Friday, November 15, 2019

Simon/Joy: That Thing Is Heavier Than It Looks!

My man has good timing.  Or maybe just phenomenal retention of details over time.  It will have to remain a mystery, because I'm not going to dredge up the thing that would answer the question one way or another with him.

It's been roughly a year since one of his visits to California lined up with me being at a low point, as the man living my life dropped a "Save The Date" on me to say he was going to stay as Simon for, presumably, life.  That date was last weekend, but instead of moping around some dismal wedding venue in Cleveland, feeling conflicted about what message bringing my rich boyfriend sends to the man who stole my life, I was lying on the beach in Jamaica, letting a charming Scottish man fetch me vodka martinis, pondering getting a Honey Ryder bikini for selfie purposes, even if I don't quite have the same sort of curves Ursula Andress did.

Indeed, by Sunday night I was relaxed and content by the campfire, showing Iain how to make s'mores, which are apparently not a big thing in Scotland.  I was thinking of it as just a vacation, not connected with that other thing, so I was genuinely surprised when, as we were about to dose the fire, he got down on one knee, pulled a jewelry box from somewhere, and asked me to marry him.

I stopped beating for a moment.  I don't know what goes through a real girl's mind then but I had so many thoughts all at once.  I had never imagined seeing this scene from this perspective, looking down at at a man on one knee with the ring extended toward me like the really cheesy bit in a 3D movie, and there's an amazing feeling when it hits you that someone likes you enough to make this offer.

And also, I did itI've played the part of a woman so successfully that there was nothing in the back of his mind that made proposing feel wrong.  I'd made him like the parts of me that were different from the original Joy, maybe even more, because he hadn't asked her.  And, yes, I'd landed myself a rich husband, one who would give me peace and security no matter what else being Joy threw at me.  It was the biggest sales job I've ever done, with the biggest commission.

You may say that sounds mercenary and awful, but I didn't feel any guilt as I said "yes" with genuine delighted surprise and let him slide the ring onto my finger.  I'm not the first pretty girl to use my good looks to lock in a comfortable life, and I won't be the last - and most of the others grew up learning how to navigate the world as a woman.

And I do love him.  It's probably not the same way a regular woman lives a man, but I feel good when I'm around him and warmer as he held me and kissed me.  I feel a bit of envy where most girls probably just feel desire, and I probably measure him against what I'd do in a similar situation more than his other girlfriends have, but he scores well, so what of it?

All of that did make it feel different when we had sex as soon as getting back to the hotel room.  We'd liked each other before; now we belonged to each other, and we were both a bit more aggressive and careful with what we were holding.  I think I may have enjoyed it bit more, too - it was almost like back when I first discovered my clit and was learning new ways to stimulate it with each new guy.  No pressure, just fun.

Still, when I got into the shower afterward, taking off my earrings and necklace and other jewelry, I looked at the ring and had a brief moment where I didn't know whether to take it off or not, thinking that girls who had planned to get married since they were kids knew but I didn't because I'm a fake.  I decided not to take it off, but it took a second, and Iain noticed the hesitation.  He thought it was funny when I said that I'd just realized I'd never be totally naked again.

I had a quick moment of panic when we got to the airport because of it.  I think that most of us guys the Inn turned into girls tend to go light on jewelry, and I always take it off before going through airport security, but obviously this wasn't coming off.  It was a silly thing to worry about - did I think every engaged woman or married couple took these things off and risked losing them in the x-ray machine? - but I didn't think about it until that moment.

Then we got home and it was time to show off the ring, and that was kind of weird.  Not at first - Sir Robert was the first person we told and showed, and he was just as sweet as can be.  Weathers and some of the other help may not have been completely pleased - I get the feeling some of them see Iain marrying an American who isn't rich as beneath him and somehow them by extension - but to hell with them.  I may be able to fire them if they give me crap by this time next year.

I haven't made a while lot of female friends of my own here yet - we travel, split time between the manor and London, and lots of Iain's friends are couples anyway - so that's kind of weird.  I see them with him, and my first instinct is to kind of be causal, but he wants to tell them, and I get it.  It's a big deal, and a really nice ring, after all, and I've certainly liked it when a girl showed off a gift I gave her in my old life, but it kind of starts to feel one-sided at a certain point.  He's not wearing a ring showing that he's claimed and off the market, and I've got to relate the whole story of him getting down on one knee like I was surprised and flattered and not like this is something I've been working toward, even though I'm pretty sure some of these women were just as mercenary as me.

Joy's parents are thrilled, but I'm already wondering what the next year's going to be like.  The bride's family isn't people who can be minimized when wedding planning, but I've been living my own life.  They probably know a lot more about Joy's dream wedding than I do, and I'm guessing it might be useful.  I don't have a dream wedding, after all, and living her dream is probably better than just going through the motions.

After which I'll be Joy McKinnon.  I suppose I should be a little sad about that, but it's not like "Kershaw" means that much to me.

Still, there's a lot coming up, because I've got this ring on my finger, even if most of my life is staying the same.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Valerie: Two and a Half Men

I don't really count myself as half a man anymore, but the reference is too apt not to use. For my purposes it's better if I think of myself as all-woman, and yet maybe that's not true either.

One night after Rafe and I had sex, we got to talking - it's rare, but it happens and honestly when he feels chatty we do have a good chemistry. I was talking about some of my negative experiences in dating, and he said it wasn't surprising that I couldn't find a match.

Slightly offended, I asked why.

"Well, don't take this the wrong way, but... you're kind of like, basically a dude."

I stared a hole right through him. Of course I knew what he was talking about, but I didn't want to.

