The Connoisseur

Date and location of initial meeting: New York, April 2017

I began chatting with the Connoisseur on a dating site, not too long after I arrived in New York. We exchanged a few basic texts before deciding to meet for a drink on the weekend.

What set the Connoisseur apart from other men I dated, was that he blatantly stated he was “Looking for a third”, on his profile, and said he had a primary partner, but was looking for someone else to add to the relationship. After a few texts back and forth, he sent some photos of her to me. She was a small, cute Asian girl in her early 20s.

The Connoisseur said the three of us would meet that weekend. Two days after, we scheduled to meet during the day, on a Sunday. When the day came, he messaged me and asked if I wanted to meet at Brooklyn Botanic Garden in the afternoon, and I agreed.

Instead of meeting at the Botanic Garden though, we ended up meeting 2 hours earlier than the designated time, at a wine bar near my place. I came in a few minutes later than our agreed time, and found him sitting at a table in front of the bar.

He was stocky, and on the shorter side, muscular, with a strong jaw and an aquiline nose, hazel eyes, and short hair, peppered with gray. I thought he looked average based on his pictures, but when I saw him in person, I found his facial features very attractive. I also liked the sound of his voice from the moment he started speaking, but there was something in his facial expression that communicated boredom or disdain, and I thought that this was directed towards me. However, I put my feelings aside, and sat down across from him. He was Jewish, in his mid 30s, and held a senior position at a startup. He had skipped to his PhD at an Ivy League school right after undergraduate and was a polyglot, speaking French, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese, and was a discerning gourmand. Of course, he thrilled me right from the beginning.

We made small talk at first, and perused the menu. After some deliberation, I decided on the rose, and the Connoisseur placed an order with the waitress, pronouncing the wine’s name with a perfect French accent. I asked him then, if he spoke French, and he looked surprised, and said he did. This led to a discussion about the languages we spoke, accents, and linguistics. Shortly afterwards, the bottle of wine arrived, and he poured glasses for both of us. As I swirled the wine in my glass and leaned my nose into the glass to take in the scent, he watched me, and asked what I could smell on the nose. As I sniffed the wine, I felt his eyes watching me intently.

“What do you smell?” He asked me. “Apples, cherries?”

After some deliberation, I replied, “apples”. I felt my palate was being scrutinised intensely, and it was unnerving. He looked down into his wine glass, and swirled it before taking a sip. “I can see how you would detect apples in this. There’s a crispness to it.”

We continued our conversation, me, feeling all the while as if he was bored by my conversational skills, him, replying agreeably, and chuckling every once in awhile.

We were shortly moved to a table in the garden outside, and after we were moved, I commented that his facial expression looked perpetually disdainful, and he replied, in a somewhat alarmed manner, “Disdainful?! You must think I’m terrible.” And soon after this, he reached out, and grasped my hand over the table. I was taken aback by this, and looked over at his fingers interlaced with mine over the table, and felt the heat rising in my cheeks. From embarrassment, I looked away at an ant crawling on the wooden fence next to us, and he commented, “The ant gets more attention than me?”

The Connoisseur said it had been difficult dating because many of the girls he met from online were vapid, and failed to capture his attention. He said certain attributes irked him, including close mindedness, ignorance, and slowness, and so far, I had displayed none of those.

We continued talking, and finished the bottle and went for a walk around Brooklyn holding hands, discussing polyamory, and the specifics of what would happen in a three person relationship, and intermittently kissing on sidewalks.

I confessed to him that I was bi-curious, but was skeptical about whether I could have romantic feelings for a woman. The Connoisseur said my skepticism would prevent me from ever being able to accomplish this, and seemed disappointed. However, he said that was only one of the situations he was looking for. He also expressed doubts about how long he would continue to date his current partner, as she had expressed jealousy in certain moments. We were sitting in a park in Brooklyn for a little while discussing this, and then, because I had mentioned that I didn’t like PDA’s, he asked if there was somewhere private we could go and talk.

He asked if we could go back to my place and talk, and while I said sure at first, I felt skeptical about having him come back to my place. We walked almost all the way there, and then while on the way, I said I probably wasn’t comfortable with him coming back to my place yet. However, he still walked me to the door, and as he did so, we got on to the topic of scheduling another date, and my many suitors in New York. The Connoisseur got the gist that I had several men competing for my affections, and seemed somewhat dismayed by this, stating, “You’ve got a list (of admirers)”. As we were standing at my door, saying goodbye, he  “How do I get to the top of that list?”

“You’ll have to find out,” I told him. “But at least you’re on that list.”

With that, he kissed me goodbye passionately, and strode off. I got a prompt text message from him thanking me for our pleasant date, and wishing me a pleasant rest of my Sunday. I found the tone of the text brusque, and wondered if I would see him again.

The next day, he texted me asking how my interviews went, and asking when we could schedule another date. He had travel plans that week, so we ended up planning something for the following week. However, when the following week rolled around, I had to reschedule all my lunch plans due to another fussy date, and ended up requesting the Connoisseur to meet another day instead of the one we’d originally intended.

I did not get a reply, and, inundated with dates for the next several weeks, I forgot about him.

Then, exactly 4 weeks later, I got a text from the Connoisseur saying he’d recently moved, and if I could excuse his lack of communication, he’d love to take me to dinner. Honestly, I was surprised to hear from him again, but agreed to go to dinner that week. However, I ended up unexpectedly getting tickets to a Broadway show from another date, on the same evening that the Connoisseur and I were supposed to go to dinner. The man who gave me the tickets couldn’t go with me to the show, but suggested that I take another friend or date. With that, I ended up going with the Connoisseur.

