Sean and I met via the online personals, a breeding ground for ambivalence, promiscuity, and ambivalent promiscuity. What attracted me to him initially was his reformed bad boy persona. This guy toured with a band years ago, had his share of drinking and drugging (and, I imagine, groupies), but was now clean. The only visible remnant of his wild days were the tattoos visible in one of his profile photos in which he was wearing a wife beater.
[This is where I acknowledge both the fact that tattoos do not always belong on "wild" or "bad" people and that "wife beater" might be an incidiery term, but it stays because "undershirt" has a dorky ring to it.]
In the beginning, Sean Pennish was actually all gentlemanly and proper. He paid for dinner and took me to the movies and even uttered the words, "I'm trying to court you." The first two dates contained nothing more than light making out and hand holding. I liked the idea of this rocker-turned-computer-administrator being on his best behavior, even acting a little nervous around me.
Then the third date happened. I made the mistake of agreeing to come over to Sean's place under the pretext of watching a movie. Once upon a time I could actually go over to a man's house where "watching a movie" didn't involve getting naked shortly thereafter. Maybe it was Sean's innuendo and flirtatiousness that did it, or the promise of getting a good look at those tattoos. Maybe his streak of naughtiness and former hedonism made me want to reply in kind. Either way, I made the mistake that oh so many women make. I slept with him and then got emotionally attached before terms for the relationship (or lack thereof) had been established.
Any female who claims she can have sex with a man without getting the least bit attached is either on the rebound, lying, deeply emotionally fucked up, has a penis, or is a robot. I say this as a non-robotic, non-penis-owning female who has been able to have casual sex, but not often, and usually when my emotional core was about as impenetrable as Fort Knox. It can happen, but I believe that more often than not, a bond is created, thanks to our bodies' chemistry. Sadly, it is usually one-sided; even though males and females both release oxytocin during orgasm, it's the fair sex that tends to get attached.
Back to Sean Pennish. While I initially hoped he might be my boyfriend, it wasn't long before I realized how very little we had in common, how few our sources of conversation were, how mismatched we were intellectually, and how he was interested in having sex with me and nothing more. I could take it or leave it. I decided to take it, from time to time. Every few months I would unblock him from instant messenger, get a surprised greeting from him, and take a late night taxi or subway over to his place.
I liked the idea of having sex with him more than the deed itself. I mean, all Sean Pennish needed to complete the bad boy stereotype was a leather jacket and motorcycle. There was something gratifying about doing it with someone I'd have misgivings about bringing home to Mom, even if the sex was mediocre. He wasn't into much foreplay, was rarely able to get me off and wasn't a fan of cuddling (which nowadays is pretty much a dealbreaker). People have asked why I bothered sleeping with him if it was so unsatisfying. Truth is, it was more about maintenance, "cleaning the pipes" as they say, feeling like a normal person after an extended amount of abstinence. Sean Pennish broke a few celibacy streaks for me, one nearly half a year long. The last time I saw him was a little over a year ago, less than 24 hours after being dumped. I spent the afternoon and evening getting sloppy drunk and took a cab over, still buzzed when I got to his place. Not long after that I realized just how unsatisfying the encounters were. This booty needed to do some branching out.
Why this reminiscence all of a sudden? The other day, on my way to work, I saw Sean Pennish on the subway. I nearly didn't recognize him in glasses, a prim button-down shirt and sensible navy trousers. He was reading a book and looked downright nerdy. The other passengers in the car would never suspect that beneath the corporate exterior was a toned body covered in ink with a sex/drug/rock 'n' roll-fueled past. Looking down at my own business attire, I wondered if I looked equally chastened. Who knows, maybe every suit and pair of sensible shoes hides tales of hedonism and unrestraint.
Sean Pennish got off at the next stop. I sighed in relief, grateful that he didn't see me and that I no longer feel the urge to take cabs to outer boroughs, tipsy and emotionally cold, for a cheap hookup.