A ‘wank seance’ – when masturbating, accidentally summoning up the image of a dead relative. Then, not being able to dismiss the image of them looking on, disapprovingly, at what you’re doing.
A work friend introduced me to that term, and I found it funny. However, last week, I experienced something even worse.
Last Saturday night, I had my first date with the Abrasive Uber Passenger.
This was an unusual first date, as we’d already seen each other naked, and he’d already seen me get ready for another date. Plus, I had hated him for a few hours and also kissed his friend.
However, I was really looking forward to the date. It felt like we had great chemistry, both when we were together and in our messages.
But I was trying not to get my hopes up, as he had already cancelled once, for no good reason.
During the day of the date, my friend Tess came round to help me paint my new living room. We chatted for quite a while, before getting started on decorating. At one point, I saw a message from Abrasive Uber flash up on my phone, on the coffee table, but Tess and I were deep in conversation about something really important with her relationship, so I couldn’t read the message. I got a bit distracted, wondering if his message was cancelling again.
But he wasn’t! He was just confirming the plans for later.
Then, time flew and it was a few hours later. Tess had left and I was trying to wash the paintbrushes, make some food and get dressed all at the same time.
He texted me saying he was going to be about 20 minutes early, because of train times. I felt pressure to be early, but ended up being a few minutes late.
He had come to the new part of south London I’ve just moved to, which, happily, is much more convenient for him than where I used to live.
I had suggested a pub I hadn’t been to yet, because lots of people had recommended it to me.
It was raining as I power-walked to the pub, and I nearly slipped over as I walked over a bridge. I was proud of my reaction times, as I grabbed onto the side and managed to avert the slip.
I arrived at the pub and saw him sitting at a table, near the bar.
Wow! He’s much fitter than I remembered! I thought.
I sat down and we chatted for a few minutes, before I went to the bar to get a drink. He was drinking cider and I decided I would too.
The pub was very busy. After buying two pints of cider, I carefully negotiated my way back to our table. I was waiting for some people to move out of my way, repeating “excuse me” in gradually increasing increments of volume, while my stress levels increased. After washing up the paintbrushes, I had put hand cream on my white-spirity hands, right before I left the house. Now the glasses of cider were gradually slipping out of my moisturised grasp.
Thankfully, everyone got out of my way in the nick of time, and I managed to get safely back to our table.
I recounted the hand cream story to him, which he seemed to like.
I told him all about my move – my new feature wall which my friends helped me wallpaper, how the removal men lost my bed and how Virgin still hadn’t installed my internet. The conversation was easy from the start.
After a while, I realised I had been talking a lot. “So, anyway, what have you been up to?” I asked him.
He said something about going out, but struggled to answer, and we both agreed it was always a question that made your mind go blank.
“I was just aware I’d been doing about 90% of the talking!” I said.
“Oh, that’s OK! I prefer that.” He replied.
His cancellation from a few weeks ago came up. He apologised again. I didn’t want to make him feel bad but also didn’t want to say it was OK. I told him about how I’d spent the whole weekend painting the infinite ceiling and had been looking forward to going out on the Sunday evening, so when I got his message, I thought Fuck Sake.
Just like the morning after we slept together, and in our messages, it felt like we had great chemistry. I was having a lot of fun. I can’t remember exactly what we talked about, but the time seemed to go really quickly. He seemed really interested in what I was saying and we both made each other laugh a lot.
Some of the things we talked about were touching on past breakups, our jobs and holidays we’d had.
A couple of times I caught him doing an eye-flit at my breasts, which made me feel pleased with myself.
At one point, I said something about living with an ex, and how we took it in turns to sleep on the sofa bed.
I said “The thing is, there was no bedroom door, and the living-room door didn’t close properly, so there was actually no functioning door in between us. Which added a really exciting element of danger to any masturbation either of us wanted to engage in.”
We talked about the night we met, and laughed about it. He said he had told a few friends about how he messed up coming back to mine by trying to be like Larry David.
We agreed it was a good story, and he said “if we get married, I’ll definitely mention it in my speech.”
A bit later on, we were talking about comedy. He had done some stand-up comedy in the past, but then stopped doing because of anxiety. (It turns out that’s why I was drawing a social anxiety formulation for him in the nightclub, the night we met!)
He said “if you ever do stand-up, you should tell that masturbation story from earlier.” Apparently he had enjoyed that.
After time had been called at the bar, he said “well, I guess it’s decision time.”
“What decision?” I asked, even though I knew.
“Whether we both go back to yours, or go our separate ways.” He replied.
“Hmm. What are the pros and cons of each option?” I said, partly to buy time as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and partly to toy with him.