I met him outside the theatre, and we went inside and took our seats. Due to the show, we barely spoke, but at some point, he ended up taking my hand in his, and it felt natural. After the first act, we went out to the street to talk, and I told him since we saw each other last, I had started dating someone who lived in San Francisco, and that we had an open relationship. The Connoisseur didn’t say anything for a few moments, which prompted me to ask him, “What are your thoughts on it?”

He had a pensive look on his face as I said this, and he replied, “I haven’t made up my opinion yet. I’m just surprised you started dating someone in San Francisco.” And his comments and expression opened up a whole world of new questions for me to ponder. We went back into the theatre, and continued clasping hands throughout the show. At times, I could feel his eyes on me, watching my reaction to things. The show finished relatively early at 9:30pm, and as we walked out, he asked me what I wanted to do.

I replied that I wasn’t in a decision making mood that day, and requested that he throw out some suggestions. The Connoisseur suggested either getting a drink at a bar nearby, or going back to his place for wine (tea, for me). On the way back, we got strawberries from the grocery across the street, before jumping in a cab.

The Connoisseur lived in Chelsea, near the Flatiron building, in a luxury doorman building. He had a beautiful, shiny two bedroom apartment (one bedroom of which was being used as a hobby room). When we got into his apartment, he promptly began cutting up the strawberries for me, and also showed me his selection of teas, after I commented that he didn’t look like a tea drinker. After I’d made my selection, he boiled me some tea, and we settled down on the sofa, intertwined, him with his red wine, me with my tea. We were sitting very closely, me sniffing the wine, and him asking what notes were on it, when I commented the way he described wine was sensuous, which prompted him to say that I was “lascivious”.

At this point, we were making small talk, and he asked what my plans for the next day were, and I commented that I was going for a drive to upstate New York the following day. He asked if it was another suitor, and I said yes. He had a look of consternation on his face as I said this, and he murmured to himself that it was someone “who didn’t have work” (however, this was not true).

We kissed a little bit, and though I was very attracted to him, I felt uncomfortable due to the uncertainty of his intentions with me, and asked him lots of probing questions.

I don’t remember exactly what I said or asked him, but it was probably in the vein of, “I want to know your intentions with me, or where this is going”. He said that it was difficult for men to talk about their feelings, but added, mid-kiss, “I kind of like you.” (He put emphasis on kind of- not particularly reassuring for me).

And then immediately after, “I want to build something long term with you.” We were lying down on the sofa, mid-kiss when he said this to me, and it was difficult for me to believe in the veracity of what he was saying when he was so clearly trying to get physical with me at the same time. I pointed this out, and he said, “You don’t think I appreciate all that you’ve got going on up there?” while motioning to my forehead. I said sure, but still found it difficult to believe that he didn’t just want to hook up.

I told him shortly that I didn’t want to have sex, but he proceeded to go down on me anyway (it was delightful). I kept saying I didn’t want to have sex, but nonetheless, he didn’t stop touching me, with his fingers and his mouth, and all the while I was getting more and more excited. Shortly, we went to bed, and continued kissing in bed. He asked me what my fantasies were, and I said I didn’t feel like stating them at that point because we hadn’t yet had sex. He proceeded to go down on me again, while I continued to protest that I didn’t want to have sex.

We ended up falling asleep intertwined, while intermittently touching one another. At times, he would come close to me and whisper, “I want you, so badly”. Somehow, I resisted my strong desire to fuck him, but in the morning, we woke up and made out in bed, and ended up having sex, but he came only a few minutes. C was irritated by his shortcoming and hit the bed with his fist, saying, “Fuck! I can usually go for an hour. It’s just that the whole night was like foreplay.”

“That’s fine, don’t worry about it,” I replied. “We can do it again later.”

“It’s not fine,” he replied. “What do you want me to do to you?”

“Trust me, it’s fine,” I replied. “I’m completely satisfied.”

We lay back in bed and cuddled for a bit, and I asked him if he hadn’t set his alarm for work to go off earlier. At the time I mentioned this, it was 8:30AM. C said, “Oh fuck.” He got out of bed then to get ready, while I threw on clothes. While he was getting ready for work, I eyed him saunter around the apartment in a towel, with his chest protruding, masculine, and covered with hair, and in that moment, he reminded me of the Voyeur, and in that moment, I knew I was hooked on him. While he was walking around the apartment getting ready that morning, we were talking about what he said the previous evening, and he clarified that he was not drunk when he said it. C added, that he was normally “cold and calculating” in work situations, and sometimes in his previous relationships, but he wasn’t like that with me.

I didn’t know whether I could believe him at this point, but listened to him. Before we left his place, he asked if I needed money for a cab, and then gave me $200. As we were leaving his apartment building, he asked when he was going to see me again, and I said the next time I was free was Monday. He asked what I was doing on the weekend, and I said I had plans. His face grew consterned again, but he said, “Cancel your plans, either Saturday or Sunday. I want to see you this weekend.” After that, he looked me in the eye, and kissed me, and said goodbye. I felt as weak, and as giddy as a schoolgirl, while I walked to the subway to go home.

Later that day, he messaged me, saying thanks for the show, and everything else. I texted him back, saying I would see him on Sunday. I hadn’t felt like that about anyone for a long time.

 

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