It had taken a while but by midsummer I was starting to feel like I was a little more comfortable with dating and meeting people. It had been truly enlightening – whether it be learning about my preferences, my boundaries, my turn-offs or even just a better understanding of the opposite sex in today’s dating world – which, combined with my growing confidence from a shit tonne of work on myself both mentally and physically, led to me feeling more brave, more bold. And it was fun.

I was also being a little more picky about who I was swiping for on the dating apps and as I was updating my profile pics to better reflect my sunnier, slimmer disposition there was a definite shift in the type of guys I was matching with, and they weren’t bad to look at.

The first one I really noticed the difference with happened to be a tourist. In Vancouver from England for a couple of weeks to visit a friend, he was a hot blonde 29 year old. Hot Tourist (his nickname probably could have used a little work) and I had been messaging for a few days and at first I was a little reluctant to meet him considering he was only in town for a holiday. Was I happy just to have a short lived fling or should I be holding out for a potential relationship like I thought I wanted? But I figured it couldn’t hurt to get a few more dates under my belt, they were all learning experiences right?

So after some very funny, flirtatious and suggestive texting, we eventually found a time that worked for my work schedule and for his vacation schedule (who the hell is so busy when they’re on holiday?) – the night before he flew home. So that short fling had just become a very, very short fling. Oh well. I decided I’d go meet him and see how it was, if I wasn’t feeling it I’d leave. But essentially I went in knowing that is was pretty much going to be a sex date.

I wasn’t sure how that felt, the sex date part. I inherently felt like it should be wrong, that I should feel guilty, as if somehow it made me a bad person. But what was the harm in going to meet a hopefully nice guy, spend some time with him and maybe enjoy some extra curricular activities? Why was that a bad thing? Provided we were both on the same page, and careful in terms of protection, it didn’t seem like it should come with the same social stigma that somehow seemed ingrained in me. That feeling that sex, particularly sex with a stranger that had no potential of developing into a relationship, was dirty and irresponsible – where did that come from? At what age or where in life are we, particularly as women, taught to think that sex is such a bad thing.

I decided to push past those thoughts and figured if anyone actually gave me attitude about it I’d be likely to scream “I WAS CELIBATE FOR THREE YEARS, AND I WANT TO HAVE SEX! LEAVE ME ALONE.”

So with that put to bed, as it were, I met up with him after a work event I was at with a girlfriend. He was out with his friend so I decided to take my friend too and, when another friend texted me about drinks, the five of us ended up meeting up around 6pm on the patio of a local bar. It was a pretty random start to a sex date, but it eased me into it at least.

It turned out to be a fun night. Four of us were Brits so there were shared cultural references aplenty and my Canadian girlfriend found the humour hysterical. Throughout the night I was trying to gauge what Hot Tourist was thinking, as it really was just like five friends sat round a table chatting and not a whole lot of chemistry between the two of us. In all honesty I was glad the other four were there, as Hot Tourist was pretty to look at but didn’t have a whole lot of chat. Slowly but surely, five became four, became three… until it was just Tourist and I.

Oh but before that happened, and I’m not even sure when or how but I ended up taking pics on my phone – I can’t help myself – including getting one taken of me and Hot Tourist. This would become a standing joke with my girlfriends, once I shared it with them the next day. From then on I was routinely asked if I had a “sex selfie” for them post-date. Weirdly I ended up with them way more of those types of pics than you would think reasonable.

Back to the night, Hot Tourist and I finished our drinks and headed back to mine. It’s strange how quickly you can become comfortable with someone you’d never met until a few hours ago. I always think that on dates. Though, obviously, I use the word “comfortable” loosely… But we definitely became comfortable in the elevator. It was like a switch. He’d made no attempt at physical interaction until the elevator doors closed.

There’s something about that elevator, honestly. Those elevator doors close and apparently all inhibitions/insecurities are left on the ground floor as we up head to my floor. I’m sure some of the guys would have left their clothes there as well if they could, such is the speed with which situations seem to change in that moving metal chamber.

We get into my apartment and by that point Hot Tourist had now found his balls after being fairly quiet all night and took charge. I didn’t hate it. It was more than just a little hot and I’ve come to learn that’s definitely my preference when it comes to the bedroom. I take charge in every other aspect of life and can find it hard to relinquish control. Not so in the bedroom. I’m sure there’s some psychoanalysis research into that but all I know is it’s the place that I’m the least bossy and actually want someone to tell me what to do.

Prior to this period in my life I had never even had these realisations about my sexual preferences. It just was. My sex life just was the way it was. I never thought much about what I really liked or didn’t, what I’d like to do more or less of. I’d have said I had a good sex life with my ex, but I realise now it was never something I truly had a good understanding of from my own personal perspective. Most of my sexually active life had been with him so you end up growing together in that respect rather than figuring out your own stuff in isolation. And that changes it for sure, or at least it did for me. So I was now finding these new found preferences fascinating.

Hot Tourist did a great job of taking charge. Swiftly followed by a great job of promptly falling asleep. Like, I mean out cold, dead asleep, right after, before I even came out of the bathroom, possibly before I even got into the bathroom which is ten feet away. I genuinely wondered if he had narcolepsy. And now thinking back that’s all I really remember, is just the whole thing being swift. Which I’m not sure any guy wants to be his lasting legacy.

Earlier in the evening it had been mentioned that he still had to pack before his flight the next day and as his friend had left from the bar he had thrown in a comment about “if you’re not back by 8am I’ll send a search party”. I’d laughed because at that point I wasn’t even sure the sex date was going to happen, let alone him staying out til 8am. But when I woke at 7am for work, Sleeping Beauty (he did have lovely, luscious blonde locks) was still dead to the world. So I had to do that awkward “hi, morning, remember me, yeah you’re in my bed, you need to get up”. After I’d had a shower and done my make up, of course (insert hair bob emoji here).

Somewhere in the midst of his sound sleep he’d changed back to his quiet and reserved self, not the persona he’d put forward in his pre-date texts or his post-elevator doors closing actions, so the whole ten minutes he took to get up and get out were slightly awkward, almost painful.

Once he’d finally gone, I went to put my rings and earrings on before leaving for the office and there on my dresser was a pile of loose change. His. Those coins stayed there for a good two or three weeks. I was reluctant to put them in my purse for fear it would feel slightly like payment.

And who wants to be worth $11.35?

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