No Business

No Business

Forty-seven-year-olds got no business dating thirty-four-year-olds. Doesn’t matter if you meet at the bar on a Saturday night instead of on the apps, and hit it off, attraction firing like pinball. Doesn’t matter if he cracks up when you reference Inspector Gadget, and your go-go-gadget arms, after the tiny bartender hops up on the counter for something you could have reached at the age of twelve. Doesn’t matter if the conversation flows for the next forty minutes while your friends mosey to a booth on the left, and when you glance over, they gesture at you like, Get it girl, I see you, do that thing.

Forty-seven-year-olds got no business dating thirty-four-year-olds. Doesn’t matter if he texts you on Monday morning, expressing his interest in your writing, and continues to offer silly, friendly, interested messages. He tells you he was at the beach near where you live. You express mock horror. And you didn’t hit me up??? you say. If I hit you up next time, can I get one of those fancy cocktails you make? he asks.

Forty-seven-year-olds got no business dating thirty-four-year-olds. Doesn’t matter if you reference your children, and express your need for a bit of advance planning, and he says he’s down with that. Saturday, you say. I got a little window between a class and a spades night with my squad. Any chance you could meet up around 3? He says yes. His day is free. That sounds great. Advance planning achieved.

Forty-seven-year-olds got no business dating thirty-four-year-olds. You notice that he takes a while to text back. don’t know about this, you think, but you willfully ignore your worries, since you haven’t had any good sex (keep it real, any sex at all) in almost three months. When he does text back he is adorable. I can’t wait to see you, he says. I’m hyped to hang out, he says.

Forty-seven-year-olds got no business dating thirty-four-year-olds. But at this point, you have no idea he’s only thirty-four. You sense he’s probably younger than you, but y’all had the Inspector Gadget moment, and melanin is a bitch for age identification. Is he fifty? Is he twenty-three? Who the fuck knows. You want a man, but you don’t want to rob the cradle. The apps suck, but at least they provide basic information, like education, location. Age.

Forty-seven-year-olds got no business dating thirty-four-year-olds. But your date on Saturday is amazing. AMAZING. You meet at a dive bar at 3:30. On your schedule. When he arrives, he grins at you with the biggest shiny smile you have ever seen, and says, You look great. You blush, and look at his handsome self, and say, Wow, daytime and sober. Right on. And you both laugh. You still don’t know he’s thirty-four. About forty-five minutes into the date, he asks about your sign, if you have a guess as to what is his sign. No idea, you say. I don’t know you like that. But what I’m a little more curious about is how old you are. Although you mentioned your age at the bar that first Saturday night, he never did, and it has been niggling at you. He asks, How old do you think I am? This makes you nervous. You peer. You squint. Forty? you say. You are hopeful. He laughs. I’m thirty-four, he says. You groan, cover your face, turn away, swig your drink. Whoa, he says. Whoa whoa whoa. You good? We still playing pool? You grimace, shrink a bit. Really? you ask. Thirty-four? Fuck. He laughs. It’s fine, he says. You shake your head. Not fine. Disappointing. Not what you had in mind. You don’t want to be a trope. A caricature. I thought we talked about this, he says. Nope, you reply. I told you how old I was, but I never heard how old you were. He seems unfazed. He shrugs. He is still looking at you. Like you should chill. Be cool. Do you remember how old I am? you ask. He appears quizzical for a moment, but still unconcerned. Forty-two? he says. Forty-three? NOOOOO! you reply emphatically. Forty-seven! He laughs, makes a weighing gesture. Nine years? he says. Thirteen years? He wobbles his hands back and forth. The scales. Who cares? You do! You thought he was at least in your decade. But. He keeps looking at you. Pull it together, you tell yourself. Be present. So you shoot pool. You laugh, and chat, and dance to the jukebox. For three hours. He wins. It’s hot. But when you come with some clutch shots, he hoots and hollers. At first, you give daps. Then, daps turn into hugs. You’re two or three drinks in, and he makes a good shot, and you reach out your fist, and he says, Really? No hug? You stand on your tippy-toes, and give him all that body, and he murmurs, We gotta get you back up on those heels. You haven’t laughed with a man like this in months. He’s witty and clever, the banter easy and sharp like the thirteen-ball clacking into the corner pocket. Bam. Saturday night. Fire.