"Is that so," I asked.

"Yeah, I don't know what it is about you, but you're the opposite of every girl."

"Why, because I like sports and don't love shopping?"

"No - you actually do like shopping. And you cook and clean."

"And these things are usually considered girly..." I said.

"It's your attitude. I've been taking sociology classes. Gender studies. It's like you weren't socialized like a normal chick. You seem like you could hardly give a fuck about relationships and intimacy and communicating, you're more about straight-up facts and details. You're a little more masculine, a little colder and harder than other chicks."

"First of all," I said with annoyance, "It can't be right to stereotype a whole gender like that." I was trying desperately - maybe ironically but here's where we're at - to downplay the idea that I am a guy inside.

"Maybe," Rafe admitted, "But there's something unusual about you, and I bet after one date most guys can sense it, and they decide you're too much trouble. Or like, dating you would be too much like dating a guy."

"Isn't that what most guys want?"

"They think they do," he said, "but then they have it and it's like... oh, shit, this is weird."

"And it's not weird for you?"

"I'm not dating you," he noted pointedly. "Or maybe I'm a little gay, I don't know."

"Me neither," I said, and quickly got us off the topic.

It was a few weeks into my new casual non-relationship with Rafe. Things were going about as well as could be expected. I was still hanging out with Kevin, although there was a definite change in our relationship. I didn't feel the need to tell him I was sleeping with somebody else - being that he had passed up every opportunity he had, I figured I didn't owe him an explanation, and at the time I still wasn't sure if Rafe and I were a thing worth mentioning.

I've been doing my best to keep things separate. On Halloween, for example, I let it slip to Rafe that I didn't have any other plans that night. I haven't met Kevin's kids yet because, well, I'm not "that person" and it doesn't seem fair, to any of us, for the kids to get to know me if this isn't really a relationship. It's something we've spoken about over coffee, during our many soul-searching chats.

Rafe seemed a little "off" when I proposed we do something for the night. It struck me that he may have thought I was trying to back him into a, god forbid, boyfriend-girlfriend type situation. So I scrambled to explain, which I probably shouldn't have had to do, that I really just mean I would be up for doing anything and it would be best (ie, I would feel more comfortable, as a single woman) if there was someone there I knew.

He stifled his irritation and we made some plans, but I was regretting it. I was flashing back to the previous year when I was starting to pin some boyfriend-type expectations on him and he made it clear he wasn't interested in the role. I wondered if I was putting myself through too much of a wringer again.

The night was fixing to be a shitshow of epic proportions. He insisted we arrive separately. He didn't wear a costume, which made me feel silly for wearing a cowgirl getup, with Daisy Dukes and my boobs basically all the way out under a gingham shirt, in my one industrial-strength pushup bra. But whatever - I looked cute and hot at the same time, and he looked like a dope because everyone else was in costume.

He made it clear he wasn't there to keep me company, chatting up every girl he could meet - and striking out with pretty much all of them. I'll admit I felt a twinge of jealousy. It's hard to say why. We're not exclusive. I give lots of my time and attention to a whole other guy. It's unfair to expect Rafe to only be with me. And yet the idea of him going home with anyone but me really bugged me.

I hated feeling that way. So I downed some tequila and hit the dance floor.

I can't stress this enough - I cannot dance. Whatever rhythm women naturally possess was not handed down to me when I became one. But I have hips and other parts that are fun to shake awkwardly, and men are usually just impressed enough by the sight of a woman in motion that talent doesn't really play into it.

Men started to chat me up. Because of the walls I keep around myself, I guess, it doesn't happen often - it's not like I hit the clubs in my spare time, it's not like I seek attention usually, but when I want it, I get it.

Only problem is, when I got it, I found I really didn't want it. Men can be such a nuisance. Few of them have anything interesting to say, mostly they're just looking for ways to compliment your body and impress you with their job or their money. Then it's so hard to get away it feels like you're stuck. I like them better when they're shutting up and getting physical. So I danced with a few guys, which made me feel less claustrophobic. With enough liquor and the right atmosphere you kinda don't notice they're starting to get bolder, take liberties, put their hands in places where they wouldn't with the lights on. You don't mind, it's all in fun... but your mind starts to wander.

One guy was dressed as Dustin from Stranger Things - no, not interested in making out with someone dressed as a child. Another guy was he grim reaper, but the face paint was off-putting. Every guy, there was some reason not to cut loose.

I checked on Rafe. He was having fun but it was clear he was giving up on the game. So when I came back to him, he was more open to it. I asked him if he wanted to get out of there, and he said of course, and that was how we ended up back at my place for the night.

That was when we had that conversation. It's been ringing in my ears ever since. It bugged me enough to be told I seemed like a guy - I know I'll never be someone who was born to be a woman, but I like to think I've grown into it and pass nicely as one. It actually hurt to hear that wasn't necessarily the case.

I definitely thought things didn't work out with any of my dates because I had rejected them - because I'm at a point in my life where the directionless boys I was attracting didn't meet the standards of what I wanted to be with. But none of them seemed too driven to be with me either.

I think that's why I like being with Kevin. He's the only guy I've met in this life who is older and more experienced than me, and I guess feeling young brings out the girlish youthfulness that makes me feel feminine. I feel like I'm the person I really want to  e when I'm around him. I feel like I'm taking care of his emotional needs in a way I never thought I could, and he does the same for me, in away - but at a distance. It hurts and yet it makes me feel good.

This shit is complicated. No wonder why I need sweaty, unemotional sex with Rafe to ease my mind.

Between the two it really feels like I have it all, and yet... it never seems to come together.