Double-You Tee Eff

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Dating over thirty sucks. It’s an exercise in near-constant self doubt while you’re dealing with people who might as well be aliens. But at least alien abduction ends with someone getting their pants yanked off followed by some wholesome anal probing. I might give up on dating entirely were it not for my ridiculous libido and prostitution being illegal in 49 states.

I only speak for myself, and I sure as hell don’t understand everything about women, but I think by the time we’re broken in the damage we’re carrying really fucks with our ability to relate properly to another adult human.

Marriage ended because he cheated? Spend all your time pre-judging his loyalty and indulge in constant paranoia.

Did the ex just want expensive nights out and shopping trips? Start discussing pre-nups with her on the first date!

Previous boyfriend was career-focused and neglectful? Overthink everything he says and resent every minute he stays at the office past five!

Or did the love of your life falsify documents, steal a shitload of money and your dog, then go on a meth-induced multi-state crime spree with a guy she just met? (No, I don’t wanna talk about it.)

#

Teenagers may have underdeveloped brains strapped to tender hearts and raging hormones, but at least they’re going into it fresh. They don’t bear the above-mentioned scars. Dating as an adult has built-in awkwardness and artificial structure, and, try-as-you-might to make it organic and natural, it’s just not.

Imagine a job interview. You’re all cleaned up, dressed nicely, and smile brightly. Despite being nervous, you try to stay positive and you’re hopeful your potential employer won’t notice the bullshit on your resume, that you’ll make a good impression, and that the job you’ve applied for is appealing up close like it was in the classifieds. Except you probably don’t shave your pubes for most job interviews.

Now take the job interview metaphor and fuck it up even more. Both parties are the job candidate and the hiring company at the same time. And both probably want completely different things and are going into the interview with crazy-ass preconceived notions. Job Candidate B really thinks Job Candidate A looks great in those jeans and is hoping that after a few dates he’ll be up for some spanking and light choking. All while B is wondering if wondering how A will feel about the ex-wife staying at the house during the holidays since that’s how they’ve handled things since the divorce. It would probably always fail if it weren’t for desperation and tequila.

Online dating makes this so much worse because it takes the Job Interview metaphor one step closer to reality, by actually posting your resume and fucking cover letter on a website along with with a flattering picture that might have been five years and ten pounds ago and touched up by a Photoshop expert from Fiverr.com.

(Excuse me a moment. **Fuck you, Online Dating. In the ass. With a ten-port router and a Dvorak keyboard.**)

Sorry about that. I’ve had some … less-than-ideal experiences with online dating, the sewage-filled horse trough that I keep going back to again and again because THIS TIME IT’S GOING TO BE DIFFERENT. I’m sure many online dating tales will pop up here, at least as long as my therapist makes me write in my diary, but this story isn’t about how online dating sucks.

It’s about how in dating, anything might be a test and you’re almost certain to fail.

#

I’m thankful I wasn’t saddled with weird racial hangups when it comes to sex and relationships. I know plenty of folks who don’t show an ounce of prejudice in their daily lives, but can’t convince themselves to put their tongue in another race’s mouth (or wherever). I don’t get it, because women of every origin and body type are things of beauty and it would be a shame to limit my next disaster to just one color of the rainbow.

I met Julie on PlentyOfCupid.com or whatever the fuck it’s called. She was local, just a few years younger than me, a single Mom of a cute little girl, and had dark eyes and deeply tanned skin. Her website handle had something to do with kittens and she was all about being “laid back” and “low expectations.” Cool. Having plowed through my share of drama I was ready to meet someone with whom I could with relax and just be myself. No pressure on her to have sex by an arbitrary number of dates, no pressure on me for grand romantic gestures. Also, unlike the oceans of silence most of my messages spawned, she answered me.

She liked the dimples and my sense of humor. Also cool.

Then began the usual online dating dance that lasted over the course of several weeks while the rest of our lives rolled on. Incognito email through the dating site progressed to instant messaging, eventually leading to exchanging real email addresses and friending each other on Facebook, followed by exchanging phone numbers for texting and some phone calls. And that’s where she surprised me for the first time.

Despite my above-mentioned self-congratulatory lack-of-prejudice, I suppose I still had assumptions about what a girl named Julieta with dark eyes and jet-black hair would sound like. Didn’t expect her to sound like a college chick from central Alabama. Smart, funny, and white-as-Wonderbread. Whiter than me, honestly.

I eventually learned that Julie’s parents were Mexican natives who’d sacrificed a lot and risked everything to start a new life north of the border, and if anything they went overboard to make sure their daughter assimilated into mainstream (read: white) American culture.

