Too many mornings after a one-night stand
Life, as the saying goes, begins at 40. Not for me. By the time I hit 40, I felt that my life had ended. That was around the time that I separated from my wife, the sordid details of which I am going to spare you. That was six years ago, and my wife and I, though we're still separated, have remained friends, and we would go out with the kids on major occasions.
But the first three years after the breakup was hell. To borrow a line I overheard recently in a TV cop show as I was taking a bath: "The pain goes away, but not the loneliness."
It took that long for me to get over the pain, which I tried to drive away by doing one of the worst things a man, or for that matter a woman, can do after a breakup – which is to sleep around.
The one-night stands certainly eased some of the pain, but the mornings-after underscored the loneliness more. That's why I stopped doing it. Well, after about nine women. After all, I was a highly sexual man suddenly deprived of sex.
But it was not all about sex. Part of it was curiosity. I had never in my entire life slept around, not even when I was unattached. And certainly not while I was still with my wife – and she herself could vouch for that. I had been a faithful husband.
Anyway, at the back of my mind, the journalist in me was also thinking the experience might give me good material that I could later use for my writing. Which is why you're reading this now.
I picked the women randomly through SMS chatting and engaged them in what's called a sex eyeball or SEB. They ranged in age from 19 to 35.
The first was the most trouble. Berna was 25, a hotel and restaurant management senior at an all-girls university, and a single mom. Or so she said.
After the customary text exchanges, she let me pick her up at the hotel in Manila where she was doing OJT and we went straight to a nearby motel. Steamy sex. Literally steamy, because as we were doing it standing up under the shower, I accidentally got hold of the hot-water knob and twisted it and almost scalded us to death. I thought I was going to pass out.
Like a porn star
We met a few more times. This was sometime around December, and one night Berna texted and wanted me to pick her up as she lived in a village near my father's, with whom I had moved in shortly after moving out of my in-laws house, where my wife and I lived.
She wanted me to drive her to midnight Mass, the misa de gallo. So I borrowed my father's car and picked her up at the corner of her street. When we got to the church in her village, she told me to drive further past the church and turn into a road beside it.
That turned out to be a dead-end. We parked. She didn't really want to hear mass. We did it in the backseat, and we could clearly hear the priest saying mass. At least, I could here the priest. Berna was huffing and puffing and grunting so loudly she couldn't have heard anything else.
She would go at it like a frustrated porn star. At another time while we were doing it, she started muttering a lot of lines, like she had a porn script memorized, and I felt like we were on a movie set with lights blaring and cameras rolling away. I was so turned off I could barely keep myself from yelling: Cut!
And then after a few more meetings I started wondering why she didn't want to let me visit her at home. Strict mother, she said. But I was thinking: If she's a single mom, wouldn't her own mother be glad someone was visiting her who didn't mind that she had a kid?
Then I realized my mistake. I had given her my father's landline number. One night she called. I was out with the kids, and my brother, that idiotic horny guy, talked to her and even gave the address to the house, thinking that he could score with her.
When I arrived, after having taken the kids back to their mother, I was so surprised and angry at my brother. The girl was helping out in the kitchen with my stepmother, my father's third wife (but that's another story).
Well, so many mid-mornings after that I would wake up and the girl would be there helping out in the kitchen. I wasn't looking for another domestic partner that soon. And even if I were looking, she wasn't exactly the one I would pick. It was unnerving.
My father, a liberal guy who understood me more than any other relative, was slightly amused at the situation. But he said nothing, just sat around with that amused smirk on his lips – even when the girl decided to sleep over on several occasions.
Then I really felt the trap closing in on me.
Then one night – a night when Berna decided not to show up – the phone rang. A woman's voice said: "Who's this please?" So I told her my name and asked for hers, which she gave.
And she said: "Do you know Berna?" And I said yes.
"I'm her mother," the woman said.
She said she had gone through all the numbers in the phone bill and I was the only one who answered her call. She was almost crying when she told me how her daughter had run up cell phone bills amounting to P18,000, and how she suspected her of maybe doing phone sex and even meeting guys for sex.
"Did something happen between you and Berna?" she asked.
"Ah, yes," I said.
"Did she tell you she's married?" the mother said.
"What? She said she was a single mother," I said. "She didn't say she was married."
"Well, she is, and her husband is in the US Navy and he's abroad," she said. And then she suddenly wailed: "Oh why, why do you think my daughter is doing this?"
"I really wouldn't know," I said. "She's your daughter."
And after a pause, I raised my voice a bit and said: "Will you please keep your daughter away from me? Please? She's been coming here to my father's house almost every day and acting like she's my wife. And now I learn that's she's married. She could have gotten me into trouble with her husband without me knowing anything about it."
"Okay, okay," she said. "I'm sorry for all this. I'll talk to her."
"Thank you," I said.
"Thank you for being so frank," she said, and hung up.
To my great relief I never heard from Berna again.
I should have stopped right then and there. But no. Like an addict, I went back to texting in search of other girls. And I was amazed to discover that it was so easy – too easy – to find girls who wanted sex without having to go through the trouble of finding a boyfriend or else wanted to lure a potential boyfriend with sex.
I managed to find eight other partners, if I remember correctly. I can't even remember all their names, if in fact what they gave me were their real names. And that's just what got to me eventually – the coldness of it all. After you've made love to so someone you really care about everything else less than that would feel empty.
What finally firmed up my decision to swear off casual sex was when I met Katherine, again through texting. She was a 25-year-old assistant manager at a branch of a fast food chain, and she had a sense of humor, which I liked in a girl.
After so many nights of exchanging text messages, she said she was falling for me and would I want try and have a relationship with her. A real one. So I said we should meet first so we could size up each other. I decided to drop in on her at the restaurant.
We liked each other on sight. Katherine insisted that she wanted ME as her boyfriend, despite my repeated warnings that I was still married, at least technically, and that I had two daughters I still had to be responsible for.
I had to stress these things because she was the only child, and I dreaded how her parents would react to their one and only daughter having fallen for man who not only was married and had kids but also much older – she was even younger than my wife who was then 30.
We were happy for maybe six months, at the end of which she went to Baguio with some of her friends for a weekend holiday. When she became back, we met at the bar we usually hung out in. It was obvious to me at once that something was amiss. She was cold.
To cut a messy conversation short, she finally asked if we could just keep being friends.
And in my shock, all I could blurt out was: "What? Why? You mean you only wanted me for the sex? If you had said that in the first place it wouldn't be so bad, because I wouldn't have expected more. Why did you have to let me fall for you?"
Well, we sorted that out eventually. Ironically, it was the warning I kept repeating that brought her to her senses. We agreed to be friends, and to this day she would text me from time to time to say hello.
But in retrospect, I think her decision – a sharp slap in my face – marked the start of my recovery from a failed marriage. - GMANews.TV
Pancho Blanco is the pseudonym of a 40-something journalist