The Third Date

(I)

‘Are we still strangers?’ The message read. It was about five months since we first met on the online book-reading site. Bookish talks, endless discussions on favorite authors, sharing quotes and dialogues, greatly summed up our chat affair. Many times, he broached the topic of meeting in person. In the beginning, I was neither comfortable nor willing. But five months down, could I really term our relationship as mere acquaintances? After all, I did enjoy talking to him, waiting for his replies did get painful. So, when he asked again, I realised that some part of me wanted a ‘yes’, an eager yes.

The first time, we met at a coffee shop. We had both finished our shifts and that we were starved was a mere understatement. It was a date but neither of us felt the need to be out of the way formal. That night, we ordered sandwiches and drowned it with chocolate milkshakes. A little bit of this. A little bit of that. The parting hug didn’t feel awkward because neither of us tried to push for more. We were like that. Happy as dogs in each other’s company.

(II)

I had always read that first best friends then lovers made the best relationships. He said he believed so too. I couldn’t tell how relieved I was. Maybe this time over, I won’t be judged or termed old school. On the second date, we were cramped in yet another coffee café on a Friday evening. Our shoulders and knees brushed, more than a few times. This time over, he whispered in my ears over the loud café talk, ‘I’ve never felt like this with anyone before.’

When I kiss the man I love, it won’t be a stolen kiss or the kind I find girls and guys share in secluded alleys or in the corner in bars. Walking with his fingers laced with mine was also off my list as clammy palms make me feel uncomfortable. And so when he put his hand around my waist, my body somersaulted. I couldn’t deny that the physical tension was a bit high. When we got into my car, the heat had turned notches up. And before I knew, he pulled me close, his lips were on mine, hungry, demanding, fierce. Somehow it felt right.

(III)

For two things I hate going to the bars, the ear-crashing music and the rash people. Well, it would be wrong to judge people when it is actually the alcohol. I have heard enough of people running out of control, getting into drunken brawls, misbehaving, all under the influence of alcohol. But he insisted we go. So the third date saw us at a fancy bar. Lavish, extravagant, loud. Within a half hour, he was 3 London Prides down. We talked a lot. Even danced a little.

A little while later, we were sitting next to each other on the couch. My heartbeat raced as he ran his hand through the length of my back, knotted them in my hair, then kissed me. Slowly, his hands moved up the front of my dress, as his heavy voice murmured into my face, ‘Let’s go to my place.’ Stunned, I didn’t even blink. ‘I don’t want to… you know…’ I managed. He shifted away and started to smoke. Suddenly, the place felt strange. He felt strange.

(0)

I saw him at a bar where I was at a colleague’s farewell party. Seated at the next table, he set his empty bottle of beer down. When he finished kissing her, his eyes met mine. I couldn’t have not recognised those eyes. Not in a carnival crowd. Dizzy from the sight of him, holding her, just the way he held me only four months ago, I looked away. A minute later, he walked up to me and asked, ‘How have you been?’ For weeks, I had chased him. But in vain. ‘You’d said I was the one. Didn’t seem like that a minute back,’ I said. ‘We wanted different things,’ he said. I merely stared at that empty bottle of London Pride; beautiful but wasted.

~~~~~

Although fictional, the story is inspired from recent trends in relationships.
What do you think? How important is sex in a relationship? Should you stand by your principles or just give in? Should you accept change as per the times?
Have you had such an experience? Do share your thoughts.

~~~~~

Asha Seth

83 thoughts on “The Third Date

Add yours

  1. The decreasing depth of relationships in this era has been so beautifully portrayed here. Loved your work Asha!
    I believe we, as humans, have three aspects of our existence- physical, mental and emotional. Unless and until all three are at resonance, the relationship is bound to be doomed. Today people are focussed merely on the physical aspects and for which they wouldn’t care less to fake the other two aspects. It really takes time and ability to go depths for touching the other two aspects of mental and emotions. I won’t say it must take time because if you know how to swim, you would certainly not be scared to reach each other’s deep caverns.
    Nice post 🙂

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  2. What a wonderful story. The writing is brilliant. About the question. I guess it takes time to find the right partner. Sometimes you may never find. But sacrificing yourself is not the choice you should make. When you connect with someone’s soul you realize something different, something immaterial. Sex on the other hand is a materialistic desire which should not be the driving point. Once you connect with your soul then all your desires transforms into immaterial ones, including sex. The girl realized it but the boy didn’t.

