The first weekend Alexander spends at mine

The rain pattered noisily on the velux windows above us this morning; above a replete pair recumbent in each others’ arms.  I marvelled at how I welcomed Alexander’s embrace and felt nothing but a deep fondness for him at that moment.  He had been attentive and enthusiastic in his efforts last night – so much so that a few slats under the bed had come apart and clattered to the floor when we were in mid-congress.  Being not in the least distracted we carried on until he eventually climaxed.  I couldn’t help thinking that it was a rather extended session and he apologised also for taking so long at it.  It was then that I asked him whether, in the past few dates that we had had, he had taken anything to enhance his sexual performance.  He said that he had but not last night.  I was gratified later that morning that sans artifice, he succeeded in clearing two more hurdles with a little rest in between, before we finally got up.

Earlier the previous afternoon we’d had a date involving a walk on Hampstead Heath, getting caught in the rain on the way back to the car via a coffee stop.  When we got back  to mine, we had some wine and began preparations for the meal Alexander had promised to cook for me, and as it turned out, for the rest of the people at home too.  Finishing a bottle of red between us, he at the stove and I as general kitchen helper, washing up and putting some music on in between chatting to him and anyone else who came into the kitchen, drawn by the lovely aroma of chorizo, chicken, paprika and mirepoix cooking, I was more than a little merry by the time we all, five of us sat down to dinner.  I liked how easily he slipped into my weekend routine on this, his first meeting with some members of my family.

Knowing how close he was to his mother – he had once said that she was now like a good mate to him with the mere two decades between them, and her retaining a fairly youthful outlook – I’d asked him if he had mentioned me to her and what she thought of his dating me.  He had previously told me that he thought we might get on as we seem to have similar ideas about relationships and independence.  I was, of course, flattered at being compared favourably to someone who was significant to him.  He hastened to add that she  respected his choices and never sought to influence them directly.  He said that she had admired the way I told him from the beginning about my non-monogamous lifestyle.  This led to a discussion of his still tentative view of it, and a confession on my part that far from being an ethical slut, he was the only man I was currently seeing since Jan is far too busy with his gf and Ewan was so far away in the Highlands.   I still retain my liberal belief that relationships should not be shackling whilst being quite content at the moment to date him exclusively.  He was uncertain whether he might feel intense jealousy at the thought of me with another man but respected my lifestyle choice.

We each confessed to the increasing warm feelings we felt for one another, whilst establishing that we were comfortable with the boundaries we set out – respecting the time apart between dates, how unnecessary to be too needful of physical contact, the necessity of maintaining our own privacy and independence and so on.

I’m determined not to repeat past mistakes – of rushing ahead or making dates into the future – and so when we said our goodbyes at 11 this morning, we only made one tentative date for the middle of next week.   He told me he had a footie event he was attending with his friend on Tuesday evening and I quite welcome the idea that I would regain more time for myself next week.  He had asked me about the big five oh, when my birthday was on and whether I’d anything arranged.  I was almost tempted to invite him to celebrate it with me but held back because it is still two months away and a lot could happen in that time.  He seemed to appreciate this without my having to articulate my feelings on it, moreover he must be quite aware by now that I pretty much do things on an adhoc basis.

Things to come

Alexander bought tickets for us to watch Things to come, featuring Isabelle Huppert who is one of my favourite actors – he too confessed to having fallen in thrall with her since seeing her in The Lacemaker many, many years ago.  This is one of those films which holds its audience in quiet captivation, dealing with issues familiar to people of our age – an ageing parent, a failed long term relationship, relations with adult children and others.   There are moments of light relief, allowing us to laugh at our human frailty – the vain and attention-seeking mother, the once radical now turned bourgeois family, the reality of the battle between profit and staying true to one’s beliefs.

There are philosophical tropes, mention of Rousseau, and other philosophers, the belief that the younger generation is always questioning, doubting, seeking change, even a hint of radicalisation.  The strength of the character Huppert plays is evident in the way she embraces her new life in the face of the bereavement she suffers and when her husband leaves her for a younger woman – she declares in surprised delight that she has found freedom.  There are no cliched reactions, no lapses; she doesn’t embark on a rebound affair despite the tension we cannot help feeling in the scenes with her protege Fabien, in the close confines of a car.  Instead there’s a quiet dignity about her even when she tries to bin the floral display on the dining table – I can only guess that they were a present from her now departed husband.

