Pauly mentioned “when pretty women meet me they always move away.” I guess I, a divorced forty something woman forever looking down on myself, appeared awfully appealing to him in that dark restaurant. And, coincidentally, I was moving the next day. Pauly loved my boots. So did I. The black patent leather ones with the sharp heels. He confessed to me, “My Queen, let me lick them.” I didn’t lust after them enough to want to do that. And then Mr. Boot Licker looked at me with the only thing I could see, his eyes, and whispered, “Do not tell anyone.” I, too uptight to be a part of what I thought was kinky, played dumb to Pauly’s abhorrent ideas. “I do not know what you mean,” I jittered back. A mutual friend of ours, who was there that night thought Pauly creepy, without knowing the details.
He was old. My age. We met at a school reunion dinner. I don’t think Pauly remembered me. Back then, I was the pathetic, shy, ugly girl sitting alone during seventh grade lunch. That’s ok, because it took me a while to recall my now balding admirer. And then I giggled to myself over who Pauly had been. The tall, gawky guy with the ‘fro. We grew up. Now Pauly wanted to finally settle down after decades of singledom. I guess he did not want to grow old alone in his little apartment in a Long Island two family. Pauly said he wanted to share what little he had to offer, a night job pushing papers at the IRS -- smile and say audit, honey! While drinking his coffee, Pauly admitted “have not had sex in a long time.” That was meant to excite me? He then insisted, “I am not very good looking.” Boy, those talking points made me pant. The ugly duckling grows up to get some dreary virgin with a set of baby blues.
I was married at twenty two. Divorced nineteen years later. I was clueless about men then, and am still baffled about the guys today. Didn’t know I knew bupkis about the boys back in the Top Gun days. Years later, so out of the dating world it took me a while to even figure out what a booty call is. By then, trust me it was too late. Homeboy told me to email him messages. Pauly wanted me to send him some pictures of myself. I had a whole bunch on facebook. But he didn’t like the social network site.
One night, a week later after all those years, Pauly insisted on talking on the phone for over an hour. I prefer instant messaging. He gushed, “Baby, you are doing great, do not hang up on me or you will never hear from me again.” I wanted to press the little red button on my blackberry. I kept talking to him, probably cause I thought what would he do if I turned off the cell. More like what would I do with the rest of the evening. Pauly kept saying, “Have I sent you kisses today? Kiss. Kiss.” He said it that night and for several days thereafter. Calls came at home while I was watching “Psycho,” in my car with my favorite Rihanna songs on the radio, at the supermarket parking lot on my Entenmanns runs. I took them, I took them all. I still thought I was the little girl with the bad breath. Here was a man noticing me. A man with a boot licking fetish.
Pauly wanted to meet me half way. I should go over a bridge and pay a toll. I got kvetchy about seeing him for a cup of Sanka in some mall for a few hours. A trial date scene. Pauly suggested, “If I make the trip to you, would you hold me captive?” I laughed, I think maybe nervously. I was uncomfortable. I liked the attention of a man. But dragged this thing on too long. I just didn’t think I could go along with learning this much about a fellow just so I don’t feel so alone. Finally, I came to my senses. I told him I had to focus on my work 150%. No time for anything else. Pauly stuttered, “ But we only talk on the phone two, three times a week.” My phone bill spoke differently. Pauly said he would leave me alone. He rang me up again. Thank heavens for Caller ID. It felt stalkerish. He facebooked me. I blocked Pauly. Now, I sit at home alone with my dogs, and happy to be free from anyone wanting to lick my boots.