If I Would Have Known That Inviting You Into My Bedroom Would Make You Turn Down The Invitation To All Of My Other Rooms I Would Have Never Been So Hospitable

I started writing on this site for a few reasons, but mainly to share. Sharing has a way of coming around full circle—but not always in the way one might expect. This is nonfiction so as a preamble I tell my friends and family that they might all be written about, although I never use names unless I’ve made them up. So, now, after having lost two people I cared about due to the content of my blog, I’ve decided to write even more personal shit. Ta-daa.

Topic of discussion today is sleeping with a man/woman too soon, which has been written and re-written, but probably not as ridiculously. I feel like the Salesperson that indubitably gets sold, but here go I:

The courting process is built on assumptions. ASSumptions that change with conversation and habits. I’m a woman, and generally, we are creatures of habit, but that can be said for some men as well. If I go out on a date with a person, I’m immediately wrestling with ASSumptions, because we use them to make good decisions about strangers. So, if the man I’m on a date with keeps darting his eyes across the room and not making good eye contact, he either has a girlfriend that’s a high profile detective, or he’s trying to see who will witness him killing me. I’m going to assume my ass to the bathroom and never return.

The same applies to the habits that form if you were to make it out of that date alive, deeming him an ok guy. Next you have the text messages. Now, I’m all for text messages, but a lot can be said about text tone, and so much more about a person that picks up the phone and uhh, calls me. It’s damn near like receiving snail mail, now-a-days. Score! But secondly, and more seriously what we are learning about in between this time, is if we can build trust in a person or not. This is synched with the building of memories. We are finding out what a future (if there is any) will be like with this person, and we are building rapport. This is why sharing about one’s past or talking about childhood at any point is important to friendships. Building on those foundations—just as important to relationships. Or standby to get separated into a box marked, “for now.”

Jozen Cummings of Until I Get Married wrote about this very topic a few weeks back and said “If you sleep with a woman too soon, and you suck, she will leave you. Wait for her to fall for you emotionally first, then deliver the sub-par performance you’re capable of.” So real.

But from a woman’s perspective, and only because my besties and I were speaking on this very situation… if we like you and you suck in bed, we’ll try again, and sometimes even again, just to make sure it wasn’t something we could’ve worked with. All of whom shall remain nameless (yes first hand my friends and I have vouched for these shenanigans) men have sex for thrill, for the happy end, for the fact of doing it. Sometimes they’re really into you, sometimes not so much. Women? We have sex, mostly (not always, but definitely mostly) for love. We want it to go somewhere. Maybe not to the moonlight and back, but we want it to go somewhere. 

“Men, they jump for money. Women, for love.”

Man On A Ledge, Movie 2012

What I said it! Women are emotional beings. I mean occasionally you get the girl who has conditioned herself to separate the two—lust, love. But even in doing so, a woman is a liar if she says to herself that she wasn’t hoping for that good guy afterwards. We ALL are. Get that fellas? All of us are still counting on you, so no this is not a male bashing party.

So when is the right time, you ask?

Ah, we can go into vibe, conversation, I’d usually measure for commonality. Discussing value can go on and on… every situation was different. A guy friend of mine said he’d slept with a girl after a drunken night, a stranger, and said that afterwards—that awkwardnesss, he felt her embarrassment, for her. He said when he woke all he could think of when he looked at her was, and in his exact words:

“I don’t think I would like to do that ever again with you.”

Another of my friends has trouble with caring at all emotionally thereafter. She said her proof is in the days to come. My sister married her high school sweet tart, also the father of her children—and still to this day will claim she wasn’t pregnant with her first child when she rushed to the altar. I slept with a guy for a year and a half and kept telling my friends he was “a one night stand.” Eventually, my bestie said to me, “it’s been a very loooooooong night then, dontcha think?” I didn’t leave him because he didn’t commit to me, I stopped calling him because he wasn’t honest with himself or his feelings.

