Sex is Just Scratching an Itch

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“Sometimes you need sex like you need to scratch an itch,” my date told me.  “I told that to my 15-year-old son.  He believes that you need to be love to have sex, and that just isn’t true.”

I choked on my wine.  “I’ll take awkward conversations for $1,000, Alex,” I said, pretending that I was on a game show.  This wasn’t a conversation that I wanted to have on a second date.

“This is awkward?  How is this awkward?” he asked. “Oh!”

The San Diego Gulls missed making a goal.  Or, rather, the goalie for Oakland was too good to let the puck through.

My date wouldn’t let the subject drop.  “It’s like scratching an itch, right?”

I took a deep breath.  I really liked this guy, up to this point.  I could agree with him, just to keep the peace.  But…I’m not a passivist; I believe in speaking my mind and he was asking for my opinion.  So I gave it to him.

“I believe that women in general, myself included, form emotional attachments easily.  I can’t do casual sex.  I tried; it’s just not for me,” I said.

There, how’s that for side-stepping the issue?

But still, he wouldn’t let it go.  “You don’t think that there are just times when you need sex?”

Wow.  He REALLY was seeking buy-in here; I just couldn’t give it to him.  “I believe that we should teach our kids to be better than us.  I would tell my kids—and have—to wait to have sex after they find someone special.”

What really bothered me about this conversation was the implications of his statement.  Consider that if I have a muscle cramp, I’ll go to a massage therapist.  If I had back aches, I might go to chiropractor.  If one considers sex to be an itch, then one might also pay a professional for a fix.  I wonder if he has frequented prostitutes; he mentioned frequent trips to Las Vegas earlier.  It’s a cheap, 45-minute plane ride from San Diego, he had said.  Of course, the two conversations may have been unrelated; but maybe not.

But, may be.

Another, more logical, thought process it to consider FWBs (friends with benefits) to be normal.  Hey, if you have one, that’s great; enjoy yourself. (Cough, NADIA!)  As I told my date, that arrangement never worked out for me; I always grew attached.

Was he gaging my reaction, to see if he could introduce me to his FWB in the future?  Wondering if I’d be cool?

“He wanted to sleep with you,” a guy friend told me.  “It’s a little sick that he used his kid to bring up the topic, but he was feeling you out to see if you’d be open to the arrangement.”

For the record, this particular guy friend is in another state and happily married, so he is not trying to get into my pants.  Or, at least, I trust his assessment as much as I trust anyone’s.

Or was my date trying to justify an affair?  He mentioned only vague reasons for his marriage ending.  Maybe when he said, “my marriage was over, so I walked away,” he meant, “We weren’t sleeping together anymore, so I found someone to scratch that itch.”

Supposition aside, it really bothered me that he’d teach his kid that.

“He’s teaching the kid the way the world works,” my friend Allie Apple said, “but, wow, some things, kids need to find out on their own.  Parents don’t need to tell kids that.  Is he trying to teach the kid how to be a player?”

I’m not sure of all his reasoning.  I only know that I disagree.  I’ll scratch your back if you ask nicely, but I have to a bit more involved with you before I scratch other things.

Next

On the way to the grocery store yesterday, I met a guy.  I live downtown now, so I walk to the store with my empty backpack and canvas bags.  I love that I don’t have to drive on the weekends. (Although I did drive earlier yesterday to hike in Torrey Pines State Park.)

A nice man said hello to me at the corner near the grocery store.  Turns out that he was going there, too, with his empty backpack.  As we chatted, we discovered how much we had in common: both engineers, both in the same industry, both writers, both interested in science fiction.  He bought me a gluten free chocolate chip muffin and we exchanged numbers.

That night, he showed me around our little corner of downtown.  He introduced me to a fabulous restaurant (Seasons 52), then showed me where Top Gun was filmed.

Y’all, I had a glass of wine in the bar where Tom Cruise sang, “You lost that lovin’ feelin’!!”

AHHHHHH!!!

The place is a small dive bar, nothing fancy, called Kansas City BBQ.  The way that my date explained it, the owner sampled different BBQ sauces in Kansas City and made his version based on the best.  I’ll have to judge another day; I was full from dinner.

As my date sat there and talked about his plans to move to LA or Canada, he’s not sure which, I soaked in the atmosphere.  Bras hung from a ceiling fan.  Ball caps from various sections of the Navy were tacked to the ceiling.  And, oh yes, there was movie memorabilia everywhere.

