Tag Archives: The Dandy

But on a happy note…

That second date with the new boy was aaaaaaaaahmazing. He ended up coming home with me (to hang out, not for sex, as I told him from the getgo) and we did the whole talking-all-night thing and he’s just endlessly fascinating and charming.

Also, relatively early in the evening he figured out that my skin is insanely sensitive and this led to me shucking off all my clothing fairly quickly (“MOAR SKIN CONTACT”) and taking him to bed, where he stroked my entire body for what felt like about an hour and a half (but there’s no clock in my bedroom so I don’t know for sure). And he was amazing. So sensitive to my body signals. His fingers seemed to move like a divining rod, following all my sweet spots around without me having to say a word. He remained fully clothed. There was no sense of him touching me as a lead-up to sex. He seemed to be in a trance. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a partner go into one of those sexy trances before. I often get like that when touching a partner; just completely focused where nothing else exists but their bodies. They usually seem to be enjoying me in a more shallow or utilitarian way, however.

But yeah. This boy. This fucking boy. He petted me in absolute, reverent silence for basically ever, and he was so good at it – and so completely undemanding and focused on my pleasure – that I was able to give myself up to the sensations completely and my consciousness came untethered and floated away like a helium balloon. I was living entirely in my body and my brain was just this empty, ringing white place with all the thoughts and words erased. It’s very, very rare that my mind is not just silent but gone . It feels so fucking good.

Eventually I opened my eyes and started to drift back to coherence. He was gazing into my face with the same awe that I was feeling for him. “That was amazing,” he whispered. I was still not entirely able to speak. I felt like my heart might explode. He stroked a place on my neck with his fingertips and murmured “when your heart starts to beat [hard] I can see it right here.” And then he held me close and eventually I was able to talk and we ended up having conversations about all kinds of different things and eventually we slept. In the morning there was a whole lot more snuggling/talking/smooching and eventually I asked him to make us breakfast and he did and it was good.

We’ve texted a bit since then and when I asked when I could see him again he didn’t respond for over 24 hours and even then he didn’t say anything about seeing me, only that he was thinking of me and wanted to pet me and make me moan for hours. Which is all well and good, but when? …I’m trying to convince myself that maybe he didn’t get my previous message, or I missed one from him, or he meant to tell me when he was free but forgot, or something, rather than this being a sign that he’s lost interest and is trying to deflect me and taper off communications in the most subtle way possible.

Here’s the thing about this boy, though: he’s never been poly before, and although he has cuckold tendencies and wouldn’t mind a partner fucking other dudes, he says he might need to be the only person in his partner’s heart. He knows I have a boyfriend and is tentatively seeing how he feels about that. He did say to me a few times that he’s beginning to think he could maybe deal with it.

Still, though. I feel like I could fall in love with this boy and he’s mildly wigged out by me dating The Dandy, for whom I feel cat-love that will probably go no further. And so when things with The Dandy started going sideways this weekend and I thought about breaking up with him, the thought crept in that maybe in doing so I’d be ensuring the continued presence of the other boy with whom I’m so smitten. And then I felt awful for having that thought because it goes against so many things that I stand for. If I break up with The Dandy it should be on its own merits.

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Angry

Here are some things I’m angry about with regards to The Dandy.

  • He’s never called 911 when Dandette would threaten to kill herself. He’s spent all night talking her down – one time he even apparently restrained her to the bed because she would literally take off running toward the knives – but he didn’t call 911. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and figured maybe it didn’t occur to him; maybe he forgot that 911 can be used for things like that. But when he was telling me about these suicide cry-for-help things I expressly told him that he’s not responsible for “saving” her, nor is he even qualified, and he really needs to call 911 to get actual medical professionals there. And shortly after that Dandette freaked out again and The Dandy didn’t fucking call anyone. Even though she was allegedly trying to bolt for the knives (again) and he was needing to physically hold her back. And that is so goddamned irresponsible and also creepy because I’m pretty sure he’d rather feel needed than actually make sure she doesn’t die. If it’s just him talking her down, there’s no guarantee she won’t kill herself as soon as his back is turned. If she’s carted off, put on tranquilizers and strapped to a bed for a while and then given meds and/or therapy, she definitely won’t kill herself. So…yeah.

 

  • Not long ago I was talking to The Dandy about how I think he really needs to not live with Dandette anymore. He told me, not for the first time, that he didn’t know how to kick her out. I do see that it would seem selfish and awful, in a way, to have a two-bedroom apartment and tell someone with no job and few friends or prospects to GTFO so you could have it all to yourself. I said maybe instead he could just…decide to move into a one-bedroom in the same building. “Okay, Dandette, I’ve decided I don’t want to be spending all this money on rent anymore. I’m downsizing. You need to figure something out.” The Dandy looked intrigued by this idea and even took it five hundred steps further by saying he should get a job in a whole other city so he could move away entirely. But guess what? When I was there over the weekend I saw some paint samples lying around and asked why. He said he’s thinking of painting his bedroom.

