Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: Chapter 20

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day

THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE

Chapter 20

Our evening began in a Thai restaurant where we ate mussels and beef satay with dripping hot sauces. During dinner, we’d been exchanging life stories, and that’s when Dion told me he never dated anyone over the age of twenty-eight; which is when I spit out my drink.

“You do know that I’m not even close to twenty-eight, don’t you?” I asked rhetorically, wiping the gin spray from the table as we both laughed at my outburst.

Reflecting on bachelorhood and pleasure: always reflecting on pleasure. Panama, 2009

Reflecting on bachelorhood and pleasure: always reflecting on pleasure. Panama, 2009

I’d known him for several months, long enough to understand that he loved the company of smart mature women; he was turned on by my life experience, and it was clear that he adored me. Our intellectual rapport meant even more than our sex to me, and I was electrified by our sex.

“So why twenty-eight, how come the great divide?”

“After twenty-eight, a woman wants to be married and have children. She’s through having sex for fun or for romance. She will have plans.”

I was immediately offended. How could I not take that personally? I was on the far end of his scale of obsolescence. Such was my feminist reflex, to any opinion from a man, when women were reduced to a universal group. But Dion was smart, and I would even characterize him as a feminist; privilege and inequity were not foreign concepts in his worldview.

“How old are you?” I asked.

“Forty-one.”

His spirit was much younger, but his age explained the depth of our discourse. As a pair, we had almost ninety years of living between us. I couldn’t quite believe he didn’t have a harem of fascinating forty-year-olds. He was missing so much.

I thought back to my life at twenty-eight. Beth and I had been a couple for three years and had just bought our first house. Before we met, I had been looking for love; I had wanted a partner. I didn’t want a kid, and I didn’t want just any woman, but I did hope to share my life with someone amazing. Well, there you had it. According to the facts of my own biography, the French Cowboy was right.

That was what I liked about my life at that moment; I had decided to listen. I had a lot of self-knowledge by my mid-forties, and I was more interested in how others saw the world. I was intrigued by how men saw women, in part because I had so little experience. Difference turned me on, and I pursued it by asking piercing questions and suspending judgment. There would have been a time when I would have been permanently put off by his position, but that was no longer necessary. I was grateful for that gift of maturity. So what if he had a preference for women under twenty-eight; he had a reason, and it was his life.

Men didn’t threaten me and they didn’t overly impress me. But they did fascinate me. I had lived so many years without heterosexual intimacy and outside their sphere of influence, that my curiosity about men was almost anthropological. I knew the cultural privileges of men, I knew the social expectations and stereotypes, but I actually knew very little about how individual men connected the dots of their lives.

Men like Dion attracted me because they were open but self-contained, and not invested in approval. That looked like freedom from where I sat, and I drafted Dion as my guide. I knew the high price of entwining sex with the heart, and I imagined I could beat that back with my brilliant bachelor plan. I wanted to hear what was inside his head, just as much as I wanted to feel his desire.

That night was my first visit to his home. Dion’s apartment had only two rooms; undeniably small, but with so little furniture, somehow seemed spacious. Was it coincidental that his place reminded me of the loft in Paris, where Toni and I had surrendered to ecstasy, where we had filled the emptiness with our bold theatre? In Dion’s place, there was a bed in one room, with the tiniest table and chair next to it where the computer glowed. The wall behind the bed was a salon-style homage to The Duke; there must have been more than forty framed and autographed headshots of America’s most famous cowboy. The second room was spare as well, furnished only with a cinder block bookshelf against the wall that held the LP’s and stereo. The vintage albums, with their period graphics, were displayed to be seen: lounge music from the ‘50s, country music from the ‘60s, and other strange compilations with even stranger graphics. Surfboards and snowboards and cowboy hats hung from the ceiling of the high walled room. Eclectic Americana were the only objects in the apartment, and it left the impression that he was a curator of an earlier bachelor era.

He laid an album on the turntable and the silky rhythm of a bossa nova swooned into the room. I liked the wordless first move of a man, and when he came to where I stood in the middle of the room and kissed my lips, I closed my eyes. His hands traced my cheeks from hairline to neck, past my shoulders and down my back. His tender strokes matched the slow deep kisses he offered, until gracefully, he sank to his knees and his face hovered before the burn between my thighs. He took an ankle in each hand, and then his palms glided up the back of my legs, past my ass, and back to my ankles with my panties in his grip. There was an art to lifting the leg of a woman, and he had it down, delicately lifting one foot and then the other, like the Prince helping Cinderella into the glass slippers. Next he lifted the hem of my skirt. I opened my eyes when his tongue touched my pussy, watching while I felt the magnificent spread of his mouth reach beyond my outer lips.

