The Connoisseur part II

Time period: May-early June 2017

After I said goodbye to C the morning after the Broadway show, I went home, ate breakfast, and went on a day trip to upstate New York with another man. He messaged me right after I left him, saying to get home safely, and thanking me for the show and everything else. I couldn’t wait to see him again and thoughts of him consumed me all weekend.

I had initially intended to cancel my Sunday evening plans and see C that night, but when Saturday rolled around, I woke up with an urge to see him. I ended up telling my Saturday night date (who I’d been with all day) that I was tired and wasn’t going to head out that night anymore. Instead, I was texting C while I was still with him, arranging plans to meet him that night for dinner.

Like a conniving two-timer, I said goodbye to my Saturday daytime date, and went home and got ready to meet C in Flatiron. We met at 7pm at a Japanese restaurant in Flatiron, and picked up where we left off the previous evening. We spent the evening at dinner engaging in light hearted banter, but I also spent a good deal of time at dinner trying to coax out of him, his thoughts on my polyamorous arrangement. C was extremely coy with me, and said he was still making his decision on it, much to my frustration. I also unsuccessfully asked probing questions regarding his feelings towards me, to seek further clarity on what he’d told me the previous week. C reiterated that most of the girls he’d met on the same site he’d met me were intolerable, but then admitted that I was “tolerable”. Fishing for compliments, I remarked, “merely tolerable?” C replied, with a smirk, directed at the table, “You’re more than tolerable”.

After a lacklustre dinner, C and I strolled back to his apartment and as soon as we got in, he promptly began slicing up strawberries for me. However, he looked at the time, and commenting that it was early, asked me if I’d like to go on the roof. We went up, and strolled his rooftop. In one corner, we stopped and he began kissing me passionately, while proceeding to feel up my dress. After a couple of minutes of this, we went back down to his apartment and he put on Cloud Atlas, which we watched in silence for a little while, but I got distracted by lascivious thoughts, and we soon retired to bed.

In the morning, we woke up and C asked if I had had a New York style brunch yet. I replied that I had, and he asked if I would like to get brunch, or go to eat dim sum. I opted for dim sum, and we got up and got ready and got a cab out to Chinatown. When we got to the dim sum place, it was crowded with older Asians. However, C deftly maneuvered his way to the front of the line, and got a ticket from the Asian host, speaking Cantonese to her. Before long, we were seated, and he ordered all the dishes in Cantonese. I was impressed with his language skills, and we had a pleasant breakfast, then afterwards, we strolled through Chinatown, C educating me on the history of the district, and treating me to local culinary delights. Afterwards, we went back to his place, and again, I asked him more probing questions about his feelings towards me, while I was lying atop of him on the sofa. Although I received no insightful answers from him, I blurted out at one point, “I might have romantic feelings for you.” I emphasized “might”, but both of us knew what I really meant. In between kisses, he said, “me too”.

Shortly after that, I got ready to leave and he kissed me goodbye, and he asked when he would see me next. I said the next time I was free was Thursday, and he said he would see me earlier, if I cancelled my plans. I replied that I wasn’t cancelling my plans again to see him, but inside, I knew I wanted to. After I went home that afternoon, he messaged me, saying Sorry for being so confounding. Hope you get home safely. And I’m looking forward to seeing you again soon. We bantered through the exchange of a couple more texts shortly after, with him admitting in one, I do like you. You can tell though, even without me saying.

The next couple of days, I was busy with my other dates, but thought only of the Connoisseur. It was an infatuation to rival the Voyeur, nearly 3 years ago, but unlike that time, my romantic feelings seemed to be reciprocated. So there I was, living this idyllic fantasy life in New York, not working, with three lovers that all knew about each other, and were happy to support me financially. Everything was perfect, until, the following Wednesday, I texted C asking if I could possibly meet him after my dinner plans that night instead of Thursday. While we were figuring out what time to meet, I was going back and forth between meeting him on Wednesday or Thursday as I had no idea what time my dinner plans would run to. C asked where I was going to dinner, and I told him the name of an omakase restaurant in the East Village. C then replied, Fancy. Guy must really like you. I replied, As opposed to you? C then gave a response that gutted me: Yep, I decided I’m not okay with the polyandry.

