It was Suzanne, she of this site who told me to go Tinder. Basically I hadn't been writing nor had I been fucking and was missing both. "You go on Tinder then you can write about it. Win-win."
Having done reasonably well out of the analogue world: trains, planes, beaches, restaurants and the London Underground have all produced encounters, some of which became more, I generally consider the online dating scene as a cut-price marketplace for people who can’t get laid. These sites parade an endless stream of dull and wounded men. You know what I mean. Men who say they want ‘an honest and loving woman,’ a phrase which says very clearly they'd been chucked for their best friend. At the other end of the scale, were men who thoughtfully introduced themselves with a picture of their cock, forgetting this was an expectation, not an added feature on which to sell yourself.
But we live in tough times and sometimes an older babe has to get with the programme. I got on Tinder at 9pm wondering how anyone could spend hours on what is a pretty crappy computer game and was still there at midnight. Then he turned up. French. Intellectual. He was early forties, traded something that made him lots of money and well read. We chatted, well, we messaged with little effort. I was sure he would just wait until his moment and then send me the message that seems to be the calling card for a lot of men on dating sites: “I want to cum on ur face.” Since he was French and well educated it might be more like, “My body and soul, not just my cock, dreams of coming all over your beautiful face.”
It didn’t happen.
At some point he asked me if I’d read Hadrien’s Wall by Marguerite Youcenar.
“No it has been suggested but I haven’t read it.”
“Bad girl. You should be punished.”
Now every so often I come across a dominant type and I rather enjoy it. I recalled that I thought he looked a bit strict in his photos. It made sense. I knew how to pick them. At that point the discussion moved up fifty levels, to the joys of BDSM. He wasn’t into the whole Master/Sir nonsense which just turns me off but he had a way about him. He knew his stuff.
“I like whips,” he tapped.
“Why do you like whips?” I said it in the same way I might ask someone about their gluten-free food choices.
“They make a good sound and leave nice marks.”
“Yes I can see how that would work for you.”
If this was a bar, the conversation would have reached the dry throat, wet everything else mode. The only difference was that we couldn’t see each other.
“But I do prefer to use a flogger generally. Or my hand. I would like to to flog you but first I would like to kiss you.”
I gulped and took a deep breath.
He lived between Paris and London, mostly the former but he would be in London after the weekend. It was Thursday. He said he had Monday and Wednesday free and we should go to dinner. I didn’t want to seem too eager, even though I was on heat pretty much, so I said, “What about Wednesday?”
He said Monday would be so much better as he couldn’t wait to see me.
I reiterated that Wednesday was better (subtext: I don’t want to be that easy) but he said no, he needed to see me on Monday.
“I want to do beautiful, terrible and passionate things to you.”
So, because I am led by my sexual desires and have no shame, I immediately said yes to Monday.
“We need to get out of here now.”
“Where shall we go? “ I asked. I mean we were on Tinder’s messaging app. Was there a chill out room I didn’t know about? A secret place for Tinderati?
“What’s App. I’ll see you there.” Digital intimacy is a strange concept.
We retired to Whats App and the conversation continued intermittently through the weekend. On Monday he sent me a message from Eurostar. My first thought was he was going to cancel, as my few attempts at digital dating ended up in cancellations. I put this down to something I call the Power of Fresh Pussy. Fundamentally what you have is a state of Perfect Potential. The illusion of the internet is that there is an endless, nay infinite, candy store to choose from and for men this is particularly compelling and fits nicely with their attention spans. The result is that they might make a date with you but in the meantime they discover there is another and another. Instead of having the date they are blinded by Pussy Potential and they can't choose. Of course the fact that not everyone is there for them has not penetrated their brain.
“I have booked L’Atelier Robuchon and will be in the bar from 7pm. Take your time.”
Of course I would take my time. I would just go about my day as if it were completely normal. In fact I’d forget totally that we had even spoken and that he’d already worked me up into a state where I was unable to think about anything else. That evening at half six I’d remember I had a date with a man with a filthy mind and a strict manner and I would just throw on something I found in the bottom of the wardrobe and say to anyone who asked, “Yeah, I’ve got this like date. Drag huh?”
I’d spent a considerable number of hours selecting two dresses that morning. London’s weather, generally on the nasty side of whimsical was being particularly difficult to interpret. The skies looked ominous so perhaps a dress and a pair of reckless heels was not going to work. Plus there was another, far greater factor at play. I had to consider what I could wear home if we ended up in bed. I am not a woman who delays the inevitable. If he pours fuel on the fire, I'm not putting it out.
I called Suzanne. “I am not sure whether to look like I am up for it or I might be up for it.”
“He knows you’re up for it already. Anyway, you’re on Tinder. He’s made a date with you without having to do any more than he’d have to do to call a hooker.”
