Sex and the Ivy


Filed under: Aidan, Jules, Kam, Kyle, Sex — Elle July 29, 2007 @ 9:42 pm

AFTER ALL the times we’ve slept next to each other, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Kyle sleep so soundly as he did last night. Whenever I dozed off with him on my Mather twin, he never fell into deep sleep. He would lie there with his eyes closed, just skimming the surface of consciousness and ready to wake from the slightest movement.

My bed in New York is bigger than what we’re used to. The air is musky, laced with liquor from our breath. When I beckon him to bed, he comes fully clothed. I unbutton his shirt, unfasten his belt, pull off his shoes and his socks and finally — with a tug — his pants. I run my fingertips over his torso, resting them between the tufts of dark hair on his chest, and ask him to turn onto his stomach. He obliges.

I start to rub his shoulders for the first time in months. I ask about his girlfriend — or rather, his ex. They broke up recently, just a few weeks ago, and I actually believe him this time when he says it’s over. He confirms what I long assumed: his cheating on her with me was symptomatic of already existing problems, rather than their underlying cause. I think I needed to hear it from him to be sure.

“But she’d still flip a shit if she found out, right?” I ask.

“Of course.”

Everything feels displaced. All my friends I’m used to seeing in dorm rooms and dining halls are now running around New York nightclubs and office buildings instead. It changes things. I can’t imagine Kyle sitting in my common room and having a conversation with my Harvard roommates, but put us in a shabby chic one-bedroom across from Tompkins Square Park and suddenly, he’s making brunch plans with Kam. That was last night. Unfathomable. Were I at school, my blockmates (always the first to remind me of his transgressions) would have a difficult time mustering up cordial “hellos”. Maybe Kam is less judgmental. Or maybe it’s New York that’s forgiving.

YOU KNOW those nights when you enter a party slightly inebriated but completely pumped and hours slip by without you even noticing it? That was also last night. I walk into Aidan’s birthday celebration around 11:45pm with my friend Jules in tow. We dance, we laugh, we talk. Next thing I know, it’s pushing 4am, the club is emptying, and I’m getting into a cab with Aidan to drop off a drunk companion. I have no idea when everyone else left (though it’s clear they’re long gone), where my keys are (I drunkenly handed them to Jules), or how/with whom I’m ending the night. I can barely recall the last four hours. It feels like I just got there.

But I know I had a good time. I see it in the expression on Jules’ face. If her smile is any proof at all, then I must be damn pleased. I feel it too. Something about the rhythm of my heartbeat makes it feel like the last song played is still pumping through my veins. I am in such a good mood that I don’t even freak out in the cab when Aidan’s very drunk friend reaches up my dress, rubs me between my legs, and presses his lips against my thighs. I laugh uncomfortably and move his hands away. But I couldn’t get angry if I tried.

I stopped having sex after spring break. The last time was on March 29 with Sam in Philadelphia. A week later, I found out he’d been telling another girl that they were sexually exclusive and I ended things. I was about ready to give up on men altogether. Then Riley happened and if I had any doubts at that point, that fiasco cemented my feelings on the subject. I told myself and my friends that I didn’t want to sleep with anyone unless I was sure I could trust them or at least certain that they didn’t have secret girlfriends. That meant restricting sex to relationships.

In some ways, I looked forward to saying no. Most of the time, it wasn’t even difficult because I didn’t have any romantic feelings for the guy. It’s easier to disappoint someone who’s just a hookup. And with each successive encounter, my resolve strengthened, as if every refusal at the sight of a condom was a small victory in itself. Guys couldn’t argue. My reason for not having sex left no room for debate. The bottomline: if we’re not dating, we’re not fucking.

But the truth is more complicated.

I’m incredibly scared of loss. And I know I shouldn’t feel like I lose something by sleeping with someone, but I do. I decided to stop having sex because I was sick of giving away all these pieces of myself and subsequently worrying about unintentional attachment, ill-advised yearning. It felt like I had no control. It wasn’t my silly superstition about winding up with taken men (though certainly, the pattern started to worry me) so much as it was my wanting to wait for someone who made me feel safe.

