It was going to be a much needed holiday. A catch up with an old friend. Mouth-watering food. Moorish non-alcoholic wines. Maybe a few fun adventures some divertissement all iced with passionate, hot, succulent, sex. What was not to look forward to about all that?
It’s now been several years since my marriage ended, and since that point, men, male friends, with means have invited me away on holiday with them. I’ve visited New York three times with one, Rome and Copenhagen. Another took me to Paris and err, Orange County. The Funeral Director has been the most consistent. Trips to Ibiza and Dubai have been heavenly. But as time passes, so do people.
But I am not the girl I was before. I am no longer so easily amused, so quickly appeased, so eager to please men for experiences I cannot normally afford. Back then, I thought I would never be healthy, never have the opportunity or the means to travel, and explore the world. But that was then, pre-transplant.
Due to the fact I am now on immune suppressants and strongly believe that stress is bad, (if not dangerous for my health), I no longer take risks with anything. My physical health or my mental health. I don’t do drama. Anymore. And this new me is tired of men saying ‘Jump’ and just expecting me to comply.
Last year one of these male friends invited me to Copenhagen. I have always wanted to go there, and despite only being a year and a half post-transplant I went hoping that he would understand if I didn’t feel up to anything too raucous. When I arrived I was tired, and there was something about his nature and personality that disquieted me. He was in the process of a divorce from a beautiful woman who he had married and been unfaithful to for many years, almost all as far as I could gather the divorce was complicated and ‘delicate’. Although I knew nothing of his financial situation, my impression was he was sensible and had made sure that this was not in any way going to affect his situation with this parting of their lives. There were ways he said, of making sure that she didn’t get quite such a significant amount of what was there, rules or regulations about tax, and he smirked in a way which suggested he seemed pleased with himself. I was not particularly amused but it was none of my business. I had thought misguidedly it was an open marriage, and when I had found out I was the other woman I had been most upset. As he confidently paraded his success in front of me, I looked at him hard and realised that although in the past I had considered him a possible sperm donor that idea was fizzling out faster than sparklers in a thunderstorm. Part of me also felt terribly sorry for his long-suffering ex-wife. To love someone so philandering and unfaithful is such a waste of real unconditional love given to another. He really was undeserving of that from her.
There was something odd about the whole trip and at one point, I confronted him and asked if the sex was vital to our friendship.
“Well, to be frank, I can’t see that I will be flying you out to places if it isn’t going to happen’ he answered, and I realised that my holidays with him were over.
As we arrived at the airport he finally couldn’t hold the truth back anymore.
“The thing is I have this secretary who is like 24 years old, and she is blonde with huge breasts, and….” he looked around so that no one can hear him.
“She loves anal sex”.
Anal sex and I are like someone who is allergic to nuts having a deep-rooted desire to drink Amaretto and eat pistachios. No matter how much you try or make the effort to become a nut eater, the fact you nearly died once kinda still haunts you.
I didn’t nearly die once from anal, but it kinda did feel like someone was tearing open my arse when an ex decided without any preparation or lubricant to try and penetrate me from behind. Even the thought of it makes me tense up and through my side line, as a sex toy reviewer, I have been trying to ‘relax’ into anal play, jeezus. It’s a slow road to what could be amazing but could also just be blooming’ uncomfortable.
It further transpired he was taking her to San Sebastian, which was a bit like telling a child, who loves Christmas, that someone else is going to Lapland to meet him and the elves. (Yup, that’s what it is like when you have a best friend whose dad is a millionaire at seven, c’est la vie.) San Sebastian is a mecca for foodies, and as anyone who knows me will support, I love food. I love tasting things. I love losing myself in textures and experiences and…..
He was taking his 24-year-old blond secretary to food heaven because she took it up the arse?
This, of course, was on top of the obvious which was this man had lined up me, and then another woman to fulfil his sexual needs. I was just one in a lineup, and she, it turned out, knew about me but I was only finding out about her now.
This didn’t sit particularly well with me and we had fallen out rather spectacularly on my return to the UK. But months later I had apologised and then out of nowhere, knowing most of my outburst had been due to hormones and probably hepatic encephalopathy had come an invitation to San Francisco. I could only assume he was bored and lonely. We played with dates and eventually agreed on them, and there it was, just like that. I was going back to where I had wanted to go for so long. He was making my dream come true, and I was blown away.
