As I continued on my quest to date lots of guys, I was struck by a memory of an incident that barely bothered me at the time but maybe should have. In my twenties, I pined away for a commitment-phobic trustafarian, Adam, who managed the hottest night club in Chelsea. As long as my legs were open to him, the bar was open to me and my friends. Adam told me he wasn’t ready for a relationship and didn’t hide that he was dating around. For two and a half years I fawned over him, dropping everything for an Adam booty call any hour of the day or night. Ultimately, he decided it was pointless for us to continue dating because it was unfair to me – it wouldn’t go anywhere. My family wasn’t rich or prominent enough for his parents to approve of, and neither was I, he said. I was crushed but still young enough to have loved the highs so much, the lows barely registered.
Certain situations are just easier to handle at 24 than 34, mainly because in your twenties, everyone you know is struggling, too. Two years in your twenties is a mere blink. In your thirties, two years can be detrimental to how your life could end up. All these years later I was re-learning single life and it wasn’t easy. After discovering that Coffee Matt was cheating, I decided to lay my heart on the line to Michael, my long-term, hot-and-cold crush. To try, one last time to see if he was really into me but just er, difficult to pin down.
“What’s going on?” He responded to my out-of-the-blue but admittedly, slightly desperate text. I let rip.
“Why is it that we slept together once, and you haven’t wanted to since? I contacted you because I wanted be with someone that I trusted. You pulled a hit and run. Do you realize how rude that is? I thought we were friends!”
“Oh my God I’m so sorry, I didn’t even think of that. The whole situation was weird, not bad, but weird and I’m sorry.” he said as if he suddenly registered this. How could we fix things, he wanted to know? Why not do it again! For some odd reason on both of our ends, we decided to meet up the next night. We both admitted that maybe it wasn’t a good idea but planned our tryst anyway. My place was a mess. Michael had visitors from out of town. He suggested a hotel
“We’ll do One Night Standard on the Highline, they always have something available and we can have sex against the big windows in the rooms. I’ll book it!” One Night Standard is a smartphone app that lets you book a room for a quickie at a discount last minute price.
Meeting in the lobby the next night, we awkwardly hugged each other. As we ate dinner in the hotel restaurant, we barely spoke. He brought up his passion and uncertainty about his struggles with Soto Buddhism. “This is against what I’m trying to do.” he said as we quietly ate.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I’m not supposed to be doing this. No sensory pleasures. I’m not even drinking right now.” This comment rather confused me considering we were going through with our plan for a hot night of sex. But instead of the challenge, I went for a conversational gambit. “Well, I’ve been seeing a 29 year old, not sure what’s happening with that. How’s your girl, BB?” I said, hoping to garner some kind of reaction or chatter.
“Fizzling out.” He replied bluntly, as he signed the check and we slowly retreated to the elevator.
My vision of Michael and I dry humping each other with reckless abandon once the elevator doors closed gave way to the reality of us just standing there, side by side, in silence. We looked like one of those couples you see in hotels, who sit silently at every meal, cutlery clanking, not even bothering to find any common ground, rather than a pair who used a last minute hotel app for sex.
The rules we both agreed upon were simple. No disappearing from my life again for him, and no inconsistent or crazy behavior from either of us, afterwards. Entering the room, Michael randomly went through his phone and chose Beyonce’s Lemonade in it’s entirety as we began our make-out session. Not even 15 minutes had passed, when Michael stopped, in the middle of everything, almost in a panic. “Let’s take a break!” He said, with neither of us reaching a climax or well, anything. “We can do it in the morning.” Without words I excused myself to the bathroom feeling shocked. This was clearly a horrible idea. Instead of leaving there and then, desperation set in for me, too stunned to just let this awful situation go. Maybe we could watch a movie and things could be cute and normal, I suggested. But no. Michael teetered on his side of the bed, his back towards me, immersed in the sheets as if he were in a cocoon. Proclaiming he was too tired to watch a movie, I assumed this meant there would be no fucking against the glass window.
“Don’t take this personally” he said, “I can’t sleep unless I’m hanging off of the bed, in college I got so used to sleeping on a couch that I….” and he rattled off some excuse. Did he not remember sleeping with his arm around me years ago?
“It’s fine.” I said curtly, hoping he’d pick up on my disappointment. Which I’m sure he did, but he didn’t care to acknowledge. He completely perked up when his girlfriend texted him. Coffee Matt texted me and I felt slightly guilty for being with another guy until I remembered the neon-pink panties I found in his trash can.
Was it even worth it to have Michael as an insurance policy-guy I could call for sexy fun, if it made me feel worse instead of gorgeous, mischievous and desirable?
Waking up the next morning I found myself staring at a barricade of pillows piled between our heads. Michael did not want to even look at me, his pillow “wall” constructed at some point overnight. How could he not be aware of his behavior? He didn’t apologize for, or explain how much he didn’t want to be there but his actions spoke volumes. There were several things I wanted to say as I woke, but they wouldn’t be heard as he was fully dressed and dashing out the door, at 7 a.m. Had he planned on sneaking out?
“Sorry, I’ve gotta go let my dog out.” he said avoiding eye contact with me.
I sat in the bed, saying nothing. This was the worst idea ever and we both knew it.
“We’ve got the rest of our lives, check out is at 11:00am.” He said, then kissed me on the cheek, and bolted from the room.
Shortly after, I got dressed and took a cab home. I felt petty for using him as insurance. I gained nothing but a sense of shame and emptiness, and the travel sized luxury beauty products I shoved in my purse from the hotel bathroom.
Then I realized what I wanted from him. It wasn’t about sex at all, I lured him with the promise of it, when what I really wanted the most was to watch a movie with him. Just to lay next to him and have him put his arm around me. Why didn’t I ask for that? He went from confiding in me about important things in his life only a few months prior, to literally building a fortress of pillows between us. A bold sign that intimacy was the last thing he would ever give or accept from me. Time for everyone to move on.