Guest Column: Dancing With Time by Ms. Jennifer

Credit: Leon Liu, Photographer, NYU Tisch School of the Arts

Yesterday was the first time in over a year I got in my car and took off– I mean really took off not like running to Walmart.  Freedom!   I drove to the Gulf Coast ostensibly to look at a piece of real estate in Biloxi, MS. It was only $112,000 and two blocks to the coast! I’ve decided I can do another fixer upper now that I have Mr. 45 on the team.   I wouldn’t consider it otherwise.  He works seven days a week and 10-to-12-hour days. There must be a better way.  We can flip something and, although we aren’t going to have our own TV show, he has to make more money for working that hard, right?  But do I REALLY want to get myself entangled in another deal?  More work and stress, but is the financial reward worth it?  Am I a reluctant Capitalist?   Maybe a Co-dependent Capitalist since I tell myself I’m helping Mr. 45, but do I really want to spend every day at Home Depot like I’ve been doing for the last three years?

I must be nuts to even consider this.  I dance between motion and stillness….and lately it’s a lot more stillness (a polite way of saying I’ve turned into a lazy ass). I’m spending a lot of time in my bed napping and watching Netflix curled up with Ms. Nola (my crazy pit-bull).  I tell everyone she’s a bad influence since she spends way too much time in bed. We’ve been meeting regularly for naps. I can’t even motivate myself to go upstairs and paint the trim so why would I even consider buying another property?  My life is slowing down. Do I miss the excitement and drama of living in New Orleans, my once upon a time robust dating life and flirting with becoming a real estate tycoon?

You’d think by now I’d know the answer.  Maybe I’m bouncing around looking for the sweet spot.  The city is slowly coming back to life and the birds are happy with this barely needing a sweater weather.  And what am I doing– alternating with being happy with my simple life and also feeling restless.  Half the time I’m happy with my occasional rumps with Mr. 45.  The other times I’m like why is my new tenant, who is going through a divorce, showing up with some hot babe during the middle of the week no less.  When is the last time a man SLEPT in my bed?  To answer my own question, it’s been a couple years.  I’ve had a  few-men IN my bed, but no one has stayed over and part of me won’t shut up because I want to “sleep” with a man for an entire 8, 9, 10-hour period and wake up together, and shower together, make breakfast and drink coffee (only I would need to start up that sport).

And speaking of fantasy, I met my “perfect guy.”   He was a lovely combo of contradictions, but smart and sexy and I was smitten.   After a couple of false starts (he canceled first and then was late) we had a “refreshing” date.  But then when I goofed (I sent him a text message meant for my new best girlfriend he thinks I’m going on another date with a dude) he writes me off as “wow I guess you were no different.”   Uh?   So, he gets to fuck up, but I can’t?  I explain what happened and it takes a minute to convince him I’m not bullshitting him.  I get it.  Online dating is like the Wild West.  He tells me how he feels used for a meal ticket and was delighted when I suggested we meet at City Park.  Okay so a little stumble no big deal.  I can’t wait to go out again.   He actually lives in a log cabin and has two horses named Sage and Dax.  Part of my ongoing dilemma is to decide if I want to live in nature where it’s quiet (having lot of animals is the cream of the crop!) or go to the best blue’s club on the planet… is it possible to have the best of both worlds? The problem with the county is a lot of Rednecks hide out there, but my potential (he’s been demoted) perfect guy is Black so he’s not going to be driving a white truck with a confederate flag.  He’s also got a young son which really appeals to me (and is a granddad as well)… he has four kids (9 to 30’s) and I start to see myself and how I could fix into his world.  I crave family.

STOP.

Okay, why?   Because for whatever reason this guy gets in his head that I’m supposed to masturbate for him.  It came up when I said (before we met) that I was mostly “dating myself.”   I guess for him that meant masturbation.  I mean I do see the connection, but it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

“I guess you don’t have any complaints sexually…lol”

“Well, it’s not exactly the same, but I’m very, very good at it.  lol”

“Can I watch…lol”

“How do I answer that, so I don’t sound like a prude or too fast?”

So, he explains how this could be done and I respond with how about a meet and greet first.

Okay, all good so far, right?   But then we meet and afterwards he asks me if I’m ready to “perform?”  I am realizing this dude is serious.  So, I ask him if he wants the short of long answer figuring he will want the short and I’m correct.

