“stuckatseventeen blog fake”

Today when I checked my stats page, I noticed that someone had searched “stuckatseventeen blog fake.” Huh. Really? I think I’m mostly flattered. But also a little offended.

I promise that I’m real, and that the events I relate here are recorded as accurately as my memory and writer’s prerogative dictate. (I don’t write down every ridiculous thing I say. Just most of them.)

I don’t know whether someone would think this blog is fake because of the writing or because of the content. I have a degree in English and a certificate in copyediting. And I’ve always written and read. A lot. So that’s why my blog is perhaps a bit more polished than the average blog out there. As for the content, well, I can hardly believe it myself. Here’s an excerpt from my journal, dated July 30th: “I’ve certainly never had such an eventful week. It’s the kind of week where, if I were reading someone else’s story, I’d just be frustrated and disbelieving because if they were really as shy and scared as they say, it never would have happened.”

What can I say? We all know that online dating can work out. It happens to be working out for me, and I happen to be writing about it.

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Written on my skin

August 22nd. On Wednesday, B brought over dinner and a selection of foreign films. He made something with green curry for me because that’s my favorite curry, and he made me my own loaf of cheddar jalapeño bread because the last loaf he made had cheese with rennet and he felt bad that I couldn’t eat it. Lastly, he brought a mystery box and put it in the fridge. (Chocolate covered strawberries. No, he didn’t make them.)

Well, that wasn’t all he brought. He also found the English version of Olivia and we compared it to the Russian one. Amazingly, they seem to be strikingly different–not word-for-word translation at all! Whole sentences added in Russian, even. This discovery prompted us to open google translator, something I’d never looked at. Much fun ensued. B pasted in the first few paragraphs of Pride and Prejudice, translated it to Russian, and then we listened to the magic-google-lady voice read it. Wow. We tried Yiddish and Hebrew and German and Polish, though audio wasn’t always an option. I suppose we’re pretty nerdy.

I’d also stopped in at the university bookstore (to get my new pretty pretty journal) and picked up a book from the sale shelf: That’s Amore! Words of Love for Lovers of Language. It has terms of endearment, declarations, etc. spelled phonetically from all over the world. Russian has a phrase that means ‘thank you for existing,’ but the literal translation is ‘Thank you that you are on the light.’ Isn’t that lovely? I memorized it to tell B upon his arrival: Spasiba shto tiy yest na sveti. And yes, I was a bit nervous about a book entitled ‘that’s love,’ but it was only a dollar, and I kept it light as we flipped through it. It fit with our oft-discussed topic of nicknames. As in, “Ugh, that one means ‘little bunny.’ Don’t call me that.”

Again, we did not end up watching anything. We stayed clothed and on the couch this time though. (I was feeling pre-menstrual breast tenderness and had a cloth liner on, just in case. I thought about letting B know the state of things, but couldn’t quite bring it up.) We tossed the cushions off the couch to give ourselves more room and kissed and snuggled. I thought a lot about my Sunday night revelation and whether or not to bring it up. Finally, I said, “So–what I wrote on Sunday…did you get it?”

B answered, “I wrote it back.”

“You did?!”

“Yeah. Right here.” He touched the skin between my collarbones.

“I didn’t get it!” I said.

And so, as I held very still, he wrote it again, joining his thumb and forefinger to form the O and splitting them apart to make the V.

I didn’t know what to say. He didn’t say anything either. There was lots more kissing and hugging with all our might, accompanied by contented, “Mmmmms!”

We ate strawberries and he went home.

The heart expands

August 19th. Sunday at 5:30 B picked me up for another dinner and theater date. We’d last seen each other on Friday for a day-long lie in. As soon as he came inside, we kissed and had a long hug. I was happy not to feel like I had to work my way up to it, though we still talked our way through. “I’m wondering how long I can keep this up, with both arms,” I said, poking fun at myself. “I just won’t let go suddenly,” he answered. He really does remember what I wrote in that first emotional email, when I explained that reestablishing my balance when someone lets go is the difficult part of the hug.

We didn’t get back to my place after the theater until 11:15. I told him he could come in for a little while, thinking of a midnight curfew. Of course he didn’t leave until 2am, when he admitted he was getting too tired to drive home. We sat on the couch and kissed. I tried to concentrate and just kiss him and not think about anything, but it didn’t work and I ended up laughing again. I still find this whole thing so hard to believe–it’s so fun/funny/enjoyable. Rather than feel insecure, or exasperated with me, B started kissing me in ways to make me laugh. He did some kind of suction thing (which I actually kind of like), and he started laughing too. That moment, when he leaned back, unable to contain laughter at his own kiss, I felt my heart expand and open and my feelings with it. An almost physical sensation–I think I really do love him. I’m pretty sure that’s what this is. So I tried it out in my head as we kissed: I love you I love you I love you I love him I love him I love him. And I just wanted to keep kissing him. Not in a desperate, rip his clothes off way, but a ‘this is so much fun’, ‘I really enjoy you,’ way.

