I’ve been a very bad slut, my friends. By this I mean two things: 1) I’ve been bad at being a slut (i.e., not sluttin’ it up enough) and 2) I’ve been bad at telling you about my slutitude.
I’m back home in the U.S. now, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do on this bad boy. Most of my days being back in America have consisted of trying not to cry in supermarkets at the overwhelming selection of yogurt, and remembering to smile and ask the bank teller how he’s doing because if I don’t I’ll be a horrible gremlin. It’s been a rough transition, but my mood has stabilized a bit and I’m starting to feel like an American human again.
First off, I’m sorry. Sorry for not writing to you since Scotland. Since we last spoke, I covered around 3,000 miles (~4,800 km) of Europe, kissed one more boy, and wanted to kiss dozens of others.
When I began this blog I had the hope, but not the expectation, that I’d gain a following. Yet I’ve done exactly that. Which is damn cool, so thanks. However it’s also terrifying. You’re a small yet loyal group, and many of you are my friends. Good friends. And I feel I owe you an explanation.
I wish I could tell you the lack of updates between then and now is owed exclusively to all the fun I was having. It’s not. The truth is, after I published the last update about my graveyard tryst, I experienced a mild meltdown.
This was nothing debilitating, to be sure, but I did panic about what this whole thing meant about me. What did it say about me as a person that I was sharing all of this information? What did it say about me that I wanted to share this information? It felt exhilarating to be so open about the details of my sex life, but it also made me deeply vulnerable.
And really, that’s the curse of being a slut: in the best of times it’s liberating and just plain fucking fun. At the worst of times it’s thankless and even isolating.
But still, it’s one thing to do it, it’s another to talk about it, and it’s something else entirely to publish it on the goddamn Internet. My internal regret monkey had a shit fit the day after I told you all about that blow-job.
Except this time it wasn’t over impulse-purchasing another vibrator that I really didn’t need. This time it was because I’d revealed to everyone with an IP address that I’m some sort of deviant. (Regret monkey’s words, not mine.) Not for gettin’ down, but for talking about it.
In the search for the origin of this fear, I traversed a long cold road through a land of judgment and things I’ve learned about being a woman. I wanted to know if this fear was grounded in any sort of empirical truth. Is it inherently, objectively wrong to share the details of my slutitude with friends and perfect strangers alike? As I Magellaned my way down to the depths of that nasty, drippy cave of a place where I store all the ways I’ve been socialized, I discovered that, no, prolly not. In fact, it might even be good for me and for other people. I probably learned this bullshit from a lot of somewheres.
When I got home I had lunch with my mother. She said, “I read your blog. Even after you told me not to.”
“Oh god,” I said.
“Yeah,” she said, “I should’ve listened to you.”
Indeed she should’ve. This morning I mentioned I was going to update it today, and she released a noise of abject horror and told me to please not bring it up again. I suppose that conversation didn’t help matters and probably has something to do with the struggle I’m facing at this very moment to birth this heaping pile of confession.
This fear was born from a giant womb of shame. It was born from myths I should’ve unpacked and gotten over in Women’s Studies 101 but that still sneak up and haunt me when I’m trying to get off or, like, write about them. Stupid shit like, “women’s pleasure is secondary to men’s.” Y’know, that stuff.
But then there was stuff that’s still eerily true.
Things came up like about how women are meant to be the gatekeepers of sex. I started thinking a lot about this and how much this has damaged me. (Please bear with me while I work through this shitty heteronormative view of sex/relationships and totally ignore a spectrum of sexuality for a second, sry, brb.) The idea that women are the ones who get the last word on whether or not sex happens at all.
“You’re a girl,” even some of my most well-meaning dude friends will say, “You can fuck whenever you want.” As if boobs are some sort of all-access pass to bang town. (They’re fuckin’ not, btw.)
Then there’s that awful joke/analogy that tries to explain away the double standard by saying, “A key that opens every lock is a great key, but a lock that can be opened by any key is a damn shitty lock.”
What was/is bothering me the most, I think, is that I buy into this, try as I might to fuck as freely as I damn well please. Because here’s the thing: women may still the gatekeepers to sex, but men are the gatekeepers to relationships.
What I loved most about traveling was that it took the pressure off dating and the hookup scene entirely. This was good for me in a lot of ways that I’m sure I’ll cover at some other point when I get into the nooks and crannies of the dates and non-dates I partook in on my travels. (This shall be reserved for future, happier updates.)
I allowed myself to truly not give a fuck about the outcome of any social interaction. Because I’d be on my way to another country in any given 48-hour period. There was no time for attachment. The future was off the table. When I’m settled in a place, part of me is always hunting for someone to enter a pattern of “binge-watch Parks & Rec, fuck, repeat” with. And in those times, I worry about being too “easy.” I’ve hushed my libido on first dates to preserve my chances at securing a second. The worst part? That shit works.
So, maybe I get to decide when and where the pants come off, but I’m not the one who gets to decide if I’m worthy of meeting the parents. (For the record, I haven’t made it that far with anyone. And it’s damn hard not to wonder whether that has to do with my “carefree” attitude.)
I’ve decided from now on to always bang on the first date (provided I want to, that is) until I meet someone feminist enough not to give a fuck. Because anyone who would care is not someone I’d want to date anyway.
And even though I have to contend with this double standard from the people I fuck, the reason Slut Town is such a lonely place is because most of the judgment and slut-shaming I face comes from other straight, cis women.
To be fair, no one has said anything negative to me, or to my knowledge even about me. In fact, the general response to this blog and the way I conduct my affairs has been incredibly positive. Many people say, “You’re awesome.” A few have called me their hero. Nearly everyone laughs. This probably has something to do with my impeccable delivery. But I think most people laugh because the way I conduct my affairs is a bit absurd. Laughter is* born from a betrayal of expectations. That’s why we laugh out of discomfort just as we laugh out of joy. My friends will probably argue that they do expect this sort of thing out of me. However, being a slut and open about it is disruptive in a way. Therefore, it’s funny.
But I digress; the judgment I’m talking about tends to come in the form of sharp glances. It’s the sort of understated malice girls get really good at when we learn that we’re supposed to be nice to each other and we’re supposed to compete with each other. This judgment comes in statements about other women. Things like, “She has no self-respect.” Every time one woman calls another a slut with venom on her tongue, it poisons me. It poisons everyone. Because even though they’re “not talking about me,” that’s exactly what the fuck they’re doing, whether or not it’s their intention.
And you know what? This steaming pile of shit is still wrapped up in a white bow of privilege. Because even through all of this, as a cis white woman, I’m allowed to be more than my sexuality (if I’m seen as having a sexuality at all). While I’ve had a handful experiences when I felt exoticized, I’ve never once felt like I was reinforcing any stereotypes about my race by being sexual or being open about my sexuality.
You know what else? I don’t know what the hell to do about it. Except to keep telling my story with as much brutal honesty as I can. And fuck, if nothing else, it’s entertaining. And entertainment is useful. I have to believe that.
P.S. Update on the Crypt Keeper: He texted me a couple days later at 4AM with the following: “I’m sorry. I’ve been a dick because I thought I’d never get the flat to myself to fuck you but now I’m sitting here alone realising** I could be fucking you right now…”
Isn’t that romantic? I wonder how many goats his family has.
*I have no idea if this is true, but I’m trying to remove “I just think” from my lexicon.
**British spelling for historical accuracy