“No.”

I probably should have explained to him my masturbating is not hot.   I simply “get off” in like Guinness record timing.  In other words, I slam bam myself and I’m done.   Very efficient.  Sometimes I try and do something Tantric like control my breathing, but mostly I can’t be bothered.  So why would my saying “no” have shifted everything?  It turned into me wanting to control things instead of me feeling vulnerable.

I ask him (likely knowing the answer) if he would feel vulnerable getting naked and masturbating for me.  “No.”  Okay cool so I asked him when I was going to meet Sage, Dax and his penis?  What is it about men and their penis?   They seem to LOOK for opportunity to whip them out whereas (maybe this has changed?) women tend to be shy about showing off their pussies.   But I’ve digressed.  Are we surprised to learn that Mr. Almost Perfect was unwilling to masturbate for me?   Right, because that would put me in the dominate position, but it’s okay for me to feel vulnerable, but not him?  What the fuck?

Later I sent him a photo of my dog in my bed and he tells me that’s “his spot” so we seem be back on track.  He says to come for a visit, but when I say “when” I don’t get an answer.  I tell him my dog’s  nick name and he wonders if he will get a pet name.  This is when he circles back to wanting to watch.   What’s the rush?   I’m not asking him to wine and dine me I’m simply asking for more time.  I suggest a relationship is more like sipping wine rather than guzzling beer.  And when I tell him “I’m not sure how to be a woman who embraces her raw sexuality while also being shy and delicate,” he responds “you needed to figure that out like yesterday.”   Maybe I should have been more direct.  SLOW THE FUCK DOWN and OUCH.  He tells me to stop trying to be in control.

I feel like I’m in a power struggle when all I was trying to do was to let him know I wasn’t ready.  Now I get occasional texts like I would get from my mom if she was alive.  I’m not sure why it goes from let me watch you masturbate to pleasantries.   Sigh.   And this circles me back to do I want a simple life or do I want more drama/stimulation?

What is “healthy,” fun drama and what is this is fucking, nuts drama?   I grew up around intense drama (both parents were alcoholics so never a dull moment) so I know I don’t know what is normal.  We did try and plan a second date, but I was only available in the morning and he wanted more time and so he declined.  All or nothing is certainly more on the drama-intense schedule which leads me back to Mr. 45 who recently told me he doesn’t want me to date.   He claims he will be more available, but it’s too soon to tell and I’m really struggling with whether or not it will be enough or if he will really change.   He’s straight forward and simple and there is something I like about that.  It doesn’t create any anxiety for me.   Kinda like my marriage was, but I’m turned on by Mr. 45 where I wasn’t with my ex.  I have to sort this out and soon I do not want to hurt Mr. 45, but I’m not interested in giving up my freedom if he’s not going to be more predictably available.  My running around dating isn’t an issue for me, but it appears to be an issue for the dudes and so that produces some internal drama for me.  I want to date both men, but both of them want me to make them my priority, yet they are unavailable in different ways.

And I’m sorry to confess, in addition to watching real estate porn (blame insomnia), I’ve been fantasizing about sending a letter to the Jung Institute of Chicago where, my replacement, worked.  I was spying – last night in the wee hours, only to find out she was the president of the Jung Institute, but, shit, over ten years ago.  My revenge fantasy started off with my complaint stating the foundation of polyamory (one of her specialties on her web site) is being honest and transparent.   Since she knew about me for months before I knew about her that seems a little bit off. Truthfully, I want to expose the bitch and embarrass the shit out of her by going public.  Now, I know most normal people would say “GET THE FUCK OVER IT,” but I’m not normal and part of me LOVES the drama and let’s get real, who doesn’t love a good binge of revenge!?

Only now that she’s in private practice how exactly am, I going to do this?  I could write her a review about how Dr. Polyamory was fucking my boyfriend with her “fluid bond” while I was off playing St. Jennifer….lol   Yep, she explained it to me, like I was retarded, what a fluid bond was except where does the fucking behind my back fit in since my boyfriend and I were still occasionally having sex?  Any how am I going to ever get over my paranoia about getting AIDS (since that how my brother died) knowing that my ex was fucking me, her and, oh, right, someone named Lisa.

