Sex and the Ivy

When I Was 20

Filed under: All About Elle, Blogging, Dating/Relationships, Depression, Harvard, Mental Health — Elle January 11, 2010 @ 7:11 pm

My friends have a tendency to categorize my college experience as pre- and post-Patrick (or pre- and post-domestication-of-formerly-unruly-sex-blogger), but I think the split really occurs not when I met the current roomie, but two Christmases ago. I’m referring to those infamous nude photos, whose surfacing and aftermath have been neatly summarized in a recent piece in a Canadian paper. It felt strange to comment on the incident for the article, given how much time has passed and how young I was then (not that I’m much older now). But though many things have changed since, I don’t know if I’d handle it any differently today, which is probably why I seemed “remarkably blase” in the interview. I think I did the best I could at the time.

In the winter of 2007, I was single and living alone in Currier House, still blogging primarily on Sex and the Ivy, and seriously considering writing a memoir (which has long been shelved in favor of my senior thesis). At 20 years old, I was completely unprepared to deal with such a deep invasion of privacy, though I wonder if that’s the sort of thing one is ever prepared to handle gracefully. It wasn’t about the fact that I was naked on the Internet nor was it about the sociopathic ex who I’d long written off. I was never ashamed of my body or of people seeing it, but rather, I felt victimized because I had been exposed without consent and doubly victimized by those who wrote salaciously about the incident. The initial IvyGate post was how most of my classmates found out about the photos, and the subsequent coverage on Fleshbot, Bostonist, who knows where else, informed the world beyond Cambridge.

In the weeks after, I encountered little sympathy and plenty of mockery. It was easy for strangers online to say that I was “asking for it” when they weren’t in my shoes, freaking the fuck out (quite literally, in the form of panic attacks), and very much certain that I didn’t ask for this shit. However, I was mostly appalled by the way I was treated by other Harvard students, who had no moral qualms about Googling the photos and sending them to one another. It wasn’t the first or last time I felt totally alienated, isolated, and violated by the campus at large, but it was easily the worst time because I was going at it alone. Unlike romantic troubles or an uncalled-for rude encounter, this was a situation that literally no one in my life could understand or empathize with.

So how did I get over it? By leaving Harvard. I made the best of finals and submitted multiple late papers thanks to a note from my therapist. I got a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication I never ended up taking. I went to Switzerland for nine days with two girlfriends, hiked uphill in snow to reach the peak of the world’s longest sled run, and had a lot of sex with someone who was not a sociopath. Thankfully, I emerged from my depressive haze without the least bit of generalized hatred toward men, since I met Patrick, a.k.a. “the Guy”, shortly thereafter. In the subsequent months of my junior year, I transitioned slowly away from my old blog and into this one. Mid-semester, sleuthing e-stalkers unmasked and defamed “the Guy”, pretty much cementing my belief that I could never return to writing openly about my own sex life. I also moved, for all intents and purposes, into Patrick’s then-apartment and never once looked back at the option of living on campus. By the time I got Ad Boarded for not turning in two final papers, I was just completely done with Harvard. Everyone was telling me to finish the damn papers — which were completely doable — and I was thinking, “What’s so bad about having to take a year off, anyway? I freaking hate this place.” When I left Harvard at the end of May, I had already long checked out emotionally. I hadn’t even slept in Currier for months and only showed up to move-out in order to shove things into boxes. Two months later, I turned 21 halfway around the world from Cambridge. I went back to Boston a few weeks later and moved in with Patrick, with whom I lived during my year off. Harvard has never felt like home again, not even after I returned as a student this fall.

