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I’ve always been big. I stand about an inch and a half taller than the average American man, and about seven above the average woman. At my heaviest I clocked in somewhere around 280 lbs, fluctuating across the line of the “regular” and “women’s” plus-size clothes. My lifelong weight gain story is not unique or interesting. It’s the same combination of genetics, poor choices in dealing with my mild anxiety, and a general lack of discipline we hear over and over every time Jillian Michaels makes someone cry on The Biggest Loser.
My sexual partners have run the gamut: those who were attracted to or fetishized big women, those for whom size was a non-issue, and those who will sleep with anyone, attracted or not. There were those who worshiped my curves and called me beautiful, and some who wanted to humiliate me and call me disgusting. Of course there were also those who never became partners, usually because they just weren’t into a full-figured gal.
The worst are those who fall into the Venn diagram of men who will sleep with a plus-size woman, but don’t want a fat girlfriend. They are the ones who, at some point in the hookup/dating process, say that I should have known they would never want something more serious with me. Usually they dance around the topic until we land here: the fat, kinky, bisexual girl is fun to fuck, but they would never admit it to anyone else. In short, a great personality can’t always outweigh weight.
Earlier this month about half of my rugby team took off on a cross country adventure to watch the USA Rugby 7s tournament in Las Vegas. (If you don’t know about 7s yet, get to know it because come 2016 it is an Olympic sport. Get on the bandwagon early). Those of us left behind on the dreary east coast decided to embark on an adventure of our own, and shake off the February doldrums with a weekend of local fun we dubbed “Fake Vegas” (Fegas for short).
The itinerary involved a number of new party destinations, poker night, silly outfits, and a scavenger hunt of activities including but not limited to “get a tattoo, don’t get pregnant, get married, and steal a tiger or a baby or a baby tiger”. We may be near (or past) 30, but we still know how to have a good time. After shaking off a hangover a few of us ventured to a sex shop for a little browsing. The crew that afternoon included a mix of sexualities and relationship statuses, which made for interesting conversation once in the store. What started out as a silly check-off on a list of Vegas themed activities, turned out to be an eye opening moment about how women can, and should, talk about sex.
Recently, I met a new fella and I’ve been spending an awful lot of my incredibly sparse free time with him. I met him on the interwebs the same way I met most men in my dah, but for reasons completely beyond my comprehension I have broken my normal pattern. Instead of explicit texts, late night rendezvous, and the sizzling and soon to collapse white hot passion of yet another super nova HSP, I have found myself spending my weekends with an honest-to-goodness boyfriend prospect. (I know!)
I’m basically just confused an awkward all the time. I know how to do the no-strings thing. This other thing…it’s weird. We go to museums and have dinner in public and it’s not all some thinly veiled excuse to tear each other’s clothes off. When we do get to an evening of clothes tearing, I don’t immediately run for my shoes and the door, but we hang out and watch Dr. Who and he lends me DVDs he thinks I may enjoy. WTF? Early on I was complaining to a friend that I didn’t know how to date when it’s not just a emotionless pretense for sex. She said, “it’s easy, you just make conversation. You can do that, you talk all the time!” And she was right. So, I’ve relaxed a bit and I’m just going with it.
So there I was, standing in the baking aisle of the grocery store, cell phone dinging to alert me to a new message, trying not to cry but failing miserably. As a few silent tears rolled out of the corners of my eyes, I stared intently, through increasingly blurred vision, at my food coloring options, trying to remember the recipe for red velvet cake for my roommate’s birthday and not raise the suspicions of the helpful clerk who kept asking if I needed help finding anything.
The tears were irrational, illogical, and incredibly poorly timed. Yet here I was, crying over the loss of something I never had, and never really wanted, making the little old ladies trying to complete their mid-day shopping very uncomfortable.
I have been told, more than once, that I have a bit of an exhibitionist streak in me. Charlie and I had sex on my balcony of my old apartment in full view of the offices of a major political party, I’ve fantasized with partners about going to a swingers club where voyeurs might watch us, and hell – I write about my sex life on the internet.
