Sneaky Pete

After emailing with Pete a few times, we decided to meet at a local wine bar. I was excited. I hadn’t ever used an online dating service before, it was new to me – and it was the early 2000s – so it was new to everyone.  Once I got there I noticed the restaurant was actually closed, Pete showed up a few minutes later, and our eyes met for the first time.  I thought he was gorgeous. Black hair, clear blue eyes – with a vague resemblance to Anthony Kiedis from the Chili Peppers.

Since we weren’t able to sit in the wine bar, we walked to the restaurant next door. A supper club that, as luck would have it, I used to work at with my father several years earlier.  We talked about everything. Closing the restaurant down.  He was a software programmer, with the forgotten dream of being a dancer (he’d minored in dance at college). He relayed funny stories about being an exotic dancer to pay his way through college.  I laughed as I imagined an audience of hens trying to shove dollar bills in his G-string. He was charming, and ambiguous (of course) and very, very sexual.

I watched with longing as he drew upon his cigarette, his long fingers high in the air, and marveled that he seemed to be in touch with his feminine side. 

He spoke of performance classes, that he was taking them at a local company, and of course, I thought we were fated –since he was taking them at the same place that I was.

Our relationship launched quickly – it was intense and passionate.  He helped me with so much. Let me move in when I found myself without a place to stay. Helped me buy a new truck when my car broke down. Helped me with a lot of things.

I introduced him to my daughter about a month after we started dating. A sweet, yet terrifying experience for us both when she’d pulled Pete aside, and asked him if she could call him daddy.

I was dumbfounded, and reacted swiftly.

No, Em – Pete and I are just dating – you have a daddy.  She was crushed, and I could tell – that even though it was the right thing to do – Pete was crushed too.

I tried to be good.  I tried not to fall in love.  But I couldn’t help myself.  He showered me with attention, dinners and happy hours, dancing, and vacations…

It seemed too good to be true, but I felt that I’d deserved to be treated well for once – after so many relationships ending in heartache.  During our first sexual encounter, he even asked…well, he asked permission “to enter.”  It was strange, but endearing, in a way.

We discussed our relationship status regularly, and thought it very adult of us to do so. “So, are we boyfriend / girlfriend?”  “Shall we get tested and rid ourselves of these heinous condoms?”  “What kind of relationship do you want – open, monogamous, polygamous?”  I asked him about his sexuality, his ambiguity – and he explained that he’d had a close relationship with a man once, not sexual, but “almost.”  The man, Alex, had died from cancer about ten years earlier.  He ended with a very well thought conclusion that, after that, he knew he was straight. H’ed only wanted a monogamous relationship.

I nodded, understanding completely, yet finding the whole conversation oddly familiar.

Several months later, when we were out drinking together, I shared my own story – childhood abuse, and what it did to my family, my psyche, my sexuality.  “Thank you for telling me,” were his exact words.

 

I appreciated that he had his own interests, but thought it was strange when he’d promised to call, or show – and didn’t.  It became a game between us, and it drove me crazy. He seemed very curt at times, explaining, in detail, how he liked the dishes stacked in the washer, or how he liked his clothing folded (the retail way). I was happy to do as he asked. I enjoyed making him happy.

He would meet with a “Man’s group” every Saturday morning, something he would not, could not ever miss, he informed me.  I agreed, wondering where this particular stance was coming from.

One particular day, after waiting for what seemed like hours before he came home from a boys outing, I decided to snoop on his computer.

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