Rely on the tried and true. Do everything like you’ve always done it, do everything that’s been statistically proven to work, do something Cosmo suggested if you’re feeling brave, something completely ridiculous and reaching you wouldn’t have the effrontery to try on someone you actually liked. Skim through the sexual script and linger over the good parts. Concentrate on the task. Set your fingers/penis/tongue/whatever to cruise control. Go on vacation in your head. Go faster when they’re close.
Don’t look at them. Of course look at them because you have to, but try not to really look at them. Don’t look at them in any way that transcends looking. Don’t notice things. Don’t get lost in their labyrinthine geometry, the delicate latticework of their cells, the crisscrosses in their hands, slightly dry. Don’t think about the way their skin feels, the soft coolness of their belly you know they consider before letting someone kiss, like suede, cardboard, petals. Don’t overthink it. It’s just skin.
Don’t look at their eyes too much either. Of course look at them because you really can’t avoid it, but look at them like eyes and nothing else. The way they go from gray to blue like a lifting storm, or brown to tinted green like honeyed absinthe, don’t read a pattern in the change. Try not to feel like you’ve been let in on some great cosmic secret, something so private and luminous the subtle flickering beauty of it in any other circumstance would bring you to your knees. Ignore the eyes and focus on the mouth.
Don’t open up to them. Don’t make yourself vulnerable, become malleable in their hands, let them do things you used to only let your ex. Don’t show them the way to your core, how to get under your skin and into the shadow space, past the pleasure point and into the muted center.
Whatever you do don’t stay the night. Don’t wake up next to them in a litter of overturned blankets and clothing and calm breaths and tangled hair. Don’t invite the morning gaze, the naked deliberate stillness of it, the playfulness, finality, the inevitable question mark. Don’t let them see you like this. Don’t let yourself see them.
Don’t do stuff together afterwards. Don’t do anything that invites interest or laughter or any form of getting to know each other. Don’t have a three-hour champagne brunch or play MASH or Xbox or cuddle and watch TV. Don’t cuddle period, but under no circumstances should you let them spoon you. When it comes to feelings spooning is basically asking for it.
Don’t let yourself be fascinated. Don’t get drawn in by their particularity, the sound of their laughter, the curvature of their neck, orbital bone, spine. Don’t read too much into the gestures. Don’t pour your soul into the kiss. Don’t destroy the moment by trying to make it anything more than it is.