Hookup & Dash
I matched with Dash on Tinder just a month after I’m moved back to Washington State from Louisville to be my mom’s full-time caregiver. I was shocked my life changed as it had, and I was trying to come to terms, but remained in a very dark place, suffering the depths of depression. I hated it, I hated my life, I hated Louisville was not my home and might not ever be again. But mostly, I hated my mother for what she’d done to me. She stole my life. I don’t see it like that, now, three plus years later. But I had a rough adjustment.
I still text Dash again from time to time. I send him links to posts. I tell him I hope he is well, that he deserves all good things. I thank him for his patience and kindness towards me, when I was in a difficult place. I likely annoyed the shit out of him. But he must have a soft spot for me, because I'm not blocked, after three years. Although he never responds. He's a good man. We just met at a bad time.
June 25, 2019 Journal Entry
So yes, I connected with a lovely man yesterday on Tinder, named Dash. We texted for hours. Mostly him trying to talk me into meeting him at a hotel. Mostly me resisting and relentlessly running through my usual pre-qualifying questions.
Nothing seemed to work. He seemed earnest enough. He seemed serious enough. He was not shy, but he did not speak profusely. Unlike me. He seemed calm, sure of himself but not at all arrogant, private yet not hesitant to answer any question I posed.
After much much discussion, and after all that talk about negotiating the terms of a hookup, we seemed to be at an impasse.
There was one thing he said to me that truly gave me pause. That indicated he had a full and complete understanding of the dance I was dancing around the whole notion of our hookup. In other words, this guy had my number. I don’t have the complete texts, but he said something along the lines of, “All this talk has been about you. Is this something you want or not?”
I realized he was absolutely correct. All the chatter, and it was simply the background noise of me wanting to talk myself into something I was confused about. I was perplexed. I’ve changed so much over the last three years and especially the last few months. Am I still this woman capable of hookups? Is this still how I want to live my life? The answer came quickly: Yes. Sex is the most affirming experience there is. I’m not willing to turn my back on this part of my life. I want sex. I will want sex, God willing, for as many years I have left to have sex.
But this was a unique situation. This man was dictating terms. As hard as I tried to alter his stance, he wasn’t moving. The more I spoke to him the more solid he became. And, oddly enough, the more I trusted him. The more safe I felt. I sense he sensed what I needed and what I really wanted. He was able to cut through all my subterfuge. And he was patient about it.
I paused a long moment and I seriously asked myself if this, this particular meeting, if this was something I truly wanted to do. Most seriously. Not to get back at anyone. Not out of rebellion. But was this something I truly wanted to do. If it would feel good, and if it would make me feel good after. The answer was a resounding Yes.
He appeared in front of my house exactly as promised, he was solemn but not cold. I got into the car and we headed no way in particular. I was uneasy at first. With me, not with him. I could tell he was a good man. He emanated kindness and respect. Not intimacy, there was no easy repartee. In fact, the conversation was stilted initially. As is my style, I began asking questions. He answered calmly and directly, confirming his authentic self. He’s real, he’s direct, he’s not a player, he wasn’t fucking with me or my mind. He was exactly who he was. It was exactly what it was. This was a casual meeting that may or may not include sex.
I directed him to a hotel. Even in the parking lot, I explained I wasn’t certain I would go through with sex. He never gave me the traditional out, “We don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.” I was thankful for that, because I wouldn’t have been able to give an answer. I would have continued with my wishy washy-ness. Which was tiring for me. And must have been tiring for him. But he was very gracious, and he seemed to look past my confusion and see it really was what I wanted.
He said, “Look, I’ve tried to make this as low key as possible. Let’s just see what happens.” He was right. And I believed him. There was no pressure. I trusted him.
In the room, I still wasn’t certain. It wasn’t him I was doubting. It was only me. It was the unrelenting question of whether I was doing this for me, only for me, or as a reaction to the recent completely unexpected absolute obliteration of any level of control I had over my own life. I can’t say the latter wasn’t a significant part of the decision. But Dash himself, there was no question I wanted this with him.
[Written 7/25/2019, published 7/24/2022]