Huppert’s is a character who will make no compromises  If she had faltered, it was only human – in an earlier scene she had marvelled at her own idiocy, believing that he would love her forever.  When he confessed to his philandering, she had murmured her reproof that he might not have kept the secret affair to himself – suggesting that she could have gone along with the lie. Towards the end however, you cannot help but admire her for her ruthless determination in maintaining the separation between them, removing her things from their holiday home, demanding his set of keys to the marital home and single-handedly getting her empty house ready for festive cheer and dinner for her children and grandson.  One feels almost sorry for the cheating husband who has nothing but Schopenhauer to keep him company over Christmas.

When the film ended he took me to dine at a nearby Ethiopian restaurant.  It was delicious fare and fun to eat with our hands.  We couldn’t wait to get back to mine after the meal, specifically into bed with each other.  At some point in the early hours of the night I told him that I felt quite soppy towards him, sensing that he was similarly smitten.  He is.  I wondered aloud when we might have our first tiff.  He must’ve thought me a very strange lover.  In the morning, following the usual routine of a romp, showers, coffee, dog-walking and drive to the station/work we quietly enjoyed each other’s company and finally kissed our goodbyes, looking forward to Saturday when we had promised to meet again.

What Is This Thing With Alexander?

Monday evening came and saw Alexander and me enjoying dinner at Barrafina’s on Adelaide St before crossing the Thames and going on to the National Theatre. It was a short play and we came home to mine by half ten. There was time for some tea afterwhich we went upstairs for bed and more.  He had to leave early in the morning but we still had time to indulge in a little more intimacy before he had a shower, returned me my shirt I’d inadvertently left at his last week and finally, most deliciously, he had kissed me goodbye until Thursday, before he closed the door and descended the stairs and went out the front door.

The previous evening we’d talked frankly about his home circumstances – the depression his wife suffers and how that affects her ability to cope with their children; the involvement of the borough they lived in to ensure that the children’s needs are met, the meetings with council staff to weigh up and consider the instruments for satisfying such outcomes. He clearly has a lot to contend with.  I’d suggested to him that he could just go home at the end of our date if it was easier to negotiate travel, etc for such a meeting the following morning.  He had given me so complete a look of anguish that I felt a mixture of guilt and satisfaction for proposing it.

He also told me about his past girlfriends and how he had always been attracted to strong and independent women. I observed that it didn’t seem as though the women he married had those characteristics. He said that when he first met her, his current wife had come across as such and it was only later on that he realised she was particularly needy and emotionally unstable. Like most marriages they had had good times, she was sexually adventurous and he had been attracted to that – they had enjoyed holidays in Europe at naturist sites.  He blamed his own optimism and hope that things would turn a corner for not leaving earlier.  When the atmosphere at home had reached a certain level of toxicity that saw some physical violence, he had realised then that it was time to walk away.  He had been unfoundedly fearful of outcomes which had actually borne an opposing result – he was more at ease, regained his confidence and ability to parent singly, met and tentatively formed friendships with other women, rediscovered his sexuality, and so on – as such none of the fears that had held him back from walking away had come to fruition.

Before he met his current wife he had been seeing someone based in Europe and the few occasions they’d met had been alluring and exciting until it all went wrong somehow.  I guess the more at arm’s length someone is kept, the greater the danger of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

For now we are on the same page –  this is clearly an arrangement that suits us both – we have dependents and commitments that keep us on our toes, maybe even test our stress levels at times, such that the intimacy and dates we have with each other offer release and a break from reality. That I can be content with. For now this is good enough.

unethically non-monogamous

I’m currently a non-monogamous fraud.  Apart from Ewan who lives too far away, Max and his pull/push dating modus, and Jan busy with life and his gf, I have only pretty much been seeing A quite exclusively.  The other new men have fallen off the edge and I spend the evenings eating jelly or drinking some red, and text flirting with A.  I know I have swept him off his feet.  I know he likes the fact that I am independent and shoot from the hip and the complete opposite of needy.  I know because he tells me that is what he likes about me.  I know because now I can just tell.  So I think nothing of initiating chats with him and suggesting stuff to do on our dates.  He knows that I have dated a few people concurrently in the past and I don’t let on the fact that some of these men have faded away into the background recently as I don’t want him to think that I am sort of dating him exclusively – in case it freaks him out.  I do admit that my dating plate is full and that I don’t feel the need to meet anymore new lovers.  He tells me that he too feels the same, although we both know that he has only just started this dating malarkey and I am the only one he is involved in any form of how’s your father – an interesting euphemism which we both found had its origins in Victorian times, humorously related in the urban dictionary

