The Twelve Men That Changed Me

October, 1999

You’d just turned 17, and I’d just turned 18. We’d met at a rave three months prior in Oakland. The internet was new and we exchanged AIM screenames. You knew I was a virgin. We chatted online and had three-hour phone conversations all summer long till I finally was old enough to take the train to Sacramento to see you without my parents’ permission. You picked me up at the train station in 69-inch Jinco jeans, took me back to your friend’s apartment, fed me Mickey’s and fucked me on the rug. Then you fucked me on the bed at a party. Then we broke into the rec room of an apartment complex and fucked there too. You told me you loved me and I was naïve enough to believe it. After a week, you put me back on the train home to San Jose and I didn’t hear from you till a month later. You called me collect to tell me you were in jail. I moved to Denver a couple months later.

December, 1999

You were my not-much-older-than-me Uncle’s roommate. I was 18, you were 23. You were a complete fucking loser, working at a sandwich shop, spending your evenings getting hammered, and I don’t even remember if you owned a real bed or not. I fucked you because I liked the thrill of doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing. My uncle was more like my older brother and all of his roommates were supposed to be keeping an eye on me during the interim before my transition from San Jose to Denver. I liked that I (mostly) got away with it.

January, 2000

I took a train from San Jose to Denver. I met you and your brother on the way. You were on a cross-country trip, on your way home to upstate New York. You talked to me, played cards with me, kissed me and cuddled me while I slept. The last night on the train, shortly before I reached Denver, you took me to a secluded car, shut and locked the door and went down on me till I came. It was the first orgasm I’d had from another person. You gave me a love letter and called me when you got back to New York, but my Grandma thought you were a jerk (I have no idea why), bawled you out and hung up on you. Naturally, she never told me you called till years later and you never called me again. Sorry about that.

February, 2001

I met you while you were changing the tires on my car. You were tall, dark, confident, and cocky and already had an alcohol monitor on your ankle- all before you turned 21. You asked me to dinner (we had to wait a couple weeks because you were on house arrest). You told me you loved me after two days, had proposed to me after two weeks, convinced me to move in with your after a month, and had nearly stripped away all my self-esteem by month three. I was not allowed to leave the apartment unless the kitchen was clean, was not allowed to visit my parents for two hours on Sunday unless the laundry was finished, and was not allowed to wear any clothes to bed, not even underwear. You’d fuck me, then come inside me (I was on the pill), then go down on me and complain that it smelled. You wore makeup. You sometimes performed fellatio on random objects while we had sex. I think you were a self-hating gay man and that’s why you were so abusive to me. It was a four month relationship that felt like four years.

April, 2001

I met you when I was waitressing at Denny’s. You bought me flowers and boxing gloves and my family absolutely adored you. You really liked Star Wars. Our first date we played pool and you pretended to use “The Force” every time you sunk a ball. I never slept with you, never even got close. I dated you for a few months and then, not knowing how to end things, simply stopped returning your phone calls. After two weeks of radio silence on my end, my mother woke me up from a nap to show me the long-stemmed rose and love note you’d left on my car. This creeped me out because I didn’t live at home at the time, I was just visiting, so you’d had to look around town at the places you knew I worked or hung out to find my car. I was a little repulsed by your niceness, and a lot smothered by your tokens and persistence, and for that I’m sorry. If I met you now it would probably be different.

November, 2002

I met you online. Oh my god, you were so hot (and still are). You were a perfect gentleman, a mother’s dream, funny, smart and successful. You were only 22 and you owned your own business! I loved looking at you and talking to you and making jokes with you, but once we got down to business it felt a little bit like I was fucking my brother. I’m 99% sure you felt the same way. We’re still friends on Facebook. You’re married now, with two little boys that look just like you. When I look at your pictures, now and again, they make me smile. I’m glad you found contentment.

July, 2003

You were my demise, my ‘one who got away’, for years and years to come. I was 23, struggling to make ends meet, trying to get a semblance of a writing career off the ground, working at a gas station and going to college full-time. You were 32, from the deep south, twice divorced, financially secure and sexually ravenous. You looked like a grown up version of the Campbell’s soup kid- blonde crew cut, rosy cheeks, impish smile, and totally not my type- but you fucked like GG Allen lite. You were a staunch republican, Bush supporter, completely pro-war, career military man, total cad and absolute charmer. You made me feel like a woman, not just a girl. You asked me to grow out my pubic hair and liked to watch me walk around naked. You loved and yet hated that I had tattoos and smoked. You knew you had me under your thumb.

Six months in, I discovered I wasn’t your girlfriend at all- I was the other woman. You had a woman more compatible to you- older, with a degree and more financially secure (who, incidentally, was also very religious and wanted to preserve her virginity so you only got to fuck her up the ass. I guess that’s why you kept me around.) I only fucked you one more time before I had the courage to end it completely. For years afterwards, you continued to contact me, sporadically and without warning. For years afterward, I thought of you when I masturbated. You’re married, for the third or fourth time, with a son now. Your hairline has receded and your new wife looks like a nice person, but she’s isn’t nearly as pretty as I am.

