Fuckboys Over 40 – A Story

You said you weren’t a playboy.
But I guess that’s what they say.
I don’t deal with them too often, so I missed flags straight away.

We crossed paths overseas, in the “loveliest” of ways.
In a sea of Spanish speakers, your English cleared the haze.
No interpreter necessary; I felt comfortable to play.
Touch escalated quickly, as you sought to mark your prey.
Your hands up my shirt; the way your fingers strayed.
And “water on a rock” put your commitment on display.

Hours passed of tennis banter, hand in hand down empty streets.
Awkward silence never showed while the world whizzed by our feet.

“Lover of women.” “Translucent redheads are my type.”
Phrases that seemed innocuous, when I had you for the night.

There was no doubt I would kiss you; Chemistry a violent fire.
Our melded lips became a match.
My will burned with desire.
Your fingertips traced smolders down my flesh and took me higher.
You gazed into my eyes as if my being was a pyre.

“It feels nice to be wanted too.”
So I tried to make sure you knew.

And though we didn’t consummate, I saw you once more.
You spent time just to chat,
as if I was good company, as if sex wasn’t foremost,
though I was shiny out the wrap.

Before our time was up, I asked was this goodbye.
You promised that it wasn’t; that we’d reunite in time.
That you’d come visit my city, resume pleasurable sighs.

Perhaps I should have realized then, that it was just a line,
since as soon as we were separated, I was out of sight and mind.
I wondered why you didn’t even text unless I tried.
But when I called you out on it, you assured me it was fine.
“There’s no Internet here, so it takes me a long time, but I’m thinking of you darling.”
SOUNDED genuine and kind.
Till you took days to answer, disrespectful of my time.

“I’m not good with online communication.”
“I just don’t check my phone often.”

(WhatsApp and IG status updated though,
so that one’s purely grime).

This what you meant by let’s keep talking? I thought you wanted to know me.
So maybe if I went to YOU, impatiently re-ignited that chemistry brew,
maybe THEN you’d show me?

But thrice the universe said “Nope” and then sent forth a plague.
Solidifying her message to me: “Thou shalt not get laid.” (By him).

I thought this meant we should keep building,
until our inevitable reunion.

I genuinely showed interest in your day to day life.
But my name escaped you 4 months in (you claimed you found names trite).

You never asked anything about myself, though I longed to bond over dancing,
video games and nerdy things, and shared fitness passion.
But you just seemed more attuned to would-be bedroom action.
Though you reached out for favors to eyeball your work
and my mind felt appreciated; my heart went berserk.

So much in common you didn’t bother to notice.
“I’m emotionally distant and work is my focus.”
But every time I asked if you wanted to keep talking,
you always said yes, so I pumped the breaks on walking.

How could I not open my heart more and soften?
Okay, he did a gay short once; #actors do those often. (Yeah?)
He has a belly button piercing… well, his stomach’s taut and…

Why do I cry tears for being just an afterthought then?

You said your heart was once broken, that you were sensitive too.
Yet you’re unable to empathize with another in your shoes?

You said your heartbreak wasn’t crazy, though you wouldn’t indulge me.
But you’d indulge a public podcast, for the whole world to see
you’d like to hate-fuck your ex, and other wicked fantasies?

Tiptoed around my feelings, so as not to overwhelm you
but why hold on when you equated me to just a shell who
could easily be replaced by your revolving harem options
when all I wanted was to feel I was special in your clock and
instead you just saw fit to pull a vanish and just drop in
when you felt like I was worth your time, “Oh have a crumb, my OPTION.”

Because dance is the gift of seduction.
Acting, the gift of pretense.
Public speaking, when you can’t actually communicate personally?
A mask of fraudulence.
An inauthentic mirror of immoral decadence.

You log your sexual conquests on a spreadsheet.
I write poems of catharsis for emotional relief.

I showed my vulnerability and stripped bare,
only to realize I’m standing alone out there
and the hardest pill to swallow is…
After 5 months, you don’t care.

To say…
I could have contracted Covid and passed away
without your notice is fair.

