Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day
THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE
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
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.