My 6th date with Andrew was hotly anticipated, after the last ones had been so good.
We planned I’d go to his on the Friday night, and he’d cook. Roast butternut squash risotto. He seemed quite proud of his risotto skills.
Our 5th date had been a Sunday night. As the week went by, he texted me each evening and we chatted about our days.
One night I told him I’d seen a friend who had given me advice about getting my novel published. Andrew said things like:
It blew my mind. My ex-boyfriend, Matthew, always said things like “it’s incredibly unlikely that your book will get published. I don’t want to set you up for disappointment!”
He never asked to read it. Once I read out one sentence to him, and he just criticised my writing.
In the 3 years of our relationship, whenever I excitedly talked about the latest bit I’d written, he would just clench his jaw until I stopped talking, so I eventually I stopped talking about it. And then I stopped writing it.
I restarted it after we broke up, and finished my first draft last November.
I couldn’t believe how encouraging Andrew was being. It made me grin from ear to ear and I was the one who reminded him that it probably won’t get published. That night, I fired up my laptop and worked on my novel for the first time in ages.
We also talked about how it would be the end of my period when I stayed at his, so I kept saying I would bring the Official Period Towel so we didn’t make a mess of his sheets. I liked how fine with period chat he seemed.
On the Friday, I felt stressed as I got ready to see him, after work.
When I had come back from the shower, the morning after our 5th date, I’d said “so this is me without makeup.”
He had said “I think I prefer you without.”
Part of me thought fuck sake, I spend a lot of money on Bobbi Brown and Urban Decay.
But I decided to take it as a compliment – if it was true, it must mean he didn’t hate my face.
I hadn’t actually asked for his preference, because I knew it would put him in an impossible position, where he either had to criticise my face or my makeup application skills, but I can see how it might’ve seemed like a question.
So, I hadn’t thought about it too much, until I was applying my makeup on Friday evening.
I started thinking what if he doesn’t like the way I apply my makeup? and then it started going wrong.
Normally, I like putting on makeup on. It feels like a mixture of art and science. I like covering up my defects but I also like it in the same way I like making clothes and things – I like putting together different colours and making things look better.
That evening, everything was going wrong. The more makeup I applied, the worse I looked. I think my skin was dehydrated.
I ended up leaving the house late. Every time I nearly left, I’d walk past the mirror and think I can’t leave looking like this and do some more adjustments, which only made things worse.
Then there were train problems, which made me a bit later.
When I finally got to his station, I felt stressed and pissed off. It was a hot evening, and I had felt cold sweat dribble down from my armpit when I had stood on the platform, waiting for one of my trains.
Then, as I walked from his station, I felt pissed off that these days, no one meets you at the station anymore. There’s no need, with phones with maps. I’m perfectly capable of finding the way on my own, and it wouldn’t be practical, when someone is halfway through cooking, but I miss the romance of meeting on a platform and walking together. Also, on a practical level, if the station has more than one exit, it’s hard to figure out which one to take.
So I felt crabby as I walked to his. Then, Google maps didn’t know where his building was, as it’s a new build.
I kept walking past the same group of intimidating kids playing football, as my phone sent me on a wild goose chase.
In the end, I asked two slightly scary-looking, tattooed, skinhead men, who were fixing a car, and they turned out to be very helpful.
Then I was buzzed into Andrew’s building but didn’t know which way to go, once I was in the entrance hall.
Oh for fucking fuck’s sake! How am I supposed to know where to go now?
Eventually I figured out that I should get in the lift and go up a floor. When the doors opened, he was standing there, in the corridor, and we hugged.
We went into his flat, and kissed.
By the end of that kiss, I could hardly remember why I’d been pissed off. He was fine with me being late as the risotto was taking longer than expected.
He has a bit of outside space, sort of like a balcony, but on the ground floor, just off his living room. I went and stood outside, as it was a nice evening, and I wanted to finish off calming down.
I came back in, and he was standing by his kitchen sink. I went over and put my arms around him from behind, and he stopped what he was doing and put his arms behind him, around me, to hug me back. Then he turned around and kissed me properly.
Then I felt in a great mood.
I had a glass of wine and he cooked and we chatted about his day. He was telling me all about each of his work colleagues, which I loved hearing.
The risotto was really amazing. We chatted about our days as we ate. He has an incredible memory. On our third date, I had said in passing that someone in my team had just come back from compassionate leave. Then, a few weeks later, I said “I had a really good heart-to-heart with one of my colleagues today.”
