When we date, we set standards for ourselves. Codes, if you will. What we like, what we don’t. What we will accept, what we won’t. And I’m no exception. A long time ago, I made up my own code and I continue to live by it. I rarely break it… that happens only when the code is outdated, or when I find something worthy of breaking it for. And that code has been with me for so long that following it is second nature… I don’t even really have to think about it anymore. When it comes to dating, the rules have always been simple 1: Older than me. 2: Must have a job and a car. 3: Must be legitimately single (not hooked up, not married). 4: Don’t shit where I eat (ie: date people I work with). Other than that, it’s fair game. And I’ve been successful at it. Relatively. I mean I’m not quite where I’d like to be, but at least my regrets have been minimal.
And then there was last weekend. The setting? A military ball. A military ball I very randomly fell into. I am not in the military. I have a lot of friends who are. And one of my best friends from work is included in that number. He was going. He asked me to accompany him. I sort of owed him (since I couldn’t make it to his Christmas party last year), and so I went. And I was excited about it. He’s not a dancer. Truth be told, I don’t know that I would have wanted to dance either. But I rarely miss an opportunity to wear something fancy (and equally incredible shoes) and this would be something I’d never done before. A good healing exercise, if nothing else. I’d squared away the Botboy issues. I’d made my peace. Now the healing time was mine… and part of that healing was learning to be okay with being out there. Going out with The Metalhead (a nickname he’s given himself for the purposes of this blog, stemming from his love for Metal) was safe. We were friends. Nothing had or would happen. And he’d spent the last two and a half years watching my back… I knew this would be no different.
“I’m not drinking,” I told him. I’d stopped doing that weeks ago. He knew that, and so I was made the designated driver, because he’s no stranger to his alcohol. I was fine with that. He’d spent so much time watching my back that I didn’t mind watching his and making sure he got back safely. And, since he had nowhere else to go after (his housing situation is a little questionable right now), I’d told him he could crash on my futon.
So, we drove to Orlando. It was like the old days – the days before 3.0, when Metalhead and I used to hang out all the time. I’d missed him. At seven years younger than me, he’s been like the little brother I never had and because we like a lot of the same things, there is never any shortage of things to talk about. We arrived. He got suited up, I looked fantastic in my little red dress (and my rockin heels), and we went inside. Two hours early. I met his friends. I stood back quietly while he did his thing… I can be shy in social situations at first. No one even guessed, unless I told them, that I was considerably older. It was flattering. I don’t care how old you get, it never gets tiresome to be mistaken for a twenty-something. Metalhead started drinking, his friends started drinking, then he asked me if I wanted something. I thought about it. Hard. Wrestled with myself. Then decided a glass of wine wouldn’t be a bad thing. After all, I was going to be there for hours. One glass wouldn’t do much to me anyway and it would at least make me look a little less out of place than I did. So I got a glass. And I drank it. Then I had another. I still didn’t feel much. Maybe a little lighter, certainly a little less shy. I started socializing with his friends some. And then we took the shuttle over to the dinner (and the ballroom).
This is where things got interesting. I bought two more drink tickets for myself for wine and sat down at a table where there was another glass of something quite blue (which, upon tasting it later, tasted a lot like blue raspberry kool-aid, like the stuff I drank as a child, but this was absolutely NOT Kool-Aid). We sat through the ceremony, and then between the ceremony and dinner, decided to go outside so that some of his friends could smoke. I’d been talking to his friend’s wife quite a bit that evening, and started talking to his friend as well. They were cool… I liked them. The wife and I were closer in age and got along famously (she was actually older than me). Four drinks later (this puts me at a total of eight glasses of wine) and I’m feeling fantastic. Metalhead is next to me, his friends are there, we’re chatting, we completely forget about dinner. They’re sharing their cigar-strength e-cig with us, I’m taking a drag or two off of Metalhead’s cigarette, rules one and two (the no drinking, no smoking rules) broken. And I begin to realize that we’re going to have to get a hotel. Metalhead is shitfaced. I am not in any condition to drive – I must be the worst designated driver ever. But it was okay. The couple offered to let us have their other bed, but I’m not one to bum things off of people and I wasn’t sure I was quite comfortable with that anyway, and so I began calling around to the hotels on International Drive to try to get a room. There was nothing.
At any rate, I needed different shoes, I decided. The heels, after several hours, were killing me. And so we began a quest to find Sebastian (my car). We must have walked around the parking lot there three times, the second and third laps completely barefoot, before someone realized that the car would be in the other lot across the street. We’d taken the shuttle over, after all. That meant four lanes of traffic. And my feet hurt. Metalhead was behind me, taking care of his friend’s wife, who was also tired of walking barefoot. Her husband picked me up awhile and carried me, though I insisted on walking across the street myself. He held my hand instead, propositioning me the entire way to the car.
