Being Ashley

A true account of my life experiences in love, sex, affairs and everything else that comes with it

The Simple Pleasure of Being Seen

I like how he watches me. Consistently. Intently. Curiously. I know he is paying attention. He watches me as I frown in front of the mirror mumbling about the impact of our afternoon play on my already chaotic hair. He watches as I add lip gloss and pat down my hair with concern, as I cast about the room for discarded clothing. He smiles and hands me a sock. Waits while I bend down in front of him to retrieve my jeans. All the time, he watches. Earlier he watched with intent as he used his fingers to slowly make he buck wantonly on the hotel bed, as I ran my tongue over every part of him. He held my head gently and moaned as he watched me take him in my mouth.

I am not sure where the joy in being watched comes from, but I wonder if it’s not partly about how deeply validating it is to be seen, just as we are. In watching another perhaps we are providing a very specific kind of mirror. Perhaps in his watching I can see a glimpse of what I am unable to fully see in myself, except when reflected from another. The capacity to give and receive pleasure, to be an actual vehicle of it.

I want to replace every mirrored surface with this look of him watching me.

An Open Letter to the Men of Ashley Madison on Courting

I want to begin with saying, we know you are trying. We get that it must feel a little bit like the hunger games of pussy, we have heard your stories. We commiserate. For us it is not all that different, except that we are the hunted, and some times you are inadvertently terrifying. Possibly some of you may be trying terrifying on as a potential strategy, I’m going to go ahead and tell you to stop that right now.

I wanted to offer you some advice and assistance as a service to both you and your intended prey, a sort of how to guide for pussy if you will. To keep you focused I am structuring this into a top ten type list based on my experiences. Get your notebooks, I’m waiting.

  1. We get it. Really. You love licking women.

I am not sure who wrote the memo telling men that the way to catch a woman’s attention is to write her lengthy texts on how much you love eating pussy. I am not going to say its a bad thing. I am going to go ahead and say maybe start with something a little more basic. Like hi maybe? How are you? What’s your deal? An opening offer that includes all of my ice cream cone like possibilities, or elaborate scenarios of hanging me from the ceiling while licking me, may not feel quite right to start. I get I don’t speak for all women, and don’t get me wrong, your offer to “lap my juicy wetness all over your backseat” does have an interesting appeal, but maybe tell me your name first.

  1. However you start is now our expectation.

I cannot over emphasize this enough, do not over promise. I know you are excited, its cute really, but if you text us twenty times an hour for the first week we kind of think that’s who you are, and its really confusing when your game changes. Which it will. Because we have jobs and shit. Do not over commit, consider your opening pursuit carefully to avoid later irritating conversations. Also remember that exciting chat is totally an artificial environment, we may be totally mismatched or I might wear a cat as a wig or something, Not that I am judging ladies, you do you.

  1. We all lie about our weight and use overly flattering pictures.

You are doing it, We are doing it, Deal. It’s the human condition, Side note from a friend of mine also on the site; pictures more than six months old are unacceptable, She now asks you to hold up a current newspaper for validation.

  1. Learn what passive aggressive is and stop using it as a life tool.

Sometimes things happen fast, sometimes slow, sometimes not at all. Be clear on your expectations and don’t try and guilt us into changing, This shit can be scary, sometimes we need to assess you are not a serial killer. I am more likely to think you are if you say things like “I just want to get to know you” but then demand a list of all the things I am willing to do in your truck when we meet. Alternately, if things go fast and you get freaked out, don’t make that our fault, you were also there.

  1. I am not turned on by your problems at home.

I understand this is often hard for men in difficult relationships, You don’t tend to talk to other men. You are lonely, again, I get it. Have you considered a therapist? Or maybe a pet? If you spend our time telling me all the reasons your wife is not meeting your needs then you are now just another thing I have to take care of and support in my life, I promise you, this is the opposite of most women’s fantasy, We are already likely taking care of a lot of people’s needs, don’t make yourself another thing draining our life slowly from us, this is supposed to be our escape.

