Three things I really love in life are: penis in my vagina, making people laugh and writing. Naturally, it has followed that I’ve found most of my success as a writer relating exceptional, awkward and sometimes downright mundane experiences about sex and other bodily functions.
I like that I’m able to form relationships with people I’ve never met and may never meet, simply by writing about something taboo or cringe-inducing that also happens to be a fairly regular thing that happens in one incantation or another to many different people. Sure, sometimes certain points are slightly exaggerated to heighten drama and tension, but everything I write, even the most explicit stories, are true things that have happened to me. I never lie.
I suppose you can accuse me of sharing too much, but, to me, the bare fact of living is never too much. We all do these things, and it’s not weird to talk about them. It doesn’t make us slutty or gross or weird -- it just makes us regular, curious, inquiring human beings. To some extent, bodily function is just one big science project, and we are (or at least we should be) trying to discover as much about our bodies as possible in the short time we have with them.
However, what I’ve found in the unfolding of my legs, and subsequently in my career, is that people -- mostly men I’m dating -- come to the table (or the bedroom) with a series of preconceived ideas about who I am and what I represent. Just because I’m rambunctiously declaring my love of oral sex one minute doesn’t mean that I won’t want to just cuddle tomorrow night. No one thing that I write defines me as a person.
And yet I’m often faced with dating situations in which I’m judged as a caricature of my body of work. I’ve found that there are exactly six different types of reactions to what I do from the guys that date me.
1. The Fan Boys
There’s always that guy who just thinks I’m like, totally the neatest chick, like, ever. Which is nice in theory, but really, fuck that guy. The problem with old Stan, as flattering as blind idolatry can be (even though it’s not) is twofold:
- He already feels like/thinks he knows me.
- He’s unwilling to accept any kind of personality flaw in me that doesn’t fit with his existing fantasy of who I am and what I represent.
I went out with a guy who, on our first date, got too drunk, and at 3 am, after we’d spent a great night talking a bar hopping, admitted he was a major fan and had read “everything” I’d ever written online. First of all, that’s at least 17 creep points. Second of all, that’s a lot of preconceived ideas about who I am.
Needless to say, that guy couldn’t deal with me when shit got real; when I was whiny, uptight, lazy or hormonal, he didn’t want a piece of it. Apparently, I wasn’t being me, which is a 24/7 ball of fun, vibrancy, adventure, sex and sarcasm. The thing about me is I’m all of those things, but I’m also a lot of other things, things that I don’t always choose to write about, because they’re far more banal than orgasmic oral sex.
The Ones That Wants To Be Written About
This guy is normally a Fan Boy, but mostly he’s just someone who’s vaguely aware that I write things that people read. He’s got an ego and a half and wants to see himself immortalized forever in blog form. This guy is almost always a masochist, too. I once dated a fella and I was explaining to him that some guys were nervous about dating me because they didn’t want to become “blog fodder.” He just looked at me point blank, and very sincerely said, “Well that’s their problem for dating you. I mean, you just expect to be written about, right? It comes with the territory.”
Well, not really, guy. Not every guy that I date is interesting enough to write about. And even if he is interesting enough, maybe nothing of special note has happened in our relationship, or maybe it did and there’s some other personal reason or respect that means I won’t write about it. Needless to say, when I later went on to write about this guy, he promptly “liked” the link to the article on my Facebook page. (Five bucks says he “likes” this one too).
The Slut Shamers
The worst experience I’ve ever had was with an ex-boyfriend. I used to write a very open sex column for the L Magazine, and had just published that defense of period sex with Thought Catalog when I met him. When we were starting out, he made me feel about as big as a toenail clipping. He’d read some of my writing, and felt that this was license to tantrum every time I ran into a guy I knew when we were out together.
“So have you slept with that guy, too?”
“No, he’s just my friend, I’m not attracted to him at all.”
“[Scoff] Well, would you even tell me if you had slept with him?”
This conversation was a regular one in our relationship, and would always devolve into him accusing me of having slept with half of New York, being “intimidating” to him because of my “experience” and being a certain “kind of girl” he wasn’t used to interacting with. Cue my tears, my unwarranted apologies, him declaring he wasn’t going to read my writing anymore and telling me my work was childish. A real keeper, that one.
The Ones That Think I’m Easy
And then there at the ones that just want to get me into bed because obviously I write about sex so I must be REALLY FUCKING EASY TO GET INTO BED. Dude. I’m not looking to fuck, contrary to what my writing might conjure up in your overactive imagination. I love sex, but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to drop my stockings and waggle my vagina around for any bozo that’s looking for an easy entry. And even if I was just looking for a lay, it’s pretty presumptuous to assume it’s going to be with you.
The Angry Ones
After I dated this one guy who completely used me and spat me out, I wrote a story about him that was slightly scathing, but completely anonymous, as our relationship had been a secret from all our mutual friend. So, realistically, the only people who knew the article was about him were me and him. Shortly thereafter, I received a barrage of text messages including, “You’re a cunt,” “Stupid bitch,” and, “Do you know what it was like waking up next to your ugly, disgusting face with no make-up?” All’s fair in love and war, I guess.
The Normal Human Beings
The last guy I dated didn’t have Twitter or Facebook (I know, right?), but he’d ask me to email him links to my work on a regular basis. He’d read my work and judge it by its merit as writing rather than as a decisive statement on who I was. He was proud of me; he thought what I did as a writer was funny and insightful. He listened to me when I needed to whine about work, and he allowed me to be a person that operated outside of the spectrum of things I’ve written about. He treated me like my job was any other job, like I was a doctor or a painter or a bus driver or a nanny. So, basically, he just treated me like a normal person, for which I was and am gushingly grateful; although sometimes it bothers me that I should have to be.
What have I learned? The only guys I can successfully date are the ones that can successfully divorce me from my work. And the ones that can’t probably have some much darker demons to face than my latest article about doing it when I’m on the rag.