Monday, September 30, 2013

Oops... I Did It Again

I saved his number in my phone under Think About It. That was my friend Claire's idea. She's a couple years older than me and she's been through this shit before.
“If a guy treats me badly, it's over. I'm not attracted to him anymore.”
I so had no intention of ever texting Gaffer Guy again. I honestly tried to delete his number from my phone's memory and fucking iCloud foiled my plan and refused to forget not only his number, but also his goddamn name. So I saved his number under Think About It. I knew this would deter me.

And I do think about it, I really do. I'm laying in bed, in my PJs. Having already eaten dinner and watched three episodes of Six Feet Under. Already moved on to reading a couple chapters of Bright Shiny Morning before drifting into a deep sleep, when my phone starts luring me to do bad things. I stare at it. Think About It. And when I think about it, I come up with a brilliant idea. I'll text him three blank spaces, and he will receive a text from me with an empty dialogue bubble. In other words, I'm opening the door but not enough that I can't deny ever opening it. I mean, phones do weird things and text people random empty messages sometimes right? Totally could have been a technological gaff, just a friendly little digital blip reminding him I still exist. I text him the empty message and put my phone down, feeling good for smacking the ball right back into his court. Then I start to feel a tad remorseful. What if he looks at this blank text and ignores it, as he's done in the past with my accidentally-on-purpose, meant-for-him-but-not-really text digressions. What if his response is to roll his eyes at my childish indirectness and turn off his phone?
My phone vibrates.
Him: “Oh yeah? I'm going to meet some friends at a bar. Join me.”
Wow. One blank text and we're right back where we started. Is it really so simple to put all the baggage behind us? Wipe the slate clean.

But I really don't want to meet him and his friends at a bar. I don't want to give him the opportunity to humiliate me in public again. I especially don't want to be outnumbered by his weird friends. And I really just want to make out. Since he's told me definitively that he hates PDA, he needs to come over.
Me: “Why don't you stop by on your way and make out with me a little?”
Him: “Come to my house now and we'll ride over together.”
Me: “I want to get you alone for a minute.”
Him: “I'm meeting my friend. It's nice out. Come if you want.”
Me: “Have fun.”
Him: “You too! Happy friday!”
I feel disappointed, and annoyed at myself for feeling disappointed again. For setting myself up for failure. I delete the entire text chain out of my phone so I don't have the urge to write him back. I do this often with him. Virtually after every single text. It sounds a little crazy when I say that out loud.

Ten minutes later, he sends me a song to listen to. Blue October's Bleed Out.
Me: “I don't want your songs, I want your tongue down my throat.”
I don't hear from him again for awhile. But I'm excited. My heart is pounding. I don't know why this guy makes me feel this way, but it feels like I'm on drugs. Up down up down up down. I look up the lyrics to “Bleed Out.” The chorus goes “Bleed out/ I gave it all/ But you can't stop taking from me/ And way down I know/ You know where to cut me/ With your eyes closed/ Bleed out/ It won't be long/ til this heart stops beating/ So don't let me bleed out here alone/ Hear my plea/ you won't hear my plea.” So dramatic. I'm pretty sure he was the one who cut me, but whatever.

A little while later, I'm seriously getting ready to go to sleep, but also thinking he might text me again, which makes it impossible for me to go to sleep. I'm just turning out my light when... my phone vibrates.
Him: “Meet me for a drink. Yes or no.”
Me: “Why don't you come to me?”
Him: “The lady comes to the man.”
Me: “I think you've got that backwards buddy.”
Him: “No then. Copy.”
I stare at my phone. That old sinking feeling. That same old feeling that says 'why should I be the one to fucking compromise' mixed with 'I blew it.'
I delete the text chain, turn off my phone, and switch out the light. Once again, Fuck You Gaffer Guy. My phone vibrates.
Him: “I'm willing to head your way, close to your home. Last chance to be human together. Meet me for a drink. Yes or no.”
I'm already in my PJs. There's no way I'm getting out of bed to meet this asshole. I read his text again. The “last chance” jumps out at me.
There's no way I'm doing that...
But then I just do it.
Me: “Promise to be human?”
Him: “I'm nothing but.”
Me: “You gonna play nice?”
Him: “Pick a destination. Quick.”
Me: “Same spot I guess.”
Him: “OK. See you in 15.”

I jump out of bed, heart racing. Mouth guard out. Get in the shower. Don't shave your legs, I say. Fuck that guy! I'm totally not shaving my legs for him.
But then I just do it.
I dry off and look at myself in the mirror. Don't put on makeup for that fool. I take out my mascara. Sexy underwear? Goddammit yes. If what I want out of this is physical, I need to prepare for it to get physical. I try not to think too much about the clothes. Throw on a sweater-like shirt, skinny jeans, boots. Not trying too hard. No cleavage. Fall is coming and I'm not gonna freeze for this fucker.
Even though I'm going from half asleep in bed to bar-ready in minutes, I still beat him there. I'm searching through the Friday night crowd. He's not there and I start to panic. What if he doesn't show? I can't stand another humiliating episode. I'm starting to get PTSD from our last encounter at this very same bar. Maybe I should have picked a new spot, somewhere with less bad memories.