I guess last night is as safe as it gets, even though some might say that sleeping with a previous partner doesn’t count. Let me tell you, after four months of forgoing sex, it counts. There are plenty of people it could’ve been, others who have made me feel safe, but something about yesterday’s circumstances allow for the situation to happen. It is organic. It didn’t feel right with the senior who I hooked up with on a near-daily basis over exam period, nor have any of the men in New York left enough of an impression to earn my trust. I was quite tempted to give in a couple weeks ago with Mark in the hotel but the place didn’t feel right even though he did. Thankfully, he didn’t push for it. I don’t know if I could’ve resisted.

It is easy to anticipate last night, even though I don’t really think it is going to happen until it actually does. We both have had a good deal to drink, but it isn’t the alcohol that convinces me. Often times, I’m most stubborn about this matter when I’m drunk. I don’t really need convincing at all. Everything is so familiar, like we have done it before — and we have — but need to remember again what it’s like. It all feels the same — his tongue against mine, the smell of his breath, the texture of his hair between my tugging fingers, the way his hands grip my waist. At the corner of my mind, I remember that Kam is in the living room, that I need to quiet my moans. But that thought is already drifting away.

I stroke his chest with my fingertips slowly, in circles — like I used to — before I lean down and stretch my lips wide to take him in my mouth. Even that is the same. He feels very, very familiar. Before he gets on top of me, he whispers a promise about not making the same infamous mistake we made the first time. I think that is what makes the difference. I laugh. I don’t care anymore.

When he finally pushes inside me, it hurts. It actually hurts. It’s been so long — not just since I’ve had sex but since we’ve had sex. Initially, the pain takes me by surprise, but then I remember that it always used to hurt.



I guess I forgot that part. After he finishes, he leans over, presses his cheek against mine, and sighs long and deep. I breathe hard. I can hear footsteps and the apartment door opening and Jules’ laugh.

IT’S JULY 29TH. Four months to the day. It’s been a pretty long self-imposed streak, if the lack of activity on the blog hasn’t already made this abundantly clear. This entire time, I thought that having sex again — just once — would end the whole mission, that I’d go right back to sleeping with men who I only vaguely trusted. I’m not entirely sure how I feel right now but if anything, I’m more firmly resolved to wait for a relationship than ever.

This morning, I wake up to the sound of storm and thunder. I can sense nausea on the horizon. Kyle is next to me in a surprisingly deep slumber, his chest rising and sinking steadily. Kam and Jules’ muffled voices filter in from the living room. I feel safe.

Current Loves

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elle July 25, 2007 @ 1:15 pm


1. Koo Sushi (though this has been a fave since I set foot in it my second day in Manhattan) — Really fresh fish and absolutely unbeatable prices. I’m no expert in anything but I know my sushi. My favorite roll is the Mexican roll, and my go-to meal is their bento box lunch special which comes with everything you could want for $7.50. You get a six-piece California roll, soup, salad, rice, two pieces of shumai, and an entree. If you ask for sashimi, they’ll give you nine pieces, three each of tuna, white tuna (I swap for yellowtail), and salmon. 142 W. Houston St. at MacDougal.

2. think coffee — After 7pm, they serve killer paninis and tomato basil soup. For a coffeehouse (fair trade, my bleeding hearts), they do a hell of a job in the kitchen. Free wifi. 248 Mercer St. at 3rd. Website.

3. Gramstand — Another wifi spot, this tiny tea place is tucked in an East Village block bordering Stuyvesant Town. Try the citrus berry; it’s sensational. 214 Avenue A at 13th. Website.


1. CK — My infatuation for my best gal can only deepen despite the fact that she recently pulled a Diddy and rechristened herself “Duckie”. Don’t even ask. I prefer to call her by her last name anyway. (It’s kind of our thing).

2. Summer Guy — He’s currently staying with me in the city. How could I not love someone who’s flown twice just to see me?

3. My boss and coworkers — Fabulous job, fabulous people. Kam said a few weeks ago, “Damn, we get along so well. Someone needs to get bitchslapped; this office needs some drama!” I offered to throw down. He withdrew his statement.


