How to Convince a Woman that Sex is Bad: Part 2

How to Convince a Woman that Sex is Bad: An Instruction Manual for Men who Feel Entitled to Undermine Women’s Feelings and Desires

PART 1: NEVER TRUST A SLUT

“she’s crafty// and she’s just my type”

On June 22nd we see a one-woman play at a local church, then meet up with his friends at a neighborhood bar for his acquaintance’s going away party. This is the first time I’ve been introduced to his friends, and it’s very informal except that one of them calls their mutual friend, whom I’d met for a hot sec when she was out running, so the two of us can be introduced formally. The implication being that I’m becoming an important person in Kyle’s life, so I should meet the people who are important to him, though it was unclear whether the rest of the crew knew of my existence prior to this bar hang. Anyway, it all goes to shit tonight. Spoiler alert: Kyle is an alcoholic. This is the first time I’ll see him drink, like really drink. You might wonder how I was so naïve as to have dated a dude for 2 months without becoming privy to his drinking problem. And I guess the answer is that I’m not a big drinker, myself, so I’d always set the tone. We generally only had a drink or two together or none at all, and he only loses control after 3, he told me later–it’s like a “flip is switched.” His friends did not hold back, which in a way was good because I got a picture of him in a broader context. But it was also bad because I got exposed to too much too soon. The topic of his much maligned, still at hand, ex came up (let’s call her Lisa) and I was totally appalled by how he spoke of her.

A little background info on their relationship: They met on tinder in Philly, she worked for an NGO in Central America, she was only in town for like a week, so it was going to be a casual sex thing, except he doesn’t know how to run that script. He followed her to Central America for three months, they fought the whole time they were there, she was a stranger essentially. Before he came home to Philly he told her that he really liked her and if she ever returned (her family lives) he’d like to make it more of a thing. Except he had already made the empty promise to a woman he was seeing in Philly that when he was back from Central America they would make their friendship more of a relationship provided that they did more than drink and be party kids together (that woman no longer speaks to him). Lisa insisted she was never coming back to Philly, a month later she showed up on his doorstep and moved in with him immediately. They signed a year-long lease together, they never got along and never talked about it, allegedly due to of her “communication issues.” When their year-long lease was up he told her he wanted to move out but stay together, she said let’s just break up and they never really talked about it as they moved out. All of his friends and family were thrilled that she was gone, she had no personality. By the time she begged to get back together, it was too late because the important people in his life had already pointed out her flaws. He never wanted to break up in the first place.

I was a bit nervous about meeting Kyle’s friends because I was afraid of being scrutinized; they seemed like tough critics. I figured they would evaluate me on a continuum ranging from ‘as awful as Lisa’ to ‘not quite so bad as Lisa’ and laugh gleefully once it was over. He said a bunch of things that night that at very best implied that I was *like Lisa* and therefore a source of suspicion.

By this point in our “relationship,” Kyle didn’t know many specifics, but he was well aware of the overall arc of my sex life–how a lot of the sex I’d had was casual, by design. While tossing back drinks, he explained to me what had gone wrong in their relationship: Lisa was subtle in her verbal communication. She made big gestures like signing a year-long lease, and his friends thought he was an idiot for not interpreting that as a sign, but he was always insecure about her feelings for him. Sometimes you don’t have to say a thing, you just feel it, only with her he had to hear a thing. He was never sure because she had fucked a ton of dudes from tinder, was he just another one of those guys? Fair readers, in case this isn’t glaring, I’VE FUCKED A LOT OF DUDES FROM TINDER. AND OKCUPID. AND THE REAL WORLD. WHEREVER. GET OVER IT. MANY DUDES HAVE BEEN IN MY VAGINA. I WANTED HIM TO CONTINUE BEING IN MY VAGINA. MAYBE EXCLUSIVELY. I REALLY LIKED THIS GUY.