 

  • On The Dandy’s birthday, I took him out to dinner. I said to please choose a mid-range kind of place where there’s something I can eat, but beyond that it was all up to him because it was his day. Dandette…made him a birthday cake and wrote about herself on it. I’ve had a few times when I asked The Dandy over and he seemed a bit reluctant so I told him he seemed to need alone-time and that was fine; we’d hang out whenever he was rested and ready. Dandette…waits til he’s about to go to bed and then stages a suicide attempt. I tell The Dandy what I need from him. Dandette doesn’t state what she needs, and then screams at him for not guessing right. I have anxiety but can usually remind myself during a freakout that it’s just my brain being an asshole, and thereby stay somewhat rational. Dandette has anxiety and will just completely lose her mind on The Dandy, rationality be damned. I’m fucking The Dandy and Dandette is not. And yet when I tell him that Dandette’s presence in his life is unhealthy for him and probably also going to lead to me bailing on our relationship…he goes silent. Because I guess it is just so hard to choose between the two of us.

 

  • The Dandy knows I am emphatically against him being Dandette’s self-appointed saviour, yet he still tells me about ongoing incidents where he “had” to help her through some anxiety freakout or bit of suicidal ideation. He knows I hate that he lives with Dandette, but when Dandette wrote about herself on his birthday cake he went ahead and let me see it, thus basically allowing her to be metaphorically present during our private time together. What did I ever do to him, that he should so blatantly rub my face in these things he knows I hate?

 

  • I told The Dandy that in taking care of Dandette like he does, he’s almost certainly exacerbating her anxiety (I say this because it’s exactly what happened with my ex husband. I came to rely on him for everything and felt like I had no idea how to adult anymore. My anxiety just totally closed over my head like black water. But once ex-husband and I split up, I was forced to stand on my own two feet and it became not-scary. Mostly.). Even with my saying this, though, he’s still not making any plans to oust her from the apartment. So, again…does he really want her to be okay? Or does he just get off on her depending on him? Let’s also not forget the “joke” he made about keeping her around because she feels indebted to him for all the food and rent and it makes her do what he wants. Ugh.

 

  • The Dandy is living with someone who will get the idea to commit suicide and literally run for the knives so that he has to tackle her. But to the best of my knowledge he hasn’t hidden the knives (or scissors or razors or any other potential suicide tool) at all. So…it looks an awful lot like he knows she won’t actually slash her wrists while he’s at work. He’s just playing into her fucked-up little attention-games.

 

  • I have this paranoia/jinx thing where I’m convinced that every time I start to trust that someone might actually become a permanent fixture in my life, everything fucks up. Happened with Minx. Happened with The Bunny. Happened with The Pedant. And now, just days after The Dandy and I met his mom and felt all cosy and domestic and bonded and I said I was hoping to find a long-term committed relationship and he smiled and squeezed my hand…this all happens.

 

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The conversation, as best I can remember.

Stayed a second night at The Dandy’s place (even though I was having serious doubts about him and about the relationship) because that had been our original plan. Had a gig this morning pretty near his house and he drove me there. We arrived half an hour early by accident, and so he parked the car and we sat there for a bit. I was having an internal struggle because on one hand I didn’t want to fight with him the day after his birthday but on the other hand I was feeling so upset that I thought it might kill me to hold it in and talk about it in a few days.

Finally I said, “I was going to try to save this discussion for another time, but it’s been weighing on my mind too much, so. Um. Your ex girlfriend…wrote a suicide note of sorts on your birthday cake.”

The Dandy nodded. “Yeah. That was weird.”

“It was. …I’d been thinking since dinner that I should ask you not to mention Dandette’s issues to me anymore since it makes me feel claustrophobic that you’re dealing with them and you don’t seem inclined to stop. But now I realize that won’t do any good; she’s decided to remind me that you deal with her mental health issues. Which is just so passive-aggressive.”

“I think she meant it as an apology for trying to kill herself,” The Dandy said, and I wish to hell I’d asked why he thought that (considering the word “sorry” wasn’t on there) and whether he thought it was appropriate to remind him of such upsetting shit on. His. Birthday. Cake. But I didn’t think to.

What I did say was, “Okay, even if that’s true – she wrote it on your birthday cake, which is just totally inappropriate. And she made the cake gluten free so I could have some, so she pretty much knew I’d be seeing it, which like…what the fuck?!? And it didn’t even occur to you to like smear the words to nothing with a spatula or bring out pieces of the cake without letting me see the whole thing, or anything like that.” The Dandy was staring at the steering wheel with a pained look on his face. “You’ve got a blind spot where she’s concerned. I mean, I could have known this girl for a week and predicted that she’d act crazy and jealous if you started dating someone new. And you somehow didn’t predict this, don’t notice that her behaviour is sketchy when it’s happening, and aren’t shielding me from it. Dandette’s mental illness isn’t even your responsibility to deal with, but you’re choosing to anyway for whatever reason. I’m not.  Nothing about her life has anything to do with me and I expect you to keep her drama away from me. Do you understand?” I’d accidentally lapsed into what I think of as my Dom Voice there but oh well.

