“I don’t pop my cork for every guy I see” ~Sweet Charity

That title is a lie. These days, I do. Everyone except the one I’m with.

Surrounded by people in the office and feel like typing helps…sane as long as I’m typing, like a shark that can’t stop swimming lest they die.

Havent slept in two nights, I was late to work both days, took sick leave to cover my butt but I still burn all my leave as fast as I earn it for bullshit like that. I’ll never get more than an extended weekend at this rate. In 10 months of employment here, I still can’t bring myself to the commitment that a signature block signifies but perhaps something along the lines of “Over-educated, executive-level-manager-turned-desk-monkey”. Today, one of the letters from another department gets kicked back for bad grammar and punctuation. I fixed it -simple-and sent it back but the response was “The Director’s office will wait for review by the Coaches”. Right. Because correcting grammatical errors in reports is above my pay grade these days.

I was happily hacking down trees on my mom’s property in the woods two weekends ago. Too bad park rangers make $26-28k annually. Loves the woods! Handy with a chainsaw! PR experience a plus! Cant live off that check though.

Had a meeting with my Army career manager yesterday. First face to face in a year and admit that I was sucking in HARD (#gradschoolgut). I agreed to consider deploying again with SOCOM and fought back a cold sweat. I swear, if the Air Force would take me back, I’d celebrate. Did I ever tell you about that rainbow I saw on the flight line at Patrick AFB when I went out there three years ago to interview with the C-130 CSAR unit? Oh man, I was CONVINCED that was a sign! I KNEW in my heart that I would retire there, back in a blue uniform (or green flight suit). What the fck happened to that? Nothing good has come from my Army experience.

Cant talk to CK right now either. Eleven months now without orgasm. Frustration elevated back to DEFCON 10. He was crying about how while doing his Jane Fonda stretches this morning, he lost his balance and bumped his shoulder. I found his weakness unattractive. And hate myself for feeling that way. And for fantasizing about the guy at work that “offered” me his fully functioning c*ck (and no, I didnt take him up on it).

How ‘bout this for a signature block?

“Bitch, BA, MBA, Executive-level-manager-turned-minimum-wage-desk-monkey”

Advertisements

“Only a genius could love a woman like…” LSD

My work day is a steady stream of curses under my breath. And sometimes not under my breath.

Ck the One and I broke up a week ago. It wasn’t so much ripping the Band-Aid off as peeling it painful hair by hair until we opened our eyes, looked down at the wreckage and wondered, “Fuck. Now what?” We kept talking though. I asked if he’d at least finish the Xiaflex treatments and he snapped “Why bother?” I ignored that, expecting it. An emotionally mature man, he apologized quickly. I reminded him that every step of his various ED treatments, I felt blamed. Like, plenty of women were happy with cunnalingus and a limp dick. Hell, there might even be a kink community dedicated to it.

He asked again if I would reconsider a strap on and I nearly told him to fuck off. But now it was my turn to compose myself and reminded him that my first marriage, which I regretfully saved my virginity for, involved years of sexual abuse including sodomy. Not aince then would I agree to anything but a live man’s dick or a tampon up my vagina.

But then I agreed to research options, now that school is over and my waking non-working time is free again. Blogs and articles from men dealing with ED in their marriages were the most insightful and encouraging. I eventually came across a product that resembled a clear “cast” that an erect or flaccid penis could fit inside. A hollow dildo but not some ridiculous color or size. And with a single belt that appeared less intimidating than the usual strap-ons. He ordered it. I expect it will be here by this weekend. At least for now, I dont have the usual anxiety thinking ahead to attempted intimacy with this man. Because in the week that we were “sorta broken up”, I didnt feel relief like I expected. I was just sad. And I prayed for guidance and Im pretty sure my mom prayed too…and a peace came to me “I love this man”. I had spent months trying to emotionally disconnect myself in preparation for a break up, finding every little nitpicky thing I could to be annoyed about. And those irritants are still there as they will be in any relationship but I had watered and fertilized those weeds and encouraged their growth, choking out my heart. And then we broke up. Sort of. And suddenly my rampant sexual fantasies disappeared in my sadness. Now that I was (sorta) free to accept a date or even scratch the itch, my feelings for CK were a bucket of water on that fire.
So we’re going to try the… I can’t call it a strap-on or a dildo let’s call it the Kingdom of the Crystal Dick or the Extra Starched Cock Sock (okay I’ll work on that). Really I just need something to take the psychological piss out of it.
But I hope this works. Because Im a spaceship and he’s a NASA-loving nerd with a solar system tattoo. It doesn’t get more well-matched than this.