I love love love that we could play with kissing. He did silly things with his lips. He sucked the air out of my mouth and I called him a breath vampire. =) We both tried the suction thing at the same time and burst out laughing. Just so much fun. Sometimes it got serious and we really kissed and wrapped our arms tightly around each other–I tried to show him that I love him. Then I decided to hold his hand up and slowly and deliberately write L-O-V-E on his palm, just as I had been doing before, only this time I wanted him to get it. When I asked if he understood, he didn’t say yes, but I’m pretty sure he did. I almost said it out loud. Then he was writing something along my arm, but I wasn’t expecting it, missed the beginning, and didn’t get it. We kissed each other really hard some more. He checked the time on his phone, and his screen background was a black and white photo of a girl with LOVE written down her dress. He held it out to me, I think making sure that I read it. But neither of us said anything.

It’s just so strange. Is this really it? Could it be this easy–this gentle happy falling?

The only mind I know is mine

I’m often reminded that communication is an imperfect thing, and there’s no way to make it perfect.

During one of our personal/sex-ish/us type conversations, B mentioned something about my worry about not being able to be experimental. Or something. “Experimental?” I asked. “Is that not the word you used?” he said. “I don’t know,” I answered. “I don’t remember what you’re talking about.” And that was the end of that exchange, though it felt like we were attempting to talk about something important. I honestly didn’t know what he was talking about, couldn’t remember ever having said anything like that. If I had said something about being experimental, I might have been joking or teasing, or referring to not being very experimental just yet. It’s something that has obviously stuck in B’s mind, and I don’t recall it at all. It makes me wonder how accurate our impressions of each other are. I used to think B was shy, but now I realize it was more that he was just unsure of me, not of himself. How different are our rememberings and misrememberings? In what ways are we going to have miscommunicated when we had thought we were clear? It’s not easy to formulate such new and intimate thoughts and feelings into just the right words. And even if I think I’ve found the right words, I can’t be sure that he’s taking them how I intend them. Feelings conveyed through tongue-tied speech and cautious action. It’s no wonder that relationships are such a muddle. I’ll never know just how B feels. I can only know what he shows and tells, filtered through my own perception.

Inching closer. (Part three)

The next installment. Very odd to be relaying the events of a week and a half ago as if they just happened when so much has occurred in the interim.

  • August 16th. Thursday B came over at 5:30. I had cut some of my own bell pepper and broccoli and was making a stir fry. It actually felt a bit weird and formal, him arriving for dinner and me in the middle of chopping vegetables. We didn’t kiss or hug in greeting, and that’s something I want to be comfortable with. I don’t want to feel like I have to work up to kissing him still, not when I’m preparing to sleep with him. After dinner we made out on the couch until it was time to leave. We were off to see a play billed as a “sexy comedy,” and it certainly lived up to that description. =) B and I held hands/caressed palms the whole time, and that’s just a lovely experience. When we were driving back from the play, he asked, “Where to?” and I let him decide. I had put a toothbrush in my bag just in case we ended up back at his place, and that is indeed where we ended up.

Shirts came off right away. Then the belt came off. At some point he asked, “Do you want to take off my pants?” and I said, “No, but you can take them off.” (I’m not sure if his question was asking me if it’s okay if he’s pants-less or his way of letting me know he’d really like it if I undressed him. My guess is both, but mostly the latter.) I’d already let him know that my pants were staying on. Once his were off, I wondered if he expected me to get right to it, pick up where we left off in our progression. We were making out, and I wondered if I was supposed to reach down between us and interrupt his movements. In the end, I didn’t, and couldn’t bring myself to ask what he wanted either. He didn’t say anything or do anything to encourage me in that direction, and eventually we fell asleep, our arms across each other.

  • August 17th. On Friday we stayed in bed all day. I used to wonder how doing this with another person was possible. I knew that I enjoyed lazing in bed all day, but was it possible for me to feel really relaxed with another person in my immediate space for so long? It turns out–to my surprise and delight–that it’s easy. And not only easy, but really pleasant. Late in the morning, I got up to brush my teeth and hair and apply deodorant, and when I returned, B was lying there reading a Soviet cookbook. Really interesting–we learned that there are seven steps to drinking vodka properly. It was 1pm before we even thought about getting up, and 3:30 before we finally did. B made us a plate of snacks, and I sat shirtless at the table, paging through a book on the history of food.

