Atom the Archaeologist
As I get back into internet dating, Sarah introduces me to a new website called Friendster. She describes it as a dating profile where you can put in a lot more information about yourself and get matched based on who you know in common, not just physical proximity or age range. Or as she puts it somewhat cynically, it's like creating the trading card version of yourself. I waste hours creating my personal trading card, then trying to see how many people I can link up with. It's strangely addictive, even more so since the system keeps crashing and it sometimes takes hours to log in.
Sarah is also single again since her boyfriend broke up with her. He seems like kind of a cold-hearted jerk to me, and she complains that the sex was terrible because he only wanted to reenact porn scenes by coming on her face. But despite his obvious shortcomings, she's pretty broken up about it and also makes it worse for herself by staying friends with him. He's already dating someone else, but she's still hanging around and talking to him all the time. She goes on the heartbreak diet, and drowns her sorrows in exercise, so as a result she drops two sizes and is the hottest she has ever been. But even though we again spend hours looking at profiles online, she never brings herself to contact anyone.
I, on the other hand, am more serious about finding someone, and even though Friendster is a compelling distraction, it's Nerve.com that still yields up actual dates for me. It's been long enough since my first time around on internet dating that there are some new profiles up, but mostly I see a lot of the same people again, including the hot but clearly an asshole dude who calls himself Tommy Crown. He would never be interested in someone as nerdy as I, but I take some mean-spirited satisfaction in his continued presence on the site. Apparently other women are not that into him either.
I revise my profile to make it really clear I am into BDSM and looking for a sub guy partner. I message a bunch of new guys, but this time around I cut right to the chase. No long email exchanges. We need to establish a real connection first.
Predictably, my inbox is full of messages from guys critiquing my tastes in music and movies as listed on my profile, and/or making stupid jokes about SM. The worst are the one line or even one word messages from guys who have obviously not even read my profile. Those are by far the most numerous.
Messages that have some thoughtful content are rare, but I get one from a guy whose profile is titled "Up and Atom." A Simpsons reference is always a good sign, and his photos are gorgeous. Pretty soon we're meeting for gelato near the Lester State campus. In person, he's even more gorgeous: blue eyes, thick dark blond hair, a boyish face and a deep golden tan. His name is Atom spelled with a t, which I think at first is some Eastern European variant spelling, but I find out later his real name is Adam and he had the spelling legally changed. So yeah, he's kind of a pretentious hipster, but unlike most of the hipsters hanging around Raser City, he's not a slacker or IT drone. He's a real working archaeologist. Right now he's on a dig just outside the city, but he's worked all over the world. Just like Indiana Jones! I can hardly believe someone so cool is interested in me. He's into comic books too, although his favorite title is Green Lantern, which is kind of lame.
I try to impress him by talking big about my experience in the BDSM scene and other erotic adventures, but he only seems to be half listening.
"I masturbate twice a day," I brag.
Atom narrows his eyes at me. "You have too much time on your hands."
"Fuck you! Most guys are dreaming of a girl with a high libido." I'm thinking specifically of Skip, who found my twice daily habit a turn on. In fact, everything about the way I am flirting is just replicating what worked so well on Skip, but Atom doesn't seem impressed.
Despite this somewhat rocky start, Atom asks me out again for dinner, then he invites me back to his apartment. He shares a place with two other guys, and it's exactly as gross and noisy as you would expect. We commiserate about still living like students into our thirties, about not having enough money and waiting for our careers to take off. Apparently freelance archaeology work doesn't pay very well, and he's thinking about going to grad school.
"Believe me, you'll have even less money as a grad student," I warn him. He just laughs.
His roommates are watching TV in the living room, so he suggests going to his bedroom to get a little privacy. As soon as the door closes, he starts kissing me and sticking his hands up under my shirt. I kiss him back, but something is bothering me. After a few more minutes of making out, I stop and pull away.
"I, um, just want to let you know...uh, I'm looking for a real relationship," I say. "Not just something casual." It feels really important that I be upfront about this, but as I deliver this little speech, not only are we halfway to getting naked, but I'm kneeling on the floor directly in front of his crotch. He looks down at me with his legs spread and his eyes heavy, half lidded.
"Yeah, sure," he grunts.
"Ok, good, I mean, I just want to be clear."
He nods. So we have oral sex, then he doesn't call me for a week.
I feel like I majorly fucked that up. What kind of idiot am I? First, his roommates never even bothered to say hello to me, let alone ask my name. They do seem to be inconsiderate assholes, but it seems equally likely that they are not bothering to get to know me because Atom has had a parade of women through the apartment. Second, I told Atom that I want him to be my boyfriend as we were in the middle of having casual sex. Talk about mixed messages. I decide to chalk it up to experience and forget about him.
But then, just when I have completely written him off, Atom calls me and asks me out again. We go out to dinner as if nothing had happened, and I try to keep it casual and light. I drop all mention of wanting a serious relationship, since it's obvious that's not going to happen. If he just wants to be friends with benefits, well, he's super hot and I'm horny as hell. After dinner, we go back to my place.
We sit on my bed, and he pulls his shirt off. Oh, that golden skin. I run my hands over his tight chest and arms. Working on digs has given him the kind of taut muscles most guys need hours in the gym to achieve. He has a huge Celtic cross tattoo on one arm that I think is so cool. I lean down and kiss his neck. He smells of sandalwood. It's intoxicating.
