Chapter Ten; Part Two
My phone beeps. It’s a text from Rembrandt. “You left again. You keep doing that.” I can’t tell if he’s pissed or hurt or what, but I want to nip this in the bud. Then again, it is kind of rude of me to leave like that, so I start with an apology. “Sorry. I prefer sleeping in my own bed. Plus, I missed my cats. You pissed?” I hold my breath. I don’t want him to be mad, but I’m also pretty set in my ways. I’m not going to change just because I enjoy fucking him. It’s several seconds before I receive an answer. “No. Just hurt. I don’t understand.” I sigh. This is another problem with being unconventional. Most people assume that women want to move in, to be committed, to get married, whatever. I’ve had this problem many times. Guys who are at first upset because I don’t want to commit. Then, they get resentful, and finally, pissed. Do I even want to bother? I shouldn’t immediately put Rembrandt in the same boat, but that’s all I seem to run into. “Look. This is too complicated to text about. Can we talk about it? Maybe Tuesday or Wednesday night?” “Why not tomorrow?” The immediate response. Goddamn it. I hate it when people can’t respect my boundaries. “I’m busy.” My text is terse, but I’m not in the mood to make nice. This is why I don’t do well in relationship; I hate having to justify myself to someone else. I count to one hundred before Rembrandt responds. “Tuesday. Six. Where do you want to meet?” Not good. A step back might be what’s needed, though. “Grumpy’s. Washington Ave.” I’m sending my own message. Grumpy’s is loud, so intimate conversation isn’t easy. It should be OK at that time, though. I guess I’m hoping it’ll be loud, though. “Fine.” I decide not to answer that text because we’re going to spiral downwards from here. I set my phone aside, but it beeps again in a minute. It’s Rembrandt. “I hope you have a good night.” Some of my irritation melts. He’s a decent man. It’s not his fault that I’m not a decent woman, not in the traditional sense, anyway. “Thanks, Rembrandt. You, too.”
With that, I toss my phone onto the bed and sigh deeply. Two black lumps join me on the bed, snuggling into my sides. I ruffle their fur, taking comfort in their presence. Why do humans have to be so uptight about our relationships? Why can’t we just sniff each other’s butts and be done with it? Then again, I’ve read how cats have sex, and I don’t want any part of that. My cats have really cushy lives, but do I really want to just eat, sleep, and play with another cat? That doesn’t sound half-bad, actually. I think back to my text messages with Rembrandt and wonder if I could have handled it better. Hell, I know I could have, but I just didn’t have the patience. Let’s face it, if I wanted to avoid unpleasantness, I would have just spent the night with Rembrandt. Time for some hard truths. Do I want to date Rembrandt, or would I prefer if he was just a booty call? Truth to be told, I would be happy if he cooked for me two to three times a week before thoroughly fucking me, then I could go home and chill with my cats. I want Netflix and chill, but I have a hunch Rembrandt wants more than that. If that’s the case, should I just cut it off now? It wouldn’t be fair to him to fuck around if he’s wanting more. Then again, I like him. Not just to fuck, but talking to him and being with him. Maybe I’m sabotaging myself by nitpicking at everything, but I can’t help how I feel.
On the third hand, I have a tendency to overthink things. It’s both a blessing and a curse, but right now, it’s mostly a negative. Three days ago, I was looking forward to my date with Rembrandt and having sex with him. Now, we need to have a talk, and we’re not even a week into whatever this is. People like to joke about how women always want to talk, but I find that dudes want to do it more often than do chicks. Something about sex makes them think they own me or that I owe them something. Am I weird for not wanting to spend the night with him right away? My guess is that most women probably would stay the night, but I’m not most women, damn it. I hate being defensive over my preference of sleeping alone. It’s something I’ve taken shit for my entire life. Well, at least since I started dating. I’ve had to break up with more than one partner who didn’t believe that I didn’t want to move in with them. Let’s not even talk about marriage. Or kids. I am disgruntled, which means it’s going to be hard for me to get to sleep. I pull up my website and start a post.
