Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Valentine's Day

“You look like a present,” says my roommate. I’m wearing a cherry red, skin-tight dress with a big bow in the back and lots of tits in the front. It’s Valentine’s Day and we’re throwing a big ol’ house party. Per usual, I’m dressed to attract a mate for the evening. It’s V-Day after all and the evite instructed each guest to “bring a single friend, or 7 single friends.”

As I wander through the party, searching for someone to bone, I’m surprised by my own lack of interest in the various prospects. There are indeed several attractive, single men in my midst, and yet I continue to wander rather than setting my sights on the most promising option and digging in for the night, as is my custom. I find myself dodging a handsome, somewhat boring insurance guy who is probably my best bet. I realize I’m less interested in sealing the deal with him than chatting with friends I see all the time and generally flirting with no one in particular.

Where is my usual ambition to get laid no matter what? To find the hottest guy in the room and focus on him all night until he’s completely incapable of walking away? To tenaciously manufacture chemistry even when there is absolutely none? I suddenly realize that, oh my god, has the moment finally come when I am actually bored of the random hookup?

Feeling very drunk, I excuse myself to go to the bathroom, thinking I might throw up. Instead, I stare at myself in the mirror over the sink: long, kinky blond hair; cleavage to the chin; red bow framing my ass. I come to the sudden realization that I may have outgrown this party costume. I do feel sexy but also with perhaps a sprinkling of trying too hard. I stare at myself in the mirror and wonder, who is this peacock?

Then I have the double realization that this costume positively screams one night stand. Why did that never occur to me before? I’m fond of asking myself and my friends, why am I attracting this certain kind of guy over and over again? Two kinds actually: the skeezy loser who likes me more than I like him, or the upstanding guy I go to bed with and then try to parlay the one night stand into a real date and never hear from him again. Why has it honestly never occurred to me that this dress and the attitude that goes with it might have everything to do with who and what I’m attracting?

Yes, dudes pay more attention to us when we dress sexy. But I think T&A is honestly so distracting for them that they are fundamentally incapable of seeing past the basic instinct to fuck. Obviously. When I’m shoving my tits in a guy’s face, what do I honestly expect? And I’m not slut-shaming myself. I think maybe I just didn’t realize until this moment that what I’ve been working to attract is actually not at all what I want.

I’ve had this fantasy that when I finally meet the right guy, he will see past my cleavage-baring dresses and loud mouth outspokenness to the thoughtful and smart individual underneath. I guess it didn’t occur to me to lead with these qualities. Probably because in these instances, I’m usually looking for sex, not great conversation. But the fact that I often feel dissatisfied by these encounters has never before made me think I need to change anything about my behavior. I think my belief that attracting men is all about dressing as sexy as humanly possible has actually been attracting the wrong kind of man. Shocking, I know.

I think back to New Year’s Eve night when I zeroed in on the hot bartender who was giving me lots of exciting mixed messages. I pleaded for a midnight kiss and, when he wouldn’t give it to me, asked if he had a girlfriend. “Yeah,” he scoffed, “If I was single, your face would be wet right now.” Obviously, I didn’t leave him alone for the rest of the night. Later, as we shared a joint outside with a group of my friends, I stuck my hands in his jacket, feeling on his chest. I pushed my body into his and reached for his crotch. You might say I was being a little forceful, but the smile on his face made me believe he was very close to giving in. Naturally, I was rocking my gold sparkly ensemble and, per usual, lots of cleavage. My animal instincts told me he was barely able to resist.

About a week later, I returned to said bar and parked myself right in front of this same bartender’s station. He barely looked at me all night. I don’t know what I was expecting—for him to leave his girlfriend for me? No, but I thought we could at least have one night of fun, no strings attached. I realize now what this must have looked like: a very sexually uninhibited girl who keeps trying to have sex with a guy even after he’s made it abundantly clear he lives with his girlfriend. What kind of future could there possibly be and why on earth would he jeopardize his relationship to be with me for one night? He wouldn’t. Especially when he’s probably reading the vibes that this girl has no intention of making him her boyfriend, she’s truly just in it for the sex. Even man’s deep and primal instinct to fuck is not strong enough to overcome the doubt and uncertainty inspired by this situation.

All this to say that, when I dress up as the Barbie, I think I might be sending a confusing message, because although I know how to peacock around, I’m ultimately playing a role that is not who I am. I am not going to be some perfect piece of arm candy. That’s just not me. I'm too loud and opinionated for that shit. And it is not by pretending to be that person that I will find the right guy for me. Because there are plenty of women who actually fit that description and the guy that wants that woman will get a real one, not the one who’s just flirting with the role for tonight and in the morning goes back to being very serious and career driven.

And please understand, I am by no means saying that being sexy and strong are mutually exclusive. Because obviously those are both qualities I admire and hopefully embody, but I’m coming to realize there are different kinds of sexy. And some kinds are more understated, not quite so in your face, leave a little something to the imagination. Like Gillian Anderson in The Fall. So strong, so sexy, so doesn't give a fuck. But I digress...

My mom’s favorite expression “mutton dressed as lamb” is suddenly hitting home in a very real way. While she has always used this expression to refer to women who dress too young for their age, it suddenly seems to me that it is actually more about maturity. Maybe that’s what being a grown up woman is all about—being so confident in yourself and your sexuality that you don’t have to flaunt it like you’re 21, you can simply know what you want and say it out loud.

As I stand in front of that bathroom mirror, staring at the "present" reflected back at me, I think I'm only 28 and I already feel too old for this frock.