The view from above was surreal, like watching a movie, only I felt every frame. Voluptuous women, draped over mid-century furniture, kept watch from their seductive poses on the album covers, and framed the background behind his smooth head. I gaped with rapture as the circular motion of his head magnified the smaller strokes of his tongue, a stimulation that moved through my clit to my thighs, across my ass and up to my nipples. All zones came into play, my entire body signing on, persuaded by the sensation that radiated from his mouth on my pussy. Looking down I felt omnipotent, but helpless; I towered over his submissive position, yet I was completely dependent on his desire. A man on his knees, moving his mouth for my pleasure: was there ever a more potent image to imagine? Could I ever feel more power on the planet? Would I ever feel more like a man?

TOMORROW: Chapter 21

Subscribe to Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series at The Bachelor Blog and never miss a chapter! Or follow on twitter @vickimarie44

Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY! to contribute to my Kickstarter campaign to PAY FOR TRANSLATING THE BOOK INTO SPANISH: so we can offer this liberating story to Spanish language readers all over the globe. When you donate online, you’ll get a copy of the book, in English or Spanish, and of course, there are other fabulous rewards!

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: Chapter 19

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day

THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE

Chapter 19

Dion and I were meeting at a new bar, The Chapel, which had been the neighborhood funeral home for more than eighty years. Butterworth’s Mortuary had struggled for years, losing relevance with the lifestyle shift from elaborate funerals to ash-tossing memorials. There had been a brief increase in the burying business during the AIDS epidemic, and as my martini arrived I was struck by the irony of a repurposed mortuary set in the very neighborhood that suffered the loss of so many young lives. Most Americans had been spared the heartbreak of the AIDS crisis because of bigotry or cultural indifference. Those of us in the gay and lesbian community, who watched our friends die by the dozens in the eighties and nineties, still grieved from the horror of that period.

Tanqueray Martini, stirred, not shaken: the official cocktail of Vicki Marie's Bachelor Chapters

The Tanqueray Martini, stirred, not shaken: the official cocktail of Vicki Marie’s Bachelor Chapters

I thought of my best buddy, Robert Kaiser: singer, songwriter, costume designer, and self-identified Marlboro Man—another cowboy, no less. Damn, I missed him. How could it have been ten years since he died? We would be sitting at this bar, that’s for sure. He would have loved the wicked twist that the Capitol Hill funeral parlor had become a cruising joint for the next generation of gay men. He also would have applauded my plan to have more than one man between my sheets; gay men had practically resurrected Rome with their scandal-free promiscuity. The straight men I’d been dating could not have been more different than their gay brothers.

Dion Miron swept in moments later and joined me at the bar.

“I thought I had a date with the French Cowboy tonight,” I said, standing up for the double-cheek kiss. “I didn’t expect you to trot in on a horse, but I did expect at least one or two cowboy hats. Did you forget the brim you said I could borrow?”

“The horse stays outside—and I leave the hat with him when I drink in a funeral home—respect for the deceased,” he said, running with my joke, then crossing himself like a proper catholic.

“So, you’re a French Catholic Cowboy; you just get more interesting all the time, Monsieur Miron.”

“And you are interesting because Rob Anderson is your friend. I thought he only cared for friendships with French Catholic Cowboys.”

I laughed in spite of the fact it made no sense. Like hipster Marx Brothers, Dion and Rob were fans of absurd humor, and I discovered I liked it, too. I also liked the sound of his English, spoken in a French rhythm, and the way he shaped his mouth to make the words. His lips moved easily and often, in and out of a smile. He liked to be amused.

Our conversation covered high altitude trekking, the election year campaign, his delinquent college days in Paris, and the common sense of French mothers who dispensed birth control pills to their teenage daughters. Dion asked questions, provoked discourse, and seemed perfectly suited for the simple scene of a bar, a cocktail, and une femme blonde américaine. He was handsome without being perfect; his face was wide; his jaw square. His thick nose had a prominent ridge that lined up with his cheekbones, set beneath brown eyes and dark brows. He was bald, and I wondered if that was by choice. His groomed goatee showed the evidence of age, with a shimmer of grey in the dark hair. Was he forty yet? It was hard to say.

“Have you ever been in love?” I asked, following a discussion about the difference between European and American infidelity.

“Love? But, what is love?” he replied, with that lyrical accent. I really wanted to know, so I described exactly what I meant.

