Another Midlife Dating Adventure – Ian the Octopus

You know that tingly feeling you get when things are going well? The warm sensation in your stomach (or loins), the flutter of hope that maybe this one might amount to something worth having or worth keeping?


I had that feeling at a key point and thereafter, while chatting with 52-year-old Ian on POF. It wasn’t instant. He grew on me and within a short time, after he’d installed kik so we could chat in relative harmony there, it happened.

I can remember the moment exactly. He’d slept an entire day after a mammoth Saturday at work that started frighteningly early and ended in the arctic winter hours after 7.00pm. He’d stayed tucked up in bed all warm and cosy the following Sunday, and I’d asked him how he’d kept himself occupied while awake.

Stupid question really – but any woman knows that if the can of worms is going to be opened by the mention of words such as ‘bed’, ‘naked’ or obviously, ‘sex’ we might as well cut to the chase and get it over with. At this stage of my dating journey I’ve pretty much lost interest in sexting or sexy talk via text. Especially unannounced dickpics. For a couple of years there I gave sexting and erotic tales a red hot go, but now it’s a case of ‘yeah-no’.

You could say it was a bit of a test by asking a leading question, and I was mildly pleased when he didn’t rise to the bait and immediately switch the conversation to a dick pic or boring assertions about how much he’d like to have me between the sheets.

After a bit of back and forth, he asked me my favourite things to do in bed when not in the land of nod.
“That would be reading a book, unless I had company,” I said.
“And then what would it be?” he asked.
“Then it would be lots of kissing, touching and exploring sensuality together.”

There was a noticeable change in mood between us and our exchange heated up a few degrees. I sensed that I’d touched a nerve or a strong desire for intimacy, not just sex, but genuine physical intimacy. This is emphatically what I want. I am directly my energies towards finding a partner who can meet my needs for a deeply satisfying emotional and physical, sensuous connection.

And so when Ian became slightly besotted by me after this point, naturally I began to think that perhaps he might fill the gap I’d created in my own mind for a potential partner. A step up from lover, and a whole ladder up from a sex date.

We chatted daily on kik, and I was pleased that he wasn’t the kind of guy who wanted to (or indeed, could) text all day from work. I wanted to save some of that energy and conversation for the real thing. I made two suggestions to meet face to face; the first he agreed to without actually getting out our diaries to find a date, but the second he committed.

A Friday evening at a local hotel (in other words an upmarket renovated old pub) not too far from my house was the time and place set for our rendezvous. It was a long drive after work for him on a freakishly stormy, filthy winter’s night. We messaged a couple of hours before to check in and yes, it was still on.

I felt unfamiliar nerves. This was a proper date – night time and at my request it was drinks, not dinner – and I dressed carefully with an eye on how he might perceive me. I’d said to him previously that I wouldn’t want to disappoint him, based on his imagination going into overdrive after seeing a few photos of me.

He was obsessing over one particular photo of me in a tight, black tank top in my kitchen, all hot and sweaty post dog walking. He hadn’t asked for any further pics and especially not any nudes, so that was a good sign. I’m so over those guys and I didn’t want Ian to be one of them.

I arrived at the hotel and saw him waiting for me by the back entrance, where we’d arranged to meet. I’d seen three or four photos of him, but he still looked like a stranger because in the flesh everything is different. He was shorter than I thought (definitely not 5ft11 as he’d stated). He looked smart and clean and I liked him immediately.

We smiled like Cheshire cats and greeted each other with wide open arms. Straight away he kissed me on the mouth and we melted together for several glorious minutes. It was a genuine, passionate welcome – and boy could this guy press my buttons! I was there, believe me, feeling those soft lips and that exploratory tongue. The pheromones were in overdrive!

I’d decided to change my MO and this time, be totally myself, no holds barred. Not that I’m ever a cold fish, but often I am reserved and I have a certain front, as we all do. Mine is self-contained, polite and friendly.