This is all to say that even if I appeared “remarkably blase about the incident” in my interview for the aforementioned article, it was hardly an insignificant event in my life. I’ve said most, though not all, of the above before, and often, it feels like I’m repeating myself when I discuss this topic. Maybe that’s because I’m still grappling with what happened. The reaction to those photos simultaneously defined and epitomized my college experience, which often felt like a circus act performed before sadistic spectators. Someday, I’ll have to post the “reflective” essay I submitted to get readmitted to Harvard. It was more a condemnation of my classmates than it was an expression of remorse, and if the administration ever had doubts about how cruel Ivy League students can be … well, now they know. Back then, I was also very much of the mindset that the bloggers and reporters who wrote about the photos were simply doing their job: writing about the news. Only in the year afterward did I realize that having a sex blog hardly makes one newsworthy and that furthermore, gossip is not news. It would have saved my sanity had a few individuals simply thought twice about clicking “Post Entry”. In retrospect, I regret that I wasn’t more critical of the writers who exploited the source of my personal anguish for page views.

In a few short months, I’ll have a Harvard degree in addition to hundreds of unfavorable Google search results to show for all this trouble, yet I’ve never quite forgiven or forgotten the on- and off-line masses who judged, dissected, and mocked my younger self. In a coming-of-age film, the above drama might be characterized as the experience necessary for eventual personal growth or finding Mr. Right or whatever. Winding up with a bulldog-owning Yalie is kind of the perfect happy ending to the Ivy League version of Sex And The City. But outside of HBO world, no one needs to nearly get their life ruined in order to emerge triumphant. The reality is that people are often mean without justification, you may or may not learn from this stuff, and the guy you end up with in the aftermath is not necessarily the pay-off for putting up with bullshit. Though I survived my ordeal more or less intact, with a boyfriend and a puppy dog to boot, I have never regained my former faith in others’ inherent goodness. Which is good, because I was really just being naive. The crazy ex who posted those photos could have easily been written off as a psychotic exception to the generally sane population at large, but what happened in the aftermath demonstrated to me how thoughtless, judgmental, and unkind normal individuals can be and that this tends to be the rule, not the exception, and that Harvard kids with all their privilege are not exempt from moral failings despite being in a position where they should theoretically “know better”.

And that realization, not Patrick, is what really prompted some rather radical changes in my life. Harvard has a knack for fooling its students into becoming incredibly invested in their peers. The cult of the Ivy and all that. The belief that your success is mine and vice versa. Even at its rawest, my blog up until that point reflected a painful desire to be liked. I was well-aware that my subject matter was slightly edgy and my reputation slightly soiled, but hardly unsalvageable, nothing a book deal couldn’t fix. It wasn’t until the ugly aftermath of the photos that I started to question what I was trying to prove and who I was trying to prove it to. It was then that I stopped participating in superficial social interactions, ceased going to anonymous parties, and completely disengaged from communal college life. In other words, I no longer viewed my classmates as flawless individuals who I should be grateful to know.

Up until then, my go-to future plan had always been Move To New York, Write A Memoir, Become Carrie 2.0. Now that graduation is actually on the horizon, I don’t find any of the above particularly appealing. I will almost certainly stay in Boston, at least in the short-term, and perhaps I will still publish a book, but not because I feel the need to apologize for my sordid past by seeking redemption via commercial literary success. As for Carrie 2.0, I’d rather aspire to be Jessica Valenti. But the truth is that I don’t even have New Year’s resolutions, not to speak of a multi-year life plan. I don’t have any idea how 2010 will turn out, since I didn’t do corporate recruiting in the fall, haven’t looked for a job, failed to apply to grad schools or take the GRE, and have no real intention to think about post-graduation life until I actually graduate (or at least until I finish my thesis). Two years ago, this would’ve struck me as terribly complacent, perhaps even boring, but right now,it just feels liberating.