January 2004

Even though we had mutual friends and went to the same college, we met online. You found my screenname through Yahoo somehow, and sent me an email. I waited a month before responding- I was still working things out with the military man. I decided to give you a shot; your email was friendly and funny. For our first date we out for Chinese food and watched “This Is Spinal Tap” on your laptop. Once I got to your apartment, I essentially didn’t leave for the next nine years. We got engaged in 2005, and got married in 2006. We saw each other through three college degrees (one for me, tow for you), three surgeries (two for me, one for you), two cross-country moves, the death of one beloved dog, the purchase of one home, and the death of our marriage. We have since managed to retain a semblance of a friendship. I’m grateful for this, and I think you are too.

October, 2014

I had met you at a bar three months prior, when the dissolution of my marriage was truly beginning to take hold. I took one look at you and my mouth watered. I felt nothing for you but pure animal lust. Throughout the whole summer, while my world crumbled around me, I thought of your face when I masturbated. A close friend of mine knew you, she’d worked with you in the past. Within two weeks of my separation from my ex-husband, you and I had set up a date. We met up at a bar not too close to either of our homes, got drunk, and then went across the street to a hotel where we fucked for 12 hours straight. It was glorious. It was exactly what I needed. Sadly, it only happened one more time after that, but that’s probably a good thing. In the raw emotional state I was in, had we fucked any more I’d have probably grown attached.

January 2015

I met you through an online dating app. It was instant chemistry, both physical and mental. We bonded over Salinger and Weezer and whiskey. The way you kissed me made me see stars and I couldn’t wait to sleep with you. Once we did, I was left confused. You couldn’t hold an erection to save your life and even though you kissed me and caressed me and pressed your body against me like you couldn’t wait to have sex, once it came to the act itself you’d pull away to go smoke some pot, or tell me to calm down, that it was unbecoming that I was so horny. Sometimes you’d just go to sleep. You baffled me. Come to find out, you had a pacemaker which made it difficult to maintain an erection, and a history of abuse. This was a lethal combination that produced a very strange reaction to women- you loved them but were also repulsed by them. Suffice to say you couldn’t handle my sexual appetite or over-emotiveness. You were far more into the chase than the prize. I think I could have loved you, but everything got way too complicated.

March 2015

You and I had so many social connections, it was crazy we didn’t meet until we did. You played in the band of my best friend’s boyfriend, and had grown up with and briefly dated the wife of my ex-husband’s best friend. You were also best friends with her brother. We knew all the saem people, and had even been to a party together, years prior, when I was still married, but apparently had never spoken.

You were my sexual awakening. You made me come, over and over, every time, in ways I didn’t know I could come. I turned to liquid when I saw you. You became my obsession. I was consumed with thoughts of fucking you, and when we did fuck, we’d lose hours, sometimes days. When I was with you I felt like I didn’t need food or water or cigarettes or even oxygen. All I needed was you and your body. This went on for months and months. You were just like a drug. All that sexual euphoria came at a price though. We ended in a fever pitch of alcohol, prescription drugs, screaming, tearful voicemails left by yours truly, suicidal voicemails left by you, and ultimately, finally, you being taken to a mental institution.

You were, and still are, crazy. Clinically crazy. Manic-depressive, bi-polar, severely depressed, disassociative and suicidal. Once you began to fall for me, you shoved me away so severely and so cruelly it spun me into a tailspin of my own. I was raw and confused for months afterwards. We saw each other briefly in the fall, got stoned and talked about what happened. I cried and told you that you made me feel unlovable and crazy for feeling the way I did. You told me you were sorry and that you were destructive person and I was better off without you.

I saw you for a friendly dinner recently and felt nothing at all. You were right. I am better off.

September 2015

I met you on a night when I wanted to stay home but my friends talked me into going out. I liked your Harry Potter T-shirt and I liked your lack of intensity. You liked that I was drunk enough to pretend not to notice you eyeing my boobs in my low-cut hippie dress and the way I wore my hair that night, long and loose and kind of frizzy from the heat. We got drunk, and we kissed, and you drove me home and I fed you a ham sandwich. You took me to the movies the next day. Over the next several months you lectured me about the virtues of hip-hop and patiently explained the game of football to me. I took care of you when you broke your foot, talked to you about astrology and cried to you when I felt like I’d never find a job. You took me home to meet your family and I took you to my favorite place in the mountains. You taught me what it was to make love to a person. You taught me what it was to not just love, but be in love, and to love unconditionally. You taught me how to fight with another person and not be afraid that the fight was going to be the be-all and end-all of the relationship. You taught me about parts of myself I didn’t know existed.

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with you. You were the first real relationship I’d had since my divorce, and to date the happiest, healthiest, most fulfilling relationship I’ve had in my life. You had to go away, for your job. I had to stay here, for my life. Sometimes good things can’t stay for that long, or maybe sometimes they just have to go away for a little while. Mostly though, I think we just don’t know. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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