Picking up our story, Vince and Ivey (at Vince's suggestion) rejoin the Swinger website, pay their money (again!) and start to scan the photos and profiles.
Now I don't know about you folks that are actively looking for people to meet up with on the sites, but I feel like I'm looking for a ruby in a mountain of rocks. The fact is, most of the pics folks post absolutely fucking baffle me: crass pussy shots, VERY unattractive "action" photos, bizarre costumes from theme parties (What is this? Junior High for the over-sexed?). Or, odder still, photos of their cars, boats, motorcycles, and pets. W.T.F.
But I guess my prime objection is the extreme lack of artistry. Not every picture needs to be Annie Leibovitz, for God's sake, but at least make an effort! Weeding out the bad writers and spellers is a no brainer. If you can't string a sentence together and can't figure out why it matters, then I have no problem clicking the "delete" button and moving on. But if you seem sincere, yet the way you choose to present yourself in the world is -- damn, what's the right word? Cheap? Colorless? Thoughtless? -- unimaginative, then you are definitely NOT like me.
But, alas, the folks "like us," at least on our site, seem few and far between. Sigh.
Anyway, one day a greeting shows up in our in-box that is reasonably well written and the couple is in our desired age-range of late-30s to mid-40s. They'd opened their private album to us so we could see their faces, which we appreciated. On the downside, the woman was not photogenic AT ALL. On the very downside THE LIVE IN OUR SMALL TOWN.
Now when it comes to attractiveness, I'm pretty easy to please. As long as the guy falls within certain parameters (e.g. not too fat, not too thin, not too short, and there's no such thing as too tall for me) personality is what revs my engines. But the lady was not only unattractive to both of us but again, some of the choices were odd. In one shot, she was holding a drink, bleach-blond ringlets stuck to her face, and droopy eyes that one usually only sees only on the super-snockered.
Furthermore, I'm sure I mentioned before that Vince is a private guy. The thought that there is even a remote possibility of our would-be-swinger world and vanilla world colliding can make the man hyperventilate. To make matter worse, we are pretty well known around here and by that, I mean we're on a first name basis with the Mayor and Commissioners, every restaurant and bar owner, and pretty much all the local movers and shakers. We can't grab a cup of coffee without running into at least five to ten people we know.
This leads us to why we changed our mind about Bill and Reanne.
One morning we're grabbing breakfast at one of our local cafe's when Vince points and says, "Don't be obvious, but I think that's the guy from the website over there."
Turning around, I say "Where?"
"Jesus, Ivey, didn't I just say don't turn around?!"
"No," I reply, "you said don't be obvious which I didn't take to mean don't look in the direction you were obviously pointing."
A few tables away, it was the guy and let me tell you, the lady was transformed. She was gorgeous in person with a killer body, rich brown hair, and a fantastic laugh and smile. In person, he was still within my parameters and the fact that he was making Ms. Luscious laugh, well, that just added some points to his score.
But y'all caught that, right? Bleach-blond in the photo: brunette in person? I swear, all I thought ws "Good choice, honey. The Ms. Clairol poster-child look was definitely NOT good for you." What. An. Idiot.
So now we're all, "Maybe we were too hasty." And, "Maybe we should reconsider." And my all time favorite, "Let's hit 'em up."
Let me pause for a moment to add that this event occurred before we discovered Hubman's blog and his and Veronica's excellent "Swing Shift" series. If you're new to the idea of Swinging, you owe it to yourself to read this first. I sure as fuck wish we had.
We composed our response as a team effort. We didn't want to appear over-eager. We didn't want to give the impression that we were flakes. We further didn't want to give them the impression that we were anything other than inexperienced newbies. (I'd add that our profile makes that quite clear.) We sent the email. Within hours, Bill's response came back, pretty much addressed exclusively to me.
Again, it was fairly well-written and filled in some new information. Bill also taught me how to enter into a private chat room and I experienced my first on-line flirtation. I LOVED it. It was naughty and fun at the same time. However, not to be rude or anything, it wouldn't have mattered who the person was. I was enjoying the action, not the person. It didn't take long for red flags to start popping up on the screen.
"You are wayyyyyy cute!" Thanks. "Are you all natual?" Not sure what you mean. "Are your boobs real? I hate fake boobs." The real deal. "Yeah, I like my women ALL real ALL the way. Reanne's all natural, Except she's smooth where she should be, LOL, ya know." Okay.
Now I'm a total virgin at on-line flirty chat and I have no idea what's normal in this type of social scenario, so I don't know if he's being too much or if I'm being a prude. But other things were a bit more disconcerting. He asked multiple times what Vince and my limits were even after I told him that a) we hadn't fine-tuned that yet and b) it didn't really matter since we don't do anything on a first date anyway.