I’m saying all of that to say this: The theory is you have to kiss a few frogs. Or, err &*%#. Which is personally frightening for me since my emotions aren’t controlled by anything physically (only), but rather uncontrolled when taken into oblong loops and upside down dances. I find that when taking chances, my best judgments elude me. Especially in moments like these:

“I respect you,” he murmured. “and your views. I think of you as an equal. I respect your brains, and all those big words you like to use. But I also want to rip your clothes off and have sex with you until you scream and cry and see God.”
—Lisa Kleypas, Smooth Talking Stranger

The point I want to make is that it isn’t the sex on the first, second, or thirty-ninth date that matters. It’s the intimacy in the moments that develop far before that. The part that keeps your thoughts twirling, even after whatever excuse isn’t given. Even after it’s all lost and over and you know you knew better, but you didn’t do any better because you knew too much better. The part you maybe should’ve fought for, but pride—she got in the way, and then when she didn’t it was too late. The part that’s shy when approached now, fumbles, foibles. The part that doesn’t understand why it crumbles so quickly, wait a year—no bueno. Wait weeks, months, days, hours, give each other raunchy looks across karaoke bars. Doesn’t matter, much, the outcome has all been the same when measured against others’ experiences. I’ve asked men, women—randomly—strangers, friends. When is it a good time to invite a man into your bedroom, with the hopes that he doesn’t turn down the invitation to all of your other rooms? A bust. It’s all subjective.

I’ve heard the typical, ‘a person looses interest, when it wanes, and if they do it wasn’t meant anyway.’ I’ve heard as long as you know their parents’ last names, I’ve heard that if you hope enough, fairy tales come true. I’m waiting on the latter. Well, first the tiff, then the kiss:

“I was just thinking if the sex with you is one-tenth as fun as arguing with you. I’ll be one happy bastard.”
“You’ll never find out. You——–”
He kissed me.
—Lisa Kleypas, Smooth Talking Stranger

What classifies the Good Girls from the Bad Girls, really? The ones whose partners can be counted on one hand? Love might have me mistaken, but I can rest assured I’ve never slept with anyone I couldn’t see myself with permanently—not planning showers or picking out kitchen tiles, but I’ll admit, I am a force of romanticized nature. Is it ruining me? Us all?

“For women especially, virginity has become the easy answer—the morality quick fix. You can be vapid, stupid, and unethical, but so long as you’ve never had sex, you’re a “good” (i.e. “moral”) girl and therefore worthy of praise.”

—Jessica Valenti, The purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women

Yes, there’s the treasure idea. The “kept” woman, but at what point does it start to matter less about how fast a person jumps in the sack with another person, and more about the two people individually and how they work together? More about the way they trust each other, and understand each other. What about the married people I asked that both said “you never really know your husband/wife anyway, but we just keep trying?” What about the couple I asked that’s been married eight years and they both (without consulting each other) said “we make each other the best versions of ourselves” Or the homeboy who said he would never still be with his girl if the sex wasn’t sOoO good? Or the girl I went to undergrad school with, who said she always sleeps with a man the first night and it’s never not become a relationship.

Or sometimes I wonder if I can’t always do better than what’s in front of me? Is it all just a ploy? Drake said “all those other men were practice.” y’know?  My best girl and I fought over the double standard: that a womanizer is whatever, but if a female has three partners she’s a, what’s that called now, “ratchet?” I keep hearing it.

I’ll put it this way, for me:

“Sex isn’t good unless it means something. It doesn’t necessarily need to mean “love” and it doesn’t necessarily need to happen in a relationship, but it does need to mean intimacy and connection…There exists a very fine line between being sexually liberated and being sexually used.”
—Laura Sessions Stepp, Unhooked

There’s tons more to dating than sex, but sex is the part that makes the difference in loopy or comatose. A little turned around, or head across arm on the steering wheel. A little flutterbye in the tummylovely, or I swallowed a sick whale flapping in there.

Ah, lesson learned.

illustrator weheartit, quote from yours truly.
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“There is a color inside of the fucking, but it is not blue”

~Maggie Nelson, Bluets

I once slept with a man who was falling out of love with me at the time, or had already fallen.

It must have been the most painful encounter I’ve ever had. Maybe, at least close. I believe in the mental, physical, emotional elements all melting in sync and when someone isn’t there, well, they just aren’t there. I will tell you, it was sunshiny when I went into that pretty hotel lounge to have him for drinks (pun intended) and it was a slow cyclical dripping of rain when I ran out and away from him the next morning.

