‘If music be the food of love, play on’
– William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
Perhaps daunted by the complex organisational giant that is wedding planning, I often find myself distracted by the smaller, more entertaining elements of the whole endeavour. We don’t yet have a marquee, dinner or dress, but we have started making a list of songs for a wedding playlist! Songs that I love, songs about love, songs that I love to sing or which might encourage dancing.
This has lead to a wonderful and dangerous reminiscence! Music is just so nostalgic – generally for the time it was released and specifically for what I was doing at that time and with whom. And as I have a tendency towards superstition, hints or signs in lyrics have become indefinitely connected to certain memories, which makes this nostalgia even stronger. It’s not just a song; it’s that song about that person at that particular time. Even the frequent misheard lyrics or misunderstood sentiments become cemented in my memory and subsequent emotional reaction to a song.
Of course, these reactions vary depending on my mood. When everything is great, hearing the song that my crush and I danced to that one time would just make me smile. When I’m feeling alone, however, a song about unrequited love that randomly plays when I’m thinking of my crush would reassure me in a way that my usually infallible logic struggles to explain, except to acknowledge with hindsight that it was a desperate clutching at straws.
So I thought I’d share these reminiscences with you. Seven songs about six people; seven songs that perfectly describe whatever craziness I was going through with that person at the time I first heard it and so will forever be their song…
Dancing in the Moonlight
‘Dancing in the moonlight
Everybody’s feeling warm and bright’
I’m trying not to stare at Jack across the garden – he is the most beautiful man that I have yet seen and I have been in love with him forever. It’s his 16th birthday party and we are dancing to that tinny Toploader melody. I smile to myself; we are dancing in the moonlight, this could be about us! I’m only 6 months older than him but those few months cross the summer holidays and being a school year above makes me feel ancient and wildly inexperienced. Would he want an older girl like me? He is effortless in a way only beautiful, popular teenagers can be and I feel like a child beside him.
He’s the first real person I’ve thought about when wanking. Fantasy me has the confidence to do those things I never quite dare to do in real life; to dance closer, to take his hand and pull him towards me. I touch myself and imagine kissing him, maybe fucking him behind the sheds at the yacht club where I met him, tasting him. Perhaps tellingly, I fantasise about being older – I would run into him when I’m sexy and glorious and then seduce the fuck out of him. ‘How did I never notice you before?’ he’d say, ‘Think of all the time we’ve wasted.’ And I’d laugh and toss my glossy hair and be the fabulous person that I know I will be. Eventually.
‘Sweat dripping over my body
Dancing getting just a little naughty
Wanna get dirrty
It’s about time for my arrival’
Peter is gorgeous. Peter is fancied by all my friends (and has dated a few!) but he chose me. Me! That alone makes my heart dance. He’s perfect. Except he doesn’t want to sleep with me. I have found a teenage boy who doesn’t want to have sex.
We date for two years and only buy 3 packets of condoms the whole time. I buy them all. This detail bothers me – he doesn’t even prepare for the possibility of sex. I really must be undesirable. Secure adult me now realises that we just had a fundamental difference in sex drive. Teenage, vulnerable me is wounded by each rejection. Yes, we fool around and dutifully work our way through the bases but he rarely makes me come and he never tries for that home run. He just doesn’t seem to want to.
Whether as cause or effect, I decide that I prefer masturbating anyway. There’s less guilt, less vulnerability, less fear about inexperience, and more orgasms! I learn my body and what gets me off and I accept that not everyone has good sex. I may want to be learning how to fuck and how to be ‘good in bed,’ I may want to be dirrty with a double R and sweat and writhe and pant, but maybe that isn’t for me. I soon stop asking him for sex. Eventually, I stop masturbating about specific sexual acts and find myself just fantasising about being wanted. I stop thinking of my fabulous future self as who I ought to be, but rather who I want to be. She feels too far away.
Sitting, Waiting, Wishing
‘Well I was sitting, waiting, wishing
You believed in superstitions
Then maybe you’d see the signs’
OK, Eddie is super cool. He is a DJ and a philosophy student and he smokes weed and he is basically everything my mother warned me about but I want him. I want him so much that it essentially renders me speechless in his presence.
University is awesome! I’m making friends and growing in confidence and having the best time. I don’t really notice that I’m still not having much sex. It feels like a bridge too far and the very, very occasional one night stand does nothing to change my impression that sex just isn’t something I do. I fall in love instead and Eddie is just the first of a number of unrequited loves. Whether I consciously realise it or not, it is a pattern. I fall hard, I lust, I create complex imaginary scenarios where they fall into my bed, I read signs into every interaction, seeing proof that my fantasies could be coming true. I actually do nothing.
I tell myself that if he likes me, he’ll make a move himself. I tell myself that it’ll be worth the wait. I try not to hear my lack of confidence screaming in every inaction. I sit and wait and wish, just as Jack Johnson has told me I should.
