Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Part III: Between a sponge and a soft place

"It's Manchestering* again," I commented as I settled myself into the Pirate's car.

(Manchester, v. to drizzle pitifully, as it does every single fucking day of the year in Manchester.)

We approached a T-junction on a country back-road. The windshield wipers were squeaking.
"Clear to port?" asked the Pirate, looking out his window to the right.
I looked out my window to the left. "Clear to port, aye Sir," I responded without hesitation.
The Pirate turned at looked at me with bewilderment.
"If you didn't expect me to respond in nautical terms," I said, "Why did you ask the question in nautical terms?"
"Habit. I've just never met a woman who knew what I was talking about without me having to explain it first."
I smiled. He pulled the car out and rounded the corner to the right, still shaking his head.

When we got back to his place there were a few awkward moments of How do we keep this night going? We were both afraid of that dreaded declaration, "I'm off to bed now, goodnight." He showed me the guest room. I sat down on the desk and started chatting. Anything to postpone saying "goodnight." I asked him if he'd ever been to America.

"To New York. Would you like to see the photos I took?"
"They're on my computer." (Of course they are.)

Which was, naturally, in his bedroom. Are you guys aware that one of the best ways to cozy up to a girl under reasonably innocent pretentions is to get her to squeeze onto your desk chair so that you can both see the screen? Do they teach you this in High School? They should. It's brilliant. We were jammed together, each with one butt cheek haning precariously off the side of the chair. The Pirate put his arm around me to hold us up/together/on the chair.

We looked at the pictures. I commented that he had a good eye for composition. And then it happened. That moment. You know that moment when your eyes meet, and you know that you're going to kiss, and you know he knows it too? That moment of perfect understanding, inevitability, when you think 'This is it. Here we go." He leaned toward me slowly, agonizingly slowly. It must have been 10 minutes from the moment our eyes me to the moment our lips followed suit.

Kissing the Pirate was unlike anyone I've kissed before. (Grand total of, um, 5.) None of your random, willy-nilly, hither and thither tonge flailing. Every movment of his lips and tongue was, not so much calucated, but deliberate. It was like the difference between listening to a child bang enthusiastically on a piano keyboard because he delights in the noise, and listening to a composer at work as he trys new things, new combinations, but always with the confidence that precise knowledge of exactly how each key sounds will bring. In that way he played me. For hours and hours he played on my mouth. He composed sonatas on my neck, symphonies on my breasts.

And here I must end the continuous narrative. By now you know where this is going, how it ends, but to continue on this line, to reveal every delicate detail of the night would be to profane the memory of the experience. I won't give the minute by minute breakdown, but I will share with you these highlights:

He was wearing smaller underpants than I was. I don't know what that signifies. Probably that I need new underpants.

Mount Olympus is going to ring any minute and demand their body back, because the Pirate is blantantly walking around in what can only be the stolen body of a Greek god. You think I'm exaggering: I'm not.

More than just physically marvelous (which it was), the Pirate was completely in tune with my emotional state. He said several things to me over the course of the evening that showed he was aware of and appreciated the many sides of my personality, and liked them all. One thing in particular (I wish I could share it with you, but some things are just too intimate) I keep playing in my mind over and over. In one sentence he demonstrated that he had me completely sussed, that he saw me as I saw myself, that he saw all of me, and not just the facade. I've got friends who have known me for years who never got that far down into my psyche, and he did it in a couple hours. Almost scary.

It was full light when we finally went to sleep.

So where does that leave me now? With one hell of a dilemma. You guys know how nuts I am for His Hairyness. He's generous with his time, his affection, and his resources. He's extremely hard-working, but very chilled out; never stressed or high-strung. He's a contientious lover, great friend, and a good man -- better than I deserve.

But I'm not in love with him. We never had that chemistry, that spark. I've been with him for 4 months, waiting to see if it grows. I had intended to wait longer, at least a couple more months. We've booked a holiday together in France this September, rented a cottage for a week in Bordeaux, just the 2 of us. Uber romantic. I've really been looking forward to it.

On the other hand, the Pirate and I clearly have amazing chemistry. Or do we? That ball was one hell of a Cinderella night. Was it him? Or was it all glitter and lights, music and magic, ambiance and alcohol? Am I willing to abandon a wonderful man who cares about me for a young swashbuckler after one night of tumbling in the dinghy?

