When I first looked at his picture I thought immediately of my fangirl obsession with a favourite musician of the 80s and 90s, Matt Johnson (of The The fame). I was lucky enough to interview Matt by phone in my days of being a (very young and enthusiastic) music journalist. I adored Matt and everything he ever wrote and stood for – integrity, vulnerability, leftist political commentary, and intellectual teen-twenties angst. For a long time it seemed as if our lives were running in parallel, as if he was writing about experiences I could relate to and felt deeply about.
So, this was a good start – in fact a better start than I could have expected on a Big-Breasted Woman dating site! I hadn’t taken out membership and never intended to, but was kind of expecting to get free access, the way it is for women on so many of these sites. Men pay, women don’t. Or at least, that’s the rule on the NSA and hook-up sites where women are outnumbered apparently four to one.
I’d scrolled through the men’s profiles and then I saw his. After doing the double-take, I zoomed in for a closer look. My goodness, it was uncanny, his resemblance to beautiful Matt. Same smile that lights up a room, same perfect white teeth, same sparkling eyes, same bald, buzz-cut head. It was difficult to tell much else from his photos, other than that he looked tall and toned.
This picture is Matt Johnson, by the way.
And then I read the text in his profile. He had me at the first sentence. “I’m an energetic man who appreciates life. Great food, family and friends, comfort and intimacy are my essentials.”
I’ve never thought much about what might constitute the perfect profile before, but now that I’ve seen his, I know that Star wrote it. Yes, his name is really Star. (Well, it’s the name I’ve given him because it’s extremely close and I can’t give all my secrets away).
Star’s profile showed that he is authentic, serious but with a wicked sense of humour, intelligent and well educated, but working for the time being in a brawn-orientated FIFO role in the outback. Immediately I wondered how someone copes working 12-hour days in the desert, where the temperature regularly reaches 50 degrees in the shade.
He talked about what he loves, and the list matched exactly with what I love, even down to the vital energy re-stocking that we feel in nature and solitude, mixed with the mesmerising lure of cultural attractions like art, antiques and good food. (Downside is that he doesn’t like music much! Yellow flag?) There was something in the way he wrote that felt raw, honest and of course, charming, but not in a conceited or manufactured sense. I felt like I got him, and I wanted to reply immediately, yelling “hey – over here – look at me – I’m the one you want!”
I might have done this if it wasn’t a paid dating site. This means that unless you have taken out a subscription, you can’t message each other. I didn’t know this until I tried, then I got the disappointing return message saying that if I wanted to pop over to the subscription page, my message would be sent. Um, no thanks. He might look good, but I don’t break this rule for anybody. Besides, I can’t afford it.
I half-heartedly scrolled through other possibilities, and as the fresh meat, I received a few messages from others around the globe, including some who clearly had paid their subscription. But Star stayed in my mind. I just could not get that smile out of my head, and the extensive profile text he’d written just seemed so damn perfect.
I logged back into the BBW dating site a few times over the next couple of days. I was excited to see that Star had tried to send me a message and had ‘liked’ my profile. That was a good sign! I visited his profile a few times, knowing that he’d receive a notification about that. I saw that we were online together twice and that was exciting, but also disappointing, knowing that we couldn’t contact each other.
On the fourth day, I opened the app and found a message from the site saying that Star had tried to contact me. I could see the first word of his message – “kik?”
My heart pulsed in my chest. He was trying to communicate with me, and was feeling equally frustrated that the app wouldn’t let us! It seemed as if we simultaneously figured out how to bypass the restriction.
I fired off an excited message back to him – disguised as the first word of the header, which it seemed was allowed through the pay filter. “Yes!” I said. And then, “Start!” he said.
For the next half hour I messaged him my kik alias letter by letter. I realised that it would be a long shot if he worked it all out, and out of curiosity I experimented with possible kik aliases that he might use. I tried several variations of ‘star’ with numerals, possibly birth dates and 2018, to no avail. I sent hopeful but neutral messages to two people whose kik handles came up but with no photo to give me a clue. I didn’t have an answer by the time I went to bed.
The next day I spent at work and didn’t have time to check my kik until early evening.
