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  • Writer's pictureEmily Ainscough

I'm not French, and This isn't Paris

Updated: Aug 27, 2022

Some things in life are exactly how you imagined them, most of them aren't. That's okay. I suppose I never really believed my casual-encounter would be as it was in my head, but all things considered, I think I am glad.

The lead up to meeting Nijaz was (as expected) incredibly Satre-esque, I was smoking in my bathtub late at night when we decided to meet. He picked us up more cigarettes and a bottle on the way and it was completely dark out when he arrived so I could hardly make out his silhouette through the fogged glass on my door... but that's where the comparison ends. When I opened the door, to a new chapter of my sexual development, it wasn't to my Parisian apartment, we didn't lock eyes and instantly and without speaking embrace for a passionate kiss, dropping the bottle to the floor in the throes of passion.

Instead, my dog jumped up at him for his usual 10 minute display of puppy-nips and nearly knocked him over. We said 'hi', awkwardly trying to suss-out how different we look from our best three photographs, and then we sat at my table listening to Crowded House really quietly so as not to wake up the neighbours. It's pretty strange chatting about work and holidays when all we've ever really spoken about before is giving each other earth shattering orgasms while we stare deeply into each-others souls. 'Your furniture is lovely. Could you pass the ash-tray please? Oh, and when are we going to get round to the fucking?'

We drank and smoked and chatted while we got to know each other a bit, and it was really nice. Nijaz has really kind eyes, and when he speaks, you can hear a really special sort of peace in his words that's hard to find in this noisy world. But the whole time it seemed as though there was something on his mind, and that became something on my mind; and the more I thought about what he was thinking about, the less we were able to fully connect. Perhaps he was wondering the same thing as I was...

I was searching imploringly with my eyes from his face to his body language to the words he said to find any clue to suggest he wanted me. (I don't think I was feeling self conscious, you can feel self confident and still know that not everyone will be attracted to you. People have different tastes, there isn't a scale of hotness - just different tones of equal beauty). And I think it is really important when dating online not to assume that just because somebody fancied you online, doesn't mean they will in the flesh, just because someone wanted to have sex online, doesn't mean that they will in the flesh, and that is okay.

But even now, I'm still not sure if he fancied me. We slept together several times that night, and I still don't know. It was fun and silly and drunk and most importantly, it felt safe. But I think in general, I want to feel more wanted than that in every sexual encounter I have, for whatever reason that may be. So after a whole morning of my poor lover hurling his guts out into my bathroom loo, (I must have missed the chapter where Mathieu dyes Marcelle's White Company hand towels the colour of his own sick)... I wasn't really sure how to be with him, because I still couldn't really be sure if he desired me.

Now it might be coming from me that I didn't feel that desired, my intense attraction to him may have clouded my judgement or I might have been feeling just a little less confident than normal due to hormones or sleep or...anything. Alternatively it might be coming from him, maybe he didn't find me that attractive (that's okay), or maybe he did and he just isn't that expressive in a way that I could pick up on. But I can't control those second reasons, all I can control is how I am, and who I sleep with considering how they are.

So, for next time with him, or with whoever, my plan is not to be distracted from connecting with someone by trying to guess what they're thinking, to be completely myself and trust them to be the same. Then I'll know where that feeling is coming from, and if I'm not feeling wanted enough, then I can choose not to partake. Another thing I've learnt is to stop dates drinking on an empty stomach, and to put the cheap towels out when I have company.

I don't know what I was thinking trying to live the age of reason and hold on too fervidly to the impressions of horny sexts before we'd met, that isn't giving the real moment justice. It reminds me of a quote by Edward Hopper: "After all, we are not French, and never can be." What he meant by that, is no matter how much he loved the impressionists, he sucked at painting like one. Hopper only created his really good work when he stopped trying to be an impressionist, and started painting like himself. I'm Emi bloody Ainscough, and if I start a casual love affair, it'll be my own, not Satre's. By the way, Nijaz was even sexier in person, and whether he thought so or not... so am I!

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