I know that technically a top ten list should have ten things but I feel that five is a good strong start. Do your homework and maybe we can start on the next section. Perhaps we can convince AM to host a Q and A?

Don’t worry, you’ll get this. I know it!

When What You Want Isn’t What You Need

As I sift through my own mind to try to better understand my patterns and current situation there is one thing that is abundantly clear, often the thing I think I want is not actually the thing I want, and certainly not the thing I need.

In getting to know other humans intimately I am able to see this a lot in others. People who are so used to wanting a certain thing they have become attached to that wanting, it’s like an old friend now, and they fail to be able to see they may not even want that thing anymore. They likely don’t need that thing, in fact, it almost always is causing them pain.

I too am attached to the wanting. The idea of a thing that will meet my needs, largely in the form of another person. I am inherently disappointed and I know that one likely reason is that I don’t actually need the thing I think I want. I am just deeply attached to the idea of it. And so. I am surprised when I become ambivalent to it, when a man I think I want reaches out to me and I feel the urge to shrug with indifference. I engage, I think, I want this, I better take advantage of it’s presence, what if it goes away and I have nothing?

But I know. I don’t want this. I am sure of it now. Now the job is to figure out how to let go of the wanting and recognize the pattern for what it is.

A Meditation on Change

Wake up. Decide to change. Try really hard. Have lunch. Screw up. Cry in your car. Fix your make up. Go back to work. Go home. Have dinner. Go to bed. Wake up. Repeat.

72 Hours

I’m done I say as we sip our drinks on the balcony of the opera house. It’s intermission. I am going over my latest week of hilarious stories and disappointments from the affair dating site with one of my first catches, the Professor that won’t fuck me. He is both amused and alarmed as I explain counseling a man through an HPV diagnosis, and then provide a thorough lesson on HPV. Note to our female readers, get the fucking vaccine, that shit sucks.

I managed to stay off of the website post my disappointing break up with Daddy Warbucks for spproximately 72 hours. I spent last night at the opera with the Professor, who likes to lament that he may be a pedophile by virtue of our relationship. I drank too much and ate decadently. Now it is Sunday and by 8am I am back on the website. By 9am I have 3 new friends.

“Maybe I have Daddy issues?” I text the Professor mid day. “Maybe” he texts back.

Most, but not all of the men, are older. Some quite a bit. This is normal for me. I don’t get it, I had a great Daddy. There is something I find comforting in men that have seen more life, something that I find often comes across as generosity in bed. All of my learnings of myself as a sexual being as an adult have come from relationships with older men, who handled me firmly and slowly, and always seemed to deeply appreciate my own enthusiasm for everything. This has not changed even as I am now solidly mid-life myself.

It’s 6pm and I now have two dates this week. I feel both a sense of success and failure equally. I never thought fit could be so hard. I’m branching out, date number two is the same age as me! Date number one on the other hand, well I have a type... I love everything about his description. I love the anticipation. Some times I think it may be better to never meet them at all.

Maybe fantasies are better if they remain so.

Being the Mouse

“I want both” he types.

Both what I ask, then I realize, he wants to see me both days, two days in a row this week, we are only meeting for the first time the first day. I tell him not to get ahead of himself. I try not to be pleased. Pleased with this man who says he is thinking of me all day. I know men do this now. They are strong at pursuit but lack the stamina. I need a marathon runner.

The first time we meet he stays strong in his pursuit, I think optimistically maybe I can settle in for a while with this one, maybe I can let my guard down. Frankly I am just a little bit tired. So I do. I let him in. I let my boundaries dissolve a little. I take him at face value.

I like his hands in my hair. Hearing him moan as I take him in my mouth. I like how he touches me. I try not to worry when it feels like we don’t come together easy. When I feel like I have to ask for what I want. We are new. It takes time. We go for dinner.

He messages me from the airport. He messages me while he is away. Every message is fine. What is it I am looking for?

Yet I know. I know his language is not quite the same. I know the experience of being the caught prey that no longer holds his full gaze. I have been the mouse held idly in the cat’s paw before. I won’t stay here long.

