We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.tim robbins
I’m a horny sex blogger. I write posts about porn, oral, and dirty sex. I love sex, even though I haven’t had any for years. I’ll talk about it. I’ll promote it. Hours can pass and I’ll still be discussing it… with no filter. Thirteen years of sex blogging does that to a boy.
And yet I’m still thoroughly aware that, love sex as I do, my focus has always been on love.
I mean, it’s in my handle, c’mon.
I’ve always found it easy to fall in love… possibly too easy. It’s never been easy to actually be in love – successive teenage crushes on which I never acted making me increasingly upset as life went on. In a few years, I went from occasional glances to out-and-out pining, and finally to going home every single day to cry for an hour because I was in love. Since the age of about 13, in fact, there hasn’t once been a time where I didn’t have, if not genuine love, an “official” crush.
I didn’t, however, actually entertain the idea that my affections would ever be reciprocated. Despite my Head of Year (to whom I was quite close) telling me that people would be flattered, I was convinced – fairly quickly, as it matters – that I was unlovable. It didn’t do to be fancied by ILB. I was fairly convinced, throughout my miserable ecstasies, that those who I loved must have been constantly wondering what they did wrong.
If they thought about me at all. I’m not sure if any of them did.
Careful! Or I’ll fall in love with you!innocent loverboy
Love, to me, has always been associated with guilt. I’m still sorry to the people I loved. But I can’t take any of it back. I may have fallen in love easily, but it’s not like I could control it.
In the more recent years, even though I’ve been in genuine, actual, real long-term relationships, I’ve still struggled with the concept. My dark moments tell me that, no, I can’t be loved. Girlfriends have cheated, or cast me adrift, or become so critical that every night was a challenge. Every time I get close, life seems to conspire to remind me of this. I am unlovable.
I’m trying, and believe me that I am, to convince myself otherwise.
It isn’t easy.
But I’m working on it.
“Oh, you are desperate, aren’t you?” she said, although with a coquettish little smile which made it clear that she wasn’t averse to this.
I mean, of course she wasn’t. She liked the fact that she could make me hard in a matter of seconds. And she was sitting on me. There wasn’t much left she had to do.
“I’m not desperate,” I protested. “I’m just… keen.”
“Keen. That’s the word.”
I didn’t elaborate; neither did I do so while we stayed there, curled together on the big chair, or during dinner later on, or watching the requisite amount of Nickelodeon followed by Have I Got News For You that evening. I didn’t elaborate, although I probably didn’t need to, later that night as I closed my lips around her pert nipple. By the time my very hard, very warm and very thick penis was inside her, the time for elaboration had long passed.
Although I didn’t think to tell her why I was keen (“I’m horny and you are hot” was certainly part of it, but maybe not all…), there was certainly a reason. As there was for every single time we had sex.
I’d been very tightly wound for most of the week. We all knew I’d be having sex on Friday evening, and with her. And we knew where we’d be doing it, and for what it’s worth, there was always a ballpark figure as to when. My friends, who knew all this, liked to tease. My token black friend had, that evening, texted “Got any action yet??” while I was still on the coach. I hadn’t even left London.
There was also the fact that I was perhaps the third, or fourth or fifth (it’s unclear; I can think of about four, but who knows?) in my year to lose what Lightsinthesky charmingly termed the “flashing V”. I didn’t brag, nor did I go into too much detail (…says the explicit sex blogger), but it was well-known. Some people were aghast; some were confused; some were repulsed. The most common reaction was polite bafflement, which I would take.
I would also take the gentle teasing in good humour. It wasn’t the relentless taunting to get a reaction my bullies had done a few years prior. At the very least, having a serious girlfriend made me interesting. Nobody, especially me, had thought I’d ever get one. My parents, even, had a bet going as to whether Einstein, Robinson, or I would be the first to have a girlfriend. It looked like a close-run thing.
And, of course, I’d Completely Given Up.™
Having a girlfriend gave me the sort of attention I so desperately craved. I wasn’t just the smart guy any more. I was the smart guy with the active sex life. I would object to people terming her my “bird” (because, as a human being, she wasn’t a bird!), but at the end of the day, I liked the sort of explicit mysticism that came with this. And it made my final year of a difficult school life one in which I was, for the first time, genuinely positive.