I can’t remember exactly how he answered; he listed the costs and benefits quite succinctly, but I was partly not listening as I suddenly remembered I hadn’t plucked my nipple hairs. It had been on my list of things to do that afternoon, but with all the decorating, dramas with Virgin media and Tess visiting, I had completely forgotten.
Tess had said earlier “and do you think you’ll bring him back here later?”
I had said “I don’t know.”
I feel it’s a shame we rushed the sex, the first time we met. Normally I don’t feel ready until about the 3rd date, and it was only the second time in my life that I had done it within a few hours of meeting the person. And it was the first time I had done with someone that I hated in the moment.
I wasn’t sure if the antidote to rushing the first shag (and hating it) was to really draw out and postpone the second shag. Maybe we could regain some sexual tension by holding back now.
Or, on the other hand, maybe that’s closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Maybe the answer is to crack on and have really good second sex quite quickly.
Also, I have a weird thing with him where I definitely think he’s good-looking and I definitely feel attracted to him, and we have great chemistry, and really buzz off each other when we’re together. But, somehow, the chemistry doesn’t feel that sexual. Like, with other people I’ve fancied, sometimes when we’re talking, half of me is thinking I hope we kiss later, but with him, I was so engrossed in the conversation, I forgot that kissing was a thing.
Also, part of me was thinking my new flat wasn’t quite up for guests, as the furniture was in disarray because of painting earlier, and I had been halfway through changing the sheets when the man from Virgin Media arrived. But the other half of me thought I really want to show off my new feature wall.
I really felt conflicted about what to do.
Then I thought I haven’t had sex since January.
“OK, let’s go back to mine.” I said.
As we left the pub, I said “that man at the next table was definitely listening to our conversation about whether to go back to mine, and really enjoying it.”
He laughed and said he had noticed it too.
It was still drizzling as we started walking back to mine. When we got to the bridge, he was talking about something quite serious – I think it was something really bad that happened to someone he knows.
When he had finished, I said “this isn’t really as bad as that, but, earlier, I nearly slipped over quite badly on that spot over there.”
A bit later on, we were walking up a residential street, and saw a tabby cat. It seemed really keen for some attention, so I stopped and stroked the cat for a bit. We both agreed we were cat people rather than dog people.
Then, for a quite a while, the cat kept following me as we carried on walking.
“That cat is still following you! It’s obsessed with you!” he kept saying.
It made me feel quite pleased with myself.
We got back to mine, and came into my living room.
When identifying the pros and cons of coming back to mine, we had already said having a cup of tea together was a pro, so I went into the kitchen.
In our text messages, I had said something having masala tea a lot since I went to India, so for some reason I found myself offering him that.
He accepted, and I regretted it as I thought maybe it was a bit late and I was a bit too drunk to be faffing around with cardamom pods and the pestle and mortar.
However, the masala tea seemed to go down really well.
I pretended I needed the toilet and snuck into my bedroom and grabbed my tweezers, then went into the bathroom, sat on the toilet and lifted up my top, and hastily plucked my nipple hairs.
I came back and we sat on my sofa and chatted.
I apologised for the furniture being in weird positions, after decorating. I had put a lot of it back after Tess left, but not everything, as the walls were still wet.
“I mean, that bookcase is at a very jaunty angle, and the cupboard looks like it’s about to put its coat on and leave.” I rambled.
“We could always go into a different room.” He suggested meaningfully.
“Yes, I suppose we could.” I said. Then I remembered I still needed to finish changing the sheets. I leapt up to do that, just as he lent in to kiss me.
We kissed for a several moments, which was quite nice, although I was conscious I was sitting at a weird angle, as I had been halfway through getting up.
“Sorry, I just felt like that was looming over us.” He said.
“No, it was good!” I said.
After I’d finished sorting out the bedding, we got into bed. I always find it a dilemma, knowing how much clothing to remove and what to keep on, so they have the opportunity to remove it.
He looked at a painting on my wall and said “that’s a really creepy painting.”
“Oh well, I like it, I mean it’s quiet surreal, but…” I tailed off. That painting was done by my ex-boyfriend who died.
We started kissing. After a while, his hands started roaming inside my clothing. It felt really good.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about that painting.
And then I just couldn’t stop thinking about my dead ex-boyfriend.
Let’s just pop that to one side for now, please! I said to my brain.
But the more I tried not to think about my dead ex, the more he came into my head, and the less turned on I felt.
It was like a sex version of the White Polar Experiment that I do with patients at work all the time (telling them to think about anything except a white polar bear for one minute. What always happens is they can’t think of anything but the white polar bear. It shows that with something like OCD or PTSD, the more you try not to think of something distressing, the more you think of it.)