I have never lived with a partner, and if I’m going to be honest, I’ve never wanted to. I’ve had long-term relationships, including my last one, but I’ve always preferred to keep my own domicile. Why? For many reasons. One, I’m old and set in my ways. I like to do things my way without answering to anyone. I don’t like having to tell someone I’m going out or when I’m coming home. I don’t like asking permission before I hang out with friends. Call me a typical man in that I don’t want to be bound by the old ball and chain.
No, I’m not a man, but I sometimes feel as if I’m more stereotypically one than I am feminine. I know it’s because of cultural expectations, but it’s hard not to fall into the trap of feeling I have to be a certain way. I’m trying to date someone, and we already have to have a talk because I didn’t spend the night after we had sex. I like sleeping in my bed with my cats, and I don’t think that’s pathetic at all.
Basically, I want a fuck buddy, but I don’t feel like I can ask for that. Like, I’m an older woman who’s still single. I should be
I stop writing because I’m squeamish about sharing personal information that involves other people without their permission. I sigh in frustration. It’s hard to blog about personal issues without mentioning other people, and even if I don’t write Rembrandt’s name, I’ll still know it’s him. And, if he ever reads my blog, so will he. I suppose I could scrub anything that concerns him, but then, what would be the point of the post? I could write it, I guess, about the societal pressure of being a single woman. I start again. I use the same first paragraph and half of the second, up to ‘I have to be a certain way.’ I cut out the next sentence about dating someone, then I start anew.
I have to be a certain way. Let me be blunt. I like sex. A lot. I enjoy everything about it, but once I’m done, I don’t want to spend the night. I want to go home, take a quick shower, and snuggle up in bed with my cats. I don’t think that’s pathetic at all, but I seem to be in the minority.
I just want a fuck buddy, which isn’t a popular thing to admit, especially for an older single woman. I’m supposed to want to get married and have children. At the very least, I’m supposed to want to have a long-term, monogamous, living together relationship, which I most emphatically do not. And, no, I’m not just saying that. I’ve had that accusation hurled at me as well—that I’m just trying to be contrary. I am not. I like my space. I like my own house. Do I sound defensive? How can I say any of that without it sounding defensive? That’s part of the burden of being a freak—the burden is on me to prove that my way of living is just as valid as more conventional lifestyles.
The plain truth is that I would be more than happy to have a friend with benefits that I see a few times a week. Maybe we’d watch a movie or go to a game or have dinner. Then, we’d fuck like bunnies for hours, then he or she would go home. Rinse, lather, and repeat. Is that really so weird? I can’t be the only woman who doesn’t want to cohabitate for life. It feels like a prison sentence to me. Any time I see a picture of a wedding, I can’t fathom wanting to do something so…I’m just going to say it. Stupid. I try to keep my opinions to myself, but I do not get the whole obsession with weddings. I see my FB friends freaking out about their weddings, one saying how she’s having money problems at the same time, and all I can do is shake my head in wonder. I think of all the things I could spend that money on, and I’m disgusted. I’ll never say that, but it’s such a fucking waste.
Don’t even get me started on kids. When one of my BFF was pregnant, I told her she’d have a year in which she could talk exclusively of her progeny whom I called sprog while she was in the womb, but this BFF was exceptional. She would talk about sprog for five or ten minutes before moving on to other subjects. She’s as passionate about politics as I am, and we would spend countless hours talking about it. God, I miss her so much.
I write for another half an hour, the post just flowing out of me. I’ve been holding this back for a long time, and it feels good to let it out. I know I’m going to get more shit for this, but I don’t care. I’m a freak, and I’m tired of hiding it. If people want to judge me, so be it. I post it and wait. Not five minutes later, I get my first comment, from SeeNoEvil, “You are a heathen. You need God, you filthy whore.” Yup. Not gonna publish that one. Next from MNborn, “I like living in sin. It’s way more fun than being married. My man wanted to get hitched five years ago, but I put a kibosh on that very quickly. The first time he mentioned kids, I told him if he ever said that again, I’d dump him. So far, so good.” I smile at her comment. MNborn was one of my best commenters on my last blog, and she was elated when I told her on Twitter that I was starting up again. ChristIsMyLord seethes, “You are a wicked girl. You need to get on your knees and pray. You depraved, filthy slut.” Also trashed. Ten minutes later, I get three more sluts, one whore, and one bitch. They all go in the trash. The emails I keep in a folder called ‘website losers’ just in case. I keep everyone’s first email notification. It’s insurance.