I got spooked. I thought Kyle would never believe in my developing feelings for him. I thought he needed me to be more explicit about my intentions. I didn’t want to become another Lisa. So that night when we were lying in bed, I was more explicit. It did NOT go over well. We spent until sunrise staggering his being awake with my being awake with both of us restless in a progression of not-quite-right synchronized positions. He asked if I was okay, and I said yes because I wasn’t ready to talk. I couldn’t quite ascertain what I was upset about, yet. He went home around 5am and it was such a relief, I was able to cry alone in my bed, tears streaking my sheets, puppy lapping up the salty pools, no more reprieves in the bathroom. I slept for two hours, a soggy puffy mess. Before he left, he’d said something about how he felt bad about the way Lisa’s “communication issues” came up, that he hadn’t meant to compare us. I wasn’t sure that was quite it. At least he was emotionally attuned enough to sense that something was amiss, and tried to salvage it, so that was reassuring.

We had plans the next day and I doubted I could get through them without falling apart. I thought maybe we should cancel. I tried to back out. He insisted. And I started feeling a bit safer around him. Because my biggest fear is guys disposing of me when I start having feelings. There is that paradoxical insecurity of being too much and not enough simultaneously. I always assume guys will fall off once they realize that I, like all women, am complicated, not a monolithic agreeable fucktoy. Only he showed up, he estimated that I was worth the trouble. And thus commenced a predictable pattern of his being extra reliable and available, even when he knew I was upset with him. I was still leery, however, of our sexual history compatibility, or incompatibility as it were; he is a serial monogamist, ick, and I’ll never not be acutely suspicious of men who a serious about each woman and then flit right off to the next.

Me: I think you’re right that whatever you said about Lisa’s communication issues did make me sorta feel like shit. But I dont really wanna talk about it.

Kyle: Yeah, I was feeling bad about how I brought that up and I think that’s why I wasn’t sleeping well either. We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, but I am sorry and we can totally talk about it again if and whenever you want.

Me: Soo I’ve been really looking forward to this movie. But how strong is your expectation that I make it through the night without crying? Because I only got 3 hrs or sleep and dont feel super. So if you’re gonna freak out if i cry maybe it’s a mistake for us to hang out tonight?

[He had complained that his last girlfriend cried all the time and it made him uncomfortable.]

Kyle: Let’s watch the movie!

Me: Ok

Kyle: I’ll be there at 4:30!

Me: Ok I’ll meet you downstairs

On our tense trudge to our plans, he told me had had been thinking that we should have a talk about “where things were going” between us. I assumed this meant things were going somewhere or else why would he bring it up. I said I agreed but not now, when I had only gotten 3 hours of sleep and was still acutely upset, and the sleep deprivation could only exacerbate things. He was respectful of my space and let me approach him on my own terms. That night he helped me move my brother’s stuff out of my brother’s old apartment, and I gave him a bunch of clothes and assorted junk my brother and his girlfriend were throwing out. Back at my place, he tried to leave the haul in my apartment, and I was fairly firm that that didn’t sound like “such a good idea.” He was like, “Why not, it’s not like I’m trying to move in here, I just can’t carry it all on my bike, it’s not like I’m never gonna be back.” My face turned an alarming shade of red, like tears were about to burst forth like the Kool-Aid Man through a brick wall. And he was like, “Oh…? Oh, wow.” I hadn’t meant to make it so obvious that this night might be our last. But I wasn’t sure we could get past this. When he got home, he immediately followed up.

Kyle: I know you’re busy during the week, so whenever you have the time and energy to talk let me know.

Kyle: I did have fun with you today, despite the lack of sleep and shitty context of last night… and I’m sorry [the] film was so weird.

Me: Yeah I’m busy during the week and might not wanna ruin next weekend. So we’ll see. I had fun with you today too once I got over the feeling like I was gonna cry thing. But that doesn’t mean that I think this situation is a good idea. I’m curious if you even know what about last night upset me?