But the honesty of your true intentions could have spared me. (It’s called stringing).

Mixed signals are the devil, and your follower cannot read
where to step next in the dance when the leader doesn’t lead. (It’s called breadcrumbing).

But maybe it’s better to be the loser…

Because why choose cold and distant over caring and kind? And close-hearted aloofness over glowing warmth in brine.
And clinging to angry ex memories that keep you stagnant in time.

And anyway, I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find
another slender, gaming badass, awesome locks ran down her spine,
with a chain around her belly,
and a heart as big as mine.

~Tael

Blackness Mirrored

I see you all, standing with us.

Mirroring our outrage, disgust and frustration. Those who have to be mindful of their skin tone every day. Those who have the privilege of forgetting their skin color.

Those who don’t see skin color at all.

Which camp are you?

I see my Blackness as part of my genetic make-up; an identity trait holding no more weight than my slim frame, flowing dreadlocks, love of music. But I don’t “experience” my skin tone. I share it. The unpopular minority that doesn’t immediately get offended if another race uses the term “nigga.” To me it’s an urban term; you know when it’s being used inappropriately and the intention of the one using it. You know.

You could be the self-hating Black kind like my ex-husband. Terrified to be associated with anything stereotypical, like Red Lobster, fried chicken and watermelon. Clinging to art and classical music, ties and blazers, to remind everyone “I’m not THAT kind of Black.”

While I seamlessly drift through all worlds at once; projects and spacious houses, Flatbush and Midtown, slang and literature.

Because allies are everywhere.

Internally, i’m not very mindful of my Blackness. Because I don’t “wear” it. I just…AM. But outside my bubble, discrimination continues. And when I watch the viral clips and videos, I FEEL it.

When a Black man needlessly gets shot, jogging in his neighborhood or relaxing in his OWN HOME, I get angry.  When a white woman calls the cops on a Black person for existing…calling her out for breaking the rules, waiting for a friend in an apartment building, barbecuing, playing golf…I get angry. When we’re being choked and cry out that we can’t breathe and it’s ignored, and we DIE, I get angry. When four cops need to pile on top of an unarmed Black mother in front of her child because apparently that force was necessary, I get angry. I wonder why, despite growing up in a blender of culture, after 33 years this insensitivity still exists in 2020. Like it’s been frozen and preserved, retaining all the same intensity as the Jim Crow era. I don’t understand racism. I grew up surrounded by blacks, whites, browns, tans, pales, caramels, butters, peanuts, olives, accents, hijabs, yarmulkes, jade stones and languages I did not understand.

I grew up around tolerance. Acceptance.

So I get ANGRY when I hear this bullshit is still happening. And I feel the collective rage. And I don’t NOT condone the looting. And the anarchy. And the chaos. The wild frustrated will to truly be free when you’ve been walking on eggshells the rest of the time. And the melting pot all over the nation feels it, and the unified support and disgust that these incidents keep occurring that non-Blacks are mirroring is a tearful embrace saying, “We got ya’ll.”

And I’m so proud. To everyone who stares down an armed cop to mirror our indignation in the name of our equality, I’m so proud. I want to absorb your courage.

I love you for marching for us.

And I love those unafraid to open dialogue about Blackness. So many of us are quick to lash out at ignorance. And while I fully understand the sentiment, discussion from both sides NEEDS to take place, not just condemnation.

It’s maddening that ignorance exists and some shit we think is obvious still needs to be TAUGHT to others. But we have to accept that we live in a world riddled with ignorance. And if someone is willing to address that ignorance within themselves, and actively seek guidance and understanding in an effort to rise above it, then that is courage as well, and we need to be willing to mentor and educate with a disciplined mind. On why that way of thinking is wrong. On why that sort of action is inappropriate or offensive. Poke enough holes through a closed mind that wants to be open, and ignorance can filter out like a sieve.

I will never be afraid to have that dialogue. Because it’s knowledge that defeats ignorance.

The incidents of injustice we keep seeing, can make you want to give in so badly to automatic hate.