I'm just getting a table outside when I see him at the door. I don't even try to give him a hug or a kiss hello. I coached myself on the drive over to play it cool, protect my heart, don't let the conversation spin out of control... blah blah blah.
The waitress approaches and asks how we're doing this evening.
He asks if she really cares or is just saying that.
I'm about to apologize for his rudeness when she shoots back with “well, now I don't care.”
I like this girl.
She says she needs a card to hold the bar tab. He asks if he can hold it with a hundred dollar bill. He takes out a wad of hundreds.
We order beers and he orders two shots of patron. I'm thinking, there's no way I'm drinking fucking tequila right now.
He tells me he's got to work at 8am tomorrow.
We talk about a lot of things. We talk about last time we were here. We have different ideas about what happened, but he actually seems to be listening to me. He's not on an all-women-are-crazy tirade this evening, so that's a plus. Maybe things have calmed down with the female wrestler he was fucking.

Our drinks come and, when the conversation starts to go in a direction I don't like, I ask about the shots of Patron.
I say, “I can't really drink tequila anymore.” Then I clink my glass against his and shoot it back.
I explain to him that the smell of the shit he puts in his hair is like fucking catnip to me. I tell him I'm going to find out the source of the smell and make every guy I know wear it.
"Come closer so I can smell your hair.  I promise I won't touch you.  I know you don't like to be touched."
"You can touch me," he says.
He leans forward. His hair smells fine, but it's not the hair.
Let me smell your face. I promise I won't touch you, I just want to smell your face.”
He moves his face in close to mine. I breath him in. Whatever the smell is, it's on his face. He rubs his nose against mine and we Eskimo kiss over the table. Okay, this definitely counts as PDA, which he supposedly hates. I don't question it. I close my eyes, heart fluttering.
He tells me it's not that he doesn't like to be touched, it's just that when I was “petting” him last time, it was just “too sweet.”
He says he obviously still feels the “magnetic pull” between us. Well I'm glad I'm not the only one.
"So are we going to your place or mine?" he asks.
"Well, I guess yours since you obviously won't come to mine."
He doesn't argue with that.
"I've got to go," he says.  This confuses me.  Does this mean I'm not coming over?
"Are you sure you want me to come over?"
"I thought it was already decided.  You're coming over."

I follow him in my car. He drives slowly and uses his turn signal so I don't get lost. I half expect him to floor it and take off, to change his mind and decide he wants to go home alone. At his place, his two sweet old dogs greet us. They like me, I can tell.

He pours us two glasses of water and apologizes again that his bed is not made, his place is a mess.
I never have people over here.”
I don't think that's true but I don't honestly care. The new toothbrush he made me open last time is still on the bathroom sink. There's also a third opened toothbrush, but I don't ask about it. I peak into the shower, looking for the source of The Smell. I find VO5 shampoo and generic soap - clearly not what I'm looking for. I snoop through the bathroom cabinet. Aha! Three perfume bottles of Hei by Alfred Sung. I put my nose to the fullest of the bottles. I get lightheaded. The scent is absolutely intoxicating.
Found it!” I gleefully carry the bottle into the bedroom where he is making the bed, and present it to him. He smiles at me.
You obviously know this shit works because you've got three bottles of it in there.”
He starts lighting candles. I take a photo of the bottle so I can go tell every man I know to buy some and start wearing it NOW.

I return the bottle to the bathroom cabinet. When I'm back in the bedroom, he tells me to flip the light switch. Blue October's “Bleed Out” is pouring out of the speakers.

After we have sex, we keep kissing. He tells me when the CD ends, he's going to sleep. He has to get up in four hours to go to work. He means business and when the last song has played out, he blows out the candles and we lay back in bed. He kisses my shoulder and holds my hand across his chest. He doesn't turn away from me like that first night. It feels nice.

In the morning I watch him get ready for work. His hair is crazy and standing on end. I'm fond of that hair. For whatever reason, I'm fond of him. But I know I have to be careful. I know I must protect my heart, that he is fully capable of breaking it. He comes over and kisses me goodbye. I linger in that kiss. He gives in to me a little bit, then pulls away.

Later that afternoon, I'm at my friend Paula's house when he texts me.
You ever wake up? I wish I was still asleep! I'm a zombie today.”
I text back. “I'm painting your house pink, hope that's cool.”
I can picture myself becoming his worst nightmare, and for the moment this is hilarious to me.

