Sexting In Public

The picture messages started after the “dick pic” conversation with my coworkers a few weeks ago. I was never one of those “look how good I look” selfie-taking girls, so sending sexy pictures to someone didn’t come naturally to me. It’s been quite a thrill sending half-nude pictures to my far-away-crush, the last few weeks, though. I definitely regret the slip up at the restaurant where I flashed my best friend one of these pictures as a kind of “look at the kind of picture *I’m* capable of taking.” Only, it was at the wrong moment when the waiter standing behind me got a glimpse of it as well. But, if I’m craving attention or an ego-boost I’ll sometimes send one over to my crush because I know he’ll reply shortly after. I even got creative when I realized he liked the clothes I wear to the office and snapped a photo as I was changing out of them one night. What else do you make of having a crush on someone who lives on the other side of the planet? I’d love to drop the idea, but my brain seems to have other plans. He’s the foreign dude I met while traveling this past January and I’m running out of imaginative ways to hold his interest and stay in touch until he visits in September.

One morning I get a nearly-nude picture from him. I reply, “Wish you were here,” while I’m getting ready for work. “What would you do if I were there?” he sends back. “You,” I reply. A moment later I think about what a cop out my answer was. I write and I can do better than that, I think. I apologize and explain that I’m getting ready for work. My mornings are his nights. I send a bit more sexually explicit message as I’m walking to the train. He replies. I’ve never done that whole sexting thing, by the way. I don’t recommend it in public, although there is a bit of a thrill to it as well. So, now I’m on the train and the conversation has continued. I interrupt, “The person standing next to me can totally read this conversation.” I try to continue, but again, after one of those “And then I would…” kind of messages, I chime in, “Now, there’s a religious man sitting next to me, praying into a book. Now this just feels weird.” He laughs a little, but it’s obvious I’ve killed the mood and we decide to pick it up another time. I just can’t take that kind of thing seriously enough.

He’s less than a friend because a friend I would see once in a while. He’s more than a friend, because a friend wouldn’t get these kinds of pictures from me. He’s not just a pen pal (is it called a “text pal” these days?) because we’ve met once and will meet once more. He’s definitely not a boyfriend because he lives thousands of miles away and is certainly doing other women. I can’t possibly care about him that much as all I really know about him is based off of a one-time meeting. He’s just an impossible crush I have. I never liked being called pet-names, but with him I actually enjoy it. There are times when I’m one of those people who aren’t looking where they’re going, with their phone in their face, shooting off messages back and forth. I’ll sit with a stupid smile on my face my entire commute to work after it. But, I know it’s an unrealistic idea. I do it because I enjoy it,  but like everything else, I know there will be a shitty point when it ends and one day I’m sure he’ll start seeing someone seriously no matter how much he insists it won’t happen any time soon. I guess it’s really just nice to have in the meantime when I have nothing else going on. Sometimes more time passes in-between our conversations. I don’t know the real reason for it, but I’m thankful he doesn’t mention any girls he sees to me. It keeps the fantasy alive and continues being fun for me this way. He also always apologizes about the time gap, so I know he hasn’t entirely lost interest yet. I’m still dating. I’m not waiting for his visit in September. I know it will just be a couple of days and he’ll be off again. But I’m kind of hoping I don’t wind up in a relationship before he arrives. It’s an interesting situation to be in. I’m both rooting for the prospective dates I meet to be this perfect match for me and simultaneously hoping nothing more than a couple of months at most comes of it until after he leaves.

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Dickless Pics

You can’t tell a guy you’ve never received a “dick pic” without that smirk appearing on his face. I went out for a drink with my coworkers the other night which turned into drinks, shots, and would-be-extremely-office-inappropriate-conversation. It wasn’t even a Friday night but it wound up being the latest we’d stayed out with each other since any of us had started at the company. This is one of those “let’s grab a happy hour drink after work” gatherings that take place a minute after 5pm, before you’ve had any time for dinner. We’re getting better and realizing we should order a pizza to our usual bar, but that thought hadn’t occurred to us yet the other night. I’m starting to like that we have a usual bar and a usual group. It’s a crappy bar. The drinks aren’t all that cheap, the glasses aren’t cleaned well, and the bathroom’s basically on the other side of the planet, but it’s growing on me. We’ve got a usual group, a usual bar, and even a usual waitress and usual booth –Isn’t that what every sitcom lover has always hoped to have?