And, yes, my date is probably moving back to Canada.  So don’t expect a long-term romance.  I don’t like to date guys who live more than 30 minutes away; a different country would definitely be a deal breaker.

Still, it’s a fun story, right?!  He may be a famous Hollywood writer one day and pitch my book to some television execs as a mini-series.  He mentioned it, so it may happen.  I dream big.

The best part of the night was when Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” came on, over the speakers.  I shouted out, “Everybody, I’m from Texas, and we sing along to this song!”

“Go for it!” several people told me.

“Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots, and ruined your black-tie affair!” I sang.  And then I sang along with the rest of the song.  Heck, this may be the alcohol talking, but I did a damn fine job!  The bar patrons applauded after every verse.  All that karaoke finally paid off!

Later, when I recapped the evening to my friend Allie, she said with a laugh, “You Texas-up California!”

“Huh?” I asked, eloquently.

“A bunch of Californians moved to Texas, and are making it more like California,” she explained.  “They’re California-ing-up Texas.  So you are in California, bring some Texas to them, and Texas-up California.”

Took a minute for that to sink in.  “You’re saying that there are so many California transplants in Texas that it’s starting to feel like California, so I should make San Diego feel like Texas?” I asked.

“Yes!” she said.

“I can do that!” I said with a laugh.

And I will.

But don’t expect me to go around scratching itches.  I sing at the top of my lungs in little dive bars when Garth comes on, I’ll cuss like a sailor when the moment calls for it, but I’m still a lady, damn it.

Cheers!

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Hello, Handsome – Part II

 

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My first real cowboy hat!  2006

“Have you ever been to San Antonio?” Harry asked me on Tuesday during our nightly conversation.

“Why, yes.  Back in 2002 my friend Edward—the gorgeous black bodybuilder—took me to San Antonio to check out a club.  Turns out it was a swinger’s club.  I danced on a pole and chatted with a really cute, nice couple.  Edward sprang for a hotel room (for just the two of us; I don’t get into the swinger thing).”  That would have been the most honest answer, but may have been a little too much honesty, so I opted for a shorter answer.  “I’ve been there a couple of times, but haven’t been there for years.”

“Let’s go.  I’ll drive and get the hotel rooms.  What do you say?”

“Separate hotel rooms?” I was just seeking clarification; didn’t want him to think I was scared of him, but I didn’t want to make assumptions, either.

“Of course.  We can go this weekend if you like,” Harry said.

“Sounds great!” I answered.

I called Portia to let her know.  She was excited for me.  “If ya’ll are still dating in February,” She joked, “You’ll need to send candy to Dawn to say, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day and Thank you!’  What am I saying—ya’ll don’t need to send candy, Harry will!”

We giggled.

“I’ll be in Austin this weekend, too.  Ok if I stay at your house?”  Portia’s ex-husband still lived in Austin (she had just moved to San Angelo the year before) and so Portia dropped their son off every other weekend for visitation.  I had given Portia a key to my house long ago and told her that she was free to come and go as she pleased.

“Of course you’re welcome.  Mi casa es su casa,” I told her.

So Portia was there when Harry arrived.  I had her take pictures of us in front of Harry’s truck and the grin on my face was so goofy in love that it was my favorite picture for a long time after.

My house is about 1.5 hours from San Antonio, on the north side of Austin, which means that Harry and I had plenty of time to talk along the way.  I’ve never been shy, so I came right out with what was on my mind.

“What’s your definition of a girlfriend?  I mean, when can you call someone your girlfriend?”  I asked.

“I don’t know, I hadn’t really thought about it.”  He replied, pensively.  “What do you think?  Clearly you’ve had time to think about it.”

“Well, there are three main criteria,” I said.  “First, a couple has to agree to be exclusive, which means they aren’t dating anyone else.”

“Ok, I can agree to that.  I’m not dating anyone else; are you?”

“Nope,” I said, a little surprised that he was applying the list to us immediately.

“Ok, what else you got?”

“You’ve got to date a certain period of time.  I’m not sure how long—my friends and I talked about at least 2 dates, or at least a month, but we couldn’t really agree.  What do you think?”

“Well I think that if you like someone, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been dating,” Harry said, with conviction.  “What’s your third criteria?”