Back in bed, I knew I wanted to talk about sex, to talk about getting tested, but it wasn’t easy to bring up. Every time I opened my mouth my stomach tightened. It was very obvious to B that I was trying to say something. Eventually I managed, mentioning my doctor’s appointment and saying, “I’m supposed to ask you if you’ve ever been tested.” He said no. I didn’t quite know what to say next. Honestly, I thought he’d say, “No, but I’ve only been with one person.” But it was just ‘no.’ Then he said, “So I’m getting tested?” And, relieved, I said yes. We talked about birth control, and I don’t remember what it was exactly, but something led him to say, “So you don’t like any of the girl ones?” I didn’t want him to feel like I’m making him do all these things and sitting back with all the power. I let him know that I’d been on the pill for a long time, but have been off it for a little over a year. I’d just looked into the shot, which sounded great until you got to all the possible side effects. I told him I’d do more research. We talked condoms and when I asked him if he had a preference (of type, not of use in general) he said no. And that was it–our first official talk about (planning to have) sex.

Somewhere in our conversation, it became clear that he had indeed hoped that I’d take matters into my own hands, so to speak. I told him again that I need direction, that I need him to tell me or show me what he wants. (It still feels a bit like I’m trespassing. I suppose I should assume that I just have an open invitation, that I’m welcome anytime.) I think he said again that he just wants me to do what I want, which doesn’t help. (Maybe if he moved my hand there himself, he’d feel like he was making me do it?) To stop us going in circles about it I said, “If you want me to do something, put my hand somewhere, you’re going to have to take my hand and show me. I can’t read your mind.” He said okay. We’ll see how often this variation on a theme features in our conversation.

We lounged in bed talking, limbs over each other, until 7pm when B finally said, ‘I think I should take you home before it gets dark.’ And so it was that I discovered I could enjoy myself and feel relaxed and good while spending all day in the company of a man.

Inching closer. (Part two)

Let’s continue.

  • August 13th. Monday after work B picked me up for an outing he’d thought up quite a while ago: a public library and Ikea. The town next to ours has a bigger Russian population than ours has; consequently, their library has a larger selection of Russian children’s books. I’d never been there before and neither had B, so off we went to the children’s room. Oh how lovely to see a full row of books in Russian, from colors and animals to Harry Potter. No Dr. Seuss though–that would have been awesome. My brain hurt trying to sound out the words of even the easiest books, and I knew I sounded worse than a first grader learning to read. (It’s been more than a decade since my Russian classes.) So much fun though. We checked out Olivia, the one about the little pig. Unfortunately, the English version was already checked out (in our local library as well). Then we looked at the Russian children’s movies–what an odd collection! Ikea was lots of fun. I had a veggie wrap and we shared chocolate cake and strawberries and whipped cream. We walked around the store until closing announcements at 8pm. B showed me the island unit he wants for his kitchen, and of course we mercilessly judged some hideous lamps and the square sinks with corners that are too hard to clean. All in all, quite a successful outing.

Back at my place we decided he should stay over. I didn’t have work the next day, but had a doctor’s appointment instead. In my room, I told him to think of a question for me. I think this was my way of getting to the personal stuff without asking, “What are you thinking?” His question this time was, “What’s next?” That’s a very good question. One I thought I knew the answer to, but couldn’t say (blush). So I said, “What’s the next question? Since I didn’t answer the first one.” He asked if the ‘nothing below the belt’ rule still stood. My answer was something like, “I don’t know I think so for me it does.” Which was as close as I could get to telling him out loud what I thought should be next. I have mixed feelings about what’s gone on below the belt so far. When B touches me over my clothes, part of me wants to guide his hand, and the other part of me wants to let him know that nothing much is going to happen for me, so he doesn’t have to do that. I feel like it’s going to take more time before I can relax and let things build–and certainly clothing is a barrier, but I’m not ready to remove it. I don’t know what B expects–is he looking for more response from me? Or is he doing it for himself? (In which case, he can go for it as long as he wants.) As I’ve said before, I appreciate his enthusiasm and his attentiveness. I’m just not sure what to do with it yet.

B tried to get an answer to the ‘what’s next’ question. “Do you want to whisper it in my ear?” he teased. No! Somehow this led to me writing on his skin with my fingertip, the same word I’ve been writing (but not saying) since I first stayed over at his place: L-O-V-E. Did I trust that I was really feeling it? Nope. He said he didn’t know what I was writing, and I told him that was the point.

