What’s Love Got to Do With It?
Women sometimes accuse men of being interested in only one thing. And it’s not Scrabble. Okay, maybe it is Scrabble for one man in Montana, but Dwight’s been married for 46 years and, frankly, at this stage of his life, scoring a 27-point word gives him a lot more pleasure than scoring with his wife, Shirley. Though for the rest of us guys, I’ll admit that occasionally we are only interested in one thing — and the one thing is sex. I’m sorry, but that’s how we were constructed. Take it up with the manufacturer. Though I’m not sure we’re still under warranty.
And yet I have encountered a live illustration of the flip side to this theory – a turnabout situation, if you will. I had a date with a woman, Laura, who made it clear on her online dating site profile from the start, that, like many guys, and unlike many women, she was not looking for her soul mate. She was not looking for a long-term relationship. The word “commitment” was clearly not a part of her dating vocabulary. She merely wanted to, as that great philosopher, Olivia Newton-John, once put it, “get physical.”
Perhaps there are lots of women like this out there. However, it was certainly a rarity, if not a first, in my experience. A woman who just wants sex, no emotional or relationship strings attached. Now, most guys would describe this situation as, for want of a better word, heaven. And at first it was, well, kind of exciting.
Right from our first meeting, Laura made it clear she liked me. Lots of touching, a hug, an invitation to her house for the second date. From there, she drove us to one of her favorite restaurants, chose the table close to the band, suggested sharing a bottle of wine, and shared her food. I was starting to feel like the woman in the relationship. And, frankly, it wasn’t entirely unpleasant. We held hands during dinner and she initiated the first, and subsequent, kisses during the meal. And though I was a full and willing participant, I was nonetheless taken aback. Throughout, I wondered on which cool planet I had landed where getting physical was so easy and stress-free.
On the way back to Laura’s place afterwards, I thought to myself, “Rather than rush into anything, I’ll act like a gentleman, thank her for a wonderful evening, and drive home.” Laura had something else in mind. She invited me in and asked me to light some candles while she went to the bathroom. I did and sat on her couch, thinking, “Okay, maybe we’ll kiss a little, then I’ll excuse myself like a gentleman and go home.” Well, that was the plan, anyway.
Laura came out of the bathroom, joined me on the couch, and, without saying a word, proceeded to have her way with me. Okay, yes, again I was a full and willing participant. And we did practice safe sex. And again, I’m wondering what cool planet this was where there was no need to discuss when we should have sex, why we should have sex, what sex means to us, what we mean to each other, and on and on and on. It was just raw animal passion. And I learned something. You know how they say that sex within the context of a committed relationship is even more wonderful? I learned that sex by itself is pretty darned wonderful, too.
But there was a feeling of emptiness in the aftermath: Laura did not invite me to stay overnight. She let me know she couldn’t see me ‘til the following weekend because she was “busy” the coming weekend. And when I called her the next morning to thank her for what seemed to me to be a pretty exciting evening for both of us, Laura’s exact response, and I quote, was, “Yeah, dinner was nice.” And I thought to myself, “Dinner was nice?” What is this, emotional payback for all the thousands of years men have been doing this sort of thing to women?
Two days later, Laura called and suggested getting together again. A more evolved man would have said, “No thanks. I’m looking for someone serious about a long-term relationship.” Yet, this is me we’re talking about. We ended up going for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and making out in the back seat of my car. There was no talk of a future date. I sent her a highly complimentary email the next day. She never responded. And I still have not heard from her. But I thank her for teaching me something.
I learned about the feeling of hollowness and emotional whiplash one experiences going from full-contact love-making to no contact whatsoever. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying I’d act differently if another Laura came along. But, truthfully, another Laura would not be my first choice. I like all that other “stuff” of a committed relationship. And I want it. Because as thrilling and comforting as sex can be, it is true what they say about having it with your special person – that is what your heart really needs. And I hope to God I experience it before I start getting really attached to my Scrabble board.