Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Mystery of the Disappearing Stuffer Boys

Lots of sex bloggers will tell you that they aren't Casanova. For various reasons they started dating later than most people do, and thus their mistakes in dating stem from lack of experience.

But sometimes I'm sure the confusion stems from the system of dating itself. I don't know what higher power decides the way dating is supposed to go--how we went from our parents negotiating dowries to splitting the check--but sometimes I'd like to take issues with the designers. One of the most puzzling things about my experiences with dating is the rule that silence means no.

It's a curious rule that I've never quite gotten the grips of. When I was in college I screwed around for the first time (like a surprising amount of people, I've since discovered.) Only I could never figure out the aftermath. I don't know what my girlfriends did--they weren't the screwing around type--but the boys seemed to know the rule of silence so instinctively they seemed stunned when I had to ask.

One Halloween I dressed as Red Death. It wasn't a sexy Red Death, but a mess of fake blood and sores all over my breasts and down my arms--my face was enclosed by a skull mask. A boy I'd asked to dance gripped me so hard I could feel it through his boxer's gloves. When we got back to my room he whipped of his nerd's glasses and I tore off his pants to reveal one of the most perfect asses I had ever seen.

My first (and so far only) long term relationship happened before that. It was a fuckbuddy thing: X. would call me up, we'd fuck and then he'd leave--we never went to dinner or sought each other outside the bedroom. I think for a while I thought all boys were like this: fucking was so rare, so precious to them, that after one taste they couldn't help but come back for more. I knew my own raging desires made me like that: after a single taste, I could never stop until I had scored another.

The nerd boy who had a thing for zombie girls was different than the boys I'd had before. He took direction, put his hands where I asked him, and screwed me up the ass with all the vigor of a jackrabbit after a week of celibacy. We even talked for a while after he fucked me--about music, I think, and he asked me what I liked. He told me I was pretty. Which was all so much more than I had ever gotten from X. or Constantine I was sure he would seek me out again, just like X. had, only this time it would be better. Even Q. said it looked promising.

Instead, we stared at each other for almost two weeks. Not coming up to say hi, not speaking, just staring. He kept looking at me, in the gymnasium or when he practiced his fencing outside. Q. told me to be patient: boys might call you after a week, she said. Time was different for them, or something.

Finally I came up to him and whispered, "I can't stop thinking about you!"

He blushed. "I got back with my girlfriend," he blurted.

"Oh," I said.

With internet relationships it's even harder to tell. A month of talking every night will suddenly end in silence: his handle will stay firmly at the bottom of your list of contacts, he won't answer calls, even your wittiest text messages go unanswered. Often you have no idea what "went wrong"--though who would ever tell you straight out what didn't work for them?

The second boy I had--before the Jackrabbit, after the X.--turned all the dating rules I thought I knew on their heads. All the signs that Q. had taught me, the proofs that a boy was "interested" in me, were there. But they didn't matter. If he asked me about myself or asked what I wanted when we made love, it was only a means to an end, not an indication that he "felt anything for me". When I tried to talk to him the day after he shrugged me off, walked by me: my first encounter with the rule of silence.

Why didn't I know this? I said to myself, embarrassed and enraged. Why hadn't I filtered this rule in through my skin, picked up on the minute vibrations that would tell me that he just wasn't that into me? I don't know how else I could have known.

After the Jackrabbit I made a rule for myself. The turnover time, I said to Q., isn't a week--not by a long shot. If they don't seek you out after a day or two, it's time to move on.

Same goes with stuffer boys. If the boy with the cute pic still can't meet with you after the second phone call, if they don't IM after two weeks, if they don't call back after the first date in the flesh, that's it. It's not that they broke their phone while racing Go-Kart or got called away to Japan or ended up in jail for 45 days, after two weeks they will have moved on, and so should you. That's why I'm so grateful for that little mass-email button on my favourite dating website: with a single click half a dozen people can be told, clearly and succintly, that you're "sorry, not interested."

Unless you're the Colt. Who has in fact had his phone broken racing Go-karts, left it in an airport and had it's batteries die all within a month or two. Or after 45 days, frantic from not being able to say goodbye, he finally was able to log on again and break the rule of silence.

Or Alex. He dissapeared from phone and internets a month ago. Then on Thursday, just as I was about to go to bed:

ME: long time no txt message

ALEX: yeah i know, i got some bad news and kind of stopped talking to people for awhile

ME: what happened?

ALEX: i got orders to japan

ME: fuck

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