I was so shocked by his response, I stared at the phone for a full minute, trying to convince myself this was reality, and not my worst nightmare. Nearly blinking back tears, and thinking about what to text him back, or even if I should text back, I replied 20 minutes later, asking, So you don’t want to see me anymore? I received another cold response: If that’s the implication.

I was utterly gutted by this, and was walking in Prospect Park, scheming about how to have my cake, and it eat too. I contrived to meet him in person and convince him of my need to have three lovers, and to be reasonable and continue seeing me. With my hopeless idealism, I texted him back asking if we could meet in person to discuss it, and he said sure. We planned to meet the next evening, but when my dinner plans finished earlier than expected that night, I texted him and asked if I could meet him that evening instead. He agreed, and with that, I headed over to his place and arrived 5 minutes before 10.

I waited in the lobby for him to get back from drinks with a coworker. When he came over and greeted me, his face was slightly ruddy and his eyes looked mirthful- not the stern expression I’d been expecting, but his expression changed considerably once we got upstairs and back into his apartment. Honestly, I didn’t think a man as intelligent as C would back down on his position, but I thought at least I could sleep with him one last time. I quickly saw that this would be an impossibility, when we got upstairs, as we stood over the kitchen counter on either sides, at an impasse.

I felt like a powerless child as I stood there, and asked him why he had so suddenly changed his mind about the polyamory, and he said something to the effect of, he had still been making up his mind on his feelings about it, and had just decided then. His expression was stern and cold as he said this to me, and, suddenly, despite my lofty ideals of convincing him to continue seeing me, in conjunction with the countless other lovers, I felt as if I was fighting a losing battle.

And thus it was around this time, that I said, what if I stopped seeing all the other suitors, and just saw him, would seeing me be an option? He stopped looking stern after this, and questioned why I would do such a thing. I may have said, that I wanted to continue seeing him, and that I was willing to give up everyone else for him. With this admission, he headed over to the sofa, and sat down, while I stood in front of him, on tenterhooks.

We didn’t immediately agree to be in a relationship though. With C, there were some caveats. We sat down to negotiate the terms of our relationship, and to clearly delineate what both of us needed and wanted from the other. There was a clear caveat on my part: financial assistance. While I wanted to continue seeing C so very badly, and would have given up everyone else just for him, there was a key difficulty in proceeding with this step, due to the fact that I was receiving financial assistance in the form of a small salary by one of my other suitors.

While negotiating the caveats of our relationship, I emphasized the need for financial assistance due to the comfort that my other suitor was providing me, and said C would have to provide that amount (How brazen I’ve become!) Honestly, the said amount was fairly large, and after the first time I met C, I presumed that he was disinclined to provide me with direct financial aid, due to his stating the first time that living together would at least ease some financial burden (though in my mind, this was not something ideal). After stating my desired amount, C stated I was “just throwing out numbers” and that this was not the number I actually needed. I proceeded to lower my number, but was again rebuffed by C, saying that this what I not what I need to “cover expenses”. Honestly, the number was more than enough to cover expenses, especially if I was getting food and rent paid for, but I wanted to protect myself in the chance that if C suddenly changed his mind about me living with him, that I would have enough funds to move into another apartment. Somehow though, I ended up in agreement with C that the figures I’d stated were unnecessary, but he did agree to provide direct financial aid.

