Hooked Up_ Book 1(2)

By: Arianne Richmonde

I stared out the cab window and sighed with relief as the traffic sped up. I thought about all the millions out there trying to find a mate, trying to get “hooked up,” and smiled to myself, trying to remember the last time I’d dated. Two years ago? It had been a rebound disaster waiting to happen, or rather, I was the rebound waiting . . . hoping to find love again. I hadn’t expected my divorce to knock me sideways the way it did. I had stopped loving him. It was mutual. There was nobody else involved, we just drifted apart. We had gotten to the point where we couldn’t even watch each other eat. Yet, when those papers came through, the ink hardly dry, I had cried myself to sleep, for weeks. If Saul and I had had a child, at least that would have given me some sort of purpose, a perspective—but there I was, a two-time miscarriage vessel, empty, null and void—my sell-by date looming.

It’s funny how others saw me, though. So many of my friends were envious of my life. “So glamorous,” they purred. “So free.” No homework to deal with, no snotty nose to wipe, no husband’s dirty socks to pick off the floor. Instead, a fabulous, well-paid job with a fabulous, successful film company making top-notch documentaries, meeting fascinating people . . . and yet, I felt so unfulfilled.

Perhaps everyone feels this way in life, no matter what cards they hold. Always looking for something richer—something or someone more satisfying to fill an empty hole. (Ha, ha). Turning forty didn’t scare me until after it happened. “But you look amazing,” said friends, after I’d blown out forty candles on my birthday cake. The “but” spoke volumes.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

I recalled that last date, just after my divorce—what a fiasco. I thought it might give me confidence—make me feel stronger, but I found myself tumbling into bed with a man I hardly knew, after he’d taken me out to an oh-so-expensive dinner. Perhaps he felt I was dessert, because I foolishly accepted a “night cap” at his apartment. Just thinking about it made my mouth pucker, as if I had a lemon in my mouth. Bad sex. Grappling, groping, sweaty hands on my breasts, the poking and panting. Ugh, just the thought of it! He sent me flowers the next day, saying what a wonderful evening he’d had. He was so keen. So well meaning.

So clueless.

Not that I was any expert. No. Sex had rarely been good for me. My ex-husband was very attractive, but his idea of foreplay had been rubbing my groin as if I were a horse needing a good rubdown. Rhythmic efficiency.

It seemed to me that men had read about the clitoris (the Big C), the nerve-rich locus of women’s sexual pleasure, and thought it a target to be zoomed in on immediately. All those women’s magazines didn’t help either. They went on endlessly about multiple orgasms—something that had eluded me like a fugitive on the run, forever out of my range. Perhaps, I wondered, it was all a conspiracy, and the Big M O (Multiple Orgasm) didn’t actually exist . . . just a fantasy that we all believed in. A bit like 007.

But women still soldier on, still hoping for that magical person who can wave a wand and make it all happen—hoping that same person will be your soul mate, or at least, that you’ll have a good deal in common. Or that your present partner, or husband, will wake up one day and find you gloriously sexy, and that his top priority in the world will be to give you carnal pleasure and become a veritable god in bed.

Yeah, right.

And as for me? At that point my confidence was wobbling and wavering with desperate insecurity, like a child learning to ride a bicycle way too big for her. Sex, or any kind of a relationship, was the last thing I felt equipped to navigate my way around. On paper, I looked good. Had a great education, a degree from Brown in Comparative Literature. I worked my way up from research and became a producer with Haslit Films, a job I loved. I owned my own apartment, a one-bedroom co-op on the Upper East Side. I traveled to a different place in the U.S. every year, for a ten-day vacation, usually in September when the crowds had died down. My life was wonderful.

But I was single.

And, just to add salt to the wound, I hadn’t reached that exclusive O during sex with a partner of any kind, for nearly eighteen years.

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