He said, “Was that with the person who just came back from compassionate leave?”
It was actually someone different, and I had to think who it was that had been on compassionate leave.
I think it must be because he’s a detective. He seems to listen to everything I say and store it away. Sometimes he guesses things without me telling him as well, which I find both impressive and eerie.
I said something in passing about a work colleague I get on with a bit less well than the rest of my team, and he said, “Is it because her therapist style is different from yours?”
It was! But I really didn’t feel like I’d given him enough information to know that yet!
So, we ate our dinner and I was having such a great time. He’s such good, easy, fun, interesting company.
After eating, we went out on his ground floor balcony for a bit, and then sat on his sofa. I gently made fun of his lack of progress with his flat (apart from the perfectly straight lines in the bedroom).
He talked about his plans for the living room, and I said, “and will you be keeping this still life installation?” pointing at the arrangement of tins of paint that seemed to have been there a long time.
We disagreed about who had the best sofa.
Eventually, we went through to the bedroom and, as usual, he gave me plate tectonic orgasms, but couldn’t receive any of my handiwork because of his ‘tender balls’.
In the morning (and afternoon), we lay around in bed, naked, and chatted and hugged.
“And how are your balls today?” I asked.
We talked again about him seeing his GP, and I showed him online the infection I had found out about, that can cause tender balls – Epididymitis.
Suddenly, I had a flash of inspiration.
“Is it just the pain that’s stopping you? Is there anything else, on top of that?” I asked.
He grudgingly confessed that he has had trouble receiving pleasure in the past. This was what he’d alluded to, when he said in passing, on our last date, that sometimes he feels like he doesn’t deserve it.
He told me that his first relationship was not good. He had fancied her all through university, and then they eventually got together, but it was very unbalanced and unequal. Apparently the way it ended was bad for his self-confidence.
Then, things were a lot better with his next girlfriend. If anything, it was more unequal in the opposite direction, but he still felt more comfortable giving than receiving. Apparently he would worry that he wasn’t good enough at penetrative sex.
“Really? I think the stuff you’re confident at – oral, and fingering – that’s the stuff that takes skill. For penetrative sex you just need to put it in and thrust it around! Anyone can do that,” I said.
Apparently he has had some positive experiences of penetrative sex and receiving oral, but still feels anxious about it.
He was very worried about my reaction to him revealing some insecurities, because of me being a therapist. Especially since I had told him I wanted to break the pattern of caring for boyfriends.
“Oh no, I’m really glad you told me! I’m not looking for someone without any problems now, because that person doesn’t exist. It’s fine as long the person can take responsibility and be there for me too.” I tried to reassure him.
I suggested a few CBT things that I thought might help, like trying to be mindful when he penetrates someone, and just focus on the sensations and stepping away from any negative thoughts he has in the moment.
We agreed I would try and gingerly give him some oral.
It went very well! We were both pleased with the results.
Unfortunately, afterwards, his DNA didn’t seem to sit in my stomach very well. As we lay in bed chatting, a little while later, I kept getting waves of nausea.
I am prone to being a bit of an attention-seeking drama queen when I’m ill, so I tried to be stoical.
“Maybe it’s just because I’m hungry. I’ll have another cup of tea,” I said.
We had been talking about going out for lunch for hours, but couldn’t stop lying around hugging and chatting.
After a while, I started getting pain in my stomach, and went to the bathroom.
OH no, I thought, as I sat on the toilet. This is going to be spectacular diarrhoea.
I knew he was sitting only a few metres away, on the other side of a single wall.
I’m quite proud of the level of concentration and sphincter control I achieved, to make it as quiet as it was. But it wasn’t silent.
Halfway though, I got a bit panicked when it occurred to me how long I had been in there, and how obvious it was that something was up, even if he didn’t hear anything.
That diarrhoea could only be described as explosive.
I had mainly seen the funny side of the situation, until I finished and realised, just like last time, there was hardly any toilet paper left. Again, it didn’t seem like he kept his spare toilet rolls in the bathroom.
Both the toilet and I were a complete mess, and he didn’t seem to have a toilet brush, and it was going to take a lot of cleaning up.
I wanted to cry.
I did the best I could with the couple of sheets that were left, then tentatively opened the bathroom door, to ask him for more toilet roll.
I opened the door, and it was like the clouds parted, and the sun shone down! A new toilet roll had been placed, like a gift from God, just outside the bathroom door.
