I did not have real sex (not counting masturbation) for like 10 years. I did not want it for many reasons. Mainly because of all the abuse I experienced in my last relationship. I decided one can very well do without physical intimacy. I still functioned Ok, or so it seemed. I could think straight, breathe easy and laugh at a joke like any other time in my life. Not being a lesbian at heart or a hardcore feminist in its “Butch” sense, I decided I will experience sex when I could feel it completely, multiple orgasms and all, all day long, even at the mere sound of his voice, even when he was not near me. Like I did with my college boyfriend Paul back in the 80’s.
Paul and I were living in the same apartment complex in my college town for about two years before we met eye to eye. I had car trouble one day, feeling stuck in the parking lot of our complex, on his way to work he helped me get my car started. Besides his ocean blue eyes, deep sexy voice and tanned lean muscles, I immediately saw that he knew how to work with his hands, on engines that is, cars and boats he said. After work that night I left him a thank you note with a 6 pack of beer by his apartment door. About 10 minutes later he knocked on my door thanking me for thanking him, and asking me to join him for dinner. He drove us in his red van to “Tom’s Soul Food” famous for its Jamaican marinated barbeque. When I told him that I was a vegetarian he apologized multiple times when finally laughingly I assured him that I would not die if I had corn, baked potatoes, salad and beer. That being my first time having dinner with a stranger, well we had only met that morning, or with a man alone, I felt comfortable and even happy. That night we talked over dinner and many beers, then walked in our quaint beach town for just a few hours before getting ready for our day jobs. I had never met someone who was so fascinated by me and my cultural background. I was the first Iranian woman he had ever met. He wanted to know what my country was like and what made leave it, and he heard it all. I told him about a young woman’s limited opportunities, rigid rules in my family, how I always wanted to come to the US and how hard I worked toward it, all the way to how I wanted to move to CA once I finished school in FLA. I asked him what made him move there from NY, and I heard it all, from his father issues, controlling mother issues, feeling fed up with prominent family expectations of him as the only son, chasing after a girl who attended my University, their relationship issues to their breakup . Hearing a man talk was not only joyful but a novel experience. Where I came from, men hardly talked unless it was about politics or soccer, and only on Fridays.
Anyway, I was already taken by Paul’s vibrant warmth when he asked me to go on his boat on Saturday. Warning him about my motion-sickness problem, he assured me that his old girlfriend only threw up a few times on their first date on that boat. Anyway being the dolphin fish* season, Paul caught many by using only his fishnet while I threw up in the ocean for hours, until the combination of dehydration, harsh sun and nothing in my stomach did me in. I passed out! Next thing I knew we were on the beach, his concerned blue eyes asking me gently in his deep voice if I was Ok. As miserable as I was feeling at that moment, I had not seen any one care for me as much or as genuinely as Paul did right then. His long swimmer legs ran on the hot sand to fetch me water, melted ice cream and ice while I just lied there silently, still feeling miserable but also happy and safe.
Hours later that night, after cleaning and packing the fish, we walked back to the beach, had dinner on his soft blanket, smoked pot and made the most passionate love I could ever imagine. At age 23, that was my first real kiss. That was my second real date and Paul was the second man I was with (the first being an awful one-night experience with a childhood friend thousands of miles away). As my style was back then I lived in my bikini under sun dresses or cotton shirts with flat espadrilles, my long hair either loose or in a braid. Living near the ocean for a few years the dark tan was my only natural makeup. Under that beautiful full moon, Paul and I cuddled and kissed for a long time before he slid down the straps of my bikini top, kissing my hot shoulders, neck, lips, cleavage… unsnapped my top, gently kissing, licking and sucking my breasts, all the while being very aware of my lack of experience in being with him like that. Paul had thought of All the magical ingredients. The perfect temperature of the sand that my legs touched, the glorious sound of the Atlantic with Stilly Dan playing in the background and the sweetest warmest kisses and touches a woman could possibly want on their first real erotic experience.
Paul and I had many of those nights in our 16 months together. We were in Love. He was my first Real Love. Back then I was under the impression that life certainly has to offer more than one such incredible experience. As I was getting closer to my move to CA, Paul convinced his parents to invest in a home on a lagoon and his boat rental business. We went on fun trips along the East Coast as we did everywhere remotely interesting in FLA. Paul and I had it perfect. His friends saw us as the model couple, two peas in a comfortable pod, who followed their dreams, while feeling happy together, always doing something new and interesting and never in any unpleasant arguments (in fact none that I can recall). We were very compatible and physically and magically drawn to each other at each point of our days.
He asked me to stay there giving living together a serious try, before moving to CA as I always talked about. And I kept reminding him of my reasons for leaving Iran, just like I had described when we first met. My determination to making it on my own – with his sociology degrees he still could not fully comprehend the concept. Without a man or anyone else for that matter. That was my life’s Mission. After experiencing the Revolution of ’79, being totally cut off from family and home, one suicide attempt, not knowing anyone in the US who gave a damn about my well-being (beside Paul), I still could not convince myself to settle down for a romantic home on a lagoon, in FLA of the all places – No matter how much love I felt for him or from him. We came from very different backgrounds. I knew at some point he would see that too. So the sooner I left, I reasoned with myself and him, the easier the pain would be, for both of us. In hindsight, I feel no regret regarding that decision.
Paul and I kept in touch through letters, phone calls and his visits until he fell in love with a South American mountain climber beauty who aspired to living in the FLA Keys with him, not wanting any children, ever. I felt happy for Paul and that was in 1984.
A few years ago Paul found me through our mutual friend in FLA who had found him through Google search. He said it was almost impossible to track me all the years since I had changed the spelling of my first name and adopted my husband’s shorter last name. The first time we had a phone conversation, it felt like talking to an old dear friend. I knew I was no longer in love with him. He talked about his divorce from his beautiful wife after their second child was born, when she moved to NY. She was fed up with flatness of FLA, he explained, as well as Paul’s boring lifestyle. He was still passionate about fishing and scuba diving, still smoked pot regularly and loved good rock and roll. We giggled over all the fun we had at our Fleetwood Mac, Rush, Bob Dylan, Steely Dan concerts in FLA, NC and NY.
Last year he called me again asking me for my cell number so he could see me when he was in SF. I had talked about my routine of running on a university campus nearby after my days at the office ended. One night my cell rang, I was short of breath when he said he was waiting for me at a bar within minutes of where I ran! Sweaty, looking like a mess I joined him with the awe and shock of seeing an old love. He was not old only mature, still very handsome. His deep blue eyes still looked warm under the hip frames, his full brown head of hair had turned grey, his beautiful mouth still kissable. An there I was, not in love anymore. We had a long chat that night but I had to get back to my children at home before too late. He called the next day, I was at work until late. I don’t know what happened for him next.
When men find out that you have been without sex for 10 years, they become attracted to you like bees to a platter of meat! But the chance of it being the real thing is always slim. Since my divorce I have been approached by many interesting men. Some I knew for many years, some new colleagues and acquaintances. But I find myself still on the same old mission – Making it on My Own.