Kyle: I definitely feel like there are a few things that could have upset you. And rightfully so. Let me know when you want to talk whenever you think is best. And no need to decide right now obviously.

Me: Right but I wanna hear from you what you think they are first. (Like why you think they went over poorly.) Because I want to know what I’m dealing with.

Kyle: I’m kind of exhausted right now. But like you want to have the conversation over text instead of talking?

Me: Yeah. I’m mean I guess I feel like I’ve been really open with you. So I dont really feel like being more vulnerable.

Kyle: That’s fair. Is it okay if I send a longer text tomorrow evening?

Me: I’d rather you explain at least something tonight since I already feel shitty and like to consolidate bad feelings. But sure.

Kyle: Okay. But you do know that I’m terrible at texting and I’m worried about saying more stupid shit especially bcs I’m tired, but since you want me to explain something now I’ll try.

Me: [‘okay’ hand signal emoji]

Kyle: There was one point when I feel like you really opened up about a vulnerability and I didn’t respond well. This is different than the conversation about communication, but something that I think should also be addressed too. Sorry if I’m not addressing your main concern right now. But you told me that you get the feeling that you like me more than I like you… this was in the context of you trying to see how trash lamp was maybe a good idea. I understand how difficult it is to say that to someone and how shitty it can feel to feel that way. I didn’t directly respond to this and instead made a bad joke about lamps. I did later (and maybe I’m fucking up the exact order of how things went) talk about how I feel like I’ve jumped into relationships quickly. This comment was said without a lot of context and I think that how I said it probably made you go “well what the fuck does that mean?”. I think I need to talk to you about how insecure I feel about my future right now — finishing this degree, not quite knowing what I’m doing next year — and how these insecurities i think are what you’re picking up on when you feel like I like you less.

[Here is the scoop on the “trash lamp” or “sex lamp” thing that gets referenced recurrently. When Kyle and I did acid together, he told me he thought I needed a lamp in my room and he’d look on the street for one. I thought he would forget about it. What a weird thing to assume that you could just furnish someone else’s apartment, with a piece of curbside trash nonetheless. Only the next week, the night before trash day, he texted me to tell me he was going on the prowl, and I was like, Uhhh, what if I reject your trash offerings. He clarified whether I would reject all trash or only trash I deemed ugly, and didn’t seem too offended. Then I went out with an old friend and told him this bizarre story, how I was really into this guy and saw us having a future, but felt like it was a little invasive to assume you could just alter someone’s home environment without asking, like way more invasive than leaving a toothbrush—tres accelerated level of commitment. The upshot, though, as I told my friend, was that I’d been a little concerned that maybe I liked Kyle more than he liked me (not that I was getting that vibe from him specifically, just that that’s something I’m automatically insecure about any time I like a guy), and the lamp was evidence otherwise. Someone is sticking around for a bit if they are leaving an item in your apartment for their convenience. My friend agreed that this was a good sign and that it sounded like this guy was “nesting.” I liked imagining him as a bird collecting twigs. I relayed this exchange to Kyle while we were lying in bed that fateful night, in part to be like “Boundaries: don’t make any decisions like that without asking next time,” and in part to be like “Hey, I like you… so now you know,” Kyle’s response was that our (i.e. my and my friend’s) takes were wrong, that he wasn’t acquiring a lamp to “nest,” he wanted to be able to see me better when we fucked, he thought I was “really sexy,” but I always turned the overhead light off because, on my back, it shined directly into my eyes. Um, okay, but that’s besides the point; at very least, it means you plan to fuck me repeatedly, which is kind of a big deal. I’m so used to the fuck and dispose trash life.]

Kyle: There is more to this too that I’d like to talk about, but I think an important thing for you to know. My insecurities are not coming from my relationship to you but my relationship to feeling generally not in control in other areas of my life at the moment.

Kyle: And I think this is all also related to you saying last night that you want to hang out more, and I made (another) terrible joke “what like 1.5 times a week? Haha” Not funny.