You have spades night with your squad at 7:00 pm, so you hang out until 6:40. It’s lit. It’s silly. It’s sexy. You talk about work, travel, literary devices. Actually. Alliteration. Personification. He tells you how lovely it is to meet someone who is into the gym, and also a writer, a words person, a reader. He likes you. Fuck it. Thirty-four. Not the plan. But hey. Thank you universe. Let’s roll.

He walks you to your car, parked on the main downtown street. He leans you against the car. Lips. Tongue. You press yourself against him, and he tells you he can’t wait to see you again. What should we do on our next date? he asks. You look at him, eyes hot and wanting. He adds, Or I could just plan something. Let you know where and when. I’m down with that too. After months of Tinder bullshit flakiness, these words are magic. You kiss him harder. Show him the yes you are feeling. When you finally slide inside the door of your Toyota, your grin bounces off the roof. Your spades squad hears about your sexy crush within five minutes of walking in the door. You keep drinking til midnight, and even when your team loses by ten points, the smile never leaves your face.

Forty-seven-year-olds got no business dating thirty-four-year-olds. But he texts you at 8:30 am the next morning. I had so much fun with you yesterday, he says. At 8:30. On Sunday morning. You are a smitten kitten. Me too, you say.

You try to play it cool. But your week is packed. Monday is the only night. Hey, you text. So no worries if it’s too soon, but Monday is my only free night this week. Would you like to come over for dinner? You will both know, of course, that dinner also means sex.

He says yes. Emphatically. I am so excited, he writes.

You slather on moisturizer, get pep-talks from friends. The consensus: this man is grown, and clearly into you. You should be confident and enjoy yourself. Okay, you tell yourself. You got this.

He arrives at 5:00, happy to see you, but at first, it’s a bit awkward. Different than at the bar playing pool, but that’s not surprising. Sex is on the table. The stakes are way higher.

You make cocktails. Ease your way into conversation. When the rain stops, he wants to smoke. You sit on the front porch. You sip your gourmet raspberry grapefruit hellfire bitters tequila cocktails. He smokes. He coughs. You stare at him as the sun goes down. He looks a lot like your ex. Are you doing a thing? Maybe, you think. No, you decide. You like him. You talk about Chicago, Chile, Cuba. You both love to travel. No guide books. Exploration. Getting lost in city neighborhoods. Discovering new perspectives. He puffs. You sip. I’m going to make another cocktail, you say. Would you like one? He nods his assent. As you gather the glasses, you lean over to give him a kiss. Ooh, he says. Giving me some sugar? You kiss again. Twice, three times. You head inside beaming.

Another cocktail, laughter, conversation. He’s hungry. Hungry for what, you wonder. You make your way inside. What do you want to do, he asks. He pushes you toward your bedroom. You giggle. I don’t know, you say. Got your lighter? you ask. Lemme light some candles. You take out your hoop earrings. Who told you to take those out? he says. Fuck. Sexy. It’s about to be on. Your limbs tremble. You ease onto the bed. He stands above you.

Forty-seven-year-olds got no business dating thirty-four-year-olds. He slides off your panties and looks you over, but instead of kissing or touching you, he takes off his own clothes, and crawls onto the bed, straddling your chest, shoving his cock in your face. Okay, you think. I can roll with this. But as you take his half-hard dick in your mouth, you register your disappointment. This does not feel like what you hoped for. Young, you think. Baby boy. He gets hard fast, and he starts to touch you, and your optimism reignites. He’s hot. Fuck the order. You want this man. He slides back down and presses against you, pushing into you. Already? You pull back. Condom? you say. Yeah, he says, and hops up. Shoulda had it in hand. He stands at the foot of the bed while you watch and wait. Several long moments go by.