“Yes,” The Dandy said. “I…guess I’m just so used to this sort of thing that I don’t really know what’s appropriate anymore.”

“I think that’s a fair assessment, and I really think you need to see a therapist to get your shit straightened out. Also, though, I’ve been meaning to ask: when Dandette went off the rails the other night, did she even try to call her boyfriend? You know, the guy who’s actually going out with her and therefore has more of a stake in helping her? Or did she just automatically rely on you?”

“She didn’t call anyone. Not even me. She just…tried something, and I happened to catch her.”

“You work all day and she doesn’t but she just happened to choose to try suicide while you were home? Like I’m not definitely saying she’s just doing this for attention, but…….”

“I think she was asleep when I got home from work. And then a couple of hours later when I was just about to go to bed I…caught her.”

“Just as you were about to go to bed,” I said. “That’s an interesting coincidence.” What I meant was, I think this was indeed a ploy on her part to get attention from him – not just that but to make him disrupt his life for her. She could have made her move while he was at work. She could have waited until he’d gone to bed. Instead she waited until he was about to do something else and then snatched his attention away. Also, it occurred to me afterward – how did he “catch” her? Apparently her plan was to slit her wrists. That’s not a noisy plan, nor one that requires a lot of preparation or accoutrements. If she really wanted to do it, she would have just fucking done it and he could have been in the next room and not known til later. But somehow she managed to get “caught.” Was she wandering the hall with a knife in her hand, loudly talking to herself about how it sure would be a shame if she had an…accident? Did she creep silently into the kitchen but then “accidentally” drop the biggest carving knife they had on the tile floor six times until The Dandy came out wondering what the racket was? What? I wish I’d thought to ask.

I think it was at this point that I said to The Dandy that I think he gets some weird enjoyment out of coaching Dandette through these incidents. White-knighting her, as it were. He sat quietly for a minute and then said “Yeah. Maybe. I like to feel useful.”

I suppressed a fierce urge to bellow “BE USEFUL TO MEEEEEEEE” and instead said “Do you not feel useful now?” I mean Christ, he does nice and helpful things for me all the time. Does that not register for him? Am I never going to measure up to Dandette because I don’t need him like she thinks she does?

“Not really. At work I just feel like a cog. I don’t feel like I have much of a purpose.”

I had a lot of things I wanted to say to that – things like “So fix your job situation, then” or “that doesn’t really justify continuing to live with someone who’s abusive and manipulative” or “you’re useful to me all the time; does that not count?” or “Duuuude needing someone to literally depend on you in order to live is deeply fucked up and I think I really need to bail” but The Dandy seemed to be having somewhat of an epiphany about his motivations and I didn’t wanna squash it with all my rage.

I told him that I didn’t know what to do now – that I wanted to keep on seeing him but if it’s going to work, I’ll need a concrete plan in place (I meant that he needs to have a plan to unfuck his life, like going to therapy or kicking Dandette out or possibly both, but in retrospect I guess I wasn’t clear; hopefully The Dandy gets that I didn’t mean “don’t feed me Dandette’s baked goods anymore” or something).

I told him that I don’t feel comfortable ever going to his place again while she’s living there, but if we always go to my place it’s going to feel weirdly like I’m colluding in him cheating on her, even though (say it with me now) they’re not in a relationship anymore, so I don’t know how to handle this. I probably free-associated some other things. The Dandy kept on staring straight ahead with that same pained expression. His passivity irritates the shit out of me, TBH. The smile and shrug when I saw the crazy message on the cake…the way he usually seems to freeze and doesn’t even answer me when I ask him a question about a heavy personal topic…the way he lets Dandette walk all over him…the way (I’ve noticed) he’ll never actually say “no” to a thing I ask; he just goes awkward and quiet…ugh. Dandette is all kinds of fucked up and his ex-wife from before that had rage issues so I suppose he’s been trained not to say anything that might make a partner mad but it’s still just so infuriating.

Finally I realized it was almost time for work and I apologized for having to leave so abruptly but…yeah.

I’m pretty much feeling like we’re going to have to break up, but morbid curiosity dictates that I go silent for a bit and see if he contacts me with an apology and a game plan. I doubt he will. But it sure would be nice, and if he did do that I might consider sticking around. I might be okay to emotionally support The Dandy through his bullshit with Dandette if said bullshit involved him working on getting rid of her. I just need that light at the end of the tunnel, is all.

