Erica 5th Date – The Gift

Erica 5th Date – The Gift

It’s quiet in my apartment. I laugh because I don’t know what to say. I can’t describe her, even when I try. 

I can describe Maddy – smart, outspoken, authentic, fiery, passionate, hardworking, a gifted story-teller, insecure, lovely, and intense. I can’t quite pin Erica down. 

Tonight was my 5th date with Erica. For those doing the math, that’s a lot of dates. 

She has her final presentation for her design project and has been holed up in her apartment all week working endlessly and not sleeping.

“How much did you sleep last night?” I asked her during dinner. 

“About two hours, I think.”

That was before she dropped an appetizer plate on the ground that shattered everywhere, her eyes coming to mine not embarrassed, just exhausted.

Earlier today she suggested we meet at my place and then walk to wherever we were going. I knew why she said she wanted to come over. She was taking over. My failed attempt at kissing her in front of a Lyft driver in Williamsburg diminished her trust in me. 

I am historically slow with hooking up in the beginning. For a number of reasons. I am not sexually motivated. As in, I can go months being single without feeling the need to hook up with anyone. It isn’t the thing that draws me towards someone. 

And when I do finally get in that position, my dick has a mind of its own. Will he like this person enough to be interested? I can never say, only cross my fingers during the first kiss that there is engagement.

It’s a bit stressful. Or, rather, terrifying. I can be into a person and the conversation but know in the back of my mind that we still have to go over the final hurdle. Will it be a sensational night or will it be me sitting on the couch trying to figure out how to explain to someone that it has nothing to do with them. I’m just weird. Don’t worry. It passes

It has been nearly a week since my fourth date with Erica where she denied my apparently poorly planned kiss. “You only get one chance at this…” 

I was hesitant coming into tonight. She has started texting a lot. This morning she texted, “Good morning :)” and I had to wait quite a while to respond as to not encourage those kinds of texts. A text should have a specific purpose or point to a specific topic of relevant interest or it shouldn’t be sent. “How are you?” or, “What are you up to? always results in a loss of interest. I’d rather be curious about you, knowing you’re interested and busy with your own life.

I cut Erica some slack because she’s been in isolation all week. Probably just sitting there on her laptop with her phone and needing to make connections to keep her from losing her mind. I happened to inch my way towards the top of her list and became the recipient of the Good Morning Texts. 

I told Ashley she texted that.

“Dude, you’re in some serious shit.” 

Then she told me about a note she left her LA guy on the lower left corner of his bathroom mirror after their last weekend together.

It’s always
with you. 

A move like that is bold. She left it and then never brought it up. She wasn’t fishing to be acknowledged for how interesting she was. She did it to give him a shot in the chest and to remind him that they had the power to make each other feel things.

Erica and I hung out in my apartment for a few minutes. She picked up my guitar and played some stuff she remembered from high school. Then she asked me to play. I went through some chord progressions for a few songs and she told me I was better than I let on. What a great thing to hear. Usually we are worse than we let on because men let on so goddamn loudly.

I asked if she wanted to eat. She said she probably did. Although, looking back, I think she was singularly focused on one thing during this visit and everything else was a deterrence. 

We walked in the rain, under my umbrella, to a restaurant around the block. She put her arm around my elbow so I could cover us both evenly. I felt her body merging with mine and the back of my neck and shoulders softened. We entered touch and immediately surpassed the efforts of the past four date’s conversations. 

When we got back to my door I invited her up. She said sure. It wasn’t going to be a curbside kiss.

Inside, she asked if she could DJ. I connected her phone to the bluetooth and she played Talking Heads and some jazz. We sat on the couch and listened. She was holding strong eye contact and I continued to come up with reasons to stall. If only there was a signal. Like a nod or something.

I don’t remember what we talked about. Something about our parents. How we grew up. Shit like that. Somehow, we transitioned through the gray staticy space to my hand on her back, the other one on her knee. Her sweater was soft. Her body felt small. I imagine she wore the low-cut sweater on purpose. My Hinge profile said I liked collarbones. She seems calculated despite some outward aloofness. 

I leaned my face towards hers and she leaned into me. Our heads tilted sideways right away and both her hands came to my face. I grabbed her hair and pulled her in tighter. She put her tongue into the back of my mouth and I pulled her body on top of mine. This was not a soft kiss. She took off my button down. Only it wasn’t easy because I buttoned the cuffs. She looked frustrated.

“This isn’t the movies. This shit takes time to get off,” I told her as she struggled.

She pulled my arms out one and a time. Then I took her shirt over her head. She fixed her hair right away as if anticipating how it would look after the cashmere brushed against it. 

Her stomach was flat. Her ribs fit in my hands. My undershirt came off. Our hands on each other everywhere. She reached back and grabbed me. It scared me at first. She laughed. Then she did it again. Her body was so familiar in my hands. The moment more interesting than my thoughts about it. I wasn’t going to have to awkwardly explain myself. I wanted to consume her body as she opened herself up to me. 

“You’re kinda hot,” I told her.


She pulled me on top of her and we laid together, staring at each other’s faces. I kissed her. Grabbed her neck. Pulled her head into mine. Bit her collarbone. Sucked the skin on her chest. Licked her ears.

Then she was on top of me. She pulled my belt off.

“We have to keep this PG,” she said.

I was trying to interpret her understanding of PG as my belt came through the last loop. Perhaps she was European. I was guessing no sex. And then she straddled me through our jeans and I pictured us in my bed, naked under the sheets and it was a good thought that took all the doubt away. 

“We can go to my bed and take off the rest of our clothes,” I said.

