This post is dedicated to Kendra, who has inspired me to, just this once, really bare it all in a way I haven't before. Not only is she hilarious, but she is one of the bravest women I know when it comes to examining herself and sharing herself with her followers. It is also dedicated to my many followers who have allowed me to be honest and vulnerable without judging me.
[WARNING: To my friends & family that may read this -- there are some really personal things in this entry. Please don't read this if you can't handle reading about my (past) sex life.]
Truth: As a 29 (almost 30)-year old, it pains me to say I have never had a boyfriend™
Let me take a step back and explain this a bit: Growing up I was a bit of a tomboy and my interest in boys was rooted in my desire to play sports with them. I did have my crushes, I did see boys as attractive. However, I had two main problems: (1) my (over)protective father (2) I was not attractive (and that is being very kind to me) thus guaranteeing my spot in the friendzone.
My father (by virtue of his profession) made me painfully aware of all the evil things men were capable of doing to women. At 16 he even took me to a conference about internet kiddie porn and date rape drugs. I knew even if I were ever to be asked out, the boy would have the serious hurdle of convincing my father that he would not treat me like a Scantron (dad would often tell me not to get "torn, spindle[d], or mutilate[d]").
But the greater problem was my appearance. I was not a pretty teenager. I was one of the heaviest girls in my grade. I was awkward, pimply, and had no fashion sense (my interpretation of "grunge" looked more like lesbian lumberjack). Moreover, I was a bit of an emotional wreck. Between losing my mom at 13 and trying to deal with the aftermath, I wasn't the light & fluffy party girl. I was pretty fucking serious.
During my senior year in HS, my friend who was a year older invited me to visit him at his university with the promise of going to my first frat party. Before that trip, I confided to my friend (MD) that I had never even kissed a boy. Much to my shock, he planted on on me right then and there. But it wasn't love or attraction that made him do that, it was some combination of friendship and pity.
This is where things start to get personal... please do not continue to read unless you can read without judgment. This is really hard for me to put this here, but it's something I felt I needed to write.
Later in that year, I had my first sexual encounter at a friend's party. It was the first time I had really experienced a guy (F) flirt with me. He was older than me and sexy as hell. Later, we found ourselves alone on a couch in the basement. He kissed me and it wasn't out of pity, but it was because he wanted something from me. I had no clue what I was doing, nor did I have a clue as to why I felt compelled to do it. It was my first time giving oral sex (no, he did not reciprocate). That's as far as it went.
In the revisionist history of my life, I will say "first boyfriend" when describing him, but that is so far from the truth. It wasn't even a one-night stand. For the longest time I lied (mainly to myself) that there was some sort of relationship with him, but it was mainly to make me feel better, less cheap. But now you all know the truth.
The rest of HS was uneventful and much more of the same. I was not asked to my Senior Prom. Instead, I had to do the asking (taking my friend's younger brother with me), one last reminder about how I was persona non grata in the HS dating world.
My freshman year of college was an adventure/experiment in redefining myself. I still wasn't the light and fluffy party girl, but I did get out more. Unfortunately, I think I went from zero to 60 mph. Maybe part of me felt like I was playing catch-up with my sexuality.
During my freshman year at college I met, and kissed, and even got frisky with many college boys, but the main highlight was one guy, J. He and I had met online. After many long chats, long-distance phone calls (and the phone bills), he decided to come visit me at school. We had a great weekend (and he nearly broke my dorm bed). When I went home on break, I met his parents. He even met my father (the only person I was seeing to have ever met my father while I was seeing them). However, I think to call him my boyfriend would be a stretch. We cared about each other, but there was never enough interaction or connection to say we were in a relationship. The connection was friendship, and the connection is still there.
I started my sophomore year of college a virgin, but I did not end the year as one. The first day I was there I decided to flex my sensuality. The poor guy (C) did not see it coming. It's a great story to tell, but I don't think now's the time to tell it. He ended up being one of first experiences of "friends-with-benefits." I could call him and he would be game. That all came to a stop, though, when I met D. With our frequent talks, trips to get ice cream, and intimate moments (no intercourse, yet) I'd like to think that D was one of the closest times I came to actually having a boyfriend.
