There are a number of people to whom I am grateful, and for many reasons. One is an old high school friend I reconnected with at our reunion a few years ago. He recently separated from his partner, under relatively sad conditions (an affair revealed through cell phone records), and yet he has a wonderfully positive outlook on the whole situation. While not denying his sadness or anger, he's focusing on the good and the solid in his life. He seems able to live in the present and be hopeful about the future, looking back to his past only for the lessons it provides. He's been an inspiration in that sense. He has also provided me with many smiles and laughs, and he's shown me that there is life left in me after all.
I have told him, just to be clear, that I don't talk to all my male friends the way I do with him. For some reason, there is a sense of safety and an understanding that there are no expectations for any "follow up" on our conversations. I have been able to explore the sexual side of my life a little with him via text and facebook chats. And it has been really fun! We have shared insecurities, past successes and failures in this area of our lives, and have done some shameless (and completely harmless) flirting. I don't think there was a moment when either of us thought we might want to venture into a little romp with each other, just for the fun of it, but the satisfying little tingles created by some of our chats tells me that I'm not dead yet!
He has been my "get back out there" coach, and has encouraged me not to be afraid of a sexual relationship with someone new. The last time I was "out there" was in the early 1980s - my body was a very different one back then. We talked about that, and he had some practical advice and loads of confidence-building messages of support. We laughed about how in our 20's, time of day didn't matter. Back then, in our late teens and early twenties, it was our parents we were working around and they generally went to bed earlier than we did. But now, we have kids that age, and they are the ones staying up late. So any 50+ action is not going to be happening in the dark of night. When are teenagers asleep and parents up? In the mornings. But at my age, daylight is not my friend anymore! My "coach" (also a photographer) notes that "good lighting is always important", and reminds me that room-darkening draperies are available! Some of our conversations have been a bit racy by the standards of some. But they are held privately and between two consenting adults, so no one has been harmed in the building of this confidence!
I am so grateful to him for these conversations. I am no less worried about the desirability of this old flabby body of mine, but I am much more confident about firing it up again and allowing myself the pleasure of a physical relationship. It got me thinking about new possibilities, and in the process led me to the realization that my relationship with another old friend has really been shifting of late, and that I could imagine something beyond friendship with him. Thanks to the influence of my "coach", when I met this other old friend for coffee the other day, I found myself examining my feelings and becoming more aware by the second that things had definitely shifted. It's like I was chatting with him, and trying not to look at the elephant on the chair next to him. When it was time to leave, it was all I could do not to reach up (he's very tall) and kiss him. And the thought didn't even seem weird to me at all, although I am sure it would have taken him aback! I have been thinking about it ever since, and our texts have become more like conversations (rather than confirming times and places), and I even boldly flirted a little with him, taking a big breath before hitting "send"!
We are scheduled to meet for dinner next Friday, but I think I may have to see him before then and share my feelings with him. I am afraid that if I say something on Friday, he will say he does not share my feelings and then will feel stuck having dinner with me. The funny thing is that he is someone I have always felt completely 100% safe and comfortable with - I can tell him anything. This might feel a bit awkward, though! But if I don't say something, there will be this weird thing between us, which has never been the case before.