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    1. Very well put, Shreyans. Everyone has different expectations, at different points, in a relationship. I guess, all relationships go through that. But what matters most is having a hold on one’s desires or expectations of another.

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  3. Great writing, you must write more stories!
    Question of well times sex in a relationship has puzzled many men, I for one never figured out.
    I have questions on the story though.
    The guy spends months chatting online, sounds like a lovely connection and friendship. One would assume him/them to take it even slower and enjoy the company. Why then does he rush and then give up with such ease. Was he disappointed after the dates or did the girl ooze seduction.
    Maybe the story should go on, dont give up on him just because he did.

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    1. I’ve purposely left that part out for the reader’s imagination. What do you think happened? Was he being pretentious all this while? Was he under the influence of alcohol? Or simply because they kissed, he felt he could chance a step ahead? Maybe he found her attractive but couldn’t stand the rejection. Maybe he felt it wasn’t worth his time.
      The story doesn’t go on because that’s just the way it is. People lack the patience relationships need. It’s now or never. That goes as far as I can think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So thats the way it ends, wont argue with the writer : )
        and yes I agree, people have much time to carry on an online relationships but when they meet its the adrenaline rush, or the itch to go back online.

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        1. Oh well, that’s a brilliant idea. It’s worth everyone’s time but also depends on one’s taste for it. I’d say do some research before embarking on. In any case, you will have a remarkable reading experience.
          I am doing super. Started reading GOT series. So I am super excited. Have heard so much about the books.

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          1. Won’t know if I’ll like it without reading! So I’ll just try it out.

            I’ve read the first GOT book. Was kind of repetitive after watching the show. Maybe I should’ve stuck till the latter books where the storylines started differing.

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            1. I find a bit of difference between the show and book right since the first book now. And I get tad annoyed that things aren’t the same in the show. But it’s got to be different on the screen. They always are.

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              1. I don’t recall the differences then. I just found it disconcerting that I already knew the story, since GoT is so plot driven.

                Btw, is there any specific translation of The Master and Margarita that you’d recommend?

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  4. This story is so on point. The accuracy. ❤
    I believe that relationships have their own little joys like, the little arguments, the annoyed looks, the cute gifts, the oblivious smiles and stares, the first hugs and kisses and the list is endless.
    Relationships these days have become a form of 'use and throw', which is done by people, mostly to look "cool." Relationships lasting for long periods have become unusual, and when people actually come upon such a couple, they get shocked, because after all, that has become unusual.
    The world is turning into a selfish and superficial mess.
    I doubt half the people even know what "Love" actually means.
    This issue was portrayed through this story beautifully. Like always, this was amazing. ❤

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    1. We so crave the perfect things that we wish them to be true for fiction too, for example the stories we read. But real life has different plans. Always. And that’s how things happen, isn’t it? So, yes, I am happy to know you liked the story.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You said it right, Swalia. Relationships these days hardly last the day. What is this rush, I don’t get it. Why experiment so much if things are going to last or not? People want to be so sure about all aspects of a relationship before committing; physical or sexual compatibility seems to have gained much importance than the emotional connect.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes, and which is why we have seen more divorces in the present generations than ever. The capacity of humans to be able to understand and forgive when asked for, has truly reduced to the size of a teaspoon.

          Liked by 2 people

  5. This is beautiful, heart wrenching stuff. Personally I believe that the other persons boundaries should always be respected. Sex is important to me in a relationship as a form of intimacy, but it’s not the be all and end all by any means. Its also not the only form of intimacy for me. Being able to talk through the night, laugh until your tummy hurts, share your souls, and grow together are just a few things that are more important and that represent true love. And trust trust trust! Being able to truly trust someone, for me, is the ultimate in intimacy. When you trust someone with your true self everything else falls into place. Unfortunately I think we are made to believe there are expectations of us and that can muddy the water. Again, brilliant post. I also enjoyed reading your reader comments!

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    1. You put it brilliantly, Arbie. If one is able to enjoy the simplest things in a relationship without feeling the need to please or impress, rest everything falls in place. Why has sex become so important though? I do not mean, it shouldn’t be, but there are other things too to a relationship. And if physical intimacy is all that keeps a couple together, would it long last, just like my friend, Swalia, pointed out. If you are emotionally connected strong, sex can be so much more fun. Trust is definitely one strong thing. I don’t think I can ever trust someone who loves me for my body alone.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A very bold post i guess!!!Well ending up with sex in a relationship is not a crime though.But never ever portray it with the name of LOVE.Lust it is.According to me,love is a miracle which will happen at the age of 14 or 15 when you exchange love letters written in small bits of paper and you don’t even know what actually love is.That is the true one i would say coz u don’t imagine much and it is more realistic ,although people address this as infatuation or crush.

