Saturday At The Salvation Army: Excuse me, where’s your second hand?

His picture and profile on Match looked pretty good. He had a nice smile and blue eyes. He was dressed professionally and had a job. Of course he also had three kids but hey, you check off a few things on your list and you think, “Why not give it at least one date?”

A lunch date at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants was a good start. The hour we spent together seemed a bit like an interview but that does tend to happen on first dates since it’s the ‘getting-to-know-you’ phase, aka, ‘let’s make sure that you’re not a psycho.’ Despite the Q and A, our time together did have its moments of levity. As is typical these days, after our first in-person meeting, we began a steady texting relationship. Who talks on the phone anymore anyway, right? Phones don’t seem to be made for that purpose, what with everyone more concerned about screen size and number of G’s. It’s more important to have the ability to play games in fascinating colors and post life-like photos of my fajita for thousands to see.

After some casual and friendly banter for a few days, my date – let’s call him Tom because that’s his name and he will probably never read this – began to send more flirty texts. I kind of knew where he wanted to take the talk but I kept it suitable for Disney audiences, not because I was concerned that one of his three children would accidentally pick up his phone, but because I am Catholic and I simply didn’t know how to “sext.” Unless the activity can result in the production of a child, while in the idyllic confines of a marriage, it’s not the type of sexual encounter the church deems acceptable.

One Saturday afternoon when Tom started up again with the flirty texts, I remembered something: I was an adult woman who no longer needed approval from the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. So I entertained Tom’s sexy texts and yes, I even participated with some saucy talk of my own. Keep in mind that as I said, I am Catholic and still struggle with some issues of guilt and repression and this was my first sexting encounter. So my version of saucy was something like, “Wow, your coverage area is so big” and then another comment about how I like to sit at the end of the dock, compliments of autocorrect. While my participation began and ended with words, Tom decided to share more than that. With apologies to Gary Cherone of Extreme, that’s not all he had to do to make it real, but we’ll get to that shortly.

I won’t pretend that I didn’t have fun, after all, I was engaging, but my engager chose to take things a bit further by sending not only X-rated photos but also a video that was worthy of the kind of theater where Paul Reubens might have been spotted pants-less saying “I know you’re hard and so am I.”

Even though I told myself that as an adult it was my choice and right to participate in sexting (as long as I wasn’t hurting anyone), it simply didn’t come naturally to me or feel too comfortable. I did have fun though so I won’t act all innocent. At least I was in the comfort and privacy of my own home. The whole time that Tom was leading our sext tryst, he was shopping with his 10-year old daughter. As she looked through vintage Wonder Woman T-shirts at the Salvation Army, he reclined on a couch that I have a feeling he left dirtier than how he found it. I didn’t learn about his location until several days later, after our next date … “the” date.

I’ll give him credit for choosing one of my favorite restaurants but it’s not good when you give your best performance….well… your only performance… in your sexting video. That’s right, after all of the sexty foreplay, when push came to shove, there simply wasn’t shoving or pushing of any kind going on. At least I can say that my drink before dinner was stiff. This guy was … not prince charming.

(Written for Urban Romance Online Magazine.)

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