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You "matched" at a volatile time in the world.
Things were uncertain, dark, and searching for breathing bodies to hold.
Urban recreational mating materialized primarily after multiple mobile phone screenings; a gamified exam, a place where virtual "strangers" could intervene with fate and enter an alternate reality.
Imagine, leave the confines of your home or bleak office to meet someone, its just after sun-down. It's fall, and the wind feels familiarly unfriendly.
You play a charade and start holding your body the way you wish you always did. Chest out, shoulders back, you exude confidence, although everyone can tell you lack it.
You talk about yourself with the help of alcohol and minimal direct eye contact. You remind yourself to lock eyes for at least three seconds, so must appear genuine or you'll be stuck with the bill, and a $23 cocktail is a less than ideal charge at this point in the month.
You embrace briefly. Offering a ritual half-hug like you are estranged family members at a holiday gathering. He smiles, proving he is friendly.
He avoids the fact that he is much older, even uglier, or maybe you just imagine he is so you don't appear too eager, a tendency you practice to protect yourself.
I mean in your eyes you're here for a job. You're checking a box. You're trying new things and meeting new people. That’s what young urban millennials do.
This is how it's supposed to happen, this is what you do to find happiness, or better, money.
So you thought.
You dance on the thread of family and politics, never directly referring to your party views. You realize the world was such a different place when he was born, and it fascinates you.
He allures you, chiming in with an over exaggerated anger in reference to something published previously revered editorial. He reads, how cute.
Silently smiling you pet each other’s egos and imagine what your next date may encounter, maybe it’s dinner or an afternoon at an art gallery.
Maybe no one can tell you are over a decade apart.
He fits every cliché "date with a single white man under 50" imaginable. He was foreign, French.
Deep dark brown eyes, as if each year he has on you has sunk his pupils closer to his skull.
Eyes so dim, when they hit the light you notice their opaqueness is actually quite nice.
Maybe this was where they said you could find happiness.
He laughs at something intentionally silly you said. Smiling, he drops his head just to peek quickly at your breasts. You catch him, but you let it slide. It had been at least 20 minutes, he had to have looked.
He describes his role at a digital innovation agency. He speaks admirably as if he is doing missionary work in the “developing world.”
You know he works at a pseudo-start up where the CEO's title stands for "Chief Evangelist Office" headshots of the c-suite “dream team” are featured on the website against a hot pink video background. The text containers melt as you scroll, you replay the bright splashes of RGB color grids in your head remembering the hours you spent stalking him before this encounter. He calculates he is making well over two-hundred grand a year.
You’re at the last table outside of the bar. It will soon be too cold to be sitting outside at night.
As he ashes his cigarette and immediately pulls for another, you look up at the light and think about your hour-long train ride home.
He pulls you back into the moment, finishing his whiskey he offers to keep hanging out, as the bar is close to closing. His apartment is conveniently located just 12 short steps across the street and around the corner.
An orchestra of dramatic music plays in your mind, as if it were the beginning of a public service announcement, a key moment of decision, "Do I do it?" You swallow your spit and dispel your fear, proceeding through the three-door entrance of his building behind him.
It's a 400-sq. ft. loft with white walls and sanded maple wood floors. It’s bright enough to notice details, soft enough not to startle.
You slip into the corner of his black leather sofa, as if it were your assigned seat on the first day of kindergarten.
You look around at the contents of his dirty dresser, while he stumbles to put on music while finding some papers.
He comes over and lights a small white joint, a classic short with no filter.
He kisses you lightly, it tickles. You smile, warmed by the realization of his chicken pox scars and sprinkles of crow’s feet, he likes you and you love it.
He puts his hand on your thigh. You're drunk so you decide to be lenient, it stays there.
Your first plume of smoke coquettishly hits him in the face. It's your cruel way of flirting.
You turn and shut your eyes from the heavy inhale as the joint burns slowly.
You sit back into the leather couch and examine the height of the loft, watching the smoke float higher into the air, like balloons let go from a child's birthday party.
You can guess the cost of his rent, without moving from your spot.
He bolts to get you a new drink, as if it were absolutely necessary to keep you hydrated like a bedside nurse.
The ashed joint reminds you you've already been here too long. How many trains have you missed by now?
You imagine the allure needed to exit politely without seeming too prude. You’re not a little girl in this situation, you can’t be.
You hear him slide back on the leather couch, the weed and alcohol allows time to slow.
As you turn back to grab your replenished drink, your peripheral vision catches a color reference vaguely out of place. A tender blush shade is contrasted against the black leather.
You blink and notice he is holding himself abruptly in front of you.
He is cupped in his right hand rigorously moving his member up and down.
He stares at you, and kneels onto the couch. He is now consumed with revealing himself in every sense of the word.
He has a fetish for women's tights. He stares at you, assuring he just wants you to watch him.
You reposition your eyes in rebellion. Concerned and embarrassed, why is this happening? He tries to ease your discomfort, assuring he will not touch you, but continues on himself, his eyes roll back in immediate pleasure, “I love nylon.”
He quickly excuses himself to finish in the bathroom.
You grab your bag and escape for the door.
He hears you struggling to open the padlock, he appears from the bathroom like a sad child, he begs you not leave.
He apologies for not being a gentleman, shaming himself in a timeout, staring at the floor.
You urge that you've got to leave and make your way toward the hallway stairs.
"I'll call you," you say, avoiding the identity of a frightened little girl. You keep moving for the building's front door.
The door slams and you bolt for a taxi as quickly as you can.
Thinking to yourself, of course this would only happen to you.