Hairy has been more kind, more giving toward me than any man in my life. I'm not willing to cast that aside lightly. But then, it's a rare thing in this world to feel the kind of deep, instant connection I felt with the Pirate this weekend; a very rare thing indeed. I'm not willing to dismiss that lightly, either.

Why did I go home with the Pirate if I care about Hairy so much? Fair question, fair reader (as Babs would say). I've been asking myself that a lot the past couple days. There were a lot of reasons of varying degrees, but the over-riding one was this: I wanted to test drive another model.

I've been with His Hairyness about 4 months now, and he's the only man I've ever been with. You lot all know that. I've been wondering about the implications of that in the long run. I knew that if we carried on much longer, eventually I would start to wonder what else was out there. Fundamentally, dating is shopping. At least is is for me. (I know different people have different views on this, but for me, it's shopping.) You wouldn't automatically go and buy the first car you drove, would you? Of course not! You might come back to it in the end and decide you liked that first one best, but to know that it was the right choice you would have to take a few others out for a spin. And that's just a goddamn car, not a life long committment!

I know what I did was underhanded and deceitful. I should have been upfront, just said that i didn't want to have an exclusive relationship, that I wasn't ready for that kind of committment. (We've never explicitly agreed to exclusivity, but after so long I think it kind of becomes understood. Maybe I'm wrong about that.) But I didn't. Partly because I'm a coward, and partly because I didn't realize how strongly I felt about the matter until I was toes to toes with another man under a disco ball. My curiosity got the better of me.

My mom was surprisingly sympathetic. I didn't get the bollocking I expected. (Not that I told her, mind. She wheedled it out me, the telepathic bitch.) "Babe," she said, "I don't blame you one bit. I was young and hormonal once too, you know. And frankly, this is not the worst problem you could have. You waited a long time for this kind of attention, and now you've got two wonderful men who are both attracted to you. Face it, kid, a year ago you'd have dug your own eye out to be in this fix. So take your time, think carefully, follow your heart, and in the meantime, go ahead and enjoy it, just a teeny bit." (Reason number 4,113 why I love my mom.)

So there you go. That's my love life for the time being: caught between an angel and a calm, shallow sea.

Go comments? Oh, yes you do!


Billy said...

It's certainly a dilemma. And given you took 3 posts over it obviously it was a very, ahem, meaningful evening. Of course a meaningful evening does not make a meaningful yadda yadda etc. I'm sure you'll get some of that stuff but anyway...

At the risk of sounding mystic you already know what you want to do, you just need to discover it That is the right answer (not always the right answer but there you go) and that's what you should do.

Oh and your mum (sorry, mom) offers good advice there. Can I borrow her?

hendrix said...

First off. All this "better than I deserve" crap. Cease it forthwith (or else I’ll come down there and thump you). You deserve the best. No argument. Start believing it.

Neither do I think that you were being deceitful or underhand. Deceitful and underhand is when you actively plan to get off with someone else, or, you’ve been in a relationship for an awful lot longer than 4 months. Hell, the two of you aren’t even over the honeymoon period of a relationship yet, I’d bet money on the fact that you haven’t had a serious row. Neither have you moved in with each other. In any case, I reckon if he’s still been logging into the dating site then he’s still keeping an eye on whats out there, so stop beating yourself up on that one too. I realise that other people might not agree with this one but that’s my point of view.

Overall, I'm inclined to agree with your mum's point of view on the matter. Have some fun. Revel in the attention - realise that you are a glorious, gorgeous, woman and love every moment of it. Stock up on all the emotional (and physical) self-confidence it gives you. There’s nothing wrong with test driving a few models as long as you remember to wear a seatbelt.

Ok. Now for the straight talking bit.

I think that if you don’t have the spark with Hairy after 4 months then you won’t have it after 4 years or 40 years or 400 years. Don’t hang around waiting for it. It’s either there at the beginning (hence being called a spark) or its not. Thats not being disrespectful to the guy - from the way you've described him he sounds like a really wonderful person - its just simply stating a fact.

The Pirate and you might get it together permanently and be wildly happy. Or you might only get it together for a few weeks or months. Or you might not. If not then at least you’ll have the memory of a wonderful night together when you stopped time. That’s a hell of a thing to remember on your deathbed.

You’ve been a bit dubious about my theory of the “one” before and I’m not saying that the Pirate is the “one” for you. Only you can answer that anyway. I don’t think that this was just a case of you test driving another model though or wanting a different experience. I think it was a case of Life giving you a kick, telling you that good, kind, generous, caring men are wonderful to be with but that there needs to be something more there.

