Today was the Christmas party at The Doll’s friends’ house (a married couple who had invited their whole social group). There was food. There were beverages. And there was gaming. I get flustered when people try to teach me the rules of a game, and can’t seem to grasp them; but I mostly blundered through okay. At first I just watched as The Doll and a couple of other people played a “capture as much territory as you can” sort of board game. Then a group of people split off to play a word game called Quiddler, whose rules kept escaping me (the hosts’ eight year old son grasped this game faster than I did) but before anyone could get too annoyed by my constant “Wait…so I’m allowed to pick a card off the deck, right? But only if I put one of my cards back in?” type questions, the game came to a close and all the scattered little gaming groups around the apartment consolidated around the dining room table to play Cards Against Humanity (which was super fun, and so simple even I could do it). Then came another game that I kind of hated, and shortly after that The Doll and I decided to leave. Overall I really liked all his friends and believe I made a decent impression on them.
The Doll has now told me that his parents would like to meet me, and asked if we could all have lunch together sometime soon. Which…I guess I’d be up for that? But I have to say, it feels like The Doll is entwining me deeper and deeper in his life and it kind of freaks me out. Not just because I just broke up with someone and don’t want to get into anything too serious…and not just because I don’t in fact feel too serious with The Doll just yet. The whole entwined lives thing has always freaked me out. It puts all this pressure on everything! Instead of just trying to impress the person I’m interested in, I have to try to impress god knows how many other people, too, otherwise it’ll cause tension at best and people actively recommending a breakup at worst. And if the family and friends are on board but then I eventually break up with the guy, I stand to lose not just him but a whole social network. So, double sadness.
Also: I don’t give much of a shit what my parents think, so the idea of introducing them to a partner holds little or no emotional resonance for me; in movies and tv shows, however, Bringing Your Partner to Meet Your Parents is this big milestone that happens when a relationship gets serious. So…is that what the normals do when they really really like someone? I’m trying to figure out whether The Doll wanting me to meet his family has any particular significance.
Anyway. The stuff above is all context for this next part.
When I’m with The Doll, I try not to mention my previous partners too often – but Minx has occasionally come up in conversation and so, for some reason, has Ex. The Doll, conversely, has never mentioned another woman ever – which seemed very gentlemanly, and which I liked. I don’t like to hear about the exes of people I’ve just started seeing; it makes me feel threatened (I know that doesn’t make sense: they’re exes and I’m the one the guy wants now, so where does this sense of threat come in? But it does.).
Tonight, though, on our way home from a gaming night at his friends’ place, I bit the bullet and asked him about his dating history. I asked this because a) I do have to face his history sometime, and he’s certainly been patient in hearing about mine; and b) you can tell a lot about someone from the way their most recent breakup(s) went. So yeah…I asked him who he dated last and how it ended.
And he looked a little embarrassed and said that between his anxiety and social awkwardness and general nerdiness, he kind of never got around to dating anyone. Ever.
This changes the whole way I’d been thinking about our interactions, and brings up a whoooole lot of questions:
-Is he unfazed by the fact that I’m just coming off a breakup because he has no idea what that headspace is like? (I’d been assuming he knew the risks and pitfalls of dating someone who might very well be in a reboundy place, but chose to go ahead anyway…but maybe not!)
-Does he even genuinely like me or is he just overwhelmed by the fact that a woman has declared an interest in him? (Okay, I know I have at least a couple of traits that he likes. But I’m still paranoid.)
–Does he think we’re “serious” – because he has no basis for comparison – and that’s why he wanted me to meet his friends and parents?
-Or, were his parents and friends the ones who initiated these meeting plans because OMG THE DOLL FINALLY FOUND A GIRL AT 37 WE TOTALLY HAVE TO INVESTIGATE ?
-Is The Doll so delightfully unpushy about sex because he’s awesome, or because he’s a terrified virgin*?
-Could it be that he’s only submissive because women weren’t interested in him when he was just regular-nice, so he upped the ante? (This question is so not fair to him but I’m thinking it nonetheless.)
