by Marcelle Karp for Barb Magazine
“I already want to marry you.”
The banter is going well, as well as dating-app badinage goes. It’s 11am, I’m sitting in Irving Farm, ostensibly here as I am on most days, working on my vampire detective novel, and I’m Tinder-texting with a 34-year-old mail carrier who is somewhere in Brooklyn.
You heard me. A hot male postal worker. That I met on a dating-app. I can count on zero fingers how many men I’ve dated who have worked in a post office. I have simply never met one socially, or in this case, digitally. He has health insurance. He owns his apartment. He owns a car. No kids. He doesn’t care about our age difference. He’s into me.
Did I mention his attractive level is high?
“Let’s move to text,” one of us suggests. If you know anything about dating apps, moving from app texting to old-school-cellular-phone texting is a big deal. With the dating apps, if you don’t feel like talking to someone anymore, you can delete their profile. It means you have actual access to one another. I sometimes delete my Tinder/Bumble/Please Love Me accounts whenever I am juggling more-than-is-necessary conversations with people; I can’t just delete my phone number. It’s as permanent as my would-be tattoo. But I like that this guy and I are firing on all cylinders and I’m ready for it to move to the next level of banter.
We’ve established I’m substantially older than he is, which leads to a discussion about babies. “So you done with babies?” He loves babies. He still eats dinner at his parents house in Brooklyn. Babies, babies, babies. He’s feeling clucky, I suppose.
I suggest there are other ways to have a family.
“So you’d be with me and let me get some one else pregnant?” He asks.
And I say, “Yes, it’s called surrogacy. Also known as threesomes.”
“I like you more and more with every text,” he says. We’re silly-bantering. He hasn’t gotten annoyingly crass, which happens often with these dating app-chatting sorts. Sometimes, a man will come right out and say something charming like “I like pussy.” When some version of that is unveiled within the first ten dating-app texts, I usually “un-match” myself with my almost-boyfriend. We don’t graduate to an exchange of cell phone numbers. The mail carrier has proven himself to be someone that doesn’t want a relationship, which is fine, but if I’m not in the mood for it, forget it.
But right now? I’m in the mood for this guy. We’re flirting. We’re being sexy. We’re being a little envelope-pushing. We’re having fun. What will-you-won’t-you do. I’m thinking, Yeah, I may end up meeting this guy. I will most likely want to sex him up. He’s hot! This might work out. This could be . . .
“I’m glad it’s ok to cum in you haha.”
And boom. Three hours into him LOLing and flirting and being flattering, he drops the “C” word. So. Sex is on his brain. And not the making love kind. The kind where riding bareback is a goal. Look, I get it, condoms are restricting. I have yet to meet a man who enjoys wearing a condom. But as I’ve aged, I’ve noticed a little bit of assumption on the part of men who want to have their Mrs. Robinson moment: they really believe we are grateful to be having sex with them, these younger men. That we, who came of our sexual empowerment during the era of AIDS, have lost all semblance of our “safe sex” mantra just because we’re old and lonely. That we appreciate any and all semblance of a young hot cock. And this one? He is aligned with these notions.
“Wait, what?” I text back. He can hear my disappointment through my fingertips.
He backtracks quickly, realizing he may be losing me. I want to work on my novel, but I have writer’s block. I’m not loving the use of “cum.” I’m not loving that he thinks it’s okay to climax in me. This . . . this feels age-ist. This feels not fun. This makes me feel like not texting. And so, I’m cagey now. Less chatty in the texts.
He tells me it doesn’t feel as nice (what an original sentiment) and he hates them. I have yet to meet a man who enjoys wearing a condom. Says he hates them a few times. I get it, I get it, I get it.
He tells me he wants to go out with me, take me to dinner, bring flowers. He tells me I’m sexy.He tells me he wants to have babies with me (this, by the way, is now turning into an inside joke, because of course, we’re not having babies, derrrr.). He’s currying my favor as it were.
“Are you rich?”
“I guess I’ll be the one giving you money then.”
I don’t answer. What is happening here? Has my hot mailman suddenly morphed into Joe Dirt? Did he vote for Trump? Ugh, I can’t bear to ask. I could be working on my vampire detective novel. Still. Maybe there’s a way to right this . . .
“I really want to have sex with you.” He’s back into having sex with me. But now it’s playful. We return to joking about having sex before marriage. We return to him wanting to have sex with me. It’s not raunchy. It’s fine. I can do this level of banter. Completely flirty, slightly insincere, totally distracting from task at hand (Detectives! Vampires!).