But it was the constant talk, the references, the questions – and the suggestive texts from her with a heavy abundance of 😉 – which wound me up. That, and the fact that I didn’t masturbate and would watch soft porn during the week anyway… and the fact that we had a sort of routine worked out. If I made it through the week, onto the train on time, and then the coach, and if I made sure that she was getting as much pleasure as I was, then we’d both be satisfied – messy, exhausted, drenched in sweat, and (in her case) full of cum – but satisfied.
And that’s why I was so keen.
On the way back home, I got a call while walking through Victoria Station from my token black friend, “in case you was getting any action with your bird.” He seemed rather put out that I was already back in London.
But it didn’t stop him asking questions.
I think he was keen, too.
I don’t remember her name. In all honesty, I don’t remember much about that night. What with the amount of free alcohol involved, I’m almost certain she doesn’t remember me at all… but I don’t drink, so I remember her.
It was the first and only time I’d ever been to a party held by members of the British aristocracy. I wasn’t aware, for a few years, that I was friends with Lord Grey’s daughter. She had mentioned a signet ring a few times, but I didn’t think much of that, either. I think it was the mention of the name of her house that tipped me off… but, in any case, I was surprised – if pleased – to be invited.
I told her once that I had a crush on her, so I think she may have felt weird about it. That was never mentioned again, though, so…
In any case, there I was, on the dancefloor getting down to Make Me Smile by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – incidentally the song I’d gotten dressed to that morning – and waiting for the inevitable roar that accompanies Mr. Brightside, as a song about being cheated on is really what you want accompanying a joyous party.
Wait, what was this blog post about again?
So, yes. I don’t remember her name. I remember that she was shorter than me (but then a lot of people are); I also remember frizzy hair, a wide smile and, of course, that she was very pretty. But then everyone was. Everyone who’s unattainable is fucking beautiful. In my defence, she started talking to me first.
“Hey!” she beamed. “How old are you?”
Yes, it’s an odd opener, but at least it’s one I was able to answer.
“Hi! I’m nineteen,” I said. “How old are you?” I added, a split-second before realising that this was probably a rude question to ask.
“You’re nineteen?” she said, aghast. “You look older. I’m thirty.”
“You look younger,” I said, as I assumed that was the right thing to say. She certainly did look younger than thirty; I wasn’t sure whether to feel flattered or insulted that she had decided I look old. I settled for being politely befuddled.
“I want a drink; do you want a drink?” she ejaculated, at which a servant (yes, I know) appeared with a tray of beverages. I took a Diet Coke, which was probably the only thing without any alcohol in it.
“So, I…” I started, at which point she interrupted with, “see you later!” and swanned off. Which was probably a good thing, as I didn’t really know what I was going to say.
“ILB! Come dance!” yelled my aristocratic friend from the middle of a mill of bodies.
“I thought I was?”
“No, you’ve just been talking to…” [I forget her name, as I said above!] “…come here and dance!”
I took a swig of my Diet Coke, and went to dance.
About an hour of wearing my legs out later, she found me again. She had had a little more alcohol by this point.
“Here’s an observation,” she said over the music (which had somehow become exponentially louder – I suppose that the manor house we were in wasn’t exactly in a residential area), “you’re nineteen, I’m thirty, and that shouldn’t matter!”
“It doesn’t,” I agreed, “time is a concept.”
I didn’t talk to her again, although as my level of blood sugar began to wane, it slowly began to dawn on me that I may have been being flirted with. It’s the right environment to do it, as well – if everything goes wrong, you can use the music as an excuse to get out quick. But this wasn’t your average student disco – it was a birthday party at a manor house, hosted by the aristocracy – so what exactly was she trying to achieve?
Let’s assume, for impossibility’s sake, that she was flirting with me, but put off by the fact that I was indecently young, and that I reciprocated. Now let’s assume, further to that, that we pulled. Where were we meant to go from there? Everyone was going to be in sleeping bags in a huge marquee out on the lawn after the party, so what exactly would we do? Get into one together and hope that nobody noticed?
As it turned out, it didn’t matter. She vanished after a while. As it turned out, she lived in the local area. So she just walked home.
I quaffed a few more Diet Cokes before realising that I’d forgotten my sleeping bag… and that Meg, who had driven me up there, had hers clearly visible.
So I did end up in a sleeping bag with someone else that night, after all.