But the thing is…from the moment he told me that Dandette still lived with him – that they’d broken up two years ago but she never actually moved out – my gut told me that he can’t have gotten over her and probably doesn’t know how to be alone/doesn’t really know who he is as a single person because he’s still all enmeshed in a quasi-relationship with her. Which means that even if he finally cuts her loose, his process of getting back on his feet emotionally will probably either require him to break up with me so he can really be alone for the first time in over ten years*, or he’ll manage to multitask but by the time he’s processed everything he’ll be such a different person that he won’t be interested in me anymore.

 

*The relationship with Dandette lasted five years, but before that he was married for six years or something – and he met Dandette just months after the ex-wife left. And of course he’s continued living with Dandette for the two years since they broke up. So…god, he’s been trapped in one shitty relationship or another for like thirteen years. Maybe more.

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stuff and things

The Dandy’s mom wanted to meet me, so he brought me home to Easter dinner. She’s really cool – she’s an ex-nun who left the convent at age 29 and became a teacher. One time when a student swore too much for her liking, she made him use “fuck” as every possible part of a sentence (noun, adverb, adjective, etc) in order to take the fun out of it. For the record, I would find that a fascinating challenge and it wouldn’t dull the fun of swearing for me at all.

She also told me a bunch of stories about what The Dandy was like as a kid (so smart and outspoken that he was a total pain in the ass and got in trouble at school all the time (I’m totally not surprised), and she always backed him up in parent/teacher talks). And every single food item she had on hand was gluten-free and soy-free because she knew those were my restrictions. And she gave me leftover cake. So basically I love this woman.

On the drive home, The Dandy and I got to talking about relationships and stuff. His mom had talked a lot about Dandette while I was over, and mentioned some get-together with Dandette and her family in which everyone seemed to be expecting The Dandy to propose but he didn’t. I asked The Dandy if he and Dandette had ever even discussed getting married or if people were just making assumptions. He said that Dandette wanted to get married – that she had an idealized vision of marriage and thought it would magically make their lives perfect. He knew that’s not how that works, and had no intention of tying the knot. The Dandy basically told me that he’s wary, now, of a partner seeming overinvested or wanting to be rescued. So I’m betting that’s why he couldn’t outright tell me he loved me – it symbolizes a scary level of commitment for him. But that’s sort of hilarious because in all other respects he’s full steam ahead: calling me his primary partner after we’d fucked, like, twice; initiating keeping a toothbrush at my place; talking about giving me a dresser drawer at his; taking me to meet his mom.

It seems as though my profession of love has in some way cemented things for him, though. There’s been an extra pulse of energy to him ever since. His hugs have an unguarded quality that they didn’t before. He’s always given excellent, long, warm, sincere-feeling hugs, mind you, but now he melts into them just a little bit more. Last night he came over and we ended up having sex and afterward he stayed inside me and raised himself up on his arms to look me right in the eyeballs for like…really long periods of time. He might as well have worn a sign around his neck that said I want to feel as intimate with you as possible right now.

Any time I express insecurity about my anxiety (as in, is it gonna be too much for him) The Dandy says “I’m used to it” meaning Dandette also has anxiety and depression – he has in fact had to talk her down from killing herself – so this is nothing new. I don’t actually find the sentiment “I’m used to it” comforting at all, perhaps because – despite his calm tone and reassuring body language – I hear it in a put-upon, guilt-tripping tone.

I brought this up with The Dandy, pointing out that I’m used to all kinds of shitty things but it doesn’t mean I like them or want them to continue, ergo maybe he could try to be comforting via a different choice of words. I think he gets it. He told me outright that he’s pretty sure he can handle me fine, and he’s said before that my anxiety freakouts are usually a lot shorter than Dandette’s and that I ask for his support instead of pushing him away or yelling at him that he’s not handling them right. So it’s really probably fine.

This shit’s been weighing heavy on my mind lately because I’m about to start another round of cognitive behavioural therapy and this will no doubt dredge up a bunch of buried shit that spins my head a bit. Basically I’m gonna be in hardcore navel-gazing/trauma processing mode for the next month and that’s probably not gonna be fun for me or anyone around me.

BTW The Dandy also made an offhanded comment once that cognitive behavioural therapy should probably work really well for me (he may even have said better than it does for Dandette) because I have a logical brain that just needs to be nudged in the right direction so I can talk myself down from my freakouts. So there have been these tiny indications that even though I get more stressed out and angsty than most people, and need help more than most people, he thinks I handle myself pretty well. I wish he’d come out and say it. So much of my anxiety lately is this recursive bullshit where I’m anxious that people will hate me because I’m anxious. I really need to hear from someone that I’m actually pretty badass and not coming off as terribly as I imagine – if they actually think it, that is. I don’t especially want to be humoured; if I have some huge glaring personality flaw that could stand to be worked on, I’d wanna know.

