Thursday, November 05, 2015

Erin/Chris: Guys Don't Dance

It's been a little bit since I posted. Mostly I'm just fatigued from work and attempting to have a life. The second one is a hard balance to strike, because I do feel confined by what I can do with Chris' life. Most guys who are not in relationships tend to construct their social lives around trying to get in one. They meet potential dates online, or they go to bars and hit on girls, or whatever. Guys don't go dancing for the sake of dancing. They do sometimes grab drinks together, but they talk about sports, or maybe The Walking Dead or other things boys like. It doesn't help that the New York Mets team made the Baseball World Series (you can tell I'm not much of a sports gal, eh? I did sometimes watch Colts games with an ex, but that's about it.) That was all anyone wanted to talk about for months, and then they started losing to the Kansas team, and suddenly it was just "Yeah... friggin' Mets."

Guys: They take so little notice of each other's behavior that that was all I said for weeks and it seemed like I was totally up to speed on what was going on.

OK. It's not like drinks with the girls was a Mensa meeting. I just miss talking about style and celebrity gossip. You can't turn to one of your 40-year-old male co-workers and say "Did you see that People cover with Khloe Kardashian on it?" You know he didn't. And if you bring up Caitlin, you'd better be prepared for some really awkward responses.

I thought Rosie would be my partner in this, but she's proven surprisingly adept at blending in, memorizing stats about the Mets, Jets, and Nets, ("Hey all the teams around here rhyme, isn't that weird?" is another thing guys will look at you weird for saying.) and other sports trivia. When it's just the two of us you can hear the femininity in her voice, but she puts on a gruff "street" imitation around others that, well, sounds really fake to me but I guess the others don't have any reason to question it.

He's also a bit more flirty around women... although he insists he doesn't mean anything by it, it's just a bit more confidence.

Which brings us to Halloween.

A month ago, I would have thought I'd have to do the hard sell on getting him to hit up a Halloween party, but he was very receptive to it. We even considered doing a group costume, but his only idea was "Men in Black," which I didn't want to do because that's basically just a suit (and sunglasses... at night. Come on.) But I wanted to take advantage of something I never got to do as a woman.

I know for a lot of girls, it's no big thing to dress skimpy on Halloween, but it was never something I did. I just never had the relationship with my body that would let me do that. On my best day I considered myself more for cute costumes than sexy, and on my worst I was very embarrassed about my belly fat and uneven shape. I feel bad for harping about it - it could have been worse, I suppose, but every woman is allowed her flaws to focus on.

So I decided to just go for it - hopefully, this will be my only Halloween outside of my own body (I've read enough of this blog not to be too naïve about it... and trust me, that's a hard idea to come to terms with!) - so I decided to let myself run a little more wild and get a Tarzan costume, a one-piece with a single shoulder strap, loin cloth, and bare chest. Chris' body isn't exactly cut and rippling with muscle - more lean and decently-defined - but to be honest, I looked pretty sexy, in a goofy "this guy doesn't take himself too serious" kind of way. I liked it.

Which was a hard feeling to pin down. "Why," I wondered? I think the man in the mirror is handsome enough, in an average-white-guy kind of way, but maybe not a head-turner. And anyway it's not like I want to make out with myself, or any guy. While I haven't suddenly un-learned a lifetime of appreciating the male form, I find my interest is a lot more passive lately... guys leave me alone, and I'm strangely OK leaving them alone. But I know what I like as a woman, and therefore what some women like, so I thought "It's nice to feel attractive to the opposite sex." To feel special.

To feel like... if I wanted to pick up a girl tonight, I would stand a chance.

I didn't think I would want to, though. The whole idea feels like a nightmare. I'm not a one-night-stand type of person, and it would be pretty cruel of me to start something serious with someone knowing I don't plan on staying Chris forever. I have some feelings I probably shouldn't act on, and while suppressing them doesn't feel good, it's probably best for everybody if I just... keep my hands to myself, you know? More trouble than it's worth.

I swung by Ahmir's apartment to head to the party together, and he answered the door in a Batman t-shirt. I scoffed, "That's your costume?"

"Don't tell me Batman can't be black," he said in response.

"No, but he doesn't wear a t-shirt," I said, "He wears, like... a cape, and a mask."

"I've got a cape," he said, pulling out one that looked like it was more from a Dracula costume.

I sighed, "For $30 you could get a halfway decent costume, but whatever."

Then I heard someone in the bathroom clinking around. I gave him a weird look: "Who else is here?" not like he wasn't allowed to have friends, but... he's not overly social, and we're pretty protective of our mutual secret.

"Sorry, I invited her..." he started to say, when the woman in question poked her head out to see me.

"Oh, hey Erin! ... or, sorry, Chris," said Lexi, also known as Saraya... a fellow Inn person who was currently residing in Jersey. She was dressed in a very revealing black outfit (basically: a bra and hotpants) with kitty ears that I supposed was meant to be Catwoman. She looked me up and down: "Hot costume, you're really working it, boy."

I blushed a bit. Rosie stammered an explanation, "Lexi hates it out in the 'burbs, so I offered her a night out, hope you don't mind..."