It was the summer of 2004 and I was walking down the crowded History corridor on the top floor of my university (the only corridor related to History – it was a squashed department, as my tutor was continuously telling anyone who would listen). Perhaps “walking” is not the accurate verb – nobody could call what I was doing walking. A more appropriate description would be a sort of ungainly quickstep to avoid the hustle and bustle.
It had also been my last lecture/seminar of the week – on a Friday morning, so I had the rest of the weekend off – and I was considering my options for lunch. I was to-ing and fro-ing between cheese and onion sandwiches or chips’n’cheese from the on-campus pizza place… but, before a decision could be made, my 1337 crowd-dodging skills failed me, and I walked headlong into Sherri.
Sherri, to her credit, didn’t seem to mind that I had walked into her. She never seemed to mind too much about anything, really. But her bright and breezy demeanour was precisely what endeared her to me; it made a change from the neo-Gothic blackness of what my relations were going through at the time (and the ambiguous indifference of the people in hall with me).
“Oh! Sorry,” I said, for want of something to say.
“It’s okay, it’s okay!” she sparkled, flashing me a huge smile with lots of teeth.
There was a pause which seemed far too long.
I hadn’t meant to say her name before walking off. The fact remains, however, that I did… and now I had to think of something to say. She was looking expectant, so…
Sherri, I have a crush on you. No, that was too direct. I wasn’t even sure that I did have a crush on her. I was clutching my History notebook at the time, and that still had my ex-girlfriend’s name on the back, in permanent marker (and it never came off, either). I could have said I fancy you, but that was far too ’90s. I even considered something odd like, hey, I had a dream where we were kissing, isn’t that funny? but that just sounded creepy when it popped into my head.
Whatever I was going to say, the fact remained that I had, in fact, rehearsed the scenario of exchanging more than simple pleasantries with Sherri more than a few times in my own head, and coincidentally, the bit of the corridor in which we were standing (blocking the doorway) was the precise location we had envisioned it.
“I like you,” I’d say. “In that way. But I don’t want that to change anything. I just wanted you to know.” I’d walk off, and there would be a few minutes of walking down the stairs and through the campus from different angles. In the end, Sherri would run after me, and catch me off-guard with a kiss.
I mean, obviously that wasn’t going to happen. Nobody had a crush on me. The fact that anyone at all would want to kiss me was beyond the reach of human understanding. Sherri, whatever else she might have been, was completely unattainable, just like all the others.
“Are you going to be taking the History module on World War I next year?” was what I eventually got around to asking. It was a fair question – I was going to be taking it despite the fact that I was doing an English degree – and I would have liked to see her again, for fairly obvious reasons.
“Oh… no, I don’t think so,” she answered. “I haven’t decided yet.”
“Right, well, yes, of course,” I said, although what I meant to say was something like, That’s a shame, because I have a crush on you and I want to work with you again next year. I didn’t say that, of course.
We parted ways, and I walked down the staircase and back towards hall, via the pizza place so I could, having made that one decision, get my chips’n’cheese. Sherri didn’t chase after me and catch me off-guard with a kiss. I spent the rest of the day in my room, singing, wanking, cursing, and trying to wash my ex’s name off the back of my notebook.
I never saw her again.
Some time around 6am, I have a dream about my pet millipede, Big, who died when I was in my teens. He’s not actually in it; I’m singing a song to the tune of something like one of the more melodic numbers from Hamilton. It goes something like:
Look at him
So smooth, so round
Look at him
So sleek, so sound
(I want to see)
Look at him
So tough, so cool
(I have to see, just let me see)
Look at him
Just to hold him
To hold him once more…
I wake up and, not for the first time, I realise that I am crying.
I don’t know why I’m crying. I have nightmares about being cheated on; they make me cry. I have half-dreams-in-my-naps about odd sexual situations; they make me horny. I don’t appear to have any others. Maybe I do – I just don’t remember them. There’s no way of knowing, is there, unless someone invents a video dream recorder?
Girlfriend wakes up to the sound of me crying. I can’t explain exactly why I’m crying. I don’t know myself. Big was a good millipede. He lived a long and happy life, and died of old age. I took very good care of him (and I’m still looking for the only extant photo of us, looking at each other. I know it exists somewhere.); he’s not someone I should be sad about.