    Your choice of words is incredible!!!!I was like uuh why can’t the post be continued.Love to read more of your posts.Really awesome

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Love, I believe, can happen at any age. But one definitely needs to give it time. Love at first sight, although, is a different thing altogether. That I call lust or crush, as you call it. Love takes time to happen; not with the blink of an eye.
      Delighted to read your thoughts, Manju. I like to keep the prose short so readers don’t tire out. I am happy as ever therefore to see your love for my stories.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nicely covered Asha. My view is we should stand for our principles which makes our identity else the relationship would short live. Its important the heart is connected as thats the one which is going to stay longer.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yup this is the sad story of most of my online dates – they have all ended up due to lack of willingness to fall into the bed at the word go! I find men looking to hook up more out of loneliness but not wanting an emotional hanger on! You have penned it up beautifully Asha!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Shalini. And so I would say for many women too who do not look at a serious or long-term relationships. Someone I met a few years ago on Facebook said he was just looking for a casual fling. I fled. It may not be wrong but for the kind of person you are and whether it is acceptable to you or not, is what makes the difference.

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  9. I love this. This is so beautiful. This the best piece you have ever written. I had an ex-boyfriend who wanted to have sex with me, but I didn’t give in and I’m glad because I see now what kind of man he truly was. I saw his true colors and I’m glad it was not meant to be. I’m glad it was not meant for us to be together. I think that if I had given in I would have regretted it and I have enough regret in my life. Thanks again for sharing this beautiful piece with us. I can’t wait to read the next one. Until next time, Kathleen

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It surprises me to see how many of us have been through this dilemma. Although, I feel sorry for your pain and/or regrets. One or the other person in a relationship walks out when their expectations are not met. But disrespect is not the thing one must endure.
      As always, happy to have you over, dear.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you I appreciate that. Yes I am surprised as well. It’s sad when that happens. I think that honesty is so important in a relationship and being real about what you really want instead of putting up a front. I think that’s what he did. I agree. Disrespect is just as bad. It’s just as bad as if someone betrayed or “stabbed” you in the back. Thank you. I’m always happy when I get to read your posts. They are always beautiful to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Answer is very or most important. Important thing is acceptance of it as a beautiful thing and not as a bad thing. And lastly my personal view is that there’s no change due to modern times. Only the attitude or expressions are bolder.
        Most important is giving respect. On that basis what happened is not okay

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          1. Thank you Asha.
            I would say that we should have our own set of rules. That only brings in discipline. Fun is part of the process and may not be the driver. Otherwise there would be chaos.
            Rules are our own. A very striking experience for me is when a friend said ‘I am okay for a meaningful relationship outside marriage’. I think rules are clear and set within which to operate.
            Another is ‘ I am ok as long as your (name) is there and mine (name) here. The rule is set.
            On both, there is fun without regrets.
            That’s the beauty of it.
            Looks like you have some clear cut views and observations. Please share if okay.

            Like

  10. I loved each and every word of this….
    Was the ending denoting that the girl previously saw the same boy at bar with another girl?
    For me honestly speaking, I still feel that relationship should not revolve around physical pleasures… It is obvious to have urges but for me still marriage is still the faint line which should be obeyed before it…
    I feel that person should be enough selfless to provide his best to her life partner… He should be all her’s not a part of her… First or last be any physical relations one should be honest enough to himself and partner… For me it’s about trust more than physical relations… It maybe just because I was never in not in this kind of situation before😂…
    Moreover I have another theory… It states that too much physical relations end up with rash behaviour by an individual and person cannot easily relax this feelings so he urges for more but never gets because it is all about casual relationships…so person turns violent and then this social conduct is threatening enough to name him as devil… Just for this reason marriage concept was devised so as to provide person with rational feelings and responsibilities before having physical relations….
    P.S.: sorry for such a long comment.. and please don’t get offended, I am not against this but I am just saying that I am not comfortable with it, personally will be hesitate to perform this before marriage… These are purely my views and nothing else…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. One must always respect other’s feelings, whether dating or married, doesn’t matter. What seems wrong to one, feels right o another. It’s the same as – As many people, as many loves.
      Thank you for stopping by, Utkarsh. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think sex is sharing your thoughts and your body. It’s an emotional thing , so to me it’s alright ! It’s like a culmination of a beautiful journey. And still the journey continues.

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“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” ― James A. Michener

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