“I’m looking for a sexy cougar to be with tonight.”
It was my debut on Skout, my very first online dating app, and for the past two hours my phone had barely stopped beeping. Notifications were coming thick and fast. I was fresh blood in a modern-day meat market. Alex’s proposition was blunt and I soon learned that was exactly his style. In my naivety, I admitted to not even knowing what a cougar was and he enlightened me: “You’re a sexy older woman, so you’re a cougar.”
Charming as his request was, I declined since I was home with my children and night times for me were out. Instead, relaxing on my couch by the fire, I suggested that I might be interested in exploring options with him another time. Alex took the bait with fervour.
Over the coming days I discovered that we had a good verbal rapport. Alex was not just cute and sexy but I liked his directness, his lack of pretension and his no-nonsense flirting. He wasn’t on Skout much and he didn’t waste much time chatting. He had a busy life and limited free time. We swapped mobile numbers and tension grew as we decided to meet for a kissing date – to test the pheromones and whether we found each other attractive. This was all so new to me that I needed to ease myself into it. I spent my days trying not to obsess about Alex while I worked and went about my ‘other’ life beyond the mobile phone screen. I did examine his several photos in great detail though.
I was fairly certain that I’d find him attractive but as a newbie I was nowhere near ready to arrange a sex date with a man without meeting him first. No dangerous or compromising situations for me! I was going to be sensible. There was also the small matter of my own self confidence. Like many women, I had a few body image issues and underneath the wide, friendly smile, a tenuous grip on my sexuality and potential appeal to men. After all, I’d been monogamous with one person my whole adult life. I had my training wheels on as I was learning how to be a single, mature woman seeking out adventure, excitement and, if possible, great sex.
So I wasn’t entirely sure that Alex would find me attractive, after all at 28 he was considerably my junior. It was noteworthy that he felt obligated to stress, over several text messages, that if we were to proceed with any sexual arrangement, it would most definitely NOT be a ‘relationship’. He would not go out with me in public, or be involved with me in any other way. He had a big family and he didn’t want the hassle of having to explain himself in case he bumped into any of them. It became a bit of banter between us, as I made a stream of jokes about burkas, hiding in bushes and not revealing my face.
With mild hysteria on both sides for the preceding two days, we finally arrived at the ‘date’. Some might consider 9.30 in the morning an unusual time to go on a kissing date, but I was realistic; I didn’t get too many opportunities for free time, and we were both snatching it while we could.
It was pelting with icy rain, bitterly cold and hazardous driving for us to be meeting at a mountain-top national park half way between our homes. Between showers, the air hung heavy with cool mist. We’d agreed on the location because it was both public and private – and beautiful into the bargain. I had visions of us strolling the lush herbaceous paths, finding a secluded seat on which to trial our mutual interest in passionate kissing.
But he got lost and so we ended up speaking on the phone before we actually met. It was a quick, slightly nervous chat about where he’d gone wrong and how to reach me, sitting in my car in the deluge and patiently waiting. He had a nice voice, friendly and manly, but also suggesting a quiet confidence. I was the only person in the car park, watching the steady drip-drip on the windscreen. By the time he arrived a few minutes later, the rain had stopped and with small butterflies in my belly, I climbed out of my car to greet him.
I liked him on sight in that heart-thumping way that shows a genuine and instant physical attraction. He greeted me with a warm smile and wide open arms. After a friendly hug, as if it was the most natural thing in the world he tucked me under his arm and we strolled down a pathway. We made conversation about his work (a tradie) and a few other inconsequentials that I promptly forgot.
We made a beeline for a gazebo since it was starting to drizzle again and our polite conversation continued to flow smoothly, serving to conceal my slight nervousness at the unfamiliarity of the situation. He’d been chewing gum as we walked arm in arm and as we sat on a picnic bench with table, he searched for a bin to deposit the gum. I quickly took in this motion; his legs straddling the bench and his eyes roving lazily over my body.
I sat tall, a wrap draped over my lightweight (but figure-hugging) layers against the damp chill. I turned to face him on the bench and, with a natural authority, he gestured to me to move closer to him. I lifted my long skirt above my knees and did so. He grinned and smoothly pulled me into an embrace, simultaneously seeking out my mouth.
Sensations overtook me: he tasted faintly of mint mixed with tobacco, his lips were sensual and his kiss both exploratory and sexual.
I knew after a few hungry seconds that he was without doubt the best kisser of my life to date. I’d been kiss-starved for an awfully long time.
As I moaned in little kitten purrs and pressed myself against him, he wrapped himself around me and stroked my back, waist and breasts. He was claiming me and I felt safe to willingly offer myself. It was the sort of tender but unambiguously sexual kiss that could have gone on and on. He was showing me that his stamina was every bit as fierce as mine.
When we eventually came up for air he smiled broadly and said, “Mmmm, boobies – they’re so big!” His appreciation was tangible. “See, I knew we wouldn’t have a problem,” he announced.
“So you mean that your standards are so low it wouldn’t have mattered what I look like?” My smile was guileless but underneath I was deadly serious.
He cast me a sideways glance and said, “No. I just know what I like, and I knew I’d like you.”
We kissed and touched some more and it was divine and delectable. I’d never felt so physically charged by such a sexy man – and I’d never met such a young man who was so obviously comfortable in his own skin, and secure and confident in his sexuality. He had good reason to be; I’d seen his half-naked torso shot (mirror selfie) and a range of head and body shots taken over recent years. He was mysteriously different in all of them, and an identifiable physical type was strangely elusive. But there was no doubt that he was good looking.