I confessed this latest episode to my ex-boyfriend.
His advice: “You can't write about this in your blog. No one will respect you.”
I know that's probably true, and I considered strategically avoiding the subject. But then I talked to my friend Paula, who is 40 years old and much wiser than me.
Her advice: “You have to write about this in your blog. Because it's you, it's your honesty.”
I chose to follow her advice because she's right, this is me, I am a woman in my 20s and the reality of me at this moment in life is that I'm choosing to live out this story, even though I already know the ending.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Porn Culture

I'm feeling nostalgic for a more innocent time. I remember going to a girlfriend's house for a sleepover in 7th grade. She had a giant TV downstairs in her bedroom, far away from the parents, and late at night we would cruise through the hundreds of cable channels looking for... well, porn. And I remember one night very specifically, a gaggle of giggling girls crowded around the TV watching a, by today's standards, soft-core movie in which an attractive couple made love on a bearskin rug in front of a roaring fireplace as a naked woman spied from behind a wall and touched herself to the sounds of them having sex. I was riveted. Some of my girlfriends pretended they were grossed out and turned in early. Naturally, I stayed up and watched the entire film. There was nothing scary or hardcore about it. It looked like real sex. There was a softness and a sensuality... I have not seen a porn flick like this since.

Things have really changed in the last fifteen years. Porn is no longer this marginalized thing that only dirty old men watch. Which in a way is good because there is a big variety of what's out there, for different audiences, women included. What's really upsetting to me though is that, because porn is totally normalized and available all over the internet, the porn aesthetic has become a standard that incredibly young girls think they have to live up to.

I'm in kind of an angry mood about all this because I just watched two really upsetting documentaries back to back: MISS REPRESENTATION and SEXY BABY. So please forgive me for the coming rant... I'm painfully aware that I'm preaching to the choir.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom's Miss Representation deals with the media's pervasive focus on how women look over what they accomplish, and talks about how this phenomena distracts women from doing important things and sends the message to young girls that being pretty is more important than anything else. Jay Leno challenges his audience to identify if the women in the photos he's showing them are “professional newscasters or hooters waitresses.”

I mean, I enjoy tits and ass as much as the next person, but Jesus Christ. I'm tired of driving along the Sunset Strip and almost getting in a car wreck because there's a hundred foot naked chick staring down at me. And I'm a grown woman so I realize what I'm looking at is a piece of digitally-enhanced advertising-cum-pornography, but what must the 13 year old girl in the car next to me think? That this is the ideal of what she's supposed to look like, that the only way a woman is going to make it onto a billboard is if she's naked with breast implants? In my idealistic mind, I wonder how our world might be different if this same girl looked up and saw a hundred foot billboard of Hillary Clinton accepting her presidential nomination, and her thought pattern might be more along the lines of: “Wow, that woman is going to be President, maybe I can be a leader one day too!”

In one particularly disheartening scene, the filmmakers show a slew of newscaster commentary about our female leaders. Some of the direct quotes from today's top male newscasters:
When Barack Obama speaks, men hear 'take off for the future.' When Hillary Clinton speaks, men hear 'take out the garbage!'” - Cavuto, Fox News
I think I'm gonna send the senate minority and her club a bunch of vacuum cleaners to help them clean up after their meeting.” - Rush Limbaugh
Sarah Palin looks really hot in that hat.” - Glenn Beck
These skanks that make up the female leadership of the democratic party.” - Lee Rodgers
She's not the type of face you wanna see on a five dollar bill.” - Savage Nation
Remember that ugly hag, Madeline Albright? A psycho... like a fat moron.” - Savage Nation
Now we have the wicked witch of the West, you know, Nancy Pelosi.” - Fox News
Another example of how it's very rare to find a woman worthy of serving in political office.” - Chris Baker
Get a woman in power in the Oval Office, what's the down side?” - Bill O'Reilly “You mean besides the PMS and the mood swings.” - Cavuto

This really sucks. The public listens to these guys, and if it is still acceptable to say such hateful things about women on national television, we have a long way to go. As Jennifer Siebel Newsom says, “The more power women gain, the stronger the backlash against them.” I think the worst damage this kind of backlash does is to infiltrate the heads of young girls who grow up watching this toxic criticism and learn fast that being a powerful, influential woman is just too much work, there is too much hatred and judgment to overcome. It's not worth it. Much safer to just stick to what we know – twerking.

In movies, even when a woman is the protagonist and appears empowered, she is often relying on sex and her body to gain status. Caroline Heldman, a Poly Sci professor at Occidental College, coined the phrase “fighing fuck toy” to describe such “action heroes” as the gals in Sucker Punch, Jennifer Garner in Elektra, Halle Berry in Catwoman, etc. In other words, yes these women are “bad ass,” gun-wielding action stars, but they still dress like strippers.

We tend not to write women as human beings. It's cartoons we're making now. And that's a shame.” -film director Paul Haggis

Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus' Sexy Baby follows the stories of three different women. A 12 year old girl coming of age in New York City, an ex-porn star who teaches housewives how to pole dance, and a 22 year old kindergarten teacher saving all her money to get labiaplasty.