“That both people agree to use the titles.  I say that because I’ve known guys that just hate to be called ‘boyfriend.’ It scares them off, or they just don’t like titles.  What do you think?”

“I think,” Harry said, taking my hand while watching the road, and observing me with little glances to gage my mood, “That I know that I like you, I’m not dating anyone else, and I’m fine with calling you my girlfriend, if that’s what you want.”

I was a little surprised.  “Yes, of course!” I said.  Wow, what a great guy!

“Good.  Now that we’ve got that taken care of,” he said, “Do you want to stop at Cabella’s?”

Cabella’s is a new store located in Buda, just south of Austin.  It is a huge sports/hunting/fishing store featuring an indoor waterfall, stuffed animals (real ones, not the kids’ toys), and all the equipment a sports nut could dream up.  It was so huge that it had become a tourist attraction; the signs on the highway announced the exit.

“Sure,” I said.  Though not a hunter myself, I was curious to see this colossal superstore.  And it was everything that I expected it to be.  From the outside, it looked like a mall.  On the inside, it still reminded me of a mall; only, instead of stores, it had departments:   Fishing department, Gun department, Clothing department: different camouflage patterns, shirts with deer heads printed on them, hip waders, rubber boots, etc.  As we toured the testament to man’s love of nature, we chatted some more and held hands.

“Help me out here—I’m a little hazy on the dates.  When did you marry Jamie?” I asked.

“I knew this would come up,” Harry said, visibly nervous.  He looked around, trying to decide how to word his answer and said, “We got married in April 2003.  We were married just over two years.”

I tried to do the math in my head and it just didn’t sound right.  “That means you got divorced—when?”

“In May.”

“This past May?”  He nodded.  My mind was having trouble digesting this info.  That meant that he was married in April when we met.  Was he wearing a ring?  I couldn’t remember.  But it wouldn’t matter; lots of married people had bare hands.  The engineers that I worked with called rings a safety hazard.

Harry saw the confused look on my face and said, “I know you have a rule against dating guys within a year of their divorce,” Harry said, tensely, carefully, “That’s why I didn’t mention it before.”  Damn right, I have a rule, and for good reasons!  I’ve been bitten by this one before.  I struggled against the urge to run, scream, or both.  I took a deep breath.  I decided that given the opportunity to go home and wonder “What if” or spend the weekend in picturesque San Antonio with the handsome Mr. Handsome, I’d take the latter.

I smiled at him and said, “Well, we’re here now, I’ll take my chances.”  He let out the breath he’d been holding and smiled back at me.  We walked around for a while talking about the various equipment.  He carried around some ammo for a while, but then thought better of having to transport it all the way back to San Angelo, and put it back.

We were walking through the clothes—thermal underwear for the cold mornings tracking deer—when I asked Harry, “Where would you live if you could live anywhere?”

“My sister is in Tennessee, so maybe there,” he began.  “Or Fort Worth.  I’ve done some job shopping online—nothing serious, just seeing what’s out there—and FW has some ME jobs in the medical manufacturing industry; I could live there.  San Antonio’s nice, too.  I’m vested at J&J; if I stay two more years, then I’ll be fully vested.  So I’m going to try to stick around until then.  What about you?” he countered.

“I love Texas and I want my kids to be around family, where are here.  If I could have any job, it would be working for NASA.  But the jobs I wants are in California or Colorado.  Since I don’t want to leave the state, I’d rather live in Austin, San Antonio, or Fort Worth.  San Angelo is nice, too.”  I smiled at him.

“Did they tell you when you’d find out if you have the job?” Harry had insider knowledge yet pretended that he didn’t.  I respected his strong ethics; a lesser man would have told me what the interviewers decided.

“The HR rep said two weeks,” I replied, “Which was over last week. I sent an email to Kathy and she responded that I should hear back from them next week.”

Harry shook his head.  “That human resources department is so slow.”

We had walked around most the store (though not seen everything, I’m sure, since it is so huge), so Harry asked, “Ready to go?”

From there we went to San Marcos, which is the next major city on I-35.  San Marcos is known for its outlet malls.  Buses of Mexicans arrive every weekend, since the border is only a couple of hours away, and Texans drive for miles for the chance to get a name brand outfit for a good price.  Harry and I decided to look around.  I wanted some cute tops and Harry wanted some sunglasses.