Meeting him in the flesh confirmed that for me. Every element of his appearance was attractive; he had a toned, medium-height body used to working out at the gym and being active in his job; his skin was smooth and youthful (in fact he looked younger than his age, not older) with a sexy stubble that was surprisingly soft.
Eventually it grew too cold for him to enjoy our intimate activity and so he suggested we adjourn to my car. I was oblivious to the weather, and felt completely unthreatened and comfortable with him. He’d shown himself to be polite, respectful, playful and charming. As we climbed, giggling, into the backseat of my car, our passion grew and if it hadn’t been for the responsible voice in my head I would have been up for sex on the backseat, despite the daylight setting and the possibility of another car pulling up alongside it. (During the entire two hours of our stay only one other car arrived, and sure enough, they parked alongside us and peered curiously at the steamed-up windows).
His touch was incredible, both gentle and sexual in a way that fully appreciated my body. He was definitely a man who knew how to kiss a woman and one who clearly enjoyed it. But he also knew how to pace himself and despite his invitation to me to explore his body, he seemed content to let me be the decision maker about what would happen that day.
Talking was very low on our agenda but we did discuss the outlines of an arrangement. He wanted sex without a relationship, with a regular partner that he found attractive. He would generally be exclusive to this arrangement but he was quite frank in saying that if an opportunity came his way in the meantime, he’d take it. He asked me what I wanted. Shyly, I commented that I quite liked the idea of ‘a lover’, giggling at its connotations of the risqué and slightly mischievous. I didn’t really know what I wanted; I was just going with the flow and seeing how this adventure turned out. I think above all, I wanted to be touched and desired. I’d had time in the lead-up to this first date to think about his desire for ‘no-strings’ sex and it didn’t bother me. Although I wanted to build something meaningful with someone (or several someones), I wasn’t out to claim exclusivity with anyone.
Sitting back and admiring me with a proprietorial hand on my waist, he announced almost as if thinking aloud, “Yes. Let’s get to know this body.” At the time I didn’t register what he said and what it meant. It skimmed across my consciousness like the raindrops on the car windows, but afterwards I felt uneasy. Was he referring to me as a piece of meat?
Before we went our separate ways, we agreed to get together again on the following Sunday. Although we chatted by text during the following week, it did not have the urgency or excitement of the earlier messages. It was almost as if he’d settled into secure territory now that he’d caught his prey and was about to devour it. At the time, I was unfamiliar with this change in tone but now I see it as a pattern common to online meeting scenarios. There’s nothing like the pre-meeting tension, when our imagination takes hold and the excitement of imminent adventure sets in.
Come the morning of the second date, I still hadn’t heard from Alex.
He knew that I only had a few hours available. At first I resisted the urge to text him but then I finally succumbed and received a groggy, grumpy response. He said that he couldn’t make it as he’d had a big night that had turned into a bender and he was staying in bed for the day. I swore and exhaled slowly, trying not to let my irritation show and to take this blow with good grace. We’d made a definite plan, but he didn’t seem to think it was. When was he planning to tell me that it was all off? Though I was quietly boiling inside, I messaged him something polite and mentioned that I was feeling a bit miffed …and then spent the next fifteen minutes calming him down. “This is sounding like a relationship!” he virtually hissed at me from his sick bed (the poor love).
During the following week we restored our previous camaraderie, although I was left with a strong feeling that any arrangement had to be strictly on his terms. I was slowly learning what sort of person Alex was – and trying not to think of kissing him every minute of the day. He left the state on holiday for a week and we chatted a couple of times on Skout. I knew he was looking for sex while away and that rankled a little, but by then, I’d justified to myself that I’d do just about anything for a second taste of him.
When Alex arrived back, I texted him hello and he gave me an enthusiastic response, which, in hindsight, was probably a ‘keeping his options open’ kind of response. After a week of trying not to consume myself with thoughts of his incredible mouth, I sent him a mournful but sexy (I hoped) picture of myself with a message, “Pensive me wondering if I will ever get to touch your sexy self again”.
Almost immediately I received a frank response: “Probably not. I’ve just met someone and we’ve started a relationship.” My mouth went dry as I tried to process this snippet of new information. After a terse reply from me (“But you said you didn’t want a relationship!”) Alex explained that it had been unexpected but that the opportunity could not be ignored. With an inward sigh, a heavy heart and a bruised ego, I deleted his account from Skout and his text file from my phone. I was on my way to learning not to get too emotionally involved, even in a hopeful sense, with someone you actually don’t know anything about.
A couple of weeks later, out of the blue, at eight O’clock on a Saturday I received a brief, cheery hello from Alex on Skout. “Why are you contacting me?” I messaged bluntly. “Last time you more or less told me to get lost.” He admitted that directness was one of his ‘virtues’ but there was no apology or the slightest concession to conventional courtesy. It was as if he wrote his own rules and normal considerations do not apply in the online dating world.
Alex explained that although he was indeed still seeing this ‘relationship’, they both had decided not to be ‘exclusive’ with each other and hence he was looking for sex elsewhere as well. So the rules had changed – not a regular arrangement that suited us both, but sex on his terms despite his emotional attachment to another woman.
Having just woken, I was not at my most tolerant. I took the opportunity to have my say. “I’m really attracted to you and I like you, Alex,” I said, “but I won’t be involved with you at the expense of my own dignity. Unless you respect me and my time, I’m just not interested. For an arrangement like this to work, it has to take into account the needs of both people.”
And so exited one of the sexiest and rudest men I’ve ever met.