Saturday, August 21, 2010

in defense of the casual

Ah Stumble. Do you remember the other day when I  complained about Stumble? Well, it just redeemed itself. Stumble took me to this post by Jaclyn at Feministe. And I'm so glad I found it. I devoured each word. I was moved. It spoke directly to me, to my story, to my soul.

Go read it. It's okay. I'll wait.

Did you read it? If so, you know me a little better now. With some exceptions, of course. And with that in mind, here's my side of things. This is quite possibly the most honest post I've ever written*. So here bares my soul:

Warning: sluts and sex be ahead.

I believe in Love. Love with a capital L. Not every day, I don't, though. Some days, my belief in it is shaken. Some days, I feel unlovable. Like the girl everyone enjoys but gets bored with easily. I'm never the girl you fall in love with.

You're commenting already, aren't you? Getting ready to tell me that's ridiculous and that I just haven't found The One. Well, could you just wait a sec? Let me get to the end first.

First of all, I don't believe in The One. And I don't believe in Fate or Soul Mates or any of that hoopla. I believe in timing and compatibility and I think that people fall in love and work hard to make a life happen.

At least that's what I'd like to believe. But it's never happened that way in my experience. A romantic partner has never loved me. At least not that I know of. It also doesn't help that one actually told me that I'm not the kind of girl you have feelings for. That's a direct quote. So it's easy to see how my faith in the big L is shaken.

My heart has been kicked around this past year more than it should. More than it can really handle. I can't really be in another relationship anytime soon. Not one where my heart gets invested. Because my heart is still in physical therapy right now. It's bandaged up, healing, recuperating in its own way.

I should back up.

I first had sex at 19. And then I fell head over heels at 20 (well, almost 20) (different guy and someone I consider a good friend now). And he broke my heart. Ripped it out. For the first time in my young life, I was learning the rules of heartbreak.

Enter: sluthood. I entered sluthood the first time quite by accident. I liked boys. They seemed to like me. I liked sex. Sex seemed to like me. So I had sex (I think I've brought this up before). Good sex, bad sex, it was all the same. I was learning the rules of the game. Learning how to use sex to feel good. Learning how to not use sex as a proverbial weapon. Learning when to let my heart off its leash and when to leave it at home. I had some short relationships and I had casual encounters. I had straight sex and I had same- sex sex (hehe. grow up, Andrea).

By my mid-twenties, I had tired of the game. I wanted to be in love again. Partly due to the aftermath of the death of someone I was dating and partly due to my heart's feeling restless in its cage, I began to seek relationships. I even had my first same-sex committed relationship (she was an insaniac, but still). I spent most of the next 5 years ping ponging from relationship to relationship, looking for IT. Looking for Love.

I mean, isn't that how it's supposed to work? That's what I thought back then. You spend your early twenties slutting it up and then you settle down and fall in love and some fab guy decides you're his dream girl and you spend the rest of your Saturdays in bed (which is covered in a fluffy white comforter) reading and discussing philosophy. Right? Except it was really five years of breakups and heartbreaks.

Nonetheless, I was never good at the whole "waiting for sex" bullshit. Isn't that the rule? If you want a relationship, you wait. But why? Because he'll lose respect for you? That's just bullshit right there. Maybe it's so you'll fall for him before you figure out you're not sexually compatible or his penis is the size of a raisin. I don't buy that sex changes things or maybe that's the case for women who fall in love once they have sex. But I don't buy that either. They're not truly in love; they just can't separate the lust.

I always liked sex. And I want to enjoy sex in a relationship. So why should I wait?

My one detour was the time I spent in Paris and traveling Europe. I found myself there in so many ways (even if I somewhat forgot myself when I came home) and found pleasure in casual sex and flirtations. I felt like a woman in Paris, like someone who inhabited her body in mysterious ways. I wasn't a girl searching for a fairytale; I was a black dress in a smoky room reciting poetry and cutting sexual tension.

I felt like myself in Paris. Does that make sense? When I wasn't searching for wove twue wove (bonus if you get the movie reference), when I was behaving in a way that for most would seem like playing a part, I felt like myself. There was no pretense. There was no bravado. I was the bravado.

So. So where was I? Right. Fast forward to today. Today I am looking for myself again.  I want to just be me, wholly and completely, sans affectation or guile. What does that mean?

Enter: Sexy Man (who I know reads my blog. Hi, Sexy Man.).

The timing is just perfect for him. He stepped into my life at the right time for what we both can and are willing to offer (or so I assume; that's how it is for me anyway).  And maybe I'm revealing too much the nature of our interaction, but it's simple really. How to describe? We're enjoying all the benefits of each other without any complications. It's casual. It's fun. It's undefined and absolutely enjoyable.

It's beautiful really. The first thing is we were (Once again, at least I assume. I was at any rate. I believe Sexy Man was as well) completely honest up front about what we wanted. And a relationship was not it. And so it's off the table. Not even a thought. Not even a worry or a desire.

It's amazing really how the absence of that elephant in the room changes the dynamic of things. In a great way.

I don't know about you, but even when I'm first dating someone, even when it's so new you haven't decided if you like the person or not, I am constantly sizing that person up. Is she relationship material? Would he be a good father? A good life partner? All these questions haunt our interactions. Hovering over every exchange, every flirtation, every kiss. The promise. The judgement. The hope. The doubt. It permeates everything.

Is that toxic for a relationship? Probably. Is it human nature? Absolutely. Could I control that? No fucking way.