“Thank you for holding my hand,” he said.
“Oh, it’s nothing, I wouldn’t be able to walk anyway,” I answered.
“You know what I’d like to do… I’d like to take you back to our room and give you the best head you have ever had in your life.”
I looked at him, mortified. Yes, I was holding his hand (a cardinal sin for me, really, since I knew he was married) and now he was propositioning me? I decided to use the same argument on him as I’d used on the Professor a year ago, “You’re married.” I said, pointedly, still holding his hand.
“But we have an agreement and she would be okay with it.” At this point I looked behind us, Metalhead was escorting her through the parking lot. I felt funny about it. Something wasn’t right about it. And even if I let him do that, I couldn’t reciprocate. Even like this I have my limits. And I told him this as we reached Sebastian.
“I don’t want you to reciprocate,” he said. “I just want to give you head, and that will be that.”
“I don’t know,” I said as I opened my car door and threw my shoes inside. I picked up my flip flops and began to put them on. Metalhead had caught up and was standing next to me now… I wasn’t sure how much of this he’d heard. At any rate, it was a little embarrassing. I could barely stand and I asked for his shoulder. He obliged and I held on as I stepped into my flip flops. We’d never been this close before. I mean we’d stood closely together at times, but never like this… close enough to… and then we kissed. I don’t know if I went for it or if he did or if it was a mutual thing. But we kissed. And not just a little, it was a virtual makeout session.
After putting on my shoes, finding a gift store, walking hand in hand with Metalhead to another bar where we ordered yet another drink, I decided I wanted to be outside again… I was feeling a little unwell at this point. Shouldn’t drink anymore for awhile. Metalhead and I exited the bar, the hotel, I didn’t see his friends for the rest of the evening as we walked around and around the hotel, stopping here and there to kiss again. “I’ve wanted this for two and a half years,” he informed me during this hiking session.
“You have???” I said, incredulously. “I had no idea.”
“Well, you were always with someone else.” That was true. I’d never spent any legitimate amount of time at work, or with the people I worked with, when I was single. “And anyway, I had no idea what you would have done if I’d just gone for it. I was going to wait until after we didn’t work in the same building anymore before I made a move. That way if you tried to kick my ass we at least wouldn’t have to see each other.”
I laughed. Metalhead and I didn’t work for the same company anymore… not since the buyout. But we were in the same building. And we did see each other every day. Third and Fourth rules broken: He’s seven years younger, and this definitely classifies as shitting where I eat. And for whatever reason, I just didn’t care. He doesn’t act twenty-three. I suppose deployment does that to you. And if I were going to shit where I eat with anyone, it would be him… he’s not like the others. He doesn’t talk. I’ve known that for years, I’ve trusted him with a lot. Long story short, he sobered up enough to drive and we headed out to the La Quinta by UCF to stay – the same hotel I’d stayed at with Rocketman at the beginning of last December. And while we kissed, and while there was some heavy petting (and a bj), we didn’t have sex. Mostly because there were no condoms available that were latex free in the vicinity, but also because I wasn’t ready for that yet.
But the funniest thing of all… I didn’t even think about Botboy. Not much, anyway. When I was rebounding with 3.0, all I could think about was him. He was in my mind constantly. It was impossible for me to bounce back from that. I didn’t have time to wonder why, then. I was much too comfortable right then and there, making out with my friend (who I felt like I was getting to know all over again) and later resting as he nursed me through my wine hangover the next morning. Looking at it now, I think I understand. 3.0 is nice… and we’re friends… but repeating the past is not healing from it. It’s just tearing open the wounds again, trying to patch them with a band-aid. Metalhead is new. At least in this way. And even if we never did anything ever again, I knew it was possible to do that with someone new. And that he’d wanted ME all this time? Me? The girl who spent six months waiting for a soldier who left as soon as he walked in the door? It was an ego boost. And it was something I needed to hear.
They say we are given what we need when we need it, if we just wait for it. The universe has a really strange way of delivering sometimes… and especially this time. But it delivered. Yes, I broke all my rules. I’d do it again (I HAVE done it again)… Metalhead and I are conducting our little affair quite quietly. And it’s great. It really is. But I feel better. I’m not dating right now… I don’t have the time, and I don’t have the interest. The metaphysics (which Metalhead shares) is still very time consuming. And I am still learning a lot about who I am and what I can do. But to be able to say I’m okay, and to really MEAN it, and to not spend hours out of my day thinking about someone I cannot have… this is what healing really is.
And I did it. Thanks to wine, cigars, work, married people, a really good friend, and, the US Military which provided me with the setting for all of the crazy debauchery.
After all, rules were made to be broken.