Harry bought me three different tops from three different stores.  He’s a very patient shopper.  Maybe because has four sisters.  He pointed out shirts that he thought were cute.  We stopped in the Sunglasses Hut to get shades.  He tried on one wrap around pair and said, “Look!  McFly!”  He would have been happy to shop longer, but I felt like I was taking advantage as it were.  So we stopped for lunch.  I had seen a Schlotski’s Deli on the way in and suggested that, but when we started driving to it, we realized that it was on the other side of the interstate.  “Never mind,” I said, “We can eat at Applebee’s, right here.”

“If you want to eat at Schlotski’s, I don’t mind driving over there,” my ultra-sweet Boyfriend (!!) offered.  He was sincere in wanting to make me happy; there was no spite or frustration in his voice or eyes.  I didn’t really care; I could eat at either restaurant (they’re both franchises).  So we went to Applebee’s.

While we were sitting at the table, Harry said, “There’s this girl that I like…”  I stiffened up.  Was he dating someone else?  No, he told me in the car that he wasn’t.  “I’m taking her to San Antonio.”  OH he was talking about ME!  Duh.  In third person, how cute!

“Yes?”  I encouraged him to continue.

“How do I know that she likes me?”  He asked.

I laughed.  I couldn’t help it!  Here I was, all goofy over this guy, and he wasn’t sure that I liked him?!  I began in a Socratic way.

“She agreed to go with you to San Antonio?”

“Yes,” he responded.

“Does she ever hold your hand?” like in Cabella’s, surrounded by stuffed dead things, while pretending to enjoy the scenery?

“Yes.”

“Then she likes you,” I concluded.  Maybe not the best or well-thought out argument, but it worked.  Harry beamed a pleased, slightly embarrassed smile.  He looked so boyish and young, he was just too adorable!

“What about you?  You seeing anyone?”  He prompted.

“Sure, I’m dating this guy,” I responded.  “But I’m not sure about when we should—you know—be physically intimate.  In my experience, guys quit liking a girl afterward.”

He looked confused.  “I think physical intimacy should bring two people closer together,” he said.

“Well it seems to me that beforehand, there’s romantic dinners and flowers and such, and none of that afterward.”

“I think there should be more romance after,” he said, confidently.  I hoped that he was right (despite my experience to the contrary).  I smiled flirtatiously.

The rest of the weekend was like a dream: so perfect.  We checked into the hotel, which was the Hilton on the Riverwalk.  Our rooms were on one of the high floors and were gorgeous; the hotel had recently renovated, so the paint was fresh and carpet was new.  The rooms were spacious, too.  From that and the location, I could tell that Harry had spent some cash and I appreciated it.

After checking in, we went down to the Riverwalk.  It is beautiful.  It’s below street level, with lots of trees and plants, so that its mostly cool and shady.  (Texas is hot, even in October.)  Restaurants and shops line the river and at one end there’s a mall.  The river is only four feet deep in most places.  Harry and I walked and talked and ducked into a few art shops just off the Riverwalk.

That night we had dinner at a great TexMex restaurant.  At least, I think it was great; the margarita certainly was!  Then we walked over to Howl at the Moon, a piano bar.  We had fun watching the Aggie vs. UT Fight Song war!  He’s an Aggie (graduated from Texas A&M) and I’m a Longhorn (I attend the University of Texas at Austin.)  One piano player would start playing the A&M fight song, then someone would tip the other piano player and he would play the Longhorn’s Eyes of Texas Are Upon You.  This would go back and forth, as the crowd got more worked up and the tips piled up, until finally a winner was pronounced to much cheering and booing.  This night, the Longhorns were more generous than the Aggies.

We stayed for a couple of hours watching the piano players perform, then walked back to the hotel.  Harry was a perfect gentleman.

I was not the perfect lady.  I kissed him, letting him know that I wanted more.  We really could have gotten just one hotel room; but I’m glad that it was a choice.

Cheers!

********

This was part II of the story of Harry and I dating.  We were together for another month before it ended; that story isn’t as fun.  If you missed Part I, it’s here.

Come back next week; I hope to share some life-altering good news with you.

May your dates be hot, if you want them to be 😉

Cheers!

