Turning some tweets from 2019 into a more thought-out thing
Here we are in the home stretch of a global pandemic and I can’t stop thinking about what a shitshow this summer will be (if all goes according to plan). Pandemic spite will rear its head in the form of constant socialization, done with mask-less abandon. On a personal level, I can tell you that I probably will not be in hardcore rage mode, despite what I’m sure will be a lot of pressure to partake. This pandemic has fast-tracked the process of settling into my 30’s. I now find greater bliss doing the least, as opposed to the most. Besides, I still have six more seasons of “Law & Order: SVU” to catch up on. However, there is one thing I will not be skipping out on: fucking.
I miss fucking. Not just fucking, but the freedom to fuck. Guilt-free encounters without the paranoia of contracting a virus (other than the classics I already know how to protect myself from). I’ve missed the little things, like touching another human being. Flirting with them and touching. I miss hugging someone that isn’t the same four people from my “pod”. I miss hugging someone who will then stick their dick inside me. I miss human contact so much that I am okay with what will inevitably follow me touching a man’s pee-pee: never seeing or hearing from him again. Like a meteorologist predicting the weather, I’m giving you a dating forecast. I anticipate dating, in general, being an absolute terror. As I wrote a few months back in Huffington Post, if a damn pandemic wasn’t getting men to commit, transitioning out of one is only going to make matters worse.
But look, I get it. I don’t like it, but I accept it. I accept that 2021 will most likely be a complete wash in terms of finding a long-term romantic partner. Just like 2020 was, but in a completely opposite way. For many, the answer to sensory deprivation is sensory overload. In other words, I am prepared for a lot of preemptive rejection— a rejection that comes before we even exchange phone numbers. The kind of rejection that hurts not because of the person doing it, but because of how they’re doing it.
Despite being prepared, I know shit will still get messy. Feelings will still be hurt, and miscommunication will run rampant. While I know I want to (and will) have a fair amount of sloppy make-out sessions, I am also anticipating a fair amount of these men being schmucks who will inevitably say to me, “You know this doesn’t mean we’re dating right?” Yes, I know that, man-I-just-met.
So yes, I am looking forward to touching and coming, but I am not looking forward to the way I predict the men I come with (if all goes according to plan) will behave after it’s all said and done. This is the burden sexually active, sex-positive straight women are forced to bear. Fucking men who can’t accept that casual sex does not have to entail deception or avoidant behavior. We’re not going to fall in love with you if you treat us like human beings, I promise. I know we’re all excited and brimming with pent-up horny energy, but that doesn’t mean respect and common decency should be allowed to go out the window.
Consider this your warning, fellas: I am prepared for your bullshit but that does not mean I am going to tolerate it.
For years, I have written about the phenomena of being ghosted. How prevalent it is, and why it happens. In 2015, I confronted men who ghosted me about their behavior in an article for VICE. I’d like to say that scared men into never doing it to me again, but it didn’t. Over time, more and more cultural pressure is put on people to communicate their true feelings instead of ghosting, sure, but the amount of people who heed that advice still pales in comparison to those who choose the easier route of ignoring someone until they hopefully get the message.
The ghosted are told to, “be the bigger person”. Instead of showing you’re affected by someone’s avoidant behavior, take the so-called high road. Being reactionary is deemed petty or over-eager or immature, or whatever. Refraining from confronting such selfish behavior is considered the path of superiority. Not speaking your truth has been reframed as the action you take when you're better than the other person. You’re too good to show that you care, or even that you’re hurt. This messaging is meant to be empowering. It goes along nicely with the “girl boss” mentality. You’re a badass, you’re a boss, you’re too good to be bothered by some petty ass man. Don’t even let him think for a second that you care. Well, fuck that, the reality is, you’re bothered. I sure as hell know I am. And was. And always will be.
I don’t think it makes me any less of a “boss” to admit that my feelings are hurt. I want to hold someone accountable for avoiding me or lying to me, or worse. When I’m told not to react – to be the bigger person – it reminds me of the “chill girl” trope. The “chill girl” is more appealing to men because she doesn’t act “crazy” (like so many of their ex-girlfriends did). The chill girl is always calm and always goes with the flow. I wrote about the chill girl act back in the day for VICE:
“The pressure to be chill is the reason I pretended to be cool with an open relationship, even though that shit is really not for me. It's the reason I never confronted men who fucked me, then ghosted me. It's why I acted like it was fine when someone I was in an exclusive relationship with wouldn't call or text me for days at a time. It's why I let so many men lecture me on what it means to be "sex-positive," why I accepted sending pictures of my ass and tits even when men said it was "too personal" for them to return the favor, and why I let these same men convince me that boys will be boys, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. It's why I was OK with my sexual partners not going down on me, and why I often felt the need to compete with other women who I felt were trying to out-chill me.”
