Guest Column: Dating Online Series. The Flesh and the Excreta! by Ms. Jennifer

My birthday is two weeks away and the ghost is back. I’m mad at myself, why haven’t I totally let things go with David? Is it an obsessive-compulsive disorder where I cling to the past?  It’s like my thoughts haunt me and the closer we get to the day when he told me about my replacement, the more my thoughts recycle. Why?  Maybe I’m a masochistic?  Maybe I’ll take familiar, even if familiar has the pungent odor of cow manure. It clears my sinuses. There are times when my brain just needs to loop around the running back and forth to offset something resembling boredom. There moments when I feel I’m experiencing the sacred and the profane simultaneously. Maybe the ruminations push away something like depression. Is there a need to loathe and love at the same time? 

Growing up in my household was complicated. Chaos reigned king and queen.  My quiet place was one of hyper-vigilance even as a very young child. It’s like my system had to always be vibrating.  Quiet translated into boring?  When I hid behind the maroon wingback chair as a child I would be teased for “pouting,” but maybe I was trying (unsuccessfully) to learn how to regulate my emotions. My parents both drank attempting to deal with their intense feelings so, obviously, they didn’t show me how this works.  My mother in particular was an emotional volcano.  I never knew what I was going to get… there was no logic.  So I tried to control things, wanting life to make sense, people to be predictable…. but that never worked.  As a teenager I used to obsess and practice what I was going to say. I tried so hard to be perfect so bad shit wouldn’t keep happening.

So how does knowing this help me now?  Dealing with dementia is turmoil.  Lots of repeating, repetitive, regurgitating and increasingly nonsensical words, it’s not challenging.  It doesn’t leave me on the edge of my seat, it leaves me falling asleep in my chair. My brain seeks stimulation… a certain type of stimulation.  So now what… as the world has come to a screeching halt?  Like living with dementia, the outside world has shrunk.  We’ve lost our routine and schedules and, like an infant, or a 90 year with dementia, life has lost any predictably.  I can’t count on anything, not even sleep.  Most nights I wake up to “help me!”  Everything is trying to force me into living in the moment, yet sometimes the “now” is mostly unpleasant. It never takes into account how history matters, now race matters, class matters, gender matters.   But wait….

Some invisible virus is now stealing from us, but unlike hunger it doesn’t only come for the poor.  Increasingly it takes a life. The Coronavirus is a stalker.  We hide behind masks and gloves trying to outrun our stalker. Perhaps this will be the monster that allows us to wake up and realize he’s coming for us whether we are black or white, rich or poor or somewhere in between.  Maybe he’s here to remind us we are more than our personal wishes.  Maybe he’s here to remind us that the we aren’t the only ones who need healing, the earth needs to breathe, and to cherish all the living creatures, to wake up to something greater than ourselves.  Loss, hopefully, makes us more reflective. 

My dad can’t feed himself anymore and he doesn’t’ always remember to chew.  I have to remind him to swallow.  It makes me question the prevailing wisdom of living in the moment, because who lives more in the moment than someone with dementia?   When he remembers my voice he acts totally surprised because he doesn’t know we live together.  Occasional his mind will drift back to his mother who died when he was 17.  Hopefully, a place of comfort, but she also was an alcoholic.  If she wasn’t emotionally, volatile like my mother, at least she was emotional unavailable as all alcoholic/addicts are.  They seduce and then leave.  It’s written in the handbook. 

So this morning I was thinking about my comfort zone…. how I have a high tolerance for insanity and why boredom sucks the life out of me, but also how I am so afraid which makes me hold on too tight.  Maybe sitting inside my house (it’s been over three weeks since I was out-except for walking my dog) I have to find stimulation from within (but sometimes that stimulation isn’t pretty).  I have to sit with whatever comes up and, the rest of the world, maybe be going through something similar. I mean you now have to work a little harder to find a distraction.  But wait, online porn is one perfect solution.  

