Two drinks in, I was thinking ahead to our second date.
Leah and I had met on a soft summer evening at Bethesda Fountain, perhaps the most romantic setting in this city of twinkling skyscrapers and horse-drawn carriages. We had talked at the higher levels of our individual acuities, chasing each other—cautiously a first, then, at each firm footfall, with mounting assuredness—ever upwards.
I had been reserved about her beauty. She made no fuss about my appearance.
Noel Coward was humming in my mind.
When our date might have ended with a kiss on the cheek, I had invited her over for drinks. Or had she invited herself? I couldn’t be sure, but at any rate, here she was in my living room, smiling.
It was after eleven.
I wasn’t going to rush anything.
“Are you comfortable?” I asked. “I just realized you’ve been in that dress all day. Should I turn on the air?”
“That would be nice,” she said, reaching for my coffee table. “Oh, you’ve got the catalogue for that show at MoMA. I’m seeing it this weekend. How was it?”
I thought for a moment as I shut a window. “You know how MoMA’s perfection slides at times to a certain sterility? Like the cleanliness of a hospital ward?”
“ICU,” she nodded, flipping pages. “Like that?”
“Precisely,” I said, turning a knob on the air conditioner. “Not a damn thing wrong with that show but for the filtered oxygen. Perfect can be rather stupefying at times.”
“Perfect is a little overrated,” she agreed closing the book. She reached for her glass. It was empty. She left it alone.
“I’m sorry, would you care for another drink?” I offered.
“Yes, please.” She took the glass and handed it to me. “I’m usually a vodka girl, but this is good.”
“I regret I have no vodka,” I said, standing. “Bourbon man.”
“It’s manly,” she shrugged, smiling.
I was not sleeping with her.
For all the sex I’ve had since my marriage collapsed, I’m not terribly experienced with what normally passes for a date. I don’t often meet women for drinks and conversation. I more often meet women who have read my blog and want some of what they read about. I more often meet women who are recommended to me by mutual friends who enjoy fucking me. I more often meet women who show up at my orgies and like me well enough to request private encounters.
Leah and I were on a date of a more traditional sort.
Yet we had met online. I had responded to her advertisement for a dominant man to help to fulfill her submissive desires.
We had met through the most uber-lumpen of online forums, Craig’s List. I can only imagine how many cock shots she had deleted before responding to me.
Having met through Craig’s List, we each knew what it was like to be pearls before swine. Now we were nestled into our respective oysters, eying one another.
She had read my blog. I had shared it by way of introduction, in the interest of honesty and potentially snaring her attention. She had read what she cared to read of my sexual exploits, but she expressed no special interest in talking about that.
We kept sex at arm’s length.
My mind came to wonder about our second date. Would we be so cool then? After she went home that night, would she write me a note slightly more heated than our previous correspondence? Would I reply with coy innuendo, hoping she would want a date as soon as possible, given that neither of us had any claim on the heft of one another’s schedules?
Or would she simply put me off?
We fell to talking politics. She told me that she had once contemplated entering politics as a candidate.
“It was student government,” she laughed at a memory. She took a sip of her drink. “I liked my odds, though. Like I could lose with my slogan.” She raised a fist into the air. “More caffeine and anal sex!”
“You didn’t!” I laughed. “Are you serious?”
“No, I didn’t. But my slogan polled very well.”
That sealed it.
“You’re killing me,” I said. “Lean back.”
She set down her glass. She reclined on a pillow.
“Like this?” she asked. She extended a bare leg across my lap. I took a foot in my palm. It was perfectly manicured.
“Precisely like that,” I smiled.