(About a 4 minute read)
We had been sitting next to each other at the coffee shop’s counter for a few minutes when she introduced herself to me. Looking up from her magazine, she pointed to the article she’d been reading and said something about it that I can no longer recall.
I was instantly pleased with her for taking the initiative. I usually like it when women start up conversations with me, and I tend to think of them as a bit adventuresome for having done it.
After that first meeting, I saw her around from time to time. She would always say hello and we’d usually exchange a few words. Things stayed casual though. There was nothing flirtatious in her manner or attitude.
Then one day, I was crossing a side street a bit out of my neighborhood when I heard the beep of a horn. Looking to my right, I saw she was the driver of the car that had pulled up to the stop sign as I’d begun crossing the street. She waved me over to her window.
“Want to go for a hamburger?”
I was both interested in her and hungry so I accepted. At the restaurant, one thing led to another and I agreed to go home with her. Of course, the thought of sex crossed my mind, but I only imagined this would be a “getting to know each other” day. If there would be sex, I thought it would be some other day.
It happened though. And it happened relatively quickly. We’d only been at her place 45 minutes or so before we were going through foreplay on her couch. But it was nothing like I’d experienced before — and I was fairly well experienced. Though at first I couldn’t figure out what was “off” about it.
Nevertheless, I was committed to seeing it through. I didn’t even think about changing my mind, or calling for so much as a pause. She, on the other hand, had no hesitation making an end of it after she came for the second time. By then I was actually a bit relieved because the sex had felt wrong through out.
Once it was over, I soon got the sense I should be on my way. That too seemed a bit strange to me, but I took her hints and left. Walking home that day, I felt quite strange, quite out of sorts with myself. At first I thought I might be coming down with a cold or flu because I had that queasy, empty stomach feeling you sometimes get when those things come upon you.
But I was also feeling unusually dispirited. This was back when I suffered frequent attacks of depression, but I knew what I was feeling was more acute than usual. I suddenly realized I was wishing I could cry.
I was raised back in the day when boys were taught never to cry, and I had thoroughly internalized those lessens to the point I could get teary eyed, but not teary eyed enough to shed any actual tears. That day was no exception, but I did find myself wishing I could cry in order to alleviate the feelings that were building up inside of me, and that showed no signs of going away.
I also felt curiously cheap and used. At first I didn’t recognize the feelings because I’d never felt anything like them before after sex — or for that matter, seldom enough after anything. But at last I realized what I was feeling, and then it quickly dawned on me why I was feeling cheap and used.
She’d had been the most selfish partner I’d even known.
The thought rushed me that she’d treated me no better than a vibrator. I found myself growing angry, wanting to return and punch her around a bit. It didn’t help that the day had turned cold with a mist.
The walk, though a long one, did nothing to improve my mood. I couldn’t shake the feelings I was having — alternating now between dejection and anger. When I got home, I was still miserable.
I doubt I had anything to do with it, but I never saw her at the coffee shop again — or for that matter, anywhere. Eventually, I forgot all about her, and today I cannot even remember her name.
If nothing else, the experience taught me what it is like to have a completely selfish partner. To put my feelings that day into context, by that time in my life was adept at shrugging off slights and insults. I had — and I still have — a tendency to see anyone who insults me as a jerk first and foremost whose opinion usually counts no more with me than a turd does. So I think it must have been because I was totally unprepared for her that she got to me.
I can’t be sure without actually going through something like that again, but I doubt nowadays I would be so affected by the same thing. For one thing, I’d most likely recognize a selfish lover early on and call things off. But if not that, then I’d be likely to see one for what she was — a jerk.
But most important, I’m a bit older and wiser now about who is to blame for such things. Even though I freely consented that day, what happened was entirely her fault, not mine. I can be a fool, but I’m not foolish enough to hold myself accountable for changing someone from a jerk into a decent person.
Beyond all that, the event did have a ray of light for me. It gave me much deeper insight into the effects both of abusing someone’s intimacy, and of treating them with complete selfishness. That, in turn, has helped me understand other people who’ve gone though similar things.