“Being in love is when you can’t imagine your life being happy or whole without that other person.” Dion looked at me blankly, as if English was not one of his four languages.

“Being in love is also a totally helpless and symbiotic condition. If the love is reciprocated, then the dependency is disguised.” I leaned into the bar. “That’s when love feels irresistibly powerful. That would be the hook.” Dion didn’t appear to comprehend any part of what I believed to be common knowledge.

“So, the answer is: you’ve never been in love.”

“No—yes—once—in Paris. We were in school—artists—a group of us spent our time together. She studied acting. There was love.” He sounded indifferent. “I loved her. She loved me. Later, she changed her mind.”

“That’s it? That’s the only time?” Dion nodded, shrugged. Men were so tight-lipped when the heart was involved. If we were two women, we could have stayed on the subject all night.

“I’ve been in-love three times,” I told him. “I’ve been lucky—I had two long-term relationships. I liked it a lot—but I’m not interested anymore. I want something different.” I had to put it on the table. If he couldn’t handle it, then we weren’t meant to be. “I want to be single; I want to date. I want sex, but something more than one night stands.”

He was nodding, listening. “Sex is important.” His tone was pragmatic. “To like the person, is good. But not always necessary,” he signaled the bartender for another round.

“It is for me. I want meaningful connections; I want to experience something significant—but no more monogamy. My sex is my business, and I’m going to have sex with whomever I want.” That was the truth. And if I didn’t keep saying it, there was no way I was going to get it.

“Of course. It’s personal. It cannot be anyone else’s business,” he said.

“Exactly.” I drained my glass, setting it back on the damp napkin, my mind alert to what had just happened. No one had ever agreed with me before. Suddenly, Dion was more than a potential lover; he was a comrade and I wondered if he could be a guide.

“How do you do it, Dion? How do you date women? Where do you meet them?” He shrugged his shoulders, and shook his head.

“Where? I meet girls at clubs. At work. If there’s chemistry, we’ll have sex. Sometimes I see them for a while. Sometimes not. I tell them I’m not a boyfriend.”

His answers electrified me. He made it sound possible.

Finally, I had an ally. He wasn’t just a voyeuristic listener, but an actual human being who had been practicing honest, non-exclusive connections for years. He didn’t need a partner to feel whole. He didn’t require love to be satisfied. He didn’t mislead regarding his intentions. I tell them I’m not a boyfriend. He didn’t have to justify or apologize to anyone; he was simply a bachelor. Wait—that was it! Dion Miron was a bachelor! And wasn’t bachelorhood non-monogamous and socially acceptable? Could it really be that simple? After six months of trying to explain my goals and de-stigmatize my desires, it took the wisdom of one French Cowboy and the gin of two martinis for the truth to emerge; of course, I wasn’t a slut because I wanted sex with multiple partners! I was a bachelor.

The air was warm for a Seattle evening, and my bare arms savored the rare exposure. Dion and I had left The Chapel in search of food. This was his neighborhood, and I’d told him to choose when he asked what I wanted to eat.

“Broadway Grill. We’ll take a taxi.”

How European, I thought. A taxi. The restaurant was no more than six blocks, but hey, it was his call. I would do anything with him at that moment. I was feeling delicious in his company. The evening could not have been more meaningful.

“I’ll call one,” he said when we reached the intersection, pulling out his phone. Without restaurants, the street was vacant at 10:00 p.m. on a Tuesday night. The corner was lit from the mercury-vapor streetlamp, and my pale, naked arms deepened to a purple-brown in the off-cast color. I felt sexy and alive, affected by the romance of the street. Street lamps had always evoked mystique and allure for me, never more so than when Toni and I had owned the crooked streets of Paris for those nine magic nights. Was it odd that I could remember Paris with fondness, and not be stirred by the bitter rejection that came later? I had been in love, and loved, in Paris. That time existed like an oasis in my memory, an island too heavenly to be tainted by the shock of what followed.

Dion pocketed his phone, and crossed the sidewalk to where I stood. He said nothing when he raised my chin to his face, and brought the intimate pressure of his lips against mine. He found a welcome entrance. I opened fully to the wet heat of his tongue as our bodies pressed neatly into one another. His hands traced the contours of my torso, my back, and the roundness of my ass under the blue-black dress. Dion’s touch was authoritative yet restrained; presumptuous yet patient. My body was swept easily into the moment, my open throat exposed to the mercury glow as I rose on to my toes, stretching tall to meet the height of his mouth.

