Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I’ve got rejection on the brain. Last weekend, I really wanted to have sex. I had recently reconnected with this hot bartender/circus performer whom I used to have casual sex with. Well, we did it twice. Back then, I dubbed him my “Sunday fuck,” but on the second Sunday we were already doing a “quickie” and the following week, when I tried to booty call him, he texted back, “Well, I don’t know. I started seeing someone so we’re going to have to chill on that for a bit.” This guy is like catnip for me. Not only does he have a beautiful face and incredibly tight ripped body, I love kissing him, I love his smell, I love his cock. Needless to say, when he shut it down, I was disappointed. Also, a little embarrassed. I sustained a bit of an ego bruise on that one, believing that his “seeing someone” was just a way of getting rid of me, that I was getting too clingy coming to the bar every week to stare at him. I never returned to his bar after that—it had been my local favorite. I also moved out of the area (unrelated), so that helped me forget about him.

Then, a couple weeks ago, I asked my Best Guy Friend if he wanted to go to dinner at this particular bar, for old times sake. He actually had been the one to originally point out Bartender to me, and at the time I declared him “not my type.” Now, basically every man I’m attracted to looks like him: short-ish, lean muscular body, dark hair, beautiful eyes. Best Guy Friend knows what I want before I do.

We arrive at the bar and, sure enough, he’s working. I catch his eye and smile. I thought it would be awkward for us to see one another again, and I had mentally prepared myself. But he looks genuinely pleased. He gives me a cute, playful little wave and asks how I’m doing. He catches my eye several times throughout the night as my friend and I eat dinner. I wonder if he thinks we’re dating. I can’t decide if this is the message I want to send or not. We leave at a reasonable time and Bartender looks, dare I say, a little disappointed to see me go.

The moment we leave, I want to text him. He looked so hot and I want to see if I can weasel my way back into his good graces. I’m starting to think maybe he was actually seeing someone back then, that he wasn’t lying to me after all. He looked thrilled to see me—a quality I don’t usually associate with this person who keeps his emotions pretty bottled. I text him, “It was good to see your face,” which I think is flirty and neutral all at the same time. He doesn’t write back that night, and I don’t care as much as I might have last time around.

The next day, I’m still hanging with Best Guy Friend (we have sexless adult sleepovers; our friends always want to know if we bang—we don't, he’s like my brother), when I hear back from Bartender. He says, “Good to see you too. You look like you’re doing well.” Polite and decidedly non-flirty. But he did add a second sentence when one would suffice. My friend tells me, if I want to fuck him, I should put sex on the table. He tells me to write the following, and so of course I do: “Yep. Not getting laid enough but besides that doing good.” I squeal as I press Send. I don’t expect to hear anything back. Within minutes, I do. “Lol. Maybe we can figure something out on that end.” I’m so excited I could do cartwheels. I scream and throw my arms around Best Guy Friend. He smiles at me, “You’re welcome.”

I don’t hear from Bartender the whole week. Which is fine. I’m busy too, and I have my period, and I figure I’m the one that needs to have sex so I’m going to have to be the one to orchestrate it—it’s always been this way with us anyway, I’ve always wanted it more. Friday night, it’s Halloween and I decide instead of getting dressed up as a slutty version of something, going out and getting trashed, that I’ll stay in with Best Guy Friend and watch scary movies, drink beer, and eat pizza & candy. We watch the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (terrible), the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake (better), and The Conjuring (fucking terrifying). We order two large pizzas from Papa John’s, eat peanut M&Ms, Fun Size Mounds and Snickers, and drink Hefeweizen. It’s a great night. The Conjuring gives me nightmares, but it’s worth it. We sleep in the same bed (we always do), and no we don’t have sex, or even spoon (as my roommate specifically wants to know when I return home).

The next day, I’m horny as fuck (unrelated to my adult sleepover), and decide I need to have sex tonight. I don’t think Bartender is working, so I figure tonight is the night to attempt this fuck buddy orchestration. Best Guy Friend encourages me to wait until three to set it up. We take the dog on a long walk around the neighborhood in the deliciously crisp Fall-ish weather. We have a long debate/argument involving Feminism and Law of Attraction and the viral video of the woman walking for ten hours through New York City and getting catcalled 100 times. We get in the hot tub and talk about 2014 and how it has planted a lot of seeds we’re looking forward to harvesting in 2015. By two, I can’t wait any longer. Based on my mood, which is more desperate/needy than flirty/fuck me, Best Guy Friend helps me formulate the following text: “You still down to help me out with that little problem I’m having?” I press Send and wait. Best Guy Friend and I end our extended date and I head home. I feel very unmotivated and decide to take the day off, not do any work and just chillax with myself. It’s easier said than done in the state I’m in. I keep checking my phone every five minutes, wanting desperately to hear back from him. I stalk him on Facebook and see that he’s “Active." Meaning he got my text and ignored it. I knew that anyway, but now it’s been confirmed. At five, as the sun is already beginning to set, I decide to take a walk around the reservoir by my house. I need some fresh air. I text Best Guy Friend, “Still haven’t heard from the little fucker,” with an angry emoticon.