The kindergarten teacher believes her sex life will be much better when she has the “perfect” labia and can therefore feel confident about her sexuality. “My first serious boyfriend watched X-rated movies and stuff and he was like 'Oh, it's bigger than most girls, what's wrong?' And I just feel it would be a huge turn on for a guy to look like a porn star.” Her old white male doctor agrees, and gives her the scientific reading that on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the biggest and most unsightly), her “wings” are a 7 and an 8, respectively, and therefore definitely need to be “clipped.” The filmmakers interviewed several teenage boys who admitted to wanting girls they have sex with to appear similar to what they see in porn. One boy claimed he once slept with a girl who had the “meat curtain” factor... he never talked to her again.

When I was growing up, I hadn't seen tons and tons of porno vaginas, so I didn't know what a “perfect” vagina was supposed to look like. There was a freedom to work with what you had. Now, like with women's tits and asses and faces and hair and weight and everything, there's a standard of perfection that very young girls feel they must live up to.  

The 12 year old in Sexy Baby is this really smart, cool girl who goes from being a poet, social activist and gymnast, to losing all interest in everything but Lady Gaga, and suddenly she is wearing incredibly short skirts and spending all her time trying to appear sexy to boys on Facebook. Growing up, my mom was always really strict about me not wearing short skirts, but it was easier to regulate back then because the images coming out of the media were not so gratuitous, and young girls weren't so sexualized. I see these adolescent girls on the street these days and I'm constantly like “your mother let you leave the house in that thing?” But then my eyes travel up to the nearest billboard and there's a naked little girl looking skinny and depressed in an American Apparel advertisement... and it all makes some kind of weird sense.

I mean, I get it. When I was young I was in love with the Spice Girls. My favorite one? Posh Spice. Literally the worst singer of the group. Why? Because I thought she was the prettiest. Ginger was my second fave – in my mind, the second prettiest. My least favorites? Arguably the two best singers of the group – Sporty and Scary, because I thought they were the least pretty. I had 50 Barbies growing up that I loved to play with, I dressed them up and made them all have sex with Ken. But it was a more innocent time. There was no beating hookers to death in Grand Theft Auto, there was no internet porn. And the Spice Girls were no Lady Gaga. They seemed totally scandalous at the time, but compared with the music performers of today, they look like fucking nuns.

I dread the day when I have a teenage daughter and I have to keep her from having a smart phone too young and must tell her a hundred times a day to put on some fucking pants. If we already have the likes of Megan Fox and Miley Cyrus, I'm wary to think what the influences will be like in a decade and beyond. It seems literally impossible to get young girls to dress their age. Especially in LA where the default dress code is Forever 21 and 10 year olds and 70 year olds alike are shopping there.

I think women need to wise up and start representing ourselves better. Literally every time I'm in the gym (which, granted, is not that often), at least five of the ten TV screens in front of me at any given moment are inevitably playing some disgusting R&B video where a clan of wet bikini-clad females are gyrating all over some thugged-out rapper and/or brain dead Barbies are competing to become Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders by, again, gyrating in front of a slew of judges, consisting of balding men and plastically-enhanced older women. This is what girls on TV are doing. This is how some of the most visible members of our sex are portraying us. Are we cool with this? Because I'm not cool with it. I'm fucking sick of it.

I have to admit, I'm not immune to any of this. I, as you all know, watch porn. I get laser hair removal on my bikini line. And I have been known to text dirty photos to guys. But I'm a woman, I feel in control of my sexuality, and I try not to be solely defined by it (although I too have fallen into this trap). I'm not a 12 year old girl whose never had sex before. And honestly, I don't know if I would have this healthy attitude about sex if I had been exposed so early on to such a hard core porn culture as we have today. I was allowed to watch R rated movies from a young age, but they were usually the ones in which the woman was strong and smart, not the ones in which her character is defined by a mini-skirt. The porn that I was able to find as a kid was pretty soft-core as I remember. And then of course there wasn't the incredible internet access kids grow up with now. It's changed so much so fast, it's hard not to be a little scared about where we're headed.

However, the 12 year old girl in Sexy Baby makes a very smart point. “We're the first generation to have what we have, so there's no one before us who can kind of guide us. I mean, we are the pioneers.” For all her newfound desire to be sexy and appeal to boys, this girl does seem conflicted and she admits that she doesn't necessarily love the change that's come over her. I think the awareness is key, and the intelligence of this young girl and that of the upcoming generation gives me hope that maybe we won't go too far. We can't go back in time to a magical land before Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and RedTube, but I don't think we necessarily have to lose ourselves in it either.