And yeah, normally I’m a huge proponent of flat-out telling a partner what I want – I don’t feel that telling him ruins the act or anything – except maybe now. “I like to be petted to sleep” and then him doing it is one thing; he’s doing it because I like it, and I experience this as love*. Spoon feeding him sentences to say to me about how cool and awesome I am feels like quite another thing. I mean I guess if he said the things I’d still experience that as an expression of love; he wants me to be happy so he’s doing the thing I said makes me happy. But I want the words to be the truth, is the thing, and I can never be sure if I tell him to say them.

Tangent: remember how I was worried that The Dandy isn’t as non-judgmental about my sex work activities as he claims because when I talk about it he’s often quiet and doesn’t contribute? I think we’re okay. The other day I asked him to take provocative pictures of me so I can send them to texting clients and not only did he do this, at one point when I was posing he said “Here, I’ll take one for the foot guys” and did a closeup of just my feet. It felt super fun colluding with him and I really do think he’s okay with it all. I mean, like, morally or whatever. I think if I came over and then kept being like “whoops, hold on, just a sec” to text clients he’d be annoyed, but who wouldn’t? I’m trying to draw boundaries and tell the clients I’ll be busy for a few hours/ignore my phone when I’m with The Dandy but it can be hard sometimes. Summer is my slow season for modelling and I’m panicking and wanting to rake in as much money as I can. Responding quickly to a guy’s first text might make the difference between us having an ongoing chat and him getting snagged by someone else who was quicker.

But there will probably always be more guys, there’s no guarantee anyone will turn out to be a regular, if it’s meant to be it’ll happen, blah blah blah etc.

Oh and by the way I recently had a very promising first date with a guy from Fetlife. The Dandy has been totally fine with that, too. I asked The Dandy if this is partly because if I’m seeing someone else, he knows I’m not overfocusing on him as the most important thing in my life. He said a little bit, but also the reciprocity. We both seem to be on the same page with being poly, where we don’t necessarily need multiple partners, it’s more about the freedom to have them (or just flirt or make out or whatever) if we feel like it. During that one convo on the drive home from his mom’s I was talking about what my ideal relationship would be like and I said basically, I’m a cat. I’d like to be his cat. Being stuck behind a closed door bugs me just on principle, so I want a cat door so I can go explore. Maybe sometimes I’ll be out for a few days, doing cat things. But he won’t freak out; he’ll know I’ll always be back. ‘Cause I’m his cat. I think he wants to be my cat, too. 🙂

Second date with the new boy tomorrow.

*I can’t remember if I mentioned this before but a while back I mentioned to The Dandy that petting my head/hair helps me sleep. Hours later when we went to bed, he spooned up behind me and we settled in for sleep and then suddenly his hand gave a sort of startled twitch and he began petting my head. So clearly he had suddenly remembered what I’d said and wanted to make me happy. Love that!

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Romance

Welp, The Dandy spent the night last night and it was lovely. I found myself gazing at him with huge moon-eyes almost constantly. And I started having a big inner debate over whether to tell him I love him.

On one hand, it seems like he already knows. Already knows, yet hasn’t opted to say the words himself despite it being very low risk for him. Which probably meant he wouldn’t say it back (not feeling it? Feeling it but weird about expressing emotions?), which would bother me and possibly lead to the end of the relationship. On the other hand, the few times I had feelings for a guy but didn’t tell him, it always bugged me. Even after we broke up and I didn’t love the guys anymore it bugged me that they never knew in the moment that I had those feelings. I’m an expressive person and I guess I think that if someone makes me really happy, they deserve to know it.

So I wanted The Dandy to know I had feelings for him, but I also didn’t want him to feel obligated to say it back, ergo just dropping an “I love you” on him and then sitting there looking at him in deafening silence wouldn’t do. But did I really want to say it at all, though? I was still irked about that time he hinted strongly that he knew my feelings, and yet didn’t take that opportunity to say something first and put me out of the misery of uncertainty.

Meh, fuck it. Today as he was getting ready to leave my place, I intercepted him in the middle of dressing and caressed his face and he was standing there with his eyes closed enjoying my touch. I chose that moment to quietly say “You know I love you, right?”

The Dandy opened his eyes and grinned at me. He said yes, he’s known that for quite some time. I smiled at him but inside I was thinking “Yes, AND…….?!?!?” I mean if he’d just humbly said “I guess I do now” I could maybe (maybe) have stood it. But for him to (again!) make a big thing of knowing how I feel about him but not say it back? It feels like he’s rubbing my face in a power imbalance. This is far worse than when I said it to The Bunny or The Pedant and they just politely ignored me or deflected.

He pulled me in for a hug and stood there rubbing my back as my brain twirled in a thousand different directions wondering what the fuck I should do with the clear implication that The Dandy not only didn’t feel the same way I did, but was reveling in that fact. Then, almost as an afterthought, he said “Don’t worry, I reciprocate.”

“Left me hanging there for a few seconds, though, didn’t you?” I said pointedly. He didn’t say anything to that; no apology, no explanation.