Fucking leaves everything as it is. Fucking may in no way interfere with the actual use of language. For it cannot give it any foundation either. It leaves everything as it is. —Maggie Nelson, Bluets

The next time we spoke was on Valentines Day not very much long after when I was with my new boyfriend at the time in San Francisco. I pretended to be overly happy for my ex love when he advised me that he was getting married, to someone else. When I hung up the phone, I cried in the bathroom so hard I shook the bathroom stall. I walked out of the bathroom like it never happened.

A warm afternoon in early spring, New York City. We went to the Chelsea Hotel to fuck. Afterward, from the window of our room, I watched a blue tarp on a roof across the way flap in the wind. You slept, so it was my secret. It was a smear of the quotidian, a bright blue flake amidst all the dank providence. It was the only time I came. It was essentially our lives. It was shaking. —Maggie Nelson, Bluets

Last night I met Maggie Nelson, author of “Bluets,” and more recently “The Art of Cruelty.” Maggie read from her latest TAOC at the Redcat Theatre at CalArts’ Downtown Center for Innovative Visual, Performing, and Media Arts. It was beautiful. A stunning and intellectually provocative showcase indeed.

I’ve loved Maggie since she wrote “Bluets” and have also read “Something Bright, Then Holes.” With much thanks to Douglas Kearney (my workshop leader) for prescribing her to me after the aforementioned engagement gone awry. It blends the nonfiction/poetry lines, as does Wayne Koestenbaum in his new book “Humiliation.” Wayne was there too reading from his masterpiece, as was Jack Halberstam encouraging us all too fail big. How big and lightbulby I felt after digesting the reading of their work. The Q & A was heavily laden with words and references I need to look up and remember, lol.

So after the show I stood the painfully stalkish wait for Maggie to sign her book for me (The Art of Cruelty), and I even had the old one on me (Bluets) and I asked her to sign that one too. There aren’t many people I can say “SAVED MY LIFE,” (because that’s so huge) but her book did. I attached a picture because it’s such a big deal to me, and this is all about me y’know. After a 7 year breakup which I’ve coined “all my good twenties goooooone,” her book put things in perspective and since it is written in a way that interjects her retrospective voice with her story in numbered elements of prose poetry; I couldn’t help but tell her (that it gave me hope and that I may have contemplated a slow medicinal overdose if not for it, actually, really, I sorta did anyway, or did less because of needing to finish her book), she gave me her email address and said we should talk later. I love it when writers have big hearts. I was in near-tears (paused behind fear of course) because it takes a lot to go up to someone and thank them for the impact they’ve had on your life—through their writing, especially in such a personal way. I’m thrilled to be starting her book of criticism and will devour it soon enough.

So glad if my words ever helped your heart, best wishes. —Maggie N. 10.16.11 Redca

Lalanii—so glad if my words ever helped your heart, best wishes. —Maggie N. 10.16.11 Redcat

And so, what is it with empty sex? The kind of loving that leaves less to be desired, but more and more until you can’t fill enough of yourself up? The kind you write books about. The way Maggie speaks about the man she fucked for six hours straight (please read page 46, I can’t keep quoting) only to find him with another—only to find she would have to give up such a love. I guess for me, to find that what matters most isn’t the physical act, but the time and efforts around it, the expectations that surround it, the things you give up for it. The balancing act of, and with a person. Are they not only willing to show you, but rather go out on the limb, of a shaky tree, in a snowstorm, after unfortunately having forgotten a jacket and put their hand out, for you?

One of my best friends (who doubles as a comedian at times) likes to debate with me about emotions and sex. He said to me the other day something along the nerve of “sex is like getting something new from the store, as great as it is when you bring it home—a week goes by and you cannot remember it, not hardly, unless it reinvents itself, unless it is particularly sentimental for some reason or another (love-ish?) or it glitters in gold or shimmers (new partner).” Sometimes we can be satisfied and still need more; we can be happy, but still want happier; we can be fucking but still want love. I want a man that loves subtlety all the way through me; a man that kisses me so intensely that to hold back would be an orgasm in itself.

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