The boldness of that corner kiss, set in the sidewalk spotlight, was the opening act. It was an archetypal performance and I deferred to Dion; I followed his direction. In The Chapel I had auditioned, and on the vacant corner I had been cast. The taxi pulled up, and he led me to the open door. I folded my galvanized body out of the spotlight and into the dark interior and awaited his next cue.

With the door sealed, and instructions to the driver delivered, Dion returned his attention to me as if we were in the most private of places. He placed one arm around my shoulder, bringing me close to his side, and with the other began a surveillance of my skin. He touched my left thigh, moved to my right thigh, and then traced the calf down to the ankle, brushing his fingers against my exposed instep. Every place he touched erupted with the charge of memory; of being touched by other hands, of being touched at other times. His hand moved beneath my dress, to the inside of my naked thigh, and into the wall of heat radiating from my pussy. I flinched when his fingers found the place where the fabric of my panties met my skin. Instinctively, I shifted my ass off the seat; Dion guided the panties effortlessly to my ankles, escorting each heel free of fabric, leaving my ass naked beneath my dress before the taxi had moved two blocks. He’s done this before; there was no mistaking his skill. He kissed me again, deeply, and I spread my legs, giving in to that divine reflex of desire. And he does it well, I thought, before submitting to the sensation of his perfect touch on my perfect pussy.

TOMORROW: Chapter 20

Subscribe to Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series at The Bachelor Blog and never miss a chapter! Or follow on twitter @vickimarie44

Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.

Until July 11th, I’m asking you to contribute to this Kickstarter campaign to PAY FOR TRANSLATING THE BOOK INTO SPANISH: so we can offer this liberating story to Spanish language readers all over the globe. When you donate online, you’ll get a copy of the book, in English or Spanish, and of course, there are other fabulous rewards! 2 DAYS LEFT TO RAISE $3000!

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: Chapter 18

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day

THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE

Chapter 18

By the time I told Sergio about Johnny Sullivan’s email, the bite had healed, and I laughed just as hard as he did. I didn’t like rejection any more than the next person, but I had thicker skin than most. I was a sales executive, and hearing “no” was a part of my job.

Dating, again? Bring your sense of humor. Vicki Marie exhibiting her Objet Trouvé Collection, Cafe Paloma, Seattle, 2006

Dating, again? Bring your sense of humor. Vicki Marie exhibiting her Objet Trouvé Collection, Cafe Paloma, Seattle, 2006

It took years to build clientele in my career, and it meant soliciting dozens of customers for every one that I gained. I didn’t like losing, but I’d learned the truth; it was a numbers game, and every loss brought me one step closer to the next win. I started to think of my dating quest with a longer timeframe. I had only been at it for three months. I hoped it wasn’t going to take as long to be successful with my romantic goals as it had been with my business goals, but there was only one way to find out—I had to put in my time.

With business on my mind, I decided to give networking a shot in my pursuit of eligible men, so I called another customer I had become friendly with and we had lunch near his office. We’d run into one another a few weeks earlier at a brand launch for a new winery. He had been out with an intriguing man that night, and I had set up the lunch to dig for more info.

“That guy you were with at the wine gig—the French guy—is he single?”

“Oh, he’s perfectly single,” Rob’s eyes lit up like headlights. I’d just told him about my dating saga, and he knew exactly where I was headed. “He’s funny, smart, and—he’s a cowboy!”

“Cowboy? A French cowboy?”

Oui, juste! You’re ‘gonna love him! Great guy—my best friend. We’ll go out, the three of us. Let’s do Tuesday, at Le Pichet, downtown. I’ll pick you up.”

I really liked Rob, though we hadn’t spent much time together. He was a decade younger than I was, down to earth, and metro-hipster sharp. He was cool enough to have his finger on the pulse of every trend and fleeting obsession, and savvy enough to decipher what was BS. Rob was childless and recently divorced, and he was reviving a single lifestyle, catching after-work happy hours and weekend surf trips with his boy crew. We were practically neighbors in West Seattle, and he was certainly being neighborly in his offer to orchestrate a chaperoned blind date.

“Thank you, baby, but please—don’t tell him I might be interested.” I really didn’t know if I was. I just knew he was good to look at, he spoke English with a French accent, and now I knew he was a single cowboy. I was definitely up for low-pressure cocktails and a table for three. Le Pichet was an under-hyped bistro-style bar and French kitchen that made you forget you were in the Pacific Northwest. Rob loved the place, and the bartender was a buddy, which we all knew translated into generous pours.

