I had a terrible crush. He was the café guy. You know, the café I went to every morning. I would plonk down on the plush red leather that lined those incredibly charming booths, and I would pretend not to look at him while I tapped away at my keyboard like a good little freelancer. It was one of those things where you know the guy’s looking at you too, but you both keep looking away just in the nick of time, so the other person can never fully ascertain they’re right.
He was less alpha than the other guys at the café; they had a bit of thing going at Spiro’s Coffee: only the hottest, chattiest, most Mediterranean/Greek/Italian men in their 30s and 40s seemed to be allowed to work there. These espresso slinging hotties had my vote. But Nick, there was something different about him. Don’t get me wrong, I loved all the dudes at Spiro’s. It’s just that Nick had some kind of otherworldly kindness and depth in his giant green eyes, and I was a serious sucker for kindness and depth, in spite of my filthy mind and hungry body. A golden heart could still stop me in my tracks. A real romantic could pluck my heartstrings and find a poem waiting there. I was open. Always had been.
Of course, he was also hot as fuck: impeccable posture, tall, broad shoulders, dark brown hair, a short, trimmed beard of the same shade that offset his deep green eyes, and he moved slowly and deliberately, always, with mindfulness and calm ease. Everything he did seemed skilled and accurate: refilling the espresso machine, restocking the soft drinks, cleaning the display case. Did I mention he’s also a personal trainer? Yeah, his business cards are displayed on the counter. As he kneeled to rearrange the date squares I would imagine he was kneeling to, uh, correct my form.
So Nick and me, we played the staring game for months. I chatted up all the guys, as was par for the course, and flirted with them, too—low-level. That was also par for the course. One time, when Nick was making my coffee (and my, did he make a good coffee), he told me how rough it was growing up in Greece, as one of two brothers, said something about how they were always taught to resolve their conflicts with physical violence. He imparted this information in passing, jokingly, and in the context of some broader happening in the café that day, but I have no recollection of what that context was, because all I could do was decide I loved him.
Yes, it’s ridiculous. Maybe it’s because I’d decided to stop being attracted to alpha assholes and slutty musicians. Maybe it’s because I’d decided to look further and see more.
At the same time as I pined over Nick and frequented the café and its wifi while always making sure to look as unabashedly gorgeous as I could, in warm oranges and bright reds, I took breaks from my career as a freelance blogger to scroll and troll the rows upon filthy rows of Craigslist hunters—you know, the personals ads. Those of you who spend any time at all online in this day and age know that personals are no longer the pseudo-romantic and awkwardly self-conscious self-summaries of yesteryear. On the contrary, they’ve become multi-headed tirades that let it all hang out. They’ve become NSA sex and kink listings, for the most part.
So I explored. It was entertaining, gross, sexy, telling. Distracting. Some people were looking for their fucking soulmates, but many more were looking for someone to cum on their face, or pee in their mouth, or choke on their cock.
Between writing blogs on fitness, product descriptions for car parts, and articles on new condos, I eyed Nick and read the personals. The combo felt very naughty.
This one caught my eye:
Hot-blooded 38-year old man seeks similarly hot-blooded woman to come over to my house and clean it from top to bottom…naked while I watch. Supplies provided. Please reply with a picture of your body.
I laughed out loud, practically snorting my coffee in the process. I had posted an ad once, while bored, offering this same kind of cleaning service. I had done that a lot in the past—posted ads I never intended to follow through on. It was just fun, and arousing to read the insane spectrum of responses, and even engage some of them with headless nude photos of myself before ultimately disengaging because the prospect of actually meeting was usually too sketchy in one way or another.
Nick was suddenly right there, wiping off the table next to me. I grew hot in the face and hoped he hadn’t looked over and caught sight of the ad, brazenly displayed as it was on my screen. We smiled at each other; I think I was the one who initiated the smile, trying to appear smooth, as I rapidly and casually opened a new window.
Collecting my empty mug, he said, “What are you working on?”
“Oh, just writing an article on the benefits of acupressure,” I responded, without missing a beat. “Easy to get distracted, though,” I added, with another smile.
He raised his eyebrows playfully and his eyes seemed to glitter at me as he returned with the dirty dishes. As he stood rinsing the cups at the sink behind the counter, I imagined moving up behind him and throwing my arms around his waist, slowly kissing his muscular back, as my hands traveled slowly down…
Whew, I most definitely had issues focusing on my work while I was there, but it was still my favorite office—and I always got shit done in the end, so whatever.
Later that day, at home, after my work was actually done, I responded to the ad that had caught my eye:
I’m 30, and great around the house—always have been. ☺ Picture attached.
Very simple. And I attached a photo of myself totally naked, in nothing but this pair of tan suede cowgirl boots I felt silly about wearing with actual clothing, in the actual world. And my face was not included, don’t worry.
