It was a misty, rainy Northeast Ohio day. The girl that had agreed to let me take on a date was having a good time, as far as I, or any guy for that matter, could tell. We had gone to her favorite taco joint, because nothing says, “I’m a good guy,” like $8.00 burritos. After, we went to Starbucks to get some $4.00 coffees, because nothing says, “I actually like you,” like a caffeinated dessert drink. I knew she was a photographer, so I took her home to get her camera, and we went to a Metro Park. She took pictures of the trees and some of me while I wasn’t looking. When I was looking, I noticed how gracefully she moved, and the joy in her eyes while she snapped pictures of the world around us, permanently documenting our first date.
We went back to her house, and she uploaded the pictures. Some color shots of the waterfall, some black-and-whites of the caves. I leaned in to kiss her. She kissed me back, hard. I took this as an opening, and pushed her into the bed, moving with clear intentions on top of her as our tongues explored. I reached under her shirt, feeling her curves and her stomach. Then, she stopped. “You sure are aggressive,” she said with a perplexed and shocked tone. I leaned back. And then it hit me. I have become an asshole.
I began to retrace my steps, while trying to recover from the realization of what had just happened. A girl I actually liked and enjoyed spending time with for the day I had known her just told me to stop. We made small talk and listened to whatever playlist she had chosen. She talked about her family. I talked about mine. My mother would be so disappointed if she knew the “gentleman” I had become.
I had absolutely no idea how to be physically passionate. Emotionally and verbally, I was the king. She was beautiful, and I told her so. She gave me butterflies in my stomach when she spoke so fondly of her hobbies and friends. But how had I become so physically shallow? Sure, my last relationship had ended when I found out about her late nights with other guys; other guys no doubt kissing her as I had just kissed this girl. It made me feel empty. I went on a hormone-driven tear over the next six months, fucking any girl that was drunk, dumb, or charmed enough to come home with me. It was sex, alcohol, and drug-fueled Friday and Saturday nights, with the frequent Wednesday and Thursday thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t always at home, as bathrooms and backseats were also used when I needed a change of scenery.
I realized I had become a negative influence in several women’s lives. Women with families, goals, and desires much like mine. I became their regret, their drunken mistake. So I decided to re-enter the dating world. Enter this girl. This beautiful, interesting, funny girl. I knew I liked her immediately. When she spoke, it was intelligent. When she laughed, it was with abandon. Yet I had made her uncomfortable, the one thing I had been trying to avoid the entire date. How? I was a stud in the bedroom, an Adonis of pleasure. Had I forgotten how to be physically passionate? How to make a woman feel that she was more than a notch on a bedpost, something to be desired and adored? I kissed her goodnight and drove home, ashamed and aloof.
Where do I go from here? How do I relearn to make a girl feel the way the girls in the movies look like they feel? How do I break out of my hookup state of mind and into a relationship lifestyle? Surely I was over being cheated on, as that was nearly a year ago. An entire year without a real connection to anyone of the opposite sex. Pathetic. Get over it. Move on. I had no emotional baggage, but I had lost something that desperately need to be found by the second date. How to kiss passionately. How to hold her in a warm, comfortable embrace. Don’t fuck this up. She’s incredible. Absolutely mind-numbing.
Falling in love in a hookup culture is going to be one of the most challenging things I’ll ever have to do. That sentence seems wrong. Having to try to make something work that seems to come easily to all my friends and colleagues. Maybe it’s not. I’ll try harder next time. Hopefully my body language will tell her how enthralled I am with her, and not how attracted I am to her. Hopefully.