Lena’s Super Awesome V-Day Giveaway

Filed under: Dating/Relationships, Love — Elle January 29, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

TIS THE SEASON TO BE LONELY! Or… not. If you’re single, you may want to tackle every happy couple you see around Valentine’s Day, and I don’t mean in an erotic kind of way. Luckily, you can satisfy all those urges without the messy emotional entanglements of a relationship or the obligation to spend two months’ salary every year for no reason. Public (sexual) servant that I am, I’m giving away a host of eco-friendly, ethically made, all-around-awesome prizes from my gift guide and all you have to do is read this really long spiel and answer some questions (which are only vaguely related to the long spiel, so skip it if you like):

Two weeks before I first went out with Patrick, I met up with a guy named Paul Janka, a Harvard grad best known for writing a guide to getting laid in New York. It turned out that this “guide” was more like an e-book. And by “e-book”, I mean “PDF file”. As for Paul, his seduction strategy apparently consisted of booze, diligence, and a generous interpretation of the word “no”. Nonetheless, I thought he would make for an interesting column; Paul thought I would make for a good conquest. In the end, neither of us got what we wanted. I got much closer to being assaulted than I ever did to selling the story, and I left his apartment wondering exactly what kind of hell my love life had become for me to subject myself to sadistic experiments like this one. Anyway, I volunteer this information not just because I volunteer information about every aspect of my life, but because it demonstrates precisely how dire my romantic mindset was at the time. I was resorting to gimmicks to keep my love life interesting. It’s like what happens when a television show on its way toward a slow death decides to start airing “special episodes”. Paul was a special episode.

I was pretty sure Patrick was going to be a special episode too. At the time, I’d pretty much given up on dating altogether, or at least taking dates seriously. Guys were just around to keep life interesting, and sex was just a reason to get dressed up on weekends. (And by junior year at Harvard, I realized that I didn’t even really need to get dressed up to get laid.) I was starting to date and fuck like a freshman again, or maybe just like a man, and I kind of loved it in this really cynical way. That’s why I had no qualms about ditching Valentine’s Day for a trip to New York with a newly single gal pal. That’s why I figured I might as well go on a date with a known douchebag while I was in town if it meant a potential byline. Expecting nothing from no one was, after all, far better than not seeing a sex scandal coming because you fucked the wrong asshole (see: January 2008 of my life).

The same weekend I met Paul, I had brunch with my friend Julia, who is the Gawker poster girl for the Overshared Life. Talking to her confirmed all my suspicions about why my love life had gone awry. Julia, like me, found that her blog was a death warrant for any blossoming romance. Even if a guy were the first to be interested, even if they had fantastic chemistry, even if the initial dates were perfect, his interest waned immediately when he learned of her online reputation. In Boston, I was dealing with near-identical no-mances. For women like us, it seemed like the possibility of love was laughable at best.

My non-blogger friends, on the other hand, hated my pessimistic attitude. They told me that rejection was a blessing in disguise since I wouldn’t be settling for someone too insecure to date a sexually confident woman. They assured me that I deserved someone who would be willing to handle the complications that came with dating me and that I would certainly be meeting him in the very near future. (Like maybe as soon as grad school! Yay?) But seriously, I wasn’t expecting life partnership here. I just wanted one normal romance that didn’t begin with a drunken introduction and end abruptly after a Google search. At this point, it’d been two years since I started my blog and my longest relationship since then was a two-month affair that led to eight months of stalking and naked photos splattered across the Internet. So what was a Carrie 2.0 to do but to resort to pessimism? Not only was I scaring off my Mr. Bigs, but the guys who I did go out with scared me. It appeared that girls like Julia and me had two options: 1) men like Paul Janka or 2) perpetual singledom. After my brief brush with date rape, I was ready to opt for the latter.

Then a couple weeks after my trip to New York, I found myself at dinner with a guy I mostly remembered for his inability to keep me awake during statistics. Patrick was eight years older, German, and a Ph.D candidate in my department. He also happened to be the most attractive person who’d ever been in charge of my grading me. Over the previous year and a half, my best friend Jason and I took three classes with Patrick, and though I’d like to say that it was because I found him impossibly charming, I was mostly just fulfilling sociology requirements. Nonetheless, I silently rejoiced every time I was assigned to his section, especially after I realized my piece of eyecandy was a rather efficient and helpful teaching instructor and not merely a hot guy with a funny accent. To Patrick, however, I was then just a sleepy student. Statistics, which I got a C+ in, was a particularly harrowing experience. I recall Jason pinching me a lot in that class … and really not much else.

