You shouldn’t have sex before marriage. You know that, right? I tell my kids this, and, increasingly, I tell myself the same damned thing (for all the good it does me). But why not? the kids inevitably ask. Doesn’t everybody live together before they get married?
That’s beside the point, I generally say, not wanting to cop to the fact that their father and I did, indeed, live together for almost three years before marrying. The point is, I attempt to patiently explain, sex will attach you to someone you may not end up wanting to be attached to, making it harder to leave them, even when you realize they’re not right–or even downright bad–for you.
So there it is, my lecture on abstinence. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at taking my own advice, even when I know it’s right. But that brings me to the subject of Date 0.1.
Date 0.1 (I’ll let you decipher my numbering system as we go, but really, it’s pretty simple) was what I now like to think of as a practice date. One of the aforementioned choice exes who wheedled his way out of the woodwork (admittedly, with some help from yours truly), Date 0 was a guy I’d been in love with for years. He’s a fellow writer (also legit, of the ilk that speaks at Comic Con) I’d known before my ex-husband. Anyway, not going to say anymore about that except that, while married, we never cheated on our spouses with each other (even though they both believed otherwise). We did carry on by email for awhile, however, roundabout a decade ago, until the whole thing blew up and we went our separate ways, since he was ultimately just as stubborn as I was about making a failing marriage work. Afterward, we went without any contact whatsoever for years. That is, until I left my marriage.
So…I have to say–that friendship with the college ex? It got me through some hard, dark times. It also put me through some even harder, darker times, but whatever. With him living over a hundred miles away, our “relationship” seemed a safe space and, really, a moot point. But the question eventually emerged: Do we still have anything in person together or not?
Eventually, the day came to find out.
Without giving away too many telling details, we made plans for him to stop by my place for a brief visit on his way to somewhere else. And he did. While at my place (keep in mind I hadn’t been with anyone since my ex-husband at this point, and my ex had a problem with impotence he blamed on me, leading to our having sex only three times during the last five years of our marriage), all we did was talk. The college ex looked great, as I had suspected from the pictures I’d seen of him, and I was just as attracted to him at age 42 as I was back when we were both 18-year-olds (and 30-year-olds, for that matter). So I sat there, lusting after him, studying his hands and forearms (did I mention I have a thing for piano players?), wanting to climb onto his lap and get busy.
But I didn’t. Instead, I minded my manners and sat across the room from him, painfully aware that he was now married to Wife No. 2. After a couple hours of chit-chat, he left. Here’s the kicker, though–he left without so much as giving me a hug!!! Talked nonstop, couldn’t even look me in the eye without seeming sheepish or guilty, yet he didn’t even use the socially acceptable touch-excuse of a hug to determine whether we still had that mind-blowing sizzle between us??? I was floored.
In subsequent email communication, when I asked why he didn’t even hug me goodbye, he told me he didn’t get a “physical vibe” from me, and he’s not much of a hugger. Sorry, but I call BULLSHIT on that! Guy gave me one of the best hugs of my life back when we were 30, so no way I was buying that excuse. But whatever. Obviously, it wasn’t happening between us. Problem was, I worried maybe my ex-husband was right–maybe it was my fault that he didn’t want to have sex. Maybe I just wasn’t sexually attractive to anyone anymore, so I should just give it up and become a cat-lady spinster. At least I’d already had kids, so it’d be easier to forget about romantic love and just increasingly center my life around my offsprings’ upbringing.
Instead, though, on my 24-year-old half-brother’s advice, I joined a dating website. To my little bro’s horror, however, I immediately got hit up by a bevy of seemingly eligible guys, one of whom was only 25.
Yes, I knew it was wrong. That even if things worked out between us, I’d be using him at best. But there are worse ways to be taken advantage of, right? And he seemed down with it, actively encouraging me to go there with him. Quickly, our website communication led to texting (which can get out of control with these younger guys, but I’ll touch on that in another post), then some actual phone conversations.
In my defense, he had a great sense of humor, and our sexual propensities had some key overlap I was eager to explore. Plus he looked cute in his pictures. So I agreed to meet him, leading to Date 1.1.
Now, even if you totally ignored what I had to say above about how you shouldn’t have sex before marriage, don’t ignore this: Meeting someone you’ve never met before around midnight in an empty mall parking lot is not a good idea.
Duh! you’re probably saying, and that’s a beautiful thing. I’m glad you’re wiser about these sorts of issues than I was. But I was horny, and he was 25, so I went for it. And it turned out badly.
Luckily, I didn’t get attacked or date-raped, but things weren’t exactly smooth sailing, either. First off, he showed up wearing a ratty old concert t-shirt and saggy jeans. Second, he was more overweight than his pictures led me to believe. Third, he had a total baby face–because, do you realize how young 25 actually looks when you’re 42??? Trust me–it’s not good. Made me feel like I belonged in jail, not his arms, which were too pudgy anyway.
So I got out of there as fast as I could. Playing the age card, I told him he reminded me too much of my son (even though he didn’t, as my son is way thinner and more mature looking). That didn’t stop the guy–this stranger I never should have agreed to meet so late at night–from planting a juicy kiss on me and running his meaty hands up my skirt. He grabbed my hand and put it on his junk, too, which turned out to be quite sizable.
But that was where it ended. To his credit, when I said no, this wasn’t going to work for me, he left my car and drove away in his truck. Didn’t stop him from continuing to text me weeks later, but he eventually gave up since I wasn’t responding.
So, yeah–Date 1.1 was probably a HUGE mistake in many different dangerous ways. But it taught me something: Even if my ex-husband and my ex-college guy didn’t find me attractive or sexually alluring, someone else did. I was still sexy, and I still had it. And if a guy 17 years younger than me thought so, there had to be others who shared his opinion.
Now I just needed to find some more appropriate candidates from whom to receive that sort of attention.