Peyronie’s disease

Peyronie’s disease. Why is this the first time I’m hearing about it? Two days shy of our 6 month anniversary? If you look it up, prognosis isn’t good. It’s like a cross between atrophy and severe arthritis. In your dick. When we first began dating I thought “It’s just E.D.  E.D. is treatable”. But it’s not “just” E.D. He’s got E.D. on top of extreme curvature and shrinkage. It’s three inches of gnarled, flaccid dick that is never ever going to be able to physically “get in there”.

If you ask me if knowing this 6 months ago would have changed my mind about pursing the relationship, damn right it would. So now what? For couples too emotionally invested to cut it off, what happens? Do they become swingers? Does he just look the other way while I go scratch an itch for a vigorous deep fuck every few months? I told him if he was with a woman who only cared about cunnilingus, he’d be set. As I said before, it’s a nice appetizer but that’s not a satisfying meal. Neither is a vibrator. And after the trauma of sodomy in my early twenties, ain’t nothing going up there that isn’t a real cock.

His tag line in most of his messages to me is “I’m not giving up on us” and I’m ashamed to admit I’ve begun to resent that. Because this isnt working for me. Yes, I love him and if we could have sex, I might have even seen myself spending the rest of my life with him. But I told him when we first began dating that sex could be a deal-breaker. Like an asshole, I’ve had to remind him over the months whenever he got silent on the subject. Typical ostrich of a man: stick your head in the sand and pretend everything is great. We can just spend the rest of our lives in a sexless, cuddly marriage.

My trusted agent (who fucks around about once or twice a year because he’s desperate and married to a woman who wont have sex with him) says, “You’re not a bad (horny) person. You don’t break up with someone for frivolous reasons. This reason is not frivolous.”

What would you do? I’m tempted to open up the comments on this to get a stranger’s advice because I’m lost. Youre young. At your sexual peak. Sex still vacillates between the number one and number two position in importance in a relationship. And the person who has been better to you than anyone ever has been cannot give you sex. What do you do? Cheat? Break up? Live out the rest of your life in stoic celibacy?

If you chose the latter then clearly sex is not that important to you.

He seems to think that we can work around it. With toys. He says “We can work on us” and I resent that statement to. There’s nothing to “Work on”! Your dick is broken! This might work for you but it doesn’t work for ME! I’ve been masterbating through most of our 6 month relationship to men other than him because what is the point in fantasizing about being fcked hard by someone incapable of it? Again, I’m ashamed to admit (and I’d never admit it to him) that I’m not even sexually attracted to him anymore.

Do I sound like an asshole because I feel like one. A selfish asshole.

I recall a guy I dated briefly a few years back. We had sex once and he was so small he couldn’t get inside me. I joked later that it was a brief lesbian relationship. Because while I debated whether or not his lack-of-dick was a deal-breaker, he decided he was too afraid of me and my “job”, so he disappeared and I was let off the hook.

Another guy a few years before that, we started out dating and within the first two attempts of having sex I thought “No, no no this is not going to work”. But every time I tried having that conversation, he flipped out and threatened to kill himself. Bipolar, raging alcoholic and pathological liar but other than that he’s a great guy! And I cared about him enough that I didn’t want to risk him doing anything stupid. So I stayed with him, celibate for. almost three years until HE was ready to move on. Now he’s married with two kids and we’re still friends. But I wasted years of my life doing what I thought was the right thing. For someone else.

I don’t have years. I don’t want to be in a celibate relationship. I don’t want to be in a lesbian relationship. I don’t want to be in an unsatisfying sexual relationship.

This isn’t working for ME.

“I like that you’re broken, broken like me” ~LovelyTheBand

I feel every bit of my ill-fitting, worn out clothes today. Dangling threads, scuffed heels and hair as overgrown and unkempt as my yard. I’m dressed in insignificance with all the authority and value of a temp receptionist. But my new coworkers have learned to come to me for IT-related problems because it’s usually a simple fix and I’m much faster than waiting on a national-level “trouble ticket” to process. So today I once again found myself crawling on the floor under desks in a skirt, fiddling with…cables and computer equipment (you filthy bastards). And it was the only part of the day I didnt mind.  The only part I felt “useful”.