Examples? They spoke only English around their daughter, so to this day she knows less Spanish than a preschooler who watches Dora the Explorer. Julie only heard her parents speak their native tongue when they were in the middle of a heated argument or having loud sex (apparently Mom was a screamer and they lived in a small apartment). Pasion! Dinner was shit you’d see on 50s family sitcoms, so the girl grew up eating pot roast and meatloaf and macaroni and cheese. Her first examples of even pseudo-Mexican fare came as a teenager risking heartburn and diarrhea at Taco Bell in a mall food court, and she didn’t even like it.

I’ll let others either praise or condemn Julie’s parents for her disconnect with her cultural and culinary heritage. As for me, my confusion was the result of a brain that just kept expecting a different person than the one who was talking. Before we met, I intellectually knew the girl online and the girl on the phone were the same person, but the voice somehow was a blonde—maybe with green eyes. Even after hanging out a few times the two mental Julies would not reconcile. If I turned away or closed my eyes it was the blonde again, to be replaced by the short Latina with the ghetto booty the moment I looked back. It wasn’t a problem, it was just weird. I was mad at the generalizing bullshit section of my brain and wondered (not for the first time) if a lobotomy wouldn’t imporove my quality of life.

This mental bait-and-switch was totally my brain’s fault, and also meant I unconsciously judged all aspects of her life and personality in relation to her race. It was like I had a mental score-card with two columns: Hispanic and White. Every time I learned something new, a mental pen-stroke made a tic.

I am such an asshole.

#

First we met for coffee. And while I pride myself as very good at reading people (strip poker, anyone?) I gotta admit that Julie really had me stumped. She was friendly and energetic but constantly distracted. She checked her phone every thirty seconds and always seemed like she was only half listening to anything I said, but every time I threw in a subtle test it was clear I wasn’t being tuned out or ignored. I really liked what I saw but left the first meeting thinking she couldn’t say the same. The beefy, scruffy white boy took a swing and missed. It happens.

That’s why I was nothing but surprised when she texted me all night, and suddenly we had an actual date—dinner and drinks on her next kidless evening.

A few nights later I was telling her jokes over onion petals at a TGI Chilibees. She was stunning, all five foot nothing in black slacks that showed off her curves and a tight no-cleavage top that made me all too aware of the treasures tucked inside. When Julie smiled the world seemed like a better place. But again, the evening ended with me convinced I’d struck out.

Unless your date throws you obvious signals, there are moments when you’re playing a kind of Russian Roulette, squeezing a trigger and not knowing if you’ll get blown away. You make harmless, platonic physical contact but you’re checking for a reaction. Does she pull back ever so slightly when you touch her arm or does she stiffen? Julie didn’t do either, but she didn’t give any sort of response. As the evening wound down on date 1.5, I figured there was no harm in going in for the kiss.

Strike two!

Now I don’t believe in kiss blitzkrieg like some men. That’s cowardly bullshit and borderline sexual assault, as it doesn’t give the gal a say before mouth-contact is made. It’s simple, guys. Make eye contact and lean in with lips slightly parted. … then she turns her head to side so you end up kissing her cheek, and she pats you on the back during the hug like you’re two guys meeting up at a high school reunion. Goddammit.

Oh well, not every time at the plate ends with a home run. (And most men think about baseball during sex.) This time there wasn’t a whole lot of chatter after the date, though I did message her to let her know I had a good time and would love to see her again. Her response was nice but noncommittal. I figured that was that, and in a month I’d be seeing Facebook pictures of her and a new boyfriend once she met a guy who was more her style. It’s happened more than once.

The roommate and I were watching Cheerleader Massacre 2 on a rainy afternoon when my phone gave a blood-curdling scream. (It wasn’t afraid of the movie, that’s just my charming text message tone.) If I wasn’t doing anything, Julie was stuck with “people who make [her] crazy” and was hoping I could come out and pull her off the ledge.

Twenty minutes later I was surrounded by Mexicans.

This was apparently a semi-regular family-and-assorted gathering at a local buffet famous for pan-fried chicken, artery-clogging gravy, and notable health code violations. Julie slid her arm into mine as she introduced me to her parents, some cousins, and a bunch of folks I don’t think were even distant relations.

Poker player that I am, I put on my game face and just rolled with it. Julie was friendly and physical, holding my hand and smiling at me with sparkling eyes and milking our 1.5 dates into a number of cute anecdotes as we worked the long table and talked to folks. They asked me what I did for a living and I replied that I sat in front of a computer all day, which will often allow guys like me to sound like successful IT professionals instead of self-employed nerds constantly chasing down paying work. I soaked up details about the girl who suddenly adored me.

