Exams are over, and I am between hangovers. Let’s talk about sex.
Specifically, let’s talk about one particular night of sex, just before one particular hangover. Not even the sex, actually, but the night that preceded it. Or rather, one particularly conversation that night.
Confused? Okay, me too. Let’s start again. There have been parties, and drinking, and flirtation, and basically lots of fun all round. And so I find myself at one such gathering, getting slightly tipsy, and being seduced by someone I know to be a shameless womaniser. He is buying me drinks, and I am alternating between flirting coyly and being outrageously forward. It feels good to be able to relax like this again, and not have to worry about getting up early the next day to go to the library. The fact that this guy has a bit of a ‘reputation’ just makes it more fun. I know what he’s like, and I know I can get what I want without too much trouble afterwards. He seems to have come to the same conclusion. Plus he is effortlessly charming. It’s all good.
At some stage in the evening, he is off getting drinks or talking to someone else or something, and one of his friends comes up to me. This is another guy I know quite well, someone I’d definitely consider a friend, but wouldn’t invite out for coffee. He sits down next to me, takes my hand, and says ‘Whatever your problems are, he’s not going to solve them’.
I laugh, nervously. I’m tispy, and not necessarily at my best for judging tone. I tell him I don’t have any problems, and lightly ask if it’s that obvious. He says ‘blindingly’. He goes on to tell me how this guy really isn’t all he makes out. I mutter something about being able to look after myself, really, and wander off to talk to someone else. There is dancing (I like dancing). I am bought tequila (I don’t like tequila, but I drink it anyway, for the head-rush). More flirtation with the charming womaniser. It is decided at this point that we will be going home together. I approve of this. It is, after all, what I came for.
At some point I wander outside to get some air. His friend is there again. Preemptively, I tell him that I appreciate his concern, but I’m not that innocent, really. He sighs, and takes me by the shoulders, looks at me sadly, and tells me ‘you ought to value yourself more than this’.
Let me say that again. You ought to value yourself more than this. Because going home with someone who clearly isn’t relationship material isn’t valuing myself. In fact, it’s devaluing me. Sleeping with someone I want and who wants me would make me less valuable a person. Think about that for a moment. Think about all the bullshit and double-standards and sex negativity that goes into a statement like that, presumably intended as friendly advice. Think about the world in which we live, where something so downright insulting is considered not only acceptable, but a sign that someone apparently cares about you and wants to help.
Every time I think I’ve worked through my insecurities and shame about sex, something like this happens to remind me that to some people, people I know and trust and like, the fact that I want to sleep with someone who has no intention of dating me is a matter for concern. It’s something I need to be protected from, warned against, because I can’t possibly be making my own decisions. No girl would actually choose to go home with a guy like that.
I note, a little bitterly, that no one felt the need to warn him about me. I’m hardly relationship material either, and I have a reputation of my own, but sleeping with me is unlikely to devalue any man. At any rate, I went home with him all the same, and we had a lovely night together. Easy, casual, surprisingly fun sex, which ended on friendly terms. Exactly (and I mean exactly) what I was after.
So I’m happy. Disillusioned with the world, perhaps, or maybe just disappointed, but happy. Exams are over, and I am going to have fun. And much as I hate to admit it, I know that he really did mean well, and that if he knew how furious that comment would make me, he’d be shocked and upset. But damn it, can’t a girl get laid around here without the world judging her for devaluing herself?!
…No one answer that.