Don't Take This The Wrong Way
I teach a class the evening I meet him. Not a class—a discussion group. A women’s discussion group. He arrives earlier than I anticipate. He waits in the lobby at first, but I decide it would be fruitful for him to hear the conversation surrounding sex workers rights and their dehumanization by society, the socialization of women, and the constant weight and responsibility that lie on our shoulders. We discuss the importance of compassion and patience with our male-gendered counterparts. He makes pleasantries with my colleagues—women I look up to and am lucky to call friends.
We briefly discussed sex work prior, being a conversation he brought up in our initial Tinderactions. He’s dated exotic dancers. A plus. He likes sassy women. Another plus.
He’s only in town for a month. That information looms over our heads and assumes that this can only be a casual encounter. The exchange defines itself before we have a chance to create a definition. The boundaries are given, it’s up to me if I want to play within their confines.
Honestly, I’m bored. He’s a new toy. A six foot seven tree to climb. We grab a bite to eat on our way back to my apartment. I don’t have the slightest concern regarding the volume of my voice as I discuss the intricacies of my job, spouting words of ‘masturbation’, ‘orgasm’ and ‘sex organ’ openly at the restaurant.
When we enter my apartment, it’s straight to business. The precedent is set. This is a casual interaction. We kiss and I adjust the lighting to be more sensual. He removes my clothes, then his. I help him take off his belt and coyly spank his butt. I’m adorable, for the record. His unprotected penis is dangerously close to my vagina. How predictable. No fingers, no mouth, nor tongue comes close to my nether regions. Given all this obsession of “getting pussy” you’d think they’d be more excited about it’s debut.
I’m not aroused, nor amused.
“You’re going to lick my pussy now.”
He humors me, assuming the position. I hear an effort being made with his tongue, though I don’t feel anything. His head positioned slightly to the right of my pussy, he’s making more contact with my outer labia—which is fine for a warm up, but we’re past that point now.
“Can you move your head slightly to the left?”
Still, no stimulation. I show him where the target area lies.
“That’s not my clitoris. That’s my labia.” You’re never too old for sex education.
A little closer, but he can still use work on his target practice. Now I know why he didn’t cut it in the Israeli army. I abandon ship and I’m not reciprocating. Lately, it’s been a gut instinct if I want to blow someone. Consider this your foreshadowing.
I tire of the attempted foreplay, so I press fast forward on the evening. “Okay, let’s have sex now.”
He approaches the bench, unequipped and ill prepared.
So, I inform him, “You’re going to use a condom.”
I hand him a Skyn condom from my bedside table. He enters me and pumps away, not at that lightning speed that most of the boys do, but definitely uninspired. I don’t make noise, because I don’t feel pleasure. I don’t yet offer words of instruction or encouragement as I don’t want to attack an already fragile ego. We make a group decision for me to be on top.
I ride him with the intent of facilitating my own pleasure. He’s losing his erection. He asks me to take a break. I oblige.
“It’s very intimidating.” He utters those words I hear so often. The socialization echoes in my head.
Be less of yourself. Be smaller. Be quieter. Be more fragile. Be more compliant.
Fuck. That. Noise.
“What’s intimidating? That I’m a professional?”
“I’ve never been with someone like you before.”
“You mean someone who is outspoken and communicative. Someone with agency?”
Had I not spent an entire evening discussing these very issues, I may have not had the same patience. This is now a project. He is now a project. Any chances of his penis entering my vagina are long gone. He’s only an experiment of human behavior now. When I divulge these insights into the female experience, I am intentional with my words. I whisper particular phrases to place emphasis. My tone is warm and inviting, genuinely invested in his understanding and education.
“Do you like eating pussy?”
“When do you like it?”
It’s clearly something he hasn’t thought of before, nor been questioned on the matter.
“I don’t know….when there is good hygiene.”
“Bullshit, you think your dick smells like roses? If you want to fuck it, you should want to eat it.”
“I take care of my dick though, I shower.”
“And you think we don’t? Do you know how hard it is to take care of a vagina? It's a moist cavern. We get periods. We can't use soap. We rely on water and prayer. If I use soap or fragrances I get bacterial vaginosis.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“Well, now you do. It’s talk like this which make women not want to receive oral sex, cause they're shamed into thinking their parts are ‘gross’. You wonder why so many women haven’t orgasmed, it’s because they're shamed of their own anatomy. They don’t even get a chance to explore pleasure.”
I eat pussy too. Trust me, it’s not the horrific experience these men make it out to be. Get over yourselves.
“You don't know how hard it is to deal with erections.” He motions to his now half-limp penis.
“Are you serious? Are you really trying to relate the pressure of remaining hard to the pressures men place on women’s genitals and performance. If anything you're the only one putting pressures on your dick to be hard.”
Yes it’s true. I intimidate the boners off men quite frequently. They’re penises. They’re human. Not everyone has porn dick. All the more reason to eat my pussy.
I continue to provide an anatomy lesson on the clitoris. They get erect too, it’s just not as visible.
“You act like your boner is my responsibility. If anything, I try not to place additional attention on it, because men tend to be so insecure about their maintenance of said erection.”
His retort is over almost as soon as it begins.
“How many people have you had sex with?” Another fun question from our fine feathered friend. “Or do you not know?” I have a feeling he knew what my answer would be before he asks the question.