But this night we all got a little too personal. The morning after was one at the office where not one of us could make eye contact with the other. Maybe it was the brutally honest round of “who would you do at the office?” that pushed it too far. The first drink arrived and I had my nose in my phone, fingers rapidly tapping against the screen. I threw it in my bag with a smile and announced “Sorry, it’s morning on the other side of the world.” The girls chimed in, “Well, you were talking to someone you’re into because you’re smiling.” I couldn’t deny it, but what does one make of a crush on someone you’ll likely only meet twice, briefly, in your lifetime. “Yeah but this-” I pretended to type textmessages on my phone- “is really the extent of our ‘relationship’ –I don’t even know how to react when he sends these sexy kind of pictures when he’s in bed with his shirt off and whatever. I’m over here all ‘hey uhh here I am bundled up in my winter coat.’” They giggled, “Well, you just gotta send one of those pics back!” I glance at the one guy at the table before the others arrived. He was squirming around in his seat. “We’re making him uncomfortable with our girl talk!” He laughed and took a long sip of his beer. I passed around a picture of my crush. Yeah, that’s right, I wanted them to know who *I* was capable of attracting. I actually appreciated that one girl sounded a bit surprised when she exclaimed, “wow, he’s pretty hot!” I flashed the phone at my male coworker, explaining that I didn’t want him to feel left out. He shrugged, “yep, a guy.” “Well, I was out when he sent me one picture in bed,” I continued my story, “but he asked me to send him a picture while I was at the office. So I did. I actually went in the bathroom because I didn’t want anyone to see me taking a picture of myself at my desk.” They giggled and asked if I’d taken nudes in the bathroom. I hadn’t.

The rest of the group showed up. We explained how uncomfortable we seemed to have been making our coworker when there wasn’t much testosterone around the table and they wanted to be filled in. My coworker started, “Well, if a guy sends a girl a sexy picture, how should she respond?” “Send one back!” both guys replied simultaneously. “And if they’re at work?” she continued. “Go in the bathroom” they agreed. “That’s what she did!” my coworker announced, pointing to me. Their surprised expressions were priceless as they stood up, jaw dropped open, demanding I hi-five them. I insisted I hadn’t been nude in the office bathroom, but of course they weren’t about to drop that idea. The conversation inevitably moved to the topic of dick pics, and how I never received one. “Dick pics” remained the recurring topic of the night. It circled back when a couple of the guys decided to text another coworker asking to send dick pics –from my cellphone. Luckily, I caught it before too much time passed and was able to explain the joke.

The buzz from my third glass of wine on an empty stomach was strong. Cellphone in hand, I couldn’t resist the urge to drunk-dial. I messaged my far-away-crush while the room seemed to be spinning and the chatter of dick pics hadn’t ceased. The next day he responded with a laugh. Only then had I remembered I’d messaged him before passing out in my bed. I scrolled up to reread my jumbled rant about how I’d never received a dick pic and I didn’t want one, but I did want one of him in his underwear. I thought, “aw what an innocent version of that request.” But, I’d followed it by some sort of, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” A few days passed and one morning I awoke to a new picture message. It was my far-away-crush in his underwear. Request honored! Shortly after this message I remembered my part of the deal…But, I was running late to work so I sent an “IOU” message and let it be. I’d never sent this sort of picture before with the paranoia of where it might end up, and because it had never been too difficult to arrange an in-person-meeting posed this way. If there ever was a time photos like these were appropriate, this was definitely the type of “relationship” that called for them. My mind raced- “I don’t actually have to follow through, but I kind of want to because I’ve never done that. If I’m just in my underwear it’s really not that different from a picture in my bathing suit at the beach. But it is different if I’m not at the beach. I can’t have my face or anything in my bedroom in the picture so no one will ever be able to tie it back to me. I should probably shave. What kind of underwear should I wear? What was I wearing that night I was with him? It can’t be the same or he’ll think that’s all I wear. It shouldn’t look too posed, it should look realistic, but it should look good.”

