“If you’re gonna scream, scream with me. Moments like these never last.”

I ended up with the plaid button-down because I needed a nice shirt to wear on dates– I was single again and recently set up a new OkCupid profile. I had found success on that platform in the past, although it felt like a thousand lifetimes ago when I was dating the daughter of a colleague in my English department while screwing her best friend on the side. All through the magic of online dating, but stay in a lecherous, testosterone sapping relationship long enough and all you’ve learned gets lost to time- too many Diet Cokes in BPA laden plastic cups at Friday’s, too much time spent in front of network television, an unwilling prisoner of your girlfriend’s viewing habits. Why are women obsessed with TV? Modern relationships should carry a warning label.

Women like preppy men, a friend’s girlfriend had told me. Read their profiles and find something you have in common. “Mutual interests.” Perhaps your values will coalesce. Women in their thirties are different, she said- you can’t talk to them like everything is just sex. They want a caring, intelligent man. They’re over their asshole phase.

Years later, I had the same plaid shirt laid out on my bed. Three months into dating Jennifer and suddenly I was on the losing end- playing catch up, trying to stitch things together. I needed her to see me again. One date would change things- a real date. Something we hadn’t done. You could have convinced her that I didn’t exist outside of my apartment because she had never seen me anywhere else. From Plenty of Fish to my front door- a short stop for phone calls in between; I guess I’m old-fashioned.

Plenty of Fish because OkCupid has too many pseudo-intellectuals- a serious misalignment between the lies we tell ourselves and reality. Girls who believe they are what they’re not. Expectations derived from fantasy. Women on Plenty of Fish have experienced life’s bitter winter. They know disappointment. They’re looking for a man with a car and a job- the latter, of course, is optional.

Do it long enough and you get hot for the process like a junkie with a head buzz just looking at the bag. She’ll tell you that she doesn’t send those kinds of pictures but this is never true. Getting her older nudes is a victory, but having her take new pictures is a conquest. Big tits look their best in white tank tops (spaghetti straps, not a wifebeater), braless with hard, poking nipples. You want her in a thong, but specifically a g-string- strings on the side that press into her hips. This is important.

The pictures are less important than the fact that she did what you asked. The high comes from control. You don’t bother jacking off to them but you keep them to fluff your ego. Like her enough and you invite her to your place- another bit of compliance that’s hotter than the sex you’re going to end up having.

Only that wasn’t the case with Jennifer. Every girl will tell you she gives the best head- an adorable white lie that you appreciate for the intentions, but Jennifer wasn’t kidding. Sex with her became addictive. She got off on your control. No one had pushed her like you did- you enjoyed watching her squirm. When you play the game long enough, you can pick apart exactly what gets you hot: honesty. In a world of performance, you get off on the genuine. You want her to drop her guard. Destroy her ego. Show you who she really is beyond the false-self she projects. This is true submission- not the silly role playing that people take for dominance. You don’t wait for a woman to tell you that she loves you, you look into her eyes and make her say it. Jennifer played these games with me, skating such a fine line between fantasy and reality that it was easy to get lost. Make her tell you she loves you for long enough and one of you is going to start believing it. Then one night, I maybe pushed too hard and she told me about the other guy she was seeing. Check.

If you aren’t exclusive, she’s seeing someone else too. That’s the reality of living in hell. She had gotten me. This is the kind of blowback you get from making a woman say, “I’m just a fat slut” during sex. Try it and you’ll cum harder than you ever have before, but don’t let her change the verbiage- just is important because it’s reductionary. She needs to know that she’s nothing more, at least in that moment- the moment your values coalesce. If she adds words like I guess or kind of, this means you hit a nerve, like striking gold, and suddenly getting her to say it becomes ten times hotter.

But this is a dangerous game- and even if she cums just as hard as you in the moment, she’s going to hate you a little bit later on, no matter how many times you get her to say otherwise. Jennifer was fucking someone else, some guy she went to high school with, and used this as a jab at my ego- something which was unwittingly welcome. No false-self here; I pushed her to reveal the reality of the single girl– a perpetual 1970’s key party- and we wouldn’t need to pretend otherwise. She had gotten me, this was true, so I told her about Alison. She didn’t like that. Check.

I didn’t meet Alison on Plenty of Fish, I met her on Craigslist. Before they stopped hosting personal ads, a secret of the universe was that you could find much hotter girls on Craigslist, with a well-written ad, than any of the online dating apps. Leave your ad up and watch the replies slowly roll in- this was the passive income of Internet dating. Alison was a decade younger than Jennifer, with blond hair and a modest bust- not necessarily my type, but with a girl under twenty-five, who really cares? The irony is that I liked Jennifer more, of course- after all, this isn’t about Alison, but like hell I wasn’t gonna use her as collateral. When Jennifer tried to ratchet the game by daring to mention details, I pushed harder by leaving Alison’s hair-clip and necklace, mistakenly left at my apartment, on an end-table for Jennifer to find… and I won that round too.

Like all victories, though, this was short-lived. The empire eventually strikes back. The true loser in a modern relationship is the one who takes it too seriously- an inherent falsehood, they’re parody at best. My mistake was deciding that I wanted to do things right with Jennifer, but you don’t politely ask to step off a runaway train. It’s not for you to decide when the game is over. In one of those Alanis Morissette moments, the day I cut things off with Alison- seeing her had gotten stale anyway- to get serious with Jennifer- because I was falling for her- was the day she told me that she had met up with one of her Tinder matches. Tall with a big dick. Worked at a gym- she met him there and fucked on the massage table. More blow back from the hair-clip. Maybe I overdid it with that one. Isn’t it ironic, dontcha think?

Like a wounded animal ready to die fighting, I didn’t choose flight. I spent the next week berating her over text- telling her eternal truths that have become obscured by a modern world too happy to lie. Men don’t think much of women who are easy sex. If she didn’t already know that, she got to hear it three-thousand times. And it made me hot. I get off on being mean. The angry voicemails, cursing me for not picking up, followed by long messages of crying and begging. Her pleas for forgiveness. Her profuse apologies- she’d do anything to fix things. I’d get a head rush just seeing her name pop on my phone at work. This was a million times sexier than the world’s hottest porn.

I’d like to think she planned the rest- clinch her victory and ride off into the sunset knowing she beat the asshole; just a fat slut? Not this time… but I know that isn’t how it happened. Women are less principled than people think- they follow the tide and drift with the wind. Your actions rarely dictate their behavior- they’ll either put up with you or they’ve found a better deal. A week later we had the hottest sex of our entire run. All of the tension had led to a crescendo that exploded like a spear impaling a lightning bolt- a thousand atomic bombs exploding on my broken black leather couch.

Two weeks later, she’s on the phone and I’m begging to see her. Let’s meet at the beach. Find a bench and watch the tide roll in. Make out like it’s our first kiss. No, she told me. She met someone else. Another guy from high school- one she’d never have considered dating when she was gorgeous and young, but like incubating in a pod, he emerged at thirty-five, maybe not any better looking, but a doctor with a sports car- and someone who wouldn’t make her feel like shit about herself.

But we were in love, I told her… before realizing I was alone in that sentiment. Say it enough and one of you is going to start believing it. Our values did not coalesce.


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