By the time Patrick and I finally went out, it’d been over two months since I last saw him and even longer since he graded one of my mediocre papers. The prelude to the actual date was fairly undramatic. Following a thinly veiled public declaration of my affection, initial contact was made over email and the date was suggested over text message. Well, actually, I suggested hooking up over text message. But Patrick, for some crazy reason I’ve still yet to figure out, thought that dinner would be more acceptable. I was pretty much thinking, “Yeah, this really isn’t necessary. Can we just fuck?” I somehow suppressed the urge to reveal this thought and along with it, my slutty nature. It would certainly be revealed soon enough.

I immediately gloated to Jason who called me crazy more than once and insisted that I was completely misinterpreting the situation and  going to make things extremely awkward with a former TF who we actually might want to take classes with in the future. Basically, Jason had the mindset of someone who wanted to get into law school. I had the mindset of someone who wanted an interesting story to tell at post-grad cocktail parties. I was already getting started by telling every friend in close proximity about the TF fantasy-turned-reality and spent the day feeling rather smug about myself, despite a looming deadline for some mediocre paper I had not yet written. I probably would’ve taken out an announcement in The Crimson if possible. After all, it’s not everyday you get to fulfill a crush three semesters in the making.

Yet somehow, about an hour before the actual date, my excitement over going out with and potentially fucking my former TF turned into total trepidation over going out with and potentially fucking my former TF. What the hell was I getting myself into? I knew next-to-nothing about Patrick, even less about what to expect out of the evening, and I was pretty sure that Jason was right when it came to me totally misinterpreting the situation. By the time I got off the train to meet Patrick, I was ready to get right back on. In fact, I felt a mild wave of nausea, then panic, followed by paralyzing fear. Um, I had a date in five minutes and I was on the verge of an anxiety attack. After taking several deep breaths, I called Jason and told him, “I can’t do this. I’m about to hyperventilate.” Jason, ever so reasonable and probably fearful of jeopardizing his letter of recommendation by association with a whore whore slut, suggested calmly that I tell Patrick I was sick and then go home. Discouragement was exactly what I needed to snap out of it. “That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard,” I declared. “You’re totally useless. I’ll call you when the date is over.”

About 30 seconds after the exchange with my truly unadventurous best friend, I found myself face-to-face with Patrick who looked considerably taller than I remembered and was dressed in decidedly un-academic clothing. He looked hot, and not even in a scholarly kind of way. Given our previously limited interaction and his non-American background, I didn’t have any idea how to read him. Maybe he thought that I’d be an easy lay, but then again, he always seemed so proper in class. No, it was more likely that his intentions were genuine, which was almost endearing. Here was a semi-awkward foreign grad student too culturally unaware to realize that asking out a former student is a mildly scandalous affair. Poor thing. Also, I thought: he so does not know about my sex blog. It occurs to me in retrospect that I was being extremely condescending, but in all likelihood, I probably employed every defense mechanism available to stay calm and feel in control. Surprisingly, as soon as we got into a cab and started talking, my anxiety dissipated along with my theory that Patrick was awkward with women and clueless about American prudishness. We compared frat life at Yale (where he did undergrad) to the final club scene at Harvard and discussed the “athletic” rivalry between our schools. Patrick actually seemed normal, and my stomach seemed calm. It appeared as if I was not going to puke after all.

Dinner was at a South End establishment with live music and dim lighting, the key facilitators to close-up conversation, which is like the foreplay to foreplay. It was a relatively grown-up venue given my recent romps in fraternity houses and dorm rooms, and I realized early in the evening that I felt uncharacteristically nervous. Typically on dates, I acted self-assured and liked to challenge guys by teasing them or being playfully argumentative. With Patrick, however, I couldn’t muster up my usual feistiness. I was so used to viewing him as an instructor that it seemed inappropriate to treat him like a peer. For the first time in a long while, I actually felt flustered. Patrick, on the other hand, was completely at ease which only disarmed me further. When I failed to look him in the eye while clinking glasses, he said to me, “You know what that means, right? Seven years of bad sex.” I almost choked on my drink. My TF just the word “sex” in a reference to me. Thankfully, my nerves were nothing alcohol couldn’t fix. I rarely drank but on this night, I happily chugged glass after glass of wine. Liquid courage along with Patrick’s disarming attitude made for surprisingly entertaining conversation. I was regaining my confidence and ten-fold at that. Two hours and several courses into the date, I put my hand on his knee and leaned in closer. I wanted to kiss him and was too drunk to even be subtle about it.