I don’t know why she needed to pretend I was her boyfriend that night. It helped her, it was harmless, and I never asked why. In the parking lot the extended family said their goodbyes and she tugged on my sleeve. “You can kiss me,” she said, and it was brief and sweet and tender and her mother was watching. Her lip gloss tasted like candied cherries, her hands were warm and soft on my neck, and I was sure none of it was for my benefit.

I got a text late that night.

Julie: Thanks.

Then a week of nothing. I called only a few times, left a couple of messages. It’s always tricky how often you make contact, since you don’t wanna seem pushy but you wish to make it clear you’re still interested. No response.

I can take a hint. Back to well of rejection (a.k.a. online dating) I went.

Then out of nowhere she invited me to meet her at a frozen yogurt shop. With her daughter. For half an hour I proved that I’m pretty good with kids—benefit of having enough cousins to field a few football teams—even if I don’t know the full character list and plot details of My Little Pony. Julie giggled as her daughter picked my yogurt toppings for me, bold choices including sour gummy worms paired with slivered almonds and chocolate mint shavings, over a base of birthday cake and peach FroYo. The little girl was clearly testing me, but again my years at the poker table served me well. I made a point of recording the recipe in my phone, wouldn’t wanna miss out on this flavor combination next time. With the kid watching, I leaned in for a brief hug as we said goodbye, and Julie whispered “You really are kind of the best,” and planted a stealthy, nibbling kiss on my neck that sent chills down my spine and blood rushing away from my brain.

Then back to the almost-no-response for more than a week.

I don’t understand women, but to say I was getting mixed signals was a fucking understatement.

Finally I shot her a quick private message on Facebook. “Hey! Been a while since FroYo and My Little Pony. Since Friendship is Magic, I wanted to see where we stand. We were dating then we weren’t, you don’t answer my calls or texts much, and I don’t want to be pushy and get that you have plenty going on. But you’ve also put me in two meet-the-family situations. I like you, and would love to know where you saw things going between us. No pressure for any particular answer, but it would be nice to know. Happy to talk over drinks if you have some time.”

Three trying-but-failing-to-not-check-every-five-minutes DAYS later, I got a note back:

“Ed, you really are the best. I want to like you more than I do. I guess you’re just not my type. My daughter thinks you’re funny as hell and my Mom wants me to marry you because you’re white and she thinks you work for IBM. But I don’t see it going anywhere. I’d really like to be friends. Is that okay?”

Fuck.

I wasn’t in love with this girl, but I did like her a lot and that fist-squeezing-your-stomach sensation unique to rejection hit me so hard that it knocked me over to the liquor cabinet and that bottle of Evan Williams I hadn’t touched because it tasted like Drano and failure. Tonight was definitely the night for it.

My phone screamed me awake after 11, a text message from YouGuessedIt.

Julie: WYD?

Ed: Just hit another deadline. Nailed it! {I lied, not wanting to tell her that she Facebooked me straight into drinking cheap whiskey alone and I was slightly hung over.}

5 minutes passed as I brushed the taste of roosting pigeons out of my mouth and drank two glasses of tap water that might have come from a YMCA swimming pool for all its appeal. The phone screamed.

Julie: Didn’t bring lunch and don’t get paid for a few days. Wanna feed me?

I downed 800 mg of ibuprofen.

Ed: Only thing I could put in your mouth isn’t on the table anymore.

Oh shit, I was mixing bitter and butt-hurt with my sarcastic and inappropriate humor. Didn’t catch myself before I hit the Send button.

Julie: Don’t be so sure.

What the fuck?

Julie: Hungry isn’t all I’m feeling today.

What? The? Fuck?

Julie: Want me to come over? I can only stay about half an hour, though.

WHAT?! THE?! FUCK?!

I dropped my phone twice while “casually” answering.

Ed: Sure. Always good to see you.

Julie: You’re gonna see something! smirkemoji

I had run out of what-the-fucks. I went into excited panic mode, impeded by the hangover headache and my frankly ridiculous erection.

I tapped out my address and pretended I didn’t feel embarrassed about the “neighborhood.” I took the world’s fastest and scaldingly-hottest shower and quickly did some damage control. Some deodorant and a slap of Old Spice—fuck you, my grandfather used it and his sexual conquests are the stuff of legend, and it doesn’t smell like ass the way those horny teenage boy body sprays do—and I shrugged into some gym shorts and a t-shirt. I politely asked the roommate to stay in my office.

I heard Julie’s car on the gravel. She knocked on the door and I shouted, “It’s open!” I was pretending to do stuff on my laptop and it wasn’t even powered on.