I’m pretty much a porn virgin.  It’s not to say I’ve never seen it, but I typically found it perfunctory…blah, blah.  Clearly much of it was made by white men and seeing women licking the cum off their faces like it was ice cream never did it for me.  I never believed the women were really enjoying themselves.  Clearly it was about women pleasuring men (on screen and off) and well that was familiar…nothing revolutionary about commerce and sex.  

Enter Rodney (Mr. 45) and he’s becoming my “Porn Professor.”  Actually there was Mr. Dom who was “off-shore” and would send me porn, but it was always about what he liked which was women getting fucked in the ass and, well, that didn’t turn me on.  When I tried to expand the conversation, he got tired of my “hand wringing.”  Needless, to say we didn’t meet when he returned home.  On the one hand, I like it when people know what they want, but I’ve also found it rigid, like they’re get caught in a groove and can’t get out.   

Okay, back to my Porn Professor he quickly showed me (on his phone before social distancing) that there was something for everyone.  And I want to check everything out (of course we can’t hang out together so I just have to wonder about ALL those categories!)  What a fun project.  He’s into interracial porn and sent me one of a black man and white woman (like us) and it was hot.  I mean she REALLY looked like she’s enjoying it… have things changed?   It seemed more focused on her pleasure (although there was the prerequisite blow job and I didn’t need glasses to see the guy’s cock or a hearing aide to hear his moans.  I guess going down on a woman doesn’t make for such dramatic footage…. I mean how can a camera get a close up)? 

I’m not sure why for a sexual woman who hung out in the Tantric world, why I’m so conflicted not about fantasy porn, but real-life lovemaking.  Okay, I grew up Catholic and that’s part of the answer, but its more than that. It’s something about making it complicated and it’s fucking with my head. Love and intimacy was always complicated growing up.  And I did things I didn’t want to do.  But what woman hasn’t?   I’m part of the “Me, Too” club.  I was 19 or 20 in college and my 45-year old plus field professor suggested we meet at his house.  Of course, at first it never crossed my mind, but as I was discussing my clients, he asked me what I was thinking about and then told me that I was thinking about having sex with him.  Uh?  I wasn’t attracted to him, but a mind-fuck is a powerful thing.

So now as a grown ass woman I don’t know what I want or maybe I can’t admit what I want?  I was told I “Domme” by withholding the pussy.  And maybe that’s true or maybe I just like being confused because that’s my own repetitive loop.  Maybe I should admire the clarity of men who liked to cross dress or fuck women in the ass?  Is it me, or are there other woman who also don’t know what they like, because they are, like porn, so focused on what the man wants/demands?

I was trained early to be like this.  First with my parents who I had to tip toe around.  There was no room for my likes and dislikes it was about staying quiet.  It’s not to say as I grew up I never went after what I wanted, I did, but it seem I was ill prepared to deal with the rejection until I got on Tinder.  And it’s not to say the rejection wasn’t still difficult, but it’s more like it happened so often that I began to learn how to move through it more quickly… to not get stuck or too attached.  I came to understand I had my own form of rigidity hanging on too long.   Familiarity was easier than the unknown.  

Initially, the Swipe Culture was perfect, no one stayed long enough so no one, including me, had to look at their shit.  I could flirt, men could say they wanted a FWB or long-term relationship, but it never really went anywhere.  Most never dealt with real intimacy and the reality of a relationship.  And then Rodney entered the picture and was consistent, solid and “concrete.”   The man wasn’t going anywhere and this alone made him unusual.  

I’ve had a lot of time to think about the need to have something “solid” and the need for adventure or chaos? I need the drama, the chase, the hunt and when it’s simple the sexual edge is dull?  When David lost or misplaced his interest I didn’t move on I got preoccupied with him and lost myself. I wanted the adventure, the challenge, I thrive on it, but, on the other hand…maybe not so much anymore?  Times are challenging, dealing with my dad is challenging, maybe right now I need a “concrete” relationship?   But what about the stimulation of all my dates and meeting different men? Mixed emotions!  What about the next possibility?  Or the new trend of non-monogamy why should anyone limit themselves?  Why invest everything in one man?  Wouldn’t I be safer if I diversified my eggs?   No one will get it all.  I will quarter up my heart and dole it out in bits and pieces?