All in all, the turnaround from initial email to his cock in my mouth took about 24 hours. We had sex that first night. And again the next night. And then he went away to New York for two days, picked up the pair of flats I left at  a West Village repair place during that miserable Valentine’s weekend, and returned them to me first thing when he got back, not even stopping by his apartment beforehand. I spent spring bouncing from my Harvard Square dorm to his place in Beacon Hill and summer bouncing from Kennedy’s Heidelberg flat to his home in Osnabrück. When September came, I paid a full month’s rent for a sublet I never moved into. I cancelled it and have been in Beacon Hill ever since.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t like we went out and it was happily ever after that, not unless your fairy tales include Internet sex scandals advanced by overzealous online stalkers or unprecedented emotional outbursts from yours truly. The path toward cohabitation has hardly been a smooth one, but slowly, I infiltrated Patrick’s life and apartment to the point where breaking up would have been both awkward and inconvenient. And now, here we are today: me, Patrick, Hamlet, and two suitcases of my stuff under the bed! It’s more than I ever could’ve hoped for. And to think, all I wanted on our first date was to get laid.

I write all this because a year ago, I really, truly didn’t believe in the possibility of love (at least not for myself) and it wasn’t just because I was single during Valentine’s Day. My blog was a legitimate barrier to meeting guys, and as the nude photo leak and subsequent breakdown suggested, it was perhaps a barrier to, um, life. Maybe if my friends were different people, they would’ve told me to shut it down instead of insisting that I was lovable, blog or no blog. Maybe if I were a different person, I would’ve listened. I’m glad I didn’t, not just because my friends were right, but because I would’ve always thought from then on that the only desirable version of myself was the sanitized version. The fact that I’m now happily playing house with the Adorno-spouting, bulldog-owning German of my dreams indicates that there is hope for pretty much ANYONE out there. If I can finagle a boyfriend with my reputation and dismissive attitude toward dating “rules”, then love is a possibility for everyone.

Basically, this was a really long and corny way of saying that I know how much it sucks to be alone on Valentine’s Day, even if the holiday is largely a fabrication of the jewelry industry. So ONE of the two grand prizes is reserved for a reader who’s single. Of course, this is totally an honor code thing but I trust that you guys will tell the truth. (And who is really screwed up enough to deny the existence of a significant other anyway?) Now let’s get to the good (i.e. free) stuff:

Njoy Pure Wand with Good Clean Love Almost Naked Organic Lubricant

OhMiBod Naughtibod with Yes Water-Based Organic Lubricant

Stuff Made From Stuff Computer Hard Drive Clock
Good Clean Love Weekend Getaway Oil Sampler Pack

Stella Marie Soap bundle with Mango Glow, Grapefruit Moon, Lavender & Eucalyptus
Good Clean Love Passion Candle

Twin Syndrome Custom High Rise Panty

CPR Gear Tee
Just In Case Red Compact

To enter the giveaway, send an email to elle[at]sexandtheivy[dot]com with the following information:

1. Your name, age, occupation, and relationship status
2. How you found out about the giveaway
3. Your preference in sex toy if you win (for anatomical reasons, the Naughtibod vibrator is only compatible with ladyparts but the Pure Wand dildo is unisex)
4. An answer to ONE of the two following questions:
a) What is your craziest first date experience?
b) You are talking to someone who has not gone on a date in months. Every time they meet someone, they get their face spat on, their heart stomped on, and their nether regions infested with an itchy sensation. Why should they continue to believe in love?