I didn’t dwell on what lead him to think she’s going to need more paper in there, but happily skipped back into the bathroom to complete the cleanup operation.
After thoroughly washing my hands, I went back into the bedroom.
“Do you think it’s better to keep some mystery, at the start of dating someone, or do you think it’s better to be honest about things like bodily functions?” I asked, getting back into bed with him.
He seemed like he had absolutely no idea what the correct answer to this cryptic puzzle was, and said something non-committal. I decided not to tell him how stressful my toilet visit had been, but said, “I wonder if it’s worth slightly adjusting your system, so guests have access to the next toilet roll without having to ask or anything.”
It’s possible that my digestive malfunction was caused by accidentally eating some gluten. Since I cut it out, I have felt better and healthier in so many ways, but now if I accidentally eat some gluten, a tiny amount gives me a bad reaction.
I quite like giving oral, and I’ve always found that swallowing is the most efficient way of getting it out of my mouth at the end. I generally haven’t had many problems, but I have found in the past, that sometimes, when I’ve been doing it a lot, I’ve had an upset tummy.
Also, when I thought about it, I haven’t actually swallowed that much since I found out I can’t eat gluten.
Since cutting out gluten, I have spent an unreasonable amount of time googling ‘Is semen gluten free?’ because it’s hard to find a clear answer. Maybe ingesting his DNA and accidentally having some gluten were the same thing.
I felt better after the Explosive Diarrhoea.
It transpired that neither of us had any plans for Saturday. We kept talking about going out for lunch, but hours went by.
He had bought some chocolate souffles for us to have for dessert, the night before, but we didn’t end up eating them.
We were thinking of walking somewhere for lunch/dinner that was a nice but long walk. As we hadn’t eaten all day (apart from me), I said “why don’t we have the chocolate puddings now, to tide us over, then go out for something to eat?”
“What, have dessert first, then go out for something savoury?” he asked, incredulously.
“Yes! It’s 2018, we can do whatever we like!”
He thought about it for a while. “OK,” he eventually agreed, cautiously.
He put the chocolate souffles in the oven, and for some reason we got talking about past relationships. I told him all about what happened with the Whippersnapper and with Matthew.
When I said, “…and then I found out the Whippersnapper had lied about his age!”, he said, “what a strange thing to lie about!”
Andrew is such a good listener, I feel like I could tell him anything. He seemed really interested in all my dating stories and asked lots of questions, and was supportive about the sad bits.
“And what about Balthazar, why didn’t it work out with him?” Andrew asked, as we sat down to eat our rebellious souffles.
“That’s what I’ve been asking myself since 2012,” I replied, sadly.
I told him what happened. I told him about the last time I saw him before he died, the day I moved out.
I got a bit choked up at one point, and suddenly Andrew produced a packet of tissues from nowhere, like a magician.
I laughed and said, “is that a policeman move?”
He said, “it has been known.”
I noticed he looked like he was welling up a bit too.
“It’s tragic what happened,” he said.
“Sorry, for going on about my dead ex!” I said.
“I asked!” he replied.
After we had finished eating, he had a quick shower before we went out for dinner.
I was eager for us to crack on and get out, as my stomach was starting to churn again, and I wanted to use a bathroom in a restaurant, that was not within his earshot.
Eventually, at about 7pm, we finally left his flat and went out for dinner. It was a lovely sunny day. We chatted about our friends and whether we approve of their partners or not.
When we got to the restaurant, I scampered through to the ladies’ toilets. I was delighted with how noisy the restaurant was, as I had my second round of explosive, but this time un-overheard diarrhoea.
I was expecting to feel like a new woman afterwards, as I’d been holding it in for a while, but when I sat back down at our table, I felt worse. I had stomach cramps and my stomach was churning. I felt lightheaded and cold and sweaty, like I was having an out of body experience.
“I’m having some digestive symptoms,” I said. “I think I’ll wait til I know you better, before I tell you what they are.”
He said cautiously, “I think I might already know.”
“Oh no!” I said, covering my face in my hands. “Oh well, fuck it.”
I told him all about my stressful toilet visit at his flat.
“… and then, like a gift from god, a toilet roll appeared outside the bathroom door.”
I was glad we were able to laugh about it. I didn’t really feel like eating, but all I’d had for nearly 24 hours was chocolate souffle and semen, so I thought food might help, and actually, it did.
We talked about our A-levels as we ate dinner. We both did Chemistry, and we reminisced about hydrocarbons and the periodic table.
“…and then there’s alkenes, which have a double bond.”