1. Frangelico Martinis — My new signature drink (I’ve retired Shirley Temple Vodkas). The perfect proportion of Frangelico to vodka (I hate gin) is 1:4 for a strong one; girlies can opt for 1:3 or even 1:2. I’m no purist, obviously. By the way, I have gotten back on the low-booze diet: wine, champagne, and occasional cocktails allowed. No beer, ever.

2. Beacon’s Closet — Pretty much where I’m spending my weekends. Very cheap thrift store with some really great finds if you’re willing to dig. I’ve scored cute dresses from Shoshanna, Betsey Johnson, and Alice + Olivia. Blowing a paycheck is totally less guilt-inducing if I can get multiple dresses out of one shopping trip. 88 N. 11th Street at Wythe (Get off at Bedford Ave stop on the L).

3. Henri Bendel — The other place I waste money. Their house label is 75 percent off at the moment. Grabbed a cute cashmere cardigan for a cool $80 yesterday. Tons of tops under $40. 712 5th Ave at 56th.

4. Musically-inclined Men — I apparently like ‘em again.

5. Boys in College — Yeah, these too.

A Few Things

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elle July 22, 2007 @ 11:45 pm

1. I just finished reading Ian McEwan’s “Atonement” a few moments ago and I’m in absolute shock and awe.

2. Summer Guy is staying with me in New York this week. Quite thrilled to see him again (we last spent time together when he visited me in Boston in April). I’m sure I’ll get quite nostalgic for California from being in his company.

3. I am now responsible for entertaining three (maybe four?) people in the city. If anyone has suggestions for non-touristy things to do, please share.

“Where Are They Now?”: Ex-Boyfriends Edition

Filed under: Aidan, Berklee, Dating/Relationships, Kyle, Mark, Men, Peter, Riley, Sam, Summer Guy — Elle July 19, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

Consider this a sexy, condensed version of VH1’s Where Are They Now?

Some readers have inquired via email and comments about the missing men in my life, so I thought I’d offer up some explanations in semi-chronological order (not really). Hopefully, the following will help everyone understand why 1) these guys have dropped off the face of the earth — the planet being my blog — and 2) have left me single and disillusioned…

Berklee — When we last hooked up beginning of spring semester, he said, “I’m seeing a girl who reads your blog. Don’t identify me!” Fine. No more free sex. Let’s be friends.

Aidan — Exhibit A in “What Happens When You Blog About Transparent Cases of Housecest.” Or conversely, “How To Broadcast The Car Wreck That Is Your Love Life While Becoming a Celebrity in Three Weeks or Less!” Ahem, we’re friends. He’s also the only one currently within fucking distance.

Peter — Oh honey, we knew this wasn’t going anywhere anyway. We’re friends.

Kyle — Surprise! He had a girlfriend. We hooked up during an off-period and kept doing so after they were back on. I’m a bad person. We do not hook up anymore because I would like to stop being a bad person. We’re friends.

Sam — He had a kind-of girlfriend. Who I did NOT know about and who did NOT know about me. He told us both we were sexually exclusive. (I deserved this for the Kyle thing). NOT FRIENDS.

Riley — He had a girlfriend. Who I did not know about. And was my friend. And lived in a dorm five blocks from mine. Massive amounts of forgiveness (and a few punches!) later, we’re friends.

Mark — Good: Works too many hours to have a girlfriend, secret or otherwise. Bad: No time to blow money on me. Boo. His wallet and I are friends!

Summer Guy — Visited me in April. Always has a sort-of, kind-of, not-really girlfriend. Still talk all the time, still care deeply/want to have babies with him — but in a detached kind of way! And maybe ix-nay on the babies. We’re … you guessed it, friends.

In conclusion, I have a lot of friends I want to have sex with/take money from.

But kidding aside, Mark is my current fave, even if the possibility of this turning into something more is next to nil. And no, this has nothing to do with money, because I’m only a pretend golddigger.

Oh and the whole streak with guys who have girlfriends? Not broken. Number six was last weekend. Is there some kind of spray to deter taken men? Please?

Best Email Subject Line Ever

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elle July 17, 2007 @ 4:18 pm

“FW: Application For Sex Show”

No joke. Welcome to my life.

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