All those questions considered, I took the picture –or rather I chose the picture that came out the best- and clicked “send.” It was only minutes if not seconds, but such a simple and small action had felt like such a rush for me. I nervously awaited his reply, phone in hand. I’m now convinced guys always see your message right away, but they don’t always respond right away –unless your message is a picture of you with clothing removed. So, after this week, our messages have evolved to include occasional nearly-nude picture messages, and for the first time I’ve joined the rest of the world in becoming extremely paranoid about whose hands my cellphone falls into.

The Foreign Boyfriend I Don’t Have

I know this is a dating blog and not a travel blog, but bear with me; it will get relevant soon enough…A few weeks ago I hopped on a plane and traveled a day and a half away from my home. About a week into my trip I found myself stranded on an island with 25 travel companions who weren’t so fond of me, ‘nor I of them. Alright, we weren’t exactly stranded, but we were about an hour boat ride away from any other civilization and it rained for nearly 24 hours straight on the only two days we were booked at the resort. On our last day on the island I was determined to continue with my vacation, so after receiving extremely unenthusiastic responses from my fellow travelers about booking any tours on the island, I signed up for a boat ride where we were to spot marine life, on my own.

I boarded a boat with 13 other tourists, a tour guide, and some dude driving the boat. It was raining and cold on the water, so I was naturally somewhat miserable. I had gone pretty make-up-free, with my glasses on, in a sweatshirt that clashed against my summer dress sticking out the bottom, and with my hair tied up under the hood of my sweatshirt that was pulled tightly over my head, I looked possibly bald. I wasn’t dolled up by any means and appearing attractive to others was the last thing on my mind. The tour was about a little over an hour long. After some time had passed starring at the water hoping a dolphin or turtle would pop up again, I sat down and started zoning out. “Here, you look cold.” The driver of the boat had put a dry towel over my shoulders. I looked up and thanked him. Everyone in that country had been over-the-top nice. It didn’t occur to me that this action could have been anything else.

I went back to starring at the water when he asked if I was traveling alone. I explained that the situation with my group wasn’t ideal. The conversation continued and our names were exchanged. He was only a couple of years younger than me. “Come here, you’re gonna drive the boat,” he announced. I walked over and he explained some levers and had me start steering the wheel. He picked up my cellphone I’d set down in front of us and asked how to use the camera on it. I showed him and he held out his arm to take a picture of us. At this point my mind still hadn’t quite registered that he was flirting with me, but I was starting to realize he was cute. Immediately I wished I hadn’t looked so slummy, but once I remembered he was still initiating this conversation when I looked my worst, it made me feel kind of awesome. I almost crashed the boat while he was taking our picture, but we got back on track without any of the tour realizing. I don’t remember every word of our conversation, but we made each other laugh at various points and he mentioned that he was also working at the dolphin event my group was attending that evening.

The tour was ending and now I was getting the feeling this had been more than just a friendly boat driver. “Do you have FaceBook?” I asked. I took down his full name after explaining I wasn’t using any internet on the trip and said I would friend him when I got back home. I enjoy internet-less vacations. “Oh, I was going to say message me if you get bored later…” he replied. I hesitated, “Well, um maybe I’ll borrow a cellphone from someone on my trip…” Not that I was on great terms with anyone using the internet. As he docked the boat, we said we’d see each other at the dolphin event in a few hours, and I made my return to the beach. I started to construct a plan to ask him to hang out with me when I saw him that evening. As I pictured it playing out in my mind, I began to see it quickly getting ruined. I was traveling with twenty girls dying to hook up with someone from this country. They’d swarm him the moment he headed towards my group and I’d never get a word in. He’d make plans with one of them and I’d lose my chance. -But if we already had made plans he’d have to be a jerk to cancel them to spend time with someone else from my group. “I’ve gotta beat them to it,” I thought. I sighed, took my cellphone off airplane mode, and accepted roaming charges while logging into FaceBook. “Hey, when do you get off work?” I messaged him. We made plans to meet at the hotel reception area at 8:30pm.

I was very proud of myself for locking in those plans with him once we got to the dolphin event. It went exactly the way I’d visualized it would, except when the girls were swarmed around him and I approached, his face lit up and he turned to greet me knowing me already. The look on the face of the girl he had been talking to was priceless. She hadn’t been all that fond of me either. I kept thinking, “Well, I did invite you all to come on the boat with me…” When we were about to head back to our hotels he put his arm around me, “See you tonight!” he said. A few more people in my group shot me a curious look. I ran to my hotel room and did the quickest pre-date routine I’d done in my life -showering, dressing, make up, jewelry and all, still managing to keep a casual enough look. I sat in the hotel lobby and he appeared. We debated getting a drink and decided to just head back to the staff lodge where he lived on the island.