You couldn’t fault her sense of romance. In the end I wore a leather pencil skirt with a small split in the side and a chambray shirt with the sleeves rolled up in the manner of a Vogue editor. I added Miu Miu high heels. The look said smart, and a challenge but will fuck in the right circumstances.” Throwing flat shoes into my bag along with some eye-makeup remover (don’t want to wake up with panda eyes) and a small tube of moisturiser I was ready. I didn’t put a toothbrush in my bag as it seemed so premeditated and I didn’t want him to think I had thought that far ahead.
He was sitting in the bar on the top floor when I arrived. I recognised him immediately because joy of joys, he did look like his picture. A picture on a screen always felt a far riskier thing to pursue, than screwing a guy I’d just met in transit at Singapore airport. I’m really old fashioned like that.
There was a kiss on both cheeks and then we just melted into conversation. We were smiling a lot and I think as far the staff were concerned it wasn’t awkward which was good because you really don’t want restaurant staff looking over at you thinking “Met on a site. First date.”
I ordered a Lychee Martini. “Aren’t you drinking,” I asked noting his virginal orange juice.
He smiled. “I haven’t drunk for twenty years since I went overboard.”
We went out on the terrace to smoke and size each other up.
Two Martinis later (me) and we were leaning forward, closing the rest of the world out, only to be interrupted by a waitress who wanted to show us to our table. We’d actually been given a spot that was easily the most secluded in the restaurant. “Did you ask for this?” He laughed. “No they just gave it to us.” “Are you sure?” He knew what I was thinking and his eyes twinkled. Yep. Lust. It comes along and doesn’t usually bring love or even a deeper connection with it. You make your decision knowing that you are about to ride the wave and when it drops you, you must be be gracious and remember that it was a just a moment. That is lust. Anything else is optional. I however, was in the mood for lust. It had been a while since it had seemed like such a good idea.
Word to the wise: Never, ever underestimate staff at top restaurants: they are very savvy and I think the fact that he had already stroked my face and produced a visible shiver of anticipation had not gone unnoticed so they’d decided would be a good idea to give us a table that suited everyone’s purpose. Thus we were screened off from the rest of the room.
At some point he whispered,“I’d like to take you to a dungeon.”
Theatre, riverside walk, country pub, dungeon. It was all the same to me.
‘Why yes, of course,” I said as nonchalantly as I could with his hands stroking my neck. I would like that very much.”
If there had existed any doubt that we were going to spend some quality time together, he settled it when he leaned over and whispered.
“Remove your panties.”
It had been a few years since I’d engaged in this particular manoeuvre but reader you will be delighted to know I’d lost none of my skill and acquitted myself perfectly, deftly whipping off my Rigby and Pellers and sliding them down my leg while kicking off my shoes.
I reached down and then handed them to him, making a mental note to remember to ask for them back as they were quite expensive and nothing would match the bra otherwise. I did think it was a shame that he wouldn’t see me in the set but hell, sex was generally a messy business.
Now if a waiter can see there is no white wine in your glass from across the room, they know a man has your panties in his hands and is now putting them to his lips. Which brings us to the food.
It was most excellent but eating had turned into a sideshow by now. I remember my sea bass was so delicate but as I ate it, all I could think of was sex which, in retrospect probably had something to do with the bubbles of lemongrass foam that were sitting on it. I think it’s fair to say thing were going very well at this point. By dessert he’d moved next to me, had his fingers tightly around my neck and my head was running through bondage scenarios. The air around us was heavily scented with the right amount of tension and just enough danger to make it interesting.
There was more foam when dessert arrived and he asked me to feed him. He didn’t want the berries underneath the foam as they were too cold. “If you give them to me I will punish you.”
“Yes of course.” I fed him the berries. He squeezed my neck in a way that said, “I totally mean it.”
I knew I had basically given him my cards and all I wanted him to do was play. He knew he had me (well he probably had me at hello) so did what every smart man in his position does. He leverages it.
“The hotel is not far away,” he whispered. “But first I need an espresso. And you need to wait.”
Somehow we made it to the hotel. Inside the lift, the padded walls had evidently aroused his no so latent dungeon instincts and he pushed me back, just watching me as he lifted my hands above my head. We were not the only ones in the lift. There were three other people trying not to look but look at the same time. The lift door opened at the next floor and our fellow passengers couldn’t leave fast enough, no doubt headed for the stairwell to continue their journey without having to deal with an elevator now saturated with sex.
He on the other hand was completely unconcerned by them and was undoing my shirt. He seemed quite pleased with himself. I was very pleased with him.By the time we got to his room, he’d obtained my bra so I felt I didn’t have to worry about losing the panties as he’d put them together. Thoughtful.
It was one of those evenings where our bodies burned faster than a startup shredding money. In the morning he endeared himself to me by ordering cake products for breakfast. Little pistachio cakes that were sugary and sweet and exactly what I would have chosen for myself. “I will be back soon,” he said. “I really want to see you.” A perfect tonic after months of absolutely no fun. Which is probably what Tinder is for: a palate cleanser.