I don’t think I am in the minority in this respect. Public displays of affection are a very tame way of expressing your sexual attraction to your partner to other people. And we have all seen (or been) the couple having the intense make out on the dance floor, declaring to the world, “Look! Other people find me sexually attractive! I am validated by this tongue in my mouth!” I mean – Never Have I Ever is pretty much just a chance to brag about all the exciting sexual encounters we have had.
When we say we are going through a dry spell, it tends to conjure up some very specific imagery. I usually associate this term with a montage of a hapless yet charming leading man facing rejection, with increasing hilarity, as he tries to woo a string of women. Or maybe of a woman sitting on her couch, eating ice cream in her comfy pants but starring longingly at a cute dress that never gets its night on the town. (Apparently, I’ve seen too many movies).
You get the point – the dry spell generally refers to sexless night after sexless night, and the frustration (and desperation) that can accompany it.
When facing a blow off, all you want is to send a text/chat/e-mail that reads as coy and aloof. “Hey mister, remember me? I’m pretty and nice and you should want to talk to me. See how casually my hair falls in front of my eye?”
But there’s always the chance it will come off like this:
“PAY ATTENTION TO ME! I’M CRAAAAAAAZY!”
I watched the cursor blink at the end of that unsent message at 6:30 in the morning. As I starred at Charlie’s name taunting me from a chat window, knowing he was awake and online, I wrote that desperate and final message, and waited for a more normal hour at which to press send.
I hadn’t seen Charlie for 2 months, and it had been about 4 weeks since the slow fade started. After our last visit things picked up for both of us, and not seeing each other became the norm. He was studying or working constantly and I was on campus 12 hours a day and out of town almost every weekend. At first, we would talk about how when this stretch ended we’d meet up again for some sexy times.
Ladies, gentleman and everything in-between. I come to you with a revelation that may surprise you. Now, as you may have intuited, I am an ass-kicking, card-carrying, take no prisoners or bullshit feminist through and through. I think men should be nannies and women should be president and anyone who wants to should wear pants or skirts or makeup or play with dolls or legos. Don’t get me started on access to birth control or the enforcement of Title IX unless you have time for a long lecture. And yet, here it is…
I love gender roles, even really specific gender roles, inside of my own relationships.
(Now, a quick rant on definitions: When I say gender – I am talking about the social constructs of men and women, not the biological sexes male and female. These are different, don’t conflate them ever again! I refuse to fill out forms on which the options for gender are male and female or the options for sex are man or woman. You can too!)
Okay, so gender roles – I love them. This is why.
Chloe had found her groove, a little niche in the big, hectic city. Her life seemed full, it had a rhythm and she was happy. They say you can’t be with someone else until you’re content with being alone and she finally agreed. She agreed the night she met Tyler.
It was fall, finally, a respite from the sticky, city summer and Chloe’s cousin Max was visiting from Seattle. And that evening, Max, who had grown up in the city, had invited Chloe along to a high school friend’s birthday party. Happily, she tied on a scarf against the chill and hopped in a cab uptown.
The party was a letdown at face value. True to neighborhood stereotype, it was over-crowded, over-pastel-ed and she only knew Max, who, living 3,500 miles away was busy talking to old friends. But on the way to the bar for a glass of wine, Chloe found herself being handed a beer.
“You looked like you needed a drink.”
After I posted last week’s column about threesome’s and how Charlie and I have navigated the waters of non-monogamy, I got some interesting feedback. A friend commented that he, “didn’t buy it.” He didn’t understand why I would want a commitment before having a threesome, why not just do it while it’s still casual? After a few back and forth comments via Facebook I finally said, It’s not something for you to “buy,” it’s my life.
That’s when I realized maybe people were taking what I was saying as advice, as some sort of guide for threesomes, instead of what it was: how I took honest stock of what I wanted, and shared that with my partner to help navigate our relationship. And an important morality tale of what happened when I wasn’t honest.
The last few weeks I’ve written about some touchy topics, and the feedback has been both fiery and interesting. So, I thought this week I’d take a nice, gentle stroll down a less controversial path…pornography. If you have thoughts or additions or want to call me an idiot, comment and I’ll happily respond.
So, porn. Let’s discuss.
My relationship with porn is like my relationship with Charlie: kinda gay, a little confusing, carefully navigated, and sometimes even a little sweet.
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