I'd been plying her with tropical drinks most of the afternoon by the pool at the Reefer's Hotel & Resort in Jamaica. Her name, if I could believe her, was Rea. I had trouble accepting it as her real name because of the way she had opened up to me during our time together.
Mind you, Rea was a very well preserved thirty-five, possibly fortyish brunette sitting next to me while wearing a skimpy bikini and carrying it off quite well.
"So let's see, Rea, you left your second husband because..."
"He was fucking everything in sight: men and women. I still liked him, he treated me fine otherwise, but the risk of catching AIDS was more than I cared to worry about on a daily basis. He didn't contest the divorce, and the settlement was ... as you can see ... fairly generous."
"I don't connect the dots on that 'as you can see, ' portion, Rea."
"I'm here, aren't I?"
"Isn't this one of the more exclusive resorts on the island?"
"Ahhh, I catch your drift," I said.
Rea nodded and continued. "Since I left my husband I have been unable to do a number of things -- the most frustrating lost skill is the ability to date. After nine years in a committed relationship, I find that I have difficulty navigating the nuanced dance we refer to as dating."
"Lots of people do.," I said, interjecting on her statement.
Rea was kind enough to hear me out as I rambled through a discourse on speed dating, and several other arcane means utilized by people in today's rush, rush, rush society where courtship takes a back seat to prioritizing one's live, including just who we're going to fuck ... after meeting them in a quasi-civilized fashion.
She gave me a smile that told me to be quiet and allow her to say something more sensible. And I did.
"Dating," she said, "presents a series of problems I find I'm no longer willing to accept. One can't be too direct, eager, needy, desperate, clingy, emotional, commitment pressuring, or baby daddy seeking.
"I also have to avoid looking cold, aloof, bitchy, mean, shallow, negative or distant. And of course I can't even talk about my ex, even if the past nine years of my life was living and working with him. Then there are the foolish games we play like who texts, emails, or calls who. And when to act interested or disinterested and when to completely blow them off. As a person who is by nature very direct and to the point, dating is a mystery trapped in a puzzle I just can't figure out. But the most distressing behavior is the casual sex hook-up mating habits that dominate New York City, a city that I adore and call my home."
"It isn't that bad, surely you're exaggerating, Rea."
No, Leonard, I'm not. If anything, I'm not slutty enough for New York. I have tried hooking up with partners for something casual, but every time the results have been disastrous. For the most part it ends up making life more complicated."
The bartender came by and I signaled for another round of cocktails for us. Rea was drinking 2 to my 1. She accepted the fresh drink without protest, taking a healthy sip before continuing with her almost monologue.
"There was one guy kept calling me. I mean, it went on for months. Another had a fucking breakdown at my place, can you imagine?"
Rea was getting louder, and I waited for her to tap a cigarette from her package of Marlboros before suggesting we resume the conversation in my room.
I wasn't at all surprised that she accepted, and minutes later we were seated comfortably on my balcony overlooking the blue waters of the Caribbean.
"So, where were we, Rea?" I asked after handing her one of my potent martinis.
"We are about to get me stinking drunk. Not that I mind," she laughed, and gulped at her drink.
"I've come to the conclusion that it's just expected that any relationship starts with the physical part first. After that, one waits to see if their partner wants to form a relationship. Kind of ass backwards, but believe you me, it's the way we're moving today."
"I'll wager that your men don't expect any emotional bonding on their part," I offered.
Rea leaped at the opportunity to take this even further. "Yeah! They call or text when THEY want to hookup; when THEY want to complain; when THEY expect you to make them feel they're important to your life; but never the other way around. And ... and you can't just dump them! There's no end to the line of women who'll gladly take your place, the cunts! And if people can get no-strings attached sex so easily and then never see the person again if they choose, why would they try for anything else?"
.... There is more of this story ...