These days, one of the only thing that soothes me is cooking an elaborate feast, even if only for one.

Going to the market, I look for what's fresh and what's on sale. I look at the counters and shelves and the piles of fruit and meats and vegetables, dreaming up iterations and variations of beautiful meals past. I gauge how much time I have, how much money I'm willing to spend. I thank This Modern Age as I look up recipes in the aisle of the store, trying not to block the bustle of others in search of their next meal.

When I return, I set my groceries on the counter, put away what will be used later and lay out the raw ingredients for what I hope will be a delicious meal. I mentally calculate how much time it will take to make each dish and proceed accordingly. I wash; I chop; I peel; I season; I saute; I roast; I toast; I grill. While my food is cooking, I tidy up and wash the dirty dishes I've made, just like my mother always taught me. I set the table for one, I pour my drink, I lay out my fork and knife. During the last two minutes of cooking time, I am frenzied with the details, trying to time it all so that everything will be warm and delicious all at the same time.

I serve my portion, and set aside the rest for tomorrow's lunch. With fanfare, I carry my plate to the table, admiring the smells and the way the food looks on the plate; the rich browns, the bright greens, the golden oranges. I cut into the first bite and smile to myself, thinking about all the friends and lovers with whom I would love to share this meal. Instead, I tell them about it over email or through pictures. Sometimes, they come over and I cook for them or we cook together.

Tonight, I have a beautiful pot of short ribs braising in the oven. As they approach their second hour of cooking, a pan of butternut squash sits next to them, roasting with sage. I've just finished trimming the green beans, which will get sauteed with garlic and olive oil once the meat and the squash are near done.  A dear friend is on her way. I look forward to her oohs and ahhs, the groans of delight and satisfaction that I know she'll make when she eats what I've made. I've spent half my day preparing for and cooking this meal, and every short minute that we eat will be worth all the time, the money, and the dishpan hands I've acquired to put this plate on the table.


In attempting to set up a casual sex encounter, I exchanged a couple of "this is what I like" emails with a potential suitor. I am compelled to post an excerpt from said suitor's reply, for posterity and for all the internet to witness:

I have to admit that I really don't think I'm into making out as foreplay. A little too emotionally involved for me for something so NSA. If you want to suck me off to get you wet, fine by me, but honestly, all I'm really looking to do is to come over, we say hi, get undressed, you get on all fours, I turn you out for awhile, we both cum, I clean up and leave.

Oh, kind sir. If ONLY other gentlemen were as willing as you to grant me the privilege of putting my mouth on their penises in order to get my vagina good and ready for a poke, I could hang my hat and end my quest for fun, casual, and mutually fulfilling sex.

Don't let anyone tell you that chivalry's dead.


The state of Things

Lately, I have taken to crying at work at least twice a day.


Although we haven't seen each other since our first encounter, things have been progressing with MM.

He's an interesting man, that one. Unlike nearly all of the casual hookups I've had, MM is interested in my brain and when we interact, is also kind of sweet and attentive. I guess that those factors mean that this technically isn't in the "casual hookup" category, but the English language doesn't have a term that I like to describe the thing that happens in between casual sex and dating. "Friends with benefits," an annoying and grossly misused term in the land of sex and dating, does not adequately describe this as we were never friends first. My usual standbys, suitor and gentleman caller, to me imply that there is an interest and a trajectory toward something more serious, and that is clearly not the case. Perhaps the old-fashioned "lover" would suffice, but I can't bring myself to say it without a snort and a giggle.

MM and I have been emailing each other every day, often multiple times a day. Sometimes to try and coordinate our ridiculous schedules, sometimes to flirt, and often just to talk about how our days went. We gchat a lot too, sometimes to talk dirty, but often to have actual conversation as well. I had kind of forgotten how nice it is to have that person to whom you report back to about your day, even if it's only to say that not much happened. My close friends serve that function as well, but there's something kind of nice about having that with someone with whom you also flirt.

Despite this daily checking in, we have rarely spoken about his wife, mostly because I haven't inquired. And I actually kind of don't want to know. I know that he's happy in his marriage, that she doesn't know about his affairs, and that he doesn't see a big conflict between his love for her and his extramarital carrying on. The other details I just kind of make up in his head, like what she does for a living, how often they have sex, what kind of sex they have, and how he acts around her when he's thinking about me.

I've mentioned it before, but it's worth repeating that I know that engaging in all of this pseudo-intimate interaction is flirting with danger, but I'm enjoying myself so much that the benefits are still outweighing the risks.