He is #9 on my list. The only man who has had sex with me in three of my four decades – at 18, 24, and (spoiler alert!) 43. We missed my 30s due to marriage. My first and only serious foreign crush – one which went from desire to implementation after a few years of hoping.
We met in France the summer I was 15, on the cusp of 16. My father and step-mother had signed us all up for month-long language classes in a beautiful university town. We stayed in campus housing. In the classic style of my father, my class was supposed to be for age 18 and over, but he signed me up anyway. They never checked.
My classmates were young adults from around the world. I still remember the man from Botswana who told me there were more cows there than people. The wealthy Texan. The fun women from Spain. And Claude. Tall and handsome, with light blue eyes, eight years my senior, foreign, I was instantly smitten.
With good reason, he assumed I was 18 or over. He treated me like an adult – or perhaps better said, he didn’t treat me like a child. We drank Kronenborg 1664 in small cafes. I had my first glass of Dom Perignon on the roof of the school with the Texan. We talked for hours upon hours.
In classic teenage girl style, I was desperate to be physical with him, but he never touched me. I have to check my diary, but I think he did kiss me goodbye and it was heavenly. When he found out how old I actually was, he assumed I was a virgin. He also had a girlfriend at the time. She came to visit one weekend and I was so intensely jealous of her. Older, European, and his girlfriend.
I later learned she assumed we’d had sex that summer. It even caused an argument with her (they remain friends) and his then-wife within the last year. Which I find hilarious. While she had no reason for concern at the time, I do wonder what they’d say if they knew what transpired this past week.
After we parted all those years ago, we stayed in touch. Before the days of the internet and smart phones, we wrote letters to each other. I still have all of them, tied with a ribbon, safely stowed. They were magical to receive. His life was exotic to me, his letters creative and sent from various countries he’d visit. They spoke of romantic things and they fed my desire.
A few years later, Claude was living in New York City. I had a boyfriend who was unsurprisingly intensely jealous. Plans were hatched for us to visit a friend studying opera, and see Claude as well. When, at the last minute, my boyfriend’s work schedule changed and he couldn’t come, he insisted I stay back as well. I refused. He gave me an ultimatum: if I went, it was over.
I stayed with my friend but Claude and I had a late night together. We had sex in his tiny New York apartment. I was ignorant of truly how expensive a city it was, and expected something much more glamorous. But I’d gotten what I wanted for so long.
He also came to visit me in my city. My Mom let him sleep in my bed. We had sex for hours in our outdoor hot tub. We had an overnight trip together.
It was another few years before we saw each other. This time, he was travelling to my city for work. I was around 24, the year before I met Will. I stayed in his hotel for a couple of nights. We had showers together and a huge water fight and made good use of the hotel bathrobes. We had sex in the big king bed and it felt glamorous.
Something happened to me with him during that visit. I didn’t specify it in my diary, but I mention there were things in his personality I hadn’t noticed before. The lustre wore off somewhat. I suppose it was inevitable.
I met Will, and Claude and I fell out of touch. I married Will. Claude married a Spaniard. At some point we reconnected, probably thanks to social media. He has never forgotten my birthday. He had two children around the same age as mine, and was unhappy in his marriage, although he split more recently than I.
We’ve texted back and forth fairly steadily for the last many months. We’ve talked about the breakdown of our marriages, our separation agreements, and sexual exploration (we share some similar kinks), and he even reads this blog (hey, babe).
And when I decided to visit Spain with Liam, we talked about seeing each other. He didn’t know whether his house would be available for us to stay there, as he “nests” with his wife. The children stay in the house, and they switch week-on week-off. As much as I appreciated the offer, I was also not sure what it would be like to stay with him – it had been a long time since we’d seen each other.
As it turned out, it was like no time had passed.