When I was a dancer, Ryan's unavailability was perfect for me. He would string me along on vague promises, but the burden was taken off me entirely. I was saving myself for someone who would never come through. On some level I didn't really want him to. This arrangement was the safest one I could manage to counterbalance the self destructive, intrusive world of showing my body to men for money. The last time I spoke to Ryan on the phone, he'd been in a horrible car accident. He was in coma for almost a month. When we spoke, his voice was barely above a whisper from his emergency tracheotomy. The man I wanted to take care of me for so many years was no longer capable of looking after himself.
After a decade of celibacy, I finally slept with a man whom I met via the internet and was 23 years sober in AA. As I lay with him in the dark, I felt vulnerable. His approval was much more important to me than any of the guys I used to dance for. Being sober, it was a lot scarier to take off my clothes for one man than hundreds.
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