A few months ago, when the sun was still shining and everyone smelled like suntan lotion, I was ‘seeing’ a ‘gentleman’ in New York. Now, it’s fair to say this gentleman and I did not have the kind of relationship that would fill my mother with glee and have my best friend picking out hats and bridesmaid dresses. It was however the kind of relationship that filled my bedside tale with condoms and had my best friend picking out morning after cocktails for me while I regaled her with filthy, filthy tales at brunch every week. It was, in case this needed clarifying further, a good time.
Or at least it was until one day, when I was innocently minding my own business at a doctor’s appointment (unrelated to the shagging, thank Christ) and I received an email from said gentleman that said; ‘I want you to tell me your biggest, unrealised fantasy’. That was it. I hope you’ll understand that I immediately came over all unnecessary, decided everyone in the waiting room could read the email on my iPhone screen and that the doctor would refuse to treat my hayfever and cast me out on the street with a disapproving ‘Be gone, foul temptress! No overpriced American healthcare for you!’ whereupon everyone in Manhattan would shun me. Obvs, this didn’t happen. Obvs, no one gave a shit. But you’ve got to bear in mind you’re talking to someone who still gets dressed up in her ‘nice’ clothes to go to the doctor’s because if my nana found out I hadn’t put a dress and shoes on, she’d never speak to me again. She made my granddad wear a suit and tie every single time they went to the hospital, the poor bastard. I mean, imagine finally retiring from fifty years down the pit, you’ve got every illness known to man and your bloody wife makes you put on a bloody tie every time you have to go and tell some beardy bloke down the road that your bum isn’t working properly? Sorry, I digress.
Anyway, I got this email, I was all of a flutter, I forwarded it to five different friends (four girls, one gay) and I had a little think. The problem was, it was too much freedom. I am a) too much of a girl and b) too English to get an email like that and actually capitalise on it. I wanted to put in my cigarette holder and quirk an eyebrow and say ‘well, Buster, come up and see me sometime’. But no. Instead of thinking, ooh, now’s the time to get that PVC catsuit and sex swing I’ve always fancied having a go on!* my immediate reaction was ‘ooh, what will he think is sexy? How can I impress him?’ Now, with some distance on the matter, it is clear to me that I had got this all cock-eyed. He was asking me what I thought was sexy, not to second guess what I thought he might think was sexy. And the worst part was, even when I tried to think of something awesome I just couldn’t. Between you and me, it had been a while since I had, in the words of Marge Simpson, Rocked the Casbah, and I was totally at a loss as to what I wanted. What was my biggest unrealised fantasy? A grown man who didn’t have roommates? Someone calling me back when he said he would? Meeting the folks without me being pregnant first? Not trying to knock back as many off-brand well drinks as we can before happy hour ends at the age of thirty-two?
As it turned out, that day ended up being epically, life alteringly awful for reasons that we don’t need to go into just yet and so my reply probably wasn’t quite as creative as it could have been. But he did get one, I did get some and everyone’s a winner. It bothered me though. Me! Lindsey! Living the dream as a post-Sex and the City glamorous writer lady in NYC with her super hot lover giving me sexytimes carte blanche! And I had nothin’. Also, please bear in mind I make my money by writing romantic fiction. There are dirty bits in it and I only eat if people like those dirty bits. It was upsetting. I was disappointed in myself. It must be me, I thought, I’m all repressed and northern and shit at sex. I could be cute and funny and adorable but I had no idea how to do sexy. I bet everyone else in the world would have known what to do, I thought, they would have been like ‘be at my apartment at 6.05 with a jar of honey, three black feathers and two boxes of Honey Nut Loops.’ but alas, alack after (getting drunk and) talking to the girls, it turns out they all sort of felt the same. It’s 2012 and we still can’t tell someone who is offering to fulfill our wildest sexy dreams what we want in bed. And this, my friends, is why Fifty Shades of bloody Grey has been so successful. It’s both a fantasy and a shorthand. Auntie Sandra might not be able to say ‘Ooh, Bob, I’d love it if you whipped out the nipple clamps tonight and then spanked me until I called you daddy’ but she can casually leave chapter well, I don’t know what chapter, it took them so long to get it on I lost my temper but you know what I mean. What I should have done was photocopied my favourite chapters of Anais Nin (not the ones where she’s shagging her dad, REPEAT NOT THE ONES WHERE SHE’S SHAGGING HER DAD) and mailed them to him with some sort of fabulous sexy sex toy and my underwear. Right? Right? That’s sexy! I think. Probably. Anyway, I’m trying so that if and when he emails again, I’ve got a better response than ‘can we just have lots of sex please?’. And you should too. Although not if the same man emails you, I’ll be very upset and we might fall out. I like him.
But I think it’s important that we all think of something so that the next time a man asks you what your biggest unrealised fantasy is, your first instinct isn’t to reply ‘dinner and a movie?’ Even if that is in fact true.
*dear mum, this is a joke. PVC does nothing for me as we discovered when I wanted those blue iridescent bootcut trousers from New Look when I was sixteen. It’s taken me sixteen years to realise it but you were right to say no.