She breathed heavily into my chest, grabbed my face with her hands, and put her lips on mine with force. Then she pushed off and stood up. 

“I can’t tonight,” she said. 

We made it to our feet.

“We should get dressed,” I said like someone trying to do the right thing even thought they don’t want to at all.

Then we were walking to the subway, arms joined, umbrella under the rain. 

We kissed at the corner. We kissed at the top of the steps. She asked if I would maybe meet her in Paris for NYE. It sounded possible in the moment. Everything sounded possible. Anything to feel her breath on my neck. 

I had to walk around a few blocks after. I had the grin. What is this life? Who am I playing? Little gremlin squeals and a smile so big it turned into a laugh. No music, just walking in the rain feeling like every inch was plugged in.

Almost made me forget that our date started with her giving me a gift.

“I just wanted to give you something,” she said as she handed me a book-shaped object wrapped in brown paper. 

“Oh, thanks,” I murmured. Trying to recall my ability to act surprised on Christmas morning when I had already scoped the attic weeks before taking an inventory on all my gifts and deciding if it was pleasing or not. 

At the time of the handoff we hadn’t even kissed. Had no real knowledge of anything that was between us. And I was leaning heavily towards Maddy. Then she handed me a gift. It was a journal. Because she knew I liked to write.

“Oh, it gets worse. She left a handwritten note on the first page,” I texted Ashley. 

No,” she said.

“That’s bad,” she continued.

“What did the note say?”

“Something about fresh pages for new experiences or something. I was reading it and trying to look not totally freaked out in front of her,” I told her.

“Ok it’s bad because you’re paraphrasing it.”
“Did you open it in front of her?”
“Wow a gift.”
“A fucking gift.”

“I’m dead, huh?” I continued.

“U are not a sly guy,” she said.

“What was I supposed to do?”

“U have been way too open.” 

“Dear god this is me being slow.” 

“Well I can’t help you. You’re in the gray matter.” 


“Her love language is gifts, yikes,” Ashley continued. 

“My love language is hiding from her now.” 

I sent Ben this article because he liked staying updated on my exciting NYC dating life.

He quoted some lines and told me his favorite paragraph was the one with the grin because we can all relate.

“Then you ruin it with the fucking end cuz you do fun and cute romantic and sexual things with women but they’re not allowed to start to fall for you.”

“HAHAHAHA. True. A gift though? With a handwritten note? 5th date, Ben!”

“Ok, it’s a little much I will concede.”

“But she’s in a stressful moment of her life and you gave her something fun and she liked it so she gave you something to show you that,” he continued.

“She doesn’t have a dating rule book like you, so she just did what she felt.”

“What did I give her?!” I exclaimed.

“The dates. The dinners. The kissing. All that stuff.”

“That’s a good point. Ok. Gotta add your character into the story to counter Ashley.”

“Lol Ashley is a great character. Erica gives you a book and then you cut to a later moment on the phone with Ash and she’s like, “fucking PSYCHO.” 

I text Ashley.

“Ben is busting our balls about making fun of Erica’s gift.”

“Lol. Well it’s just too much. Why would she do that?”

“He is saying she had a tough week and I’ve been a good part of her life and take her to dinners and on dates and she wanted to do something for me.”

“Oh…that’s a good perspective.”

I sat waiting for her punchline, but it never came.  


Everything will always be like this for me. Slow slow slow and then all at once. Distant until I’m in the center of the spiral trying to absorb it all. 

“Well, I may not be sleeping tonight,” she texted me when she got home.

“I’m not sure if that’s from your project or what just happened but I had to walk around the block for an extra twenty minutes before coming back into my apartment.” 

“I don’t know where to put this energy right now,” she added. 

“I cannot believe we didn’t end up in my bed. You are a zen master,” I told her.

“And that was just a basic kiss,” she said. 

Erica is in the mix. 

4 Replies to “Erica 5th Date – The Gift”

  1. My friend told me to check out your blog and I enjoyed some of your other entries and your writing, but this is hypocritical comparatively. I did something similar giving a small gift to my husband after several dates. He found it genuine and made me stand out from the rest. I don’t see the integrity of trying to sleep with someone and then bash on them afterwards. Or, how a holiday gift is more intimate than sex and would only be ok after a woman puts out. Maybe it’s that I’m 35 and too old to get this rulebook. I just wouldn’t want my daughter in this situation or called names for a man’s fear of intimacy.

    1. of course these are just stories and moments in time. if you judge the entirety of a person in one moment then it would be easy to make me whatever you wanted. and that’s okay because that has more to do with you than with me. i think the point for me is to share my experiences as i am having them knowing full well that my thoughts are not always good and my behavior isn’t always noble. part of being human and being honest with myself, even if it means publishing something where i am outwardly showcasing an indifference towards intimacy. would rather do that than pretend to be someone i’m not. and for the record, i didn’t go on and try to sleep with her 😉

      and with regards to gift you gave your husband – you probably already felt into a really strong vibe and connection and in that case i would’ve been excited and honored to receive the gift.

  2. Woah, wild story! I have to ask…do all these women know you are writing about them like this and they are ok with it? It’s pretty intimate…

    1. yes and no. they all know i keep a regular blog and share very personal details about me and the people in my life. some are okay with it, some neutral, some don’t like it at all. that’s why i change names and exclude specific details about names of friends or places of work. in the end, every single story/film/song we’ve ever ingested comes from someone else’s experiences and the people in their lives. i do my best not share things that could have a detrimental impact on someone’s life – such as hardcore details about their past or family, etc.

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