I was discouraged, energetic, and too smart for my own good. I swore I’d learn from my experience with YachtGuy: the road to perdition was paved with extensive emails and fantastic phone rapport. I needed a new M.O. -- I’d get to the in-person meeting as quickly as possible.
As I looked back over my wishlist, the 99 men started to seem like the losers I’d already met (or disgusted) and I crossed dozens out with an imperious mouseclick. But someone who I’d been gently putting off suddenly looked really good: a super smartypants wonk who sold himself as a “gentle sensual intellectual.” In my imaginary world, the waiters at the coffee place were starting to look askance at me because I’d brought in a different man every Friday afternoon for several weeks in a row. In line with shaking things up, GSI and I decided on a dim sum lunch.
I’m sure I was talking about my loss in the first five minutes after we’d ordered so I suppose what he did was no more awkward than my posture as a widowed dater. Perhaps his action was karmically appropriate: he kissed my hand.
It lasted a long time. He used both of his hands to hold mine, and kissed the knuckles gently. It was as if the back of my hand emitted a delicious fragrance. And he could not tear himself away: even after the food came, he’d take up my hand again and relate to it with the intensity he clearly applied to everything. The timing of his capture was unpredictable, but half of our time was spent in this position.
Later I demonstrated on a girlfriend and she pulled her hand away in horror, glaring at me. YUCK. Why did you let him do that?
I literally did not know what to do. It’s strange and disabling to lose the use of your right hand while you’re eating. The gesture’s intimacy was undermined by its extreme courtliness. I felt like an unprepared tourist observing the native customs. I didn’t want to be accused of being a snob but I also didn’t like him thinking he could have his way with any part of me. Perversely I felt my resistance would come across as sexy, a “no” that didn’t mean “no.” I didn’t want to communicate, I wished my hand would convey infinite neutrality.
The spoken part of our conversation went on with hardly an interruption. We were in a public place and I knew I was safe. (I did basic security checks on every guy before sharing my real name.) Maybe I wanted to see what would happen next. “Sounds like it aroused your inner anthropologist,” said my friend John.
At home a few days later I scoured GSI’s Match ad, trying to decode what my friends had found so disgusting and yet I’d tolerated. He sounded so good on paper… clever and sharp, with perspective and modesty. But he used the word “sensual” three times in maybe 100 words (concordances can be very revealing). He alluded to giving and receiving massage, fine things in life, excellent wine.
I added another essential to my list:
(6) Must enjoy penetration.
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