The first of my boyfriends I’d like to introduce you to is the Teacher. He’s your typical nerd, into science and gaming, so awkward socially that one wonders where he might fall on the autism spectrum. He looks like your typical nerd, too, a bit too short, a bit too balding, and could those glasses flatter your face any less? Perhaps this says something about myself (please, tell me, what?!) but I’m charmed by his awkwardness and drawn to his intelligence. I’m fascinated by how his brain works because mine is nearly the completely opposite. The Teacher loves data. I love beauty. The Teacher can look at the sky and tell me the next three days’ weather; he can enthrall me with a bedtime story of how and why the cycle of sunspots affects the aurora borealis we might see in the coming winter. Once, I told him he could use science on me any time he wanted. He thinks I was joking, but honestly – it turns me on to watch him talk authoritatively about stuff he loves.
Stuff the Teacher loves includes me. I met him on OKCupid in 2009. He wore a bright red shirt and pretty silk tie on our first date – I was convinced this was because my profile mentioned red as my favorite color. He insists it was just what he happened to be wearing to work that day. We talked on that first date for four hours straight, over dinner and a long cold walk around the January city with some hot chocolate to warm ourselves up before we said goodnight. The Teacher and I wound up in bed on our fourth date, when the third couch makeout session made him bold enough to pull off my top. He spent the night, which is something I rarely allow, but I liked him. And then this happened.
When I woke up the next morning, the Teacher was in the kitchen, humming and banging round my pots and pans. “Whatcha doin?” I asked. “Making you an omelet!” he declared, flashing a brilliant smile over his shoulder. I’m not a morning person, and it was damn early. (Night owls, avoid dating teachers. They think 8am is sleeping in.) I was bewildered, and told him I didn’t think anybody’d made me breakfast since I was about ten years old. He handed me a plate, and I had to admit, it did look and smell good. “I wanted to do something nice for you,” he said. I nodded. “Since I really like you, and you were great about everything last night.” His phrasing confused me, and I must have shown it on my face. I was standing in my kitchen, holding breakfast, thinking: I’m pretty sure he just told me he cooked for me because he thinks I’m good in bed. I said, ever so eloquently, “Huh?” He blushed. He blushed! And he said: “Well, I’m sure you could kinda tell, but last night was my first time.”
I dropped the fork. “Your first time… having sex?” I stammered. “Well, yeah,” he said. “Teacher!” I said, yelling his name at him. “What were you thinking not telling me that BEFOREHAND?!” He looked chagrined and peeked up at me from under his eyelashes. “Well, would you have slept with me if I’d told you?” he asked. “NO!” I hollered. He shrugged. “Well…” he said. Fuck. He had a point. (I know you’re wondering how I could’ve possibly missed this in bed the night before. I promise you that he was confident and even skilled. It was NOT apparent that he had zero experience. I promise!)
The Teacher and I kept dating after this interesting start to things. He fell in love pretty hard and fast. That was okay with me, because I was slowly and surely falling for him too. The Teacher wanted me exactly as I was. Although he didn’t want to date anyone but me, he respected the fact that I date non-monogamously. He even held down any jealousy he felt. I took him home to dinner with my father. He brought me home for dinner with his parents, and his father drew, in crayon on a bit of butcher paper, the drawing that you see above. Eventually, the Teacher’s attentions panicked me more than placated me. I ended things rather abruptly. We took a break for a year and a half. And as my then-current relationship crumbled, I begin thinking that he deserved an apology from me. I hadn’t expected anything more than an acknowledgment in response, but he surprised me by offering an apology of his own. There was nothing to apologize for, but he got what he wanted – back into my life.
He’s a great addition to that life these days. We take walks in the sunshine, and when I point out shapes in the clouds, he tells me their type and elevation and predicts the low temperature for the evening. He snuggles with me and my kitten on the couch to watch a movie, and even allows himself to be dominated in Magic: The Gathering once in a while. I’m still the only person the Teacher has ever slept with. I’m still the only person the Teacher has ever dated long-term. And I’m probably still the only person the Teacher has ever loved. He still wants me exactly as I am – and so when he hugs me from behind and whispers in my ear that he’ll love me to the end of the Earth, I feel warm and safe and appreciated.