I do have to admit that, watching the kindergarten teacher going in for labiaplasty, I started to wonder about myself. I crouched over a mirror and checked out my own “wings,” scrutinizing their size for literally the first time in my life. Are they too big, I wondered? This thought had never occurred to me before, and I wish it didn't now.
Totally watch these documentaries...
Miss Representation - streaming on Netflix
Sexy Baby - available for rent on iTunes

Monday, September 16, 2013

Casual Sex?

“Is this whole casual sex thing working for you?”
I’m having a salad lunch with a girlfriend at Lemonade.  I don’t really know how to answer this question.
“Because I was trying to find a casual sex partner for awhile and it just never worked out.”

I think back on my recent experiences.  Coffee Shop Guy was casual, but I deflected his numerous follow-up attempts, not really interested in making it a regular thing with him.  Gaffer Guy was obviously a really bad choice for a fuck buddy.  And ex-boyfriend could not by any stretch be considered casual.
“Yeah, I guess it hasn’t been that successful so far.  But I’m holding out hope.”
My friend shared that she doesn’t sleep with guys right away anymore.  She likes to get to know them first, to build up the sexual tension, and then when they do have sex it’s powerful.
“Hmm, maybe I should try that.”

Probably the best casual sex I ever had was when I was backpacking in Central America.  I met these two Israeli guys in the van ride on the way from Belize City to Flores, Guatemala.  We made friends on the four hour ride and ended up staying at the same hotel overlooking the water in Flores.  It’s incredible meeting people when you’re traveling, especially alone, because everyone is so in the moment and present that you make fast friends and people you know for days you feel you’ve known for years.  It was like that with these two guys.  Within hours, we were bickering and bantering like we’d been friends all our lives.

One night, I was hanging out in their hotel room smoking this really weak Guatemalan weed they’d bought off this guy working at the restaurant where we’d had grilled chicken and beans for dinner.  It was weak, but one of my new friends (the skinny one) just kept rolling joints, so we were getting pretty stoned.  And bonding over sex and drug stories.  I was sitting on the other one’s bed (the chubbier one), and we were kind of playing footsy in this noncommittal way.  These guys were fresh out of the Israeli military, 23 years old, traveling for six months across Central and South America.

At some point, I got tired and excused myself to go to bed.  I brushed my teeth with bottled water and washed my face in the bathroom that had vines growing through the gaping hole in the shower wall.  I turned on the fan full blast and lay down on the thin, creaky mattress, on top of the sheets because I swear I felt bed bugs the night before.  I had just closed my eyes when there was a knock on the door.  I had an inkling of who it might be but I was still surprised to find my chubby friend standing there.
“He’s asleep.  Do you want to do some stuff?”

I was really on the fence about this one, I have to say.  I knew he had a girlfriend, but that wasn’t the problem.  He had told me if he wanted to sleep with someone on this trip, he was going to – and as you know, I don’t take responsibility for these decisions.

The truth is I just wasn’t that into him physically, and I didn’t have that urge to pounce on him that usually guides my sexual decision-making.  I liked him, we were friends, we had talked and gotten to know each other a little bit, and I had fun bickering and bantering with him.  But, not to be a shallow asshole, he was just not really my type physically – quite short, very soft body, and extremely hairy, like hair inside the tops of his ears hairy.  But he did have a very nice smile and beautiful eyes, and I liked him.  So I let him in and sat down on my bed, trying to make up my mind.

He was clearly waiting for a cue from me. 
“Will it get weird between us if we do this?  And with the other guy.”
“Look, do you want me to go?”
I didn’t.  I wanted to give this a shot.  We had good chemistry, and I didn’t want to write him off because of his hobbit-like qualities.  I decided the ear-hair was Wolverine-esque, and lay back on the creaking mattress.
“Come here.”
He was gentle with me.  His kisses were soft, his skin even softer.  The words “baby fat” came into my mind, and I pushed them aside. 
He went down on me and it felt good.  I wanted to have sex, and he resisted a little.  I insisted, and he stopped and looked at me.
“We can’t have sex.”
I was very confused and disappointed and worried and a little frustrated.  Once again I find myself asking, then what are you doing here?
“I have a problem.”
Oh no.  Here it goes.  What is it?  AIDS?  Herpes?  HPV?  What is it?
“I have a cyst on my balls.”
Oh my god.  Cancer.  I can’t believe it.  He’s so young!
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, it’s benign.”  Phew.
“How did that happen?”
“I was working security in Gaza and we got into a fight and I got the butt of a machine gun jabbed into my balls.”
I couldn’t believe this story.  This was a different reality from my own. 
“So you can’t have sex?”
“It hurts.  A lot.”

So, that was that.  We kept kissing.  He wanted to make me come by going down on me.  I still wanted to have sex.  At some point, he was really hard and said “fuck it” and took a condom out of his pocket. 

We started to have careful sex.  But not too careful.  We moved around, switching positions.  From time to time I would ask if it hurt.  He took a couple pain breaks.  But for the most part, he seemed to be enjoying himself.  And I have to say the slow and steady approach was definitely an improvement from the jack rabbit pounding favored by a lot of guys who don’t have cysts on their balls.