Bill: "I just want to know what I can expect."
Me: "Other than to show up, have a nice diner, then everyone go home, it would be wise to have no expectations."
I finally got to chat with Reanne ("Yeah, you girls should talk.") and she ran another red flag up the pole when she shared a story about the two of them taking a 4-day trip to a swinger's resort in the Caribbean. Apparently, Bill found a women he was crazy for but Reanne and the other husband weren't really into each other. Never-the-less, Bill spent the next 2 days with the wife and essentially ignored Reanne who had a rotten weekend. The story was offered as an example of why neither of them is willing to take one for the team. Later, I thought it was curious that the story was presented as essentially "her fault" for taking the hit rather than "his fault" for essentially being a dick to his wife.
Anyway, if Vincent and I had been more conscious, then perhaps we would have pulled the plug at this point but instead, we set a date and time to meet. After all, we'd been chatting for days, weren't we obligated to at least meet with them?
Let the cascading cluster-fuck begin.
First, they wanted to go to our local, and very popular, Irish pub. Remember the last "date" Vince and I had where our unconventional conversation gave the waiter hives and brought Vince to the brink of a heart attack? We still haven't been back there and we loved that place. I made our desire for discretion very clear to Bill.
"Oh, we are NOTHING if not DISCRETE! :)!"
Second, Vince and I arrived a little early and decided to have a drink to, ya know, calm our nerves.
After about ten minutes at the bar, they arrive. As soon as we saw them, I felt Vince wince; there was no attractive brunette. The woman who walked in looked exactly like she did in her pictures. (To be fair and accurate, it isn't that the woman is hideous, she just isn't attractive and is, in fact, unattractive to us.) We found out later that the woman at breakfast was just a jogging buddy. Well, don't I feel like the perfect fool. I tried to control my own wince-reflex and I'm sure failed miserably.
Next, Bill yelled at what seemed like the top of his lungs, "Oh my God! You are sooooo gorgeous!! You look even better in person than your web photos!!!" So much for discretion. "Wow! You're hot! Reanne, isn't she hot?"
Someone shoot me in the head. Please.
There were no merciful and armed patrons to fulfill my wish so instead we found a pretty good table in an out-of-the-way alcove. We sat around the table -- Vince and I next to each other, Bill across from me and Reanne directly opposite Vince -- and immediately ordered a couple of bottles of wine and some food. And then a round of beers.
We soon discovered that Reanne is a vegan, which made their suggestion of an Irish pub kinda odd. There's nothing that even resembles vegan fare on the menu. Why would you choose a restaurant where pretty much every dish includes a side of corned beef? It appears that it gives her something to bitch about -- the quality of the food in particular and the culinary habits of the South in general. Sepaking of, we soon discovreed, through Reanne's elocution, that pretty much every goddmn thing ever concieved of is better "up North."
Ladies and gentlemen, I am a Southerner to my core (as evidenced by my thick accent which gets thicker with booze), which means I can politely smile in your face and nod my head while you say pretty much any damn thing. I can be gracious even when someone is thoughtlessly insulting my kin, clan, culture, and cuisine. However, I'm also well traveled and smart enough to know that there are, from time to time and place to place, stupid people, bad food, and inclement weather pretty much everywhere.
I turned my attention to the less offensive conversation from Bill and abandoned my northern born husband to Reanne's constant litany of complaints. Bill, on the other hand, is nothing if not complimentary. "Wow, you're smart AND beautiful." What? Are they mutually exclusive? "Vince is a lucky, lucky man. I hope to be so lucky." I think he meant that as a compliment to me and not an insult to Reanne. We're all now on our fourth or fifth round of drinks.
Suddenly, across the pub, in walks a colleague of mine.
"Ricky!" Vince yells across the crowded room. I thought he was about to add "for the love of God, man, save me!" but instead he waved him over. It turns out Ricky was meeting up with some more mutual friends and was also a bit early. "Well then, join us!"
Oh. My. God. I'm wondering exactly how this new develoment is supposed to help the situation but I'm now three sheets to the wind and not thinking too clearly. So, Ricky plops himself in a chair at the head of the table and orders a pint. Rounding out the party, we've got enthusiastic-eager-beaver Bill, bleach-blond and bitchy Reanne, what-the-fuck-have-I-done-to-deserve-this Vincent, and oh-my-god-I-can't-believe-we're-actually-here Ivey.
And it's about to get worse.