This time, Atom is the one who interrupts us. "Soooooo...." he drawls, sitting up suddenly.
"You said you're into, like, S&M, right?"
"Why, you want to try playing?"
"Maybe," he says in a noncommittal tone, but I see his eyes light up.
"Ok," I say, smiling. I put on my best Mistress voice. "On your knees!"
"I said, on your knees!" I push him over and he gets on his hands and knees on the bed, with his ass in the air. I take out my latex flogger from the drawer under the bed and whack him a few times, just testing out his response. He's going along with it but I can tell he's not a natural masochist. He's humoring me but spanking isn't really turning him on.
I change tactics. Tossing the flogger away, I pull out a length of white nylon rope from the drawer. "I've been practicing," I brag, as I try out one of the techniques I learned in the class with Lulu. Placing his hands together, I wrap the rope around and around his wrists until it's like a thick cuff, then secure the ends. With a firm tug, I pull his arms up above his head and tie him to the bed post.
I kiss him all over while he's tied up, then sit on his face. He's enjoying himself but it still seems like he's holding something back. Like Skip, he can't quite bring himself to say what he really wants right away. After I go down on him and finish him off, I check in with him, since it's his first time with any kind of SM play.
"So what do you think?" I ask, unwrapping his wrists.
"Um, good," he grunts, wincing as he brings his arms down.
"Anything in particular you want to try?"
"I dunno, maybe?"
"Like what exactly?"
"Come on, my mind reading superpowers are on the fritz. You have to tell me."
He rubs his wrists, not meeting my eye. "Do you have one of those, whaddayacallit, a, um, harness?"
"What, like a sex sling? I tried one once and believe me, it's way overrated."
"No, not that! Like a harness you wear." He gestures around his hips.
"Oh, you want me to peg you!" He nods, turning red. It's kind of adorable how I have to drag it out of him. What is it with these dudes always so embarrassed about their kinks? Pegging is so not a big deal.
I actually don't own a harness, but it's something I've always wanted so I go out the next day and buy one from my neighborhood lesbian owned sex positive adult store. The dildo is the big purple one that I've had for years, the same one I used to pop that girl's cherry when I lived in Seoul. Whatever, I've sterilized after every use by boiling it in a pot of water on the stove, and I put a condom on it for good measure.
I call up Atom to let him know I'm fully equipped, and he's over at my place almost immediately. I find it hilarious how I look with the harness on, a giant purple dong curving up from my crotch. Atom gives me a hungry look, so I order him to strip and lay face down on the bed with his ass in the air, while I kneel behind him.
"Tell me if it hurts."
I haven't done anything like this since I was with Buttboy seven years ago, and even then, I made him do the insertion himself. I still have vivid memories of him waddling bowlegged around my apartment shouting about how his butt hurt because he jammed the plug in too hard.
This time I take it very slow and use lots of lube. I place the head of the dildo on his ass crack, rubbing slowly up and down, then nudge gently against his hole. At first he clenches up but after a minute or so, he relaxes and it slides right in. I lean forward and he groans loudly. Slowly, slowly I start rocking back and forth, building up steam until I'm really fucking him hard. The muscles on his gorgeous, golden back ripple as he writhes under me. I put one hand on the small of his back and reach around with the other to grab his cock. He comes in under a minute.
Afterwards, he lays on the bed for a good long time looking a bit dazed. "Wow."
"Yeah, that was hot."
"Can we do that again sometime?"
At the same time I'm hooking up with Atom the Archaeologist, I'm still hanging around with Skip, occasionally having sex then regretting it because he has a girlfriend. She's granted him the open relationship he always claimed he wanted, and seems happy to play sidekick to his superhero, both things I always insisted he didn't really want.
He's doing better financially as well, now that he's back at work. He moves out of the 1970s era love shack on Outer Reach Beach and gets his own place, a condo in a more central neighborhood. I go to visit his new place once he's settled in.
The condo is nice but kind of soulless, and I can't help teasing him about his design choices, which seem like the kind of calculated, pre-packaged quirkiness you can buy at Target.
"Nice bedspread," I remark, running my fingers over the faux-leather vinyl on the bed. "If you spill something, you can just wipe it up with a sponge!" I think this is very clever, but he just gives me a pained, sour look that says, Why do you have to be such a bitch?
Despite, this, he seems happy to see me, so I hang out for a few hours. We talk about comics and movies, avoiding mention of our current romantic lives. For some inexplicable reason, he pulls out a shoebox of old photos and shows me pictures of his family, of him as a kid. I can't figure out why he's doing this. It's clear to me that we are drifting further and further apart. We still love each other, but my feelings of jealousy over an open relationship have never gone away. Whenever I'm around him, there's always this undercurrent of bitterness and resentment that makes me sarcastic and cranky. As much as I enjoy his company, it's exhausting. So why is he sharing all these intimate details about his life with me when we have almost no intimacy left? Maybe it's just a habit, or maybe he just couldn't think of anything else to talk about.
We make out for a while, but I stop before we go all the way, saying I have to get up early the next day. I leave his apartment feeling like this is finally it. I can't help but think of how perfect he seemed when we first met. How did we come to this? I recall the advice of my poet gardener friend, who said that I was just a rebound for Skip after his divorce. Dammit, he was right.