His name was Dion Miron, and over cocktails I learned that the French Cowboy had a childhood obsession with John Wayne, which prompted the nickname that Rob had created for his buddy. Losing Toni had not changed my passion for all things French, and my Tuesday night with the boys at Le Pichet gave me one more reason to covet the culture. Sitting in that French bar, grazing on pomme-frites, and drinking in his accent, his wide smile, and his athletic physique snagged my attention and I knew I wanted to see him again. Like Rob, Dion was smart and razor-sharp funny, and the three of us improvised a hilarious evening of lightning-quick satire. At the end of our night, I wrote down my email on the back of a coaster, and Dion did the same. I wasn’t at all clear what might happen next between the French Cowboy and me, but I was absolutely clear that the networking maneuver had earned a category in my experiment. Suddenly, it was like business, and that was a game I knew I could win.

Exactly one week later, after exchanging a few wry emails, I made plans to meet the French Cowboy alone. For the first time, I was actually nervous. I was looking forward to solo time with him, but our meeting that night had not been defined as a date. The French Cowboy was loaning me a western hat for a photo shoot, and cocktails on the Hill had been scheduled for the exchange of property. I wasn’t clear if he was interested in anything more than another night of conversation over drinks. I had no idea about the customs of French men and their dating habits; I just knew it had to hold more promise than my string of losses with the Americans.

TOMORROW: Chapter 19

Subscribe to Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series at The Bachelor Blog and never miss a chapter! Or follow on twitter @vickimarie44

Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.

Until July 11th, I’m asking you to contribute to this Kickstarter campaign to PAY FOR TRANSLATING THE BOOK INTO SPANISH: so we can offer this liberating story to Spanish language readers all over the globe. When you donate online, you’ll get a copy of the book, in English or Spanish, and of course, there are other fabulous rewards! 3 DAYS LEFT TO RAISE $3000!

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: Chapter 17

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day

THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE

Chapter 17

While the car gymnastics with David had affirmed the pussy-as-gateway thesis, there was one glaring absence in the panty-snatcher episode. I hadn’t told David about my brand of nonexclusive dating. Could that be what had skewed the results with the subsequent subjects? Was Sergio right that the anti-monogamy component—and the fear of competition— was a serious turnoff? There was no denying that when I’d been upfront about the open relationship rule, men had vaporized. All evidence was supporting Sergio’s insight, but that didn’t stop me from feeling confident about a second date with Johnny Sullivan. Until that changed too. Four days after our first date, he hadn’t called either.

"Did I want too much? Or was I too much?" Not in this crowd—checking out the Erotic Art Exhibition, Seattle, 2010

“Did I want too much? Or was I too much?” Not in this crowd—checking out the Erotic Art Exhibition, Seattle, 2010

I refused to believe that my date with Johnny was going to lead to nowhere, so I conjured up reasons to explain his silence. The man was a hotshot media operator for crying out loud. Maybe he had landed an unexpected gig; maybe he had even left the country. Still, I was bugged. I had been on enough dates to know men were capable of vaporizing. But none of the other guys had captivated me like Johnny Sullivan; I thought we had a real chance to share something special. By day six, I needed confirmation that he was still an interested party, so I bent my rule and sent him an email.

I opened his reply, which began with an apology for the time-lapse. Excellent, just as I thought, the man’s been busy. I read further. Uh-oh—really busy! Johnny Sullivan explained that after our promising first date, he’d gone on to meet his heartbroken girl-buddy, and she’d presented an alternate plan— which apparently had worked out just fine for him. They had spent the entire week fucking their brains out and stitching up their romantic tapestry; in other words, I’d been pussy-blocked! The exceptional Johnny Sullivan had a girlfriend!

I left the computer to refill my coffee, shaking my head in disbelief. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, especially when I thought about Katsu and Sergio, who would both be doubled over by the latest twist in my pitiful plot. Pussy-blocked! Was there no end to this frickin’ drought? To hell with meaningful connections: was I ever going to get laid again in this lifetime?

I sat down with my coffee to read the last paragraph, where Johnny Sullivan started by thanking me for the evening. But then he told me he had been uncomfortable with my invitation to meet in a glamorous venue. He thought it was, “honestly, kind of weird.” His implication was clear. Even if he didn’t have a new girlfriend, there would be no second date, and my face burned from the rejection. I couldn’t be hurt over a man I hardly knew, but that didn’t mean it couldn’t sting. My mind flashed to Toni, and the mystery of why she had left me. Then I thought about what Sergio had said. “Men are simple, Stolsen. And you’re too much.” Maybe my idea for multiple meaningful connections wasn’t just an unsuccessful experiment; maybe it was a figment of my imagination. Did I want too much? Or was I too much?

