I turned 31 not long ago. This is not an issue for me, although I have heard a lot of women ask me in alarm when I expect to get married because my biological clock is ticking. The day I apologize for choosing to follow a career and get an education instead of starting a family in my 20s like everybody else will be the same day you see me enjoy watching sports on TV. And the same day you’ll hear me say, “Why, yes, I would LOVE to wear that bubble-gum–pink dress and eat raw cilantro!”
In other words, never.
However, I started thinking about those past relationships a bit last night after a guy friend kept emailing me and trying to pressure/guilt me into going out. He sounded like a couple of guys I’d been involved with in the past. In my twenties, I would have felt guilty for just wanting to have a quiet Friday night in. I would have felt rude saying no. Last night, on the other hand, I got seriously annoyed with this guy. I’d had a long, tough week, I was exhausted, and my heart’s deepest desire last night was to curl up in a chair with my book and some tea. Why do I have to explain myself to some dude I’m only mildly acquainted with who keeps trying to guilt me for wanting to stay home instead of drink beer and play Pacman at some noisy, crowded bar? With a bunch of people I either don’t know or barely know?
I have to be in the mood to do that sort of thing, and last night I was not in that mood.
Twentysomething Kelley would have felt guilty and upset about this whole situation, and I would have tried to apologize for being myself. I actually think it was a huge step forward for me when my immediate reaction last night was to get pissed off and mutter to myself, “Screw you, dude…I don’t have to explain myself to you.” It made me feel strangely proud of myself. But mostly I was still annoyed and ready to live up to the redhead stereotype.
Because I don’t believe in “having words” with someone over Facebook messenger because it’s lame, I simply stopped responding to him. I’m a little old-fashioned and strongly feel that mature adults don’t get into it over the Interweb. However, my next face-to-face conversation with this guy is probably going to involve some bald honesty on my part. I don’t enjoy conflict, but I enjoy being treated like a pushover even less.
All of this got my thinking about the relationships I had in my twenties – you know, back when I was a total pushover. Being young, naïve, and inexperienced, I went along with some things simply because dudes were very insistent, or because I wanted to feel warm and fuzzy via sex, or whatever.
There are things I wish I’d been brave enough to tell men I’d been involved with, because the fact is that they were, more often than not, way more clueless than they liked to think they were. And they were at that age where, if you tried to explain what you like – in bed or just in general human interaction – they took it as personal criticism, no matter how nice you were about it.
Granted, at 31, I still feel clueless most of the time, but you learn as time goes by what really matters to you in terms of sex, love, and relationships. You stop wasting your time with crap that doesn’t matter, and you focus more on the “real” stuff – the stuff that makes being in a relationship rewarding instead of a total roller coaster of emotion. You stop being afraid to want those things, and you start making it a point not to settle for people who waste your time with games and drama. Unfortunately, I had to do a lot of stupid stuff to get to that point.
So, with that super-long windup done, here’s the blunt version of everything I tried to be polite about in my 20s and shouldn’t have been. So, listen up, guys.
1. Okay, first things first, dudes. Just because you buy a girl dinner a couple of times, it does not mean that she’s then obligated to give you free access to her body. Explain to me logically how that is an even exchange. This is why I don’t let men buy me food, drinks, movie tickets, etc. unless we’re in a relationship – I will seriously put up a fight about this for the sake of my own autonomy. A lot of guys I’ve hung out with seem to think that paying for my beer = I am in love them and surely now I’ll dump that other douche I’m with and be with them because, clearly, paying for a pint of Guinness is the most noble, chivalrous thing a guy can possibly do for a woman.
Look, guys. If all you have to offer a woman is free beer and chicken wings, then you really don’t have much going for you. I love beer. I love chicken wings. But they are not going to make me fall in love with you. They will simply make me not care that I’ll have heartburn later. If you’re not a guy with genuine common sense, integrity, kindness, humor, and a good work ethic, then, realistically, you’re probably not going to win my heart here.
Unless they’re, like, ridiculously good chicken wings.