 

Breakfast in Bed–Almost

Crispy bacon, steamy coffee, and fluffy pancakes were served to me on a tray in bed. Or, at least, that’s how it could have been. Instead, I hopped out of bed and helped Zack make breakfast. He couldn’t figure out my fancy Cuisine Art coffee maker, so he had made me tea. Since he was concentrating on that, he forgot to cook the bacon. He’s adorable and thoughtful and I love him. I also love that he was in my kitchen trying to spoil me! I didn’t mind a bit that I ate at the table instead of in bed. Everything was delicious!

Breakfast in Bed--uh, almost.  Nov 29, 2014.

Breakfast in Bed–uh, almost. Nov 29, 2014.

Zack said that it was his first time cooking pancakes. I feel extra special that he would step outside his comfort zone to cook me what I wanted. Ok, so it was a mix and he just had to stir water and eggs into the dry powder. Still, he did a fabulous job! And he did it for me!

We spent the rest of yesterday (Saturday) morning at Ikea. Ikea is a huge furniture store. Its warehouse-sized showrooms are set up to demonstrate that you can furnish a 500 sq ft apartment/dorm room with just $1000. There are offices, bedrooms, and kitchens that may cost more, but are still based on the cheap, modular furniture for which Ikea is famous. Zack and I meandered slowly down the aisles, stopping to pick up interesting items.

Next to a stuffed carrot sat a stuffed green vegetable. Zack asked, “Is this broccoli? It’s green with a cloud-shaped top, but the smiley face on the stem is throwing me off.”

I shrugged. “It could be,” I answered.

A child showed one of the toys to his mom, who shook her head. He tossed it back into the bin.

“Little Tommy never ate broccoli again. All because his mother wouldn’t buy him a broccoli toy!”

I giggled. “That’s entirely possible. She should have bought him the broccoli and the carrot! He could have grown up to LOVE veggies!

“Sigh, it wasn’t meant to be!”

Veggie toys forgotten, Zack was drawn to a light-colored teal shelf with metal mesh doors. He admired it and opened the doors. “Retro!” he said.

“Hideous!” I answered. It really was. “Maybe it would be prettier if it was a couple of shades darker, like my friend’s wedding colors.”

We wondered over to the kitchen section where Zack seriously considering buying a new cutting board. “I have a perfectly good cutting board,” he said, “but these are neat!”

I nodded. Ikea, Target, and a few clothing stores have taken my hard-earned money in exchange for lots of neat stuff that I didn’t need at the time. Today, though, I stood strong. There was nothing here that I needed.

We almost got out the doors without buying anything. We were so close! The filing cabinets weren’t quite what I wanted, the lights that my cousin desired were discontinued, and Zack left the hideous shelves behind. (He might go back for a couple of side tables later on.) Then I found a Christmas present for Sally, so we had to stand in the long checkout line. Which wasn’t a big deal, since we had no place to be. But we were so close!

“Are you hungry?” Zack asked. “Because I need to get something to eat.”

“Do you want some of Ikea’s famous Swedish meatballs?” I asked. Why a furniture store had a café was beyond me. I guess shoppers work up an appetite walking the large store; it does have two floors.

“No, let’s go somewhere else,” he answered.

So I took him to one of my favorite brunch places, The Egg & I, and introduced him to the joy of green chili chicken hash.

The rest of the day was lazy and relaxed. The whole weekend was, really, from Thursday to today (Sunday). I only cooked two sides for Thanksgiving, instead of a big spread. (And I’m glad, because there are still plenty of leftovers.) We went to my friends’ house for dessert, which took some pressure off me, since I didn’t have to cook pies. (My friends love Zack, of course!) Zack, Jack, and I spent time watching shows on Netflix. Zack and I also spent time talking and getting to know each other better. We got to know each other several times over the course of the weekend, and I enjoyed every minute ; – ) I even took a couple of naps. But only because we stayed up late.

So of course today, I am back to my usual Type A self: I got up at 4:30 a.m. without an alarm clock and immediately worked out. Right now, I’m doing laundry and writing a blog. I’m going to get a couple of hours of work done after this, then work on my thesis. I wonder if I have time to go hiking this afternoon. Maybe I’ll call a friend to see if she wants to go, or hang out for drinks tonight.

Thanks for trying to serve me breakfast in bed, Zack! I relaxed for a little while. I love you!

Cheers!

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