Star had tracked me down! The kik picture showed his gorgeous face! Animated and thrilled at the success of our sleuthing exercise, I fired off a jaunty reply. My mind started to leap ahead – what if he liked me? What if things progressed beyond a couple of dates? Might we even have a future together?
I don’t need to explain the way our minds do this crap, as I know it happens to a lot of women in particular – this leaping ahead, filled with hope and furtive daydreams, all encapsulated in a split second of wondering.
Within a few minutes he messaged back and we giggled about the game we’d played and that it had worked. Then he said that he was at work and needed to focus on the job until he knocked off. Star works with a small and intimate crew of blokes doing dangerous work with big and often complex machinery. One of his photos showed him in his fetching orange boiler suit. The bright colour really suited him.
We chatted on and off via kik for the next week. He was several hundred kilometres away cooped up with the guys on the team, pretending to be one of them while quietly telling me that he didn’t really fit in, but that you had to have the tough, Aussie bloke veneer firmly riveted in place to survive in this sort of environment.
I asked him what he was really looking for, eluding to the reference in his profile that he was seeking someone serious; one, not many. One. That she would be kind, creative, loyal, energetic and, it turns out, a future Mother To His Unborn Kids. At that point my heart sank, ever so slightly. Just as well I hadn’t yet invested too much energy in Star, despite his beautiful appearance and the long list of our compatibilities – because the one unbreakable rule I have is ‘no kids’.
This isn’t even just about biology, because as a cougar past her child-bearing years, I can’t have any more. It’s also about a whole bunch of unspoken things that come with kids. ‘Age’ is one of those, ‘starting afresh’ or ‘starting a family’ is another. I don’t fit his age and stage, and I don’t even want to.
Then Star tells me that he wants to move to South East Asia and start a business, that he wants to be away from ‘city energy’ in Australia, and that he thinks life will be simpler, cheaper and more profitable there. Another clunk as that slither of potential dream guy drops into a dimension where I can’t follow. I like it where I live and so do my kids. We ain’t going nowhere.
Our banter has been slightly awkward but with an undertone of Flirt and Cheekiness, so I bite the bullet and say that it’s too bad I can’t be his Everything Girl, but that maybe we could be friends and lovers?
I’ve discovered by now that Star, like me, can be pretty blunt, but that he finds my assertiveness and tendency towards direct speaking a little jarring. Or perhaps it’s just that it catches him off-guard. After a few minutes, he replies, “Yes. We could be friends and lovers. I like the sound of that.”
In Star’s mind he’s picturing me as “a charmer” (because he’s not used to women who give compliments!) and clearly someone who matches his intellect, but I’m still uncertain about whether he might fancy me. He’s already sent me at least half a dozen photos of himself (none showing any more flesh than bare arms, thankfully), and so I decide to send him a few more of me to even things up. Because we ‘met’ on a site for guys who like boobs, I include one of me in a tight, low-cut top, leaning towards the camera, showing my pretty decent cleavage.
“Ooh I like that!” he replies. “I like curves.”
Feeling somewhat relieved, I recall seeing his ‘ideal type’ tick boxes on his profile. I’d been surprised to see he’d ticked ‘big and beautiful’ as his preferred body type. That was one step ahead of ‘curvy’ and for the first time on this dating journey, I wondered if perhaps I’d be too skinny! Lols at the thought!
Star and I agreed that we’d meet up on the first weekend after he arrived back in town, next Sunday. His mother lived conveniently close to my part of the world, which I regarded as a good sign of future compatibility within our new, defined and considered possibility. Friends and lovers eh? I liked the sound of that! I was dying to meet that smile, those teeth, and those muscles! And the brain behind the man intrigued me equally, although I’d put the brakes on Fantasy Mind, with orders not to consider falling for him since he so clearly was looking for ‘the one’.
The week passed with only a few more messages between us, which I tend to prefer, so that we haven’t exhausted our potential topics of conversation before we actually meet. We arranged for that to happen mid-morning on the Sunday in a scenic rural town about half an hour between us both.