She asks; I can’t explain. She rolls over and wraps an arm around me. I cry until I can’t any more. Tears rolling down my cheeks, soaking my pillow. I’m lying there, my duvet half off, some of me hot, some of me cold. Paroxysms of grief, perhaps, or just the fact that my dream was set to music. Sad music makes me cry.
Her arm doesn’t move. She doesn’t say a thing. She just lets me cry while she holds me.
I feel a little better that I’ve got someone holding me. I go back to sleep, and for a while when I wake up a few hours later, I barely remember my sad dream at all.
We have been together for eight years. It was our anniversary yesterday (and we had a good day, for what it is worth). And yet I am still discovering things about her that I had forgotten. The fact that I fell asleep in her arms is one of them.
She may be many things, but one of them is a source of comfort. And, when that counts, it counts for so much.
A person of interest
You’re a person of interest
Won’t say I’m in love, yeah
But certainly impressed
It had been a long day. I hadn’t even been too interested in most of the bands playing, and in truth, I’d only really been to see the band Music Man was in. I was, to use the technical term, a fan – and he was a friend. The fact that I got to miss a day of school to sit in a theatre and watch rock bands was probably a plus, as well.
The garage crew (who eventually won the contest) were the absolute worst. I may not have been a fan of garage, but my token black friend (who was seriously into the So Solid Crew, et al.) corroborated the fact that they sucked. In fact, most of them sucked, with the exception of Music Man’s band and a couple of more punky girl bands from schools I didn’t know existed.
And then I completely forgot about everything else.
She walked onto the stage already wearing her guitar – although she was also wearing a school tie, which I suppose was some sort of attempt to look as indie as possible. For some reason, and to this day I don’t know exactly why, I was completely transfixed.
I don’t recall the name of the band, nor do I the song they played. I remember liking it, but nothing more than that. I do, however, recall staring from my seat in the raked stalls, completely oblivious to anything Lightsinthesky, Music Man, or my token black friend were saying. Rhythm guitar… she played rhythm guitar. Of course she did. I played rhythm guitar too. I just wasn’t in a band. But then she didn’t know that.
She didn’t know me. But then I could change that.
As luck would have it, she ended up standing two stairs away from me after the bands were all finished playing and the judges were deliberating their wrong decision. So I, courteously I hope, introduced myself.
“I really liked your guitar playing,” I said. It wasn’t entirely a lie; I mean, I enjoyed the performance. Her guitar playing was part of it. I couldn’t quite divine which guitar part it was, but still.
“Oh! Thanks!” she beamed. “I’ll give you a hug for that.”
Oh, look at those beautiful eyes…
And she gave me a hug. I was new to hugs at that point. I’m a seasoned hugger now, but back at 16, any sort of physical contact was a bonus.
That’s so nice. So warm and soft.
And after that I just kind of… stopped. I mean, what was I meant to say then? Perhaps ask her to introduce me to some of her friends in the band? Maybe ask her how long she’s been playing the guitar for? I mean, there was a common interest. I could have even told her that I liked her style… because I did; the tie was a bit incongruous, but maybe that was the point.
And that hair. So long and so shiny. I just want to brush it.
Maybe I could say it. “Hey, I just met you, and I’ve no idea what you’re into apart from rock music, but I’ve got a crush on you, so maybe you might consider going for a…?” What? A drink? Is that a thing people do on dates? I’d never been on a date.
But I didn’t say it. Lightsinthesky pulled me onto the dance floor for a mosh to the metal band that had won the second prize. In all fairness, it was my first mosh. I certainly had something to share at Woodcraft that evening, even if I eventually had to demonstrate how to mosh by throwing myself against the wall.
As things started to dissipate and the harried security guy tried to break up what was threatening to turn into a mass crowd surf, I found myself looking around to see if she was still there. She was – on her own. On the stairs where I’d been talking to her. But the event was definitely coming to a close, and I knew that when it did, she’d walk out of my life, possibly forever.
But then I shook myself. I’d looked at someone, become attracted to her, actually genuinely had a conversation with her and got a hug in an exchange for a compliment. At 16, that was pretty much the furthest I’d gotten with anyone.
“What are you looking at?” asked Music Man, emerging himself from the moshpit. “That girl with the tie?”
