Lavender shirt, black pants, black shoes. Tall. Late 40’s, early 50’s maybe. Very good looking. Slightly weathered skin but nice blue/grey eyes, and a devilish smile. We met for lunch in the restaurant of a 4 star hotel close to downtown. He greeted me with a big, excited smile and offered me his hand to shake, but I went in for a small one armed hug and kiss on the cheek. For some reason it felt more natural, and I didn’t hesitate. I don’t think he minded.
A few moments after sitting down at the table across from one another, he handed me a small blank white envelope. I said thank you and slipped it into my purse beside me.
He was so nice, so easy to talk to, so solid and confident, and I couldn’t help being attracted to him. He was quite older than me of course, but it didn’t matter. Could I actually see myself dating this one…?
If only it were that simple. He spoke about his wife, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – though the last two men I went out with were indeed single, to the best of my knowledge, at least. He went on to tell me how she became very depressed after the birth of their second son. She was raised Mormon with the belief that having children would bring all of the joy and happiness to the world, and to her life. After son number two, she did not feel the joy, or the happiness, and she checked out. She now has a pill for every mood, every section of the day, and her emotions are no longer governed by the events and people in her life- but from the effect of whichever pill she popped last. He is lonely, he has lost the excitement, but he will not leave the marriage, and neither will she. So he does what he has to do to survive each day, living in a loveless marriage void of intimacy and affection.
It’s a sadly romantic story that begs just the slightest amount of pity, while almost absolving you of any guilt you might feel in regards to becoming involved with such man. I wondered how his wife would tell it.
Our lunch lasted an hour exactly. We walked outside, hugged, and as I began walking off, he asked me how he could get ahold of me.
Oh right – and so I gave him my number.
What did I just do?? Only 3 dates in and I am breaking my own rules! This wasn’t fair. If that was all it took, I don’t stand a chance. He caught me off guard, he was so smooth and so normal and so… handsome.
Back in my car I opened the small white envelope. Inside was a hallmark card that simply said “Thank You” in swirly gold letters. Inside the card was 4 $50 dollar bills. I put the bills back inside the card, and the card back inside the envelope, and smiled as I drove off.
He texted me a few days later, I had almost forgotten about him by then.
“Hello JAG, I’d love to take you to lunch again next week. Let me know if Tuesday will work.”
Oh no. A second date? Will I be breaking two of my rules with this one? He seemed harmless enough. But I needed to make sure.
“Just lunch?” I replied.
“I’m up for whatever else you’d like to do. Shopping? Spa? Hot Tub? Just lunch is fine too, if thats all you’re up for. I just want to see those lovely blue eyes of yours again.”
Well that was not the response I was expecting. My mind took me over to our towns high end shopping center, where I imagined us going in and out of each store, a trail of receipts and shopping bags in our wake. Well, that would be fun. But at what price? What do I have to do…? I imagined what “Spa” and “Hot Tub” really meant, and decided not to fantasize about those options for now.
My third rule – no intimate affairs with married men. I have already broken two – I gave him my number, and I was about to give him a second date. I needed to draw the line somewhere, and this seemed like a fine place to start.
“Just lunch sounds fine.”
We agreed to meet again the following week, on Wednesday this time. We had a very pleasant lunch sitting across from each other at the outdoor courtyard of another very high end restaurant downtown. I got the salmon, he got the sea bass – after making sure it was not “chilean sea bass” which is apparently a knock off – a fish that was originally named the “chilean tooth fish” which as you can imagine did not sound nearly as appetizing. Only wild caught, European Sea Bass for our man.
Just as he was asking for the check, a peculiar insect landed on his lip and he immediately brushed it off. It fell onto his napkin which was resting in a heap on the table, and we watched it walked back and forth across the fabric, poking and prodding and inspecting the material with it’s many legs and antennas. Neither of us recognized or could name the creature. It looked sort of like a beetle, with a flat almost round back, and long skinny legs. It didn’t seem to be able to fly, it didn’t have wings, but rather hopped around. When we asked the waiter if he could identify the insect, he leaned over our table to take a closer look and said “Oh yes. Why, this is a native bug, it is harmless, it does not bite.”
A native bug. Harmless. Doesn’t bite.
After lunch, he asked if I’d like to go on a walk with him so we could talk more about what we are both looking for. Gulp.
As soon as we stepped outside, He handed me a small tan envelope which felt like it contained another card. I said thank you and put it right into my purse, and we made our way down the street into the upscale neighborhood that surrounded our downtown.
“So, what were you looking for when joining this site?” Crap. I hate this question. Can’t we just carry on in this vague and obscure world where I continue to meet you for lunch, you keep slipping me $200, and we never need to discuss or address what you or I are really doing here?
“Well,” I begin cautiously. “Clearly there is the financial draw. I am a student, not making much money right now, trying to focus on my studies and my art. And then there is the draw of meeting interesting men – older and hopefully wiser, who I could maybe learn from. I enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories too, which is inspirational. So while the financial aspect is what initially drew me in, I have been enjoying my dates so far.”
Perfect. Just vague enough to dodge the naked elephant in the room, while still answering the question in its entirety. I think I did well! Right?? But he wasn’t going to let me off the hook that easy.
“It’s worked for me in the past like this. I have a mistress, I help out financially, I have secured apartments and cars for the women I have seen, and paid for whatever they needed. Always just one woman at a time, I will add. The last women I saw met with me two or three times a week. I would go over to the apartment I rented for her and we would mostly cook food together and fool around.”
“Didn’t your wife wonder why you were paying for a random apartment?” I couldn’t help myself, it just came out. He laughed, as if that notion was as absurd as the beach being upset that a few grains of sand stuck to the bottom of your sandal as you walked off it’s shore.
“There is so much money floating around, going here and there. I write so many checks throughout the week between the gardner, house care, kids, care givers, lessons, gym, trainers etc. On top of that, I handle the finances.” Basically, the money isn’t missed, and a few thousand dollars each month slips away easel unnoticed. Interesting. Thank god I love my apartment and wouldn’t dream of moving into a newer, nicer one to be this mans personal Rapunzel. Although he was still charming, tall, and handsome as ever…
“To be perfectly honest,” I continued, “I don’t see myself in that position. I am not necessarily interested in that sort of arrangement of intimacy, but I do enjoy your company. I understand if you would like to move on and find a woman more suited to your needs and wants at this time.”
He wasn’t going to give me up that easy, either.
“We can go slow. Continue to get lunch together on Wednesdays, and continue to get to know one another. I am fine with that. But just know… the more money I give you, the more I will try to kiss you, if that is ok, of course. So you set the rules and you set the boundaries and just let me know what is ok.”
Well then. I did my part, I was open and honest, and he did his. Right? If he wants to continue to see me, I wouldn’t mind. I know it’s entering a danger zone. I know I have stepped foot onto the slippery slope, wearing heels to boot. I know I must watch my step with this one.
He walked me back to my car, I gave him a hug and we said our goodbyes. No kisses.
Until next time… if there is a next time. Now that he knows where I stand, I’ll leave it to him to decide. But men always want one thing at the end of the day (or in the middle of the day, in this case) and that is of course, Sex.
But can you blame him? After all, he is just a man.