I’ve never been refused sex, and then asked to leave someone’s apartment. However, it has now happened. I can scratch it off my bucket list. Next up: being slapped in the face by Jackie Mason.
Believe me, I was surprised. Imagine doing the walk of shame at 4:30 in the morning, except no shame actually occurred, thereby making it just a walk. Would you be surprised if I told you it’s the second weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me? In my New York dating/sexual experience? The number one thing on that list involved me being refused sex after I asked if she had condoms. But that’s a story I’ll save for another time and place.
In this case, she apologized to me. She told me it wasn’t me, it was her. She gave me a reason that I couldn’t argue against, but was still frustrated to accept: “Look, if I’m going to have sex with a guy, I need to know that I can date him.”
The whole reason this happened was because she asked me the corresponding question as things were beginning to… pick up. Obviously, at 4:00 in the morning and after a couple of Jamesons, my rapier wit is not at its sharpest. So, with Fate against me on this one, I only had the capacity to do one thing: I was honest with her. “I’m not looking for a girlfriend. No, it’s not you. I’m just not actively seeking out a relationship right now.”
If you just heard something, it was the sound of my libido getting choked to death by a far more savvy feminine intuition.
Honestly though, what the HELL else was I supposed to say? It’s either: be douchebag #679 in this woman’s life and then never call her again, or just be honest. Maybe I’m too altruistic from all the “You should’ve been an English major.” guilt my parents used to lay on me, but I advocate honesty in all scenarios. Plus, I believe that karma is a bitch when you decide to mess with it.
The next morning, I sat on my couch nursing a hangover and wishing I subscribed to the Sunday Times. I thought about what went down a few hours earlier. You can’t hate someone for being honest with you, whether it’s in the name of personal integrity, or because they just want you gone. When I first started dating in NYC, I still bought into the Nick and Norah fantasy; I wanted to be some girl’s knight in shining armor. How exactly I was going to pull that off – being the runner-up for Mr. Post-Grad Insecurity back then – I didn’t know. I just trusted that somewhere, a divine screenwriter had my back. As I’ve gotten older and remained single, I’ve learned to want the exact opposite. I want to be no one’s knight in shining armor. Why? Because the thought that someone would need that frightens me. The only reason that person buys into such a concept is because he/she wants somebody else to fix their problem. They’re assuming that happiness starts with the right significant other, and then they’ll just work backward.
Been there, done that, got the gray hairs. Not really interested in a second go-round.
If you were to ask me “Have you ever dated anybody that wasn’t asking to be rescued?”, my answer would be: “Yes.” I have been with one such person. And, because of the experience the two of us shared, I believe that “saving each other” is not a requisite for a healthy relationship. I believe if you’re ever going to make a relationship work, it’s got to start and end with honesty. Even if it’s ambivalent, it’s still someone’s point of view. So, I’m actually happy for the way things worked out. This woman was honest with me. That’s all I ever ask for these days. I genuinely hope that wherever she is, she finds what she’s looking for in this world.
As for me, I mounted my steed (a beat-up pair of Chuck Taylors), readied my sword (a copy of the Sunday Times picked up at my bodega), and proceeded to Camelot (a Sunday brunch of coffee, eggs, and bacon). I may not be perfect boyfriend material, but I don’t feel as if I ever have to be. I just have to be me.