Women have a long history of being labeled something damning if we overly emote, positively or negatively. For centuries, we’d be deemed hysterical. Then, more colloquially, “crazy”. In recent years, we’ve been trying our best to refrain from labeling women such things (because we’re like, so totally feminist now), all the while still attempting to subdue the “crazy” behaviors. Guys will say they want a chill chick and finish that off with, “no drama”. Women tell other women to “be the bigger person”. The reality of the situation is, being the bigger person is essentially “no drama” under the guise of self-empowerment. Much like the “girl boss” is toxic masculinity under the guise of feminism.
When I say I’m sick of being told to be the bigger person, I mean that I’m sick of being made to feel like wanting to let someone know that their behavior is hurtful and callous is somehow letting them “win”. Being the bigger person means you have to appear unphased by behavior that needs to change on a societal level. If they’re not on the same page, they should at least have the decency to say that instead of vanishing. I can handle someone telling me they don’t want to keep hanging out with me. What I can’t handle is a grown-ass adult being unable to say that and vanishing with no explanation.
This is not to say that ghosting is some sort of traumatic event for me. Not to brag or anything, but I have been ghosted many, many times. Most of the time I do shrug it off. I’ve even done it myself. I don’t harbor resentment or take it too personally, but there are occasions where ghosting simply doesn’t make sense. If there was some sort of connection or a bond formed, or if things were said that insinuated continued communication, or if we’ve actually known each other for a while, ghosting is unwarranted. In those cases, I believe it’s my right to let them know so. Call me stubborn or petty or what have you, but I despise the slut-shaming rhetoric that dismisses my experience with: ‘I should have known better’. What do you expect after fucking a guy who isn’t your boyfriend? Ugh.
Casual sex doesn’t have to be void of emotional bonds or common decency. Honest communication can prevent a lot of the shit we hate about casual sex. Let’s be real, it’s almost never the actual sex part (though sometimes it definitely is). Usually, though, that part is the highlight. The (mis)treatment that follows is why so many women I know swear off casual encounters.
Why is it so difficult for men I encounter to process that I am capable of both wanting a relationship and being casual? The assumption so many of them make is that wanting a long-term partner renders me incapable of equally being down to fuck (an assumption they hold while still fucking me, mind you). Stop flattering yourself, bro. Just because I want a relationship doesn’t mean I want it with you. Especially if you have made it clear that’s not something you want. Mama needs her nut as much as she needs love. Alas, even when dealing with older men who claim to be past their “bullshit”, the antiquated belief still stands: If I’m nice to her, she will fall in love with me. So, they go out of their way to make sure they are not nice.
Thus, as it stands now, being the bigger person is letting people continue to be assholes.
Here’s what I think being the bigger person should mean instead: being vulnerable, being honest and, more importantly, saying what you’re thinking and feeling. It’s knowing that you’re about to have a difficult conversation, but that you have it anyway. Be mature about it (aka don’t be 25-year-old Alison who sent ten drunken, angry text messages in a row). Expressing yourself is being the bigger person but holding onto anger is not. To insist someone else apologize, change their mind, or suddenly become the person you want them to be, is without a doubt foolish and unrealistic. Years ago, I was this person. I would express my frustration and hurt with the intent of wanting that person to come back to me. Thinking, if they knew how angry or upset I was, they’d apologize and tell me I’m right. If they continued to ignore me, I took it very personally. I let it affect me for weeks after. I’d feel guilt and shame for even letting that person fuck me in the first place.
I know now that true bigger personness is saying what’s on your mind while also accepting that it doesn’t mean things will go your way. Speak your piece and be done with it. No need to follow-up or continue wasting your energy on them. More importantly, I know now that this kind of rejection is almost never about me. Oftentimes, they don’t even know me well enough to not like me. Shit, even if they don’t like me, whatever! They still ate me out for a night or two or three, so that’s that. Good luck taking eight more years to get over that one ex who hurt you in college.
This summer, I intend on being the bigger person on my terms. In a way that lets the men I encounter know that just because we’re only fucking, doesn’t mean they can get away with leaving me on read. Anyone who equates respect, care, or affection with “drama” will be pleased to know they won’t be getting any drama from me. Nor will they be getting any of this sweet puss ;)