I don’t consider myself a prude, puritan or frigid ice queen when it comes to intimacy. I am great at intimacy. I am a deeply intimate person. I dig sweet kisses behind the knees and soft caresses behind the ears. I’m a foot-rubbing, elbow-tickling, butterfly-kissing fool. Sometimes, I curl up and purr like a little kitten.
I’m just not like that on the first date. Or the second.
I love being in love. I love intimacy. I just can’t fake it. Well, I mean, any girl can “fake it,” but I chose not to.
Which is why my touchy-feely date last weekend skirted around the outskirts of my comfort zone.
The date itself is probably something I should have skipped in the first place. In the spirit of “giving love a chance” though, I broke a few of my own online dating rules:
1) I gave out my number before the date so we could talk/make arrangements easier. This resulted in numerous annoying text exchanges for the week prior to the date. I’m not a huge fan of text messaging – and despise the idea of using texts to carry on a conversation. To make things worse, the already limited and stunted communication was further butchered by text-colloquialisms such as “How r u?” and “Hope ur excited” and “U no it” (which, is supposed to translate to “You know it,” I believe). I almost cancelled the date due to these texts. They grind on my nerves. I don’t understand why people find the need (or think it’s acceptable) to communicate in shorthand. Take your own shorthand notes, that’s fine. However, communication is an art – one we can celebrate wonderfully with words! Let us paint the world with words – not bits and pieces of phonetic hash.
2) I let him drive me in his car – this is a huge No-No, I’m a big fan of my kidneys, so I try to make sure I don’t end up in situations where someone will cut them out of me and sell them on the black market. So, even though we met in a well-lit-highly-populated public place – we didn’t stay there. He wanted to take a drive in his car, which I thought was strange, but in my initial judging of character, I decided he was a nerd. I was actually pretty excited about it (everyone knows that nerds don’t break your heart) – I figured he was just kind of an awkward mouth-breathing geek and he might be just what I was seeking. So, in the spirit of being “easy to be around without being easy,” I decided to go along with it. Sure, stranger, I’ll go for a drive in your car with you. dumb dumb dumb – I promise I’m never doing it again, ok? So, please don’t yell at me, I know it was dumb dumb dumb.
So, that’s how I ended up in the prom date seat of a Saturn driving up I-95. Before he had started the ignition, he was holding my hand. He asked me if I liked it. I said, “Not really. I’m just not really that touchy-feely before I get to know someone. I mean, it’s not bad or anything, it’s just not something I particularly like or dislike.” Which is true. On hand-holding, I’m pretty neutral.
A few minutes later, his hand moved to my thigh. *Key raised eyebrow*
Then, to my inner-thigh. That’s when I slammed on the brakes. I said, “Whoa, buddy, don’t get so fresh, ok? It’s our first date.”
He apologized and said he just thought it would be “nice.” Hmph. Nice for whom?
Then, he went back to hand-holding.
As we were talking, I was wondering why we were driving. Why with gas over $4 a gallon does this guy want to go for a drive? Why not grab a drink or an ice cream or go roller skating? I thought maybe he was introverted and didn’t want to sit across from me and feel the pressure to make eye contact. I can make some intense eye contact sometimes.
An hour later, he made his intentions known. He pulled off the interstate at a “scenic overlook.”At this point, I’m sure you are wondering if I was on a date with a 17-year-old. No, I dated 17-year-olds many many years ago and I don’t do it anymore because 1. It’s illegal and 2. This is their idea of a date: driving to a place to make-out.
I’m not in high school anymore. I’m almost 27 now. Before a make-out session, I expect dinner – or at least an expensive cocktail.
He asked to give me a massage and started rubbing my shoulders. He kept asking me if it felt good. He kept asking me if I liked it. I told him I was really more of a “massage on date 3 girl” and started talking about driving back.
He said we could go back, but asked for a hug first.
He took the opportunity of the hug to kiss me on the shoulder. Then, the other shoulder. Then my neck and my cheek. I knew where this was going. I could still taste the essence of the French Onion soup I’d scarfed down for lunch. I debated kissing him or just getting out of the car and asking a friend to come pick me up. I decided to kiss him, knowing that the worst that could happen would be an influx of chemicals into my brain that told me I was in love with this guy. Nope, that didn’t happen. There was no spark. The kiss lasted about a minute before I noticed he was showing all the classic signs of a guy who is 8 minutes out from pouting about “blue balls” and trying to make me feel bad. I wasn’t going to let it get to that point so I said, “OK, WE REALLY NEED TO GO BACK NOW.” In my big girl voice. He said, “I know.” And he looked at me and smiled, like we had just shared something intimate. I rolled my eyes.
Driving back, he started rubbing my arm. He rubbed my arm so much, I was afraid it was going to get raw. I huffed a little bit, but decided arm-rubbing was like hand-holding: harmless, albeit kinda annoying.
By the time we got back to New Haven, the arm rubbing turned into boob-squeezing. I was shocked. And slightly appalled. I took a second to ask myself two questions:
1. Was I enjoying this – no.
2. Was I uncomfortable – yes.
I told him to stop. He apologized and went back to holding my hand. We got back to my car, so I said a quick goodbye and jumped out.
I asked myself a lot of questions after that date, but the one question that haunted me was: Why did I even let this guy touch me at all?
I’m not a mealy-mouthed high school student anymore. I don’t have problems telling people not to touch me. Last year, I thought I’d give this “one-night-stand” thing a try – I walked out halfway through after telling the guy that I just was not having any “fun.” But there was a difference between Mr. Half-a-Night-Stand and Mr. Touchy-Nerdy. The Stand was with a “cool” guy – an Australian. He was really good looking. He was slick. He was a charmer. I had no problem shooting him down and waltzing out of his hotel room. The Touchy Guy was a nerd. I don’t know if he’s ever had a girlfriend. I didn’t want to be mean to him. So, I was worse: I was tolerant. After sucking down glass after glass of tolerance, I realized that resentment was stirring in my stomach.
The next day, I get a text: “How r u”
I debated ignoring it. But, I felt like I owed him an explanation. I thought about calling him to tell him how uncomfortable I had been on our date. But, since he had chosen to only communicate with me through text messages, I didn’t see a point in me being decent enough to make a phone call and engage him in real conversation. I sent a text back telling him that all the touching was way out of my comfort zone and I was not happy with the date.
He waited a day. Then, I get another text: “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make u feel uncomfortable.”
And that’s the end to that story. The final nail in the coffin was the text message apology. If anyone sent me a text telling me that I had made them uncomfortable, I’d immediately call to apologize. A text feels so insincere. If you are really, truly sorry, wouldn’t you want to express your heartfelt sentiments over a medium in which you can at least get a sense for how the other person responds? I found the text message apology rude. If he had called me, I probably would have given him another chance. Love can be fickle sometimes, you know?
However, I could never fool myself into thinking that I could fall in love with someone who shoots me a text to apologize.
I usually don’t “kiss and tell.” However, I wanted to write all this down to remind myself that my rules exist for a reason, so I should stop breaking my own rules and to further explore the reasons why I didn’t ask him to stop touching me.