The walk cheers me up and I stop at my favorite coffee shop for a cappuccino. I’m enjoying the Fall-ish weather and my new sweater from Grandma. Almost finished with my walk, I decide to go see Birdman tonight and, on a whim, I text the Hot Guy I fucked at my party, inviting him along. Regardless of the fact that I haven’t seen him since, he’s made zero effort to reach out, and even ignored my last text, I still think there’s a chance he’ll respond. He’s a movie buff after all and this might be exactly what he wants to do on a Saturday evening. Even if he’s not interested in me romantically, I feel we could be friends. I don't hear from him either. I decide to text someone I know will respond, because my ego needs a little stroking. I text the Music Manager from my party—the one I made out with and then ditched for Hot Guy. I ask if he wants to go see the movie with me. Nothing. I take a bath and listen to Dido and feel sorry for myself. I’m fully prepared to go see Birdman by myself. Fuck it. I’m a grown ass woman. But my roommate says she’ll come with me, so we have a lady date instead. Which is lovely and overdue, and fuck these men anyway.

Later that night, I hear back from Music Manager who says he’s been away from his phone, but with more notice he totally would have come with me. He says we should hang soon. Still haven’t heard from Bartender or Hot Guy. Typical. The two guys I want most are MIA. I had told Best Guy Friend that if I didn’t hear from Bartender, I would hit up the little Jewish Man I met on OKCupid. At this point, I’m too disheartened to pursue even the easy lay.

On Sunday, I wake up still feeling shitty about the whole situation. I take my phone off Airplane mode and really hope I’ve heard from either one of these boys. Nope. I understand with Hot Guy, he’s doing the Fade Away. He never gave me any indication he was interested at all, and the Fade Away is a move I’m familiar with. But that’s no excuse for Bartender. He was the one who fucking planted the hope of a booty call in my head in the first place. I don’t understand. Even if he's just busy, at least fucking text me back goddammit. I decide to leave my phone on Airplane mode for the whole day so I won’t be tempted to check it every five seconds, and whereas leaving it off should be a relief, it proves tortuous. I go to a yoga class, make myself a healthy lunch, eat some Fun Size candy leftover from Halloween, watch the first episode of the depressing new British TV show Happy Valley, and fall asleep for a couple hours in the middle of the day. At four PM, I can’t take it any longer, and the clock has fallen back so the sun will set in an hour. I decide to walk around the reservoir, again, and I call Best Guy Friend on my way.

I complain about the rejection, about my bruised ego. He tells me it’s probably not as simple as Bartender not liking me anymore. “Life is never simple,” he says. He tells me I have no idea what he’s going through, so I need to stop speculating about it. “He probably got your text and he was in the middle of something, and he didn’t know how to respond, and then he put it down and forgot about it.” This I don’t understand—guys’ ability to just forget about girls like this. As my roommate says, “They’re goldfish. They swim around their little bowl and they’re like ‘ooh a castle,’ and they just keep swimming and when they come around again: ‘ooh a castle.’” I wish I could be a fucking goldfish. It’s a lot of work to be a woman.

All of the young single women I know do this. And it’s not that we have nothing else going on in our lives—we have jobs and career ambitions, and hobbies, and friends, and a lot of shit to do. But we still find the time and energy to obsess over some fucking guy who probably isn’t even worth our time. In fact, I find that my smartest, most ambitious girlfriends are even more likely to do this. Maybe it’s that we know what we want and we go for it, whether it be sex or career. And we don’t give up until we get it. And it’s just frustrating when what you want is another person because you can’t control how they respond to your wanting, and the resistance they put up makes you work even harder to get it. And the energy of that probably pushes them away even more. 

Despite this incredible amount of distraction and energy spent, we still manage to get our shit done, and we’re a pretty accomplished bunch. It makes me crazy to think how successful we could be if we didn’t get so distracted by dudes. For sure we’d be running the world. Women are masters of multi-tasking after all. Imagine if men focused this much on women, they’d never get anything done.

Best Guy Friend encourages me to lift some weights or something, to get some testosterone in my system. I joke that I should just start taking hormone injections. But I actually think this would be a great product for women—a hormone to shut down this part of our brains that emotionally attaches to the penis we fuck. Something that would allow us to treat sex more like men. We have it, it’s fun, but it’s not so serious and if we don’t get it, there are a hundred other things we could do that would interest us as much if not more. “Sex is great and all, but if we don’t get it, we’ll just go and play video games and that’s just as fun,” says Best Guy Friend. Really? Fucking video games?