“I would totally give you money if you let me fuck you. You’re gorgeous.” I will give this to him, he knows the difference between “your” and “you’re.” It’s 12:19 in the afternoon. Time for me to eat food, I think. But first, I need to wrap up this conversation.
I decide he’s joking. I reply. “I would totally take your money because I’m an asshole.”
He LOL’s. He gets me. We joke some more about nothing. I ask him a little more about his background, and then he types: “So . . . .”
It’s 12:32pm. I’m feeling peckish. I’m feeling irritable, but that could either be hunger or the hot letter carrier. I answer: “Yes?”
“Could I have you over and fuck you for $300?”
Now I’m wondering if he’s serious. That I could be paid actual cash money for hand-to-hand combat. I mean, sex. It’s so easy to misconstrue inflection in text. He suggests Facetiming, but alas, I’m in a coffee shop. I don’t feel like talking on the phone either. I don’t know that I want to text anymore as well. I can’t un-match him at this point, not on my cell phone. I can however, start to work on my novel. And so, I’m not typing right away. It gets him antsy.
“Just thought if I pay you I wont have to worry about whether or not you’re into me.”
Now. I wonder if the honeymoon is over. If he is, in fact, just not right for me. Not even for sex. I wonder again if he voted for Trump. Even though he loves punk, I would put money on it that he’s never heard of Steve Malkmus and Spiral Stairs. I would bet those 300 bucks that he thinks feminists are a bunch of man-haters.
We text some more, but now I’m slower to reply. I’m seeing him as he is, possibly. And what he is is this: not for me. After a molasses-like twenty minutes, he tells me he has to go do post-office things and there’s no contact for the rest of the afternoon.
Around 5, he pops up again. I’m bored and I’m on the subway, heading home. I decide to play along and reply to his sweet text of, “Hey.” We go back to fun banter. Okay. This is the guy I met at 10am this morning. Fun and witty. Not crass. Not asking me over and over again if I will give him a blow job (so, what? Women he dates don’t do dick?). Maybe it’s his age, although clearly, that I’m older is intoxicating to him. I find, as I continue to date, that being with an older woman is an ideal. To some men, it means no roommates to contend with at her place. To other men, it means a level of experience that’s unparalleled (Really? There are more than six ways to give a blow job?). To this man, it means he can live out a fantasy of sorts.
It’s crowded on this train and I’m standing. A few stops in, I finally look away from my iPhone. I look down at the person I am standing directly in front of.
A sleeping, middle-aged mailman. In his denim blue pants with the dark blue pinstripe on the side of his leg. Oversized coat. The United States Postal Service patch on his sleeve. Is this one of those the-universe-is-talking-to me moments? Is it telling me, I’ve met my match and he is a mailman that lives in Brooklyn? Because of course, that’s where the romantic in me goes. Because of course, I’m living a rom-com moment. Because of course, after being single all these years, I meet my Bashert on a dating-app.
What. Is. Happening?
I put my iPhone in my pocket when I get off the train. Climb the stairwell. Meander for a moment. Then feel the iPhone buzzing away. I pull it out, and there’s a new series of texts, all honing in on the subject of anal sex. Which, for the record, I shut down hours ago, right before he upped the 300 dollar ante with an offer for 500 dollars if I threw in anal sex. (I explained that anal is boyfriend-material action, and he countered with, “but we’re going to get married.” Which, in the moment, seemed fun and harmless. In retrospect, I see, he was laying the groundwork for some backend material.)
It’s going to be a long night if I don’t shut this avenue down, right now. “Dude. I told you, your idea of a woman my age and what she wants and what she’ll do for a stiff cock is beyond reality. I am not a desperate older woman looking to be validated by a hot young thing.”
There. I said it. I told him to stop acting Trumpian. I feel relieved. I feel like, whoever this guy actually is, he’s just heard me tell him to step off. He’ll course correct or he won’t.
And he says, “I didn’t think you were. And don’t ‘dude’ me. I don’t like it. You get to one time. You get the warning. Second time. I’m gone.” He ends his little slap-you-back with a smiley that has a halo emoji.
Fun fact: when someone throws aggressive language around in a text, it’s a reminder of what I avoid in real life: people with anger issues. And an ultimatum? Yeah. No. Doesn’t work for me. Ever.
And so this time, I don’t reply. I got my answer. This hot mailman is not the one — not even for 300 dollars.