For every one supportive message, I get five that are ugly and terrible. “Who would want an ugly old dyke like you?” “Fucking bitches like you should be killed.” “You’re going to hell. Heartless bitch.” People are so uncreative in their insults. Slut. Whore. Bitch. How I long for a harlot or a vamp, but no. I also get called filthy more times than I care to count. Not dirty. Not gross. Just filthy. I sigh. I have to stop reading the comments because they’re just depressing me. I wasn’t nearly as harsh as I could be, but I’m still getting such hatred. You would think in the year 2016 that a woman saying she doesn’t want to get married or have children wouldn’t be such a big deal. You would think. I pace back and forth in frustration. I need to do something that isn’t agitating, so I start watching Poirot episodes. I start with my favorite one, Curtain, even though I had watched it recently. I’m struck by how old David Suchet and Hugh Fraser look. Intellectually, I know they’ve been shooting this series for twenty-five years or so and Poirot is supposed to be frail in this episode, but still. Next, I watch The Adventure of the Clapham Cook, which is the first episode ever shot. I’m in a groove, and I keep watching episodes until I fall asleep on the couch.
I awake with a start, having been submerged in a dream about Christmas pudding, murder, and Poirot. It’s four in the morning, and I’m shivering. I hope I’m not catching a cold. I pull the blanket closer to me, and Onyx and Jet mumble in protest. They had been anchoring the blanket on either side of me, and they are displeased with being displaced. I shake my head to clear the cobwebs. What day is it? Saturday? No, Sunday night. Monday morning. Which means I have work in a few hours. I can’t do it. I can’t go into work. But, I don’t want to lose my job, either. It’s not much, but it’s mine. I can’t get in the habit of taking time off, even if it’s for a good reason. I set the alarm on my phone for six-thirty, then I try to fall back asleep. I can’t, so I just lie quietly on the couch. It’s going to be a long night.
“Hey, girl. Good to have you back.” It’s Darla Quinn, another old-timer like me. She has fingernails bitten to the quick, and her face is devoid of makeup. She usually has her drab blond hair pulled back in a tight bun, and she wears shapeless shirts and pants that are three sizes too big. Her clothing is a little smarter today as she’s wearing a tailored white blouse and brown suede pants. Must be some man, but I don’t ask. She’ll tell me when she’s ready. She has a wicked sense of humor to boot, as irreverent as mine.
“Can’t say it’s good to be back,” I say, tacking a smile onto my face.
“No kidding. This place is the shits.” Darla sighs, looking both ways as she speaks. We’re pretty lax around here, but Cara would not be happy with us badmouthing the company. One time, one of my coworkers said something about the shitty computer system, and Cara put her on probation for two weeks. My coworker, Shanna, who was right, by the way, the computer system is shit, quit the minute she was suspended.
“Oh, well. Another day, etc., etc., etc.” I sit at my desk and turn on my computer. I frown as I open my files. There’s something weird about them, but I can’t put my finger on it. Are they out of place? No. What is it? I don’t know, but I’m not happy. Thankfully, I don’t keep anything personal on this computer, but that doesn’t mean I want someone rifling through it. I check my files. I check my lists. I check my games. Nothing is different, and yet….
“Hi, Megan,” Sara materializes in front of me, smiling a wide smile. “We’ve missed you!” She fluffs her blond curls and actually bats her eyelashes at me.
“Thanks.” I nod my head, registering that she’s wearing a baby blue silk shirt and satin black pants. “Got a hot date after work?”
“No. A girl just likes to look her best sometimes, you know?” Sara tilts her head, opening her eyes wide. Goddamn it. She’s flirting with me again. Suddenly, I’m fed up. This is our workplace, damn it. I don’t want to deal with this shit here. If she were a dude, I could caution her about sexual harassment, but it’s more complicated with a chick. People don’t always take woman-on-woman sexual harassment that seriously, plus, she’s not my supervisor. I’m just going to have to be blunt with her, as much as I hate doing that.
