Screening potential affair partners.
I had coincidentally started exercising the same summer I began looking for someone. I went for a short hike with a friend and embarrassed myself. It nearly killed me, so I figured I’d do something about it. We’d picked up a cheap treadmill, and I started using it soon after. He bought it for himself, but never touched it. It hurt so much in the beginning when I could only go for a minute or two. I stuck with it, and in two weeks, I was up to a plodding twenty-minute walk/run and then thirty minutes a week later.
A side effect of working out was that I couldn’t leave myself alone. I figured the exercise would calm me down, but it did the opposite. As the weight slowly dropped off, I was hornier than ever.
I was feeling good, looking better, but no one noticed. I was ripe for sex but knew no one would pluck me if I didn’t take the first step. I was going to fall and rot on the ground like an unpicked apple. After a failed flirtation with Tinder, I turned to Ashely Madison.
Boy! Messages flowed in even before I had any pictures up. Four or five looked promising as I sifted through them. I was impressed when they got back to me so quickly because I didn’t realize then how much of a commodity I was. My head was spinning. Men saw my pictures and still wanted me! I didn’t know how stiff the competition was then, but the men were facing an uphill battle and worked for everything they got, while the ladies reeled them in two at a time.
For me, out of all of this, I needed to have a connection with the guy I picked. Physical chemistry was essential, but I needed to like him, so put that in my profile. Few were into it, but most tried to humour me for a couple of messages, then petered out. It didn’t take me long to spot the ones who would flake out, so I began ignoring them. I blocked anyone who sent three messages in a row, ignored messages that said ‘Hi,’ and usually ignored any shorter than two sentences. I wasn’t looking for a book, but come on, give a girl something to work with!
I looked for men who could tell me something about themselves. Proper grammar and spelling says a lot about a man, so there was another screening tool. Again, he didn’t need to be a Pulitzer nominee, but what he wrote had to be more or less error-free. I’m not too fussed by a ‘to/too,’ or a ‘your/you’re’ issue, but I needed to see sentences in a cohesive paragraph that was longer than three lines. Blank profiles were non-starters.
First contact was always exciting, and a few of them got me hot fast. Early on, I was driven to distraction by all the sexting! I had starved for attention, and getting it all at once lit me up inside.
Even when steamy chats were fantastic, I found it very hard to match schedules with them. Some couldn’t get to me, some were available when I wasn’t, others wanted me to come to them, and on it went. My work schedule didn’t help. It was like trying to organize a kid’s playdate with a mom I didn’t know, who couldn’t drop off, do Saturdays, and her kid was allergic to grass.
When I finally found the first affair partner I connected with, it seemed almost like luck more than anything else. He’d sent me a priority message and was online when I read it. The message was ok, but I wasn’t going to reply. I closed his profile, but I saw he sent me another message. I didn’t know then that men could pay to see when their messages were read. So it was a trap, and I fell for it.
“Was it the height?”
All he wrote was, “was it the height?” I giggled. It was the height. My profile set out my expectations, and he fell short by…four inches. I checked him out again, saw that he was well written and funny, and his pictures weren’t too bad. He seemed nice, and I felt terrible for him, so I wrote back.
He turned out to be an interesting, attractive, and well-written guy whose family situation was similar to mine. I was chatting with others, but his messages were by far the best. He had this way with words that set me on fire. I couldn’t resist them.
Early on, he said he was into having a relationship too, and yes, it is what I wanted to hear, but he wasn’t playing me. He was the first man I sent a nude to, and the things he said about my body could have made me cry.
I wasn’t young, but even when I was, no one said those things to me. I didn’t know if I should believe him or not, but it made me feel good, even if I thought it was a lie. It felt nice to have a man appreciate me again. My husband started commenting on my body after our first baby and graduated over the years to calling me a pig, his go-to ‘joke.’
I knew I couldn’t fit into my wedding dress, but he had me doubting everything about myself, even though I was fairly average for my height, despite being a little out of shape. I didn’t want to be naked around him anymore because my body seemed to invite comments. I laughed with him through the years, not because he was funny, but because it was easier. After I started losing some weight, he told me I should put a bag over my head so no one could see my face. It was always something.
I realized how deeply the ‘jokes’ hurt when my affair partner asked why I was so shy around him after sex. Years of self-doubt and comments made me that way, I suppose. It was hard to believe anyone could think I was sexy. I still doubt it, but it’s nice to hear my lover tell me how beautiful I am.
By Teresa J Conway on .
Exported from Medium on March 4, 2021.