Love & Sex

True Stories: Speed Dating and Erotic Tai Chi

Pin it

My night started out weird and ended up weirder.

by Carlos Kotkin

“Have you done this before?” Same speed-dating question, different speed-dating day. This time I wore a gray sweater with a white-collared shirt, blue corduroy slacks, and the fancy shoes. I was not a jerk to anyone during my third attempt at speed dating; I did not allow my initial hostility toward being zero for forty-five get the best of me. I was going to do this, damn it. Florence and her whistle greeted me with pronounced sympathy. When she saw me arrive, she said something about the third time being the charm and gave me a thumbs-up. She was obviously aware of my record.

 I had gotten through four blah dates when I met Jasmine. 

The third time did seem to be the charm. I had gotten through four blah dates when I met Jasmine. Jasmine had come to this alone. She looked like she did not want to be there. My kind of girl. She had short reddish-brown hair, doe eyes, and a smattering of freckles stylishly spread across her face. I sat down. We introduced ourselves. Her voice was nearly a whisper. Once we wrote our names down, Jasmine asked the required question. “Have you done this before?”

“Yes, I have. I’ve done this twice. I met forty-five women all together. And all forty-five of them rejected me.”

Jasmine laughed, in spite of herself. “You should not tell people that,” she advised.

“Let’s get out of here,” I suggested to Jasmine as I sat across from her at the speed-dating table.

Jasmine seemed to give escape serious consideration. “We’ve only been on five dates. Shouldn’t we meet everyone?”

“It’s only going to get worse. I’ve done this. I’m a veteran. I know what I’m talking about. By the end of the night, you’re going to need a week to recharge your soul. You’re going to need to go to Bora Bora to replenish.”

She laughed and asked, “Have you been?” When I told her I’d been there twice, her eyes lit up. “What’s it like?” she asked. I spoke of Bora Bora’s captivating beauty, its turquoise waters and golden sunshine. Jasmine took in a deep breath as if wishing she were there at this very moment. “Sounds romantic.”

I confirmed it was. “Of course it would have been more romantic had I gone with someone other than my parents the first time, and my friend Brian the second.”

Jasmine laughed again, shaking her head. “You should not be telling me these things. You should be trying to impress me.”

“I was valedictorian of my high school. Does that count?” Florence blew her whistle at the end of my sentence. Three minutes with Jasmine felt like two minutes. For the first time since the countless number of times I had heard Florence’s whistle (fifty), I regretted having to move on. I remained seated across from Jasmine, as the next guy showed up. Suddenly, I was the jerk who wouldn’t leave. Leaning closer to Jasmine, I whispered, “Even though I’m seeing other people, I’d like to go out with you again.” She nodded and smiled as I left.

None of the other speed dates compared to Jasmine. I waited for things to be over so I could hopefully talk to her more. Florence finally blew the last whistle. Once the speed dating had officially ended, Jasmine was swarmed by guys seeking to extend their time with her. I am terrible at fighting for attention. Most of the men surrounding Jasmine were taller than me. Had I gone over there, I would have come across as the runt, the little boy battling for whatever paltry scraps were left behind. I began to walk out of the restaurant, hoping Jasmine would be the first speed dater in history to put me down as a yes. Then maybe we could have a longer conversation. But what was this? What inspired, unexpected, but happily accepted stroke of good fortune was taking place? Jasmine left the men and their dangling tongues to join me. We walked out of the restaurant together. Booyah.

“I feel so drained. You were right,” sighed Jasmine. “How could you possibly do that three times?”

“Well, I kind of had to. I’m a Navy SEAL, in training. They make us go speed dating. It strengthens our ability to withstand torture.” Another laugh from Jasmine. It was refreshing not to have to tell her I was kidding. I walked her to her car. Trying not to sound too nervous, I revealed that I had put her down as a yes on my pamphlet, suggesting that if she also put me down as a yes then we should exchange phone numbers. It would save the time of having to log onto a computer. Besides, I didn’t trust my computer when it came to speed dating. Jasmine hesitated. I thought the house of cards was about to come tumbling down. But she gave me her number. As I walked back to my car, I threw my official speed-dating pamphlet away, not interested in whether any other girls had put me down as a yes. I assumed they all did. It didn’t matter. Too late, ladies.

I took Jasmine to a popular hilltop restaurant overlooking the entire city of Los Angeles. It was a clear night. The view was incredible. Jasmine and I both had tea. I was finally just having tea on a date, but with Jasmine I didn’t mind how much time I spent. I’d picked this spot not only because it was near where Jasmine lived, but because of its romantic veranda. The veranda was an inspiration point. People who did not make out on this veranda were fined. At least they should have been.

The veranda was an inspiration point. People who did not make out on this veranda were fined. At least they should have been.

