O’Keeffe at the Tate, and other dates

The evening date with new man (NM1) was the last one I suspect.  He hasn’t made anymore contact and I’m happy for it to slide.  It had been a pleasant date at the Tate; the O’Keeffes which I was happy to linger in front of were her landscapes rather than the giant flora she’s more well-known for.  He had been quite happy like me when we got to the end of the exhibition to go back and spend more time in the earlier rooms.  At a quarter to ten the sky was still tinged by the setting sun and I took a few pictures from one of the Tate’s terraces across the Thames towards St Paul’s.  We went out to have some tapas and chat some more but I didn’t feel inclined to kiss him.

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A few weeks after that I met up with NM2, Julius, who seems to have the same thoughts as I do re dating: until we find someone we hit off really, really well with, we’ll carry on with this non-monogamous lifestyle where we continue to nurture the relationships with these similarly open-minded members of our opposite sexes.  I’d arrived at the pub a few minutes ahead of him and had already got myself an IPA.  We managed to find some seating in the small venue which was already getting busy at half six.  My first impressions of him were mixed.  I’d forgotten that he was considerably older than me and was startled by his silver white hair.  But he had kind eyes, an attractive voice, smelt pleasantly normal, was a great deal taller than me, and slim.  I invited him to tell me about his two current lovers and how he came to enjoy a non-monogamous lifestyle – it sounded like a similar history to mine!  A few minutes after I’d wondered what kissing him would feel like he leaned forward and I found it a very pleasant experience.  His kisses are warm, his trendy facial hair surprisingly soft.   He and I are going on our second date tomorrow and I feel a little nervous, partly because he seems to expect us to fall into bed with each other, but strangely, I don’t want to rush it.  When I communicated my trepidation to him he had been quick to wonder if it was anything he had said to put me off, as it were.  Perhaps after the length of time in the dating desert I am now beginning to tread more carefully.

The other men

I’ve let things with Lars and Liam peter out completely.  And envisage that the same will probably happen with Jan, Ramon and Goran but hope that these three might remain friends.  I had a feeling that Liam might have got a little irritated with me and so it’s just as well it ended.  Goran sent me a message when he returned from his holidays but I have not encouraged him to make a date. Ewan mentioned that he may be in London again just after mid August so it’ll be interesting to see how warmly I’ll continue to regard him now that Julius is on the scene.

My interest in sex has also waned slightly (my age catching up on me?) and I welcome this new man, Julius’s comment that he enjoys the intimacy of just lying naked together without necessarily doing more.  At the juncture in the underground tunnels we kissed a final lingering moment before going our separate ways.  Such a contrast to the date with NM1 earlier in the month when the closest he got was a quick peck on my cheek before jumping onto his train.  Chemistry is a complex, almost illogical thing.

not Mr Casaubon

In the last several days I’ve been enjoying long distance emailing and messaging with Ewan.    There is some banter and good-humoured ripostes.  Twice he has paid me fine compliments on my language and vocabulary, which on both occasions put me in good cheer for a period of time.

Yet …  at the same time, I’m still on the dating app chatting to a few others and made dates to see a couple of them.

One of the new men I met was an academic who had never been married and took the train into London to meet me.  On our first date he said that there was a dearth of suitable women in his own geographical vicinity and he had lied on the dating app because there was a larger number of potential dates in the big smoke.  You might think me naive but I believed him – he didn’t look like a two timing, smooth talking philanderer who might have been dissimulating a wife or girl friend at home.  He looked slightly unkempt and dishevelled – his long sleeved cotton shirt was creased and his shoes well worn and lived in.  He had dark, wavy hair which curled a few inches below his ears, framing a pale face whose strongest features were a combination of deep, dark eyes over cheek bones that marched out sharply. He was tall with a lithe lean body and later he told me that he sometimes missed meals in the middle of the day because what he had been reading was so absorbing that he’d lost all track of time.

He was interesting enough for me to suggest a second date and we spent another three hours in fairly amiable company.  But the chemistry just wasn’t there.  Although he is five years my junior, I was inclined to associate him, possibly unfairly, with a certain elderly cleric from Middlemarch.  And he was possibly intimidated by my non-monogamous lifestyle.

