Every time I tell this story, I change it a little. There are a few reasons why. One, stories change as you tell them. The more time you have to mull over an event, the easier it is to remember and interpret it differently. Two, stories change depending on who you're talking to. And how you want them to see you. So, when I tell my ex-partner that X's husband Y asked me for a threesome, I tell him that no, nothing happened. And that's one version of this tale. But when I tell a girlfriend the threesome story over dinner in a busy restaurant, I do it like I do stand-up for a living. I make her cry with exaggerated dirty details until we're screaming with laughter into our duck curry and eavesdroppers listen in. Both versions are true. Both are false by way of omission.
Here's the real story. All of it. (Well, most of it if I'm being honest.)
It was a perfect night on the coast. X and Y had invited me and my two children over to their bach for dinner. We turned up to a lavish spread. Y had roasted two butterflied chickens to golden perfection. He served up sides of fresh salad with avocado and the crunchiest roast potatoes. The wine flowed. After dinner, the kids went to the sleep-out to watch movies. We continued to sit and talk at the large, wooden dining table in the backyard under the moon, the stars, and the apricot tree. The wine was delicious. The conversation? Intoxicating. We spoke about everything from my new job, literature, and music, to my latest Tinder experiences. I told them about this musician I had recently been out with and how it went terribly wrong on the first date when said to me, "You're so confident in yourself; in your body." This could be interpreted as a compliment if he hadn't said it with such incredulity. We laughed at his stupidity, his gall.
As the night went on, we talked about my recent separation, sex and love, and how X and Y first met. They told me things they don't normally share with other people. Personal things about their love life. I didn't think this was weird. Where I come from, we talk openly about sex, religion, and politics, often with raised voices and flailing arms. If anything, I felt lucky to be seen as a confidant. To be privy to such beautiful intimacies is a rare thing. I savoured every word. Then it got late. I invited X and Y over to my rental bach the next day. I wanted to keep these heady conversations going and return their hospitality. That night, alone in a strange bed, in the light of the full moon, I looked at a website X and Y had mentioned. It was so interesting to see a menu of women presented in such a way. I sent X a message telling her that I had looked it up. I said I was impressed, but that I could do a better job with the web copy. Then I fell asleep, my phone warm in my hand.
The next day, X, Y and their kids showed up at 5pm. We started drinking and eating. It was hot and the kids were feral, so we sent them out to explore the woods nearby. X disappeared to get changed into her togs so she could use the hot tub. This is when Y brought up the fact that I had looked at the escort site. He asked me if I had ever been with a woman before. I never have and I told him so. While this banter wove well with the previous night's thread, I didn't feel drunk enough to be having this conversation. I didn't see any of this coming.
Y asked me, "Would you like to explore being with a woman with us?" He phrased it very well. He was careful not to use the word "sex". "Would this be something you'd be interested in?" In my flustered state of not knowing what to say, and not wanting to offend him, I said, "It's not something that I'm not not interested in." Don't you just love a double negative? I stand by my reply. At that point in the evening I'd had enough wine that anything and everything would seem not not interesting.
Things might have turned out differently if they had followed protocol. Threesome protocol. I didn't know this was a thing until a very wise (and polyamorous) friend schooled me.
Here's how this proposition should've gone down: X should have asked me because we're friends. Technically, X and I should have slept together first before inviting Y in. Instead, Y asked me in X's absence.
Here's an even better scenario: X, Y and I should have got it on at a party, organically, like regular hot-blooded adventurers. Instead, our conversation became rapidly contractual without me even agreeing to anything. "We could do this altogether, and in pairs." "We'll have to have rules to make sure everyone feels comfortable." Was my "not not interesting" response an enthusiastic yes? Not at all. Was it the reply of someone who is unsure, surprised, and perhaps stuck in an uncomfortable situation? Hard yes. But then, Y couldn't have known that. He had met me for the first time ever the previous night.
The best part of all this is that I am the least adventurous lover I know. I don't look it. These exotic half-breed looks? False advertising. I may look like the type of spicy Latina that can multitask, but I am a solid vanilla in the bedroom. I like beds. Soft, expensive ones. I like having sex in them. I don't do walls or counters. I love missionary. I want to be on my back, comfortable, on sheets with a high thread count, and have my lover do all the work. I wouldn't even know where to start with a third person in the mix. It's hilarious to think that these people, who are friends (but not really), would see me as this sexual, sexy beast. I mean, it's hilarious because I'm almost 40. I have two kids and a failed pseudo-marriage. I could stand to lose 10kg. Desirable is not a way I've ever seen myself. And so it's hilarious that X and Y saw me in a way that I wished my partner had seen me for the last 13 years. Saw me in a way I'd like to see myself.
The worst part of all this is where I start questioning and overthinking everything. Like, how did X and Y even consider asking me for a threesome? Did I bring this on by talking about my dating life? Was dinner a ruse? Was the follow-up offer of dinner together back in town a sex trap? Could we go back to being friends if I declined? If I accepted? But most importantly: how the hell did I end up kissing both of them in the hot tub that night?
It's not not untrue.
We got in the hot tub. We drank more wine. X, her eyes wide with anticipation, asked me if she could kiss me. I said yes. Then Y asked too. Again, I said yes. I kissed my friend while her husband watched. Then I kissed him and she watched. I can't say why I did it except that maybe I was hoping to feel something.
Maybe after years of heartbreak, disappointment, loneliness, and a handful of terrible Tinder dates, I wanted to feel wanted. And yet, I felt nothing.