Mr. GQ and My Epiphany


I named the new man Mr. GQ because he dressed like he walked out of that magazine. He was stylish and impeccable with perfectly coifed white hair. I would say he’s my height, but I’ve lost another inch, according to my Medicare “wellness” exam last week, so he’s at least an inch taller. He’s got some meat on his bones, so I won’t crush him. He also grew up in New Jersey, and miracle of miracles, he’s Jewish. Although separated from his wife for many years, he had gone over every morning to make their breakfast and drive them to school.

He had one liability. He wasn’t divorced yet, although he had been separated for years.

We had a good time, exchanging some of our life stories and doing a lot of laughing. That’s what piqued my interest. I needed lightness and chuckling in my life.

We texted for a few days, and I suggested we go dancing at The Rhythm Room, my favorite music venue. The crowd was generally our age, with a sprinkling of younger people to keep the place from being an old fogey’s hangout. I drove myself and met him there.

The Bluesmen Feat with Geo Bowman & Diva Missy played a mix of oldies, including Motown hits. He ordered a Diet Coke and Malibu Rum, while I stuck with Michelob Ultra. I tasted his cocktail and decided that could become my drink of choice.

He said he’d dance whenever I wanted to. He didn’t need to down two or three drinks before going on the dance floor! He danced “free-style” like me. There were several couples showing off their moves from lessons, but I felt very comfortable dancing with him. I shocked him when I alluded to getting intimate with him. Not that he wasn’t thinking the same thing, but he was surprised I verbalized it.

He seemed open and honest, but I’ve said and written that before and been wrong.

Our third date was to the movies to see “I Feel Pretty” with Amy Schumer. It didn’t get good reviews, but we both laughed and enjoyed ourselves. We went back to my house and drank Malibu rum and Diet Cokes. We shared more of our life stories. I told him about the plane crash that killed my daughters and mentioned that I would like some support on Mother’s Day. He said he was having dinner with his children, ages 18 and 21, and their mother, but he would come over afterwards. I appreciated that immensely.

We did more than kissing, but not THE DEED.

In between dates, we texted, some mundane matters and other sexually suggestive ones.

He has mentioned toys that former lovers had used. I only owned “Mr. Buzzy,” a silver bullet vibrator. I made a mental note to go to The Castle Superstore, an “adult” retail establishment. I hadn’t been to one in years.

One day, I drove to the Castle Superstore in Phoenix. As soon as I entered the store, I noticed I was the only customer. It was ten in the morning. The young salesman came right over and asked what I was looking for. I told him I would like a “couples” toy. He took me over to a section and showed me the anniversary edition of a set of two objects. He went into detail about how to use both. I was surprised that I wasn’t at all embarrassed. I agreed to buy it, along with lotions for Mr. GQ and me, and a toy cleaner. Only when the sale was rung up did I have sticker shock. The anniversary item was $229! I was so sold, I figured it was an investment in my sexual future. The salesman saw a sucker as soon as I walked in. Of course, I had to try it out that night. I wasn’t at all sure I got the mechanics right.

On Mother’s Day, Mr. GQ did come over. He was incredibly kind and supportive. We used the toys, but I didn’t think they were worth the big bucks I spent on them.

The next day I went up to Munds Park for the summer. I told him I’d be home in two weeks. I wondered if such a fledgling relationship could stand the summer separation.

We texted every day. I wouldn’t say I thought about him all the time, or I was in love, or even in lust, but I liked him.

When we got together two weeks later, there was no awkwardness. We went for Chinese food and talked about the trivial and the deep.

Later, the sex was good, even without using the couples’ toys.

After sex, I asked him, “Are we exclusive?”

He didn’t reply. Hmm. Since both of us had been refraining from intercourse for a long time, we didn’t use condoms. We’d had the conversation that if he had sex with someone else while we were dating, he would use a condom. He hadn’t used one that night, so I assumed we were both being monogamous.

The next morning, I couldn’t fix him breakfast as I had no milk for coffee or anything in the refrigerator since I’d cleaned it out when I left for the summer. We went to Randy’s, my neighborhood restaurant, for breakfast.

He mentioned that he had many errands to do since this was his day off. He needed a battery for one of his hearing aids. I didn’t realize he wore them.

“It’s long story,” he said.

“That’s okay, I’m ready to listen.”       

His tale went back to 1987, in New Jersey, when he was divorced from his first wife. He told me about a couple he knew. The husband died, and he started dating the widow, Laura. The gist was that he’d been seeing her off and on for thirty years. She moved out to Phoenix and into his apartment sometime after he separated from his second wife. The shocker was that Laura was currently living in his house, in her own bedroom, as a tenant, paying him rent.

I excused myself to go to the restroom. I sat in a stall, shaking my head. I’d found a guy I liked but he wasn’t divorced, and his ex-lover was renting a room in his house. What to do.

When I got back to the table, I told him I’d have to chew on what he’d said.

I went to my hair appointment and stewed for a while. I gave him points for being honest. I knew I came to any relationship with my own heavy baggage: the death of my daughters in a plane crash and my youngest son who was a recovering addict. But could I handle his baggage?

I talked it over with a few friends. No one gave me advice that hit the mark. I went to dinner at Goldman’s Deli and had cheese blintzes, my quintessential comfort food. I decided I would call him and tell him I wanted out.

When I did call him, I chickened out. I told him we should talk. He agreed to come over to my house after work. At least now I knew why I was never invited to his house.

We hugged when he came through my front door. I still hadn’t settled on what I would tell him. We sat in the living room, on separate loveseats, with glasses of water. We made small talk before I dove into the matter at hand.

“I was surprised to learn that your ex-lover was living in your home,” I said, “but I’m glad you told me.”

“She moved in about a week before you and I met,” he said. “I thought I’d wait a few weeks before I told you, to see if we’d continue going out.”

“I understand. If you’d told me right away, I probably wouldn’t have seen you again.”

“She really is my tenant, with a separate bedroom. I do let her know when I’m not coming home.”

“That’s only polite, when you have a roommate. When I asked you the other night if we were exclusive, you didn’t answer.”

“I was surprised,” he said, leaning forward. “When we first met, you said you didn’t want to get married or live with anyone. And your profile on the dating website also made it sound like you were into casual relationships.”

That took me aback. I had said that. Wasn’t that what I wanted? “I meant monogamous,” I lied.

“Oh.”

“Remember I asked that if you had sex with another person, you would wear a condom.”

“If I do, I will certainly wear a condom. I have blood tests quarterly, and I assume they test for STDs.”

“Not unless you ask the doctor to write the order that way.”

“Hm. So you’re good with casual?”

“Sure,” I said, knowing that I wouldn’t make supreme efforts to be in the valley as often.

We hugged when he left, and I felt good about our discussion.

Later, however, I had to question myself. I was brought up short, hearing myself quoted as about wanting only casual relationships. That may be what I said, but it’s not true anymore. What changed? I still don’t want to get married or live with anyone. I value my freedom and independence. However, I finally admitted to myself that I do want a committed relationship, not only monogamous, but emotionally all-in. I’ll continue to have casual relationships until or if I find someone I want to commit to, and who feels the same way. That may not happen. Or it may.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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