The hot weather saw me cancelling dates I’d provisionally made to meet up with Lars.  I have not seen him since last year as we have both been busy being in other places.  He had newly returned for a short period and would soon be off again, and I had not felt like taking up where we previously left off.

Max and I have resumed e-mailing and he continues to update me on his dating progress.  Goran has gone quiet since he is away with the family but before leaving the country had implied that he was likely to continue wooing his new and young Brazilian friend.  I don’t blame him for preferring this well-endowed liberal woman.  Jan occasionally sends me a message enquiring after my well-being but I rather suspect he has lost interest in me altogether.

I should be unsettled by all this … but if I am honest with myself I rather suspect that I have wanted to be left alone and that is why I have not made more of an effort to nurture these relationships.

a quiet evening in

Friday night, like most of my other Friday nights of late, is spent at home keeping a troubled teen company.  Occasionally I find myself whatsapping Goran, like tonight – it’s become a friendly routine with none of the emotional turmoil of last year.   As he’s currently trying to forget his recent disastrous love affair, he has arranged to have afternoon tea with another potential love interest tomorrow.  I surprised myself when I wished him luck how sincerely I meant it and bade him goodnight.  I can still remember a moment the last time he stayed the night when I’d felt a slight tinge of irritation with him.  I don’t think I showed it and was deliberately kinder and more hospitable towards him.  He had asked for some water post-coital when I just wanted to fall asleep.  All the same I got him some and we fell asleep together – later in the night, I crept myself out of his arms and curled up away from him.  We had our usual three romps and breakfasted at our usual place.  It was still fun being in his company but since he is reluctant to make any arrangements with me when his wife is coming over for the summer I don’t expect I shall see much of him in the next few weeks.

Ewan continues to send me text messages on an almost daily basis now that he has managed to get hold of a replacement phone, with snippets of holiday news – culture, ice creams, diving, the unfavourable exchange rate.  I hear from him in the mornings before he sets off for his day.  It’s very nice all this attention and I can’t help occasionally wondering whether he sends anyone else messages also.  As a relationship anarchist this shouldn’t bother me … and it doesn’t, but I would just like to know – am I sort of the only one?  Or if I wasn’t, then was I the one he’s a little more serious about?  I remember that he had kept asking me to visit him in the highlands just after I’d got back from Oz until I’d actually gone up.  We had talked, amongst other things, about his diving sprees.  I’m still quite keen to learn to dive and hope that I might enrol on a course some time in the not too distant future; all this independent of whether or not Ewan and I continue to see each other.

Hello, hello, hello

After a short hiatus Liam comes out to play on my invitation.  We agree on a movie and dinner date – Love & Friendship and Hare & Tortoise at Brunswick Square.  It was a lovely evening and I invite myself back to his on the pretext of using his bathroom.  We have a little intimate session and he walks me to catch the tube.  I hint at another shared break abroad but he seemed spooked by the idea.  I told him not to be alarmed and dash down the elevator to catch the last train home.

On a moody Sunday afternoon Max and I arranged to meet up at the Pergola Gardens.  We talked and exchanged our news – he has been adventurous, attending a few orgasmic meditation sessions and one other sex positive activity event involving erotic playfighting.  I enjoy our new platonic relationship and note that he seemed a little nervous around me.  We have a chaste kiss on the cheeks goodbye and I went home to play with the photos I’d taken with my new toy.

Goran is back in the picture, that is to say occasionally in my bed.  Since his return from the visit to his missus, he has resumed his poly status and also contact with the pugilistic Amazon.  Their dance of back and forth has been halted temporarily and who knows what may be in the distant future.  Meanwhile I discover that I am no longer subject to that attraction I had felt for him before my trip abroad.  He is still delicious in bed but I find I can enjoy him without the attendant romance.  I like this new equanimity and consider that I might call myself a relationship anarchist – I don’t have a primary relationship and regard Jan, Goran, Ewan, Max and Liam as equals in their parts.

Ewan sent me an email and text from abroad, which is really sweet of him to do so.  He gave me news of his holiday with his family and I waited slightly more than a day to send my reply – obviously I’m not wholly enamoured of him.  At the back of my mind I remember that he had mentioned that he would like to watch me with another man and woman.  Whilst the idea is a turn on uttered when we’re in bed together, I wonder if I would actually feel the same were it to happen.  Still, I won’t turn him down if he manages to find another willing couple.