However, things went sour real fast when my dorm roommate told her parents about my sex life (only had oral sex, was using protection, etc.) and her parents lectured me. She said that all these boys wanted was sex and that they were using me. In the back of my head I had a running dialogue about what I wanted to say back -- about how I was really using them -- but in the end I decided to just let them say their peace and then walk out the door, go to my RA and inquired about getting a new room assignment. The stress of that situation lead to my breakup with D. But even with D I hesitate to say there was a romantic relationship. What I have no hesitancy in saying is that we were great friends. We still are.
The second half of the year I was matched with a new roommate who was entirely different from that self-righteous bitch I had formerly lived with. She was artistic, passionate, and very open in terms of sexuality. I could talk to her about anything. She did not judge me. I lost my virginity on January 30, 2001. I know the date because it was SuperBowl weekend (and I was so focused on the sex that I forgot to watch my beloved Giants lose to the Ravens). Despite being in the middle of a city, at a bustling university, I had met M online. What transpired was a bit of a marathon and a tour all in one. Not only did he take my virginity but he took my favorite fleece. I saw him once after that and then he disappeared (he was in the Navy and said he went to Saudi Arabia). He was not my boyfriend, but he was my first. He is now married with 2 kids.
The next major stop on the time line was during my senior year of college. G and I met at a friend's party and I ended up going home with him that night. But we kept on going out after that. I would hang out with him and his friends (I was 20 and we'd go to this one bar where I'd never get carded). We'd go to concerts, we'd go shopping with each other. And well, we did a lot of other things. But by his definition, we were not boyfriend & girlfriend. In fact, right as he was about to ask me to be his girlfriend (a move he equated to proposing marriage) I told him I thought we weren't a good fit. We continued to see each other, but ultimately things ended when I found out that he was having sex with another girl. Interestingly enough, I had met her at a concert and told him that I thought they had a lot in common. They're married now.
The only other major point on the time line was J. It's hard for me to write about him because without a doubt I loved him (and without a doubt, I know he cared for me and wanted for my well-being). However, love was not something that was within the prescribed parameters of the fuck-buddy relationship. Once I knew I loved him, and once I told him, the relationship came to a quick end. He was the first guy to bring me to orgasm (a function of skill and my letting go of control). He was also the first guy with whom I felt completely safe and beautiful. He could look at me when I was naked and I didn't feel the need to hide. With him, I could experiment and request. We are still a part of each others' lives, just from a distance.
Once we broke up, I tried to piece myself together, but 6 months later I decided that sex wasn't bringing me any closer to love. So I decided that the only way I was going to have sex was in the context of a relationship. That was 1,513 days ago.
Now, I have no idea how many men I've kissed over the years. But I do know how many men I've had intercourse with. I will not disclose that number (as I am a lady), but of the men I've had sex with, ~80% were trysts/one-night stands. Half of those one-night stands were straight up bad choices. Of all the men I've slept with, ~30% are still friends/people I talk to often. While one of those men is a dear friend and loves me as a friend, I cannot say that any of those men have loved me in a romantic sense. I have loved only one of them.
I think that is a sad state of affairs.
Do I regret any of my past? Yes and no. I cannot go back and change any of it, but I can look back on my past with compassion. I made good choices and bad, but those choices made me who I am today. I love the the person I am today.
However, I could do without a few of those bad choices (can't we all?) as they provided no true input to my growth as a person or as a sexual being (e.g., the sex wasn't good), and usually left me feeling like something was taken from me (my sense of self-worth).
So, why this post? Why now?
Well, despite being one of the hardest posts I've ever written (mainly because of who might read this), this post is really about the future.... my future.
Unexpectedly, I now find myself thinking about a man. Not just any man, but a very specific and lovely one. I mentioned in a previous post that he has made me feel beautiful not because of any comment about my body (though he is gracious when it comes to compliments), but by showing care towards me, by allowing me to be honest with him.
My self-confidence has been growing ever since starting this blog, getting back to the gym, losing weight, and getting my life in order. I know exactly who I am and what I am made of. I know my strength and weaknesses. I know what I have to give to another person. I also know that I am right to expect something in return (honesty, faithfulness, respect, even love).
However, it is a huge leap of faith (given my past experience and what I know about the sad state of dating among my generation) for me to once again open myself up to another person in that way. I feel as if I am about to go skydiving for the first time. I keep on checking for my parachute. Each time I check, I feel silly. Even if the parachute is there, I will only know if it will work once I pull the cord.
And yet, each time he patiently reassures me that not only is the parachute there, but he is as well.
[UPDATE: "the future" guy totally let me down. Moving on...]