[I had told him that I knew he recognized that I was someone who needed a lot of personal space, and appreciated that he respected that space, but was wondering if we had similar preferences or he was simply trying to respect my preferences, because I would actually like less space. He answered by going on this terrible diatribe about how it’s important to respect each other’s space because he doesn’t know what he’s doing with his life, and he jumps from relationship to relationship without putting any thought into it. Over the past few years, he’s basically found the first person who will give him attention after breaking up, and sticks with them for a bit, then off to the next one. After breaking up with his girlfriend of 7 years, he was in a 3-year thing, then a 1-year thing (with Lisa), then an extremely chaotic 3-month thing (the “craziest” relationship he has ever been in.) I felt extremely dismissed but mustered up the courage to timidly bring up that I’d like to hang out “marginally” more than once a week, which had roughly been our routine up until that point. And he made the quip, “What, like 1.5 times?” Which was in reference to my mentioning earlier in the evening that I went to my ceramics studio approximately 1.5 times per week, as in sometimes once and sometimes twice. Ugh.]

Kyle: You really were vulnerable in saying that, and I’m sorry for not responding with the seriousness that you said it. That was shitty.

Kyle: The thing is: I do like you, and I like hanging out with you, and I’m down for something more serious, but there are these other insecurities that I have that are going to affect our relationship.

Me: Like past relationship securities? Or you dont know what you’re doing with your life insecurities? Isnt it kinda a given that humans are insecure and those insecurities affect all sorts of relationships with other people.

Kyle: Life insecurities. And yes, it’s a given, but I do think that there sometimes particularly acute moments when these are amplified in a person’s life. Or at least a particular configuration of insecurities at any moment, and the ones I’m feeling now are very much related to graduating from a program I’ve been in for a decade and not quite knowing what I’m doing next. Then, on top of it, the question of how to have honest, healthy, and meaningful relationships in this context.

Kyle: And I’m sorry for totally sucking at that question apparently

Me: Okay thanks for sharing. I think I’ve hit my awake wall for the evening. But I feel marginally to much better about this situation. You arent bad at text. It’s so much better when it’s all laid out in writing. And now I remember a few more things you said that made me feel bad and hopeless and horrified by the energy I’ve already invested in you. We’ll talk later this week. I really appreciate how unafraid of confrontation you are. Like you have really impressive conflict resolution skills. Goodnight.

Kyle: I’m crashing too. Goodnight

Kyle: And for the written record: I appreciate how good you are at communicating how you’re feeling, not being afraid of being vulnerable, but also not taking shit when I didn’t respond properly and making sure we address the shit.

Later that week, I shared what he did that hurt me most.

Me: Part 1: A few weeks ago we had that weird situation where you asked me if I liked having sex with you, and I was perplexed, and you thought you had said something that had really upset/triggered me rather than confused me. So we had that phone convo (which I loved!) where I explained that you basically said the opposite thing that other guys I’ve dated say so I didn’t really know where to file away your insecurities in my map of personal defects….

Me: To review, generally I date a guy for a few months, and when it’s time to have the where is this going convo they act incredulous that I could have wanted more than sex from them. Which is always infuriating because these are situations where I invest a significant amount of time in these guys as people and women dont need to pretend to court people/be interested in them as ppl to get fucked, as should be blatantly obvious given my sexual history. And also one of them wouldn’t even have sex with me!!! So I can only conclude that ppl arent reading my actions toward them and are basing their analysis on the sexist stereotype that women are either wife material or fuck toys and a woman who likes sex is devious and cant be trusted, the whole madonna/whore dichotomy. I’m like really great at making anything that happens with any guy a referendum about how no one will ever believe I really like them and I’ll never make any guy feel special because I’ve been such a slut and regardless of…

