Guest Column: Dating Online Series. Familial Ties. Expectations?

Part III by Ms. Jennifer

It’s 5:00 a.m.  I’m wide awake. I hate when that happens. Now I know better than to fight it. I just surrender. I get up. My mind has something to say and when she gets like this… she’s my Domme.  

I’ve been listening to my dad creating a new reality, or maybe he’s going back to a very old reality where he’s still trying to work something out.  Maybe we all do this. We simply have to recycle old and often painful tears from our past. He was talking affectionately about his wife (he was divorced twice). The divorce from my mother was beyond bad. Their mutual hatred took on epic portions, looking back I’m reminded of the film with Richard Burton as George and Elizabeth Taylor as Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  Their passion and vitriol somehow kept them connected. His second divorce was much quieter. The problem was my father always had a mistress: Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer (like a cheap whore always available and affordable). He couldn’t ever admit how this effected his marriages, because if he did that he would have to look at his drinking and that wasn’t something he wanted to do.

But I’ve digressed, the point is he doesn’t have a wife so I wasn’t sure who he was talking about, but it was a surprise to hear him talk about his wife’s virtues. At one point he talked about a lost baby. My mother had a miscarriage between my younger brother and me, but that’s all I ever knew about that (something about a pill she had taken).  A few years ago my father had given me a blue, plastic box labeled “Open upon my death” which I have opened once like Pandora Box and quickly shut. I’m not sure what answers will be revealed, but my dad is not in a position to answer any questions so I don’t see the point in looking at it now. Besides, it may be better to honor his wishes instead of satisfying my curiosity.   

We have settled into something of a morning routine.  He wakes up demanding and, now that he’s not constipated, FOOD NOW!   Sometimes he recognizes me “Jen Jen” (the only person on the planet who calls me this) and something he thinks I’m his sister or simply the hired help. It’s wasted energy to try and correct him and, if I’m not too exhausted myself, I simply wait on him hand and foot after I clean up the piss on the floor which is one of the new things I can count on in my daily routine.  

He sleeps a lot which, of course, is my salvation, but at night he’s often awake like a bird and he wants to engage. The problem is I’m often trying to work so I find his interruptions tedious. The problem when you don’t remember is you don’t recall you just said the same thing. And you can’t really carry on a conversation since you can’t track it.  Plus he’s often talking about what you might call hallucinations, things like the war, but on the other hand, I realize we’ve all been in “wars” of different portions (although thinking he’s on a ship on the high seas maybe more about his clever imagination rather than anything else). There are things I don’t know about his past. 

Last night he was going on and on about a carburetor for his car. This is when it’s really tough because he won’t let it go.  He needs to get the car fixed so he can get to class to teach and my intervention is not working. Eventually, I lost it and tell him to “shut the fuck up” (yes, please don’t judge me too harshly, for I already know this is not one of my shining moments).  It’s like if I don’t go to an EXTREME he will simply keep repeating himself and if I fall quiet (after telling him I am not talking anymore) he won’t remember and he will keep calling out “Miss, Miss” and I am pulled into some world that doesn’t exist.  

EVENTUALLY he will finally fall asleep and will forget when he wakes up that he needed to go find his car that he’s lost somewhere.  If I do bother to tell him, “dad you’re retired and you don’t have a car anymore”  he first has to accepts that information as truth, but even if he believes me, he can’t hold on to it.  Like a child, distraction SOMETIMES work.  “Hey, how about a fig bar.”   Regardless, he remembers the ENERGY of my words.  He understands my rage when he pulls his penis out and instead of urinating in the urinal, he just pisses on floor. When I scream at him, he starts saying his prayers “Our Father Who aren’t in Heaven…” and this most often gives me time to collect myself and go get the mop…again.  

Last night I gave up working and decided to practice some music on the Harmonium (unlike me…. what a forgiven instrument).  I’d played for him once before and he said it was “lovely.”   For the first time ever, when I asked him what he thought, he didn’t respond.  He was awake, sort of catatonic, so I asked him a few other questions and he just looked at me like some light just went out.  I got up and went to his bed and looked him in the eye and finally, I got a response.   “No.”   No, he didn’t like the music.  

Could this be the new normal?  My father, the word smith, the man who spent over 10 years writing his own dictionary of politic terms. A satire that I truly didn’t have the brains to understand, could that same brain be turning off bit by bit?  How was I going to brace myself for the day when I was only the hired help or worse when he stopped talking completely and, at the same time, wasn’t I the one who told him to shut the fuck up?  

 Now, what does any of this have to do with online dating?  

