We spoke about our hopes and fears
We laughed and drank a lot of wine
Still crazy after all these years.
Sorry Paul Simon.
But we did. We laughed and drank. Laughed possibly enough and drank too much, if the bottle of white and bottle of red I chucked into the recycling are any measure.
Ian turned 55 this year. When we first met he was 22 and I was 20. We dated and he asked me to marry him when I was 21. I declined for two reasons:
- I wanted to see more of the world (as Aussies do!)
- I couldn't cope with the constant pressure to have sex (and I still can't… from anyone.)
That aside we had a lot in common. We had similar upbringings, similar tastes in music (bizarrely old-fashioned compared to our peers), basically we were good together - except at the age of 20 I couldn't cope with Ian's adiposity. He was a big man even then and I found it repulsive, but I found most of sex repulsive. He was my first and there was no teenage sinuous grappling; already he was obese for his age and height and heaven knows he was a sensible eater… but I couldn't cope with it. Him. Physical him. I've never been a touchy feely person and quailed at the feeling of rolling fat beneath my hands. It put me off sex. Sorry. I know I shouldn't be sizist but I struggled with weight issues as a teen myself which I'd conquered and it had a lasting effect.
I've never enjoyed the physical sex thing - the invasion of one's body by other parts of another's. I can't cope with having to use my mouth on someone else's body or them on my mine. Given that my first experience with Ian was with someone I found physically unattractive because of his fatness, although the mental side was good, it's no wonder the relationship failed. I got sick of being expected to put out every time we went out. No matter if it were coffee or dinner it was expected to end in sex and eventually I put my foot down and exited. I've been the same with every other lover, really: can cope with so much intimacy and sex then I want to run away and have my body to myself.
But incredibly Ian and I have stayed friends. We see each other about once a year. Traditionally it's boozy as Ian is still a big man - Gawd, much bigger! - and can handle his booze so he drinks twice a much as I do.
So today was one of our lunch days. He came to my place and I cooked Boeuf Bourgignon, with potatoes and peas. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. We chatted all the way through, catching up on each other's lives.
It struck me in one sense that perhaps I'd have been better off in my life saying "yes" when I was 20. We still get on so well. We still have a lot in common. We still laugh at the same things and have the same aspirations. I'm still repelled by his size but then I'm repelled by my husband who is overweight and has too much body hair for my liking. I've never liked hairy men but at my age there is no escaping them, dammit. Ian, however, is just too bloody big - he's on the truly repulsive size scale for me. Think 150kg. His personality however is wonderful.
But I'm on a boozy high, reliving my afternoon of classic jazz and swing and Frank Sinatra.
But I do wonder if Ian, with whom I have never lived, has the same problems as G: can't close cupboard doors, can't slide drawers in, can't put chairs in, can't finish a sentence and a host of other minor problems. I do like Ian's personality, but I have to be realistic.
I'm married to G, who can bug me but who is a truly good man. So is Ian. But if I have to be hassled for sex I'd rather be hassled by the one with the smaller body. Less repulsive.
Character counts for a good deal but you have to be able to accept physical interaction with a person. Otherwise it's shit. And sometimes still is anyway if your partner wants it a lot more than you do and you have to fake enjoyment or at the least consensus.
So I'm reliving my youth with Ian, wondering about the might have beens and giggling about our views on the future. Still crazy after all these years.