I decide it’s ok to give a shit.

Do you get a weird source of inspiration from public transport? Like, I always feel like I’m at my peak of inspo wen I’m on a train, plane or bus. I’m not sure if this is a normal thing, but I always get my best thoughts out at the expense of a $3.65 metro ride…or $178 round trip flight.

I say this slightly intoxicated on my flight back to Boston. By slightly I mean 3 whiskey shots, 1 Sam Adams Summer and 2 vodka sodas deep. Sorry, mom.

I’ve had an interesting love life the past few months. Active, yet unactive. It’s strangely familiar. Guys have sorta sucked, but that’s nothing new. Again, it’s familiar.

I expressed my sentiments to my best friend, sober, “Why don’t guys wanna date me?” I felt desperate asking this question, yet I find myself genuinely curious. It sounds like plea from sad, single girl who is searching for love in all the wrong, yet seemingly right places. Yet, I don’t really give a shit. I’m just curious.

I see couples all of the time. Holding hands down 14th street or intensely making out at my bar, I replay my girlfriend qualifications.

-smart

-friendly

-attractive

-kind

-gets along with moms

-gets along with friends

-cool

-chill

-fun

etc.

I engage in an internal debate about casual sex. While I once was so confident in the fact that I, Beth Cormack, am SO ok with casually sleeping with men, recently I have began to question that notion. I feel like from a societal standpoint, my reaction towards casual sex should be, “This man’s penis entered me. We were safe and consensual. Welp, onto the next one! It’s cool!”

Am I allowed to feel there is something more to sex than just sex? Can I believe that I am able and willing to engage in “casual sex” yet still expect to feel some sort of way about it? Is there an in between on the sliding scale of a giving a fuck?

Names have been changed

***

Are you going to talk to me after we have sex? Drunk words slur from my dry mouth. He’s laying on top of me in my twin size bed. My phone lights up. “Want me to sleep at Kate’s and leave you two alone in there?” My roommate was good at casual sex. I told myself I didn’t like one night stands.

Because I didn’t.

Of course I’m going to talk to you. I just can’t really do girlfriends right now. Those words weren’t enough. In the moment, I pretended like they were. The next morning he was gone. I picked the red condom wrapper up from the floor and felt my eyes fill. I was ok with this. I can be cool. Days went by. A blank response to my “Hey how’s your week going text?” Crickets.

I saw him at the library the next week on campus. I smiled and looked his way. He burrowed his face in his book.

***

Hand jobs and blow jobs were fine. I let him touch my breasts and basically do everything but “go all of the way.” For a while anyway. When you have sex with a man right away, he’s going to view you as a slut and will therefore never date you.

I didn’t want to be a “slut.” Well, I didn’t want other men to label me as such.

It took a few weeks of drunken sleepovers before I let him enter me. I felt safe and comfortable. I didn’t feel like a slut. Nor did he make me feel like one.

We didn’t have “casual” sex for too long before I started to question where this was going. Late nights turned to longer mornings. Drunk sex turned into sober sex. Less casual sober sex.

I love you, he muttered. I love you too. Maybe casual sex wasn’t so bad. Maybe men would still acknowledge me and want to date me after all.

***

I was excited to start swiping left and right in my new city. I sat on my bed in night one and scouted out my prospects. Different from Boston. More attractive, yet more douchey, it seemed like.

Hey, how are you? David messaged. Jack Rose was our first date spot. I, in a black mini dress paired with gold sandals and a long necklace. He, a suit with a pink tie. A consultant at Deloitte. Attentive via text before and after our date. Did I hit the jackpot within my first few weeks in DC?

I felt an instant disconnect after the first night we spent together. A not-serious relationship hanging on by threads. We sleep together a few more times. Texts less frequent. Sorry super busy at work. Can’t hang this weekend. Eventually leading to nothingness.

A few months went by. I hardly remember his existence. My phone lights up. It’s David. “Hey, I hear you work at Hawthorne. Any chance my friends and I can cut the line?”

Crickets.

A year goes by. I’m his bartender. Can I have a Tanqueray and tonic? Oh, wait, your name’s Beth right? I pour him Bowman’s. Your Tanqueray is going to be $11.00. 

I wanted to say, yeah, it’s Beth. Your penis was inside me, remember? Same.

***

Harry. How do I explain Harry?  He’s a guy that I had been on and off hooking up with for the past 2 years. Very very on and off. I consider him more than a late-night text even though 95% of our texts took place after 2am. Definitely didn’t “date” although when we were together, I considered what that would look like.There was a connection we acknowledged, sober and drunk.

A connection defined on our first “real” date after 2 years of nothing but late-night texts. Coffee followed by laying in bed fully clothed, reading the depths of each other’s personal essays. Silent yet intense. “I don’t meet many women like you.” “I keep you at an arms-length because I don’t want to hurt you.” Divorced with two kids, I guess I kept him at arms length, too. “Casual” sex that I’d label as something a little more than casual. Emotions were felt on both ends. At least I think so.