Your honor, I am living in a cesspool of chaos.  Outside in the dating world is a land-mine and inside my home there is endless demands and noise  I used to think walking my dog was a hassle, it’s now become my respite.  This last week was over the top.   And now when my dating life has me on edge, I think about my past life and instead of finding a place to land I simply get stirred up about how painful and confusing that relationship was, too.  Dating confuses me, old relationships confuses me, my ex confuses me, even my dad makes no sense.

All this is the backdrop of my meeting both – Herald and Evan. 

Forgive me if I seem to repeat myself. I’m clearing my conscience. I’m really starting to think after about six months of online dating this madness has to stop.  I seem to have an obsessive spirit which doesn’t do well in ADD land.  I’m still thinking about Juan, and my ex and, well, I just have to embrace I’m nuts and get used to the idea of living alone (and the injustice of my ex meeting his new GF on Tinder– a Jungian Analyst to boot!)…what else can I do?

And then I’m out with my girlfriend dancing at an empty bar (this is insane… these insanely good musicians playing in an empty bar) and we are approached.  Now, I’ve been living here over two years and this NEVER happens even when I’m alone and this guy is young and hot!  I’ve never been hit on or asked to dance. I’m sure my energy is “don’t fucking talk to me,” but still you would think there is potential for this to happen, but Herald starts talking to us and before you know he’s telling me it’s his 38th birthday and he Latin dances and where to go on Friday night so we exchange info.  He tells us to meet him later at The Maison.  Like Cinderella I have to be home before midnight, but we run over to The Maison before we have to leave.  Herald isn’t there.   

You’d think since I’m way older than this guy that I would  know what was happening, but I’m realizing the truth is probably somewhere in the middle between he really thinks I’m “sexy” and some huge pile of bullshit.  He lays it on thick. I guess since I’m friendly, and responsive, and intrigued that means I’m ready to fuck.  

While I appreciate his “enthusiasm,” I explain I don’t spread my legs the first time around and he in turns suggests I “take advantage.”  Does he have a point?  When is the next time some young hot, stud is going to approach me?  This could be my last shot, still I don’t think it’s worth the anxiety of fucking some guy I don’t really know who would probably pound the shit out of me making me very sore.  

Then there’s Evan. When I meet Evan I can breathe only at the very beginning when he’s buying me a tea do I feel self-conscious and awkward like should I wait outside or wait there. But that quickly burns off and we sit outside and it’s beautiful and my body begins to open back up.  

I’ve already screwed up once telling him his daughter is beautiful when it’s his son, but he handles my first transgression well. We enjoy each other and, although I’ve learned not to completely trust myself, this has potential. I like there’s some juice there, too. It’s something between a really bad date and the insanity of the sexual tension or whatever that craziness was with Herald.  I’ve made some joke about not having a white woman’s ass and he makes some joke about seeing it so sex is in the air, but it hasn’t taken over either.   Earlier he’s asked me for photos, so after our date, I send him a photo of me in a form fitting red polka dot dress.    

And things heat up quickly and he surprises me with his edge.  He wants me to show him my tits… and I’m unsure…. it’s too soon and I recall what happened with Juan and I’m just coming off my Herald trip, and the loss of my ex, and the loss of a girlfriend who died unexpectedly (and wasn’t much older than me) and my ex always told me I add everything together (like this run on sentence) and that’s all true.   

“Let’s give ourselves to each other,” Evan says.

“I do have a lot to give and if, I am honest, of course I want a partner.  I want the whole thing. 

And he wants more photos of me and wants me to come over so he can hold me.  What is this game women and men play where men want it bad, but women have to hold back.  I don’t always want to hold back, but how do you know if this hug will just be a hug or what do you do when you don’t hold back and it falls apart?   Still, I see real potential with Evan and after that sexy conversation he’s back off and I start to think he’s not really all that interested. I see the delightful insanity of the dance.

What will it be like to be in a real relationship again?  Honestly, it’s hard for me to imagine. I’ve had two false starts I thought would go somewhere.   I’m not sure anymore what it takes to have a successful relationship.  A quick fuck has the potential to be so easy.  My ex has it all: a quick exit from me and a new girlfriend who is cool with him having a fuck buddy on the side…  why did he get so lucky?

Anyway,  I have another date with Evan tomorrow.   He will be able to see my ass in person.   My dad is awake;  “I’m hungry” he yells.   Here we go.  Can you wait until I finish, I ask him?   “I want to eat myself and I don’t want to eat someone’s else self.”    I bring him a banana to tied him over.

The dog is also awake.  She see another dog outside and starts barking. My dad reports  the “farm animal” is wanting to greet us.  This much is true.   The day has begun.