I know I can be intense and freak some people out when I’m on an emotional high. When my connected, super-power Gregarious Introvert is in full swing, I can be charming and extremely tactile. This time, I wanted to be tactile, in fact I couldn’t stop touching him.

I was thrilled that he totally reciprocated. For our entire three hours together our skins were never apart in some form – holding hands, stroking hands, stroking my skin in intimate places. Through our clothes – since we were in a public place – stroking our backs, our legs, even our faces. It was an incredibly charged evening of pure touch, the highlight of which was the sensuous and passionate kissing.

We’d made a beeline for a small intimate room with a log fire, soft armchairs and a couch. Of course we nestled on that couch and got to know each other, interspersed with kissing. He was demonstrative, affectionate and it felt amazing. I was most definitely in an elevated mood, letting down my barriers and throwing all caution to the wind. I was letting him see a genuine, direct and fearless version of myself, helped along by the gin-and-tonic he’d bought me.

“I can see you’re not used to compliments,” I said, nuzzling his cheek. I knew he’d been married for close to 30 years and that this was his first official date as a separated man of three years. I asked him when he’d last had a compliment.
“Twenty-eight years ago,” he said drily.

He was indeed a fairly typical, shy Aussie male. Married very young, with four kids mostly grown up, a civil but icy relationship with the ex, a middle management job in a factory that bored him, but one that he’d stuck with for three decades.

We had almost nothing in common, but it didn’t seem to matter, because we had this! These sparks flying off us, this song in my heart and this thrilling softness, a mutual lingering of tender kisses and interplaying tongues, a physical connection that I have so rarely felt.

Oh we did talk of course, and I did most of the legwork (no surprise there). It was flowing but definitely fuelled by the physical bond. My feelings of warm, fuzzy wellbeing enveloped me.

Even when we sat in separate chairs because the couch was so bloody uncomfortable, we both instinctively reached out to hold hands and pushed our chairs closer together. His hands did wander and the strange thing is that I did not mind one iota! His hands on my breasts and playing with my nipples through my dress were exquisite. He knew exactly how to arouse me both with his mouth, and his fingertips.

During several make-out sessions he even slid his hand inside my bra, while I moaned quietly in his ear and giggled. Later we both laughed about security cameras in the room – I hoped there weren’t any!

Once, while we were talking about something fairly mundane, he pulled me to him and held me close in a tight hug for a full two or three minutes. Then he nestled silently on my neck. It was an intimate moment that led me to launch those tender hopes. Maybe this one, this attractive age-appropriate guy, might evolve into something good, a worthwhile relationship that we would define on our own terms. Our kids were at a similar stage and though he was an active dad with a busy job, we decided that we could potentially share Friday nights and Sundays together.

When we grew tired and the hotel began to pack up for the evening, we headed for our cars. Just one pash goodbye was not enough. His hands wandered freely over my body, squeezing my breasts, my arse and holding me so closely to him that we both laughed in vocal arousal. We made plans to continue during part two, tentatively arranged for the Sunday.

“I’ll be dreaming about you tonight for sure, Silky,” he messaged me at home. (Silky was his brand-new pet name for me, which made me chuckle every time he used it).

We texted some more before I headed to bed, still on a high, to dream about him, and to cautiously hope for something deeper to develop. It was looking good, the signs were there, the passion was there….

And so you’ll understand my confusion and disappointment now – even my irritation and disgust.

What sort of a person behaves like this and then ghosts – disappears without a word?

How hard is it to say, “I’m sorry but things got out of hand and I’ve changed my mind.” Or, “I thought I wanted something with you but I’ve realized x, y or z and it won’t work.” How hard is it to do the decent thing and just tell someone that what’s just begun is in fact, over already?

Clearly it’s too difficult for Ian, and that’s what hurts.

I gave him a piece of myself, he took it, lapped it up and filled his need even if just for a few hours, and then he shut me out and pretended that I don’t exist.