He looks at you. Something in his expression is cold. Flat.

The air changes. Your skin crawls. The temperature in the room drops. You already know. You don’t know what, but something.

He is staring, but not really looking at you. You are a window.

I should go, he says. You don’t actually shake your head, but when he says the words, your dismay must slash apart the lust you have been wearing since he laid you across the bed. What? you ask. You lean up on your elbows, peer at him. What’s up? He is the one to shake his head. Dread balloons in your stomach. You’re going to hate me, he says. Whatever you imagined has just torqued, pretzeled into something inedible. What the fuck? you say. He hangs his head as if pained, a sad little boy, knowing he’s done wrong, deserves to be punished. He looks up, into your eyes for a moment, and then away. I’m just not attracted to white women, he says. His words are ice water dumped on your head from behind. A slap. Your veins vibrate. You laugh in shock. You can’t help it. You are naked on your bed. A thirty-four-year-old just climbed on your chest and shoved himself in your mouth, then rejected you moments later.

The fancy dinner you prepped before he arrived waits in three separate bowls in the fridge.

The next five minutes are a blur. You both say some words, but now, you struggle to recollect what they are. With shocking rapidity, he is dressed, and heading for the door. You manage to throw your dress back over your head and follow him. He tries to look sad. You are not interested in this trope. What the fuck? you say again. I’m sorry, he says. You didn’t do anything wrong. You want to hit him in the face, do violence to his smooth demeanor, shock his practiced woe. You stand five feet away as he puts on his tiny shoes. Really? you ask. Wow. You’re such a baby boy you don’t even know how you feel? So Saturday was just—what? He is already shaking his head. No, he says, so earnest. Saturday was great. I don’t know. It was all real. I’m so sorry. That’s why I totally understand if you hate me.

Because you have had three cocktails and no food and are completely blindsided, you struggle to process exactly what he is doing to you, but you know it’s horrible. Get the fuck out of my house, you say, as he stands up from the bench in the front hall. He steps toward the door, and you give him a shove, and slam it behind him. You stumble around for a while, and then begin to cry big fat blurry burning tears. You rip off your dress and yank on leggings, a sweater, a coat, a beanie, boots. You peek out the door to make sure he’s gone, and then you start to walk. You walk and you cry. You text your pep-talk friends. It was awful. Dumpster fire. Don’t even know how to process. You walk and you cry. You cry and you walk. You drip embarrassment. Curdling shame. You don’t want to go back to your house. You sit down on a curb a block away and let misery numb your limbs along with the freezing air. When you finally go home, you mop away the snot and tears, and you write it all down, then fall into a fitful, drunken sleep. You wake up at three in the morning feeling violated. Hollow. You think about how he initiated the sex, took off your clothes, didn’t touch you, pressed his two hundred plus pounds of weight on your chest and pushed his penis in your mouth as foreplay. How he was about to penetrate you when you stopped him to request protection. How your desire to use a condom seemed to be the trigger that made him decide to leave. At three am, the alcohol worn off, your eyes are gritty dry. You rub at the salt on your cheeks. You feel as if something has been done to you. Something that is much more about power than sex. Your belly rebels, and you rush to the toilet at least five times throughout the rest of your sleepless night. At some point in the wee hours you start to wonder if you dodged a bullet. If that cold, flat look could have precipitated something much worse than his sudden departure. You think about how he wanted to message on Telegram instead of texting. How after he left, you tried to look back at your message exchange, and the whole thread had disappeared. How he told you that he has moved around for years, a few months here, a few years there, working remotely, no home base. How when you first met at the bar, he was there alone.

After your next trip to the bathroom, you double-check the locks on all the doors.


About the Author

After earning an English Lit degree from SFSU, Lindsay spent ten years teaching teenagers to write.  Since completing her MFA in Creative Fiction from Mills, she focuses on her own craft, and supports other writers through her business, Finesse Editing. You can read more of her writing at Half and One, Herstry, Drunk Monkeys Literary Magazine, and The Stardust Review.


Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash