Well I think I’ve royally stuffed up. Hardly a first, I know, but it’s the first time I’ve stuffed up in this particular way, for many a year. I’ve reverted to a behaviour pattern that I thought I had completely dismantled; so in an attempt to understand why (and hopefully prevent further lapses) I am hereby making this confession.
Some weeks back I met a lovely man. As soon as he walked into the wine bar I felt my old cynical heart give a little flutter. I found myself swooning slightly at this eyes, his smile, his charming way of speaking. We discovered much common ground, shared values, an obvious physical attraction, and spent a delightful evening together. Since then we have had three more dates, two of them involving him coming to my place for dinner and cuddles by the fire. And I do mean CUDDLES. For, believe it or not dear reader, we have not yet consummated our connection.
Of course, the whole process has not been completely chaste: we’ve kissed and fondled and talked of sex, both as a general concept, and in terms of how and where we might indulge. We are highly attracted to each other.
My only cause for pause is his lack of questions about me or my life (something I’ve written about before in this blog, and something I still find somewhat inexplicable). I’ve even mentioned interesting things about my life and got no reaction or follow-on questions from him. Not that he doesn’t listen politely when I do. But he gives no indication of being particularly fascinated, or even having his curiosity mildly piqued.
Well last night he sent me a lovely, sexy text, telling me he’d been thinking of me. And somehow certain bad stars aligned and I responded with a passive-aggressive complaint that his interest in me was only sexual. You know the type: the second you hit “send” you regret it. His response was understandable. He pulled me up on my behaviour, in putting my sexual self on the table (so to speak), responding positively when he reacted to it, and then suddenly getting shitty about it.
He was completely correct.
I apologized immediately and unreservedly, acknowledging that what he said was correct. But sadly, I think the damage was done, and I doubt I will hear from him again. I hurt the feelings of a very, very sweet man. It was a stupid and bitchy thing to do. Mea maxima culpa.
So I got to thinking about the lesson I need to take from this whole episode, other than the obvious one of “don’t text back when you’re in a strange head-space”. And I know that the teachable moment here is in not putting my sexual self front-and-centre, too early in a budding relationship. It tends to eclipse all else, especially in those early, delicate stages. The struggle for me is in working our exactly WHEN I do this. I have to go back through the first couple of meetings and think hard about my own behaviour. I’m not referring to flirting or appropriate first-date intrigue: I mean the moment when I essentially present them with a menu of enticing sexual goodies. Which is the moment that they stop perusing the wine-list. And there IS always a moment. It’s the moment when I have decided that I really like and/or am attracted to this person, that I want them to be attracted to me, and that I need to do something to make them stay. It is the moment when my courage fails me. And by that, I mean the courage to allow things to move at their own pace, and to allow my sexuality to reveal itself through a gradual peeling of layers, over a period of weeks, or even months. As opposed to ripping it all open and plonking in front my intended, like a cat proudly presenting a dead rat to its owner: please love me, because look what I’ve brought you.
I always thought that what I needed around this stuff was will-power. But what I really need is courage. And thinking of it as being courageous, rather than being abstemious and disciplined, puts a positive spin on it. One I might be able to follow through with.
In the meanwhile, I send silent blessings to the dear man I hurt. Our time together was short but very sweet. And I was looking forward to unpeeling HIS layers.