It didn’t happen immediately. That Sunday he’d had to run errands with his kids and by the Monday evening I felt that the reduced frequency of texts and the lack of a response to my message (when I’d put the ball in his court to make the next move) was significant.

I felt it in the pit of my stomach that something was wrong, and sure enough when I checked on him over at POF, he was active on the site. I sent him a cheeky message, deciding that confrontation was the clearest approach. “Should I assume that you don’t want to see me again?”

A few minutes later he quit out of the site, so I didn’t know if he’d read it. I left it another day then decided to text him direct, asking him to at least tell me if he’d had a change of heart. Nothing.

I’m a big girl, of course I will cope. But it’s a low blow to be so disrespected, especially after sharing an intimate part of myself with him.

All the signs were there, so I’m left wondering what his side of the story is, and whether I did anything to cause this disappointing Radio Silence. What’s worse is that he’s blocked me on Plenty of Fish and his profile is still active.


Note: Names have not been changed, yes he really is called Ian. I think he’s forfeited the right to a pseudonym!

Note for Aussies: The really scary thing is that I’ve realised in hindsight that Ian is a dead ringer for our prime minister!

When Someone Unexpected Appears

Today I had a date with a man I really like. This may seem like a completely innocuous and boring statement to you, but honestly, it’s rare I can say that.

recycled furniture

It’s unusual for me to find a man on a dating site whose profile I want to read, whose pictures interest me, and who lives reasonably near me. There are usually other factors that make them seem incompatible or just plain impossible. Or they won’t return my message, if I decide to send one, from which I assume they aren’t into me, or it just wasn’t meant to be.

This guy, I’ll call him ‘the recycler’, didn’t immediately interest me. He had a strange user name and I didn’t much like the look of his pictures. His profile text, though interesting, didn’t jump off the screen and make me want to message him. I took my time in replying to his initial tentative but confident greeting message to me. I put him in the mental filing basket of ‘not my type but I’ll look into it when I get a minute’.

Eventually I responded and we did the awkward stilted banter on POF that results from the abysmal lack of rhythm and snail’s pace of the interface, which seems standard here in my city. God it’s truly appalling and most of the time I can’t even be bothered trying, so I very quickly shift them over to kik if they seem at all promising. Except The Recycler did not have kik and did not offer to install it – normally a sign to me that they’re not really worth pursuing if they can’t be bothered to do that. After all, it’s fast, free and best of all, anonymous so no sharing of mobile/cell phone numbers is necessary. As a woman (and especially as one who’s been harassed by unwanted phone calls and texts before), this is worth the hassle of phone space and data use.

Instead, he gave me his mobile number and asked if we could text. Again, there was a pause from me when I mentally backed off. I don’t like to share my mobile with anyone unless I have met them. Hard won experience has taught me that people sometimes can’t be trusted to behave as you would expect. Late night phone calls, dinnertime unannounced phone calls and in fact, any phone calls are not welcome to me – unless they have texted me to ask if it’s OK. Actually, scrap that, I rarely like talking on the phone unless I know someone pretty well and the timing suits me. I’m a busy working woman and a mother, so I rarely have time or privacy to actually ‘talk’.

I sat with that suggestion of messaging on our phones for a few days and we chatted a couple more times on POF. When he made a comment about me avoiding messaging his phone, I felt a tiny slither closer to trusting him with my number. I explained my reticence and he was totally supportive of my reasons and swore that he’d respect my rules and that, in fact, he agreed with them. He wasn’t up for unannounced calls or phone convos either.

So, we started texting a little over a week ago. It’s been reserved and friendly, with only one stray into personal territory when he asked about my harem of young men. I knew he was fishing for information and I purposely didn’t take the bait, but then he persisted so I told him that, at the moment, I was looking for a man around my age. A change of pace that I’m enjoying exploring, thanks to the delicious benefits of being involved with an older man for the first time in my life.

