Guess who has two thumbs and just got dumped via email for being an unfeeling slutbucket? This girl!
I mean, it's fine. She didn't love that I'm dating other people, I didn't love that she wasn't obsessed with dogs, it's probably better that we slide our making-out-at-drag-shows relationship to the more platonic side of the spectrum. Still, though, for those of you following along at home, this is the second time in four months I've been dumped (or quasi-dumped) for being a wild, hair-tossing stallion who doesn't tend to equate sex with love, or vice versa.
It's a complicated feeling, because part of me is inclined to bury my head in my "Doctor Who"-themed breakup playlist on Spotify and mope about how I'm going to die alone because I'm disinclined to be someone's primary. But another part of me is a little grumpy, because being dumped for being non-monogamous seems like kind of a cop-out.
Maybe my dates (okay, ex-dates) were just trying to be tactful instead of saying, "The way you brush your teeth while walking to Caltrain disgusts me," or, "I hate that you make mixtapes based on the romantic relationships between characters in the 2012 film Pitch Perfect." For some reason, though, they tend to cast the dumping in this way that makes me feel like a cold, book-handed monster who's only interested in them for their genitals.
"I just feel like our relationship is all about sex to you," a different date said to me once. "And I want to mean more than that to you."
Despite her accusation, this was not the case. I'm not interested in being someone's serious girlfriend because, as I've said before, I'm a busy fucker and it seems like people prefer primaries who aren't always wild-eyed and chewing on the comforter with anxiety about how they should be doing a grillion other things.
That doesn't mean that it doesn't make me feel hollowed-out and gut-punched when people decide to break it off, or that I didn't go home the day I got dumped this week to watch a bunch of "Adventure Time" and make one of my apartment dogs sit on my lap while I balanced a bowl of soy ice cream on her head.
And I can't even blame my dates, really. Considering that most people apparently rank sex as their number-one fun thing forever, the fact that I don't want to be someone's girlfriend often must make it seem like I'm only interested, deep down, in hittin' it and quittin' it. According to this study, for instance, the majority of people surveyed rank sex to be the most engaging, the most pleasurable, and the most meaningful out of every other possible activity ever.
Sigh. Here, for the record, is a non-comprehensive list of things I have found to be equally or more personally fulfilling to do with a date than have sex:
- Going on a roller coaster. All those opportunities for making dumb faces at the camera! Plus the adrenaline, which tends to induce bonding.
- Making vegan cookies
- Having spirited discussions about politics. Nothing like rattling off points about how the Taliban was a U.S. Cold War construction to make you think you've really got something special.
- Hiking to the tallest place in our city and pretending to be Godzilla fighting Mothra atop it.
- Accompanying my date to their favorite band's concert and watching their face as their favorite song plays
- Ingesting hallucinogens and reading passages aloud from Infinite Jest. Because sometimes I enjoy pretending it is 1997.
- Cultivating an unbearably irritating Facebook relationship wherein we copy and paste pieces of fiction to each other's walls (or Timelines or whatever the fuck)
- Camping even though both of us are bad at camping
- Flopping around in a body of water
- Watching entire seasons of NBC shows and pretending not to notice the other one crying
- Having the kind of stupid, rambling conversations you have when you stay awake until one or both of you is delirious enough to mumble half-remembered secrets into your pillows and whisper things into the silence that feel safe because you can't see the other person in the dark
- Eating all the pie in the house
Aaaand now I feel like Zooey Deschanel.
I do enjoy having sex, obviously. I am a horny bastard by nature, and I think it's totally legitimate to have casual relationships that revolve only around sex. But if I were only interested in having sex with hotties regardless of emotions, I'd be way better at one-night-stands.
This tendency to unequivocally equate sex with romance and to declare that it has the most meaning, the most engagement and the most significance for everyone completely removes the complexity from relationships. It sets up sex as this hallowed, sacred thing: if people are having it, it must be taking precedent over everything else about their relationship. If they're not, they might as well be friends.
It leaves no room for nuance or fondness between platonic friends, fuck buddies and serious romantic relationships. And it makes those of us who feel most comfortable existing in the spaces in between seem like flaky, unfeeling jerkwads.
I date people because I like spending time with them and because I like sticking my hands down their pants. Just because I don't want to airbrush our names on a T-shirt and get Emma Stone to star in a biopic about our love doesn't mean that I'm only in it to palm some boob and flee into the underbrush.
I just wonder what else I can do to make my dates believe that. There's only so much self-loathing Cartoon Network one woman can take.
Kate is being maudlin and grumpy at @katchatters.