 I returned to prison after 4 days on parole, hiking in the woods with my dog and my struggling, unhappy boyfriend, CK. We think alike (I mean, CK and I. Although yes, perhaps my dog and I as well). And we are both martyrs for love. Judgmental and brooding, probably better off alone. I decided to burn what little vacation time I had accrued from this miserable job and disappear into the Quad State area (NC, TN, GA, SC borders). CK wanted to come so I sent him my proposed hiking list, based on limited time and weather conditions. He was an excited, “thumbs up!” But buying hiking shoes does not make you a hiker. Day one, we were only 6 miles into a walk in the woods when he began to fade, legs cramped, dizziness set in…I took his pack from him and force fed him protein bars, bananas, water and candy. I found him a walking stick but it was serious enough that I ran ahead to find a signal and called the nearest ranger station. I told them I just wanted to make sure I had a good number in case he couldn’t make it out on his own as we were still miles from the car. “Just keep puttin one foot in front of the other, he’ll make it out” the kindly ranger drawled. As CK leaned against a tree I told him, “Your lungs might give out, your heart might give out, but your legs will not give out. Keep moving”.

Days later, both his feet were taped and I announced I was going on a trail that he could not follow. Hell, he could barely walk. And I needed one day unencumbered. I climbed over rocks and fallen trees up a steeper incline to enjoy views unobstructed by tourists. Alone on a hilltop: me, my dog, and the wind.

I thought, “This isn’t working out”. I admitted on the drive home, I don’t want him tagging along to dances or hikes or shows out of obligation. Seeing the boredom and disappointment on his face kills my own joy. If he’d rather be at a movie then go to a movie! I don’t need company. I’ve been doing this living thing alone for years.
“I don’t need the added stress of a relationship!” I thought resentfully.

When you’re drowning, you cut loose of whatever weight you can forfeit: the job and school are not optional. Everything else – dancing, friends, family, boyfriends – those I can turn loose, at least until I finish school.

And I wish sex was off the table. I wish we’d never gone there; I wish we had just agreed to friendship. The pressure, the disappointment. I wish I could escape it.
“You’re tighter than a new buttonhole” he complains. I put on my best Gandalf impression and declare “You shall not pass!”  Or perhaps he can throw incantations at it, “speak friend and enter” my near-virginal vaginal gates.

He’s only had two rounds of GainWave and no change yet. His stem is still as broken as ever. I admitted to him, under these circumstances, sex means more work for me, and requires more time that I don’t have right now. So either I can slap on lube, get on my knees and give him a warm hole or he goes to bed hungry. And I’m starving but I’m a sexual camel and used to long stretches of abstinence. But I don’t ever want to fake it again. If only one of us is getting off, so be it.

At least for now.

But I’ve been saying that for months.

“I Wanna love somebody but I don’t know how” The Decemberists

File this under Insensitive Things My Boyfriend Says: when he remarks about being “jealous” that I sleep more than him even after being reminded that wasting half my life in bed from chronic fatigue is nothing to be envious of. Its like telling the guy who got his legs blasted off that you’re envious of his sweet wheels.

I called in sick this morning but not after a sincere attempt to get going. I got uo with the alarm, fed the fur, shot a 5 hour energy, felt sick to my stomach and dizzy so i sat down and immediately fell back asleep. Spent most of the day in bed amd every time my conscious surfaced, I told myself “get up, work on your resume, work on homework, take a shower, you need to go buy dog fiod…” but the current was too strong and sleep would suck me under again.

The night before I missed Cabaret rehearsal because I was upset from yet another shitty day in a shitty job so I poured a drink, then another until i was too buzzed to drive. I tearfully told my boyfriend that I appreciated him and sorry I didnt say it or show it enough. Then he pissed me off by saying something about getting hard. Erection jokes from someone with ED so severe, he doesnt come close to getting inside me arent funny. In fact last week, during another awkward attempt, he began shaking and crying with frustration. My heart broke and I told him, “Its okay, you can get me off some other way”. And I did something Ive never done with anyone before: faked an orgasm.