We made out a bit more, and eventually I worked up the courage to move my hand over his crotch. “So,” I said. “This is what’s next. But you have to give me some direction since I don’t know what I’m doing.” He removed his jeans–after asking if I wanted to take them off. I told him he’d have to do that–way too awkward for me. He lay there in his boxers and I put my hand on his hip. And then I refused to move until he told me or showed me what to do. It’s not that I had no idea–I’ve read books and seen movies and watched p.orn (research, you know). But this was real, right now, in my bed. It’s so personal and intimate, and I needed not only permission, but guidance as well. Interestingly, B did not want to give it. He wanted me to just do what I wanted, to explore. While I appreciated his trust and confidence in me, I did not share it. “It’s your body,” I insisted. “You have to give me direction.” Anyone having flashbacks to Judy Blume’s Forever here? Or Norma Klein’s novels? I won’t give a second by second breakdown. I did manage to touch a naked penis. Huzzah. B did eventually close his hand over mine and guide me. We actually looked each other in the eye and talked while I was touching him. That is something I never imagined happening (which I told him later), and it wasn’t as awkward as I would have thought. He let me know I could stop, and I said, “Is that your way of telling me to stop?” “No.” I asked if he wanted me to keep going until he climaxed and he paused and answered, “Not this time.” I was a little surprised it didn’t just happen, as he usually seemed on the verge with very little help. I wondered if he felt the same way I did–that it was suddenly a whole other ballgame when someone else was in control, and that he wasn’t able to fully get into it. I’m sure my clumsy freshman attempts didn’t help.

At one point, he asked what I was thinking. I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m grossed out, that I think it’s yucky, but I don’t. What I was thinking was that he was much bigger than I realized. I hadn’t really gotten a full sense of the girth when he was just up against my thigh. I admitted that it would be a tight fit. Good for him, not so much for me. The next day, I researched upgrading my toy. A few years ago, I had chosen a plain, inexpensive “slender model” to start out with, for obvious reasons. Even that I had to work up to being able to use internally, and it’s still not super comfortable. And in comparison, it really is the slender model. After looking online, I just didn’t feel like spending the money, buying more plastic destined for the landfill, that required batteries, no less. In the end, I know we’ll figure it out, and I’d rather practice with the real thing. I’m pretty sure B won’t mind.

  • August 14th. In the morning I made eggs and we had tea and fruit and the caramelized onion focaccia bread that he’d made and brought with him the day before. (If he keeps feeding me like this, I’m a goner.) I was wearing his t-shirt, and he sat across from me. I like him in his boxers at my breakfast table. =) I put The Story. of Stuff on for him (happily, the video was preaching to the choir) while I showered and dressed and then he drove me to my doctor’s appointment. It was the longest we’d spent together thus far–almost twenty-four hours.

The appointment was my ‘annual’ physical. (I hadn’t had one in six years.) The timing was very deliberate. I wanted to get things checked out, as part of preparing physically and mentally to take the next steps. The speculum was much easier to take than six years ago, so at least that’s something. A thought recently occurred to me: if my legs and hips/pelvis are so tight because of my CP, is it possible that the muscles of and around the vagina are tighter than is typical as well? I almost asked my doctor, but then I chickened out. Because of the lovely new-patient questionnaire that I’d filled out at my first appointment two months before, my doctor is aware of my rare sexual status. When she asked if there was anything new in my life, I said, “I have a boyfriend now, and we’re totally going to have sex soon.” We talked a bit about birth control and she asked if B had had partners before (“Just one.”) and if he’d been tested. No matter how comfortable with and close you feel to someone, that’s not an easy topic to bring up because it feels like you’re judging your partner and their past partner(s).       

My friend (another later-than-typical virgin) picked me up, and when I got in the car I announced that I’d touched a penis. She said she would have given me a high five if she hadn’t been driving. We went and picked up a pint of ice cream and full disclosure followed.

Another novel. Part three to come.  

Inching closer. (Part one)

First, I want to thank those who have left comments urging me to write. I’m flattered and grateful. I never intended to stop writing completely. It was just so much easier to write about each ‘encounter’ when it really felt like a big, weekly event. Now that B is my boyfriend and we’re spending increasing amounts of time together, so much happens I can barely keep up. I’ve finally caught up in my actual journal (had to buy a new one today!), so I feel more prepared now to record events here.

I left off after relating events from August 3rd/4th, when I first slept over at B’s. Sixteen days have passed. I’m amazed and fascinated by the way our relationship has continued to change and evolve over the past two weeks. It’s almost difficult to recall my mindset at various times along the way, since even now it feels different than just one day ago.