-Is he going to get unduly attached to me simply because I’m the first woman who’s shown an interest in him?
-If he is in fact a virgin and I have sex with him, am I gonna imprint on him like he’s a little baby duckling?
-Oh dear god how the fuck can we navigate a poly relationship when he’s never even had a regular one? Is that too much stuff to pile onto a beginner? Do I need to either be monogamous with him for a while or bail entirely? (I don’t want to do either of those things…)
The Doll’s revelation also brings up one or two epiphanies, like:
-Ohhhhhhh. Now I know why he becomes palpably awkward every time I bring up my art modelling career (and once when I mentioned that I still have tan lines on my chest from a sunburn all the way back in May): he quite likely hasn’t seen a lot of naked ladies, and realizing that I am sometimes a naked lady must have flustered him a bit (he’s getting better, though).
-Ohhhhhhh. Now I know why he bought me gifts way sooner than I feel is “normal” in a dating scenario – he doesn’t really know how to conduct a dating relationship because he’s never had one.
-Ohhhhhhh. Now I know why he seems so mushy and attached to me even though our dates have lots of awkward silences and we struggle to find things to talk about – he has no idea it’s possible for a date to go better than this**. I am literally the best romantic companion he’s ever had, by default.
So yeah. I feel like I’m really out of my depth here. The Doll is very smart and seems self-aware, but…he has no relationship experience. None. At all. And that’s gonna have to affect things at some point, right?
Dammit. I was so happy when The Doll told me about conquering his anxiety and anger issues. I was thinking “Yay! I’m tired of being the more emotionally ‘together’ one, forever trying to coach my partner and pull him up to my level. I am totally ready to date someone who’s a step above for a change.” But I guess The Doll isn’t a step above. Or at least, he’ll end up coaching me through my anxiety shit and I’ll end up coaching him through the basics of relationship maintenance and it’ll all even out…but I’m really not sure I want to be anyone’s coach.
I’m trying to think why the universe sent me an inexperienced boy (there’s a reason. There’s always a reason). Ummmm I guess as much as I want to be nonmonogamous from now on, I’m pretty afraid of it…I worry that if I’m poly with someone from the getgo (vs. after we’re totally in love and I feel confident that our relationship will be the strongest one) he’ll easily be seduced away by someone else. The Doll’s inexperience makes him more likely to glom onto me and less likely to have the balls to ask out anyone else. Or, maybe it’s the fact that I’m kind of terrified of having sex with someone new…I need someone who’ll back the fuck up and let me take things at my own pace, which The Doll has been doing quite nicely – possibly because he’s terrified of having sex, too (is he a virgin? I so totally have to ask at some point…).
I dunno. It’s late and I’m rapidly becoming too tired to think coherently. I’ll have to mull this over some other time.
I’ll say this, though: being first/corrupting the innocent used to be a huge turn-on for me – to the point where I’d seek out potential hookups by going to the Craigslist personals and searching for ads containing the word “virgin”. I’ve since gotten over that…mostly***. But the idea that The Doll may have been pent up for all of his 37 years is pretty hot. Part of me loves the idea of claiming his virginity (if indeed it’s there to be claimed). Part of me also loves the idea that if I take charge in bed, it’s because my superior experience level qualifies me to lead – not because he’s “letting me” be in charge. But there are also a whole bunch of reasons why his lack of dating experience and (possible) virginity scare the fuck out of me.
Anyone have any thoughts/ideas/relevant experiences to share?
*Never having dated anyone doesn’t mean he’s definitely a virgin, of course. But it does mean that the probability of it is higher.
**Mind you, I do know that it’s possible to have dates with no awkward silences and yet I’m sticking this out anyway. I really like the making out, and I think The Doll is really cute and sweet, and I’m hoping the moments of weirdness will go away eventually.
***I figured out that my real kink was “boys who are absurdly grateful to have fucked me” and although you’d think virgins would be the best source of that validation, they aren’t always.