Things were going well. I tried not to get too excited. After we finished our tea, I suggested we admire the view on the veranda. Jasmine hesitated, again, but agreed. The veranda was secluded, reachable by stairs. It was covered by tall trees and landscaped shrubs with the restaurant’s entrance above it, along with arriving cars and valets who tended to them. Below the veranda was the City of Angels. We stood side by side, taking in the luminous skyline. Jasmine mentioned she was cold. That was good news. I gave her a chivalrous hug to help warm her up. She gladly accepted it. My right hand, as if having a mind of its own, slowly made its way to her left buttock. The moment I touched her there she asked, “Carlos, may I communicate something to you?” It was like I pressed a button. I wondered if she would say something else if I pressed her right buttock.

Unfortunately, in one form or another, I had heard other women ask if they could communicate something to me before. Since we had our clothes on, I wasn’t too concerned about what Jasmine needed to impart. I told her, yes, she might communicate something, hoping she had recently won the lottery. She hadn’t. Instead Jasmine informed me her heart had been broken not long ago. She thought she was ready to get back out there, which is why she tried speed dating. But she realized she was not emotionally available. My hand was still on her ass. I asked if I should remove it. She told me it was fine to keep it there; she just wanted me to be aware of where she was emotionally. I thanked her for telling me and put my other hand on her other butt cheek, half expecting her to say, “Carlos, may I express something of relevance to you?” She didn’t say anything. Despite her broken heart, she was fine with her ass being grabbed.

Since things were proceeding, I went in for the kiss. Jasmine backed away, telling me, “I’m not ready for that. Sorry. It’s too intimate.” My knowledge of prostitutes was limited to the film Pretty Woman, starring Julia Roberts. In that film, Julia Roberts plays a hooker with a heart of gold. One of her rules was no kissing on the mouth because it was too intimate. A little voice inside my head encouraged me to ask Jasmine if she was a prostitute, or at the very least ask if she had seen Pretty Woman. I didn’t. It would have spoiled the mood. Jasmine was probably not a prostitute, and even if she was — prostitutes are people too.

Still embracing Jasmine, she clarified our situation, seductively whispering in my ear, “We can do anything you want, except kiss.” Anything you want covered a lot of ground. I was tempted to find out exactly what she meant, but in the end realized I would have felt self-conscious engaging in soft and/or hard-core sex acts while valets were on the job just above us. Jasmine and I began heavy petting. We caressed and tastefully touched one another. But no kissing. Still, our lips were practically touching — our eyeballs were practically touching.

I stared into Jasmine’s pupils, telling her, “You’re so pretty and so close. I really want to kiss you.” She said nothing, staring deeply into my pupils. “I’m going to kiss you.” Still nothing from Jasmine. Just her stare. I slowly, respectfully, began leaning toward her, reaching for a kiss. She slowly backed away. I followed her. She veered left, then right, then left again. The entire time I matched her movements, inches from her face. The two of us ended up in a super weird snake charmer kind of dance. It was like we were practicing erotic tai chi.

Occasionally, someone else would walk by on the veranda. We would stop until they were gone and then go back to not kissing. In a way, it was more sensual. All things being equal though, I would have preferred tongue. Jasmine moved away from me once and for all, gathering herself. It was time to go. I dropped her off at her apartment building. She caressed my face with a sad expression, telling me she enjoyed the evening and I was a nice guy, which was the equivalent of throwing me into an active volcano as part of a ritual sacrifice. It came as no surprise then, that she did not return my subsequent calls or texts. Not one for bothering people who don’t wish to be bothered, I erased her number from my phone. C’est la vie. Weirdness aside, meeting Jasmine was a valuable experience. She further clarified what I was looking for in a girl. This has been such a difficult question to answer for so long. What was I looking for?

A vision of the perfect girl was slowly coming into focus. She was somebody whose father didn’t want to blow me away with his shotgun just because I didn’t go to his church. She wouldn’t abandon me in the produce section by the strawberries, but did dream of visiting the South Pacific with her lover. She wasn’t ready to move in with me the moment we made eye contact, nor was she the kind to let random strangers suck on her elbow in the desert sands. She didn’t have herpes, or if she did — she’d tell me about it over a nice, quiet dinner rather than under the hot, sweaty sheets afterward. This was negotiable, her having herpes, but preferably she didn’t have it or any of its cousins. She wasn’t homophobic or dumb, which were one and the same. And when we kissed, our lips touched. When I met someone who fit into all of those categories, my search would finally be over and I could take a nap.

Reprinted from PLEASE GOD LET IT BE HERPES by Carlos Kotkin by arrangement with NAL, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Copyright (c) 2012 by Carlos Kotkin.

 

Speed dating going about as well for you as it did for Carlos? Try Nerve Dating.