TOMORROW: Chapter 18

Subscribe to Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series at The Bachelor Blog and never miss a chapter! Or follow on twitter @vickimarie44

Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.

Until July 11th, I’m asking you to contribute to this Kickstarter campaign to PAY FOR TRANSLATING THE BOOK INTO SPANISH: so we can offer this liberating story to Spanish language readers all over the globe. When you donate online, you’ll get a copy of the book, in English or Spanish, and of course, there are other fabulous rewards! 4 DAYS LEFT TO RAISE $3000!

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: Chapter 14

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day

THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE

Chapter 14

By the time I met with Johnny Sullivan, I was in the third month of my experiment, without a single second date to show for my efforts. When I staked out this new lifestyle, I thought I understood the sexual prerogative of men, and I was sure it was compatible with what I was looking for. But instead, I’d been dealt a losing hand of insincere strangers. Why were they so adamant about wanting a second date—and then so consistent with not following through? In my career, I was an expert at reading people, but in this world, my experience had failed me. I felt like a foreigner, with no understanding of the culture. I still believed men wanted sex with women, but I needed my luck to change quickly, before even that universal truth failed me.

Installation of Vicki Marie's art at betty blue, Seattle, 2006

Installation of Vicki Marie’s art at betty blue, Seattle, 2006

It had been more than fifteen years since I had seen Johnny Sullivan, when his note appeared in my Nerve mailbox. We studied photography at the University of Washington at the same time. He was finishing up while I was entering, and we were never more than acquaintances. I was fairly certain he wouldn’t remember me, but there was no way not to remember Johnny Sullivan. He went on to international fame for his photographs that documented the rise of Seattle’s seminal grunge scene that captured fans around the world with the music of Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, and Nirvana.

I was at my table when I saw him enter the bar—tall, lean, with a smooth shaved head. He wore a black form-fitting T-shirt, black jeans, and a man bag, which he had slung across his fit chest. “Yoga,” I remembered reading in his profile, and “learning to break dance.” It shows, I thought, admiring his cut biceps as he lifted the bag over his head and bent down for a cheek-kiss hello. That’s when I smelled him, a smoky cologne on his skin, just enough to pique the senses.

“So, you found the place OK?”

“Not a problem,” he said sitting down, “I was glad you suggested we meet here—I haven’t been in years—and I can see that it still looks the same.”

“Not only that, but did you see? Frank is still working the door! That’s twenty-five years—since the first year they opened.” Johnny looked over his shoulder, saw the silver haired maître d’ and smiled.

“Look at that! It’s like time froze here—in all the best ways.” I liked that, as well. Johnny Sullivan was no stranger to my favorite Pike Place restaurant, and he even remembered Frank. Everything was happening so quickly.

While the waiter took his order, I took inventory of my senses. I was aware of the flush of blood between my legs, and I did my best to resist the sensation. I uncrossed my legs under the table, and re-crossed them again. Nothing had even happened between us, but in less than two minutes, I was reminded of how my body could feel. This was much more than a change of luck. I was excited.

I’m gonna fuck a yo-o-gi! I’m gonna fuck a yo-o-gi!” I sang out loud to myself as I danced down Post Alley two hours later, high on gin and the sweet promise of a meaningful connection. To hell with those other guys! Fuck them all! This was the real deal—this was exactly what I’d set out to find! First, there was that energy: that unmistakable, inexplicable force of nature we call attraction. That would have been enough for my little experiment, but with Johnny Sullivan there was more. We connected on every level that mattered. We were both in our forties, both committed to physical fitness, and both humble enough to take on new dance skills. We were both adventure travelers, captivated by new experiences, and both fans of glamour and grit in our destinations. We were connoisseurs and critics of art, design, and fashion, and we couldn’t stop talking about Paris, New York, and Bangkok: the legendary cities we both adored and could never get enough of.

I was turned on by his success in business, where he had a client roster that included Timberland boots and Grey Goose Vodka. His personal art projects took him to the back roads of Vietnam and the b-boy street scenes of American cities. He was a creative and dynamic man, and if I hadn’t been attracted to him, I would have welcomed him into my world as a friend and colleague.

When he told me that he understood my decision not to pursue a conventional relationship, I was certain I’d finally found a man I could play with.

“I have an idea!” I told him, before we said good night. “I adore the backdrop of a classy hotel bar in New York or Paris— and it’s been too long. Let’s meet at a four-star bar downtown— and pretend we’re in some other fabulous city for the night!” I loved the idea. I missed how I had dressed up with Toni, and we had made the world our stage.