And I came!  From sex.  With a relative stranger.  After only one go!  It was incredible.  And then he came!  Even with his cyst and everything.  He said afterwards it usually hurts with his girlfriend, but it didn’t really hurt this time. 

The next day, it wasn’t weird between us.  Actually, it was kind of fun.  On the seven hour van ride to Semuc Champey, I would strategically position myself in the seat in front of him so that he could fondle my breasts (casually) from the seat behind.  If our other friend knew what was going on, he made no indication.

That night, he tried to coerce me into sleeping in his bed in a one-room hostel full of a bunch of other male backpackers.  I declined, not wanting to be that girl.  He was a little offended, accusing me of thinking all he wanted from me was sex.  This baffling argument again.  We tried to have sex again but it was too painful for him.

The following day, they went on to Antigua, and I went back to Belize City to catch my flight home.

That was probably the best casual sex I’ve ever had.  Probably because I got to know him a little first, we had chemistry and some nice tension build up before we did the deed.  But it’s also interesting to me that often the guys I’m most physically attracted to (in that catnip kinda way) are the most disappointing in bed.  This guy was so not my type to the point that I almost didn’t even consider having sex with him, and he was actually much better than most I’ve been with.

The best casual sex partner I ever had, and it only lasted two days.  Even if we had kept traveling together, it was really over when it was over.  And what was the future in it anyway?  Maybe my friend has a point.  Maybe I’m bad at casual sex because I ultimately want more.  Or, if I meet someone that is everything I want in a casual sex partner, I’ll probably fall in love with them. 

My mom was really disturbed by my last blog post.
“Can’t you get to know people a little first before you have sex with them?”
This surprised me somewhat coming from her.  I know for a fact my mom was a big ol’ slut in her 20s in New York.  But I know it disturbs her to think of me having sex with people I barely know, only to discover they are sociopathic (aka Gaffer Guy).

There is something creepy about this, I will give her that.  With Gaffer Guy, I completely take responsibility because I knew the guy was crazy from the moment I met him and yet I kept putting my hand in the fire knowing full well it was going to burn me every time.  

I guess if I could totally remove my emotions from sex, Gaffer Guy’s craziness wouldn’t have affected me so much.  If I viewed sex as a purely physical act, I wouldn’t care.  But the truth is that I was hurt, and I did feel the loss of something.

So, maybe I’m bad at having casual sex.  Not to say I’m putting my slutty days behind me.  Because I’m not ready to do that yet.  But it’s good to know, along the path of discovering what I want, that I ultimately do want more from a relationship (even a casual one) than just sex.

Monday, September 9, 2013

F*** You, Gaffer Guy

The feminist in me is screaming.  She’s fed up and irritated and totally embarrassed.  The slut in me is not thrilled either.  They both know I failed.  Because I’m hung up on a guy.  And not just any guy.  Fucking Gaffer Guy.

The slut and the feminist are both begging me not to write this blog.  They’re like “Just write something glib and funny and irreverent.”  But I can’t right now.  Because I’m in pain.  I spent a day and a half crying in bed.  I called in sick to work.

This is what happened.  Last week I had a lapse in judgment and I texted Gaffer Guy for the first time since I saw him at that party with that other girl.  Last I heard from him, he had said he wanted to do “Normal people stuff,” like “go to a movie, or a museum, or get food, or make food and eat it, or rent a movie and watch it in pajamas.”  Since then, radio silence.  And then the party.

Don’t ask me why I can’t keep my hand out of this fire.
Him: “Miss me?”
Me: “Don’t ask me why.”
Him: “Let’s meet for drinks after work.”
And so we did.  We had a couple beers and, besides some weird flirt-taunting with the bartender, he was pretty cool.  And I got pretty drunk.  So we went back to his place.  I was greeted by his two large and friendly dogs.  He showed me his house.  Not exactly the palace he had described, and definitely in need of a good clean, but a considerable upgrade from Coffee Shop Guy’s messy studio.  And then we talked for awhile.  About careers and death and this old gay guy with a Liberace voice who Gaffer Guy helps out with various tasks.  I enjoyed talking to him and I felt myself opening up, even told him about the cat scratch fever I got as a kid that made me permanently partially blind in my right eye.  I had forgotten about this because I rarely think about it, and it’s a detail many of my closest friends don’t even know.  Maybe it was him, or maybe it was the beer, or perhaps the couple lines of ecstasy we blew off the counter.  Whatever it was, I felt close to him and like maybe I had misjudged this person.  Or judged him too fast, which I have done in the past.  Maybe I misinterpreted his behavior as weird and malicious when I was the one choosing to see it that way? 