She was wearing a work appropriate dress and her hair was pulled back, and the expression on her face could be described as hungry-jaguar-sees-tasty-looking-sloth-fucking-around-on-his-laptop.

I smiled without looking up from the blank screen. “Turns out I do have something to eat. Prepared by my own personal chef, Signor Boyardee.”

Julie shut the door and locked it behind her. Latch and deadbolt. Then slinked toward me. “I forgot my lunch, my sunglasses. Just about forgot everything today.” She slowly pulled up her dress and made sure I had enough time for my single- double- and triple-take before she let it fall.

She wasn’t bare the way so many gals are these days. A trim landing strip above a hangar that was clearly open for business.

I was way past playing it cool and literally couldn’t process how we’d made it from “I’d like to be friends” to “Check out my vag!” in less than 24 hours. And while I LOVE aggressive women, I’m not necessarily USED to them. I fumbled my laptop to the floor and didn’t care if it was permanently damaged. (It was.) Julie’s knees hit the floor and she yanked my gym shorts off with eagerness that was probably a felony in southern states. She didn’t kiss or even make eye contact with me before I felt her lips slide around me as all sense of my shitty life and the entire observable universe faded away. Her full, wet lips and the heat of her mouth were all that existed as my left hand clawed for purchase on my second-hand couch and the right grabbed a handful of her jet-black hair. She gave a little appreciative moan. (Somewhere my lizard-brain checked off a mental note: “Likes her hair pulled.”) This girl didn’t go slow, and was working me with her mouth and the grip of her small hand so fast I was deliberately taking slow, deep breaths and I worried I might need to go through the Braves batting lineup for this not to be over embarrassingly quickly. But just as I felt that hot swell of the inevitable tidal wave start to build, I was free. She stood and wriggled the dress over her head and tossed it down on the floor. No bra either.

“It is SO your turn,” she said. She moved me aside on the couch and into position just in case I was unclear what she meant. I wasn’t.

(Ladies, if a man is willing to take his time and kiss you properly, he’ll do just fine down there as well—provided he isn’t squeamish or weird about it. And don’t waste your time with men who are.)

Holy hell she was loud. With my nose grazing her landing strip and my hands FINALLY exploring the body I’d been admiring during our acquaintance, Julie was moaning and screaming and uttering profanities that would make a sea-captain consult UrbanDictionary.com. She had three quivering, thigh-squeezing orgasms that left my ears ringing before she gently pushed my head back and sat up to kiss me. “I love the way I taste,” she said. Confession is good for the fucking soul.

She pushed me again, this time leaving me belly-up on the other end of the couch. With no hands she expertly slid herself around me and felt so hot around my cock that she might have been suffering from a brain-melting fever. Of course I was probably burning up myself as she moved against me and dug her cheap manicure into my chest. “Oh Jesus Fucking Christ you feel so good!” she said, and by said I really mean screamed so loud my deaf Baptist neighbor could probably hear. “Oh fuck. Fuck! FUCK! I FUCKING LOVE YOUR COCK!” This was the hottest and craziest thing in so long it was a marvel I wasn’t already apologizing for it being over too quickly, but her sharp nails in my flesh and my curiosity about if my neighbors could hear her sinning and blaspheming kept me on the correct side of the cliff. She had two more orgasms that threatened to snap my maleness in two before she gasped, “I wish we could do this all day!”

I could only nod and breathe hard.

“But I gotta go in a minute. Don’t hold back!” Her words were just loud, heavy breaths with plump lips in the way.

I grabbed her and spun her so she was holding the back of the couch and fucked her like we were zoo animals. I grabbed her hair and smacked her ass and she screamed things I don’t remember but I’m sure would put us in one of the lower circles of Dante’s Inferno.

Then it was over. It was amazing and I collapsed into a breathless, sweaty heap on the couch. She literally didn’t say another word as she slipped on her dress and found her shoes, just gave me a sly smile on her way out the door.

(This is where I tell you we totally used protection and it was safe and responsible sex because that’s what adults are supposed to do so that unplanned babies aren’t made and diseases aren’t spread. Let’s just pretend that I told you all those things, okay?)

I just sat there for Jesus Fucking Christ knows how long with the world’s dumbest grin on my face as post-coital, post-whiskey lethargy destroyed my chances of being at all useful for the day. As slumber took me, there was a faint echo in my brain.

What?!? The?!? Fuck?!?

#

I texted her when I woke up to the roommate’s complaints.

Ed: Hope next time you’ll let me feed you.