You can accuse me of putting myself on a pedestal all you want, but the fact is this: my body is under MY control – not yours, not your wallet’s. If you’re the kind of guy who thinks I owe you sex after a few dinners, it means you’re the kind of guy who never does anything genuinely – you’re just another sleazy guy with ulterior motives, and you’re a dime a dozen. I’m going to see that within ten minutes of meeting you. And I will ensure that you never buy me dinner…or in fact see me ever again.
2. Okay, say the impossible has happened and you’ve miraculously seduced me with the greatest beer and chicken wings ever discovered by man or beast. Here’s something that Twentysomething Kelley wishes she had said to you years ago: a woman’s body is NOT like a light switch. We don’t turn on and off just like *that* (there are exceptions, but I’m talking in generalities here). You need to preheat the oven first. In my early 20s, I once had a very regrettable experience with a guy with whom I’m not even sure to this day if we actually did anything or not because it was over that quickly.
I suppose, in a way, it was a compliment, but if he’d expected me to have thoroughly enjoyed myself during those 90 magical seconds, then he had another thing coming (or not, in my case). I’m not saying guys should spend hours on foreplay, but making an effort to throw at least a little in there would be nice. At least then I know that you actually want me to have a good time, too.
3. And speaking of foreplay, let’s get another thing straight, shall we? I am aware of the two most obvious erogenous zones on a woman’s body. They’re lots of fun for me as well, but at the same time, you can’t just go straight for them right away (see “preheat the oven” comment above). I know they’re the most fun for dudes and all, but it seriously does not feel good to me when you hit me with that without working me up to it first. It’s jarring and painful.
Look, when I’m in that Marvin Gaye “Let’s Get It On” kind of mood, about 99% of the exterior of my body is going to want your attention and affections. But you’ve got to be gentle about it until I’m actually ready for you to manhandle me, capisce?
And in case anyone’s curious, that 1% I left out includes weird stuff like eyeballs and nostrils. Please don’t fondle my eyeballs. It’s gross. What’s wrong with you?
4. Patience is SO a virtue. I realize guys are ready to go a lot faster than we usually are, and so I always fear that taking the time to “preheat the oven” is a total drag for men. I unfortunately have tended to be the self-sacrificing type of woman who will ignore her own needs in order to accommodate someone else’s. Perhaps now would be a good time to make a new year’s resolution not to be like that so much. Especially in bed, where I’m arguably at my most vulnerable, and so when a guy is in such a hurry to get things done, my feelings will tend to be hurt and I’ll feel like I’m a “chore.”
Women in general tend to be a bit self-sacrificing, so, guys, try to give us a break from that once in awhile, okay? Chances are, we’ll never give ourselves a break from that, so the guy that urges us to sit back, relax, and not worry about a thing from time to time is what we generally refer to as a “keeper.” Personally speaking, that sort of thing totally makes me want to jump somebody’s bones. Rawr.
5. Cover your mouth if you have to sneeze while we’re in the middle of getting it on. A huge part of me feels like I shouldn’t have to say this because it should be understood, but…sigh…
6. Life is not a porno – real boobs of considerable size do not sit up that high by themselves. Women cannot defy gravity any better than you can. And not all of us are capable of breaking the sound barrier, either. It doesn’t mean we’re not enjoying ourselves – it just means we’re not faking it.
7. Yes, we like to cuddle afterwards. Don’t worry – you won’t have to do it all night. Eventually the shared body heat is going get hot and uncomfortable and then we’ll move to the other side. Alternatively, if you’re the snuggly type, don’t take it personally if we don’t cuddle afterward for long enough. Eventually the shared body heat is going to get hot and uncomfortable and then we’ll move to the other side.
8. No, I do not want to do it in the back of your car. Get out of here with that.
9. This goes out to that guy I went on one date with who decided that he didn’t want to keep his hands to himself (see early posts on this site in which I mention “The Groper”): If I’m stiff as a board and trying to shield those two obvious erogenous zones from you with all my might, that means I don’t want you to touch me. Ever. Again.
10. I will never presume to be someone who could give seminars on how to be the most awesomest kisser in the world, but seriously, dudes. If you remain stiff-lipped and fish-like, you’re not doing me, or yourself, any favors. I’ll be so bored that I’ll be wondering if you’re actually still alive. And if you are alive, I’ll be wondering how you’re not bored.