He’s on his second treatment of Gainwave therapy. I don’t know how many treatments are required to see results but of course insurance doesn’t pay for it. It will be worth it if it works. I disregarded all the hype and advertisements and went straight for the peer-reviewed medical studies. Those indicate about a 70% success rate. It’s significant enough that it’s being offered as a non-invasive alternative to heart surgery to clear blockages. That leads me to think it’s not complete bullshit.

And now halfway though our 5th month together, Im faking orgasms and wonfering if we should “take a break”. But that will just depress him and he will stop treatments. I want to give this a chance. Because there’s nothing “wrong” with this relationship other than the sex and my waning interest.

One of the women I currently work with reminds me of my mother, if my mother were Arabic. She likes to play matchmaker, coming over when a man is taking to me to say “Isn’t she pretty?” (To him. To me she says) “He’s such a nice guy and he’s single, are you single?” I reply “not by by 4 months”. Umi then shakes her head “Well, I hope hes a nice guy. You deserve a nice guy and THIS one is nice”. I look back at the guy, didn’t know a Latin complexion could get that red, and wonder if his dick works. Because I already have a nice guy.

“Would I lie to you, honey?” ~ Eurythmics

I remember as far back as 4 or 5, in preschool, where we were forced to take mid-day naps.  Of course now as a chronically sleep deprived adult, I’d kill for a nap on a slab of bricks. But as a child, I lay there on a pillowless cot surrounded by softly snoring children, wondering if I was the only one among them faking it? I got the “best rester” stickers but never once that I recall, actually resting. Last night, with CK beside me, I pulled out the old trick of pretending to fall asleep fast because I wanted to fall asleep. I didn’t want to mess around. I say mess around instead of “have sex” because we haven’t exactly had sex in my opinion. Going on three months. I just wasn’t in the mood, maybe from lack of sleep and that increasing anxiety that the E.D. is going to be a deal-breaker for us. I wasn’t in the mood to spend an hour working and being worked over with tongues and fingers. I know I’m not going to get mine. I know he will, although it takes a while. And I wasn’t in the mood to have my head petted or feel his fingers twitching against my face. Rest them there, grab me there, but don’t twitch indecisively, nervously. At least that’s the impression I get from it. When I’m irritable, which is often when I’m tired. And I’m always tired.

And I still don’t particularly care for the way he kisses when he’s trying to be passionate. I could try to describe what doesn’t “work” for me but what’s the use? Am I going start coaching him? Because all men love that. A little firmer please…no, too much…and can you do something with your hand, the twitching is starting to annoy…

I realize I’m nitpicking because I’m frustrated.

I love him. I even find him attractive. And the idea of breaking up with him feels very wrong. He’s a unicorn. A broken horn but still a unicorn and he’s mine. But I never want to be a married roommate. And speaking of…

What made it worse was popping awake a bit later to the sound of a small dog whining two rooms away. Except we don’t have a small dog. It was the girl my roommate was fucking vigorously. I could tell she was trying to muffle the moans but I lie there hoping CK was not lying awake listening to this too. He is wonderful and he deserves to get laid. I cooked dinner, I shaved my legs, but on this most important duty to my man, I opted out.

Because I’m tired? Absolutely.

But also because even when I’m aroused, I no longer think about CK because he’s never going to fuck me deep and hard up against a wall. Or in the back of a volkswagon or anywhere else for that matter. I’m convinced no pill will fix the twitching hand, tepid  kisses or the limp dick.

And I don’t know what to do.

“Oh, Saturday sun, I met someone…” Vance Joy

I think I met the love of my life when I was 41. Well, actually I was 24 but at that time, we were passing acquaintances and I couldn’t get past his prematurely silver and unfortunately long ponytail.

Now here we are, making out like teenagers on the couch and I whispered in his ear “You are going to be such a good dancer” which got a good laugh out of him.

He calls me “Hon”and “gorgeous” but I’mpet names. More or less 14 years of singledom left me out of practice in terms of endearment. I’ve called some exes “hotness” and or “pookie” (jokingly, obviously). But CK doesn’t have a fake tan (or a real one for that matter) no a douchey frat boy haircut, although he did cut off the unfortunately long ponytail years ago. So “hotness” doesn’t fit.

I could see myself marrying him but it would probably go down something like this: I email him a link to some ring with skulls on it and ask “So are we going to do this shit or what?”