Julie: We’ll see.  wink_emoji_grande

Ed: I’ll let you get back to work, but msg me when you want to talk or get together.

And … nothing. The next day …

Ed: Hey you! My luck you probably remembered your lunch today.

No response. Day of Confusion 3 …

Ed: Heya! Remember me?

Julie: Hey. We’ll talk when I have a minute.

Nope, I wasn’t going to put my dignity on the cheese grater by calling, texting, or messaging her until she felt like it. I made it three entire days, so be proud of me. On Facebook it was her re-posting bullshit motivational memes and pictures of her daughter coloring.

Ed: Julie, what the fuck? Don’t I at least get an update of what the hell is going on with you?

Julie (three goddamn hours later): Hey. I’m sorry. Everything I said before stands. I like you as friends. I shouldn’t have crossed the line with you. Hope you’re not mad at me.

What do you say to that, Ed? Are you gonna COMPLAIN that a gorgeous woman visited you on her lunch break and fucked your brains out?

No, no you will not.

Ed: Of course not. I’m confused … but I’m used to that.

Julie: Cool. I’ll talk to you soon.

She didn’t.

Weeks went by, and I did my damnedest to NOT think about her riding me like a mechanical bull at a redneck bar and screaming to Jesus Fucking Christ. I may have failed, but I respected her wishes. She wanted to be friends. Facebook friends only, apparently, because she wasn’t really talking to me and the weird little last-minute invitations ended as well.

I moved on. It’s what you do. I’m a grownup, goddammit, or at least pretend to be.

I ended up at a privately-owned apartment complex a few miles from my place one night. A friend had asked me to help her with a paper for school. Yes, a lady friend. And yes, that night got quite interesting. And maybe I’ll even tell you that story if you ask nicely. But the two important points here are that (A) I hadn’t so much as heard from Julie in nearly a month, and (B) she had twice declared “friends-only” status—both times in writing. Enjoying some frisky term-paper action was on ethically solid ground.

Except, of course, that it turns out Julie lived just a few doors down. Her daughter, it would seem, witnessed me kissing her neighbor goodbye as I left in the morning. I found out as much when Julie called me late that night, screaming into the phone.

“I have to find out from my daughter that you’re seeing that WHORE? When were you going to tell me?”

(“Tell you what?”) I wanted to ask, but didn’t have time considering Julie’s words came out in a stream of rapid-fire-English that would have sounded way more natural from a Spanish-speaker instead of a phantom blonde.

“I know I’ve been really busy lately but that doesn’t mean you get to just fuck my neighbor and pretend like everything’s fine!” Her words were fast but slightly mushy, so I’m guess she was drinking. “I don’t know what I ever did to deserve you fucking around and rubbing my fucking nose in it but I’m OVER IT. I’m deleting you from fucking Facebook, I’m deleting you out of my fucking phone, and I’m deleting you out of my fucking life. Lose my number! I never want to see you again. FUCK YOU.” Then I heard some loud tapping sounds I can only assume were her violently stabbing at the phone to hang up on me.

So … It’s been three years since I’ve seen or heard from Julie and I’ve got just one question:

What?! The?! Fuck?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Amy November 9, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

    Well, Ed. Oh my. Oh…oh, my. I don’t know where to start. First I was all: aw, poor Ed! Then I was very: HELL YEAH!! FUCK ONLINE DATING!! Because for real: fuck it. But then I was all: this feels like that one time I found my dad’s secret stash of Playboy magazines and they made me feel all funny in my tummy and between my legs. And then I was real: Yay! Ed made a connection! Until finally I was just: WTF, Julie?! And: SCREW YOU PLENTYOFCUPID.COM!!! And also I once drank an entire bottle of Evan Williams all by myself in one week because of a WTF dipshit.

    People are weird. Baggage is dumb. Thank goodness this made me laugh, since online dating makes me cry. Thank god for Evan Williams.

    If it makes you feel better, I bet Julie ended up marrying a Colombian drug cartel lord.

    Reply

    • Ed November 13, 2016 at 8:56 am #

      I never saw or heard from her again. (As she requested I never bothered her directly.) But I keep thinking she must have moved, because I would guess that she’d eventually pass me by in the liquor store or something. It’s been a few years, and Nope.

      Some like the story because I get laid. But here’s the thing: getting laid isn’t that difficult. But I’m not in college anymore, I want something a little more grown up—without, you know, having to grow up too much. I’ll let you know if it happens before I die.

      Reply

      • Ed November 13, 2016 at 8:57 am #

        P.S. Next time I’ll just drink paint thinner instead of Evan Williams. I suspect the hangover will be more bearable.

        Reply

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