Also, don’t go after me tongue-first, either. That’s just rude. See “preheat the oven” comment above. It applies to kissing, too.
11. If you ever try to manipulate me with sex, I swear on all that is holy that I will summon up every ounce of strength I possess in my tiny, 118-pound body and punch you in the face so hard that you’ll have to report it missing. I should have done that to someone I used to date, but I lacked the necessary backbone at the time.
12. Speaking of that, guys, I’m going to tell you something else in terms of relationships: being passive-aggressive is completely unsexy. The only thing that would make me want to sleep with you even less would be if you added bib overalls to your daily wardrobe. I’ve been guilty of passive-aggressiveness in the past myself, so I’m not going to act like I’m perfect or anything. But when my ex got like that, I started to see exactly how unattractive it was.
Twentysomething me would have felt bad and bent over backwards to accommodate you. Current me has no qualms about quietly taking a tampon out of my purse, handing it to you, and saying with mock-sympathy, “You sound like you really need this.”
To summarize: passive-aggressiveness is the bib overalls of human behavior. I promise to practice self-control, and I like a guy who will show me the same courtesy. Sure, we’ll both slip up from time to time because we’re human, but we’ll recognize it for what it is and get through it.
13. “Negging” – described by Urban Dictionary as the act of playfully insulting a woman in order to disarm her and make her more vulnerable to your advances – will get you nowhere with me. My ex used to do this constantly because if I felt inadequate, he remained in control. It’s a power game, and it’s a favorite past time of douchebags worldwide. At the time of that relationship, I would apologize for being “too sensitive and needing to relax more,” and I’d fret over not being ____ enough. Now I refuse to rise to the bait. A couple of men have tried this on me in the past couple of years, and my reaction to it has been completely different from what it was before.
If you try this tactic on me, guys, I will flat-out tell you that the only reason you do it is because you’re some insecure dude who wants to feel validated by feeling in control of someone else’s emotions. I will flat-out tell you that I have no time for nonsense or disingenuous people, and I will suggest that you go after somebody else with that crap. I have done this before, and it works. They leave me alone and usually score with some other chick. Win-win.
14. Okay, so-called “nice guys” – this one’s for you. I know you like to complain that women don’t want you because women only want rich jerks, but here’s the thing: you’re lying to yourself.
First of all, if you think women are so shallow as to only want the kind of guy described in #13 and that we’re only interested in someone who’s got money, then it’s clear to me right off the bat that you have absolutely no respect for women as a species. Why are you being so “nice” to us, anyway?
Is it true that some women want rich jerks? Sure. It’s also true that some guys only want crazy, emotionally unstable women who are hot because the sex is probably spectacularly freaky.
So, you’re a great person, incredibly nice and good? Then show me what the hell you DO with that. Because, usually, guys that constantly complain about this do absolutely nothing with themselves. They want some woman to magically fall into their laps because “I’m a nice guy and I deserve it.” Well, maybe you are a nice guy. Maybe you deserve great things. But that’s like saying, “I’m a wonderful person, so Company X should just give me a job even though I don’t have the necessary skills, education, or experience. Surely they’ll see how wonderful I am and know that it’s enough – otherwise they’re shallow and don’t know what’s good for them.”
You may not like it, but just like everybody else on this planet, you have to earn it if you want it. If that sounds too hard or too unfair, then by all means, continue to be a victim of your own personality. But don’t expect us to flock to you.
I for one will be far too busy looking for a total douche in a Mercedes who craps $1,000 bills. Sorry, bro.
15. I don’t need “things” to know you care about me. I get uncomfortable with expensive gifts – in my head, it upsets the balance in the relationship because, as a humble archivist on an entry-level salary, I’m not in a position where I can return the favor equally. Sure, it’s not about the money, but for me, it’s not about the things either. The greatest thing you could give me is some of your time and affection. And maybe some seductively good beer and chicken wings. Because that’s a totally sexy meal worthy of that refrigerator scene in “9 ½ Weeks”.
Maybe I don’t have that whole “seductive” thing down, but it’s enthusiasm that counts, right?
Over and out.
Last edited by OhManINeedCoffee; 01-11-2014 at 11:37 PM.
"Are tangerines really just oranges that didn't want it enough?" - Random Greeting Card
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