I Honored Prince’s Death with My First Threesome

 

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life."

– “Let’s Go Crazy” (1984) 

April 21st…the day Prince died. Add it to a short list of indelible “Remember when…” moments—the Challenger explosion, O.J. Simpson verdict, 9/11 attacks, and Michael Jackson’s death—that have seared images of love, loss, and so much more into my (our collective) psyche.

I loved Prince’s electrifying funk. I respected his independent spirit. And I admired his saucy-turned-spiritual beacon of love.

So I chose to honor Prince by having my first threesome.

Not in the way you’re thinking, perv.

It was a decidedly more modern expression of love…or lust…probably neither…oh, who knows?!

"I never meant to cause you any sorrow / I never meant to cause you any pain / I only wanted to one time to see you laughing / I only wanted to see you / Laughing in the purple rain."

– “Purple Rain” (1984)

 

First, a backgrounder:

1.    I’m a single, heterosexual woman doing online dating.

2.    At 37, my first dates are seldom the nightmare I’ve heard from others. I chalk it up to a more refined filter after my fair share of doozies, like when that one guy wore a Google Glass…or when I fell asleep. (Zoinks!)

3.    My dates typically involve lively conversation over a meal, tea, or drinks, and then we go our separate ways feeling better about humanity. Often there’s a second date that includes a lake walk and more friendly banter. But it ends with an abrupt and awkward goodbye from the guy. My follow up text/call to initiate another date is then met with a slow fade to Friend Zone or altogether ghosting.

4.    I’m still trying to figure out why things seldom advance beyond the two-date stage for me. I’m personable and inquisitive with genuine interest in hearing the aspirations of others. I can hold court on a range of subjects with my utility-player smarts. And I’m generous with smiles and laughter.

But enough about me—you’re here for the threesome.

A couple days ago, a guy with whom I’d connected online a year ago (we’ll call him “James”) said he’d be in town for work and asked if I’d be available to meet for an early dinner. It was short notice but I wanted to make it happen because, though we'd previously met in person only once before in a professional setting, James and I had begun to establish a friendship via occasional emails/texts/social media comments.

Meanwhile, weeks ago, I’d made plans for April 21st to see a 10:00P film festival screening (culture brag) with a guy whom I’d previously gone out with twice (we’ll call him “Adam”). It’d been four weeks since our last date and, after my early attempts at conversation and scheduling another date were met with tepid response, our scarce communication suggested Adam had granted me Friend Zone status. I wanted to make it happen because I genuinely enjoyed Adam’s company the previous two dates.

To recap: early dinner and drinks with James, followed by dessert in the form of a late movie with Adam…throw in a side dish of ambiguity about the nature of each of our friendships, given that we’d met via online dating.

 

"Act your age, mama, not your shoe size"

– “Kiss” (1986)

 

James and Adam are two interesting, smart people…who professionally have a lot in common…so much that I envisioned a possible future collaboration for them…so much that I suggested the three of us enjoy mid-evening drinks. (Gulp.) They agreed. (We’re evolved like that.)

I gave them each a couple headlines about the other guy, but purposely avoided telling each how I’d met the other because duh. Almost immediately, they discovered the origin of our respective friendships. There was a collective chuckle, a philosophical remark that it’s the modern way of meeting people, and an encouraging comment that these emerging friendships were a pleasant departure from the horror stories online daters (often women) share. As the connector in this setting, I couldn’t agree more.

 

"And I need your love, babe / That's all I'm living for, yeah / I didn't want to pressure you, baby / But all I ever wanted to do / I wanna be your lover”

– "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (1979)

 

Our joint self-congratulations for being friendly and open-minded about navigating the social phenomenon that is online dating was funny and heartening.

It was also painful.

  • Yet another reminder that I’ve spent most of my adult life as the female friend, seldom more.

  • That my transition from potential partner to friend is swift and pervasive.

  • That the modern dating world is incredibly fluid, with the ever-present lure of more appealing options a mere finger swipe away.

I shared a shorter, less needy version of this observation, which was met with half-smiles and unease. We quickly changed subjects.

What followed was 90 minutes of networking (they exchanged business cards…if a project materializes, I’d like a cut), sharing our favorite Prince memories, and discussing the beauty of northern Spain. Easy and adaptable, with enough substance that we didn’t regret missing the start of First Avenue’s all-night dance party tribute to Prince. These are intriguing, fun guys…I expected nothing less.

 

“If you set your mind free, baby, maybe you’d understand.”

– “Starfish and Coffee” (1987)

 

Eventually, Adam and I needed to leave for the movie. James was an out-of-towner with an early morning, so I directed him back to his hotel. Adam drove separately, so I met him at the theater for the most laughable “horror” film I’ve ever seen. After the movie, I darted to First Avenue for the dance party. United with throngs of grieving Prince fans, I also couldn’t help but feel alone as I reflected on the evening.

  • Was I clueless about their interest or intentions?

  • Did my proposed threesome thwart a more substantive experience with either of them?

  • Armed with an amiable, free-spirited, “two-dates-and-a-budding-friendship” personality, when might I become more than an option in a dizzying array of swipe-worthy daters?

“Thinking about how we mourn artists we've never met. We don't cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves.”

– “Juliette” on Twitter (2016)

 

Prince had a way of evoking emotions—the big, upfront ones and the small, dormant ones. So I’ve begun exploring the online dating research literature. And reading a book about subliminal messages. All while listening to Prince's music ad nauseum.