I looked back and forth between the two of them. My mind was swimming with questions. What was the meaning of this? Was it wrong for me to assume it was anything but innocent? Did it matter if it was? Was it any of my business??

"The more the merrier," I said, not able to mask my lack of enthusiasm. I don't know why, I just... she didn't make a great first impression on me back in the day, but I can probably forgive her since we were all stressed. "How've you been?"

"Dying," she said, "Like literally dying. There's nothing to do except work and stay home. I'm like, itching for some action."

"Yeah, I get the feeling," I said, trying to renew my friendly exterior.

She continued, "And like, all Saraya's friends are black and brown and stuff, and no offense to her but I don't get them at all."

I preferred to interpret this as culture shock and not, more likely, low-key racism.

But I bit my tongue. If she and Rosie had struck up a friendship, that was good. I felt a little out of the loop, and jealous because I suddenly felt like Rosie had let Lexi in on stuff she had kept from me, but... we've got to stick together, right?

On the cab ride over, I rode in the front, and Lexi peppered me with questions that probably made the cab driver very confused: "So what's it like to have a dick? Rosie won't say anything. Do you love it? How easy is it to get an erection? Is it fun to jerk off? Oh my God, if I had a dick I would have so much sex it would be disgusting. I'm not even gay, I swear."

I almost barrel rolled right out of the car.

Eventually we made it to the club and I felt very... odd. Very much like a third wheel, for starters... I entertained notions that "Ahmir" might be my "wingman" for some harmless flirting, but "Saraya" attached herself to him and dragged him out onto the dancefloor. I looked, it was full of women in revealing costumes (one literally just wore a bikini and sunglasses on top of her head.) Some were dancing with guys they had brought, but mostly the guys hung around the tables chatting women up, and the women were dancing in groups. And suddenly all my newfound male confidence fled me, I had no idea what to do or why I should even bother... I just felt like some loser in a silly costume.

I ordered a rum and coke, and then another, as I watched girls having fun from a distance... longing to be among them somehow. And then halfway through that, as I began to dream up what I might say to approach a woman, it hit me.

A purse.

Specifically the purse of Andrea Molinaro, dressed as a sexy nurse. It was a Coach bag with a red cross taped on it to make it look like a medicine bag, cute. And it smacked me right out of nowhere, not hard enough that it was meant to damage, but hard enough to startle me and feel less-than-playful.

"You never texted me!" she said over the music.

It had been over a month since we ran into each other at the bar. She had seemed oddly happy to see me then, and I had given it some thought... in my weaker moments... but decided to leave well enough alone. Chris described her to me as "trouble," and said I "should stay away," but he didn't appear to make it a hard and fast rule. Privately, I had hoped for another chance encounter so that I could say I didn't ask for it, and yet now that I had one, I was a bit dumbstruck.

I also didn't remember saying I would text her, but I guess the assumption was that she would be on my mind (which she was) so I couldn't resist.

"Sorry about that," I said, as if it was an accident.

"Don't worry about it, I've been busy," she said playfully. "How about you, still scrubbing toilets instead of lawyering?"

"For the moment, yep," I said.

"I would never in a million years think you'd be satisfied with that!"

And I'm not, but... well, not for the reasons she thinks.

"What can I say?" I said, raising my voice over the dubstep or house or whatever it was "I'm trying to simplify!"

"That's a good word!" she said, then turned to the bartender and ordered a screwdriver, two shots of tequila, and a beer. When the shots came, she nudged one over to me.

"Oh, no thanks," I said.

"Don't be a baby!" she said back, downing her shot, then sipping from her screwdriver (which looked better than my drink, but I guess I've developed a weird complex about the masculinity of cocktails.) "It's a party! You look so sad!"

"My friend ditched me... Ahmir..." I said, in case she knew him.

"So? Get out there and have a good time!"

"Maybe later..." I said.

That's when a guy dressed in black with a mask came over to take the beer. Taller than me, well-built, good jaw... handsome fella.

"Who's this?" asked the guy.

"This is my friend Chris. Chris this is Sam." He gave me a firm handshake. She didn't say "my boyfriend" or even "my date," so the nature of their relationship was ambiguous.

"Nice costume, what is that, Tuxedo Mask?"

"Zorro," he said. He didn't even have a hat or a sword, but whatever.

Turning to him, she said, "Let's go dance!"

"Babe, I just got my drink!"

"Chris will watch it!" Suddenly I felt very emasculated... and considering I wasn't masculine at all six months ago, it was a hell of a feeling.

"Naw," he said, taking a sip, "I don't dance."

"Come on! Just one song!" She ran her finger up and down his arm seductively, but he wasn't convinced. "Okay fine," she said, turning to me, "Chris, you wanna dance?"

I looked between the two of them. "Oh, I don't know if I should..."

"He won't mind!" she insisted, "He had his chance. It's just a dance fer Christ's sake!"

I winced, "Yeah, okay. If it's okay with your... friend."

He gave me a look that said "whatever." Across the room I saw Ahmir and Saraya getting very close (he's tall enough that you can usually spot him in a crowd) and figured: why not? But before she would lead me to the dancefloor, she made me down the tequila. That helped.

