"Are you home? I want to cuddle."
I looked down to find a text message from Colin*, my f*ck buddy. We've been having an on-and-off, casual relationship. It was one in the afternoon on Valentine's Day. I was home. I had spent the night at an all-lesbian party that my fabulous gay friend and coworker Zara took me to, where I drank too much and smoked a spliff for the first time in months.
My body was vulnerable. My brain was still fuzzy. There's no way I wouldn't have benefited from some hugs and kisses.
Did this mean Colin and I were together now? We'd never really had "the talk." He did drunkenly confess to me at a bar that I'm lovely, a wonderful writer, and that I'm the kind of woman he needs. But that's the extent of it.
I won't lie to you: I was ecstatic to hear that. I want to be the woman he needs. But we were just f*ck buddies.
Did he also know it was Valentine's Day?
My phone buzzed again. "And Happy Valentine's Day, of course." He knew.
I told him to come. I had no plans.
I was hanging a tapestry on my bedroom wall when I got a call from him this time. He was at the drugstore and wanted to know what he should bring over. I told him I wanted chocolate -- not that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup sh*t, but the good sh*t -- and he arrived at my doorstep twenty minutes later with a tub of Häagen-Dazs and a bag of chocolates all the way from a chocolate factory next door to his childhood home in Ireland.
One hour into our little hangout, we started to tear off each other's clothes.
"Happy Valentine's Day," he said, looking me dead in the eye and slipping inside me coyly. I moaned. God damn, he felt amazing.
We began to f*ck. I mean, really f*ck. And it felt really ... real. A little too real. We'd go for a round, stop, and make some jokes. Maybe watch some TV. Then we'd start up again, all the while completely in sync with one another. We'd gotten so comfortable with each other's bodies that it no longer felt like detached, meaningless sex. It felt romantic and rhythmic and significant. We were kind of like an old married couple, only young and hot. Hell, I've even farted in front of the guy, and he laughed it off. He brought me out of my head and back down to earth. He made me feel connected to him.
What the hell was going on?
Hours later, we'd finally tired each other out. It was clear he was done: He rolled over and distanced himself from me. I inched over and lay my head on his chest.
While our Seamless order was en route, I remember hoping he'd cook for me. I remember watching "Leap Year," a rom-com so bad it's actually good, and wishing he'd make a gesture as obnoxious as the one the Irish male protagonist makes for Amy Adams.
Was I in a sex haze, or did I really like him?
"Your eyes look vacant," he said, looking at me with a hint of concern. But they were full. I had things to say; I just didn't know how to say them. Because I 100 percent had feelings for him. How does one say that while naked and exposed? Sh*t.
Somewhere along the way, f*cking him became more than just f*cking. I don't know if it was because of his boyish crudity, his beautiful Irish accent, or how warm his pale skin felt on my skin, but I caught feelings, like a damn amateur.
It's my fault, really. Zara outlined the sensitive girl's guide to having a fuck buddy, where she explains some of the key rules to maintaining a guy strictly for sex. The key to pulling it off is doing a damn good job of adhering to those rules.
Well, I played fastball with the rules. I let Colin cook for me and take me to brunch and tell me everything there is to know about his 9-year-old niece, and how proud he is of the tomboy she's becoming. One day, it was no longer about getting him off. It was about letting him in.
Surely he must've felt an inkling of the same -- his drunk self was all about me.
Now it was Valentine's Day. And for some reason, I expected more from him. But why did I expect anything other than what he was giving me? We weren't dating. He owed me nothing. All he gave me was a drunken confession once or twice, and I couldn't hold him accountable for a one-off.
As I sat on my knees while covering my tits with a pillow, I tried to tell him what was on my mind. It was a test: I wanted to see if he could meet my emotional needs, so I did my honest best to explain the Five Love Languages -- the different things people need from others to know that they are cared about. My love languages are communication and physical touch. I needed him to understand that.
But he just nodded; he was lost. I'm the kind of person who needs to talk about everything I'm feeling, but he's the kind of person who doesn't need to do that. When I'm bursting at the seams from too much emotion, he calls me a weirdo for expressing it.
Right then and there, naked in my bedroom on Valentine's Day, I sensed there was a disconnect between us. His tipsy confessions about how he felt about me, as jarring and consoling as they were, weren't enough. And they never would be.
When I looked under my bed the next morning, I noticed one of the bed springs had fallen out. I actually felt pleased with myself. A broken bed is the mark of a brilliant sex life. Primal needs met? Check. As for my emotional needs? They were hardly being met. I thought I could replace not having them met with having another set of needs met. Turns out that isn't how that works.
It was the first Valentine's Day in 26 years I've ever spent with a guy. Spending it with a guy is all well and good, that is, if you and this guy are really, truly meant for each other. Otherwise you'll end up feeling like a stranger in your own bed.
He got up early the next morning to go to work. Begrudgingly, I got up to walk him out.
"Ugh! It's f*cking cold out," he said, grabbing me by the waist and kissing me. I pursed my lips.
"Colin," I started, "this is the last time we're going to see each other."
"Yea? Huh. That came out of nowhere..."
It didn't come out of nowhere -- not for me, anyway. He looked at me funny. Confused, he muttered something in his accent and slipped out through the half-open door. I don't know if it's because he had to go to work, or because he just didn't care enough, but he didn't put up a fight.
People fight for what they believe in. His apathy was the answer to my question. He never actually believed in us.
I sat in bed for a long time just staring at the wall and crying. How could he f*ck me like that, then say goodbye like ... that? I felt so empty.
He was right. I do deserve better. I deserve someone who's willing to tell me every day how he feels about me, not just once over a bottle of bourbon. And I'm going to hold out until I can find that person.