The first time I read this sexy piece, a few years ago, I was repulsed by the author’s memorable scene involving his lover’s panties. At least I thought I was repulsed. I know now that I had repackaged the jealousy I felt into something more manageable. I was dying — emotionally, psychologically, sexually — in a bad marriage and I had written off sexual fulfillment as something that happened to other people. I knew people had hot sex — I remembered having hot sex — but I just didn’t want to hear about it.
Flash forward a few years: this same piece that used to repulse me now delights me. I love how blogger William Quincy Belle captures the erotic charge he shared for a decade with an older, powerful woman, and how that relationship remains one of the most meaningful in his life. Age, money, status — the things that separate us in the “real” world — fall away in the bedroom. The mystery and magic of great sex is that it can erupt between two people who don’t seem to belong together.
As it did with 30-year-old William Belle and his 43-year-old lover.
* * *
I was 30. She was nearly 43. I was a student at university and poor. She was financially independent and didn’t need to work. I had nothing. She owned a triplex, living in one unit and renting the other two out. I lived in a small dorm room on campus. She had a gorgeous apartment stylishly decorated. I was going back to university to change careers after spending my twenties working. She had married her high school sweetheart and had a baby. Her husband, a promising executive, was killed in a car crash leaving her with a substantial insurance settlement. Her baby, born severely handicapped both mentally and physically and requiring care 24 hours a day, died at the age of nine. The only thing we shared was that we were both single and unattached. We didn’t even have the same mother tongue. She was French and I was English, an Anglophone learning the language while trying to get a diploma.
Lorraine (not her real name) was the most experienced, experimental, and sensual creature I have ever known. She could give lessons. Maybe she should give lessons. I have heard over the years the joke (maybe it’s serious) of how a man compares the women he meets or even his wife to his mother. This is a case where all should be compared to Lorraine.
Why would a woman who is financially independent, who is up the social ladder, want anything to do with a university student who didn’t have two pennies to rub together? I asked her. She explained that men her own age were traditionalists. They were pompous, controlling, and sometimes unkind. They had an agenda and they were ofttimes on a power trip. Younger men were different. Yes, I wasn’t the first and I wasn’t the last.
I wasn’t pompous. I had nothing to be pompous about. I wasn’t controlling. I had no power. I was kind because, well, because I am kind. We were sort of equals. We were fellow travelers on this voyage called life and she thought it would be pleasant if we held hands as we voyaged a bit together.
Was this some sort of one-time fling? A flight of fancy? We were together for almost ten years and I guess the best explanation is that eventually I turned left and she turned right. I know that when it comes to affairs of the heart, we seem to look upon anything that doesn’t last forever as a failure. However, I would point out that my vacation doesn’t last forever but that doesn’t mean my vacation wasn’t a success.
* * *
As I said, her apartment was stylish. She had her bed set diagonally into one corner. Instead of a headboard, she had a triangular table but this unusual arrangement made sense. She had a round hole about a meter across (3 feet) cut into the wall at waist level, a hole which directly connected the bedroom to the kitchen. One of us would go into the kitchen to prepare a morning coffee and a croissant, then pass the plates from the kitchen through the wall and place them directly on this triangular table. We would lie in bed propped up on pillows eating and drinking from the table.
And the coffee? None of that brewed stuff. This was espresso, café au lait, and I learned the fine art from the master, ah, mistress. I used a small handheld machine to freshly grind the beans and spooned out the powder into the little metal container that you secure in place by turning a wooden handle. I pressed the button that put the device into action which pushed boiling hot water through the container and through the coffee grounds to drip out into the cup. I would separately steam heat some milk by holding a cup full of milk under a nozzle which let hot steam bubble up in the milk. I would pour the now hot milk in with the coffee and spoon out some foam to cover the surface of the mixture. Then for a treat I would sometimes shake cinnamon over the foam. This wasn’t coffee; this was an event.
The keyword for this whole relationship (Should I say affair?) was “experience”. I know anybody reading this is going to do a wink wink nudge nudge, titillated by all sorts of mental images of wild sex, just because they are thinking of the word “sex”. But I would return to the word “experience” as more representative of our relationship: massage, bubble baths, dancing naked in the living room, and yes, melted chocolate and strawberries.
When I said earlier that she was experimental, I wonder if she was experimental because she felt more comfortable with me. We all come to the table with our own baggage. We have not only our own expectations, but our own ideas of how we should behave. Do we stick to those preconceptions or are we willing to open up and try something new? I wondered about the men her age. Massage? Too feminine. Bubble baths? Too gay. Melted chocolate? Too touchy-feely. Let’s skip the preliminaries and get straight to the ejaculation so I can roll over and fall asleep. Too bad because the old Chinese proverb is true: the journey is the reward.
* * *
It was Christmas and the tradition was that her older uncle (in his 60s), the de facto head of the family, took everyone out for a dress-up feast at a restaurant. I wore a three-piece suit and Lorraine was wearing one of her finest. She could afford a fabulous wardrobe. Just as we were going to walk out the door, Lorraine hesitated, then hiked up her dress and reached underneath.
“Qu’est-ce que tu fais?” (What are you doing?)
She pulled down her panties and stepped out of them. After picking them up, she neatly folded the panties over and stuffed them into the breast pocket of my suit. I now had a sharp looking lace handkerchief, just the type of accoutrement any well dressed gentleman should be sporting.
For the entire meal at the restaurant then for dessert and drinks at the uncle’s place in front of her entire family, we exchanged conspiratorial smiles during one of the most playful, naughty, and truly erotic evenings I have ever had in my life. I don’t know what inspired her or where she would have gotten the idea but in retrospect I would make it mandatory for any couple married or otherwise. You may read this and think it’s stupid or childish, but I will tell you that it sparks the imagination and lets your fancy take flight. The brain truly is our biggest sex organ and if you can arouse it, the physical will follow.
Lorraine has now been with the same man for nearly twenty years. He was the younger man who came after me and oddly enough, he is younger than me. I was twelve and half years younger than her. I believe this man is fifteen years her junior. I am turning 60 shortly and right now, my cougar is 73. Seems funny doesn’t it, referring to her with the word cougar? Then again at my age it’s a little hard to think of the term “boy toy” although I am still partial to “stud muffin”.
Vacations don’t last forever but that doesn’t mean vacations aren’t good. Affairs of the heart, which admittedly usually don’t end smoothly, don’t have to be considered failures just because they don’t last forever. Of course, one could argue that anything which burns intensely isn’t meant to burn forever so it’s a foregone conclusion that sooner or later, like a vacation, you’re going to have to pack up and go home.
Lorraine is happy. She is in a secure and stable place. She has a good man and I wish her all the best in life. We still exchange the occasional email and I think of her from time to time, not as a long lost love, but as an influential experience, something which happened at a time and a place by a fortuitous confluence of events that can never be duplicated.
There’s a quote attributed to the actress Lucille Ball: “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” I, for one, have no regrets about what we didn’t do: in praise of an older woman.
William Quincy Belle blogs about sex, divorce, politics, movies, books, women, his .02 cents and much more. If you don’t know him, you should.