Initially I felt odd standing in the small dorm-like room with an invitation to sit on the bed, as there wasn’t really anywhere else to sit, but we listened to music he put on and talked, and eventually it didn’t feel so awkward. I filled him in on my plan to message him before anyone else got to him. He also let me know that he’d been trying to catch my eye on the boat, but when I didn’t look his way he came up with the towel idea. There were multiple times he said sentences that were word-for-word things I have said. Hours passed and inch by inch we were closer. I guess that applies to bonding as well as being physically close. He kissed me and I was surprised by how comfortable I felt around him. What seems to take me many months with others had occurred in just a few hours with him. Possibly I was subconsciously pushing myself and rushing through things while very aware of the fact that after that night I’d most likely never see him again in my life. Things continued from that kiss and they were good things that went well. Fast forward to a bit later and I was lying in his arms, debating what came next, and weighing pros and cons. I could stay there which felt amazing having been single for so long, but I’d have to leave in a couple of hours to pack my suitcase and catch a boat to board an airplane to a new city. I’d also risk getting uncomfortably questioned by my roommates. I didn’t want to cut it shorter than it had to be thinking about how when I got up it would be over forever, but at the same time I didn’t want to wake up next to him feeling any more attached and then have to let go. I told him I had to head back. He said, “Then I’ve got to get it out of my system now” and gave me a long hug. He walked me back to my hotel room around midnight. He kissed me. “Well, it was nice knowing you, I guess,” I said and went up to my room.

So, fast forward again to today. I’ve been home for a few weeks. We still talk on FaceBook nearly every day. He asked me to send him pictures of my apartment and the sites here while he sends me the same from the resort he works at. He called me through a free app on his birthday when he was drinking and I suggested it. That 40 minute phone call reminded me of how much of a real person he is beyond appearing just as words on a screen, and he sent me a message that it was good to hear my voice. Having a mutual attraction to each other’s accents was a plus as well. On that phone call he also let me know that he’d bought his plane tickets for June, would be close to my country, then in my country for a couple of months, then in my city for a week in September, and had agreed to stay at my apartment for a couple of days during that time. (I’d invited him, of course.) He recently got out of a ten year relationship that ended partially because they weren’t sexually active anymore, so I’m under the impression he wants to meet other girls to hook up with while he’s here and that’s why he isn’t interested in staying at my place the entire week. When I stated that hypothesis to him in a joking tone he confirmed that that is part of the reason, and I really wished I hadn’t brought it up.

Why bother with any of this when a long distance relationship seems sure to fail and it would be insane to move to a new country to get to know someone you’ve only known in person for less than twenty four hours? Why even put yourself through having a crush on someone that has made it clear they have no intention of pursing a relationship, let alone one with someone living in another country? Does the pro of the feeling I have chatting with him outweigh the con that I know there will never be anything more between us and I feel jealous being aware of the fact that he’s sleeping with other women, no matter how much I play it cool when I message him? If I mention my dating pursuits he might feel inclined to talk about his, which I’d rather pretend didn’t exist. Why would I even try to remind him that we’re not something exclusive in an attempt to draw him in when that’s already extremely clear and this will never be any more than what it is now? How do you even flirt with someone from close to 10,000 miles away? Not that the internet and phones don’t make that a bit easier, but how do you stay in touch in a breezy manor with that much distance between you? How do you check in without seeming clingy? How long of a breather do you give in-between messages when you’re on entirely difference schedules and days of the week? It feels like I’m doing my best to look at the situation logically, applying realistic expectations, while allowing myself to take part in this fantasy world where I have this fake “non-boyfriend” in another country. It’s fun and there’s plenty I enjoy, but I have concerns over how long I can keep it at this rate, and am trying to curb the ever growing desire to be in an actual relationship with someone now. The tease has me clicking away on dating sites, but the attachment towards him has me feeling as picky as ever and coming up empty handed when it comes to picking a new date.

 

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(This is a textmessage I sent my bestfriend about him today…It took me an hour to get a “better” picture, but I did wind up sending him one a bit later.)