“Sara. I really prefer to keep chatting to a minimum while I’m working.” I start tapping at my keyboard, even though I’m not actually working.
“I just saw you talking to Darla.” There’s something ugly in Sara’s voice that makes my head snap up. I stare hard at Sara, and there’s anger in her eyes. Her lips are pressed together tightly, and I can tell she’s close to exploding. Well, fine. I’ve been coddling her for long enough. She can get as angry as she wants as long as it means she’ll stop bothering me.
“That’s my business. Now, I have work to do, and you do, too.” I open my first list and pick up my phone. I start dialing, pointedly ignoring Sara. I can feel her glaring at me, but I ignore her. I talk to the first ten marks on my list, then I take a quick break. I check my website on my phone, and there are several more negative comments. Most of them are trash, so I toss them. There are a few legit ones, which I post. I’m not trying to quash dissent, but I’m not going to allow myself to be bullied, either. There are a few positive comments, too. MNborn again, in response to one of the ‘it’s biology’ comments, “It may be biology, but we don’t have to be bound by it. We do a lot of things that are against our biology. It’s funny how selective some people are about these things.” I smile. I can always count on my girl, MNborn, to back me up. I like having a posse I can count on. QueenBee, “Being a wife and mother is the highest honor any girl could ask for. Who wouldn’t want that?” I sigh. Do I answer? I feel almost obliged, given that she’s a regular contributor, but I don’t have the patience or wherewithal for it. I close the tab and go back to my lists. I work through lunch, studiously avoiding Sara as best I can. At the end of the day, I slip out without saying good night to anyone. I get a text from Rembrandt, but I don’t read it as I’m driving. I don’t text while driving. Period. I have a hard enough time driving, let alone doing anything else while driving.
Once I’m home, I check my phone. The text from Rembrandt is brief, saying he’s looking forward to tomorrow night. Despite my ambivalence about the situation, I am touched. He is a good man. Somehow, that makes me feel worse. I don’t want to string him along, and I’m not sure I’m ready for a relationship. Then, I feel resentful. We’ve only had two dates for fuck’s sake. I shouldn’t have to worry so much about his feelings. I text back, “me, too” before clicking off my phone and going inside the house. I give Onyx and Jet the treats they so amply request, then I take a quick shower. Afterwards, I pad to the couch and flop on it. I peek at my website; once again, tons of negative comments. Whore, slut, bitch, filthy slut, etc. I’m almost bored with it by now, or I would be except for the death threats. I know it’s futile to send them to the cops because they don’t take online harassment seriously. MNHunter writes, “You filthy slut. Whores like you need to be punished. You know what I would do to a bitch like you? I will find you, and I will gut you from throat to crotch.” I blink. That’s explicitly graphic, and he’s a local. I make a folder called ‘website threats’ and put his email in it. I memorize his user name so I’ll know it if I see it again.
“Mrrrreow!” Onyx jumps up on my stomach and starts kneading. Jet hops up on my legs and curls into a ball.
“Goddamn it. You need to learn boundaries, Onyx.” I pick her up and set her on the couch, but, undaunted, she reclaims her spot on my stomach. I give up and let her stay there. I type on my laptop as best I can. I need to write another post, but I’m not sure I can stand the hate. Maybe I’ll just write something fluffy, like about my cats or something. That’s chickenshit of me, though, and I shouldn’t back down. Then again, who appointed me savior of the world? I sigh. After I quit blogging the last time, my commenters urged me to start again, saying they needed me in these harrowing times. I do love to be needed, so I started blogging again. I kept it downlow for the first month just so I could get back in the groove. Then, I started tweeting out links and posting them on my FB once a week. I got very positive responses, so I started posting and tweeting them every day. That’s how I’ve built my current cadre of commenters, and I’m considering how to take it to the next level. I don’t want to have ads, but they’re a viable way of doing business. I’ve considered Patreon as well, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. In my research, I noticed that the people with the most donor money on Patreon are already well-known. It’s a truism that is hard to start with Patreon. Then again, I’m getting tired of my job. I would like to be able to write fulltime. If I could get even a thousand dollars a month, I could quit my job.