I write that even as it still feels premature to say “I love you”. Although he has said it in letters and my inner dialogue says “I love this man”. Also I’m afraid if I break that “I love you” seal then it will turn into that habitual, afterthought, obligatory “I love you” and not as meaningful.

I may be paraphrasing or outright plagiarizing another writer (Fitzgerald or his wife?) when I say I’ve met the one with whom my heart and soul is at rest. Like a shot of bourbon on an empty stomach, he blooms in my Heart.

Sometimes he still asks “Why are you with me?” Because he leaves love letters in my underwear drawer and draws hearts on the windshield of my filthy car. And I save them in a shoebox or tuck them into a Bible that I no longer read.

Satan says “Brush your teeth.”

satan says brush your teeth

I don’t know why I think that’s so funny. CK shares my humor as we brainstormed a series of children’s books starting with “My First Black Mass” starring the Satans: Lucifer, Lilith and their horde of demon spawn, Azazel, Beelzebub, et al. The Satans get a dog. The Satans get divorced. The Satans are starting to sound like The Simpsons, I warn. It’s marketable alongside Daddy Darth Vader and “Go the Fuck to Sleep”. Hipsters will love it, with or without kids.  (PS – this blog serves as a poor man’s copyright).

This is the bond we share. But (his words) “this” has an inanimate connotation though so he prefers “us”. He cherishes “us”; The fumbling discovery and watching my face when I dance. “Even health setbacks have helped us develop in ways that matter”. That resonates with me. He resonates with me. As important as sex is to me, I acknowledge the science behind the it: the release of oxytocin during orgasm that deepens the emotional bond, perhaps binding people that should not be bound together, creating a false sense of love. And so CK’s erectile dysfunction, although frustrating, gives me the sense that this may be the purest affection I’ve ever had for someone, because it’s NOT chemically induced or enhanced.

When I consider my past, those careless, loveless lovers, I shudder and mentally anchor myself in CK. He’s the Cloak of Levitation to my Dr. Strange. I may be gifted but fallible as any human. Logical but finite. Good but not nice. I may be enough without him but demonstrably better with him.

And yet I continue to question how I’ll make this work. Not so much of question of “will it” but “how to do it”. Can I face the rest of my life with a man that cannot, pardon the frankness, penetrate me? Even with pills, I realize now that his dick is like the broken stem of a daisy and a finger curled stiff with arthritis. It will not, perhaps cannot, magically stand erect. I also joked that celibacy has turned my vagina into Fort Knox and it might feel like he is slamming his dick against a brick wall. As he failed to breach me, I joked sympathetically, “Most men would think ‘Great! She’s tight!” but he’s thinking ‘Aw fuck, she’s tight.”  His quiet devastation at not being able to fuck his girlfriend was palpable and all I could think to do was hold him and try to reassure him that I was happy just having his naked body on my naked body, which wasn’t a lie. But is that enough? I still wanted him inside me and my brain was screaming “Please, G-d, Universe, Karma, don’t do this to us…” I kept kissing him, encouraging, writhing, grinding, begging…until I came. Unexpected and sudden, I shakily announced “Well that worked”. “Really?!” he asked with…was it relief? Disbelief? Was this enough? I can be satisfied but for the rest of my life with what amounts to a lesbian sexual relationship? I don’t know. So how do we make this work?

” pull me closer if you think you can hang” M.I.A

Hes a good writer. Maybe even better than me. But as I’m the inspiration for his recent poetic musings, I dont mind that. And he has written for me the loveliest sentiments. I wish I had them on paper. Maybe Ill go back and transcribe them, as a reminder when the light goes out.
Because doesnt it always? She whispers and I glance down at the tiny, private spaceship tattoo that reminds me that I have suffered a lifetime of fleeting affections so why should now be any different?

But This time feels different. He’s different. I keep thinking of that silly eHarmony commercial about compatibility on a deeper level. I think they were probably just talking about shared beliefs on politics and parenting and I’m referring to how he measures up on paper (literally. Recall my List?) And our mutual goofiness as he calls it. Or maybe I’ve simply finally met my equal. I introduced him to my family and we haven’t even slept together yet.

