I had an interesting encounter with a man from one of the dating sites I visit. No, no. Not that kind of encounter. It was a phone conversation.
The whole thing started well enough. He emailed me through the website to indicate his interest in me, and as I'd been honest about my way-less-than-perfect body type, he expressed delight that I am not a thin woman. Okay. So far, not terrible. Flattering things were said. A fairly nice phone conversation ensued. When he found out that I write romance, some of the conversation got a bit more personal, but I wasn't shocked by this. Generally, conversations about sex don't shock me, and frankly, this particular website isn't really focused on helping people find Miss or Mister Right. More along the lines of Mr. Right Now. Plus, when people find out one writes romance, invariably, a discussion of sex just happens. I'm not sure why.
Anyway. We didn't pursue the conversation for long, as the roommate came home and was speaking with me, and this man ended our chat so roommate and I could talk about whatever household thing needed discussing. Again, so far, so good.
The next night, we had another conversation. I'd had a busy, productive day that ended with a cocktail and was fairly pleased with myself and life in general. When I texted this man, and he replied with something amusingly risque, I felt comfortable calling him. This is when things went south.
After telling me about his multi-orgasmic abilities [i.e., hitting a home run and still being at bat, so to speak] he worked his away around to telling me that he would not use condoms. Evidently, he has frequent STD testing, particularly HIV testing, and he doesn't feel that a fragile ply of latex should give one any false sense of security. He also relies on ovulation sensing tests for birth control. And if I insisted on condom usage, brainless as it would be, I would be missing out on his phenomenal sexual skills.
Here's the absolutely brilliant part: For a minute or two, I bought into it.
Now don't get me wrong, he seemed a perfectly decent fellow, other than this. Funny, articulate, bright. Appreciated me for the size I am, though he used the unfortunate moniker of "thick chick" to describe me. Chick? Really? I think not. And the conversation had a lot more in it than the summation I've typed here, dearest imaginary reader. But I did actually feel bad about my need to have condoms used in sexual situations for a little while.
Then, after hanging up the phone, I started to think about this. Number one, although he had input from various people in the medical field, he and I disagreed with the actual prevalence of HIV and the risks therein in today's dating pool. Second, whether or not he was correct in his assessment of those risks, I'm still the person who has the deposit left in her account. And third, while the odds of my becoming pregnant are slim to none, given my advanced age and endocrine disorders, I think we all know that God has a sick sense of humor and I am but a jester in the King's court. Can we all take a moment and imagine that delightful scenario?
While his grasp on the science of the matter was sound enough, this man has no clue how dumb luck and an omnipotent Comedian play a part in my life. And frankly, even if all I said was I really want a condom to be used here, that should have been enough.
Missing out on stellar sexual skills may be a loss in my life, but being with a man who values his own pleasure above and way the hell beyond my feelings of safety and security would be a much larger hit. If he can't treat me with courtesy and respect, if his desire isn't to please and protect me, why should I let him in the door?
After thinking this over, and recognizing my own culpability in my emotional state, I uttered the phrase that has been a huge part of my life these past few weeks. I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and said out loud, "I take back my power."
And I felt much, much better.