The day dawned hot and windy, so I mentally prepared myself to be uncomfortable outdoors or surrounded by other people inside the café we’d nominated. As I drove up the main street, I saw him sitting at a table outside, striking yes, with a handsome face and dominating masculine presence. He seemed exactly like his photos.
As I walked over to meet him, he rose and kissed me on the cheek, while giving me a light hug. I think he was pleased by what he saw, although I couldn’t really read him. I was wearing a soft, grey-coloured layered and lacy sleeveless mini-dress by one of my favourite designers, along with black leggings and maryjane flats.
I sat down at his table in the bright sunlight and involuntarily winced. I’m a bit of a heat wuss (I think that’s a uniquely Aussie term for sissy), so I asked whether he minded sitting inside. He smiled and agreed, and followed me to a table by the window of the café, where we could feel sultry wafts of the ancient, struggling air conditioner. If there’d been a menu on the table I would have fanned myself, but instead I tried to start the conversation so we could move out of the slightly awkward ‘first date’ territory.
As we chatted about his work, his mother’s precarious health and a few details about my life, I surreptitiously studied him. I was aware that he was clearly doing the same thing with me, and it made me feel a little nervous. He definitely had the upper hand, mainly because I was slightly aghast at his appearance. He was genuinely a magnificent specimen of a man, even better looking in the flesh and with the kind of smile that made you want to instantly respond in the same way. It was so enticing I became aware that I was saying things just to get the blessed rays to shine on me.
Conversation was not incredible, or easy though. All this noticing of his good looks was making me below par in the dialogue game, and slightly flustered whenever he smiled. Damn, it had been a long time since I’d felt this way!
After an hour and a café latte later, we emerged blinking into the glaring heat and headed across the road to the irrigated summer grass and shady gardens beside the meandering country river. I was pleasantly aware of his height – I estimated about 6ft3 – and his body within my proximity. Unfortunately this finely tuned awareness meant that, subconsciously, I was doubting myself and my appeal to this God of a Man.
There was a large, 19th Century octagonal gazebo with wrought iron lacework and balustrades, and bench seats all round. To my discomfort, Star chose to lean against a balustrade in full sun. I lingered near him as we talked, wanting to move to the shade but not quite feeling confident enough to sit miles across the gazebo without him, or to interrupt the flow to ask that we move. Instead, as conversation continued in the same deep and meaningful vein, I leaned against the railing next to him.
It was all a bit excruciating, this dance of uncertainty that we played for so long. I can’t really put my finger on why I’d lost my mojo and felt more than a little confused or insecure. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t read his attraction or feelings about me; it also had something to do with how similar we appeared to be, and how well our values and personalities aligned. There was also something in his strong, male self that cowed me. I wouldn’t say that he was an alpha male – his conversation implied that, in fact, he often felt on the outer when in exclusive male company – but he was an intelligent, determined, ambitious man, and I don’t meet many of them. He was a most incredible catch. I think perhaps my brain was slowly processing that a part of me secretly wished I was a decade younger and ready to flaunt my fecundity in his general direction.
More than an hour later, we were still in the gazebo, this time sitting down on the bench that mercifully was now shaded. He moved his arm along the back of the railing, around me. I was conscious that he might want to touch me. After a couple of similar moves, I realised that perhaps he couldn’t read me either, although I’d been frank by text that I found him extremely attractive. Hell, it was even me who’d suggested the friends and lovers thing.
The UST (unresolved sexual tension – my favourite literary term!) was almost at fever pitch when I confronted Star, turning my shoulders to face him and looking into his eyes as I moved in for a cuddle. Unbelievably, I didn’t go for a kiss! That is so unlike me, and readers who know some of my stories will realise how out of character this is. We continued to stroke each other’s arms and hands, and somewhat nervously cuddle each other for another half hour or so. And then he announced that he should get going.
It was windy by now, with a cool change blowing in from the sea 30 kilometers away. I rose to stand and he pulled me into a kiss. Reaching up, I was infinitely aware of his unique smell, the proximity of his body, his strong arms wrapped around me and wandering hands as he entered my mouth with his tongue. He didn’t kiss me in the way I’d expected or hoped. He was quite dominant and very assertive with that tongue, as well as producing a lot of saliva, which mildly repelled me – but he had a lovely mouth so I certainly wasn’t complaining that, finally, it had reached this stage.
