This was originally published at In Our Words: A Salon For Queers & Co. Republished here with permission.
Dana Norris once went on 71 internet dates. This was date number 15 (we posted date number 14 here).
I’d like to take a moment to ask everyone who is my parents/ever held me as a baby to stop reading this. Thank you.
It’s 3pm on a Saturday afternoon and I’m furiously cleaning my apartment. I’m vacuuming my bath mat, scrubbing out my coffee pot, and dusting the candles that I never light. At 6pm I will have my fourth date with Benji.
I’m cleaning my house because I’ve decided that I’m going to sleep with Benji tonight. I’ve never actually had a “fourth date” with someone before because usually by this point the guy is already my boyfriend. I scrub my shower curtain and it occurs to me that I have only slept with two people in my life, and both of them in the context of relationships. So this evening I have the chance to increase my promiscuity by 33%. You don’t come across that kind of a statistical opportunity every day.
I think that Benji likes me a lot and is possibly going to become my new boyfriend. I also realize that Benji hasn’t actually made any statements about liking me or wanting to be my boyfriend, so maybe this is a terrible mistake and I should save my lady bits for true love. But, really, since the end of my last relationship it’s been a long seven months where I have only gone on awkward dates, not had any kind of sex, and spent a lot of time crying in my apartment. There are still days that the grief presses against me so hard that I think I’ll never be clear of it. I want to stop feeling so awful all of the time. I think that sex will help.
It’s 6pm. I’m sitting on a concrete planter on the sidewalk outside of my apartment, waiting for Benji, talking on the phone to my best friend, Erin.
Me: “I’m so nervous.”
Her: “You don’t have to sleep with him, you know. If you’re this freaked out just don’t do it.”
Her: “Seriously. Just don’t do it.”
Me: “I’m going to do it anyway.”
Her: (sighing) “OK.”
I hang up because I see Benji approaching. He walks up to me and we hug awkwardly, per usual. We go out for drinks at Ricochet’s, a nearby bar, and he grabs a bar napkin and starts drawing on it. “I made your star chart, but then I left it at home. But this is what it looked like.” It’s a circle divided into eight quadrants and with a dot in each quadrant. “It says that you’re especially well-balanced.” I thank him and put the napkin in my purse, both feeling flattered and figuring that the stars must not be accounting for my neuroticism. Regardless, if tonight goes well, this napkin’s going in my scrap book.
Two hours later we’re still at the bar and the conversation is slowing. I know that if I want to get it on I have to ovary up and actually invite him over to my place. So I do. Benji immediately grabs his jacket and we go.
An hour later we’re sitting on the couch in my living room, sipping beers. The conversation has remained slow and is only getting slower. I mean, we all know why we’re here, but I’m at a loss on how to get things started. I’m on one side of the couch and he’s on the other but it may as well be the other side of Chicago. Finally, finally, he starts to move toward me. Yes. He leans over and kisses me. Oh yes it is on. I whip off my shirt, stand up and say, “Let’s go to the bedroom.” Time to increase my numbers.
An hour later:
- I’ve seen my first uncircumcised penis and was not at all able to hide my initial concern. Why does it have that thing on it?
- I’ve informed him many times, nicely, that my clit shouldn’t be treated it like it owes him money.
- I’ve decided that he does watch a great deal of porn due to aforementioned clit punishing and his inability to stick to a single sexual task for more than two minutes.
- I’m debating just asking him to put his pants back on and leave since I’m bored and very sleepy. But I don’t because I started this and I feel it’s only polite to see it through.
Afterwards he grabs me in a long embrace. OK, that’s nice. And then he falls asleep. Oh, no. No, no, no. I’ve never been able to fall asleep with someone wrapped around me like this.
I slowly pick up his arm and scoot down the bed to make my escape without waking him up. I slip out of the room and close the bedroom door behind me. I get a beer and watch TiVO’d episodes of The Daily Show while texting Erin and my sister: “I just hit that.” They write back congratulations. I guess I’m proud of myself, but mostly I wish I was alone right now. I’m uncomfortable with this guy sleeping in the next room, taking up my bed with his tall man body. I also realize that I’m being weirdly inhospitable at the moment and I should really go back to bed. I mean, I think I want a relationship with this guy. Shouldn’t I be happy he’s here?
I turn off the TV and slip back into bed. He wraps his arm around me and starts snoring. I lie there, awake.
Dana Norris is the founder and host of Story Club, a monthly show for stories. She has served as the Nonfiction Editor and Managing Editor of TriQuarterly Online. She performs around Chicago with Mortified!, The Kates, Essay Fiesta, Stories at the Store, This Much is True, Beast Women, Waiting for the Bus and Cafe Cabaret. Her stories have been published in Tampa Review, Partner Dance Press, and been featured on Vocalo.org (89.5 FM). Dana received a Bachelors in Creative Writing and Religion and from Wittenberg University and a Masters in Religious Studies from The University of Chicago. She has a Certificate in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Chicago and is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Northwestern University.