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On Derby Day, seven years ago, I matched with Franklin on Tinder.

May 25, 2024


On Derby Day, seven years ago, I matched with Franklin on Tinder. He is from New York and was in Louisville for a friend’s wedding. We’d made plans for a tryst, but he’d gotten caught up in wedding happenings and was delayed. It turned out we didn’t have time to meet before he had to be at the airport. We began a text relationship. That relationship has strengthened and grown over the last seven years.


He’s been a diligent, consistent, loving, supportive friend. He’s very kind. I love him very much. We’ve never met in person. There were a couple of times a few years back he was planning to come out for work, but then there was the pandemic.


He had wanted to come out in January, not for work, but specifically to see me. That spooked me pretty bad. I put him off. I told him I was busy with school, was struggling with depression, just wasn’t up to it. I thought he might lose interest because I’d put him off. He didn’t. He was concerned I was struggling. He emphasized, as he has done many times, he is there for me should I need anything.


Now, he’s coming to Seattle in July and wants to see me.


I am terrified.


Why?


It’s not like me to be terrified, not of anything, not any longer. And I’m especially not terrified of men. But I have been, lately, terrified of those connections. Those possible romantic connections. Those possible sexual connections. And for the first time in my life, I’m actively saying, out loud, “I do not want to get married.” Which is weird. And new since David. I’d stopped hoping for it many years ago, but I never actively ruled it out. I do now.


I really thought David was it. I really did. And it was a year ago in May that we broke it off. That I broke off the romance, that we transitioned to friendship. It’s been a rocky go; it was all along. But the friendship is good, now, but at times it has been incredibly tenuous. We are very different. I smile saying that. It used to annoy him so much when I said that I didn’t say it in front of him any longer. But my oh my, we are very different. What we have, now, is the benefit of shared history. There’s something to be said for that. You can be different, you can drive one another mad, but with a lengthening shared history, you tend to find a way out of discordance and into an easy relaxed companionship. But the man still exasperates me no end. Truly. But we remain friends. No matter how angry I get, I keep softening and going back. And he keeps taking my shit. I don’t know why. Maybe because I keep taking his shit, too.


Anyway.


I haven’t been able to think about entering into anything with anyone else since it ended with David. And I especially haven’t been able to think about having sex. I’ve had opportunities, I’m still on the sites, but I just don’t want to. It’s so not like me to not want to be physical. Sometimes I think I’m just old and of course this would happen. But that’s not it, not at all. It’s the pain of grieving something I thought was it, for the rest of my life, that turned out not to be it at all. And not wanting to share myself, even a tiny bit of myself, with anyone who might betray me like that ever again. The betrayal was monumental. I forgive him, for the most part, but the betrayal was immense. He was not attracted to me, not ever. There was no sex. And I’d talked myself into not caring.


And then it didn’t work out.


The pain of it is fresh just now, just as fresh putting this to paper as it was a year ago. Oh my, it hurts so. There’s probably a part of me that will never be able to forgive him completely. And a part of me that will never completely heal. I hope not. But maybe. I don’t know. Time will tell.


Anyway.


Franklin is coming in July. And I want to see him, I really do. And I think I will. I think it’s important enough to push through, to follow through. He’s kind and he cares for me. It’s nothing that will ever be more than a friendship. He’s much younger. But I need to push through. I need to be physical again, with someone I trust, with someone who cares for me, who will be gentle, kind, attentive, loving. It will be very good. I know it will. And just writing this, I’m not frightened, not of that part of it. Not any longer. Not after the conversation we had today.


Franklin:


Hey babe, it looks like I’m going to be in Seattle at the end of July for work. If you’re available, it would be awesome to see you.


Me:


OK.


Where are you staying?


Franklin:


I’m not sure yet, I was just given a date for a few meetings, but I don’t have flights or hotels booked.


Me:


OK.


I want to make sure you know what I look like. This is me last year with friends in Santa Monica for my 60th birthday. I made some random guy in the parking lot kiss me and I forced my friends to film it. I was a little drunk. I’m not sexy. I’m fun and funny and smart. But I’m old and fat and not sexy. Just so you know.


Franklin:


I don’t want to put any pressure on you, Coco. You know that I have love for you and I have for years. If any of this makes you feel off we can simply remain friends.


Me:


No. It’s just that there’s so much about me that perhaps you romanticize. I’m so regular and so ordinary. I want to meet you, I do. I want to have sex. I really do.


Franklin:


You are absolutely not ordinary hun. You just aren’t. Your energy is infectious. So much so that after years of first matching with you on Tinder I still want to see you. I have grown really fond of you, but again, I don’t want to put any pressure on you.


Me:


My last breakup destroyed my confidence. I haven’t had sex since August of 2022. I’m afraid. Of rejection. Of disappointing you. I’m fond of you. I have a deep affection for you. I want to meet. Absolutely. I’m just afraid. Which is total bullshit and not normal for me AT ALL. I’m one of the bravest people I know. I don’t understand what has happened to me.


Franklin:


Thank you for being honest with me, Coco. What would disappoint me most is knowing that I made you uncomfortable or that I hurt you. That’s the truth. I certainly wouldn’t reject you. If anything, it would be exactly the opposite. I feel like if I got my hands on you, I wouldn’t let go.


Me:


I think it’s really important we meet. We’ve known each other for so long. And I will not give into fear. I absolutely will not. And there’s no reason to. I know you care about me. You know exactly what I look like. It’s no secret.


Most of the time I’m fine. Some days I’m even happy. But some days are really really hard. Today is a hard day. I love my apartment and I love living alone but I’m really fucking lonely.


Franklin:


How you feel is more important than what I think we should do. We have plenty of time to talk and think through this. I’m into you though. You are sexy. Period.


Me:


I need to have sex. I need to get back into living a full life. I need to be with someone I’m comfortable with and I need to get my fucking groove on again.


Franklin:


Sex and trust are so strongly correlated. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I totally understand your reservations and I’m going to take your lead.


Me:


Oh, I want to fuck you really bad. I always have. I adore you. I absolutely do.


Franklin:


And the feeling is so mutual, Coco. I’m definitely playing with myself right now fantasizing about you.


Me:


Thank you for making me smile.


Franklin:


I’m always here for you if you need anything.


Me:


You’ve always been so kind to me and you’ve always made me feel so good.


Franklin:


Good. That’s who I want to be.


Photo by Victor on Unsplash

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