I was very distracted trying to remind myself it was just a dance, as she moved around me. I wasn't sure how to act: how could I keep my male composure but also try to look like I was having fun? I moved very slightly in response to her body, and we started to find a rhythm.

The more momentum we got, the faster we moved, and then the closer we got... and my little friend started to go on, um, "high alert."

I felt myself getting weak in the knees, with an energetic rush of hormones pushing me forward. Soon, she was completely into it, grinding on me. I was sure she could tell what I was packing in my loincloth, and... well, it didn't seem like she minded. It lasted for to or three songs - we just kept going - and by the end, I had my arms tightly around her hips, and she was leaning back into me.

Eventually we got to a stopping place. She leaned over and said "I'm gonna go find Sam - you stay here and have fun! All the girls wanna dance with you now!"

I turned to my left, and sure enough, a beautiful blonde dressed as a diner waitress was smiling at me. I looked her up and down - she had a very good body and a very pretty face - and started to dance with her. It was nice, but we didn't have quite the chemistry as I did with Andrea... which is hard to explain since I knew Andrea was basically off limits and this girl didn't seem to be. But I guess I imprinted a bit on her, being the first woman who's seemed interested in me.

So I thanked the blonde for the dance, and headed back to the bar, where I found Andrea: alone, quietly sipping on another cocktail.

"Are you okay?" I asked, trying to be sensitive but still having to talk over the music.

"Yeah, sure," she nodded. "Sam took off. I think he was pissed that I danced with you for so long."

"Oh, sorry about that."

"Don't worry about it," she said back, "It was our second date. I don't think there's gonna be a third."

I wisely kept my mouth shut instead of saying "I wouldn't like it if you ditched me to go dance with your ex either."

"I'm gonna get a cab," she said. "You wanna come back to my place for a bit?"

A million thoughts crossed my mind, but it basically amounted to: For sex? It's not like I hadn't thought this was a possible outcome for the night, but I hadn't really decided which side of the decision I would come down on. Physically, I wanted it to happen, just to satisfy my curiosity and take my hormones to their logical conclusion... but intellectually I knew it was asking for trouble. I contemplated sending her home alone, but leaving a woman drunk, alone, in the city on a Saturday night? I may not have been a man very long but I know how to be a gentleman.

"Sure, yeah," I said after what seemed like forever but was probably more like 30 seconds.

She hailed the cab and gave her address (I made note of this since it was probably something I was expected to know.) We sat quietly, awkwardly for a minute or two, when she said "It was so lucky I ran into you tonight. When you didn't text, I was worried you hated me."

My stomach sank. It really didn't seem like the real Chris has much good feelings for this girl, but I can't dislike someone just because he did.

"I'm... over it, I guess..." I said vaguely. I wasn't sure what that might mean, but I figured there was something to 'be over.'

"That's good," she said. "The past is the past, right?"

"Sure," I said.

She leaned over and rested her head on my shoulder. She smelled really nice.

I think it was in that moment I decided I had to leave as soon as I could. Whatever this girl was feeling, it wasn't for me, and it wasn't fair to represent myself as Chris. Other peoples' hearts are at stake.

We awkwardly made our way to her apartment, I had to not seem like it was all new to me. I figured if she asked, I would say - not inaccurately - that it had been long enough since "we" had dated that the layout of her building slipped my mind.

We got to her place. She asked if I was hungry - I was starving, actually - so she put a frozen pizza in the oven. Then she fell asleep on the couch while we were waiting for it to cook. I couldn't wake her up to offer her any, so I ate most of it myself.

Around 1 AM - the second one, given the time change - I decided I was probably strong enough to pick her up and carry her to bed (I was, but not by a lot.) She sleepily acknowledged this with an adorable little coo. As I pulled some covers over her, I heard her mutter, "Don't go."

I had to admit... Brooklyn is still a strange place to me, and I may look like a male but I have the learned experience of a woman, and men get mugged plenty often anyway, to say nothing of the fact that I was dressed as Tarzan. I decided it wouldn't be so bad to just crash on her couch.

I woke up around 8:30 AM with a nasty crick in my neck but otherwise fine: I'm always very impressed with this body's ability to handle alcohol (Drinking at the limit of my real body, I don't even get a hangover - how about that!) It took me a moment to realize where I was and how I was dressed.

I'm trying to get used to the subway here, but I didn't really want to sit in a crowded car for too long dressed this way, so I called for a cab and went home and made myself some breakfast. Before I left, I wrote out a note saying I hoped she felt good in the morning, thanks for letting me crash, we'll keep in touch.

I texted Rosie some basic updates about how my night had worked out, and opted to let him decide whether to fill me in on his. (It basically amounted to: they stayed until last call then went back to his place and fell asleep... if I'm to take his word for it.)

Then at 2 I got a text from Andrea: "Lol @ ur note."

"Just being polite :)"

"Such a nice boy. Ur welcome. Anytime. <3 p="">
I felt that strange feeling wash over me... very bashful at her appreciation for me. And wanting more.

This isn't going to be an easy year.

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