Entries will be judged on creativity and entertainment value (seriously!). Winners will be chosen and tiebreakers will be broken during a sleepover by a committee of my depressed, single friends who will only cheer up if you infuse them with HOPE a la Obama. (Oh, wait, he’s “change”, isn’t he? Whatever.) Oh, and I’m totally not kidding about this. You will actually stand the best chance of winning if you can make my jaded pals laugh. They were so damn hopeful on my behalf last year that the least I can do is return the favor now. Happy early Valentine’s Day, and stay tuned for the winners!

“I’m Just Not That Into Your Lack of a Ph.D” Or Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Relationship Experts

Filed under: Dating/Relationships, Uncategorized — Elle January 9, 2009 @ 2:45 pm

A few weeks ago, a friend sent out a mass email asking people if she should buy this book. She was completely frustrated by the hot-and-cold treatment she’d been getting from a love interest, and He’s just Not That Into You was kind of a last resort to get over him. I did not react well to the prospect of my friend consuming anti-feminist trash. If you’ve never read the book, here are some choice excerpts:

- “I’m not advocating that women go back to the Stone Age. I just think you might want to be realistic in how capable you are of changing the primordial impulses that drive all of human nature.”
- “We did an incredibly unscientific poll where we polled twenty of our male friends (ranging from ages twenty-six to forty-five), who are in serious long-term relationships. Not one of their relationships started with the woman asking them out first. One guy even said that if she had, ‘It would have spoiled all the fun.’”
- “Just because you like to lead doesn’t mean he wants to dance. Some traditions are born of nature and last through time for a reason.”

This is like The Rules for my generation. Too young to remember The Rules? Yeah, me too. I was 8 when it was published, but luckily, nothing has changed since then. Here are some of the authors’ “time-tested secrets for capturing the heart of Mr. Right”:

- Don’t Stare at Men or Talk Too Much
- Don’t Meet Him Halfway or Go Dutch on a Date
- Don’t Call Him & Rarely Return His Calls
- Don’t Accept a Saturday Night Date after Wednesday
- Don’t See Him More than Once or Twice a Week
- No More than Casual Kissing on the First Date
- Do The Rules, Even when Your Friends & Parents Think It’s Nuts
- Don’t Discuss The Rules with Your Therapist

In other words, be an unavailable, frigid bitch!

Note that The Rules was published in 1995 and He’s Just Not That Into You was published in 2004, which is indicative of how little has changed in the past decade. Not only were both books bestsellers but He’s Just Not That Into You is being released as a movie next month. This means that 1) the quack authors are further profiting from women’s insecurities, and 2) that they’ll be reaching even more people with this film.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll continue to say this as many times as necessary for people to get the message:

Anyone who claims they’re an expert on sex or dating probably isn’t someone worth getting advice from.

This sentiment comes from someone who has been pegged as an expert on sex and dating (even though I’ve made my many relationship follies quite public). For the past two years, I’ve fielded countless email requests for advice. I’ve never felt entirely comfortable receiving these notes, and for the most part, these requests go unanswered. Why am I not more eager to give my “expert opinion”? Well, first of all, I’m 21, and secondly, I’m not even opinionated enough to register with a political party (or maybe I’m too opinionated, whatever). But more importantly, I just don’t have the answers.

Frankly, I’m often in need of sex and relationship advice myself, and for that, I go to real experts. These real experts don’t call themselves “experts”; they call themselves counselors or therapists, because they hold legitimate occupations that require demonstrated skill. “Expert” isn’t an occupation. It’s a made-up marketing term for people with no real credentials.

If you can barely operate a microwave, you probably have no business writing a cookbook. Likewise, if you have no psychology background and wind up separating from your husband (like a certain co-author of The Rules), then you have no business telling other people how to date, not fuck, and marry. It’s preposterous that millions of people accept amateur relationship “advice” from sexism-spouting laymen, but will balk at the prospect of therapy. We have standards for open heart surgeons, rocket scientists, etc., so why don’t we have standards for those who teach us how to navigate our interpersonal relationships?