“I… yeah. Yeah. She…” I said eloquently, before realising he’d gone. In fact, lots of people were going, and I found myself being chivvied along with them. In fact, if I wanted to go to Woodcraft at all that evening, I’d need to go home.
On the way out into the cool, welcoming air, she looked my way one last time. I gave her a friendly wave, and in return, she gave me a big, bright smile.
What a smile, I thought to myself all the way through the bus ride home, as my heart slowly began to tear itself into a million little pieces.
I need to clarify something. I know you’re probably never going to read this; you dumped me just under a decade ago and I’m not even sure if you know I still write my blog (although I know what you’re doing). But there’s one thing I never told you, and it still comes to me in my darkest of moments, so here goes.
The night my grandfather died I got a text to tell me it had happened. I still don’t know why I had turned on my BlackBerry, really – it had been off for a few days and I didn’t really want any distractions – but nevertheless, I turned it on, and there was the message from my mother. We all knew he was dying – he was in hospital, watching the Olympics and waiting for it to happen. He squeezed my hand the last time I saw him.
I don’t think you ever met him, but you would have liked him. He was the 83-year-old who saw the sign on Space Mountain advising elderly people not to ride it and saying out loud, “right, I’m doing that.” He was in the third wave on D-Day and assumed that he could survive anything after that.
I could have cried that night, but I didn’t. You were angry with me – very angry. We had had a slight mishap (involving orgasms, in fact) that necessitated the changing of sheets. I explained, calmly I hope, that this was easy – we could take the sheet off, rinse the stain out, and hang it up to dry in the balmy Provence heat – but you told me that I was being passive-aggressive (a concept I still don’t understand). I got the spare bedding down and added the new sheet. After we hung the damp sheet up outside, we went back to bed and you threatened to slap me.
You didn’t actually slap me, but I felt you could have.
As I lay there shaken, I wondered over and over if I should have told you that he died. If I did, you might have assumed I was trying to deflect, or ignore the (admittedly very trivial) problem that had prevented itself (and that we had managed to correct, I hasten to add). You clearly didn’t want to hear me say anything, and if I had cried, you’d have assumed I was trying to get sympathy. Maybe you would have slapped me. I don’t know any more.
So I didn’t say anything. I held back the tears, and lay awake, wanting more than ever to get to sleep so it could be morning and you would have calmed down.
I hadn’t done anything wrong.
The next day, as we sat at an open-air café in the village, you decided to have a look at your ‘phone and told me that you had a text from my mother, since I hadn’t replied to hers, telling me that he had died. I acted shocked, went still for a while, and let a few tears out while you squeezed my hand sympathetically.
“I’m sorry,” you said.
“Well, thank you. I knew it was going to happen; it was just a matter of when…” I started.
The thing is that, well, I knew it had happened. I found out the night before, but I was far too scared to act sad or shocked or morose or… anything other than calm and rational, really… because I feared your reaction. I didn’t want to trivialise the old man’s death, either; this was a massive thing. But we were on holiday (for the first time as a couple). We were meant to be having lots of sex, and we probably would have done, had the sheets not been stained.
So I didn’t tell you I already knew. I kept that to myself; it was all I could have done in the circumstances. We went to the cathedral in Avignon the following day and I lit a candle for him under a picture of St Joseph, saying a prayer and watching the light dance.
I’m sorry for not telling you sooner. I could have told you that morning, maybe, over breakfast – the sad news might have been better over croissants still warm from the boulangerie. Or maybe when we were washing up afterwards, or taking showers, or sitting on the swing in the garden. Any of those times. But I couldn’t come up with a viable explanation for why I hadn’t told you when I actually found out.
So I didn’t say anything.
And I didn’t say anything, either, for the next one-and-a-half years of our relationship. I didn’t tell you when it ended, either, and I still haven’t told you until now, when I’m telling you in the knowledge that you probably won’t read this. You may remember me going to the funeral a week or so later, after surprising you by staying in Oxford for a day longer than I was going to. You may remember spending Christmas together and how I cried because I missed my little church so much. You may – I know I do – remember all the good times we had in Provence, even if we had better holidays later on.
But I didn’t tell you that I knew. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you sooner. And I’m sorry to my grandfather, posthumously, for keeping his death a secret. But, in all honesty, I really don’t know what else I could have done.
Forever and always, my love,
– ILB x