Within ten minutes, I had a reply.
My goddess, you have a stunning body. You’re perfect. Jesus Christ. I take it you’re comfortable being naked.
I am. Can I ask why you want someone to clean your house naked? Are you expecting something more out of this?
I did that, I answered Craigslist ads and tried to glean psychological insight on people—which I usually managed to do. Call me a writer.
I’m horny and I’m busy, simple as that. But no, I’ll pay you for the actual cleaning and I don’t expect anything more than the visuals.
We chatted back and forth into the night, no joke. I hadn’t really intended on engaging for too long, and I certainly hadn’t intended to go take off my clothes for a stranger and clean naked, in close proximity to harsh chemicals. Just saying. But as I got to know the anonymous guy (he did send me hot, fully clothed body shots of himself), the thought of bending down low to scrub those hard-to-reach corners of a bathtub with the feeling of his eyes on my slit as I worked started to get me really, really wet. The thought of his gaze tracing the contours of my breasts as I knelt to make his oven shine again, or the shape of my ass as I cleaned his mirror. I imagined I could see him in its reflection, behind me. Staring, and maybe stroking himself.
He liked animals, he was funny, he was sweet, he was filthy. He’d broken up with his girlfriend a few months earlier. I felt he was perfect. I just hadn’t seen his, um, face yet, or met the guy. The stupidity of internet sex and love never escapes me, trust me, but I was taken, and wanted badly to meet him. He didn’t want to send a face pic, and wasn’t asking for mine either, but he was more than willing to meet and see if we might strike a mutually beneficial arrangement wherein he paid me good money twice a month to clean his apartment, and in return, got to jerk off while I was doing it. I imagined that if I was in any way attracted to the guy when I met him, this whole experience would leave me dripping wet and dying to be fucked, and I wondered how we might both navigate this, but I decided to cross that bridge when I got to it, so I went ahead and set a meeting.
He didn’t live far. Very close by, actually. It was incredibly convenient, and made me all the more excited about the prospect that things could actually work out quite nicely. At the very least, I might have a new and fun way to make some extra cash, I thought to myself.
I insisted on meeting him in public first, as per my safety standards. So we met at this tiny little hole-in-the-wall bar just a block from my place that I had never noticed even existed, but which he suggested for its discreteness. The guy sure was discreet.
It was 6pm, still light out, and mild outside. I wore a denim jacket over a tight white tank top, and a flared skirt: magenta. My long, dark, wavy hair was freshly washed and looked fantastic. No underwear. Whenever I can help it, I like to go commando. Besides, it seemed underwear were beside the point here. I had just been waxed the day before. I was ready. I felt sexy. Sexy enough to convince him to invest in natural cleaning products, I hoped.
I walked into the bar. No one was there except one old man playing the slot machine, and one old woman tending bar. I decided to take a seat at the bar, and ordered a scotch. As I sat sipping, I fell into somewhat of a reverie and time slipped by. Suddenly I realized my drink was almost finished. Where was he? I glanced behind me in both directions. Checking my phone, it seemed I’d been there 20 minutes already. Hmmm. No messages.
“You waiting for someone?” asked the barmaid.
“Yeah, sort of…. a date, I guess, but I think he may’ve stood me up,” I grimaced lightly.
“Well, a guy did just walk in and go to the bathroom,” she said. “Hard to see from where you’re sitting. Not sure he saw you.”
That’s when the bathroom door swung open. I turned to look. He was lean, he was built, and, as my eyes moved up to meet his, I saw that this wasn’t my date at all, but Nick! Personal trainer Nick from Spiro’s!
“Hi!” I said, smiling. “Fancy meeting you here.” I knew then that if my “date” showed up, we’d have to move out of Nick’s earshot.
“Uh, hey,” he smiled back, eyes shifting around the room. He took a seat at the bar about two removed from me.
“You waiting for someone?” he asked.
“Yeah, but I think he’s a no-show. You?”
“Yeah. But I’m late, so she may’ve left… or not.” He grinned, looking at me very, very sheepishly.
It took a moment to sink in.
“No.” I could not control my shock, my delight, my embarrassment. I leaned forward and cradled my head in my hands.
“You?” I asked. “Are you meeting someone about a, uh, cleaning job?” I kept a very straight face.
“Yep, that’s me, I’m afraid,” he said.
“I can’t believe this. What a very small town we must live in,” I said. I laughed, and laughed some more, beckoning to the barmaid for a refill. She smiled, handing Nick a beer at the same time.
“Look,” he said, “If this is weird, I get it. I mean, you like to work where I work… but—if it’s not weird, I must admit, I’ve always found you very attractive.”
“Y-you—you have?” I stammered, blushing deeply. “No, it’s not weird. And, ditto.” I cleared my throat.
Slowly, and with careful deliberation, Nick moved closer, to sit on the stool next to me.