That’s the only piece of advice I’ll be offering anytime soon: Don’t fall for the quacks. Consult a professional whose viewpoints are based on empirical studies and not on gimmicks designed to move bookstore inventory.

Where The Hell I’ve Been

Filed under: Blogging, Dating/Relationships, Hooking Up, Men, Sex — Elle December 11, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

I just got done reading old Facebook messages/emails for a fun new project involving my best friend (more on this later). So! I recalled some cool things about my formerly slutty existence. Initially, I thought I stopped updating this damn thing because an ex-lover posted my naked photos to the Internet, but then I remembered that I discovered monogamy shortly after that incident and promptly stopped having sex of the promiscuous variety, thereby eliminating 80 percent of my material.

But apparently, I used to have sex with lots of different people. And since my conquests are so numerous that I inevitably never get around to writing up all of them, I thought I should share some items from a year ago.

In late 2007, I was flirting/going out with six men simultaneously and getting laid by (almost) none of them. I think I only had sex four times last winter. #1 took place on my friend Zac’s 21st birthday after I brought some dude along and we mutually got obliterated at the Kong. Classy. #2 took place in a fraternity house of all places, but it was MIT so I think I can safely say that I’ve managed to avoid becoming a total college cliche. #3 took place post-nudie-pic scandal in Los Angeles with some dude I barely knew, while my girlfriend sat in his living room watching, um, cartoons (I think?) with his friend. AWKWARD. And I met/fucked #4 approximately five days before I went on my first date with Patrick. Little did I know then that it would be my last gasp of promiscuity for many many many months (and counting … yippee).

There might’ve been a fifth guy at some point, but I obviously don’t remember. If you’re him: it’s not that you’re insignificant; you just didn’t leave any traces in my Gmail/Facebook inbox. Sorry, dude.

This list, of course, does not count September or early fall which was a shitshow of recycled ex-hookups. Old lovers get much of the credit for keeping my sex life sustainable (pun alert!) over the years. After my sex-deprived summer in New York, I was determined to get laid as quickly as possible. Former flings are terribly effective solutions. And in general, I went out and went down almost every weekend so my abstinent streak ended pretty immediately.

Junior fall/winter was also the first time I rejoiced in singledom. I usually hated dating and hooking up because I was constantly attaching, detaching, reattaching myself to men. Last year, I was so cynical about the prospect of a long-term relationship that I spent the majority of my non-fucking time making condescending remarks about the guys I was fucking. (To be clear, these were not remarks said to their faces, but rather, to my friends or uh, blog readers.) This says a lot more about me than the guys, and to be fair to my friends, they were becoming increasingly alarmed at my utter pessimism, which I framed then as “realism”. (But even today, post-monogamy, I would still say that I am, for the most part, undateable. Or at least, my blog is understandably a huge red flag for potential suitors. So there you go, I am still a realist.)

Now I am months-deep in a relationship — free doggie included! — and routinely turn down date/sex offers from the boys who used to make my blog/life so interesting. In exchange, I get walks along the Charles, unsolicited career advice, solicited foot massages, and the assurance that I won’t contract herpes even if we forgo condoms. On the downside, this means I can’t throw him out of my dorm room every time we have a fight. Mostly because I live in his apartment and not a dorm room.

I feel like a younger, more Asian version of Jessica Cutler, the sex-blogging D.C. staffer turned housewife. It’s kind of like I spent the last year in a cocoon. I entered as a filthy, whorish caterpillar and now I’ve exited as a butterfly with remarkably domestic tendencies and a desire to mate for life.

In conclusion, this is why I don’t update my sex blog anymore.

The Mating Game

Filed under: CK, Dating/Relationships — Elle August 5, 2008 @ 1:39 pm


new rule: you can’t volunteer to make someone a mixed tape like some john cusack circa “Say Anything” indie God out of my dreams, and then not respond to a fucking text message. it’s just MEAN.

