There I was, four hours into my date, sitting in a booth in the neon and poster-adorned sports bar at Red Robin at Mall 205, as Tony, number 15 of 20, told me why it was so important to tie someone up properly when participating in a bondage session with a significant other.
After the break-up with Seven I was very eager to get back on the bicycle, so I posted another ad on Craigslist and kept it even more vague than previous posts, something about casual dating and a bit about a blog I was writing. I immediately received several hits, and lined up four dates for the weekend. This was the first and it was on a Thursday. Tony had sent an email, and after I sent one back with my picture attached, he asked, “How fit are you?” To which I replied, “Extremely.” When I asked him the same question, he replied that he was a 6.785 on a scale of 1 to 10, not at all inconsistent with the attitudes I had perceived in other men who demanded their dates look perfect while they carried around a 15 to 20 pound spare tire. We also chatted a bit after the initial emails and he let me know he was interested in meeting intelligent people who could “think outside the box.” This is a phrase which in my opinion is used by people who are familiar with the phrase, but quite comfortable with the little area they have artfully arranged for themselves within the box. At the time I assumed that Tony was not an exception, but then again, I had no idea how fond he was of ropes and knots.
I should have suspected something when we were first setting up the date. It was of course his suggestion to go to Red Robin, not exactly an “out of the box” type of place, but by this point in my dating career, I had given up trying to educate people about the evils of multinational corporate non-food. During the chat, he had proven himself at least intelligent, someone who had done and seen many things and more importantly, could spell and construct a sentence correctly. He kept disappearing from the chat room though, each time saying that it was the IT guy fixing stuff on the computer. It was at night, a time I thought strange for an IT guy to be working.
I arrived at the Robin a bit early, which gave me plenty of time to watch the TV behind the bar and keep up on the breaking news which outlined the death of Michael Jackson. I ordered a Cosmopolitan and watched as Al Sharpton spoke and held up a picture of him, Michael, Janet, and Quincy Jones. I had to wonder what was going on with
Hadn’t they just threatened to wipe this country off the face of the planet?
Hadn’t we all come to the collective realization that Michael Jackson was a
pedophile? It is so painful to watch someone put themselves through such
extensive and public displays of self-loathing and abuse. I had loved Michael
once, a long time ago, but I could not watch him slowly erase himself in this
manner. He had lost me shortly after “Thriller”, and I also had to wonder,
where was Farrah in all this?
Tony showed up a bit late, and as he walked toward me, he reminded me a bit of a guy in the mafia; very clean cut, dark hair slicked back behind a slightly receding hairline, pressed pleated slacks and a tightly tucked polo. He was texting as he walked in and barely looked at me as he sat down. His knuckles, in contrast to his very Anglo complexion, were dark brown. I fleetingly wondered if they had been stained by the blood of his victims over the years. The waitress came right over and he ordered, told me he had left his wallet in the car, got up and walked out. I sat there truly believing he was not coming back. I hoped that the Cobb salad that he ordered was good, but then again, it was Red Robin, how good could it possibly be?
To my surprise, Tony walked back in, minutes later, still texting, still looking like a mafia guy. He sat down and immediately it was intensely awkward. This of course is pretty standard, it is usually tough in the beginning, but I believe it was obvious to both of us that we were not each other’s type. There we sat, me in a brown cardigan over my orange bike jersey, hair quite messy from the ride, and across the table, a perfectly coiffed, uptight and distracted middle aged man, who every so often glanced at his cell phone. He half-way apologized for texting and checking his phone during the date, but it did not keep him from doing it continuously throughout.
Within a half-hour we both loosened up and started talking about random things, Tony was a mortgage broker who was starting his own company, relentlessly working and trying to find a LTR with someone who wouldn’t need him constantly. He of course wanted to know about what had happened with all of my previous dates, so I gave him the high points, ending with the series of events which led Seven to break up with me. “Wasn’t that the name of a Star Trek character?” I looked at him quizzically, “You mean Seven of Nine?” I asked, not quite believing that this was his first response to a story which included a cult leader, a Grampa and a hippie. “Yeah, Seven of Nine!” he responded enthusiastically. I was starting to see where his head was at, and not surprisingly, it seemed firmly rooted within the box. Tony was the kind of person who knew about a lot of different things; human biology, the three types of chocolate, Star Trek, but the whole thinking on a human level thing was kind of lost on him.
Then he went back to my date with Hugh and his girlfriend, who was a BDSM enthusiast. “Do you know why people like being tied up?” he asked, and without skipping a beat, replied to his own inquiry, “It’s a control thing, not a sex thing.” I started to suspect which box he was thinking outside of. He launched into a half-hour monologue about the importance of tying a person up correctly, how in some people’s brains the pleasure and pain centers are sometimes right next to each other if not overlapping, and that he knew I was someone who would like being bitten, having my hair pulled, and yes, even being tied up. I was not sure how to take this; was it a complement, a prediction, a simple observation? I also suddenly realized that my face probably displayed a look of confusion and shock on it, so I changed it immediately to one which reflected pleasant surprise.
At about this point the waitress came by and told us that they were closing. I knew by the way Tony kept his eyes on her ass all night that she was more his type. He had also gone out of his way to mention that he liked her lime green tipped acrylic nails. Evidently Red Robin was no longer allowing their staff to wear ostentatious acrylic nails. She was showing her disapproval by wearing these lime green things. Tony showed support by commiserating with her, and stating that “It’s not like Red Robin is a Stanford’s or
Tony was smitten. I wanted to tell her that she might want to study up on
Nautical knot tying, but I figured I should probably just let things play out
naturally between them. Newport Bay
All in all, it was not a distasteful evening, so I was not surprised when I received texts, emails, and invitations to chat from Tony the next day. I figured he was just working up to asking me to have sex with him, so I chatted amicably until the question appeared. When I told him no, however, he followed it up by asking if he could tie me up in a “safe, non-sexual way.” It was nice to be able to laugh my ass off in the comfort of my own home while texting back, “I will have to think about it.” I wasn’t quite ready to think outside of this particular box.