We parted way too early for my taste. He was meeting a best girlfriend, who had sent out an SOS for sympathy because of a recent breakup. I was disappointed our time was over, but Johnny Sullivan impressed me again by stepping up for a girlfriend-in-need. Something significant was in play. I had felt it all evening. Finally, I’d been dealt a new hand, and this time, in the nick of time, I was betting on a win.

TOMORROW: Chapter 15

Subscribe to Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series at The Bachelor Blog and never miss a chapter! Or follow on twitter @vickimarie44

Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.

Until July 11th, I’m asking you to contribute to this Kickstarter campaign to PAY FOR TRANSLATING THE BOOK INTO SPANISH: so we can offer this liberating story to Spanish language readers all over the globe. When you donate online, you’ll get a copy of the book, in English or Spanish, and of course, there are other fabulous rewards! 7 DAYS LEFT TO RAISE $3000!

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: Chapter 13

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day

THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE

Chapter 13

Like all my early email rendezvous, Johnny Sullivan and I met at Il Bistro, Seattle’s venerable fine dining restaurant on the edge of Post Alley at the Pike Place Market. Il Bistro was old world, and evoked the spirit of a typical bistro one could find on any corner in Rome or Tuscany, with hardwood floors, brick walls framing arched windows, and a mirror-backed bar holding the largest single malt scotch collection in the city.

Hanging lamps with Victorian fabric shades gave the room a warm glow, and the marble topped tables were lit with candles.

I became a regular there in that winter of 2004, and Tuesday was my unofficial date night—same table, same cocktail—I even wore the same dress. I was conducting research into the possibility of sex outside of coupling, and Il Bistro was my laboratory; although I’m sure the other customers mistook my lab for the party table in the room.

Vicki Marie at the Preview for her Exhibition, "That Ain't Right" 2007, photo by Robert Wade

Vicki Marie at the Preview for her Exhibition, “That Ain’t Right” 2007, photo by Robert Wade

By week three, the bartender was onto my game. When I sashayed past the bar to my table, he broke into a smile and began mixing my martini just the way I liked it—Tanqueray, stirred, with three olives. The dress I wore each week was a deep blue and black Lily crepe number, found in Paris, that first trip with Toni. It was form-fitting, cut on the bias and fell to mid-calf. The length was unusual for me—I specialized in short-shirt fashion—it was the only below-mid-thigh dress I owned. I’d decided to spotlight elegance, intelligence, and humor as my primary bait: brain first, body later. This was like a game to me, but my intentions were dead serious, and I wanted to be thoughtful about what I was trying to accomplish. I was making it up as I went, and I came up with some guidelines to keep me on track:

No sex on the first date. This was an interview, not a hookup.

No married men. I was in search of authentic interaction with adults, and not the coward crowd who rationalized cheating and lying.

No unemployed or underemployed. I didn’t expect a man to always pay my way, but I definitely wanted to be treated like a lady upfront.

No fat physiques.I was looking for a view to turn me on, and the endurance of an athlete to keep me going.

No misrepresentation on my part. I knew many men were on the hunt for their next wife, or a soul mate, so I felt obligated to explain what I meant by a meaningful connection, and I made it clear that I was nonexclusive.

I conducted my research with a sense of humor, and a grad student’s commitment to over achievement. I wanted mature, sexy, intelligent men in my life—with an emphasis on the plural. I wanted outstanding sex; I wanted rock solid integrity; and I wanted my independence. Was it possible?

TOMORROW: Chapter 14

Subscribe to Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series at The Bachelor Blog and never miss a chapter! Or follow on twitter @vickimarie44

Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.

Until July 11th, I’m asking you to contribute to this Kickstarter campaign to PAY FOR TRANSLATING THE BOOK INTO SPANISH: so we can offer this liberating story to Spanish language readers all over the globe. When you donate online, you’ll get a copy of the book, in English or Spanish, and of course, there are other fabulous rewards! 7 DAYS LEFT TO RAISE $3000!

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: Chapter 12

Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day

THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE

Chapter 12

I had been email dating for a few months, and it just wasn’t making any sense. I didn’t know what was going on, but I could see the pattern. It had happened four or five times, and the way things were going, it looked like I was never going to have sex again.

