The Sailor came to the city again for our third date in two weeks.
He moved through the catechism of date possibilities: Dancing? No. Dance lessons? Is that different from dancing? Tuvan throat singers in concert?
It was as if he did not know me at all.
We settled on a 17-piece, two-man folk orchestra. Every song was named after a different French philosopher.
This gave us a chance to talk more.
Sailor: Someone told me that if I have made it to 42 without being engaged, there has to be something wrong with me.
Me: I consider it a sign of integrity to avoid a bad marriage.
I also considered it an act of mercy that the band was so precious. I could call it an early night, no encores.
Me: Do you want to come back to my place?
He did and we did.
While I never wanted so many partners, I have so far been cursed with an entire adult lifetime of experience. Expertise is a function of age. I have a lot of data, good and otherwise: First-time sex is almost universally bad. There are men with whom I have had the greatest sex of my life — a few of them, by now — but our first times were mostly weird. Embarrassing. Awkward. Disappointing. Unexceptional, at best. First-time sex sets a low bar. We can only ever improve.
My Manhattan apartment is not large by the standards of a closet. All my furniture needs to be useful, multifunctional, transforming: A storage trunk is a coffee table. A bookshelf is also a headboard.
The Sailor and I were having awkward first-time sex when he knocked my reading lamp off my bookshelf-headboard.
He wasn’t much of a navigator.
He sent the Composer’s collected works spilling off the bookshelf like so many dominoes. Gay Haiku, Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever and Lawfully Wedded Husband: How My Gay Marriage Will Save the American Family.
The Sailor just kept tacking, back and forth against the current.
At last, the projector fell from a shelf and beaned me on the head.
Sailor: Wow, you’re totally going to have to sex-proof your bed.
Me: You mean I have to Sailor-proof it? You know you’re not the first man who has ever been here, right?
It wasn’t a kind thing to say.
But it also wasn’t good.