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September 24, 2018 Fiction

Date Number Three

Chris Gilmore

Date Number Three photo

We should talk about last night. Uh oh. It’s nothing big, but…we should talk. About what? Your…situation. I knew it. Like I said…I don’t have a problem with…what you’re doing. A moral problem, that is…But I’d be lying if I said I was totally okay with it. Meaning what, exactly? It’s not a deal-breaker. Just to be clear. But it’s an issue. Yeah. I thought you said it wasn’t an issue. I said it wasn’t a problem. Ah. In any case…I thought about it some more. After I left. I see. I didn’t wake you up, did I? No. You sure? I’m a deep sleeper. Okay. Good…Anyway. I thought about it…And knowing me…knowing what I’m like… It’s an issue. It’s something we need to address. Sooner or later. Okay. Address away. All right. Well…I’m not really sure where to begin. Take your time. It’s just that…it’s, uh, been a lot to process. I can imagine. You kind of dropped it on me. Technically, you asked. I answered. I know, but it’s still pretty shocking. Yeah.  Shocking’s not the right word. Yeah, it is. I’d be shocked if you weren’t shocked. Offended even. Really? It’s not something you hear everyday. That’s for sure…In any case. I figured at first I could handle it. I’m open-minded. We’re both adults…And you’re hardly the first person to, you know…especially these days. No kidding. And I don’t have a problem with it, as I said before. In fact, I kind of admire it. From a…theoretical perspective. But from a personal perspective… I don’t know. Right… I’m not saying I can’t. I’m just saying I don’t know. Okay… Like…I really like you. I know. And I think you like me, too. I do. And that’s great. And I really want to give this thing a shot…But I also know what I’m like, and I have a tendency to get…possessive. Which is totally natural. Is it? I think so. Well, in any case…I’m not sure if I can handle the idea of my girlfriend— Girlfriend? Someone I’m dating. Someone I’m… Right… It’s not that I think any less of you. Like I said… I know. It’s just a personal thing. I don’t know if I’m…built to withstand that. Fair enough. Some people are. Some people get off on it. But… You’re not one of them. I don’t think I am. Gotcha. And I’d be lying if I said I was. Right. Are you okay? Yeah. You sure? I’m a bit…disappointed, I guess. But you’re hardly the first guy to feel this way. It’s just a compatibility thing. You know? Like…monogamy vs. polyamory. Are you always monogamous? Yeah. You? For the most part. Once things become serious. How long does that usually take? Depends on the person. A month. Maybe two. Do you know right away if… Usually…You? Yeah. Usually. Hmm… So…what now? I don’t know. Another beer? I mean…going forward. Take it day by day. See what happens…If a problem comes up—an “issue,” as you call it—we’ll deal with it then. Okay. Sure. For the record, you handled it pretty well. Better than my ex. What’d he do? Freaked out. Called me names. The usual. Asshole. Not really. I’d probably do the same. Doesn’t make it okay though. No, it doesn’t. Were you still dating? No. This was after we broke up. Way after. How many people have you told? Not many. Five or six. Wow. I feel special. You should. You are. And how long have you been… About six months. On and off. Do you…enjoy it? Yeah. Sometimes. Depends on the day. If I’m not in the mood, it’s a bummer. How much do you charge? 400 an hour. No wonder you have such a nice place.  Yeah... I mean, no offense, but you’re a Drama major. Which comes in handy every now and then… I’m still living at home, and I have a PhD. No shame in that. A PhD? Living at home. There’s a bit. I’m almost 30. 30’s the new 20. Everyone’s living at home. I know. But still. It’s shitty. I feel like a really old toddler. Maybe you’ll find a sugar mama. Maybe I already have. Doubtful. You know, I was thinking… Uh oh. About people being dicks. Towards people in your…profession. And? I think they’re jealous. Really, I do. I think guys feel threatened, emasculated, in a way, and I think girls—most girls—don’t have the looks or the temperament…or the courage, because let’s be honest, it takes a lot of courage— Yes, it does. And they look at someone like you, who’s successful and happy and…able to live on her own terms, and they’re just pissed because they can’t. They don’t have that option. Yeah. Maybe. Even I’m jealous, in a sense. It sounds like a pretty nice life. It can be. I mean, I’m sure you have to put up with some bullshit every now and then, but you get to set your own hours, your own rates— And I get to have fun. Right. That’s the part that bothers you, isn’t it? The part where I have fun. I guess…Yeah. I hope you can get over that someday. Me too. Someday soon, ideally. For the record, it’s not the “fun” that bothers me. It’s the…lack of exclusivity. It’s the idea that I’m just another guy in the line-up. Sure, someone you care about, someone you don’t have to charge, but still another guy. Maybe some guys are… Bigger? I was going to say better. More experienced. Oh. But sure, bigger works. It’s not that important. Believe me. You see, I know that, technically, but there’s a gap between the knowing and the…feeling. Rationally, I know that I’m “special,” that I’m not just any other guy, but emotionally… Your dick says otherwise. Yeah…Fucking dick. They’re pretty annoying. Even the good ones. How many have you seen? Uh… Sorry. Don’t know why I asked that. It’s all right. Under 20? Please. 30? Somewhere between 40 and 50. Closer to 50. I can count my vaginas on one hand. Really? Okay, exaggeration. Two hands. Two hands and a foot. Most of those dicks, for what it’s worth, appeared before I started working. I’m not sure if that makes it better. What? Nothing. See, it’s comments like that that make me nervous. I was kidding. No, you weren’t. Half-kidding. In any event…I like what I do, and I’m good at it. So I’m going to keep doing it. As you should. Don’t let me stop you. Wasn’t going to. I know. Figure of speech. And, for what it’s worth, I get the whole jealousy thing. If you were sleeping with multiple women every week—for kicks or for money—I’d probably feel shitty, too. I appreciate you saying so. Someday I’ll quit. Perhaps. But not any time soon. What are your thoughts on marriage? To you? To anyone. Someday. Maybe. We’ll see how things go. Kids? Yeah. But let’s save that one for another day. Another decade. With a little luck. Unless the unexpected happens. In which case… Depends on the guy. If it’s with someone I like, I might keep it. If not… What are they like, the guys? Some young, some old. Most between 30 and 50. Married, in some cases. I try not to judge. Do you have regulars? Yep. Four at the moment. Once or twice a week. Depends on the guy. I’m almost afraid to ask, but…What do we do? Yeah. It varies. Some just want to cuddle. Some want to talk. Others… Not so much. I see. It’s really a crapshoot. Do they ever… Develop feelings? All the time. But I keep them in check. Swift kick to the balls? Emotionally speaking. What do you tell them? I just remind them that I’m providing a service, that I don’t feel the same way, that our relationship, such as it is, is purely professional…Sometimes I just tell them I have a boyfriend. Whether it’s true or not. That usually shuts them up. Must be hard. It can be. But I’m used to it. After only six months? You learn fast. You have to. What do they say when you say you have a boyfriend? Nothing. Do they ask about him? One did. Asked what he thought about my job. I just said he’s supportive. Did he buy it? I think so. He stopped calling. Took the wind out of his sails, I guess. He should know better. He’s almost 50. He probably did know better. I guess that’s the gap I’m talking about. Between knowing and feeling. All the knowing in the world won’t make the feeling any less real. It makes it less valid. Sure. I guess. It’s tricky terrain. Indeed it is. You think you’re up for navigating it? I hope so. I hope so, too. But what do you think? I think…it doesn’t matter what I think. It’s what you feel. And I’m not going to know what I feel till I feel it. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see then. Guess so. Well, then. Here’s to Date Number Four. 
 

image: Bryan Bowie


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