The Dandy is quite expressive in the sense of being physically affectionate, being able to say what he wants out of a relationship, and being able to articulately talk about what went wrong in past relationships. But there’s a part of him that’s walled-off; there are things about himself that he either can’t or won’t talk about. Earlier today I pointed out that every time I move or remove my clothes to facilitate access for him, he makes some big comment about it. We were in bed and he’d just been caressing my chest above the blanket and I shifted the blanket down so he could reach more of my skin and he said something like “being a little obvious, are we?” Which is weird and gloaty and slut-shaming and not like him at all. And it was far from the first time that he’d acted like that. So I pointed it out and asked him “Is it such a novelty for you for a woman to get naked and want to be touched that you have to point it out every time, or…?” He lapsed into silence. He seemed like he was thinking about the question. But a few minutes went by and he didn’t answer me and I felt like prompting him would seem pushy so I let it go for now. And a few hours later when the whole “you know I love you, right?” went down, I figured it would look pushy (and he’d go silent) if I asked why he couldn’t say it back/why he didn’t say it first/etc. So, again, I didn’t pursue it.

But one day I intend to.

In other news, I went straight from a day in bed with The Dandy to going on a date with a guy from Fetlife. Dude is pretty cute, I enjoyed talking to him, our kinks seem to line up, and we kissed at the end. Like…for a while. So that was nice. We’ll see if it goes anywhere.

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The thing about Dandette

I’m totally jealous of The Dandy’s relationship with Dandette, and that seems really weird and dumb to me. I’m dating him and she’s not. And I’m poly so in theory him dating someone else wouldn’t be a big deal to me, anyway. So why do I care that he lives with his ex and still seems pretty close to her?

First off, I think after a few years of feeling essentially solo-poly, I’m really craving a main partner* right now – a serious relationship with someone who (like me) doesn’t have other serious relationships going at the moment. I’d like to be someone’s focus and vice-versa, at least for now. The Dandy is my focus. I think I’m his…but the fact remains that he lives with his ex, with whom he has a comfort level and a history that I want. They act like an old married couple. I have recently learned that Dandette (who is unemployed) wakes up early every morning just to make The Dandy coffee before he goes to work. That is such an act of intimacy and care and kindness. I want to be doing that for him (well, not that but a similar act that doesn’t require me to wake up early). I also learned that after she makes the coffee, she comes into his bedroom and puts it on the nightstand. That…feels like a couple thing, not a roommate thing. Especially since, until recently when I expressed squick at their weird boundaries, The Dandy slept naked. It bothers me a lot.

Also, I have a huge, huge fantasy of a man rescuing and taking care of me, especially financially. It’s what I’d hoped for when I married my ex-husband (he was more socially competent than I was, he wasn’t severely agoraphobic, he had higher earning potential…he was my way out of the shitty roommate situation I was currently in). It’s maybe slightly what I wanted when Minx moved in and thus halved my rent (please oh please, someone just make it so I don’t have to pay ~$1000/month just to have a roof over my head…get me out of this constant pinch of poverty and make it so I actually have money left over at the end of the month and can build up a savings again for emergencies…).

I have since realized that I don’t think I can live with another person ever again, both because I really enjoy my space and quiet time and because I feel like I’ll inevitably piss the other person off and they won’t want to stay and then I’m fucked. The way rent is soaring in my city, if I move into a big, expensive apartment with a boyfriend and the relationship ultimately ends, I won’t be able to afford anywhere on my own anymore. I need to maintain the tenuous toehold in independence that I currently have. Plus I worry that if a man offers to take care of me, I’ll forget entirely how to take care of myself and just revert to the doormat I was when I was married, thus giving him all the power. The thought terrifies me. So I don’t feel like I could move in with a partner or even let him pay for my necessities. But I want to. Oh, how I want to. And Dandette already has that. From The Dandy, no less. Their apartment is huge – my entire place could fit into their living room, possibly more than once – and The Dandy was letting Dandette pay far less than half of the rent, presumably because he makes so much more money. And then her mental health went sideways and she couldn’t work anymore, so now he just pays all the rent. Dandette gets to fall apart if she needs to. I don’t. Ever. And yeah, I’m jealous.

Some of my feelings here are not jealousy but irritation. The Dandy has indicated that he really wishes she’d move out. He told me, once, that when they were together she would ask him to dominate/top her but then scream at him afterwards that he did it wrong – this makes me so incredibly angry on his behalf that I kind of want to kill her. She’s a burgeoning alcoholic. She doesn’t work. But The Dandy would feel like a monster if he kicked her out, given that she’s broke and having severe emotional issues and has nobody she could even stay with. I told him that they are broken up and she’s not his responsibility, and he said he knows this, but still. And yeah. It’s hard. If I were him I probably couldn’t kick her out, either.