Wow, has my Prince Charming fantasy come to this?  And yet Rodney is offering something resembling this.  Is it that I don’t trust it?  Or am I afraid I will be bored, when I need to be wild and free?  Can I have both? I do understand David’s need for variety/freedom, but he either needed to wait until I got on-board or he needed to have the balls to end it (instead of cheating).  So now what’s happening when the WORLD is dictating everything?   It’s no longer about each person’s individual needs–or my own personal preoccupation.  And what about words like “responsibility” or “commitment” or “devotion?”   I mean I want my freedom and my dad needs me.  I have to work between my personal desires and something resembling the larger good.

And now we are literally being asked to stay home for the greater good. Personal freedom has been, Goddammit, infringed on in an equal opportunity kinda way.  How will we be different after this is over?  Meanwhile, my Porn Professor explains testosterone to me how strong it is in men and how woman may not really understand the compulsion or drive.  He’s dealing with his stress and fear by working out and watching porn.  He’s found a clear-cut path that works for him.  So I want it both ways.  I want a “rigid” solution, a commitment that always works for me and I don’t want to feel confined or boxed in.  I want to explore my sexuality in a safe container and I don’t want to be tied down.  

I told Rodney today “sometimes I think I have a problem with pleasure.  It’s fucked up.”

He responded, “Ok, please do share why you feel this way.”  He doesn’t have a problem with his body or his sexuality.  And why should he the Motherfucker doesn’t have an ounce of body fat. And he knows what he wants.  He doesn’t need to fuck around.  He did that when he was younger and has moved past that.  So, how do I complicate that?  Since we haven’t been able to touch each other, what happens if we do and it’s not hot?  Is that possible?  As we becoming more and more emotionally intimate, what if the physical is dry?  Or what if it’s really hot, but then I find myself wanting variety?  I find that a little far-fetched since I’m quite sure I will get fucked regularly.  He’s not afraid of being sexual and he has an appetite without dominating.

Do I have problem except in my head? This guy wants me despite the fact that I am WAY older than him.  He’s not after anything other than me.  He wants more than a fuck.  I need to relax.  He’s black, blue collar and younger.  So he doesn’t fit my profile or does he? I want him to be a film professor, but he’s not.  Maybe he’s challenging me sexuality (despite the fact that we can’t have sex now) and I think that’s where my biggest insecurity/fears are around losing control and being vulnerable.  So, I’m afraid of being bored and I’m afraid of being overwhelmed and all this is some mental dance that is designed to spin my brain into a tizzy.  Rodney, says “let’s just enjoy each other.”  Simple?

Right, now, in some crazy way, the world is giving me a break.  Maybe it’s a good thing to spend time alone (when I’m not dealing with my father’s demands). Since David, I’ve had sorta sex, but I’ve never made love.  

No doubt, part of me is anxious. In other words, to experience the needs of the flesh and then let go. I’m sure early on I held onto myself in my relationship with David, but slowly lost myself despite the appearance of my independence. Letting go can be problematic because being “out of control” is unsettling, both in the moment but more so; what does it mean long term if I fall in love?  The vulnerability of being in love is there are no guarantees. 

This time off is valuable for sorting things out – the need for “simplicity” and desire for the adventure.  Maybe in the end none of these matters.  If you live long enough life will get very simple.  It really does come full circle (we revert back to being a shit machine wearing diapers…all my dad wants is for me “to get out of his asshole”).  Shit aside, no matter how old we get we never lose our capacity to love, hopefully, no matter how often our heart bleeds.