Except that knowing exactly where to lick, when to bite, and how hard, wasn’t luck. Having devoured all of Dean’s columns, a frank look at sex and dating from a man’s point of view, I’d squirrelled away these sexual details. Now they felt like a secret key to the man I’d grown to know intimately on the page but only peripherally in real life.
Through our mutual friend, I knew that Dean was a geeky, insecure, chain-smoking, serial-dating disaster. But he also wrote with a humour-drenched eroticism that caused women to throw their e-panties at him in the comments section. I tried to keep my distance, but we continued to run into each other at parties, in bars, and even on our morning commute.
I was determined not to become a groupie; the self-deprecating swagger in his columns often left me confused as to whether I wanted to punch him in the throat or hug away his pain. Yet, here I was, biting his thigh and wondering if he knew how I knew that that move would make his “junk bark”. If he did, he never let on.
But when Dean whispered “Talk to me”, I froze. What if I didn’t measure up to the girl who’d taught him how to dirty talk and appreciate jazz? Or the woman who’d twisted him inside out the way a kid does with a puppet they’ve grown bored of. I had to be better than the woman who he thought was going to be wild in bed but ended up liking it “Betty Crocker-style”.
Kissing Dean long and hard, I played for time. I needed to stop flipping through my mental Rolodex of women he’d banged long enough to drum up some dirty talk. Remembering how he once wrote that the way a woman instructs a man to play with her breasts can act as a blueprint for oral sex, I pushed his face against mine and commanded, “Lick my nipple soft but quick, like the flickering flame of a candle.”
As his tongue started moving, I stopped thinking, stopped obsessing about all the things I’d read.
Throughout our fling, which lasted too long – Dean disappearing for months at a time, then texting or showing up out of the blue – I never appeared in his column. Well, maybe once. Taking Dean’s own online relationship advice about my one-sided infatuation, I ended things after he baulked at my bold proposal that we go on a real date. When his column came out a few days later, it was a frenetic, anti-relationship tirade, proclaiming that, sorry gals, he was taking himself off the market. His words “I. Am. Not. Dating.” screamed off the screen, but I would never know if his rant had everything to do with me or nothing at all. What upset me the most, however, was that it wasn’t very well written.