At a certain point, he started kissing me, and I have to say I love kissing this guy.  And he smells amazing, not sure what he puts in his hair but damn.  I went to go pee, and when I returned, I found the bedroom lit by candlelight with some sexy tunes playing out of his phone.  We started making out, which started leading to sex.  I wanted to go down on him but he said it would make him “come too fast.”  I appreciated this consideration, in light of our sexual history.  He went down on me, and when I pulled him up, he didn’t want to stop.  He was actually trying to make me come (unlike last time), which I also appreciated.  We had sex for awhile in a number of different positions, and it was fun and lasted longer than a minute and a half. 
He asked, “Will you kill me if I fall asleep right now?”
I laughed.  “No.”
“I don’t want to experience your wrath in the morning.”
I assured him I was fine, that I felt good, that I had fun. 
I kissed him on the cheek and turned away to go to sleep.
“Thanks for that,” he said.

There was no cuddling, which I guess should have been a warning sign.  No spooning, no good morning kisses, no affection whatsoever.  We both had things to do so we got out of bed early-ish and got dressed and got ready separately.  He had to go help Liberace upholster a chair, and I had a plane to catch.  When we were just about out the door, I started kissing him again.  Which led to making out.  Which led to a real quickie fully clothed, bent over his bed.  We kissed goodbye and that was that.

I was flying to visit my parents for the weekend, and upon touching back down in LA, I found myself with a text from Gaffer Guy.
Him: “Are you back yet??  I want to have lunch…”
Me: “Aww you miss me?”
Him: “Don’t ask me why.”
Cute, right?  I told him I was waiting for the bus, going straight to work.
Him: “Why didn’t you tell me?  I would’ve picked you up.”
I consider picking someone up from the airport a huge favor that I don’t ask of most of my friends, let alone casual sex partners.  My usual ride, my dependable ex-boyfriend, was out of town himself and unavailable.  Gaffer Guy offered to come to my work and lend me his car while he went to work himself, and then I could come pick him up afterwards and we could go bar hopping.  This seemed very inconvenient to me, but I did want to see him and I found this proposal exciting and unpredictable coming from him.  Had we really come this far?  I’m now borrowing his car??  I agreed.

At 10:30 pm, I park his car in front of his work. 
“Give me all your money!” I jump, then quickly realize Gaffer Guy is standing beside my driver’s side window with his hand pointed at me like a gun.  He opens the door.
“You gonna go around or slide across?”
“I can drive,” I say.
“I don’t let women drive me.  Y’all are terrible drivers.”
“Why is it always guys getting in accidents then?”
“90% of accidents, you drive past, there’s a woman involved.”  Not sure where he got that statistic.
“Well, I’ve never gotten in an accident.”
Off to a good start.  I walk around and get in the passenger door.
He sniffles, sounding stuffed up.
“I can’t fucking breath.  I drank seven beers this afternoon.”
“Well, you can just take me straight home if you want.”
“Nah, let’s get a beer.”
No kiss, no nothing.  I reach out and touch his hair.  I don’t know why I insist on doing this. 
“You’re a petter, aren’t you?” He says.
“Sorry, I didn’t realize you don’t like being touched.”
He doesn’t deny this.  I keep my hands to myself. 
“I sold my motorcycle today.  The one I’ve been fixing up.  Bam boom.  $3,500.  Cash.”
He beams, proud of himself.  Looks over, expecting a big reaction from me.  I smile.
“That’s great.”
We arrive at the bar, the same one we came to before.  We order beers and I’m looking at the food menu.  I didn’t have dinner.  He hasn’t eaten all day but when I ask what he’s going to order, he says “Nothing.”
I order ceviche.
“I feel like shit,” he says.
“We can go if you want.”
“No, let’s have a beer.”
I can imagine how tired he must be, having drunk seven beers that afternoon then gone straight to work.  I can’t believe he’s still drinking.
I’m having fun, high on adrenaline, ironically singing along to Blink 182 on the radio.  I like who I am around him.  I feel open and excited.  I’m like that girl in the rom-com you just can’t help but fall in love with because she’s so awesome.

