girl versus one night stands
You wake up in the morning and you’re in someone else’s bed. You calculate that there is a 75% chance you will need to vomit within the next hour. You are not sure whether you want to roll over and see the face of the person spooning you and snoring so nonchalantly into the back of your neck. You calculate that there is a 75% chance you will regret this.
In my experience, one night stands by their very nature must have one of two outcomes. You have had sex with this person. You probably can’t remember whether it was soul-bindingly wonderful or desperately embarrassing. Their junk is pressed against your butt cheeks right now and that’s not great because you’re feeling a little gassy. The outcome? You will either become crushingly obsessed with your spontaneous bedfellow, or you will be totally repulsed by their whole existence.
Just like your emotional response, the rest of the morning could go one of two very different ways. The usual trick is to get out of there quick smart, before your morning breath and increasing need to poo make things incredibly awkward. This is also a great strategy for avoiding the fact that either one or both of you are overcome with an insurmountable tsunami of shame and regret. The alternative is a rare gem: drunk you made a judgment and sober you agree with it. Getting to know someone when you’re both already naked and a little nauseous is weirdly romantic.
After you’ve sorted an exit strategy and are toileted and showered to satisfaction, comfortably bemoaning your pounding head from the friendly comfort of your own bed, you suddenly realise the tricky thing about one night stands: they linger.
Well, they linger for me. I have friends who can recall past lovers with the enviable flippancy I’d use to talk about past meals. For me, there’s no such thing as non-committal sex. Sure, it’s a textbook one-nighter — we hump and then we studiously avoid each other at parties until all awkwardness has passed — but I agonise about the significance of every entrance to my cave of wonders.
I’m totally okay with promiscuity. I don’t identify myself by how many people I’ve boned and you shouldn’t either. As a single woman with a normal libido I’ve inevitably had my grapples with society’s “slut”. I have never felt guilty about having sex with someone whose name I didn’t know until breakfast. Nope, I do something even stupider: I let it affect my self-worth.
If the pretty, earnest, soft-haired boy from last weekend doesn’t want to see me again, why should I feel unwantable? And if he does, why should I feel terrified? Either way, why should I be too paralysed by the prospect of rejection to even find out?
We live in a world where sex is power and yet I am never more powerless than when I’m struggling with the aftermath of sex. In the media, women are still quantified by sex. I am still quantified by sex, and I will be until I stop quantifying myself in terms of sex.
Maybe my binary divisions are broken. Maybe it’s not as simple as you like each other or you don’t. I’m learning that sex doesn’t increase or decrease my value. I’m learning that my “value” is a thing I attach to myself that depends on other people and probably isn’t even real. I guess the only way to learn for sure is to have more sex, and that’s a curriculum I’m pretty much okay with.