After that, came the other caveats. Due to C’s discomfort with my “polyandry”, we agreed upon mutual exclusivity as one of the terms of our relationship/arrangement. My third requirement was “future certainty” as phrased by me. Though I wanted to be with C, I needed a guarantee from him that he could meet the needs that my other suitors were promising me, including financial assistance, and marriage. If the financial aid talk made him wary, he was now incredulous, when I said I required some sort of guarantee that he would marry me after my visa finished in March 2018. C asked me, if I wanted him to propose on the third date, with a flabbergasted expression on his face, and I replied, no, I just needed a guarantee about the future. With that, he relented, but only said he would “consider” it, which left me with quite a bit of consternation as to his intentions with me, despite his previous statement that he wanted to build something long term with me.

C’s third requirement, was related to what he’d been looking for when he first met me- group sex with another female, and a potential three person relationship. I was open to threesomes for sure, but I had reservations about a three person relationship due to my own fears of abandonment, so we agreed that the relationship would only be pursued if I felt comfortable with it. And as for the last thing, C asked if I wanted to stay with him, and I replied that I did, but thought perhaps both he and I were making a hasty decision. I asked then, if we could have a trial period, of say 2 weeks, and C said, “like a used car?”

I concluded that he wanted to forgo the trial, but had reservations about this. Nevertheless, we settled into the sofa together, and then he said we should go to bed. It was now 11pm, and we had been negotiating the terms of our agreement for an hour. As we settled into bed, C turned to me incredulously, and asked, “Do you love me?” I stammered and replied, “Umm, no, I’m not there yet.” I settled into his chest as I mused the question, and said, “Even if I were, I wouldn’t tell you.”

Obviously, after the tension of the evening, we had sex 3 times, then again in the morning. The next morning was particularly amorous, and C skipped the gym to lie in bed with me. After he showered and began getting ready for work, I hopped in the rain shower, and was expecting him to leave promptly but he kept coming in to speak to me intermittently, with a look of disbelief, and lust, that I was in his shower and had agreed to monogamy. He left me cash on the countertop, for expenses.

I told him that I would be going home during the day to grab things, and would see him that night. However, the previous night, he had revealed his last name to me, which enabled me to commence a Google search of his name. What I found was shocking.

Basically, I found several articles from 6 years prior, describing someone matching his age, name, and educational background, whose girlfriend had committed suicide when he had said he was going to break up with her. Of course these utterly disturbed me. During the day, C had been texting me, and after I saw the articles, I told him that I had seen some interesting things online after discovering his full name. He replied, I’m sure. Do you want to talk about them tonight? I replied that I’d like to, and he proceed to ask me what I’d like for dinner that evening, and we settled on tapas.

I got an Uber back to his place and when I got back, I went to the grocery store and bought berries with the money he had left me. When I got back to his place, I went up to the rooftop and gorged on the berries I had bought, while looking down on all of Manhattan, while thinking to myself, that I was living my dream life, and that I was never, ever going home again for as long as I lived. C messaged me shortly after, saying that he’d come home early, so I came downstairs and found him on the sofa. After coming over, and perching on top of him, I asked him about the article, and he told me about it, looking emotional, but what was challenging for me was that I didn’t know whether it was genuine sadness. However, I was satisfied with what he told me, and we then headed out to have dinner nearby.

There was a wait for a table at the restaurant, so we put our name down and then went to a bar nearby for a drink. While at the bar, we were discussing the events of last night, and he mentioned how “you wouldn’t shut up” in a jesting manner, referring to our negotiations. He then rubbed my back and said, “It’s alright, I know you’re a masochist.”

While we were at the bar during this time, I was getting back to my old chirpy self, and C remarked, “You like me again.” I replied to him, “When have I ever not liked you?” And he replied, “Today. You were distant.” I said that my distance was reasonable due to the circumstances, and that it had been a shock to see what I did. We continued chatting, and then C remarked in response to something I don’t remember, “You’re doing what I tell you again?” I replied, “I always do everything you tell me to.”