We exchanged fun, flirtatious messages and everything was going fine until four days ago when shit hit the fan.
If I ask for a piece of information, even something insignificant, I expect to have it. Because if you expect to be putting your penis inside me, I want to know I can trust you, and trust is easily lost slow to be gained in this world I have created for myself.
He wanted me to shut down all my social media for the trip. A not unreasonable request except that I moonlight for a design agency and the opportunities in a city of San Francisco’s weight in the world was going to be a great loss for the company. I finally got my head around that and decided I would research then post at a later point, but the truth of the matter was that I was suddenly aware of things I wasn’t before. Firstly that this man was controlling, and expected to be ‘obeyed’ without question, or kickback. Then there was the fact that if I couldn’t post even things totally unrelated to him or his locations, what if I ever travelled anywhere else? Was I meant to go silently and without a trace? Why couldn’t I just be visiting California alone to see the friends unrelated to him? It seemed most odd.
Part of me undoubtedly had believed and hoped that my return to California would be one with confidence and fanfare, the girl sent away now returning on her terms.
But that was silliness and I could put that aside as well. After all, as he reminded me, he had paid for the trip.
That reminder irked me. I have always said to all my lovers that when things improve, as they always do and always will I will pay my way. But hey ho. What could I do?
He asked for my Instagram handle. I gave it and asked for his.
Warning bells that had been distantly tolling started to deafen me and on a walk, with my dogs, I listed to ‘Ask and it is Given’ but Esther and Jerry Hicks who reminded me that when something feels negative we should listen to it and realise it was out of our vibrational alignment.
I called the Airline company and asked if he would be able to cancel the flight. A reassuring voice told me that if the ticket was in my name, no he couldn’t. The voice also helped me change the contact email and I suddenly realised that the worst thing this man could do to me in the future, was to take away the chance for me to see my best friend, he couldn’t. (I prayed he couldn’t anyway.)
I didn’t want to stay with him. If he was so concerned about his ex-finding out about me being there, staying in his apartment then wouldn’t she be watching it and him? What would happen if she did find out? Would I just be kicked out onto the street? I wasn’t confident at all in my host or his morals on any level.
But I also knew he had a vile ferocious temper and I didn’t want to feel the wrath of that on my neck. So what was I to do? Nothing seemed the best bet.
I considered writing an email, and then changed my mind about sending it.
In the last year, I have had a man seriously betray my trust in the bedroom while we were doing some bondage and since that point, I have taken a no bullshit attitude to life, and lovers.
If I had realised what a precarious situation your divorce was in and how risky a visit from me might be in terms of your settlement I wouldn’t have agreed to come. Even the shut down on social media, I wouldn’t have minded so considerably if you had said at the outset that was how it was, but you didn’t. And now, with such a small and insignificant piece of information you are withholding from me that of your Instagram handle, what am I supposed to think? If you aren’t going, to be honest with this what else are you not saying?
In total honesty, if I had known that your divorce was in such a fragile position I would have said we should wait. I don’t do drama. Anymore.
This didn’t need to be a test. But you made it one.
Right now I don’t know what to think. But I do know to listen to my gut and intuition. That will decide whatever the future will be.
I didn’t send it and on Saturday, he messaged a few times, but I was still waiting for this unexceptional, unimportant Instagram handle to be shared with me. Eventually, a message appeared on my screen, and I felt brave enough to read it.
I was shocked at such a turnaround and then surprised that we could both be feeling the same inklings of doubt about the upcoming adventure. This was followed by a sadness that he could just tug out from underneath me the rug of such a nice thing as this holiday without in any way trying to allow it to still be possible through other means.
I think my ticket is safe, but I will check it again in a day or so, and hopefully, I can still go. But it’s been a sharp reminder that as much as I always thought I could become a call girl unless the money is in front of you, a payment of some sort, I cannot leave my feelings and personal needs at the door.
A flight doesn’t give you the keys to any part of the new me, the new me that I am now.
In theory, the only person who can change the ticket is me, but because he knows all the flight details and my email address, I have also added a code that must be mentioned before alterations so finger crossed it is safe.
I also had the awareness to check my baggage allowance and the cheapskate has only paid for cabin baggage! Hold luggage will cost me £60 both ways! So now I’ve got to try and pack incredibly minamilistically! Urgh!