Kennedy has a new blog on Tumblr, a new life in Seattle, and a new distrust for men. (Thanks flaky dude from last weekend!) We were discussing her most recent date and she asked me what I thought she should do regarding this maybe-interested/maybe-not guy. My advice:

I, being the type to not trust men, say you are one of many girls he is pursuing concurrently using the unfortunately effective technology of mass text messaging and copy/paste. My advice is to maximize orgasms while minimizing pain. I suggest dating as many people as possible at the same time so any single man’s attention is irrelevant since you are too busy anyway. Basically, don’t get invested. Men are shit.* Let’s not forget that just because one of us is operating under some sort of romantic delusion at the moment.

I should’ve probably added the disclaimer that following the above advice is the first step to lifelong commitmentphobia, but I figure Kennedy’s already well on her way toward that.

Anyway, it was interesting to talk about boys because I haven’t done it for months. Literally, months. The people I have been keeping in touch with in the States are mostly in serious relationships, so no one’s gushing about their drunken error in judgment from last weekend. You have to understand, I used to relish in drunken errors! And yes, I do mean my own. Everyone else was mostly horrified but I loved my crazy dating antics (almost as much as I love myself), so ever since I went off the market and stopped being so damn entertaining (to myself), I’ve been dying to live vicariously and single-y through someone else.

Until Kennedy and I chatted, at least. Then I remembered that dating was largely a complicated, terrible affair. Being single itself wasn’t so bad (and often times, it rocked), but when you were sick and tired of being alone and decided to get out there and look for someone with whom you could share takeout bills and pregnancy scares, the process for finding said partner came with so many rules and expectations that you would’ve thought “dating” was something invented by a particularly heinous schoolteacher. For example, what’s with waiting to call and not seeing each other on consecutive days? Or the do’s and don’ts of first date hanky-panky? Or generally keeping your feelings for someone guarded until he hands you a big rock? For reasons that escape me, playing hard to get has been marketed as the key to getting a mate, despite its incompatibility with our biological impulses and all evolutionary theory. On one hand, it reduces men to masochistic idiots who want the unattainable. On the other, it encourages women to behave manipulatively. Way to fulfill a stereotype!

The only thing that’s worse than playing hard to get is doing the opposite: pretending you like someone you don’t have the least bit of interest in, which actually seems to be a dating maxim itself. I’ve done this before and I’ve had it done to me, and my theory is that this behavior occurs when the disinterested party is afraid of offending the uninteresting one. (Like, what are you supposed to say, “I’ve been dating you for the water pressure”?) Also, I sometimes date guys for longer than I should simply for lack of other options. DO NOT DO THIS. I am terrible at breaking up with people, but seriously, suck it up and deal with being alone, because if you don’t, this is what will happen: Invariably, a more attractive option will come along. You will be forced to kill off your dalliance of the past few weeks without much warning. Your victim will go through all five stages of grief as their dreams of cohabitation slowly disintegrate while you watch on somewhat embarrassed by how long you took part in this charade. No one is happy, and if you fail to give adequate notice, you may even have a recent ex-lover phoning you at 2 a.m. while you try to play Just The Tip with the person you dumped them for. All in all, not hot.

Oh, last reason off the top of my head for why dating sucks: “dating” is a favorite activity of assholes with girlfriends. (Another possible theory, Kennedy. Take notes!)

Okay, let’s end this baby on a positive note since I’ve just spent several paragraphs criticizing an institution in which I no longer have to take part and everyone’s probably like, “Hypocrite!” So I would like to recap by saying that although I stick to the claim that dating is a sham, my last two relationships did start with first dates — the traditional kind that comes with dinner and ends in 69 — but that being said, let’s not attribute the successful outcum  to the dating process. After all, any non-kissing action on the first date is supposed to be a romance killer. Thus, I’m pretty sure the relationships evolved in spite of the rules and expectations, not because of them. So you see? It’s actually all in your hands! Be a maverick! Don’t wait to fuck! Answer your goddamn text messages as soon as you receive them! And stop listening to dating advice from oversexed college girls! Seriously, I don’t know jack.

* Men not actually shit.

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