My best friend Sadie was going through a similar torment a couple weeks ago where she was obsessing over this guy and this sequence of Lost in Translation texts sent between them. I encouraged her to "just say what you want" and "stop playing games." Not sure why I'm unequivocally incapable of taking my own medicine on this point. I guess I'll just blame biology.

On Monday, I decide I can't not say anything. So I text Bartender, "You failed at being my booty call this weekend." With a winky face emoticon so he knows this is to be read with a light tone and not interpreted as "I spent all weekend obsessing about you." Because that would be disturbing. He writes back right away: "Haha. I was just thinking about that while I was walking up my stairs. This weekend was crazy. What's your schedule like this week?" If only he had just said that on Saturday, I wouldn't have spent Sunday being a crazy person. If only he knew how crazy of a person I actually am. If only I would learn a lesson from this. If only.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Standing with Lena

I'm very disturbed by this recent media/Twitter storm against Lena Dunham regarding the depiction of her childhood sexual curiosity in her new book Not That Kind of Girl. The jump to call her a “sexual predator” for masturbating next to her little sister lying in the same bed, or for looking into her baby sister’s vagina (when she was seven!), is in my opinion grotesque. Somehow I feel like if Lena were a boy, this would not be considered such a shameful offense. The fact that she was a little girl curious about a vagina seems too much for our society to handle, and this I find really sad and upsetting. Even the fact that her curiosity about her sister’s vagina could be misconstrued as sexual in any way is frankly ridiculous.

It makes me reflect on my own childhood and how I was taught from a very young age to have no shame about my sexuality. Whatever I did or asked about, my parents indulged, never shaming me or telling me I was wrong or gross for thinking or feeling a certain way. And I feel like Lena’s upbringing was maybe similar in this way. And so she grew up feeling shameless about her sexuality, which has molded her into who she is today and given us, her audience, the body of work we love in Girls, Tiny Furniture, and now her memoirs.

I’d been working on writing a piece about how my mom bought me a vibrator when I was twelve. This is one of the examples from my childhood that I feel shaped me into the confident, sex-positive woman I am today. Now I find myself questioning if the public would have a different view. I wonder if my honest account of this event could potentially bring down a shitstorm of judgment on me and my mom—judgment that I know actually has nothing to do with me or how I feel about how I was brought up, and has everything to do with other people’s disturbing cultural denial of female sexuality. Because Lena’s sister Grace has clearly not been deeply scarred by these events. They have a wonderful healthy relationship, they’re clearly very close, and she is the first to defend Lena on Twitter, citing heteronormativity as the reason people are up in arms against her.

I just can’t believe the extent to which this has been blown out of proportion. Again, I reflect on my own upbringing. My parents coming to tuck me into bed at night, butt naked. My mom’s diaphragm sitting on the edge of the bathtub. The fact that she bought me a vibrator when I was twelve. To me, these aspects of my growing up naturalized sex and nudity in a way that’s made me more comfortable with my body and my sexuality than most of the women I know, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. The fact that other people might then take my experience and put their own prejudice on it and tell me it’s wrong or sick or that someone should be punished for it—well, I can’t imagine what that must feel like and my heart goes out to Lena.

I was a very sexually curious and precocious child, and the stories I could tell that might be misconstrued are endless. I remember one time my godfather was babysitting me and I took off all my clothes to show him my naked body, and he looked uncomfortable and told me to go get dressed. When I was seven, I flashed my vagina at my best friend’s older brother and he told his mom on me, and I was sent home. In kindergarten, I gave my little male classmate a box of crayons to show me his penis—I had forgotten about this episode until I saw him again in high school and he wouldn’t talk to me for this reason. My best friend and I used to take off our pants and take turns sniffing each other’s butts. One time I kissed my mom on the lips and stuck my tongue in her mouth.

Yes, there’s no older person taking advantage of younger person in any of these stories, but they all involve a child’s curiosity about sex and bodies. And I think what’s really bothering people is not the harmless childish things Lena did to her little sister, but the fact that a little girl might have sexual feelings or curiosity at all. Somehow, as a society, we’ve tricked ourselves into forgetting these moments in our childhoods when we first started having sexy feelings, or we suddenly started paying attention to the junk between our legs—somehow, this is still taboo.

To me, this incident suggests a much larger conversation we need to have, as a culture. Sex education is still not taught in many schools throughout the country, girls continue to be ignorant about their vaginas, sex and nudity are still considered shameful topics of conversation. We can stop beating up Lena Dunham now. We’ve got more important work to do.