It was pretty funny, though, when I told Bruno. In an attempt to make it sound less scary and to avoid the stigma attached to the word 'herpes', I told him that I carry the HSV1 virus. He heard that and was silent for a while, with this really confused and stunned look on his face. Naturally my first thought was, 'Oh fuck.'
'You carry what?' he asked.
'HSV1. You know, herpes?'
It turned out that he was stunned because he thought I'd said HIV. Bloody accents, right?
After we cleared up that unfortunate confusion due to accents, I explained to him what it is and what it is not, and the extremely low transmission rate that it has. He said, 'It doesn't matter. It's good that you told me even though you shouldn't have to.'
Incidentally, I seem to recall that that was what the NHS doctor told me when I got diagnosed in London: that because the risk of passing it on is so low, I don't have to say anything. But I try to be a person of principle, and I have a strict, sometimes black-and-white, view of what is right and wrong. I think it is unethical and even immoral to put someone at risk without telling him no matter how small the risk; as long as there is a risk, there is an obligation on my part to disclose. If I don't want to disclose (I usually don't), then I don't sleep with the person. It is pretty simple, and I am more than happy to accept the consequences of it on my sex life than to have a more exciting sex life but feel guilty and horrible all the time.
I was thinking the other day about the struggle that I wrote about in the previous (private entry). The struggle, that is, between doing what I know to be right and doing what feels good; the struggle between principles and lust when the two conflict. Lust leads me in one direction, taking me tantalisingly by the hand, but my principles pull me back; my principles that tell me that the immediate rewards of this temptation are mere illusions; and my principles know me well, and they know that giving in to the temptation will lead to some bout of self-loathing, disgust, a feeling of cheapness. But it is a struggle because it is not easy sometimes to do what you have mandated for yourself as the right thing.
But it is a necessary struggle. It is necessary to exist in the middle of what is right and what feels good because it is a constant reminder of my humanity. It is in these moments, these deliberations and fighting against what I feel like doing in favour of what I know I should not do, that I am alive to what it means to be human. That we have the capacity and ability to choose reason over instinct; that we can rise above the baseness of our instincts and strive for something higher, more meaningful, more pure.
I am not saying, however, that sex is wrong. I am definitely not saying that; I think sex is wonderful and I love sex. But I have come to realise that sex outside of a committed relationship does not fulfil me; quite the opposite. It makes me feel cheap and used and easy after the fact, and it is important for me to have enough self-respect to consciously make the effort to not get into such situations. It is not easy; it is sometimes too tempting to simply give in to the hormones, etc (and so having herpes helps a lot in this regard). But my choosing not to do it, so many times over in the past six months, affirms my humanity in the sense of being human. And I think I quite genuinely believe that it is this capacity that we have to choose not to follow our animal instincts that sets us apart from animals that lack this capacity (though this is not the start of an argument against animal rights, but let's not get into this).
Anyway, so that's that. It is relevant to Bruno because I can foresee already how it's going to be a struggle with him. I started off dating him not fully convinced that I was physically attracted to him, but the past few dates we've been on have completely turned that on its head. Yesterday was especially nice, and I am glad that I told him because now I can relax when we're making out and not keep thinking at the back of my mind that there's this thing that he doesn't know which has the potential to be a game-changer. More importantly, it definitely created some intimacy between us. It also helped that we spent a lot of time talking in bed; we talked for hours, in fact. He's very easy to talk to and when I am comfortable with someone, all my filters dissolve and disappear and I have little qualms about telling him things about my past relationships, the men that I've slept with, etc.
I also found out (though he claimed to have told me this on our first date; I don't remember at least half of what we talked about that night) that he's six years older than me. The second he told me that he was born in 1980, I could feel my level of attraction increase quite significantly. I have always found older men sexy, for they are worldly, experienced, and (prima facie at least) capable of taking care of me; and an older man like Bruno is sophisticated, naturally giving (though this means that the things that he does for me are not signs of how special I am or am not to him), and knows how to treat a woman properly. I mean...that's just incredibly sexy.
And so it's going to be a bit of a struggle with him. I don't want to jump into anything too quickly, but fucking hell, he's just so sexy. He works out quite regularly and the fruits of his labour are evident from the way his immaculately-cut shirts hug the contours of his body. Have I already mentioned that he's sexy?
Isn't it funny, this turn of events? I left my first date with him thinking that there was no chemistry and that I was ready to move on to the next guy, and now here I am, writing this entry just before going over to his for dinner (he's cooking for me; vegetarian, of course, even though he's not), almost gushing like a school girl. But I will try to remain circumspect and guard my heart jealously, if only because he is very similar to me in an important way. Just like me, he's been the one to break up in all his previous relationships. And since we are both very competitive, I can imagine how we may end up vying to be the first to dump the other some time in the (near? distant?) future, if it comes to that.
But that is also interesting, isn't it? He is a challenge and I like it. Whether there is long-term potential is a question that remains to be seen, and I know that I will need to address this sooner rather than later. For now, though, I will go with the flow and see what happens.
I am so sleepy right now though. He drove me home at like 1.30am and I went to bed at 2-ish and got up at 8am to go to the gym. I was very happy that I did 20 minutes on the tread mill and 20 minutes on the cross-trainer. He told me to change my work out routine as 20 minutes on the cross trainer each time wasn't helping to burn any fats (which I knew), but I was gonna bring in the tread mill anyway, and I was already planning to spend more time at the gym before we had the fitness conversation.
I forgot what I was saying. I am so tired, oh my god. But it's worth it because the gym session was great.
Also, I was this close to avoiding a Fedal final. I really don't know how I am going to survive Sunday morning. I have half a mind not to watch the match...but if I am awake at 8.30am, then there's nothing that I can do to distract myself from it. Shit, why did Dimitrov not win? Ahhhhh.