The Way of the Superior Man

I am made most uncomfortable by the magnitude with which people can observe you and misunderstand you. I remember when my sister accused me of flirting with the man who taught us both how to drive boats. The man who talked to me about a ridiculous book he was re-reading called The Way of the Superior Man and asked me out to dinner in a capital city an hour away from my parent’s house. I think he was in his late twenties, but he had the weathered appearance of someone who spent a lot of their time outside, braced against the elements. I was 20, maybe 21. I suspected his attraction to me, observed the occasional carnal glances uncivilised men give women they like. The way he offered me lunch on the boat during one of the lessons and he watched me eat the pistachios. The way he looked at my legs like he wanted to lick the seasalt off and eat them. I say suspected because despite his request for a date, you can never be sure with men like him whether they are attracted to you or attracted to the fact you are a young woman with a body they want to touch and holes you will let them push things into. The book he kept talking to me about has a section titled ‘Young Women Offer You a Special Energy’ (page 98) and I know if I had asked him about it he would have incorrectly used long words to explain things I already knew and looked at my mouth. He was awkward in the way that people who think they know a lot about themselves and other people are. He’d never encountered me when I wasn’t accompanied by a member of my family, either my younger sister or my father or both. The way he could be attracted to me around my family felt perverse and disturbed me. I was 22 when my sister exclaimed in front of the rest of our family that I had flirted with him during those lessons. It hurt to find out that she could believe that, when I believed I had treated him with the same uneasy bemusement I treat all the men who repulse me but know would fuck me. I had imagined the way he would have sex with a woman (I sensed he would call it ‘fucking’ or a boyish term like ‘banging’), deciding that he was probably routinely filthy and basic. He had perhaps made women cum, but only a small number and only by accident. He was precariously proud and confident in a way that meant he probably favoured casual sex with women he felt smarter, more important, better than.
The safety of dominance and supremacy.
Flirting via innuendos and undiscussed groping.
Ejaculations upon rather than within.
I decided all this when we shook hands to say goodbye; the way I held the eye contact and he did not.

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