But, I don’t want to be driven to hate.
Because hate is why we’re where we are now.

But if it makes you feel a little better, do it anyway. Get it out. Hate. Emote. Protest. Riot. Loot.

Teach.

~Tael

Unlearning: Discomfort = Love

Not too long ago, I asked my crush about a past relationship and he informed me that he didn’t want to go into detail about it. My first reaction was hurt; I wanted to connect and grow closer by learning about this part of his past and I almost felt shut out by it. But the logical part of my brain reasoned with me: why was I making this about myself? It had nothing to do with me. He just felt uncomfortable sharing it.

Boundaries.

Some time ago, my therapist (AND my boss haha) brought some very valuable information to light concerning my tenuous relationship with my mother; that our relationship lacked boundaries, which then translated into boundary-trampling in my other relationships. I put aside what made me uncomfortable in romantic relationships, and suffocated my partners’ limits, because my upbringing had taught me that discomfort equals love.

I want to say “in my family,” but maybe this wasn’t the case. Maybe it was just my mom in particular, who never took my personal mental comfort seriously. Sure, the normal PHYSICAL comforts were taken care of. But never my psyche.

She’d buy clog-shoes that felt uncomfortable on my feet, but insist I wear them because they were “fashionable.” She’d force me to wear a graduation dress that exposed far too much side-boob than my 13-year-old self was comfortable with. She’d demand that I hug so-and-so, despite my visible uneasiness, and call out that uneasiness as problematic because she didn’t understand it (or care to ask), putting me at war with my internal feelings.

We weren’t allowed to have boundaries as children, it seemed…because adults knew better what we should properly feel.

She’d drag me to the forefront of an audience to recite a pleasantry (knowing full well I hated being the center of attention) and stand idly by as her shadow as they asked me questions and she answered for me, until I had permission to flee. Or she’d shove me into a group of children at a gathering against my pleas and demand I make friends, where anxiety got the better of me and I’d break down and sob.

Once I reached adulthood, moved out and got my own job, apartment, and self-sufficiency, those habits never ended. She continued to pull me into the spotlight to show me off, cut me off to answer questions directed at me, and automatically make plans for me assuming it was a given I’d go along with them. Any time I expressed discomfort as an adult, manipulation tactics, guilt trips and gaslighting were used to coerce my submission.

Eventually, I resorted to ignoring her phone calls and texts most of the time, or preparing ironclad defenses like a lawyer as to why I couldn’t attend an event, simply because I was afraid to say “no” and the drama that would ensue as a result. But as an adult, why did I still need to live with this fear? Why couldn’t I ever say “Actually, I don’t feel like it,” or “I think that request is unfair, so no,” or “I feel uncomfortable,” without getting the 3rd degree for it and made to feel that my emotions were insubstantial somehow?

Always made to feel like a selfish person to choose yourself first, guilt became interweaved with the concept of “no,” and responsibility for everyone else’s feelings paramount to your own. And discomfort became a way of life; normal even. And boundaries ceased to exist between those who love each other and the more uncomfortable you feel, the stronger your bond and the higher your love must reach. Until distress spills over everywhere because you don’t even know what boundaries are anymore, or the source of your unhappiness.

But…you do know a state of constant discomfort doesn’t feel good, so you wonder…why would someone who loves me continue to put me in situations I don’t feel comfortable in, for their own satisfaction?

I don’t want to continue that cycle.

Unlearn that love.

~Tael

Why I Deleted My Dating Apps During The Quarantine

Yes, during the very time that more people are flocking to them than ever.

I was over “dating” a long time ago. Like, before there was online dating. It was a fresh new “sport” to try out back in college but then I quickly realized people suck, and I don’t like perusing through them romantically the same way I once did library books.

Something about dressing up and presenting yourself in the best artificial manner possible comes across as very job-interviewish, and I’m not the biggest fan of those either but they’re necessary to survive.

Dating is not.

