Remembering to say no

Own work, Woman wearing sheer pantyhose

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So I get a call about 5.30 last night from the Speed Dating mob I checked out a few months ago. I get regular email and text messages from them about their events, and the occasional last minute phone call offering me a free spot at one of their things to even up the boy/girl numbers. I’ve always knocked them back previously, but last night when they called I guess I was in the mood for a bit of fun, besides, it was at an old haunt of mine and so I said yes. An hour later I was on the tram rugged up in my winter woollies on my way into the city.

I’m pretty relaxed about these things. I don’t expect too much to start with, it’s just a fun diversion really, and anything more than that is a bonus. A few glasses of bubbly, something to chew on and the company of a diverse range of women is nothing to be sneezed at. And that was what it was like last night pretty much, the only difference being that the format for a change was a trivia night. So we went around the room in teams, meeting with, chatting to, and answering trivia questions with the bunch of women there. We laughed as we attempted to get the right answer, flirting left, right, and centre. Some are better than this than others, but the bubbly certainly doesn’t hurt. It pays, I think, to be bolder than you might be normally, to test the line occasionally knowing there’s nothing to lose. I made a comment about vibrators at one point which all the women delighted in giggling about. One woman said I look like a mountain climber, whatever that means. To all, regardless of whether I fancied them, I gave my time evenly.

I’m no expert on speed dating, but it seemed a pretty standard bunch of people from different walks of life and from different parts of the city. That’s one of the things I actually like about it – I often get to rub shoulders with people I wouldn’t come across in the normal course of events. It’s refreshing and interesting and sometimes fun and, I guess, there’s always the possibility of things ending somewhere unexpected – which is what happened last night.

I was leaving about 9.30. Most had already left, and my departure delayed by a minute by a visit to the gents. When I exited ahead of me on the stairs leading out was one of the girls I’d chatted with earlier. She was one of the cuter there, more glam than most, a nurse by day dressed for the evening in a fashionable black dress, sheer stockings and high heels. She was one of three I’d ticked to follow up on, and now here we were leaving together.

Out in the street we talked. What did you think? We made small talk until I made comment on how cold she must be without a coat. Oh, she said, I came with a coat. And so together we returned to the bar to claim her errant coat. With it properly in her possession and standing in the bar it seemed only natural we should stay for a drink or two. Shall we? Let’s!

She was a bit tiddly, and occasionally very amorous. I’d figured earlier that she liked me, and I was keen to without caring caring too much about it. Sitting by my side at the bar she told me how as soon I’d walked in earlier she had picked me out as the one. She complained that I hadn’t even noticed her, to which I disagreed. She stared at me, then turned me in my swivel stool I sat in until I faced her, and, sliding forward, her legs opened until my knee pressed against the v of her panties. She kissed me then, and again later. She stroked my face as my hand slid over the slippery fabric of her panty hose. Once more she reiterated how she had liked me walking in wearing my beanie and scarf and in my vest. I was different she said. Cool. Arrogant. Sexy. It was flirtatious hyperbole, but I wasn’t about to hush her. Once more she complained how I had not noticed her.

We sat like that for the next hour, kissing sometimes, caressing, sometimes pressing herself into my knee and telling me what she wanted, what she hoped for, what she was good at. She was an elegant woman, normally demure I would have thought, though with a lusty edge. At other times she sat back and accused me of being tired, and again that I hadn’t noticed her, that I was only being polite. It was like that all the way through, confusingly so, on/off, hot/cold, a push-me/pull-you set of behaviours that paralleled her waxing and waning belief in the moment.

She accused me more than once of feigning interest, of being cool. How much of that was a result of her capricious attitude, and how much of that was in me I can’t say. It was wrong – interest is pretty genuine when an attractive woman is promising all sorts of mischief beneath the level of the bar. Still, it had me wondering. I’m a naturally nonchalant type, but it seems to me that I may appear to be more so than I actually feel. Back in the day Amy used to accuse me of that, and while it was true that I affected some of that then to protect myself, I liked her all the way: my feelings were anything but cool.

We left the bar near 11. I walked her to the station down Swanston Street amid the rag-tag crowd that inhabits the city by night. We live on the same line, and so conveniently could catch the same train together. She seemed to think I was making that up, and that I was only catching the train with her because I thought I was going to sleep with her. As usual little I said seemed to convince her otherwise, but she seemed to warm to the idea regardless. She agreed, almost to herself, I could come home with her. Maybe I could give her a massage? She would be naked, she promised. And then she said we could sleep together, but without sex. She made me promise that if at some stage through the night she got horny on me then I would knock her back.

By now I was pretty amused by the whole thing. In actual fact I didn’t really want to fuck her. She was tiddly and I didn’t want to be part of something she might later regret. I considered taking up her offer of just sleeping with her. I could do that. But then she knocked me back again as we went through the loop, then reiterated the offer before retracting it several times after in what I had come to think of as typical of her. For much of the trip I thought I would end up in her bed, but as the train drew up to the platform at Hawthorn I changed my mind. “I’ll call you” I said, then got off the train.

On the short walk from the station to home I wondered what I had done – or rather, not done. I couldn’t believe myself. There was an attractive, if slightly challenging, woman telling me how great she was in bed and I’d given her a peck on the cheek and walked away.

When I woke this morning though I was glad to have said no. I will call her. Maybe we’ll catch up and then certainly we’ll consummate the deal. Or maybe not. It’s different in the daylight, and for all I know she’s embarrassed by what happened last night and unwilling to go there now. Whatever. I like her enough to see her again, but won’t be broken-hearted if I don’t. Truth of it is I have more than I can handle. Another two from last night, the entrepreneur tomorrow afternoon (albeit at a corporate function), the African tomorrow night at a party, the poly-amorite Monday early, another later, and further female friends I need to catch up through the week.

I keep thinking I need to make my life simpler, instead it just gets ever more complicated, and it’s all my fault.

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