There’s an epidemic of bed bugs in NYC and everyone is freaking out! I get it. Who would want to go to sleep one night and wake up the next morning covered in itchy welts, unable to function in life until extreme measures (like throwing out your mattress and informing all the neighbors) were studiously, awkwardly taken.
But what fascinates me is how even the spectre of bed bugs is infiltrating our love lives these days…
Anecdotal evidence: Let’s just say I was lying in bed with The Hot Sex Prospect in my dah. He’s great [in bed]. We’re great [in bed]. Our sexy non-relationship has unfolded with a minimum of heart-to-hearts and a maximum of all other body parts communing.
So there we were, lying around [in bed], when he freaked out. I felt something bite the back of my neck! And now it itches! What was that? You don’t have bed bugs, do you?????
A brief close inspection of the pillow revealed that the little, tiny, prickly ends of some of the feathers were poking out through the pillowcase and “biting” my manly man on his neck. Crisis averted! What a relief.
But the thought occurred to me: Here was a guy who had NEVER asked if I had any STDs, if I was on the pill, and/or if I were also sleeping with anyone else. But he was scared to death in a paranoid moment that I might *might* have bed bugs. My fab gay friend later pointed out that I should have responded, “No, I don’t have bed bugs, but I DO have herpes.” Just to see what would have happened…
This was not the first time I’d encountered friends or lovers freaking out about bed bugs, while other, larger, unspoken threats – of physical harm, of emotional investment – loomed overhead. (“I must really like this guy if I’m willing to risk bed bugs to be with him”) (“I can’t stay over with her, there were bed bugs in that building!”) What is “bed bugs” code for in Millennial-speak? What are we so unspeakably afraid of?
Or maybe we’re freaking out about bed bugs because we truly have nothing else to worry about. We’re children of the 80s; we all aced Sex Ed from 6th grade on. We can assume that if a sexy guy or lady had an STD, he/she would tell us and we would be safe about it. Duh! Furthermore, we’re pros at juggling the guys and girls in our dahs so that we can pursue our own dreams, not have to settle, and cultivate lots of varied and complex relationships, while we’re becoming who we want to be and creating the lives we want to live. From the physical to the emotional to the psycho-sexual, we’ve got it all figured out, thanks.
But, man, bed bugs would be a giant pain in the ass right now. So, for the record, I do not have bed bugs (or herpes). Want to come over and not talk about it?
Rebecca Coale - aka Becky - is a writer, musician and producer. She and childhood best friend Jessica Donalds created Dating & Hookup and founded J&R Creative Media. Becky blogs about love poetry and modern life & womanhood. She lives with her husband, Howard Coale, and their family in Manhattan and Philadelphia.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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