And on the other hand the two of them have this ease together. The way The Dandy talks about her, you’d think he kind of hated her and that the two of them would just keep to separate corners of the apartment and be all awkward and stilted. They don’t, though. The Dandy has called me on the phone to chat and she’ll be right there inserting the odd comment into our convo in the background. Until recently they would hang out around the house naked. She brings him coffee every morning. They have domestic little chats about whether the dog’s been fed yet or who’s gonna do this or that chore. When I was over last night Dandette was talking about some mutual friend of theirs who’s been irritating her: “I’m gonna go to Tom’s party on the 25th and you’re coming with me so I don’t kill him.” Just casually assuming she could boss him around like that. And he said okay. So like…what the fuck is their deal?

At the root of it all, I feel that The Dandy never got enough space from Dandette to fully get over her. I mean I don’t see how someone can get over someone if you’re still living with them and never even drew boundaries like putting clothes on around them. It’s like they stopped fucking but literally everything else stayed the same. For me, anyway, getting over someone requires a very distinct separation to kind of hammer home that it’s over so I can process everything. It requires distance from the other person while I get my shit together. Minx and I may cuddle and sometimes sleep in the same bed, but that only happened after she moved out and we didn’t really talk for a few months. We built that friendship from scratch; it’s not a continuation of the relationship. With The Dandy and Dandette I’m not so sure.

And I don’t know how The Dandy not being over his ex might fuck things up with us, but I think there’s a chance it will. And I don’t like it.

 

*I don’t use the word “primary” because I associate it with people who do hierarchical poly. I don’t have different sets of rules for different partners.

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Dandy stuff

Spent last night at The Dandy’s place. Dandette didn’t get in the way much, so that was good. It’s frustrating because at my place it feels like I have no privacy because the walls are paper thin and my downstairs neighbours are vindictive assholes who probably write down every single sound they hear from me in a revenge book or something. The Dandy’s place is gloriously quiet from a neighbour perspective – it’s in a high rise, so the walls between the apartments are concrete. But his goddamned ex-girlfriend is his roommate and she has boundary issues so her attempts at showing she’s okay with our relationship sometimes take the form of, like…spying on us and issuing verbal high-fives? Thus, The Dandy and I have no place where we can fuck and I’ll feel 100% comfortable.

But as I said, this time around she chose not to comment on anything she could hear us doing. So yay.

The Dandy is very sweet. As yesterday was the first of the month, I redoubled my efforts at finding a new apartment (by the end of the month I figure everything good has been snapped up). I perhaps naively thought that if I sat down and focused real hard on my online search and then called up a shitload of places in a row, I could get viewings for later that day or maybe the next day. But I kept getting answering machines or the ad I saw was old and the place was taken or blah blah blah. I do have two viewings booked for Tuesday night and The Dandy says he can probably come with me, so that’s exciting! He’s really good at figuring out how best to arrange a place and/or make the best of a weird layout so I need him in my corner.

Anyway. Focusing that hard, plus dealing with people, exhausts me, and also I just hate all the other stress of wondering where I’m gonna live and how I’ll afford it and all that. When I got to The Dandy’s I was okay but after half an hour or so my adrenaline buzz began to wear off, I guess. He was just finishing loading the dishwasher when I said “I am in dire need of spooning” and told him I seemed to be having some kind of emotional crash from the apartment hunt. He stopped the housework immediately and took me to his bed and snuggled me and massaged the knot I always get next to my shoulderblade and I had a little cry and then felt better.

One thing about The Dandy – I think I’ve mentioned it before – is that he’s the kind of person who mostly just listens to me when I rant. I prefer more feedback. So, like…when I was intermittently crying I said something like “I feel like any woman who’s not always calm and collected is labeled a ‘psycho bitch’ and I worry that I seem unstable when I act like I am now. But really this is just a stress-cry and once I let this all out I’ll be back to normal.” The Dandy just kept on holding me and rubbing my back, and that’s not terrible, but what I wanted was for him also to say “You’re not a psycho bitch” and/or “guys who throw that label around are assholes” and/or “I don’t think you’re unstable.”

I mean the thing is my ex-husband used his resounding silence as a means of controlling me. I didn’t realize it at the time. But if I talked about wanting to do a thing he didn’t especially like me doing, he’d go all cold and tight-lipped and silent. He wouldn’t actually say he didn’t want me to do the thing. In fact if I anxiously said “…Is that okay?” he’d say yes – in a clipped, icy tone that still totally seemed like he was pissed at me, so I opted not to do the thing.

Now, granted, as I told The Dandy I was afraid of being labeled “psycho” etc., he kept on hugging and petting me. His body didn’t go all cold and still and distant as my ex’s probably would have (I don’t recall a time that he pulled this “silent treatment” bullshit while we were cuddling so I don’t know). So it’s probably fine. But I’d still have preferred that he’d gone the “Oh don’t be silly you’re just a human being having human feelings” type of route.

I talked to my friend Dom about this and he said that to him, reassurances like that sound condescending. His girlfriend likes that stuff and has said so, so he does it. But it doesn’t come naturally to him. It wouldn’t have occurred to me that reassurance of that kind is condescending. But maybe that’s what it is with The Dandy – what seems obvious and natural to say to me doesn’t feel natural to him.