It’s like I’m being stalked by a ghost.  Sex is sublime and sex is fucked up.  No wonder it’s a bit of an issue for me to spread my legs and masturbate for some guy I just met.   On the other hand, I can’t let these things of the past continue to define me.  Exclamation point!  Therapy has only gotten me so far.  I understand something about trauma, but I don’t want to be defined by it and yet I feel stuck despite all the Tantric healing bullshit I did.   No wonder why I want something simple and safe, and yet also apparently, I want something complicated, intense, dramatic.

Dating lots of men wasn’t a problem, but it’s the sex/intimacy part that fucksme up.   My ex didn’t give me a chance to figure out if I could share him.  He set me up with Dr. Polyamory who was also full of shit.   But that’s very old news.  I want to write that review on my birthday since that was the day my ex told me about her.  I want her, like me, to remember how my birthday got merged with their bullshit.  I mean why can’t the three of us celebrate that anniversary together?  How polygamous!  lol!

I know I needed to get over this a long time ago.  The question is why can’t I do that completely?  I’m like a pit bull who won’t let go.  Is this really only about old trauma or more about my fear of having another relationship?  Am I that afraid to try again?  I think that’s part of it.  I know part of why my ex left, was because of all my drama/intensity.  But in my defense, he did really provocative shit.  But I’m learning now how to hold my own (why should Mr. Almost Perfect assume this is all about control?), but I am afraid, if I fall in love, I will make the same mistakes again and lose myself.  That’s why Mr. 45 works because we keep it all in a tidy little box.  Mr. Almost Perfect is more complicated and his box is bigger, but his mixed messages are starting to cause drama.  We need to find our way back to fun drama not the bullshit drama or passive aggressive cowardly drama.   Meanwhile, my tenant just walked by hand and hand with the mystery lady.  Why does that little shit get to move on so quickly?

And just when I was getting too focused on MY belly button something happened.  I was in my car (running real errands).  I’m still not entirely over this idea I can get in my car any time I want and go somewhere.  I was being efficient and decided to contact my old real estate agent. (I needed something more than porn to entertain me).   I had just pulled into the parking lot and didn’t expect to reach him, but he picked up.   I started in on this crazy idea of finding a fixer now that I had someone both honest and skilled on the team and he always seem to be able to deal with my all-over-the-place-carrying-on with great patience and fortitude.  Then I asked him how he was doing.

“Not so great.”

I’m listening and then he told me about his son, Harrison.  I can’t even write the next word like somehow if I don’t say it won’t be true.  And I sat in my car in the parking lot blinking repeatedly realizing his life will never be the same.  Actually, the world will never be the same (again).  It’s impossible to contemplate this heartbreak and its endless reverberation destroying the natural order of things.   It’s the ONE thing that should NEVER happen and he and his wife had to face the unfathomable.   I mean I’ve faced a lot of loss, but NOTHING can compare or prepare someone for this.  Of course, I wanted to do something, but there is nothing that can be done except put my life back into perspective (again) and try and be grateful for every breath I have.

And as excruciating as it must of have been for John to talk about his son’s death, it seemed worse to not mention his name, share his life. I felt like John wanted, needed, to honor his son’s short life.   And then he send me a photo of Harrison the day before he died.   He had a glint in his eyes, those sweet mischievous, bright eyes.  And he has reddish-blond hair similar to his daddy’s and those teeth which he had lost and yet hadn’t had the time to come back.   All those missed “what if’s” and “when’s.”   And all I could think about is how precious life is.   So, I send out Harrison’s name to our collective humanity for all those who have ever loved and lost so we can remember that short sweet life and remember to wrap our arms around those still with us.  I’m not sure if love conquers all, but I still believe love is the answer.  And when I think of Harrison’s short life and remember those radiant eyes and that wide smile, I swear he already knew everything about love.

As for me, it’s time for me to travel.  I WANT my kids.  It’s a longing parents understand.  This no in person contact, no hugging, life over Zoom has been hard for so many people.  I need to change that.  So for now I sign off as I prepare for Ms. Nola and I and our grand adventure across the country.  Thank you for spending time with me.  I hope somehow my craziness has helped you grow in loving yourself and all your foibles…. as it has done for me.   Sending love, endurance and patience your way and always beauty in all things.