At this point I should probably add that the only reason I am back on a dating site (yes, only the one) and looking seriously again is that I am emotionally invested with an unavailable man, and because we can only see each other every two to three weeks, and even then it can’t be relied upon until he actually arrives at my door, I need distractions. I need to steer my wayward heart from constantly thinking of him night and day, and give my body treats to tide me over the long breaks between the fierce, loved-up energy I get from being with him.

The Recycler and I continued our friendly but restrained messaging last Friday while we were both at work, and then he asked if I’d like to catch up for coffee over the weekend. I agreed and we laid in place tentative plans for today, a Sunday, which we confirmed this morning.

By this stage you might be getting the feeling that I was not quite engaged, a little hesitant and certainly not weighing in with my usual gung-ho energy. You’d be right, but that’s really my new modus operandi in these post-E days – restraint, caution and trying to ensure my needs are met, rather than the focus being on meeting the needs of countless men. We women are generally programmed to please, and so unless we take a good hard look at our choices and our behavior, we can find ourselves following outdated scripts that don’t serve us well. I’ve affirmed to myself many times that long gone are my days of ‘saving’ men and meeting their needs, instead of my own.

Come 2.00pm and I entered the café tucked away in a quiet, pretty town, looking for The Recycler. He was nowhere to be seen so I messaged him and waited outside. In just a few seconds he was walking towards me and – gasp – he was REALLY attractive! How did this happen? How can someone so sexy and handsome in the flesh come across as meh in a photo? A little flustered, I drank him in with my eyes as we smiled and said hello.

“You look lovely,” he said, taking my arm.

I put my hand on his arm in an instinctive gesture of warmth and looking into his eyes I said, “You’re American?! I didn’t know.”

We made the decision to go for a wander rather than enter the coffee shop straight away. As we walked comfortably along the street looking for an antique shop to browse, we chatted smoothly as I adjusted to the unusual sensation of feeling tiny butterflies and a growing excitement. Yes, I liked him! I knew it instantly! And he seemed to like me. There was the prolonged eye contact, the warm smiles, the enlarged pupils, the easy conversation.

We have a lot in common – in fact probably the most I’ve ever experienced with a stranger. Especially one from a dating site. We’re both environmentally aware and interested in sustainability, the natural environment and living life simply. We both prefer nature to cities, and recycled or old, well-crafted furniture and items to new, we both love original, heartfelt live music and have similar non-mainstream musical taste – in fact as we talked we kept discovering more areas of amused agreement. It’s refreshing to meet someone like this – I can count on one hand the number of men I’ve met where I’ve felt this type of harmony and nascent excitement.

Eventually we chose a gorgeous old Georgian-style café and sat in the garden under the naked autumn branches of a giant elm tree. We talked comfortably for almost two hours, during which time I felt his eyes on me (I think they were admiring) and I tried not to feel nervous or as if I was being judged. Most of the time I honestly don’t care what they think of me, because the stakes are not that high and I’m not invested in an outcome. But this time, because I find someone like The Recycler so infrequently, I was very aware of a spark of fledgling anticipation between us, a sense that we had each met our match, and that it had been a long time coming.

I don’t know what to make of it, so I’m going to watch and wait. He left rather suddenly as we walked back down the street towards our cars, giving me a quick peck on the lips at the pedestrian crossing. I realised that he was 45 minutes over schedule and I’d made him late. Ooops. I messaged him earlier tonight to thank him for the pleasure of his company and for buying me the coffee.

“I really like you,” I said. And then I waited, thinking ‘was that too much?’ and ‘was I too direct?’ and of course, ‘what if he doesn’t like me?’.

He messaged back a short while later saying that he enjoyed meeting me too. And then that’s been it for the night. I know he’s with his mate helping him move house, so I’m hoping that’s the reason for the lack of further comment.

Still, I can’t help wondering whether I imagined all the feelings of connection and bright-eyed regard. He’s given me many compliments already – not just about my appearance either – but time will tell where this one leads. All I can say is, thank you Mother Universe for showing me that men like The Recycler exist in my world.