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I’ll admit i’m not very good at it because I hate it. Looking back at my track record, i’ve mostly slipped into relationships the “normal” (non-dating-app-initiated) way, with very serial monogamist tendencies. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy being alone; I live alone, enjoy the hell out of it, and am one of the least romantic women you’ll encounter. I never had girly dreams of a fancy expensive wedding (the cost of which could be a down payment on real estate) with a glamorous white dress, kids and a house outta Martha Stewart Living. I’ve only dabbled into the online-dating world in the past 3 years or so, and I wouldn’t call the experience pleasant. I’ve met gamers I didn’t click with, psychos who I’ve fled their apartment, friends-with-benefit failures who couldn’t even be counted on to show up, ONE actual relationship I don’t think I should have been in, and an incredibly disappointing sexual encounter that I had to try twice just to confirm the first was not a mistake. And this was after weeding through incredibly dull conversations, dudes who unmatched me after I said I wasn’t into orgies, dudes who fall off the face of the earth because they were the ones you might have actually been interested in, and a guy who just wanted to be friends but not meet up to hang out with me as friends and continue to solicit me for sexy pictures (???).

When the lockdown began, I saw the uptick in notifications from my dating apps. Strange, seeing as how I hadn’t matched/liked someone on my end since like 2 months ago. That should give you an indication as to how often I actually use them. In 4 months, I’d gone on a grand total of one whole date. Where were these “matches” coming from? Then I realized…OHHHH EVERYBODY IS BORED AND HORNY NOW!!

I let them build and build and build, because I got tired just thinking about reading through the assortment of incredibly non-witty intros and messages that would clearly show up front we weren’t a good fit. You know, like “Good Morning, how’s your day going?” NEXT. I’m sorry, this is perfectly polite, but I’m savage.

When I finally got around to reading through the…SHIT, my eyes glazed over. And I wondered, why subject myself to this if it’s not even fun? Why follow this trend if I see it as a chore?

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I find it incredibly exhausting…to get to know a person. I don’t like just talking to anybody, I DESPISE small talk and “pleasantries,” and can find socializing exhausting if i’m not especially clicking with the socializers. So if I’m going to make ANY effort, it needs to damn sure be worth it. There’s gotta be SOMETHING that makes me WANT to get to know you. Usually something interesting (I know I know, EVERYBODY thinks they are DIFFERENT). When we talk, I need to laugh (actually giggle, chuckle out loud), engage in a bit of teasing, learn something. Then YOU have to feel the same shit, agree to meet up with me, STILL get along with me in person and not turn out to be an ogre (hey, same with me), try to stay relaxed and not overthink and over-expect anything, feel something REAL, and then agree to keep the shit going, OR let them down gently if you ain’t into it without feeling like a complete asshole.

That is WORK.

Work for the right person? AMAZING and completely worth it! But work for countless “let’s sees” who you’ll barely remember months down the line? Draining…as…fuck.
“You should keep your dating apps,” my mom told me several days ago when I proposed the idea. “Just because you never know where you’re gonna find the guy. Just in case.”

Not when simply checking a notification from Random Joe #27 is so depleting. I can’t do it anymore. How do my peers juggle multiple potential daters at the same time when just investing in the PROSPECT of one makes me want to air-gun my cabeza?

So I deleted them. Leaving only Tinder as my “In Case of Emergency,” app (because it’s low-hassle) just in case I get really horny and need some bad-decision sex to take the edge off again. Once the quarantine is over of course.

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I’m seeing articles that the coronavirus is actually changing online dating for the better. People are having VIDEO CHAT DATES. Making plans months in advance to meet new people. Really forming actual bonds because there’s nothing else to do. If it’s helping people get through this, then I’m genuinely happy for them.

But it’s not my thing. It’s not for me. Unless i’ve met you already in person, you’re incredibly charming or witty with words (like a writer!), or you’ve shared some emotional aspect of yourself that allows me to feel connected with you, I have a hard time vibing with you over messages. I hate video chatting. And even though i’m stuck at home with nothing else to do, I don’t want to expend my energy swipe over-driving and video speed-dating hunting for a connection with someone.