It was the same story each time: a promising first date in a candlelit lounge, trading flirtation and easy laughter. I was honest about my goals for dating. I called it a meaningful connection, and described it as something between a one-night stand and forever after. “I’m not interested in having a partner,” I would tell him. “I’m nonexclusive.” Without fail, each man made a point to comment on how refreshed he found my company: by my perspective, my openness, and my uniqueness. Apparently I was not like other women, and being an old-school girl, I ate up the flattery. When he promised a call later in the week, I made it clear that I was interested in a second date, too. I liked the tradition where boy-calls-girl, and I looked forward to what would happen next.

My profile was on Nerve, the alternative dating site created in reaction to the conventional profiles that clustered on match. com. In 2004, online dating still carried a stigma, because supposedly only desperate people or losers would resort to electronic matchmaking. I didn’t know if it would work for me, but I was willing to try. Nerve catered to a sexually adventurous membership, and offered drop-down menus that were in sync with exactly what I was after: non-coupled connections. The site provided more than a venue to meet men; Nerve was affirmation that a forty-four-year-old, bisexual, divorcee, eager to pursue heterosexuality outside of a committed relationship, was about as tame as it got.

My profile name was, forever fine, and I posted a few sexy, but sophisticated pictures. I checked the boxes, “woman seeking man” and “short-term relationship.” I kept the content on my profile page lean and simple. I didn’t like reading laundry lists of attributes, so I didn’t create one of my own. I wrote: “I dress to be undressed,” and, “I have a body and a brain, and I use them both.” I also lied about my age. I was not going to be left out of a short-sighted man’s search criteria for having crossed over into my fourth decade. I justified it by knowing it was historical fact that women had always lied about their ages. Besides, Katsu had nailed it for me. I looked thirty-five.

I definitely got action online. I deleted many: like the men who advertised they were “ready to settle down,” or lived in unpractical locations, like Baltimore or Barbados. Gratefully, the Seattle responses provided plenty for me to cull through, and I created an ongoing short list of potential candidates. In my replies, I was quick to kill the pen-pal routine, and would suggest we meet for a drink. I set up plenty of dates, averaging one or two per week. The search for sex was becoming a part-time job. I was the boss and the customer: accepting applications and checking out the merchandise. I was having fun with my little experiment, and my attitude was upbeat.

Most of the men I met from the website did not pass the chemistry test. What had read as witty and sexy online, just didn’t translate in-person. I had an unwavering dogma for athletic physiques, and while I can’t say that any of my dates misrepresented themselves outright in their photographs; there was clearly a camera angle advantage at play. As a photographer, I knew the mechanics of exposure and lens ratios, so I never felt betrayed. After all, I had picked my best shots as well.

What I can say about those early dates is that every single evening was fun. I had entered a new club. We were the pioneers of the electronic date era, and we shared our life stories, made fun of our past heartbreaks, and busted our guts describing the adventures that emerged for us online. Certainly, if I had been looking for my soul mate, I would have been disappointed. But I wasn’t. My dates always made me feel sexy and desirable, offering that exchange of masculine-feminine energy that I adored. It was low-risk and light-hearted, like kids on a playground; I could have a gas with every stranger that came to play in my sandbox.

There were, however, a handful of men who did light a spark in my discriminating green eyes, and those dates always ended with him promising to be in touch soon. When I did not hear back on the following day, I was never concerned, and I did not wait by the phone. After all, this was middle age, not teenage, and like all my dates, I was a busy professional at the height of my career. Days were full and deals were being made. I felt similarly about day two, but by day three, with the weekend looming, I was confused. We had hit it off. He had called me refreshing, for crying out loud, and had been so excited about getting together again. Preference kept me from picking up the phone; I wouldn’t be turned on unless he made the move and called me. By day four the message was clear that the call was not coming. The man had vaporized, changed from a promising mass of man-matter into an invisible and traceless gas. It happened once. It happened twice. By the fourth or fifth time, I understood absolutely that a pattern was in play, but I was clueless to comprehend it.

I needed a man’s perspective. I decided to call in one of my boys for counsel, but not before a first date with another new guy. His name was Johnny Sullivan, and unlike the previous men, he wasn’t a stranger.

TOMORROW: Chapter 13

Subscribe to Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series at The Bachelor Blog and never miss a chapter! Or follow on twitter @vickimarie44

Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.

Until July 11th, I’m asking you to contribute to this Kickstarter campaign to PAY FOR TRANSLATING THE BOOK INTO SPANISH: so we can offer this liberating story to Spanish language readers all over the globe. When you donate online, you’ll get a copy of the book, in English or Spanish, and of course, there are other fabulous rewards! 8 DAYS LEFT TO RAISE $3000!