I paused the kissing for a moment, and took off my cardigan.
“Just taking off my cardigan!” I said, unnecessarily.
Then I added “Err, actually, is it OK if we just stop for a moment?”
“Err, yeah!” he replied.
“Sorry, it’s just, you know, when you’re trying not to think about something, but then suddenly it’s the only thing you can think about?”
He looked like he didn’t know. He seemed confused.
I thought for a moment, weighing up what to do next, then said “OK. This might be a bit of a boner-killer, but I’ll tell you what it is. I had a boyfriend who died, and that came into my head, and then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. He did that painting.”
“Oh, wow! Sorry.” He replied.
“Oh, it’s OK, I mean, it is a weird painting. I mean, maybe I should’ve have it on my… but I don’t want to pretend he wasn’t… or not have his…”
“You’re right, it was a boner-killer. But I have a new level of respect for you now!” He said warmly.
“Thanks! I mean, it was in 2012, and I’ve dated other people since then, and even lived with someone else, but it just came into my head in that moment.”
We talked about what happened for a bit, and he was really lovely. Then we got on to just talking more about the past in general, like where I was living at the time, then we talked about other places we’ve each lived. It felt really comfortable, and I felt glad I’d told him.
When I’m getting to know someone new like this, I never feel like they’re getting the full me until they know this. His reaction was really great. A bit later, he reiterated what he had said earlier about it giving him a new level of respect for me.
After a while, it felt comfortable enough for us to go back to kissing.
First, he had accidentally summoned up the image of my ex, right before sex. Then, we had successfully laid that ghost to rest, so you’d think there would have been a happy ending.
But unfortunately, this time, when we went back to the sex, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Great Scot.
I think it was because I just am really struggling not to think about him at the moment. I’m really sad we haven’t stayed friends, and some of what happened between us was absolutely brilliant. Apart from the odd moment, I always had an amazing time in his company, the sex was phenomenal and I fancied him so much.
When I had been walking to the pub, to meet Abrasive Uber, my mind had wandered on to the Great Scot a lot, and I kept thinking You’re on your way to a date with someone else! Stop it!
Also, I had been talking to Tess earlier, about how good the sex was with the Great Scot, and I think that conversation made it even fresher in my mind.
“What was so good about it?” She had asked.
“Well, all of his default ways of doing things perfectly matched what I like. Normally with fingering I’m like ‘Yeah, alright mate, you don’t have to do it so hard!’ but he did it the perfect level of gentleness. Plus the fact he’s so tentative and unassuming the rest of the time, but actually very assertive and hot in bed.”
Unfortunately, Abrasive Uber did fall into the camp of men who do things too hard.
I don’t know if my equipment is overly sensitive compared to other women’s, or if men just commonly do things too hard because they’re more used to doing it to themselves, but I really do find that it just hurts and doesn’t feel nice at all, unless they can tone it down.
Normally, I’m quite good at giving them feedback, but after the dead ex curveball, I didn’t feel like critiquing his style on this occasion.
I did enjoy some of the stuff we did, and at some points I thought I might be halfway to completing the transaction, but it was never going to happen.
So, he did stuff to me with his hands, which was mainly too hard. Then I gave him some oral for a bit. He said I was “too good” at that, which I took as a compliment.
Then I said “do you want to do… other stuff?”
He said. I asked if he had a condom, which he did.
“Umm, usually I’m quite a fan of lubrication, because I think it makes it better and makes the condom less likely to break and also I think I’m quite narrow, so is it OK if I get some lubricant out?”
“Sure, you know your own body!” He said.
I couldn’t tell, when I applied the lubricant, if he was a seasoned lubrication pro or not.
Then he put it in, which hurt for a second and then was OK.
I thought it was nice to be having sex again.
I tried not to think about the Great Scot.
Normally, I don’t enjoy the penetrative bit as much as the pre-penetration stuff. I feel like I only have about 5 nerve cells on the inside, and the rest is all on the outside.
However, I was enjoying it with him.
Then he suddenly said he couldn’t do it anymore and he wasn’t going to come so we went to sleep.
Spooning together while we slept was really nice, and in the morning I enjoyed his company again.
At 10:30am, a lady came around to look at a sofa I’m trying to sell, so we got up earlier than we would have normally.
I made him some toast and tea and we had a nice time chatting in my living room, and then he left.
When he got up to go, he kissed me again and said he’d had a good time and he hoped we’d do it again.
“Yeah, it’s nice to have just enjoyed it the whole way through!” I said. “It’s good there’s been less peaks and troughs than last time!”
“Well, I’ve tried to be less…” he thought for a moment, and then just as he said “troughy”, I said “abrasive?”