Right around the time that I started blogging, I discovered “Always Each Other,” a relentlessly hot, tremendously written blog by a woman who called herself “Liza.” Her story was interesting, a refraction of my own: she and her husband had been in a sexless marriage for years, recently awakened. But they were monogamous. Day after day, she wrote hot accounts of the hot sex she and her husband, D, had. It was all new to them, after years in a sexual wilderness, and Liza’s writing communicated incredibly effectively both the hotness of their sex, and the rapture they felt in discovering one another again, in having hot sex.
Liza’s blog took off. She had friends in high places – at least in the sex blogosphere. She was cross-promoted by Violet & Rye, whose blog at the time was soaring to the stratosphere as a result of the beautiful, artful pictures they posted of their beautiful young bodies. Both Liza and Violet & Rye wrote about their sex lives as if they were all sunshine and butterflies: one hot day after another, one stratospheric sexual experience after another.
I was envious. I wanted a piece of her success.
My sex life has never been like that. Not before I met T, not in the context of our marriage, not with any of the women I’ve dated since T and I became monogamish. Never. Sex is, for me, complicated. It’s got emotions all bound up in it, deep doubts about myself, my desirability, my potency. Don’t get me wrong: I’m privileged to have great sex, both within and outside of my marriage. I’m luckier than 99.9% of men, of people, I think, in that way. And from time to time, I have stretches where everything is sunshine and butterflies sexually for me.
But if you’ve read more than five or so blog entries in a row, here, you’ve seen that there’s more to it than that. There are down days, women I long for but don’t bed. Doubts I harbor, periods of lower libido, even (gasp) the occasional bout of impotence.
Where Liza’s life as presented in her blog was SEX SEX SEX, mine was sex, and ruminations, and ponderings. Down days, down weeks.
So I envied Liza the life I imagined she had by reading her blog (or that I imagined she didn’t have, but wanted us to believe she had). But that wasn’t all. I envied Liza other things, too: I envied her fluid, compelling, artful writing. (She’s a much better writer than I.) I envied the insanely hot photos she posted to accompany her stories. I modeled my blog after hers, more than a little: my photo choices were profoundly influenced by hers and, more than once, we chose the same photos for our posts. This wasn’t direct theft, but it reflected the depth of her influence on me. I envied her Twitter followers (she had three or four or five times as many as I did), as well as the seeming intensity of her Twitter friendships, and presence. I envied her the frequency with which Fleshbot picked up her stories. For every one of mine they ran, it seemed they ran three of hers.
I constantly was comparing myself to Liza, and she constantly was beating me. We talked about our stats: she had three or four times as many as I did virtually ever day. She had more, and more active, commenters.
There was simply no arena in which I didn’t envy Liza.
And/but, not only did I envy her, I felt spurned by her. Well, not spurned, exactly, but… well, yes, spurned. I tried hard to forge a friendship with her. I flirted a little. I knew she was monogamous, and I respected that, so I never flirted in a way that was inconsistent with her monogamy, or even that was inconsistent with how she had described herself as having flirted with others. But she was… standoffish. Is that the word? Somehow, she communicated without ever saying it that our friendship was never. going. to. go. there.
And even as she did that, I held out hope. That she would fuck me? No – I don’t think that was ever in my thoughts.
But I did hope for a special, intellisexual connection with her, and I didn’t find it. There seemed to be a very professional, very boundaried, “we’re both sex bloggers” aspect to our relationship.
And then we met….
The first time, it was a double date. Her and D, me and T. We met at a hip restaurant with great views, when they happened to be passing through our town. We talked for several hours, eating well, adjoining to a nearby bar when we were just taking up a table. Liza had tantalized me by imagining, in an e-mail, the possibility of a group trip to Le Trapeze. Would I get to see her naked? To see her sucking D’s cock as I’d read about? They’re a hot couple – watching them fuck would be hot. But in the event, not only did she deny me the intellisexual relationship I fantasized about. Our evening adjourned sexlessly, with none of us going to Le Trapeze.
Then, the second time we met, it was just the two of us, meeting for drinks. She teased me in the lead-up: “I have a new, sexy, slutty dress I may wear.” I was excited to see a bit more of her body, even in a platonic, non-sexual context. Though she had sent that teasing promise/temptation, she showed up dressed demurely. And I felt rejected, denied, disappointed again.
I’ve written before about my preternatural ability to feel rejected. Well, I did.
I don’t know that Liza ever rejected me. I have no idea as I write these words how much of what I write will come as news to her, whether it will flatter or offend her, or if she’ll simply be indifferent.
But it’s relevant because in recent times, when she’s posted, I’ve responded, and generally, I’ve responded with what felt to her like attacks.
She recently posted on the subject of smut writers contributing content, uncompensated, to magazines. I wrote a lengthy reply and, as is my wont, sent it to her for a preview, to give her the chance to reply, suggest changes. And once again, she felt attacked, that I was deconstructing her argument, deconstructing her, in a way that felt assaultive. This wasn’t my conscious intent, at all. I think, if anything, the opposite. I like talking with Liza, and I was trying to have a conversation. But she’s right, as I think about it: what I wrote WAS assaultive, hostile even.
This is beneath me.
I like Liza, I want her engagement, her approval. But it’s felt unachievable, unobtainable to me. I’ve felt, whether it’s her intent or not, that she’s one of the cool kids, and I’m just trying to get with her. Again – not explicitly sexually. But I want to play in her sandbox with her.
And, because I’m wounded, because she didn’t flirt with me, because I’m threatened, because she’s a better blogger than I am, I unconsciously have found myself defending myself, by tearing her down. Like a teenage boy, flirting by dissing.
Not only is this immature and unsightly, it’s mean. For reasons only she knows, my deconstructions of Liza’s arguments have wounded her, rather than amuse, anger, or seem unimportant to her.
I never meant to hurt her, only to bond with her more.
Liza, I’m sorry.