Think of this too from Hairy's perspective. Is this fair on him? Every month or year you spend with him, is a month or year that he won’t have to find the “one” for him. And, as time goes on the chances of finding her become less and the bonds that the two of you share become harder to break. They still can be broken. But there’s a hell of a lot more fallout. Believe me – I’ve been there. I just mentioned how Life comes along and gives you a kick? That happened to me when I met F. Three years into a relationship which had no spark but I thought that that was the way things were meant to be (ok so the guy was an out and out asshole but think how much harder it would be to deal with this if you were with someone who was actually a nice person), it gets nasty, it gets upsetting and it taints any new relationship from the start.

Your mum’s right. Follow your heart. It might get you into all sorts of wild and strange places but it will eventually get you to a place where you have love and respect and a generous kind and wonderful person to share all the passion with.

GreatSheElephant said...

I am a cynical old cow where things of the heart are concerned but in my view comfort and kindness are a lot more important than spark which often covers up the absence of anything else worthwhile in human terms. Plus it doesn't last. So - have you heard from the Pirate since this happened?

hendrix said...

Sorry GSE, I'm an old romantic and I have to disagree. It does last (ten years on and still sparking). Besides which, when you meet the "one" you get the comfort and kindness as well.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

GSE: Yes, i have. He wanted to take me to dinner Sunday night, but i already had plans with Hairy. He's been out of town since then, but we've phoned a few times, sent a few emails, and he's coming around to mine for dinner on Monday. I need to spend some time with him in a more normal context, without all the glitter and sparkles, to see if what i felt on the weekend was real, or just an effect the surroundings.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

ps. Up until Saturday night, GSE, I would have agreed with you 100%. I didn't know what I was missing til I found it: passion.

HC: You are a love. thank you thank you thank you for your thoughts and love and wisdom.

First Nations said...

oh, now i have to muddy the water up.
i had passion. he turned out to be a violent psychopath. we had the spark. there was mutual chemistry. the sex was beyond passionate. he tried to kill me.

i met a guy i was friends with and respected. nothing. nothing at all. i've been with him 20 years. the love is deep and overflowing and beyond anything ive ever heard or imagined about love.

spark is just....ignition. thats all it means. nothing? can catch fire when you least expect it to.
what i'm saying is, theres no formula for 'doing it right'. you just have to keep on going just like you have been and see where it takes you.

just be honorable and respectful to everyone involved and thats as good as any human can do. you aren't breaking any promises or engagements or commitments, theres no kids involved,!

Babs said...

Gah. I'm completely flip-flopping on this. On the one hand I agree with Hendrix--if there's no oomph with Hairy there's no oomph, regardless of Pirate.

On the other hand, the sensible part of my brain says 'Well, Hairy seems a nice enough fella' And he's taking you on vacation. And he's thoughtful etc etc

{The sensible part of my brain is questionable though, because that's how I ended up with a moron last year}

Then again if you don't love him now?? I mean you sort of get a sense of love by a certain point, don't you??

And the romantic wants to say 'go for it' because I'm a big believer in 'The One' too, even if I haven't found a bastard for myself yet. Never settle.

*Note: I will deny admitting I am a romatic. And a romantic. In court. Adamantly.

Last but not least, don't listen to ANY of this. A 33 year old spinster is the LAST person to be giving advice on relationships.


GreatSheElephant said...

I'm with FN here. The biggest spark, the deepest love I ever felt was with sex tortoise, the Santa Barbara based jerk I posted about last week. The only thing that matters in the end is kindness, in my view.

jd said...

too many chicks posting points of view on this so far. bloody women complicating things with long words and emotion.

the solution

go with the pirate. pirates RULE!

B said...

Its ok to try other options but only as long as you're still in an open relationship. I don't think thats clear. No one else has said it but I feel I must point out that you have a duty to hairy man to make this decision quickly or to clarify your relationship with him.

Secondly on the decision itself. There does need to be kindness but there also needs to be a spark and sensitivity. The Hairy man is lacking in the spark and sensitivity departments (doesn't want to discuss the relationship). Remember it isn't a choice between hairy man and the pirate. To decide whether to split with hairy man you need to decide only if hairy man is good long term material.