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Because no matter how many similarities you have with the person, or boxes they check off from your relationship-person box-checking list in their profile, or even how good the date goes, it still…may…not…matter.

Depressing, huh?

Do I sound like a woman who’s given up? No, my babies; I promise you I haven’t. It’s just not my priority. I’m over the bullshit games that “dating” requires. Because let’s be honest: you CANNOT fully be…REAL. So I’d rather wander alone and stumble across the right soul when the universe dictates it’s my time. But until then…why weed through a revolving door of kindling what-ifs trying to force a spark?

If a spark’s to be had, it will find me.

Ninja…fucking…out.

~Tael

Demisexuality: It All Makes Sense Now

Nope, this is not a joke post; this is me taking my enlightenment very seriously. Because many see the definition of demisexuality and say it’s an unnecessary orientation that doesn’t NEED labeling, or duh, EVERYONE is this way, so you ain’t special, yah? But I have never so clearly understood my odd and largely sporadic sense of attraction that I’ve never been able to quite pin down until I explored this new label.

I’ve come across the term occasionally in the past few years. The first time I thought, yeah sounds like me. The second time I thought, hokay, I think I really am this thing. The third time, a few days ago, I thought, HOLY SHIT, THIS IS REAL.

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Because suddenly, patterns in my past dealings with attraction and heartbreak began to fall into place. Sure, most folks would LOVE an emotional connection with those they sleep with. But most can also still have sex without it easily. That’s why casual hookup culture is so prevalent and one-stands are common. But for what i’ll affectionately call the “demi” tribe, those are very difficult. I can only think of ONE time I may have been down for a hookup. Drunk at a party at college, grinding up on a guy who followed me to the bathroom when I got dizzy with the pretense of helping me get water, *may* have made out with me, and said “You know you want this,” as he placed my hand on his crotch. And I think I really DID want it, but I also had an off-campus boyfriend at the time so amidst my idiot party girl decisions, I knew I didn’t want to be a FULL cheater…? Anyway, it didn’t happen.

In grade school, you basically like who everybody else likes to fit in. The pop stars, basketball players, school jock heartbreaker, ohh squeal, hearts on your binder, he said hi to me in the hall blahblahblah. Once I left the realm of adolescence, I realized I didn’t have the same attraction to peeps as my peers did. When the girls around me would say “Oh, check out that hot guy over there,” I’d be the one squinting in the general direction like “Where? Where is he? Is that it?” And being severely underwhelmed.

Because it is EXTREMELY rare for me to experience on-sight physical attraction to someone, and I never knew why.

Whenever men hit on me, my initial reaction is suspicion. I don’t care how “conventionally attractive” they are (and I THINK I can usually spot a “conventionally attractive person” pretty good?). I have never thought “Damn he’s sexy, I’d love to hop on that.” More like “Why tf are you making me take my headphones out right now?” Attraction at first sight doesn’t exist for me.

When I do like someone, it’s because I’ve spent time with them. I’ve noticed their little quirks and chuckles. The cracks in their silly facade when they answer a question seriously. The mischievous glint when they parry back a witty comment without missing a beat. Or the eye contact they make as they watch you love their face burrowing between your thighs……………oops tangent! And it might take awhile to see these things unless they’re being completely natural with you off top. Which means demis often don’t know how we actually feel about the person until some time has passed.

It can be a chore if you’re really TRYING to find someone to connect with.

And it makes online dating an EXTREME hassle. Because you swipe incessantly, wondering if the person you COULD be *MAYBE* physically attracted to actually has the personality necessary to attract you for real since you still need BOTH. I’ve never been too sure of my “type” of men because I’ve been with a variety. I’ve even been with those I’ve only had the emotional connection with, but not the physical attraction. Because the connection was there, I was still able to sleep with them, but eventually I realized it wasn’t sustainable if every time I looked at them I thought WOOF.