He looks around the bar, checks out some girl’s ass for a long moment.
I glance across the street, enjoying the heat this late at night, feeling content.
“Oh god, that look,” he says.
“What look?”
“That look on your face.  You look so bored.”
He’s got to blow his nose.  I offer him a napkin from my purse.  He gives me a strange look.
“I’ll go to the bathroom.”
While he’s gone, the bouncer and I start talking.  When Gaffer Guy returns, the bouncer excuses himself.
“Nah, you don’t have to go man.  This is my sister.  She’s my sister from another mother.  She’s my wingman.  I bring her out to attract people.”
“Mostly guys,” I say.
We laugh about this, but I don’t understand what’s with him.
When the bouncer leaves, I decide to bring it up.
“I feel like you’re done.”
“With what?”
“With me.”
“Dude, I’m here with you.”
“It’s just that, you say all this stuff through text and then I see you, and it’s like none of that exists.”
“Look man, I’m not gonna stroke your leg in public.  I’m not into that PDA shit.  I don’t know who you expect me to be.”
“It’s just a little confusing but I’m getting used to it.”  This isn’t entirely honest.  I don’t know how to express the fact that him wanting to pick me up from the airport and watch a movie in our pajamas doesn’t compute with this person who barely looks at me when we’re together and won’t even give me a single kiss until he’s drunk.
“I think you have intimacy issues.”
This starts him off on his favorite topic of conversation, about how all women are the same.  He’s now on his second beer.  He indicates the space between us.
“This is how it starts.  They all seem cool in the beginning.  And then you’re gonna start leaving shit at my house.  And you’re gonna wanna move in.  And then you’re gonna get crazy, and I’ll still be the same guy.”
I can’t believe he’s talking this shit again.  He tells me a story he told me the last time we were at this same bar, about the other girl he was screwing who recently confessed she was developing feelings for him and wanted to be exclusive.
“She was like, all or nothing.  So I said, it’s gonna be nothing then.”
I can’t believe how cold and heartless he can be.  And what kills me, is that the look in his eye tells a different story.  In his eyes, I can see that he likes being with me/that he’s interested in me as a person, but out of his mouth comes this bulldozer of bullshit that I can’t believe.

“You’re all the same, man.”
“Then why me, why not that girl?” I indicate a girl near us, her boyfriend’s arm wrapped tightly around her.
“She’s taken.”  Wow.
“Well, I don’t see you as interchangeable.  When I look at you, I see an individual.  I don’t see a representation of all men.  I don’t make time for everybody, I’m here because I like you.”
“So, does that mean you wanna date and be exclusive?”  He looks worried.
“No, that has nothing to do with it.”
I can’t believe where his mind goes.  In this moment, I feel like crying because I’ve let this person in too close and he’s fucking crazy.  Except crying won’t work with him.
“You’re all the fucking same.  The only difference is that you get your periods on different days.  And when you all get together, you even get them at the same time.”
This is too much.  I can even feel myself becoming the crazy girl he’s describing, and I don't want to be that girl.
“Well maybe we should just call it quits now, before it goes any further.”
I’m bluffing.  I’m testing how deep his apathy goes.
His eyes look sad but his mouth says “Sure.”
We get the check. 
“I’m sure you wanna walk home, but you’ve got all your shit in my car.”
He drives me and I’m silent.  He talks bullshit, tells me “I told you I was crazy.”  I’m about to burst into tears and I need to get out of the car.  I still want him to hug me and tell me he’s being an asshole, that he’s sorry and he didn’t mean what he said.  He doesn’t.  He’s done learning, he’ll never change.  He’s living this self-fulfilling prophecy and he’ll have another crazy chick to fill my slot next week.
“I like just going home to my dogs.  I don’t like girls staying over at my place.”
He pulls over and I thank him for letting me borrow his car.  I don’t look at him as I grab my stuff and slam the door behind me. 

I open the door to my apartment and I sink to the ground in a puddle of tears.  I cry like I haven’t cried in years.  Heaving, full body sobs that I don’t understand considering this person I’m crying over.  I don’t understand why I care so much.  Why I feel such profound disappointment and loss.  My biggest regret?  That I didn’t get one last kiss.  I feel so pathetic, so fragile. 

The next day, I tell my ex all about it.  He thinks the guy is an asshole and can’t understand what I’m doing with him.  I expect this will be the response from most reading this blog.  My ex tells me I need closure with this guy.  I should meet him for coffee and tell him how my feelings were really hurt.  I text Gaffer Guy, he tells me to come to the set where he’s working.  It’s nearby.  I go.  Not sure what I’m expecting, but needing to tell him.  He steps out to meet me, in a semi-private area.
“I just needed to tell you that you really hurt my feelings with what you said.  I don’t know what kind of women you date but I’m not like everyone else.  And it hurts me that you can’t see that.  But I don’t feel great today and I just need closure with this.”
He stands there watching me, a half smile on his face – mocking or sympathetic, it’s hard to tell.  His eyes are full of regret but what comes out of his mouth is this:
“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.  Have a nice life.”
And that’s that.  I turn from him, keeping my emotions at bay, feeling like I just showed my naked heart to a wolf.
I put on my sunglasses to hide my blotchy face and the tears streaming down my cheeks. 

I skip work and go straight home.  I get in bed to watch Six Feet Under on HBO-Go and I order in pho from my local noodle shop.  I burn my hand badly as I pour the broth into the noodles, spilling liquid everywhere.  I grab an ice pack and crumple to the floor, once again in a puddle of pathetic, self-pity tears.  I like to think it’s my period that’s making me so emotional, but I’ve never really had these symptoms before.  I don’t like to think that I allowed Gaffer Guy to have such a strong affect on me.  I sob into my soup bowl, then crawl into bed.  I wrap the ice pack around my burnt fingers and cry myself to sleep.