Yeah, about that…

It doesn’t matter what I say about myself in an anonymous blog but I always hesitate to air something painful and private about someone else. But there’s no getting around it and there’s no sugarcoating it so I hope if he ever stumbles across this and takes the time to read it that he doesn’t judge me too harshly for it. So here it is: We haven’t been intimate because we can’t. At least not the way we would both like to. I don’t want to say that diabetes robbed him of his manhood but he might believe it. It has robbed him of the ability to get an erection and medication did not help in the past, he confessed. It affected him so profoundly that he hasn’t attempted intercourse in years. We had a grown up conversation about my needs and his health (as an aside, how refreshing to have candid conversations without judgement, tempers and hurt feelings!) And he has an appointment with his doctor this week to discuss treatment options. In the meantime, we just enjoy each other’s company and I no longer fret how slowly things are moving or question why he hasn’t throw me against a wall yet. I’m guessing he doesn’t want to start the engine until he knows he can drive. And I like him enough to wait. Although I can admit that when we do finally make it out of the garage, there’s the chance we may be compatible in every way except that one. And that would be a deal-breaker for me.

Be aggressive! Be! Be! Aggressive!

I cast an old radio acquaintance with whom I’ve rekindled a connection into an S&M fantasy role and I’m afraid I’ve doomed us before there is an “us” to speak of. After spending some time together in which we both sent mixed signals, we had a grown-up chat and admitted that we “like-like” each other. In the days leading up to our first official date, I fed that oxytocin monster by thinking of him hog tying me like a pro and then cradling me on his aroused lap.  Masturbating is challenging by the way, when the kitten I am fostering disregards my need for personal space and insists on nestling between my legs and thinks my vibrator is a toy to be pounced on under the covers.

Months ago, when I approached him about “hanging out”, I don’t believe I did it under false pretenses. I said “Pardon me if I’m coming on strong except that I don’t have any local single friends anymore which means I don’t have any friends anymore.”

I envy my roommate for his bluntness even if it’s inappropriate. On the way out the door today, he wished me “Happy fucking!” If he’s even remotely attracted to a woman, he tells her so directly and right away. Me, I wait for some sort of indicator or flirty signal from the guy before revealing any of my own cards. Partly because I don’t want to make him uncomfortable and secondly Im afraid of rejection. I also don’t want to blow a potential friendship even if the horny devil in me does.

This guy is sentimental in a way that speaks to my heart. Gentlemanly, I like it when his hand guides me at the small of my back. Considerate and not because he’s trying to win some popularity contest. He says he’s trustworthy and as the rest of him seems sincere I suppose that part is too. I like his wit. His nerdiness. The fact that he reads every night and shares my affinity for Winston Churchill. Like me, he writes “cranky blogs and bad poetry” (his words). I like his voice and he offered to read me to sleep sometime so yeah, i like- like him. He’s different from the other Mistakes and that unnerves me a little. The first man in a decade to invite me to meet his parents even before kissing me. Speaking of, I warned him that he’d better be good at that because I’ve broken up with men for Less. And if he’s not the type of man who will throw me against the wall, pull my hair or flog me, at least on special occasions and holidays, it probably won’t work between us.

And maybe that’s where I went wrong.

We agreed to dinner and a movie at my place with me cooking. I put the dog in daycare to ensure I’d not have to compete for my date’s lap. My roommate left town for the weekend so I had the house to myself. I lit candles and mopped the floor 5 times. Made a dinner that was at least a partial success. But after dinner, two movies and 6 hours a close proximity, he did not make a move. Finally at the end of the night as he was getting ready to leave, I could see the gears turning in his head. He leaned in to give me a hug and…kissed my cheek. I told him he wasn’t going to break me and to squeeze harder, nudging him a little. I walked him out to the car and still, the gears visibly , grinding away. But did he step in close, embrace me and Pull Me In… no.  He leaned in and pecked me dispassionately, almost dutifully on the mouth. After he left I wondered, is he just shy or not a passionate man? Or is it me? Maybe he didn’t want to make a move.  As I watched the gears turn, I grew uncomfortable. I had hoped he would be aggressive, bold.

So now what? Did I put him under too much pressure? Were my expectations too high? No. No, my expectations are my needs and I will not apologize for those. But my interest will fizzle in the absence of sizzle. Even now, I should be working on school assignments, not stewing about the horse that never made it out of the gate. Just keep it in the friend zone, although I hate that term. But if we were just friends, maybe then we would be more relaxed around each other. No more dates, expectations, and awkward brotherly kisses.