His text messages at 3:30 in the morning made me feel young and desirable. Not that I was ever awake to read them or respond. No, I’d only see them after I woke up for work.
Or in some cases:
I knew that they were always not-so-subtle attempts to lure me into a late-night rendezvous for sex. Like I said, it made me feel young and desirable because he was young and desirable. So despite the seven or so years that separated us in age, I felt young enough to be desired by a younger individual. What person nearing thirty wouldn’t want to feel that way?
But the unfortunate part about him was that we just didn’t seem to sync up.
I had met him a few months prior on a dating site. And with most dating sites, you get what you pay for, which is to say men who are just window shopping and not ready to commit, or men who probably don’t leave their homes and are single for reasons that are probably physically obvious.
Yes, I’m vain and shallow enough to say that. But that could be a whole other story.
Anyway, we both were from the same area and decided after some mutual conversation to meet for drinks and a game of Scrabble at a local bar. I was late, a trait that’s becoming a more common occurrence than I care to admit to.
So I stumble into the bar and begin to text him to see if he’s there and I look beyond the bar to a at a table in the back where there’s this handsome, devilishly good looking boy – yes, he’s young enough that I’ll call him a boy – sitting patiently and looking more effortlessly chic than I could ever dream of being.
We sit down, order some drinks and begin to converse. I knew from the get-go that he was quiet, probably shy. Conversation wasn’t flowing as freely as the beer was but it wasn’t problematic. He was very cute, enjoyable to talk to and quiet.
As our night concluded, we both agreed we’d like to do it again and there were no moves, no goodnight kiss and that didn’t bother me. I didn’t expect it. Sometimes you don’t want to go into a date with someone you’ve met online with the forethought it will be successful or lead to a second engagement.
By the way, he beat me at Scrabble.
We continued to randomly text one another, but I felt that he was just too cool for me. And despite his youth, it was apparent that I was…not as bright-eyed and bushy tailed. I couldn’t shut the club or bar down on a school night, not anymore.
I could also tell he was surrounded by other cool people, people who would be just as trendy and chic as he – and that I would not be of their tribe. Sometimes you just have to know where you won’t fit in, despite the invitation or desire to do so.
A few weeks went by and he invited me to see a movie. I obliged, excited to see him, but felt still somewhat out of my league and as soon as he showed up, I knew why. Dressed as if he was right out of a grungy spread in Details with perfectly coiffed hair and porcelain skin, I thought, “I am out of my league.”
I know what you’re thinking. “Justin, you’re only 29, you look good, you’re thin…(insert more compliments that I don’t know how to process).” Still, you know when you’re looking at a thorough-bred and when you’re looking at a barnyard steed.
The move was fine. Not a lot of talking. I was terribly infatuated with him and wanted to make out with him from the get-go. But once it was over, there was little interaction – again, I felt like I had to keep him entertained despite being the person invited to go on a date with him.
Weeks, maybe a month or two went by and we just stopped contacting each other. It was fine. My only regret was not getting a chance to kiss him. It’s the small victories I’m looking for in life, really.
Then I got the text. Between the hours of 2 and 5 a.m.
“What are you doing?”
So when I woke up, I’d see these text and respond with my gut reaction.
“Um, I’m not awake at 3:00 a.m. Were you drunk?”
Then hours later I get a response.
“Oh. Well, what were you doing? What compelled you to text me?”
“I wanted to see what you were doing.”
So on and so forth. Every person who has been part of the cell phone culture knows this drill. This flirtatious and yet confusing ping-pong game of veiled conversation that you think is about sex but is never just honest enough to say, “I wanted to have sex with you.”
And let’s face it, I’d be more responsive to that level of honesty in most cases.
Our texting patterns continued for a few more days, becoming regular at times and then sporadic, always leading up to the promise of getting together with more than a movie or pizza in mind. Our virtual flirtation had picked up speed and finally had the gusto I was desiring.
Again, I knew that this boy wouldn’t be a long-term partner in any sense. He’s young, pretty, and social. So if I can just have the luxury of knowing someone like that would want to sleep with someone like me, then it’s certainly an ego boost and a compliment.
All of this random texting finally escalated to the final late-night text that blatantly said, “Come over and get into bed.”
For whatever reason, I was up ungodly early and say this text maybe 45 minutes after it was sent. So I responded, “Sure. Should I come over to your place or do you want to come over to mine?”
We decided I would go to his place. He was off work that day – I was not. But being single and still under the age of 30, I said to myself, “Fuck it. Go and have sex with him on your way to work.”
Game plan in place? Check.
We exchanged more texts and time was going by, with less and less time available to make this work as we stumbled through details of timing, travel, roommates (his, as I have none), etc.
I left my apartment and took a cab to his place and texted him that I was on my way. After ten minutes and no response, I texted him again. Another ten minutes and still no response.
“Shit,” I thought. “Am I getting ‘Punk’d’?”
I got to his apartment and texted him that I had arrived and sat on the doorstep of his apartment. Nothing.
I called five times in a row, now thinking, “If he’s been awake all night and had been drinking at all, he may very well have passed out.”
Then I texted him again.
“If you’re not awake by 7:15, I’m leaving.”
Let me insert this: I was a hot mess. It was a Friday and I decided to not get truly ready as if I were going to work because…well, I was attempting to have sex and it seemed pointless to get ready and then disheveled and then get ready again. Sitting on the stoop in the middle of Boystown with a packed duffle back at 6:45 in the morning looks absolutely tragic. Or absolutely admirable. I still haven’t decided. Anyway, back to the story.
At 7:16, I proverbially dusted myself off and headed to the train and went to work.
I boarded the train and just began to laugh. I just got stood up for a hook up.
Perhaps this was my punishment for attempting to do something brash and spontaneous. Perhaps it was the universe saying, “No, Justin…you’re too old for that.”
Or perhaps it was me finally just living without reservation, without self-restriction, without self-judgment and with the intent of just having fun – and that I just needed to reach that moment of decision making without actually having to go through with the act itself.
Regardless, I laughed but was mildly disappointed. I did want to fool around with him. But I knew that after this, it’s probably just not meant to be.
He texted me a little after 9 that same morning with an apology; he had fallen asleep, or so he said.
I couldn’t hold it against him. I just liked the thrill of the chase.
(This is the second post in a new series I’m writing called “Boys I’ve Liked?”)