The Land of Broken Puppies

One of my favorite songs has a line about there being two kinds of men in this world. As my brain sifts through my experiences since I started seeing other men I notice that it has distinctly made two categories. The first is the previously written about angsty man stable, and the second shall now be known as the land of broken puppies.

In the land of broken puppies lives the men who need women as their anchor. They are a lot of men. I understand it really. When I ask, none of the men talk to other men in a meaningful way, their wives have been their strength and their confidants. What do you do when you need to confide and your confidant is part of your issue?

These men cling to you like a life raft, and if you are not careful, and like me, you will amass a collection of them. It does not take long before they are telling you all the hurts they are suffering at home, all the ways their wives aren’t meeting their needs.

Today I vanquished another man to the land of broken puppies. He sent me broken heart emojis, I promised to keep feeding him there along with the others.

Objects in the Mirror...

Today I dressed in the exact same outfit I wore when you first kissed me. I was not aware I did this, I made no conscious decision, but as I sat down and tugged up the zipper on the back of my boot I looked up into the mirror and recognized what I had done. Then I remembered.

Your hands in my hair, on my breasts, your lips and your breath on my neck. I remembered the sensation, the smell, the taste of it all. Standing in front of my mirror.

I sat down. I looked at my phone. With a sigh I buried it deep in my purse.

I tugged down the zippers on my boots and put on shoes instead.

Then I walked out without looking back again.

Will You Wear a Collar Kitten?

“You are mine to use, and only me.”

“Is that what you want?” I ask him.

“I do.”

This one has never been long on words. I am not sure what keeps drawing me back here. Case number one in the great experiment. Foot guy.

“What do I want?” I ask, partly hoping that perhaps he has figured this out for me...

“To be treated like a cherished pet. Will you wear a collar kitten?”

Will I wear a collar? Will I give over to this man so determined to own me? Will he keep me safe? What is it about him that makes my synapses light up and crash against eachother in my head in a terrifying way?

“I won’t treat you badly, I know what you want and I will do my best.”

Is that the most I can ask for I wonder? Perhaps it is at least honest. He has never been anything but straightforward in expressing his want. What more can I ask? I know something will happen though, as it always does, and then he will turn sharp, it will all be my fault.

Will I wear that collar?

The Moments We Break

There are moments that we seem to accept collectively as milestones in western society. We remember what we were doing when they happened, we have had these conversations, “where were you, what were you doing when...”

In each of our lives we also have versions of these moments. Each of us will experience and be shaped by our own personal tragedy. We will remember where we were, what we were doing, the mundanity of the life experience overlaid by sudden tragedy.

For me it is the picture of a cat on the hospital wall I was looking at when at 15 years old my best friend’s brother told me about the cancer that had invaded her perfect dancers body, that would change us all forever. It is the tv program I was watching when eight years later that same brother called me to tell me it was time to come say goodbye. It’s the shape of the dart that was in my hand five years after that when my mother called to tell me my father would also fall victim to that same curse.

In every family we develop our roles. My role was the caretaker, and when the time came, it was the one who makes the hard decisions, who watches and bears witness to our worst moments. By 18 years old I was the one expected to be there when the family pets were put down, as an adult my sister called me to come put her own family dog down. I was the one meeting her at the airport to tell her our father had died while she was in the air, I was the one with him when he said goodbye. I became some sort of shepard to the other side, unwittingly, because someone had to. I often imagine that every family must have a version of me. The one who directs the doctors to give as much pain meds as legal, and possibly more, tells the vets to push the needle in. The one who gives the eulogies.

When my partner called to tell me what the doctor said I was driving my car. I remember the feel of the steering wheel, the song playing on my iphone, the dull grey of the late fall sky. I remember thinking about how to sound normal, how to downplay, asking what I could make for dinner and do to make his night better. I remember thinking this is my job, if he’s not ok, my job is to make it as ok as possible. Did I believe in an interventionist God I would think that this is what I was here to do.

I don’t believe in any God. I do believe in humanity. That will have to be enough this time.