) blustered at, or left for the least bit of pushback, but Mr. Sweetface GOT. HIMSELF. TOGETHER. It was an amazing and heartwarming transformation—we got the plans straightened out and he got into a very nice rhythm of checking in every few days and telling me about his life, and asking about mine. Simple, but orienting and secure. Setting higher expectations can be a magical thing.
We got together the Saturday after Valentine’s Day. I wore my pretty red lace dress. He came over after getting the kids to bed, and I asked if we could take a nice walk around my neighborhood before playing. We were three blocks in when the date almost ended—the 2016 primaries got another chance to fuck my shit up. He’d worked hard for Bernie but then teamed up with Hillary, because he’s not a MONSTER, but he said the standard entitled-straight-white-dude things about third parties and such, and I almost sent him home. But then I realized three things:
1. He’s a good guy and we have a nice connection.
2. It was time to stop letting Bernie add bricks to the pants-wall.
3. I could hit him. (Mr. Sweetface, not Bernie.)
That settled it. I said “I’ll take the primaries out on you later.” (I wish I’d said “I’ll give you something to Feel the Bern about.”) and we walked on. We argued for a little longer (My new job should really be getting a dollar every time I use the word “misogynist.”) until he put his arm around me and steered us to better topics. My keychain got stuck in the lace of my dress and he helped me untangle it. By the time we got back to my apartment, I had warm feelings for him again—I was fizzing and stirring with anticipation.
My post-Sweetie apartment is the most mine of any space I’ve ever occupied. It’s a robin’s egg blue loft decorated in jewel tones and happy art, as if I were a lovable townie from Gilmore Girls. The perfect girly space, and the perfect place to say “Go upstairs and get your ropes ready, I’m gonna put on my shoes.”
For the scene I decided to wear the shoes I’d bought for the dance at the Big Poly Conference two weeks before, black leggings, and a fancy black push-up bra with gold filigree decorations. I wasn’t sure if I was up for the nakedness that used to be my habit, but I felt pretty and strong. I wore the spiked collar that Angel Face had given me a long time ago after a night of goth dancing. I reapplied my bright red lipstick and climbed my twinkle-light-railinged stairs.
What happened next is what I want to remember the most: Without me asking him to, he knelt. He put his head down, his knees apart, his hands softly on his knees. (This was an echo of another less-kneely thing that happened, a stricken, speechless moment that The Professor had the weekend we met. That was a moment I feel thoroughly confused about and will always keep.)
Back to Mr. Sweetface, he looked so small there, in his grey superhero T-shirt, jeans and dad-socks. I didn’t really understand what I had been giving to the doms in my life until that moment. I stood above him, in the Wonder Woman pose, feeling the weight and self-consciousness of this new power. I crouched down (not easy in those shoes) and kissed his forehead, his fluffy blond hair.
“Get the ropes,” I said.