But it's not even an issue with Sexy Man. And I'm not sure if this qualifies as irony (Don't I have a degree in English? Shouldn't I know?), but without all that mess, I'm more in the moment. And I haven't done that in years.

I'm enjoying things as they are. Moment by moment. I'm enjoying Sexy Man for what he has to share with me. I don't need to dig any deeper than he wants. If Sexy Man has other lovers or is pursuing other lovers, good for him (wear a condom!). I encourage that. Because it doesn't matter. We can just be. I can enjoy all the benefits of getting to know a smart and interesting (and fucking sexy) man without any drama, any commitment, any demands.

And it's utterly delicious and incredibly liberating. And it makes me happy. I highly recommend it.

It's also true that the last few men I was entangled with would probably have loved this kind of "relationship" avec moi. But all I can say to that is tough titties. That's not how it worked out. Some pairings are relationship material. And some are lover material. And I can't control that. And I can't control timing.

Not that I don't want a relationship again ever. I just don't right now. I don't foresee wanting one anytime soon either.

I've experienced sex in a completely committed and trusting relationship and I know how beautiful it can be when you connect with someone on such a figuratively naked level through sex and outside of sex. I can only imagine how awesome it could be with Love in the mix.

But for now? This is what I want. For now? This is what makes me feel good.

And don't you worry, friends. I have love in my life. I am loving myself (not just in that way, pervy). But I am giving my recuperating heart as much love as possible. Because while I've never met a lover who can fully appreciate my heart (and maybe one doesn't exist), I can appreciate it. While no one has ever returned the love I've given fully and freely, I can nurture it in myself.

That's all I ever can do. Or should do.

*This post is dedicated to my dear friend Lizzy who is going through a heartbreak of her own. May she get through this pain in its due course and come through stronger and learning to love herself as the warm person, dazzling poet, kickass mother, fantastic friend, and warrior woman that she is.

16 comments mean you love me:

mylittlebecky said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

i don't quite know how to say this well, but this post sounds really fresh and like it's coming from a really happy place. love it.

also, i sexed chuck up on our 6th date which occurred on the 7th day i knew him. worked out really well. *griiin*

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

thanks, woman. it really, really it.

also, niiiiiice. :D

Suniverse said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love this post. I KNEW you were awesome already, but I hadn't realized we were soul sisters.

Like you, I had sex when I was 19 and then it was non-stop fun times. And I don't regret it - any of it. It made me who I am. And I love that there are women who feel the same way - that love sex and that are o.k. with it.

PS: I went home with my now-husband after picking him up at the bar on dollar pitcher night. Yup. Seriously.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

you did? THAT is completely awesome!!

yup, knew there was a reason we were friends. are we what, sex sisters now? no, that's just gross. I'll think of something clever.

viva the sex!

Elle said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love everything about this post. You're full out honesty is absolutely inspiring! Down with slut shaming!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

thank you, Elle!! sluts unite!

Elle said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Gah! Just realized I typed you're instead of your...one of my biggest pet peeves! Sorry!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

AHah! you're forgiven. :D

steff said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

i just want to say that i think your perspective on this is awesome. everyone experiences sex and love in different ways and at different times and i LOVE that you shared this bc now i feel like i can live vicariously through you (or is that weird?)
ALSO...
i wanted to comment on the fact that you referred to sunday as sonntag on the above post and ask if you, like me, were one of 6 people in your highschool who actually took german instead of being "normal" like everyone else and sleeping through spanish class.
if so: HELL to the ja!
ps - i wasn't the best student. in case you couldn't tell.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Steff- NOT weird. I think there are many of us out there who feel that way about sex and love, but it's still taboo to admit. :)

and hells ja I took German in high school! and I barely passed because I never did my homework. but I took French in college (go figure) so I could study abroad in France.

alonewithcats said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I related to almost nothing in this post. (That's *so* not a bad thing.) But you've made me see things in different ways. And made me think twice about my own approach to sex. Hell, more than twice. And for that I say thank you.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

you're welcome. and thank YOU! we're all different and learning from each other. :)

Kelly said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This was beautifully written and so honest and raw. I am completely different in my perspective on sex, but I don't judge (as long as you're not sleeping with a someone in a committed relationship because I have recently been completely destroyed by a cheating boyfriend), and to tell the truth, I'm envious of your freedom and self-acceptance and whatever it is you have with Mr. Sexy. Maybe all of this time, I've been doing it wrong. You're awesome.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Kelly,

thank you!! I always love to be called awesome. but I have to say, I don't think there's a "wrong" or right. I think it's all about finding your own path and what suits you. sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and try something new in order to challenge yourself. but I believe in following your own instincts. I also agree that I never want to be the other woman. I've been cheated on too many times to be okay with that.

hugs,
Andy

Jackie T said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hate to sort of follow everyone else in saying I dig your post... but I do. I've tried many different ways of sex/relationship/love. The friends with benefits, straight up (as in monogamy, not just homosexual monogamy... although that is the only way I've tried that, hmmm...), playing the "waiting game" (mostly because even though I know it's sexist, I feel slutty), open relationships, flings. I love being in love in a happy relationship but I'm not sure what's best for me.
However, I love that you've found a way to be more "in the moment" and happy with what is right now. I think everyone should strive for that.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

darlin', I think that's what life is all about. trying things and figuring out what's right for you. right now? casual is right for me. and right this second? I'm not even seeing anyone. but do I want the big L and monogamy some day? absofuckinglutely. when the timing is right.

:D

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