“No, I don’t count. What's the point? I get tested; I’m clean. Why is it important? What does it tell you about me?”
“That you are a sexual person. That you don’t want commitment.”
I boomerang his question right back at him, “How many people have you had sex with?”
“One hundred and six.” He answers without hesitation. “A lot of those have come in the last few years though.”
Is that last bit of information relevant? Does it “excuse” his behavior or does it explain it, as if he’s making up for lost time?
He informs me, my unknown number makes me someone he would want to fuck, but not date. I am slut shamed by someone who introduced themselves as only wanting casual hookups. Am I not providing exactly what he seeks? I think back to the women’s workshop and the impossible hoops women are expected to dance through.
Speak up for yourself, but don't be too pushy.
Be sexual, but don't be slutty.
Have experience, but not too much experience.
Don’t be a prude, but don’t be more adventurous than him.
Don’t be a pushover, but don’t be a bitch.
Get pleasure, but don't give too much direction.
Make them feel special and important.
I correct his assumptions. “It’s not that I don't want commitment, I do. But I can't find anyone who wants that commitment with me. Am I supposed to stay chaste? There were definitely years where I didn’t have sex or even kiss individuals because I wanted commitment. That only hurt myself.”
He does seem genuinely interested to soak in this new information. We discuss the anomaly that is my past and present lack of romantic life. I disclose that my standards are high and my expectations are at rock bottom.
“I consider holding my hand in public a romantic gesture.”
His validation is only mildly comforting.
“I’m going to ask you a weird question, if that’s okay.”
Because the night wasn’t already full of those. I’m not sure what can possibly shock me at this point.
“Is it okay if I spend the night?”
He’s right. It is an odd question.
“Ummmmm” I ponder out loud. “I don’t want to kick you out on the streets or anything, but I'm not sure if that’s the best idea.”
That’s the gamble one takes when they decide to travel a great distance on a first date—especially a casual hook up. Is any of this my problem? (No, it’s not.)
We go back and forth on this until he concludes to take an Uber home. I help find his clothes that are now scattered over the bed and bid him adieu. I don’t see him out, though I tell him to call me if he has troubles making his way out of my apartment complex.
I noodle around on a few different dating apps before I turn in. I’m not particularly phased by the nights interaction. I wake to a text message from our feathered friend. It’s contents stun me. Is he taking the pseudo rejection from the night prior personally and feel the need to attack my assumed insecurities? I told him I would write an essay about the nights experience. Did he intend to provide such depth in character development?
Generally speaking, I’m quite pleased with myself. On a regular basis, I am told how attractive I am. If anyone attempts to counteract this, it pales in comparison to the amount of praise I regularly receive. Outside of compliments, I’m very happy with my overall features and characteristics. I’m not a skinny waif, but I love my muscles. I appreciate my bodies differences, both those in and out of my control.
Internet trolls drug of choice is insults based on appearance. Take your best shot, cause that’s an impenetrable wall. Only those close to me know where the real insecurities lie, the ones that cut deep.
In middle school, where the bullying took a lighthearted approach, I was called “Schnozwald” and “butterface.” I settled in the persona created for me. My body was somewhat notable, but my face was nothing to write home about. I never entertained the idea of a nose job. I didn’t hate my nose and the idea of a chisel breaking my schnoz to pieces only to be placed back together was a terrifying thought. No, the only body issues that stick out in my mind is crying to my mother that I wanted a breast reduction.
“Clothes don’t fit me and I feel like it’s all anyone notices about me.”
My body issues were not to achieve a certain status of what society considers beauty. My goal was to go unnoticed. I wanted to be more than the body parts I was stuck with. I spent as much time hiding behind my breasts as I did hiding them. Body acceptance and confidence is indeed a journey, but it’s a trek I already traveled. To be presented with a critique of my physical appearance now and how much “better” my life could be if I changed a few things is astounding.
If others aren’t going to feel empathy on their own, why not give aim to demonstrate the ludicrous of his statement. His comments may not be facetious but mine are dripping with condescension. If I change the way I look in order to achieve something. Then what? What’s next?
If a nose job is what stands between myself and a romantic relationship, then I question the character of the individual(s) who would only then date me.
I’m not saying plastic surgery is always a bad thing. Plastic surgery can be for medical reasons. Sometimes it does, indeed, boost self confidence. It begs the question: does this pursuit of what we deem “perfect” have more to do with our own desires or the perceived desires of those who surround us.
Coming on the heels of a conversation about the fight against this constant need to be pleasing to the opposite sex. If our decisions always concern another party, do we begin to lose sight of what we actually want for ourselves?
A client once emailed me regarding a squirting class. She wanted to learn for the sake of pleasing her future male partner. I informed her that squirting is a process with one’s own body, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
“Oh I know it. I just had labiaplasty last month, so I’m trying to perfect it all.”
My heart goes out to her.
“And what will you get when you achieve what you think is the ‘perfect vulva?’”
What’s next? What now? Does the perfect vulva make you happy? Does the perfect vulva complete your life? Does a nose job make me a better person?
If you have to ask those questions, there are other holes that need to be filled.
If you have to ask those questions, it sure as fuck isn’t going to be one of my holes.