We kissed for two hours. Eventually, I led him into my bedroom and pulled off both of our shirts. He stopped me.This might sound weird; it's not typical guy response. I froze, suddenly awkward. I mean, if I didn't feel the way I do with you I would be all for it, but I kind of think maybe it would be good to wait. I've rushed into sex and had it be a mistake. He shrugged apologetically. I mean, if it's safe to assume you are experiencing the same date that I am, then I think we will have time.I was a little flabbergasted and more than a little embarrassed. How could I explain that the idea sounded like a huge relief to me, that I didn't quite understand where the impulse to start taking my clothes off came from? I had had the same experience. I rarely enjoyed first-time sex with partners, largely because I usually did it before I really knew or trusted them. Here was where the difference between what I knew and did remained wide. The shame I felt wash over me was tinged with that hatred of my own innocence. Was I still so green? So unconfident? Had I gone straight out of the extremity of sex work to the innocence of my adolescence? Where was my self-knowledge? Still, I was relieved. Of course. I agree totally. I clutched my T-shirt to my chest and smiled at him. And yes, I am on the same date you are on.I thought so, he said. I mean, I don't think you can feel like this when it's not reciprocal.He left at 2:00 A.M. and called me at 11:00 the next morning to schedule our second date.
Melissa Febos
No, there's a group of hardened, fossilised men opposed by fresh young revolutionaries as John Butte once was, forming between them a whole, a balance. And then a group of fossilised hardened men like John Butte, opposed by a group of fresh and lively-minded and critical people. But the core of deadness, of dry thought, could not exist without lively shoots of fresh life, to be turned so fast, in their turn, into dead sapless wood. In other words, I, 'Comrade Anna'- and the ironical tone of Comrade Butte's voice now frightens me when I remember it-keep Comrade Butte in existence, feed him and in due course will become him. And as I think this, that there is no right, no wrong, simply a process, a wheel turning, I become frightened, because everything in me cries out against such a view of life and I am back inside a nightmare which it seems I've been locked in for years, whenever I am off guard. The nightmare takes various forms, comes in sleep, or in wakefulness and can be pictured most simply like this: There is a blindfolded man standing with his back to a brick wall. He has been tortured nearly to death. Opposite him are six men with their rifles raised ready to shoot, commanded by a seventh, who has his hand raised. When he drops his hand, the shots will ring out and the prisoner will fall dead. But suddenly there is something unexpected-yet not altogether unexpected, for the seventh has been listening all this while in case it happens. There is an outburst of shouting and fighting in the street outside. The six men look in query at their officer, the seventh. The officer stands waiting to see how the fighting outside will resolve itself. There is a shout: 'We have won!' At which the officer crosses the space to the wall, unties the bound man and stands in his place. The man, hitherto bound, now binds the other. There is a moment and this is the moment of horror in the nightmare, when they smile at each other: it is a brief, bitter, accepting smile. They are brothers in that smile. The smile holds a terrible truth that I want to evade. Because it cancels all creative emotion. The officer, the seventh, now stands blindfolded and waiting with his back to the wall. The former prisoner walks to the firing squad who are still standing with their weapons ready. He lifts his hand, then drops it. The shots ring out and the body by the wall falls twitching. The six soldiers are shaken and sick; now they will go and drink to drown the memory of their murder. But the man who was bound, is now free, smiles as they stumble away, cursing and hating him, just as they would have cursed and hated the other, now dead. And in this man's smile at the six innocent soldiers there is a terrible understanding irony. This is the nightmare.
Doris Lessing