He wanted a dominatrix. Could I wear rubber for love?

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I packed up my life in New York for Los Angeles, certain love was waiting for me on the other side of Los Angeles International Airport’s highly inconvenient Uber lot. Within 72 hours of being in L.A., I found a boyfriend who was handsome, successful and serious about us — and me.

I had moved to Hancock Park on a Thursday and I met Nick at Mozza on Sunday. He was endearing, with a great smile, warm eyes and good style — I’m a sucker for driving loafers. We had connected the old-fashioned way — via the League App — and despite being shorter than expected, he got better looking as the night went on. We laughed, drank and kissed, and when he asked for my number, he already had it in his phone. We’d matched years before, chatted briefly but never met because I didn’t live here. Fate?

Forty-eight hours later, we were playing hooky from work in favor of boozy Avra lunch. The next day flowers came addressed to my dog. By Friday night, we were making inside jokes at Spago. Valentine’s Day, four days after that, he showed up with a giant haul of peanut butter M&Ms and Kit Kats (my favorites).

Concluding our first night together, he said, “What I’ve been waiting for is you.” After two decades of exhaustive dating, I thought to myself: You have no idea.

That was my first 10 days in L.A.

Everybody had an opinion.

“This is what it’s supposed to be like when a guy likes you,” quipped my mom, who had both unrealistic expectations of modern men and a vested interest in making this work. She wanted to plan a wedding.

“You’re being love-bombed,” chimed my inner circle.

And there was an actual bomb: “Ooooh no, anyone but him.”

My cousin, an L.A. native, had a friend who‘d dated Nick and gave a less-than-glowing review. L.A. may be sprawling, but the gossip circles are small.

I didn’t listen. Sure, it was fast. But why should I slow down what I’d been longing for?

Our lives commingled. We met each other’s family, and our dogs got groomed together. I had as much clothing in his closet as in my own. He invited me to France, talked about when he would propose, and asked what I liked in rings. Two months in, we were in Paris, with me fully planning to come back an insufferable brunch partner who gloats, “When you know you know. I’m going to marry him.”

I hate those people.

Ninety days in, once I was completely hooked, he mentioned he was “really into” lingerie, so I went to Agent Provocateur. Who doesn’t like pretty, lacy things?

After my newly dressed derriere’s debut, morning coffee went like this: “I really appreciate you hearing me, but that’s not really the kind of lingerie I’m into. … Have you ever thought about latex?”

Coffee sprayed from my mouth, a dead giveaway that no, I’d never thought about latex. I wanted this to work. All the other boxes were checked. Could I wear rubber?

I tried to negotiate. If what I picked wasn’t what he wanted, then let him shop, and I would be open-minded. All bets were off when I took cheap red pleather underwear and a bra with horse bits out of a silk bag. If in gift-giving it’s the thought that counts, my being comfortable, literally or figuratively, was nowhere in his thought process. This was not me.

“Why do you care what you’re wearing if it makes me happy?” he lamented. My jaw remained slack. “If you’re offended by this, you will really not like what I actually want. This is mild. … They sell it in a mall.” As if that somehow qualified these garments as conciliatory. This was Los Angeles — everything was sold in a mall of some kind.

For a while (actually weeks), he dropped it. But sex had gone from frequent and intimate to somewhat obligatory. Mid-coitus he asked me to recount all the ways he was a disappointment. Right now was one. I pretended I didn’t hear him. He pulled away from me, pouted and went to sleep on the farthest end of the bed. Who was this man? And what did you do with the one who said he’d never been happier and couldn’t wait to start a family?

In a salvaging effort, I asked to know everything.

The kinks that were suppressed in our courtship were far from our original bargain. What Nick wanted in a partner was a wife and a dominatrix in one. He wanted someone who would scold him, humiliate him and seek pleasure in punishment, sometimes while he wore women’s lingerie — a thing, I guess, he was really into.

I considered it. I really did. By this point, I was reasonably upset. Hitting him might not even be difficult. My mind raced between “I am no disciplinarian” (as my dog chewed my couch) and “Maybe it’s not a big deal. I like to wear shoes; he likes to lick them.”

I even suggested having a professional to fulfill those parts of him I couldn’t. It was an offer that was rebuffed with “I want a partner who will meet me where I am, which you don’t seem willing to do.” If that meant on all fours, he was right.

It was over.

I was not getting married.

I fell out of love as quickly as I had fallen into it.

Now, months later, still in L.A. and still hopeful, I’m building relationships much more slowly. But my questions come first, including this one: “Have you ever thought about latex?”

The author is a writer, stand-up and co-founder/CEO of Prospr, a communication and productivity app for businesses with frontline employees. She lives in West Hollywood. She’s on Instagram: @WorldofWasser

L.A. Affairs chronicles the search for romantic love in all its glorious expressions in the L.A. area, and we want to hear your true story. We pay $400 for a published essay. Email [email protected]. You can find submission guidelines here. You can find past columns here.

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