The conversation goes on. We introduce Ricky around and now we're talking about why he's here, who he's meeting, and what they're doing. Vincent and I both feel a wave of relief as the conversation returns to something less irritating to me ("They don't know how to cook in the South 'cause these people don't know how to eat in the South!) and less indiscrete to Vince ("Fucking other people is really a great hobby. Hey, who wants to keep all this greatness to themselves, am I right?")
Suddenly, under the table, I feel Bill's naked foot sliding up and down my leg. Offered as an explation, but not as an excuse, I was shit-faced. I remember thinking both "wow, that feels good" and "damn, that's annoying" but it never occured to me to MOVE MY LEGS.
Next, after a vat and a half of vino, Vincent's bladder and patience can bear it no longer and he gets up to go to the men's room. The moment the door closed, Bill leapt from his seat and came around and sat in Vince's chair. Finally, some presence of mind returned:
Me: "If Vince comes back and you're in his chair, he won't be happy."
Bill: laughing, "Come on, he's fine."
Me: "I mean it. This won't be cool."
Bill: befuddled, "Seriously?"
Me: "As a heart attack."
This went back and forth a few more times until, as Vincent approached the table, Bill got up, pickle-pussed and pouty-faced, and returned to his side of the table and immediately resumed the footsie thing.
Me: to Vince, "You ready to go?"
Vince: "Yep. Check please!"
We said goodbye to Reanne and Bill in the parking lot and recklessly drove our drunken asses' home, about ten minutes away.
With very poor timing, I told Vince about the footsie.
"And you didn't stop him?! Jesus, Ivey! What the fuck?"
Vince is pissed, not jealous, because from his point of view the chair and footsie thing showed a total lack of respect. He feels that Bill should have somehow overtly gotten the go-ahead from hime before Bill took the liberty of a) touching his wife or b) changing seats. I feel like and ass about the footsie thing because I realize it gave Bill a mixed signal but I'm still confused at the seat thing because I thought nothing went forward until the wives gave the mutual okay.
Surprisingly, we make it home safe and sound and decide to call it a night. We're not mad at each other but realize that we made way too many mistakes and don't feel like working through them in our state. We check email one last time and there's this:
Bill: "Call us! :)!"
We went to bed.
the next afternoon, after chatting through the events of the previous evening, we decided not only were we not going forward with this couple, but we also needed to regroup again. I sent the following email:
"Thanks for an interseting and lively evening! We talked it over and while we certainly had some fun moments last night, we aren't ready to move forward at this point. Too much unresolved "drama" on our end. :) Thanks for joining us on this short leg of our journey and we wish you both the best. Warmest regards -- Ivey and Vincent"
Within hours, the emails started. "What did we do? Call us." "We thought it went so well. Didn't you have fun?" "We are very confused. We need to talk."
This went on for several days until finally, one day I was on our site and Bill IM'd me. Vince was in the room and we decided I should answer.
Me: Ivey here.
Bill: So what happened?
Me: We just didn't feel it was a good four-way fit.
Bill: Was that your idea or Vince's?
Me: Not going there. LOL
Bill: Just wondering who pulled the plug.
Me: That's between me and the Hubs.
Bill: Well, we kinda felt the same.
Me: For us, learning to give and accept "thanks but no thanks" is part of the learning process that we're still going through.
Me: I'm sorry if I'm doing this poorly. Didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings.
Bill: OK. See you around. Bye.
A few days later, we did see them again in our little town. Reanne and my eyes met but neither of us acknowledge the moment and just kept going where we were going.
And there ends the tale of Bill and Reanne.
Vincent and I made a ton of mistakes as well as did a few things right -- we at least made it home alone and together! Some of the lessons learned include:
- If your gut tells you something is wrong or your'e not attracted, go with it. Don't try to talk youself or your spouse out of the initial reaction.
- Expect people to look like their photo (or worse) beacuse folks don't suddenly become better looking.
- Have a "get me the fuck out of here code word and a plan for how to do it!
- Too much alcohol NEVER improves the situation. (In my case, I've decided to go completely alcohol free on first dates, Meet and Greets, and clubs.)
- We don't owe anybody anything. We want to be polite and kind, but when it's time to pull the plug, just fuckin' pull it.
For you more experienced folks out there, we also still have a couple of unresolved questions and would appreciate getting your opinion:
- Vince want's to know if he's right about the protocol and was Bill out of line. Should Bill have, in essence, gotten Vince's permission to touch my leg or change seats? (Vince also want's you to know he's Itailian and wondering if he's over-reacting to the "respect" issue.)
- I'm wondering if I'm right about the wives talking to each other and the husbands looking to us for guidance BEFORE anyone get's all touchy-feely. How does that type of communication, between the couples, generally take place?
Tune in next time for Our First Meet and Greet: or OMG, a hot chick is FINALLY touching Ivey's boobs!