The pirate does seem genuine. He's shown a consistency of intent and he seems to care for your wellbeing and takes account of your emotional situation. He's got his own life sorted and is successful. You get on well and your personalities match (I noticed this when you two first met). Then there's the whole spark thing. Assuming you break up with Hairy man or have an open relationship then I would think the pirate would prove to be a lovely boy friend.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

these are all excellent points. loads to think about.

a couple quickies:

1. JD: Hello, dear. what a nice surprise to find you lurking here! I'm sorry the words were too big for you. I'll keep it to nice, easy, Anglo-Saxon monosyllables in the future. :)

2. B: True, but I think I also have a duty to myself to not rush a decision until I'm sure of my own heart.

jd said...

rockin' :)

looby said...

Fab story, which stops just at the right moments.

And how many times have I heard the word "kind" used to describe a bloke who's about to be cast aside?

GreatSheElephant said...

I wish they'd cast them in my direction then looby.

I take your last point CB but I think that would only be true if Hairy knew what was going on. I agree with b

GreatSheElephant said...

brilliant post title by the way

Anonymous said...

You have to be honest to both hairy and yourself, a hard concept to act out in this current situation. If you have slept with another man then I don't think hairy is the guy for you. It's one thing to date a few guys at a time, enjoying moments together, but once you move into the bedroom then I think the potential for any of them to be 'the one' goes out of the window.

Trust and honesty are two of the most important aspects to the success of any relationship and these are now qualities that you can never have with hairy (unless you come clean but from the sound of things this isn't an option). Don't underestimate hairy either, a persons intuition is strong and he may and probably will already sense the deed. You would be surprised at the subtle tell tale signs that you give out in these situations.

I think you should split with hairy, have fun with the pirate and if you click long term great. If you don't, so what. You are young and have all the time in the world to get out there and find him (the one that is!)

First Nations said...

quite frankly, GSE and I have the only advice worth listening to if i do say so ourselves. (rock on, gse.)

ARE you in fact looking for a long term commitment? thats the only relevant question here. You don't have to be. Nobody says you have to be. You can be a modern woman and have multiple intimate relationships. Thats why they invented the washing machine and the vaccuum cleaner and canned food and stuff. Time not spent blanching corn is more time spent with your feet in the air, I always say. At least three times a day.

If you are looking for the long term stuff, then the winner is the one with the highest marks in honesty, maturity and respect. We'll take it as given that both have already qualified for the opening round by being fun, clean, and roughly bilateral.

once again: no promises made, none broken, honor as your guiding star...hell, enjoy your youth!

Hannah said...

What an awesome night. Take some time, go with your gut instinct. Whatever else you do, enjoy, because hell - Pirate sounds HOT.

Sal said...

>It was like the difference between listening to a child bang enthusiastically on a piano keyboard

, and listening to a pair of adults banging enthusiastically on a piano keyboard

Chaucer's Bitch said...


SBB said...

Hey CB, I'm your age and I totally understand what you're saying.

My commiserations!

You will muddle through in the end. There's no such thing as a panacea - what works for some (spark = love) doesn't for others (spark = love doesn't mean stability - initial spark = not love).

Above all, perhaps, is to be honest in the game we play. Advice I would do well to heed myself!

rockmother said...

I really understand your dilemma and I've done both - sometimes that 'spark' can be your worst, most destructive bits appealing to each other BUT - that's not to say that is what's happening here. Life is what you make it and if it turns out not what you wanted then you have to turn it round again as best you can. You sound like you have nothing to lose and need to seize the day girl - just triple-check first that Pirate doesn't have a bad track record or a girlfriend travelling due back in 6 months time....Hairy sounds like he's getting more out of your relationship than you are right now - slap me down if I'm wrong - but that's what I've gleaned between the lines. There's nothing wrong with that - sometimes you have to set people free. Good luck. Don't do what I've just done which is hang on in there when you should have finished it ages ago. Shortly to be dealt with I think - some of the comments here have made me realise - life is too short to sit it out if you know deep down it's not working.

krusty the baker said...

I think you know in your heart what you want to do - your writing is excellent... So go with your heart, I reckon, and if it works out fantastic, and if it doesn't then just take it as an experience. None of us knows what the outcome can be, and steady eddie gets a steady eddie life. Do you want to wake up in 30yrs and wonder what might have been?

Mums are ace, aren't they?

ZB said...

Take the orgasms and run.
I'm in London and I'm bored. It's full of hot women tho...

Anonymous said...

I thought you only had eyes for one girl ZB?

rockmother said...

Agh - what happened - I've got update withdrawal!

ziggi said...

I think you should marry the Pirate