My hands were shaking as I tightly gripped the steering wheel of my 2001 Saturn. I couldn’t tell if it was because I was nervous or because I had downed two cups of black coffee before I hit the road. Either way, I was excitedly anticipating the night that was to come. I was on my way to visit a friend at another university about an hour or so outside of my hometown. It was mom’s weekend, which for those of you who aren’t familiar, is an annual tradition that celebrates moms and binge drinking. Could there be anything more charming? I wanted to visit my friend but there was another reason why I was feverishly speeding down Route 33, and like always this reason had a penis. I had been talking to her and her boyfriend’s mutual friend for about a month but we had never actually met in person. I decided that small talk texting and blog comments weren’t enough and I wanted to meet the man I had been talking to. So there I was, driving on a two lane highway on my way to meet some random that I had never seen outside of facebook. I know what you’re thinking and yes, I should’ve turned and gone back the way I came rather than acting on my girlish fantasies.
I was hot and the air was thick with moisture when I finally reached Athens. All I could think when I stepped out of my car was that the humidity would ruin my hair and that my makeup would soon melt off of my face. I was annoyed and I needed a drink. I met him, we exchanged hellos and I was mildly impressed. He had a beard that seemed to have a life of it’s own. (Now, I know certain men will sit there and congratulate each other on their beards and being manly men but no matter how hard I try to convince myself that it’s cool, I just can’t do it. You all look like you have a vagina stuck to your face. Shave it.) Besides his wickedly thick facial hair, he was tall and thin. To tell you the truth he closely resembled Abraham Lincoln. That is to say if old Abe wore cargo shorts and flip flops. I’ve done better, but I’m sure I’ve also done worse so I shook it off and for the most part dismissed his appearance completely. Anyway, it was that golden personality of his which everyone assured me of that I was most concerned about.
I’ve been dating a lot lately. I’ve gone on dinner dates, I’ve met various men for drinks, I’ve even accompanied them to parties and social affairs. I’ve acquired a taste for dating and I have certain standards that these potentials need to meet. The most important one being, do not try to stick your penis in any of my holes. Don’t put it in my hand, don’t rub it on me, for God’s sakes don’t even take it out. I have a personal space bubble and I don’t want anyones dick trying to penetrate it. Another is of course an issue of cost. Be a damn gentlemen and at least offer to pay. You don’t even have to pay for all of it, just a drink or so. Show me that you’re willing and able to treat me, if I’m interested I’ll even do the same. This leads me into another important guideline, which is politeness. Be polite, this can be accomplished by keeping the subject of conversation light and tame. Don’t attempt to hold a heated debate with someone you’re meeting for the first time because, frankly, it’s strange and off-putting. Ask me about myself in an attempt to see me as more than a walking vagina with nice hair. The last is, acknowledge my existence. Yes, at the very least, don’t leave me in a strange bar or choose to stare at me awkwardly from across the dance floor rather than actually engaging me in conversation.
He shat on my guidelines and broke every fucking rule. by morning my self esteem was as beaten and bloodied as Rodney King was in ’91. He was a renegade dater and a total psychopath. When I first noticed that for every beer he grabbed he ordered a shot of Jameson I should have ran. The fact that he was mindlessly slurping down shot after shot should have been a clear warning of what was to come. He’s a drinker, but he’s also a writer. People love saying that, men especially love it. I remember when my brother threw back bottles of cheap whiskey, hiding the fact that he was a complete lush behind a mask of creative expression. “I drink because I’m a writer, I’m a writer because I drink.” No, you drink because you’re a child. You’re just a giant drunken baby with a beard, and you’re not Hemingway so stop it.
He was drunk, that was clear. For the most part he ignored me, aside from the occasional attempt at saying something witty and charming he stayed away. Later when I mentioned this he lurched forward and said, “I told you I would be talking to a lot of other girls and I would be surrounded by beautiful women.” The beautiful women he was referring to were all drunken mothers and it wasn’t the fact that he talking to them that bothered me, it was the fact that we wasn’t talking to me at all. For as excited as he was to meet me, he had very little to say. Instead he watched me from afar, something that should have also been a clear warning sign.
Outside of the bar he began to yell at me and argue about feminism. “Every girl in Athens is a whore, all of them walking the streets, they’re all sluts.” He stuck is arms in the air as if he was speaking of something truly profound or worth my time. My favorite was when he told me to go shave my vagina. I’m still confused about the point he was trying to make with that charming little line. Of course, he was a charmer. I mean after all that’s what everyone had told me. I’m not sure how long we argued for but I know that at one point it had to be broken up by the friend who had introduced us. I really thought he was joking, now that I’m looking back I’m not sure that he was.
Afterward, and for whatever reason, I went home with him. And there it was, my self loathing had reared it’s ugly head and my debilitatingly low self esteem had taken over along with the mass amount of alcohol I had consumed. What’s the fastest way to get into my pants? Call me ugly or stupid and add beer, it works every time! Kissing him was like making out with a brillo pad. It was all hair and no tongue. When I told him that I didn’t want to have sex with him he wined, and hurumphed, and groaned and finally told me to, “Grow up!” I got up and started to gather my things but then the tears came. Embarrassed I tried to hide them from him, I just wanted to leave but I was in a strange town and I had no where to go. Upon seeing me wipe my eyes he apologized, talked me down, and invited me back into bed. “I won’t even touch you, I’ll lay over here, and you can lay over there.” Oh right, because that’s exactly how it works. Before too long he asked if he could kiss me and I told him that was fine, but it quickly progressed. He simply kept asking for more and more and of course I accepted every time. I had previously been protested against and I felt defeated. I was not in the mood to hear him throw another temper tantrum, so rather than watching him get all huffy I just let it happen. The funny thing is, this story is astoundingly similar to how I lost my virginity. Both instances made me seriously question my heterosexuality.
This just another glaring example of how women’s choice can be easily violated. How was he supposed to understand that I haven’t embodied choice, if he doesn’t know what the inability to say NO feels like? I say YES, I say it too frequently. I say it when I really mean NO, I say it when I mean MAYBE but I know that I won’t be granted enough time to make my decision. I say YES but I don’t even know what it means. I don’t know what it feels like to say NO during sex and have it mean something. My voice is too small and my plea is overruled. This is just one of many reasons why I fear intimacy and have failed at having a healthy relationship with a man. It’s because I don’t know what healthy looks like. I do understand, however, that sleeping with someone before even knowing them isn’t healthy. I know that I’m a twenty two year old hopeless romantic and that’s okay. I can be that way, just as long as it’s not in the bed of a plastered and aggressively sexual male. I know what I want and I know that, that wasn’t it.
When I stood up to leave he poked his up and said, “Argue with you again sometime soon then?” The look on my face had to have said it all. Really?? Making me cry wasn’t a clear indication that this didn’t go well? Upon telling him that this was the last time we’d meet he raised his arms in protest and said, “You used me! I was just a one night stand to you, then!” Never have I ever had the urge to spit on someone the way I did in that moment. I walked out of his room with out saying much of anything. I got lost, and couldn’t find the front door to his architecturally demented apartment. Once I found it I began my long walk back to my friends house. I passed mothers passed out in their own vomit and sleeping on front porches. On arrival, I opened her door in one solid motion, looked her dead in the eye and with all the seriousness I could muster I mouthed, “Get me the hell out of Athens.”