So you’re cautious with your likes/matches because you’re trying to be sure there’s the best chance for a connection, but you’ll only REALLY know for sure if you meet them, probably like 3-5 times first, and if there’s still nothing there, go through the awkward “Oops, I’m just not feeling it,” “Wait, really, I thought we had a great time!” “Oh sure, it was nice but I don’t want to proceed sexually yet because your personality has not charmed the shit out of me, but should we try a few more times or just call it now before we waste any more energy??”

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Like dat.

But once you FINALLY overcome the GRIND of connecting emotionally and finding them adorable, the attraction mounts, and then the ATTACHMENT begins. Rapidly. And it can be hard to let go, because of how uncommon it is to feel the attraction in the first place. Which can cause a mess of feelings and tears and frustration if it doesn’t work out and trouble disconnecting because you WENT THROUGH ALL THIS WORK, and when’s the next time the STARS ARE GOING TO ALIGN to find this buildup AGAIN?? It’s exhausting. I can see why it’s classified smack in the middle of the sexual/asexual spectrum. Because demis may as well be nuns while that connection is missing. We’re just not INTERESTED.

But then comes the problem of when you ARE sexually wanting because the last connection didn’t work out, but finding emotional connection is sparse.

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Why are my friends like this?

It speaks to the current hookup culture that waiting an ENTIRE WEEK to sleep with someone is seen as this crazy obstacle now. It should NOT be HARD WORK. Why, BACK IN MY DAY…you know what, FORGET IT. And who KNOWS if I’d even find your friend HOT ANYWAY., PROBABLY NOT, because I’M DEMI. *Bitterbitterbitterbitter.*

I remember when the term “sapiosexual” became popularized years ago. I also identify with that one, however, while I may be highly attracted to intelligent individuals (teach me, senpai!), I am also attracted to glasses, genuine smiles, nice eyes, sarcastic wit, skateboarders….there’s no term for each one (thankfully). You can be attracted to intelligence AND other things. But even if a guy had all that ish, and the connection was missing, it would still be a dead-end for me. I wouldn’t even WANT to still sleep with the unicorn man of my dreams just for kicks because he had all the things I ever wanted. If I couldn’t confide a deep dark secret with him, his penis was useless. The point is, demisexuals don’t WANT to be demisexuals lol. At least I sure don’t. Hooray, I’ve finally gained clarity on my orientation, but I don’t WANT to be this kind of different, horny and angry over it (horngry?).

I would love to “order up” a quick hookup on Tinder to soothe the raging fire in my loins (because I’m experiencing quite a drought) but I can’t just DO IT. I can’t just open myself up to (metaphorically and quite literally) to a person I haven’t spent time and laughed with, assessed their character, and grown to LIKE in some way. Without that connection, it’s just sex. And I don’t want JUST sex with some random “conventionally hot” person. I want something passionate and powerful, with a delicious natural build-up, where our speech was never-ending foreplay and our words were extensions of our tongues teasing our minds and flesh and each confident touch sent electric currents up our joints. And if that ain’t there, then what’s the point?

(I may be a bit of an overachiever). I don’t need “just sex.”

I have always been on a never-ending quest for human connection, sexual or no. I crave authenticity and realness, deep bonds with folks who resonate on the same vibe, honest emotion. I think we all know how hard it is to find on just a friendly level. Move it to the realm where it’s required for intimacy and it makes life that much harder for those who won’t settle for anyone less, in a world where casual is where it’s at and, let’s face it, PEOPLE STRAIGHT UP SUCK. One time I tried settling for less a few years ago and the dope couldn’t even be a proper FWB; I ended up being less satisfied than before. I’m accumulating a lot of “Don’t Settle” lessons at this stage in my life.

I guess the silver lining is that demisexuals are willing to wait for something more meaningful (not like our hearts really give us a choice), which means more meaningful sexual encounters WHEN WE DO FIND THEM, but what do you do in the meantime if you’re a demi who’s not finding anyone to connect with on that level, AND not settling?

Tough it out miserably with your vibrator in the meantime is the main suggestion I keep getting.

Damn my standards. But at least I know I’m not alone.

~Tael