“I’m free on Wednesday if you want to take this further,” I said after the kiss ended.
“Are you propositioning me? Did you plan to seduce me?” he laughed.
I laughed too, pointing out that I was just leaving a door open as an innocent remark. In my mind, I’d known that nothing much was likely to happen that day, and he was only here for five days for this visit home. So why wouldn’t I hold my next free day open for him?
“If you want someone who plays games, that isn’t me,” I said, holding his gaze. “Unless it’s those kinds of games,” I giggled.
One kiss led to another and then he asked whether I really needed to go straight away. I certainly didn’t! We moved to sit down again and kissed side by side on the bench, until I stood up to position myself between his legs. I leaned down to kiss him again, and he moved his hands inside my dress, against my skin. His hand caressed my torso and moved to my breast. I looked him square in the eye, and said drily, “And what are you up to?”
It all seemed a little odd. He’d taken forever to make a move (sure, it was probably for the same reasons I hadn’t), he’d been quite domineering in the kissing and physical contact department, and now he thought it was acceptable in broad daylight in a very visible public park to put his hands inside my clothes? I’m not a prude, in fact I’ve done some very silly things in public places, but I didn’t want Star to be the kind of guy who, at 38 years old, can’t control himself and show some respect to me. He even put my hand on his bulging erection under his black jeans, not once but twice. Isn’t that a bit juvenile? A bit desperate teen?
So he had a bit of a feel of my breasts, ran his fingers across my nipples – and then pushed one hand down the back of my leggings against my skin. He was having a feel of my arse now! I leaned forward, nose to nose (meaning that his hand had to leave its position) and laughed incredulously. He laughed too, acknowledging that he was pushing the envelope. We rose and walked not wanting to stop touching each other, arm in arm to his car, where we kissed goodbye and agreed to message about catching up later in the week.
As I drove home I thought about Star. I still couldn’t read him, and although he’d certainly bared his underbelly for me as we talked for hours about his hopes and dreams, and his career and family, I couldn’t say that I understood much about his thoughts on the topic of me and how I might fit into his life. I wondered if he was being a bit of an opportunist and exploring his options with me, gauging my reactions before deciding whether I was worth pursuing.
By the time we messaged that evening, I’d listened to my intuition and decided that there was something about Star that made me uncomfortable. It was a little like the feeling I had with Dave the predatory divorcee, an unconscious sense that I might be in danger. Star was drop-dead gorgeous, big and powerful and his need to physically dominate me, or to be in control, was palpable. What I didn’t know, at this early stage, was how that melded with his emotional and vulnerable self that I’d glimpsed in our messaging and in-person conversations. The bottom line was that I wasn’t sure if I could trust him.
There was also something intangible that bothered me about our connection, our ‘energy’ together. I think we might be too similar, and I suspect that what Star really wants is to be The Hunter. I suspect that my own assertiveness and self assurance unnerves him. We’d discussed my directness as we were leaving and he’d assured me that he wasn’t into games or messing people around either.
Or maybe he just doesn’t fancy me? Maybe I’m over-thinking this? Maybe the reason why he took so long to make a move is that he was considering whether he was attracted to me?
These possibilities remain a mystery, because we didn’t end up meeting on the Wednesday, and he’s now left the state again for his job. He messaged me for Valentines Day and we’ve had a few short conversations since, including the last one where he said he’d like to have his way with me.
“I should try to get my hands down your panties again,” he texted.
“Yes, you should, although some manners wouldn’t go astray.”
“Lol. You took that well,” I said. “And maybe I want to get my hands inside your pants too. Grant me some agency, man! *winky face*.”
Star will be back in a week but I won’t hold my breath for him. Too much ambivalence, too many unsettling feelings, and I need to listen to that warning bleeping from my intuition. True, he’s sexy as hell and ticks every box I ever imagined I might have, but he’s also looking for his life partner, and she’s not me. I can do ‘friends and lovers’, but not booty-call or one-off hook up. I definitely can’t do lack of respect. And yet, I’m leaving that door ajar.