The Dandy is also silent when I talk about any of my various forays into sex work (and when I mention other partners), and when I’ve asked “are you okay with all this?” he just kinda shrugs and smiles. He doesn’t seem coldly pissed off like my ex did but it still unnerves me a bit. Although maybe he really is fine with it but just has no advice to give. When I was ranting about guys on that pay site not texting me back, he did discuss it with me and offer some theories. So yes. This is very different from my ex husband.

I’ll say this, though: it was much, much more obvious to me that The Pedant really was fine with my sex work and with me being poly and all of that. He would actively engage me in discussion about that stuff, and had lots of advice and whatnot. He once painted my toenails for me because I was supposed to see a foot fetish guy later, for Pete’s sake (and The Pedant is not into feet and hates the smell of nail polish – he got nothing out of the interaction except me being grateful for the help). He absolutely made me feel as though he supported me in all areas of my life.

I miss brainstorming sex work strategies with The Pedant.

Anyway.

The Dandy makes a lot of money. I’m not sure how much exactly, but like…a lot. Definitely six figures, I should think. And he has all these arcane hobbies and is able to throw shitloads of cash at them. I’m jealous of his money (so. Very. Jealous.) but I love hearing about his hobbies. I love hearing about all the weird factoids he knows, in general.

One of his hobbies is collecting fountain pens. He has almost fifty of them in a special case; he showed me yesterday (it came up because I pointed out what I thought was a collection of colognes on a shelf in his bedroom. Not colognes: ink. The size of the boxes and the graphics on the boxes did look kinda perfumey, though). I must have been really well calmed-down from my anxiety crash earlier because I was more focused than usual and found myself really interested in these pens. The best part is The Dandy doesn’t halfass anything: I knew he didn’t just have a pen collection because they were pretty. He would know everything about them. So I could ask him any questions that came into my mind at all and he would field them. “What’s this pen made out of? What’s the ink made out of? Was ink made of different stuff back in the day? What’s the most expensive kind of ink, and why?” and on and on.

The pens were mostly made of celluloid, btw. And there are different kinds of celluloid, and one kind off-gases camphor so you can tell if a pen is legit the kind it’s claimed to be by sniffing the inside of the cap.

I worry sometimes that I won’t be enough of an intellectual challenge for The Dandy because, while I know obscure bits and pieces about a lot of different subjects, he seems to know all my trivia already plus a billion terrabytes more. On the other hand, maybe he’s not looking for an intellectual challenge from me. Maybe it’s enough that I’m the kind of person who will eagerly engage with him for almost an hour over a pen collection.

The Dandy said something to me, a while back, along the lines that saying “I love you” jinxes a relationship. I’ve been feeling really close to him lately and somewhat tempted to drop the L-bomb but obviously not if he’s going to recoil in horror because he thinks I’ve doomed us. So as we were lying in bed last night (after a whole bunch of sex) I asked “Do you really think saying ‘I love you’ jinxes things?” He said no, not really (I’m not sure if I believe him; he had not sounded like he was kidding at the time) and asked me if I think it’s a jinx. I said that oddly, that’s not one of my paranoia things; I haven’t had any kind of pattern where relationships fell to shit after we exchanged I-love-yous. I have however had a few relationships fall to shit not long after I began tentatively trusting that things would go long-term, so that’s my big jinxy thing: allowing myself to believe that a partner will be a permanent fixture in my life rather than just “living in the now” or whatever. The Dandy squeezed my arm in sympathy when I said that.

“So…is there a reason you’re asking this right now?” The Dandy said. Under other circumstances I might have used that as a segue to actually tell him I loved him. But his tone was so knowing and nudge-nudge, wink-wink-y that it annoyed me.

In the past few years I’ve had two relationships (The Bunny and The Pedant) where I said “I love you” and they didn’t say it back and we went on to date for a year or more after the incident. A year or more of me having put those words out there (several times, in The Pedant’s case) and being met with a pat or a smile or an awkward deflection in return. And at the time I was willing to rationalize this: he treats me pretty well, I feel loved, maybe he feels the same thing I feel for him but he just doesn’t label it the same, we don’t have to break up over this, blah blah blah. But now I feel like I was kind of debasing myself by sticking around and I don’t want to do that again, which means I’m not gonna tell anyone I love them until I’m as sure as can be that I’ll get it back, and if I don’t get it back…I may have to bail.

And now here’s The Dandy asking me why I’m bringing up the subject of exchanging I-love-yous, all smarmy and knowing n shit, and just…ugh. If he’s that sure that I love him, why doesn’t he just say it first? And if he’s not at the point of wanting to say it, why the fuck is he prompting me to say it?

I told him I brought the subject up as a philosophical discussion, and then I cuddled up to him and went to sleep.

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