‘And I’ve always lived like this
Keeping a comfortable, distance
And up until now
I had sworn to myself that I’m content
Because none of it was ever worth the risk
But, you are, the only exception’
I know. I know whatever it is you’re going to tell me. I know he doesn’t really love me. I am 100% certain that he doesn’t love his girlfriend, but I do also know that he doesn’t really love me. No matter how close and intimate we are or no matter how much he makes me feel like I’m different and I’m special or whatever he says to me. He doesn’t really love me. But the song, the song! I could be the exception. I really could be. And maybe he could be my exception too. I’ve been alone for so long now that I don’t know how to be anything else. Maybe he’ll be the one who is worth changing this habit of a lifetime.
It only occurs to me much later how significant it is that he doesn’t ever, ever try any physical contact. No kisses, no risqué touches, definitely no sex. So wide is the disconnect between my ideas of a loving relationship and a sexual relationship that this godawful mess fits – I want him to love me; I don’t need him to want me. No one ever really has after all. I cynically deduce that he uses our lack of physical connection to deny that he is really cheating but this doesn’t dent my misguided hope. This is the exception; he is the exception.
‘It’s just a spark but it’s enough to keep me going
And when it’s dark out and no one’s around, it keeps glowing.
Every night I try my best to dream tomorrow makes it better
And wake up to the cold reality and not a thing is changed
But it would be happen, gonna let it happen’
I’ve been half-heartedly dating. I’m approaching 30 and feel like something needs to change. Steve isn’t really my type but he’s kind of hot and, to my amazement, he seems to like me. What’s the worst that could happen? Our dates feel really good. They are fun and easy, but I’m not surprised when he chooses to get an expensive taxi home after our third date when he’d missed his train rather than try his luck and stay over with me. So solidified was my belief that I wasn’t a sexual person that it didn’t seem odd or like a personal slight. I shrug. Maybe next time.
But it turns out that there is a next time and that time he does come home with me. Even better, the sex is pretty good and, more astonishing, he wants to see me again afterwards! It’s difficult to say this without sounding melodramatic but this honestly hasn’t happened for 9 years. Just that simple fact that he’s seen me naked and wants to see me again begins to slowly chip away at the concrete blockade that I have built around my sexuality; protecting me from hurt but still hiding me away. We date a few more times and amicably go our separate ways. He’s nothing special in himself, but he is the catalyst that I needed to wake up; the spark that gave me hope. Maybe I could be fabulous after all…
Only Love Can Hurt Like This
‘I’d tell myself you don’t mean a thing
But what we got, got no hold on me?
But when you’re not there I just crumble
I tell myself that I don’t care that much
But I feel like I’m dying till I feel your touch’
‘It feels like you’re experimenting with me!’ he says, grinning up as me as I ride his cock.
He’s not wrong. Moving slowly up and down, twisting and flexing, I am experimenting! I’m fucking him because it’s fun and I’m not afraid or trying to show off or expecting more than just sex so I’m essentially using him to learn how my body is with someone else. Discovering what feels good to me and what elicits a positive reaction from him, working out which pressure points make me come and what angles make me tingle. That’s the whole point of fucking a sex blogger, isn’t it? All the while, I am building in confidence every time I see him and he isn’t yet bored of me.
Driving home from work the next day with my mind still firmly in his bed, I laugh out loud when I hear this song for the first time. Is Paloma Faith really chastising me for thinking I can fuck him without falling for him? I almost immediately decide that I don’t care. This is too good to stop; he feels too good and I feel too good and complete and alive to stop. I prepare to be heartbroken but I still let myself fall all the way in, eagerly drinking up every part of him at every opportunity. I am a better version of me because of him and how he makes me feel about myself. I toss my glossy hair when I walk and I feel glorious!
Turn Me On
‘My Hi-fi is waiting for a new tune
My glass is waiting for some fresh ice cubes
I’m just sitting here waiting for you
To come on home and turn me on’
We are surrounded by boxes and bags and rubbish and piles of clothes and papers. Dusty glasses have been hastily rinsed and filled with wine, a strange assortment of pans have been dug out to cook supper in our new home, and suddenly Norah Jones starts singing through the Bluetooth speaker that is balanced on top of a stack of plates. I don’t know why I added it to the moving playlist; it was a departure from the other upbeat motivational songs but it had found its way onto another compilation that I was scouring for tracks so I’d added it without thinking.
And now this is the song that is playing in our chaotic new kitchen in our beautiful new flat, and I smile. He is standing behind me as I try to cook, moving my hair to kiss the back of my neck and wrapping his arms around me. As he grips my hand, I can feel the ring he gave me pressing into my skin and it gives me a jolt of happiness. It’s new enough that just looking at it makes my heart flip over in delight; I hope that never changes! Our kisses get harder with a now familiar urgency. He pulls at his belt buckle, ripping open the button fly and I drop to my knees. I swear his cock tastes better in our house! Before long, he’s dragging me to my feet and bending me over, pushing me against the kitchen surface as he fucks me from behind; the first fuck in our new home.
Fingers crossed, the first of many…