At one point he told me that he loves having baths. Sometimes he has two in one day.
“That uses a lot of water, you know,” I said.
“I know. But it’s the only luxurious thing I do,” he replied. I believe him, as we’d already talked about how he has quite austere ideas about being healthy and exercising, and he seems to like the fact I’m a bit more free-spirited.
I asked him what he did in the bath, and he said sometimes he read, and sometimes he listened to Radio 4.
Now I can’t stop thinking about the fact that his one pleasure in life is listening to Radio 4 in the bath. It’s absolutely adorable.
After dinner, we talked about what to do next.
I had the following week off work, and my only plan for Saturday was to pack my bag, so I could leave early on Sunday morning to drive up to the Lake District, to see my parents.
“One option would be for you to come back to mine, so I can quickly pack, and then we could try some penetration?” I suggested hopefully.
He was worried I’d think that two nights in a row was too much, but he was up for it.
We had to go back to his place first, and it was about 11pm by the time we got to mine. He seemed sleepy on the train, and I liked the relaxed, affectionate way we sat and held hands or held each other, while he dozed.
I’m not surprised he was tired, as he works such long hours.
I decided to have a quick shower, when we got to my place. I was absolutely sweaty and disgusting.
When I came back from the bathroom, he was asleep in my bed. I knelt on the floor, next to him, in my towel, and gently touched his arm.
“Do you still want to try some sex? You can just sleep if you prefer! You seem really tired!” I whispered.
He said he didn’t want to sleep yet, and looked at me in my towel in a really nice way.
We lay and kissed and hugged for a while, and I asked him what he wanted me to do.
He was lying on his stomach and told me he liked the backs of his thighs being touched.
I did as he asked, and I loved staring at his face and seeing his looks of absolute delight as I ran my fingers up and down the tops of his legs.
Afterwards I did to my own backs of thighs to check if it’s a universal thing, but I think maybe it only works if someone else is doing it.
Then, we both fell asleep.
In the morning, I made myself some tea and said “shall we try some penetration?”
“OK,” he replied nervously.
We had some of the most therapisty foreplay you could imagine.
“How are you feeling now?” I asked.
“A bit overwhelmed,” he replied.
“It’s OK, you’re doing really well!” I said, giving him a firm hug. “You deserve this!”
When it came to the crucial moment, there were some logistical problems with getting the condom on and everything.
He was so worried about being turned on enough to put it in, but not so turned on that he came too quickly, and it was all getting a bit stressful.
“Do you want to try putting it in without a condom, just for a bit, so we can relax about the initial putting it in?” I suggested. I knew it was a safe-ish time of my cycle and we’d both had STI tests reasonably recently.
He put it in.
“Oh my god, we’re doing it!” I said.
We were both really happy. I felt so full of affection for him, as I looked up at him and felt him inside me. It felt like it had been a bit of a journey.
After not long, he took it out and said “I’m going to come!”
“OK,” I said.
And then he did.
It seemed like he was ejaculating for about 25 minutes. We both laughed as endless pints and pints went everywhere. He kept apologising – I was completely coated from my neck to the bottom of my stomach, and a substantial smattering went on my face and hair.
We were lying length-ways across the bed, and it even went on his bag, which was leaning against the wall, a few feet away, and it even went on the skirting board.
“It’s a reflection of how attracted to you I am!” he kept saying.
I couldn’t stop laughing as we tried to clean things up. I got straight in the shower to hose myself down.
If long distance ejaculation ever becomes an Olympic sport, he should definitely put his name down. I have never seen anything like it.
I was planning to leave at 9am that morning, but it kept getting later and later, as we lay around in bed, pleased with ourselves.
We did it again at about 1pm, and then I thought I really needed to get cracking.
I ended up leaving just after 3pm.
“I’ll just tell my parents I had a date on Friday night that overran quite substantially.”
He was very sweet about helping me carry things out to my car after I’d finished packing.
It wasn’t until I checked the news on my phone, at Norton Cane services that I realised the World Cup had been on, while we’d been having sex.
Andrew had been keen to watch a random match between Brazil and Switzerland on one of our earlier dates, so I couldn’t believe he had missed an England game for sex.
Especially since it turned out to be one of the most successful England games in history.
When I got to the Lakes, I texted him saying “Were you so distracted by my vagina that you forgot to watch the football?”
He said “I was focused on the job in hand. I even blocked out the cricket.”
“That’s the best compliment a woman can receive.”