According to Michael Kelly, a writer and historian in New Zealand, “the origin of the expression ‘how’s your father’ can be traced back to Victorian times. In those days any man with a daughter was so protective of her virtue that he would take extraordinary measures to safeguard it. Unmarried girls would be kept within the bosom of their family as much as possible, chaperoned on excursions, and on those occasions when they were let out of bounds for social events, their fathers would often accompany them discreetly by hiding underneath their voluminous skirts ready to pounce on any man who transgressed the bounds of propriety. 

However, a father with more than one daughter couldn’t be everywhere at once. Thus, a suitor having a discreet vis-a-vis with his beloved would cautiously ascertain her father’s whereabouts by asking, ‘And how is your father?’ If her father was currently under her skirts, she would glance downwards and reply, ‘My father is very well, thank you, and as alert and vigorous as ever, and maintains his interest in rusty castrating implements.’ Her beau would then say, ‘I have always had the greatest respect for your father, and of course for you. Let us hold hands and think about the Queen for a while.’ If, on the other hand, her father was elsewhere, she would reply, ‘The mad old bastard is currently stationed between my sister Constance’s thighs. Let us go into the garden and rut like stoats.’ 

Hence, ‘How’s your father’ became a euphemism for you-know-what.”

by BethBracken October 25, 2007

It was inevitable then that any mention of gardens or stoats had us both in hysterics – our merriment might have been aided by some red wine and the newness of this relationship.  It’s too early to tell how long it will last and after the last debacle over J I am suspicious of these warm feelings – they can cool quite rapidly.  I am now also happily recording this blog without feeling the need to share it with A, and resisting the urge to invite him to be a part of my social media network.

an uncomplicated coupling

Not giddy about my dates anymore, I detect a change in myself.  There’s a degree of selfishness in that I am no longer prepared to compromise.  These are lessons learnt since the holiday that shouldn’t.

I’m now dating someone closer to my age – Alexander, whom I might see as often as twice a week, midweek only though, usually on Mondays and Thursdays since I am happy to keep my weekends to myself and my family.  And he too.

We had a date last night at the BFI – did he tear up a couple of times during the film?  I didn’t refer to it but was secretly pleased – a man who can get emotional at poignant mother and daughter moments has got to be a keeper.  Shame about the young under tens with whom he comes, and a potentially mentally unbalanced missus he’s currently divorcing.  He’s still attached to his own domesticity and not a threat to my independence. Apart from that, he’s really good company and I like to think I offer him some RnR.

After dinner I went back to his place which is really out in the boondocks – we arrived after what seemed an interminably long train ride!  There I made friends with his adorable Señorita Donna Gato.    She was light footed and a soft purry mass of sleek ebony.  At one point in the night I felt her warm feline body by my feet.   She was unperturbed by our occasional exuberant friskiness and returned with the dawn like a rumbling taxicab awaiting her passengers.   After a couple more romps, we took turns to shower and had some coffee before leaving to catch the train back to the real world.

It has been a while since I rode on a commuter train and it was filled with men in suits.  The few women on it were also suited but wearing comfortable trainers which looked incongruous but I suspect these would be exchanged for high heels once they were in their offices.  I forgot to look out for the Battersea power station which had been clad in scaffolding and tarpaulin a few months back, but which must now have shed its ugly duckling down to reveal something modern and exciting perhaps.  I hope there’ll be another visit to Chez Alexander’s when I shall keep my eyes peeled for the new development.

When I got home I received a text from A to let me know that I had left a few articles of clothing behind and a promise from him to return them when we next meet up this Thursday.   I like our uncomplicated coupling besides the social evenings we have together.   And although it’s very early days, I rather think this very nice man will do quite nicely for now.