Shortly after that, we got a call from the restaurant saying our table was ready, so we hurried off and had a pleasant meal there. Over dinner, C mused that I was thinking of leaving, and I said yes, and he said my doubts were stopping him from booking a car to drive to the Catskills to go hiking on the weekend. The Catskills sounded appealing, but I couldn’t guarantee anything. The next morning, he skipped the gym again to lie in bed with me before going to work. At that point, I felt compelled to tell him again of my consternation regarding the article I had viewed online, and that I didn’t know if I should stay with him. C got out of bed, sighing to himself and saying, “I treat you well, don’t I?” I replied yes he did, but I just wasn’t sure what to do yet.

Before he left to go to work, he asked if I would tell the other suitors of the situation, and I said yes, though I was still seriously thinking of packing up and leaving. That morning, I stuffed myself on berries and yogurt for breakfast in the luxury pad, and made plans to meet another of my suitors nearby, for an uncomfortable conversation. After that uncomfortable conversation was had, I ventured back to my apartment on the subway, and while on the subway, had an uncomfortable breakup conversation with my SF boyfriend, Tech Guy. He called me a sociopath, amongst other things. Tech Guy said he had done some digging around about C, despite only knowing his first name, and that there were rumors that he was aggressive with women. Tech Guy also somehow knew about the article. I said to him, that I didn’t for one minute believe that C could be aggressive with women.

After the call, I went back to C’s apartment and found him there on the sofa, and told him of the uncomfortable conversations I’d had, and we then ventured out to dinner in the East Village. After dinner, we went to a speakeasy bar where I suggested that C select a cocktail for me in secret. As usual, he was spot on with his selection, and I was delighted. After dinner, we strolled home, and then watched a movie before bed.

The next morning, we woke up and got ready and headed out to go hiking in the Catskills. We had a pleasant time hiking and it was interesting to see him in a different context. After we hiked, we did the two hour drive back to NYC feeling completely content. Being next to him in the car then, on that glorious sun drenched day, with the trees zipping past, him singing low to the sound of the Cure in the background, I realized then, that I hadn’t felt so happy or free in a very long time. After getting back to the city, we freshened up before heading out to dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant. It was my first time trying Ethiopian food, and, drunk on the honeywine, and after the labors of the day, I felt like I was falling in love with him.

We returned home and watched a movie before bed, though he retired before me. The next morning, we had brunch at Friend of a Farmer, and he again took charge of ordering for me, and I was delighted. The rest of the day, we spent at home quietly. I was wrapped up with writing and catching up on blogging and reading, and needed some downtime, which baffled C to no extent. He asked me several times throughout the day what the matter was, to which I continuously replied that nothing was the matter, and to which he reply with a frustrated sigh.

That night, I was working on some writing, and he went to bed first, without me. He came out to see what I was doing, before going into the room, continuing to look baffled, while I came in later.

The next day, I was pondering whether I should leave, but decided to stay for one more day. That night was a Monday, and as usual, C texted me throughout the day, asking if I’d like to do something fun for dinner. We ended up going to a Japanese yakiniku restaurant that evening, and as usual, C impressed me with his knowledge on food. We came home right after dinner, and watched something before retiring to bed. That night, I quizzed him on whether he was really okay with me moving in, and he mockingly said he would have to think about it, and would let me know in the morning.

The next morning, I quizzed C for a firm position on my moving in, and he deflected it in a joking manner, saying, “Oh did I say I would tell you in the morning?” He continued by saying he required more time to think about it, and would let me know in the evening when he got back from work.

After saying goodbye to me in the morning before going to work, C did not text me at all. I took this to mean that he was similarly tired of the living arrangement that we’d had, and in conjunction with trepidation over the article I had seen, I decided to pack my things and leave. I left a letter on the table, along with the key, and miserably got a cab back to my Brooklyn apartment.

That night, I got a text from C later than usual, at 6:45pm that said: Um, where? questioning my whereabouts as he must have just arrived home. Just a minute after that, I received a following text that said Oh.

The last text gutted me, and I texted him back saying I was sorry, and that I totally adored him.

Three days after that, I flew out to San Francisco to try to mend things with Tech Guy.

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