“It would seem that you are allergic to sex,” my specialist delivers this blow with his usual frankness.
“Huh, of course I am,” I answer shaking my head. How is that an actual thing?
He begins to sketch a rudimentary diagram of my nether region in answer to my question, demonstrating how my body is against me on this one. It’s all squiggles and arrows and I’m supposed to work it out like a Mr. Squiggle blackboard challenge. Ooh ooh, I know this one. Is it a hat?
Maybe mum was right and my vagina does have it in for me.
“No?” He lifts his furrowed brow from the hat/vagina being etched onto the back of a prescription pad.
“No, I’m not having it. There must be a solution.”
“Prophylactic antibiotics is a way to manage the situation,” he suggests.
“Well, that’s not ideal. I don’t want to put that stuff into my body all the time. It can’t be good for me,” I say with authority.
“It’s more of an inconvenience. One tablet here or there isn’t a big deal, your body will be able to handle it.”
“And this is the only option left to manage ‘my situation’, as you call it.” I make inverted commas with my fingers as I say this. My annoyance is thinly veiled. “You’re saying there’s no cure?”
“It’s unlikely at this stage. We’ve tried everything else. The only other option is to refrain from sex. But that is up to you,” he offers this as if it is a viable solution.
I hoist my bag over my shoulder and say a thin but polite thanks. Shaking his hand I head out through the waiting room congested with the elderly and their waterworks problems.
The universe is ruining all my fun.
Tinder has been a desert of late. Decks of average blokes devoid of adequate grooming or humour. Sigh. I have a whole weekend and a drawer full of Keflex.
As if answering my lament, a Persian late 30s guy slides onto the screen, resplendent in a navy polo and dark glasses framing equally dark eyes.
Ask and you shall receive.
Within seconds we are matched and minutes after that I’m ironing the self pity out of my emerald green silk shirt.
We are tucked into the corner of the brooding restaurant. The cobalt walls and low light set an intimate tone. Even the clang of dropped cutlery on the polished concrete floors is muted.
His taut chest presses against the softness of my skin as he kisses me on the cheek. He smells clean and unfamiliar.
Over cocktails and tapas Adish tells me about his work (psychiatrist) and his travels (everywhere). My eyes spark with enthusiasm as we share travel stories. I’m so enthralled by the easy conversation with this educated, interesting human, that I miss the shift in his demeanor as the last morsel of food enters my mouth. I become aware of the heaviness in his eyes as he leans across the table towards me.
“How about we go somewhere quieter to talk?”
“Where are you thinking?” I look around and notice we are one of only two couples left.
“Follow me to my house? It’s not far from here.”
“Oh, ok. If you like.”
He gets up first, pulling my chair back for me to stand, and goes to pay the bill. It gives me an opportunity to admire the view and contemplate my decision making. Smart, attractive, and chivalrous.
That’s a sufficient number of boxes ticked for this evening.
He turns and summons me toward the door, his hand on the small of my back as he escorts me from the building. He takes my hand as we walk towards my car, and after a peck on the lips, he opens the door for me to get in.
“I’m parked over there,” he indicates before shutting the door.
I follow the glowing red eyes of his silver BMW to his apartment overlooking the beach. It takes less than five minutes, not nearly enough time to properly prepare myself.
I hop out and duck under the garage door before it creaks back down, sealing us in from the rest of the world.
His apartment is like something out of the Roman Empire. The red fabric lounges, laden with black velvet cushions patterned with gold filigree, take pride of place on the giant Turkish rug. He goes to the kitchen, asking if I would like a nightcap.
“That sounds nice,” I mumble. There’s something in the way he moves around his house and the crispness of his sentences that teeters on control. I didn’t notice that at the restaurant. I’m nervous. He feels much more strange to me under the fluorescent lights in his kitchen than he did in the cozy restaurant.
Perhaps the gin glow is wearing off.
He arranges a platter of red grapes, dark chocolate squares, and a pot of rose tea on a silver tray. I was hoping for something a little stronger but never mind.
He carries the tray over to the glass coffee table and motions for me to sit next to him.
“You can take your skirt off if it would be more comfortable.”
“Um, I’m pretty comfortable, but thank you.”
“Would you like some grapes with your cup of tea?”
“Yes please, “I say as I move my hand towards the dish. Adish slides it just out of my reach and plucks a few globes from the stem. He shifts closer to me and lifts them towards my lips. If it’s supposed to be sexy, it’s not, and like a kid avoiding a spoonful of medicine, my mouth stays firmly shut.
“I’m sorry, I can’t be fed unless there’s someone fanning me with palm fronds,” I jest, trying to break the tension.
If he thought it was funny he doesn’t show it or doesn’t care. He’s focused on something else altogether.
“There’s a bathroom over there where you can freshen up.”
I don’t need to go to the bathroom but there is something about his tone that tells me it isn’t a request.
I sit on the toilet seat and take a few deep breaths. As far as dating experiences go, his customs mostly fall on the heart fluttering dominant/submissive side, but there is an unmissable hardness lurking underneath them. It’s too late now. Flushing my trepidation down with the push of a button, I inspect my makeup in the mirror and add a touch of lip gloss before joining him back in the lounge room.
I open the door and am confronted by a very naked Adish standing by an open door at the end of the hall. I guess he doesn’t believe in foreplay.
“Come in here and lay down please. On your stomach preferably.”
“I can’t, I’m sorry.” I still have my clutch in my hand and make to leave.
He softens, “I don’t mean to be so abrupt but this is the way I like it. You seemed to be open minded. I thought you might like it also.”
“Perhaps a little more working into it, hey?”
“Of course, yes. Won’t you come and lay down? We will take it at your pace.”
His respectful formality is at odds with his well-put-together self-standing there naked.
I step towards his outstretched hand and into the shadows.
The next afternoon I’m surprised to receive a text from him.
Hello Brooke, it’s Adish. Are you free this evening?
I am, but I’m not going back to the first Century BC. Whilst at no time did I feel unsafe, there was a definite sense that I was not making the decisions. Needless to say, it was at least one step too far outside my comfort zone.
Hi Adish, I’m busy tonight sorry. I don’t think it’s going to work out for us either.
Brooke, I apologize if I gave you the wrong impression. I understood that you knew what this was. Thank you for last night.
And with that, he swiped right on another woman who would welcome his sexual misogyny and grape feeding ways.