Things came to an unexplainable halt the week after he drunk called me spilling his feelings. I don’t know what could be. I’d be lying if I still don’t think about it.

I wonder if he does too.

***

I was intrigued by Luke within the first few moments of catching his glance. The bar was crowded, full of intoxicated fools on Sunday evening. The music was loud, the shots were cheap. Who’s that? I asked my friend. That’s Luke, she introduced me. We hit it off instantaneously, chatting at the bar for quite some time. Tall and handsome, we continued to show interest in the coming weeks. I noticed hints of jealousy on his end when he saw me with other men. Interest from both ends intensifies.

I call him out for being a minor fuckboy. In a joking way. I recommend him to a friend for a job. Thank you so much, this is really going to help me out. I’m happy to do it.

Sleeping together was inevitable, although the sex was less than decent. The flame was short lived. He has a way with words to get women into bed with him, perhaps that’s all he wanted from me. I can’t be sure. I still run into Luke on occasion — we pretend like the other doesn’t exist.

He doesn’t even pet my dog. I can’t explain this. Have you seen my dog?

My half-joking preconceptions of his fuckboy tendencies were accurate. Maybe he expected me to get attached — to give him attention or fit into the “clingy” mold.

It’s a strange juxtaposition. I care but I don’t really care.

My interest in him was short-lived even though I continued to sleep with him. I never cared to date him. Our feelings were clearly defined the last time we slept with each other. Afterwards, we laid in bed and talked about how much we missed our White Buffalos. Yet, I still sort of give a shit.

white buffalo: a term for “the one that got away” or “first love” 

It was the initial spark that drew me in and the sudden disregard that keeps me engaged to some extent. This draws up a debate in my head. We had sex…a few times. Yet to him, I am no longer worth a hello. I am nothing. Is this worth mulling over? I don’t know.

***

I met up with John for coffee about 6 months ago. We both swiped right! He was in the midst of a 30-day alcohol detox, so he suggested Colada Shop. Coffee? Obviously I’m down. I had just re-downloaded Tinder and I was lucky to match with this attractive, down-to-earth, successful & super sweet guy.

The date was wonderful, so much so we made out a red light in his car. I felt like I was in high school again. Months went by and with our busy schedules it was hard to make something out of it although we occasionally kept in touch via text and Snapchat.

Our second date took place at the Kygo concert with his friends — an evening that I never wanted to end. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with this guy, although I wasn’t really thinking about it. It was a fun, spontaneous date. What happens would happen.

A week goes by and neither of us reach out.

In a sweet and genuine (and very long) text about a week later he informed me has been hooking up with another girl and apologizes for not reaching out sooner.

Is now the right time to tell him that I hooked up with someone else the night before the concert? I didn’t feel the need to share my sex life with him. Is that wrong?

I showed the text to my guy friends. They read it as “he totally wants to see you again but he’s just informing you of the situation.” I don’t really know how to read it, but it was a sure sign that I have grown numb to disappointment in the dating world as my initial reaction to his text was, “wait, lol, is it bad that I don’t care?” It wasn’t an I don’t care that actually meant I do care but I’m trying to pretend like I don’t care because I’m ~chill~. It was truly and I don’t care.

Wait, so am I ok with casual sex? Again, this confuses me.

***

I decide it is ok to give a shit when a man’s penis enters you.

I decide it is ok to expect some sort of respect from the other party.

I decide you can still engage in casual sex while also giving a shit.

I decide to expect respect. I decide that this is OK to expect.

I decide I give a shit when there is a lack of respect.

I don’t think I’ll ever be the woman to not feel some sort of pit in my stomach when I don’t hear from someone after spending the night together. Even if the sex is shitty.

I believe sex is a natural, liberating experience that should be enjoyed in a safe and consensual setting. I used to fear the word “slut.” Years later, I realize the ignorance behind labeling others as such.

I look back on my sexual encounters and the men involved. The debate over casual sex continues. I don’t quite know how to define “casual sex” but I also believe there’s no, single universal definition to it.

Most of the time, the pit in my stomach feels unwarranted for. I don’t expect nor want a relationship from most of these men, but I still expect something from them after the fact.

I fear falling into the “clingy, psycho girl” mold. A mold constructed by (mostly) men — I decide to be ~cool~ and not care.

Maybe I shouldn’t expect anything. Maybe that’s where my disappointment lies.

Maybe respect is too much to ask.

“Dear, Beth. I am a fuckboy.”

I got a rather hilarious email from a reader last night. It was a strange combination unexpected and revolting yet charming to some degree? With his permission, he let me talk about it on here.

Continue reading “Dear, Beth. I am a fuckboy.”