But I shall try. Perhaps I won’t write a book if I put things down in list form?

  • Monday August 6th. B sent me an email that afternoon offering to bring over dinner and a movie, “tonight or tomorrow? Right now?” I had just spent the previous Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning with him, and while the remaining part of the weekend had been restful, and while I was happy that he wanted so much to see me, I felt I needed a little more time to myself. Chores had been neglected in favor of lounging around on the weekend, and I just needed to catch up. I composed an email letting him know that tomorrow was better than tonight or right now, worrying over it and explaining myself. I don’t know how he felt when he read it, but when he came over the next day, he referred to the email in a teasing, yet understanding way.
  • August 7th/8th. B came over. I’d prepared some dinner, and B contributed dish of veggies/noodles with peanut sauce. I told him I’d provide the food since he keeps feeding me, but he cooked anyway. The movies he brought were French, Latvian, and Russian, and while they looked interesting, I decided we should go to my room instead. ;-) In my journal I have written, “I don’t remember the details from this particular make out session anymore.” Alas. I guess that’s the way it goes–I no longer rush to record the play-by-play. I told B he could stay over as long as he left in time for me to get ready for work the next day. I gave him a spare toothbrush. Of course, I didn’t sleep well, but it was so new and lovely to feel kisses on my shoulder and gentle fingers running along the backs of my thighs throughout the night. (Turns out my thighs really like that. Who knew? Totally added to The Bedroom List.) In the morning, I really enjoyed the sight of him standing in my kitchen in his underwear, and I told him so. (When we were preparing for bed the night before, he’d asked if he was allowed to remove his shorts and sleep in his underwear. I said yes, but I kept pajama bottoms–shorts–on over mine.)
  • August 9th. I went over to his place in the late afternoon. B had an interview in a neighboring town the next day, and I was going out of town for the weekend, so we wouldn’t have seen each other until the following week otherwise, to which B had said, “I don’t like that idea.” So I set the alarm on my phone to catch the second-to last bus, giving B enough time to get good rest before his interview the next day. When I arrived, he was making brownies (delighted sigh). Then he clicked a button and music came on. I recognized it immediately. It was the compilation cd I had lent him to listen to on the drive to the conference months ago. Ella Fitzgerald singing Gershwin. B sang/hummed/whistled along. We sat on the couch, holding hands, and singing along with Gershwin. Seriously. Then there was brownies and ice cream and making out. According to my journal, I was feeling more used to being on top. I do like kissing his neck and nibbling his earlobe from that angle. I don’t have much control of my hips/pelvis–they’re very stiff and isolating movement is practically impossible–but I think that was the night I attempted to move a bit more (still fully clothed here, people), and B said, “You’re good at this.” That was very nice to hear–he’s able to appreciate what I’m able to offer. Of course my alarm interrupted us and we dragged ourselves up. He walked me to the bus stop and we had our first public kiss.
  •  August 10th. Friday B called me at 9:45pm. He was at a beer tasting event downtown and wanted to know if he could stop by so I could judge his level of inebriation. Since he’s a home brewer and I don’t drink at all, he’s told me that he doesn’t drink to the point of drunkenness. I said sure, come over, even though I hadn’t showered that day, was wearing an old dress just for around the house, and was going to be catching a 9:25 train in the morning. B bicycled over in a few minutes and joked about my not wanting to kiss him since he’d taste of beer. I gripped his shirt, pulled him toward me, and kissed him right then. Happily, even though I really dislike the taste of beer, a bit of it lingering on the lips of my man is absolutely tolerable. It also felt really good to kiss him like that. I think I was able to do it because we’d been seeing each other so regularly. If a few days go by, I still feel like I have to work up to kissing him a little bit (though I may be over that now). He only stayed a couple hours, so we managed to stay fully clothed and on the couch. =) I asked him about the interview and we looked at his beer passport-type thing that described all the samples–flavor, mouthfeel, etc., and at an events calendar. It was really nice just to sit and talk and kiss and not take things to the bedroom–just because we’ve gone there doesn’t mean we have to end up there every time we’re together. This was the night I realized the way I was kissing was evolving. I was learning to participate more in the deep tongue kissing that B seems to really enjoy. I think the whole ritual of kissing–tongues in particular–is very strange, and I always wondered, what if I just don’t like it? I’m delighted to find that I do. I still can’t stop myself from thinking about it while it’s happening sometimes. Like, I can’t believe I’m doing this. This is so weird. Once, I started laughing when we were kissing. B said, “Uh-oh,” but I assured him it was just because I still find the activity so novel.

Still wrote a novel. And only covered five days. Part two to come.