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I stood at the door with anticipation. Bra — check. Thong — check. Knee-high boots and wool coat — check and check. Now I just needed the man, and he was on his way up the stairs to my second-floor flat.
I had waited two and a half months. A few more minutes wouldn’t kill me. Except they were.
We had met at a conference in November, the sparks flying on the alcohol-fueled dance floor. Between the conference events and some late-night fun, we didn’t get a lot of sleep that weekend. We said a comfortable good-bye at the end of the conference, and I thought that was that. He lived more than 1,800 miles away in a different country, so, expectations — check. Having never sought out the stereotypical conference extracurriculars before, I was pleasantly surprised how fun and uncomplicated things were.
Even though I grew up in a conservative environment, I hadn’t followed the wait-until-you’re-married doctrine; yet, while I’ve certainly had my creative dalliances, one night stands — particularly with strangers — weren’t in my repertoire. We hadn’t had sex during the conference weekend, but it was the closest I had come with someone I knew slightly better than my mailman. It opened my eyes to the possibilities and gave me hope that my dry spell would come to an end soon.
I was surprised when an e-mail correspondence began, not taking it very seriously at first because of the distance. Everything seemed unreal, which probably spurred me on. I figured, why not?
E-mails quickly led to almost daily instant message chats interspersed with a few bad-connection Skype calls. Chat topics ranged from conference and professionally relevant items to cultural topics to thoughts about life with increasing doses of double entendres and thinly veiled insinuations. With my “why not” attitude blossoming, soon there was nothing veiled during the discussions. The time had come to seal the deal.
Would we meet in the middle, or would one of us fly to the other’s city? Logistics made the decision for us: He would fly to me. The magic of the discount European airlines meant that we only had to wait 10 days after making the decision. But 10 days still felt like a long time.
Three days before the trip, he e-mailed that he might be getting the flu. Concern for his well-being battled concern for my libido. I communicated more patience and understanding than I felt inside. The next day, he shared the hopeful diagnosis from the doctor: It was probably something he ate. The day before his flight, he confirmed his arrival. My libido soared!
Then my heating crashed.
I scrambled. My rental agency scheduled workers for the next day — the same time as his arrival. There went my grand plans for a memorable welcome.
The next day, his flight was delayed, one of the few times I’ve ever been grateful for an airline problem. He sent a message when he got in the airport taxi. 20 minutes before his arrival, the workmen left, and I cranked up the heat.
My flat’s traditional 14-foot-high ceilings and huge windows weren’t relinquishing the winter chill fast enough, so instead of the black trench coat, I donned my wool coat. It didn’t hint at my bareness underneath like the trench coat would, but I wasn’t worried. The coat wouldn’t be on for long.
The intercom announced his arrival, and my excitement and nerves — and maybe the cold — caused an adrenaline surge. I buzzed him into the building, unlocking my front door so I was ready. When I saw his shadow through my door’s frosted glass, I swung it open before he could ring the bell.
It was a welcome I’ll never forget.
Instead of a press-me-up-against-the-wall greeting, I received an awkward, traditional European kiss-next-to-the-cheek hello.
The playfulness and bravado communicated in his messages were noticeably absent. With dying optimism, I decided to chalk this up to his recent sickness or early plane departure time.
I tried to ignore the sound of my libido plummeting as I showed him around my flat. We chatted, but he only had eyes for the vaulted ceilings, the view from my windows, and even his hands — anything but me. There was more distance between our bodies than boys and girls at the beginning of a junior high dance.
After 20 minutes, I gave up. Gesturing in circles in front of my body, I said, “I guess I’ll put on some real clothes since you don’t seem interested in what’s going on here.”
His stammering response still didn’t change the fact that he didn’t stop me from getting dressed. It was foreshadowing for the rest of the weekend. Nothing went smoothly.
Although he said he wanted to experience the local culture, he rejected my initial restaurant choice the first night. He wanted something “nicer.” In fact, he seemed to want everything “nicer.” Even when there was a preliminary attempt to seal the deal, I wasn’t as “groomed” as he preferred.
My libido was no longer frustrated — it was aggravated.
I longed for the end of the conference when things had been fun and uncomplicated. I should have stopped things there and enjoyed it for what it was.
Lesson learned — check.