Me: How much of an alleged feminist a dude is I’ve essentially ruined myself. It’s super shitty that at the onset of any relationship I feel like I’m on probation and guys expect me to prove myself to them in a way they dont expect of normal women (and let’s face it men just want to be with normal women). So anyway I shared this insecurity with you and you said that you didnt think we were a just sex situation because I introduced you to my friend and stuff and we didnt have sex that day (though I dont want to have to withhold sex to feel like I’m making the point that I want things other than sex too)…

Me: Then we go out to [neighborhood bar] the other night and you talk about Lisa and her communication problems and how you could never tell how she felt about you–even though your friends thought you were an idiot because she made grand gestures like signing a year lease with you–BECAUSE SHE HAD FUCKED LOTS OF DUDES FROM TINDER. Like holy shit it doesnt feel any better to hear that said about another person. The implication being that you couldnt trust her intentions and didnt believe she was capable of having feelings because shes fucked lots of randos and women are sexual monoliths apparently. And like generally you dont say sexist shit to me which leads me to believe that either you’re smart enough to…

Kyle: Keep going.. but that is *not* what I said about Lisa

Me: (Okay I think it is but whatever.)

Me: …Not believe sexist shit or you’re smart enough to know what not to say in front of me. Because sure we all internalize the toxic patriarchal values were bombarded with constantly. I was just a little surprised by how insensitive it was considering what I told I you I worried about….

Me: Part 2… Then we get back to my place and the whole trash lamp/1.5 times per week fiasco happens where I tell you that I felt invaded my the idea of your assuming you could furnish my house with trash but I was less annoyed by it because it made me feel like maybe you actually like me (my friend described it as “hes nesting”) when I had been nervous that maybe I like you more than you liked me. And you deflected what I guess we can describe as my emotional advances with shitty jokes. And I felt a bit mocked about the trash lamp thing, like you felt like my feelings about being invaded were stupid when I was just trying to set boundaries which I think is a good thing. But fine I could have survived that and I would have been patient and waited it out because things take diff amounts of time to progress for people and I did think you were worth it. But then it got worse…

Me: I said that I wasnt sure if we had similar preferences for space or if you were being extra careful and not suffocating me (I didn’t use that word but that’s how I often feel with men) because you knew I needed a lot of independence. Then I was gonna make the point that I wanted to see you marginally more often (and I really did just mean marginally more often). But you launched into this whole speech about how important it is for us to respect each others space…

Me: Part 3…. so you tell me about how you’ve jumped from relationship to relationship, each progressively shorter, and how after your last failed mini relationship you joined okcupid and guess how many girls you’ve gone out with from okcupid, just me that’s it! Which made me feel like I was just one in a progression of women you’ve largely ended up with by default (one you cant say a single nice thing about) because you always need to have someone around or whatever….

Me: I dont want to be that person! I dont want to date someone who is with me because no one else responds to them on okcupid because their profile is weird and they’re hotter in person. I dont want to be with someone who has sex fomo. If you wanna be single and explore you should do that, nothing would make me feel worse than feeling like I’m someone’s constraint. Maybe we’re at spots in our respective lives that dont really coincide, dating is like 50 percent timing. Or maybe a serial monogamist could only make me miserable regardless of the timing.

Me: Okay part 4…. I asked you in advance (my thought process was like were already having this shitty convo anyway let’s get all the weird uncomfortable shit out of the way at once) how youd feel if we were still seeing each other in August and I went away on vacation to Hawaii with my casual friend you know ive fucked compulsively because I like the way he smells (lol). And your answer was so nonchalant that it made me feel bad. Look I know it was a loaded question, and I didnt ask it to be manipulative, but it’s one of those embarrassing circumstances where I feel like a bad feminist because my intellectual and emotional stances dont allign. So intellectually I wanted you to be like do whatever you’re a free woman but emotionally I wanted it to be more like the good ol okcupid “not thrilled but go ahead.”

Me: Independently this may not have gone over so poorly but the confluence of factors just made me think wow this guy gives zero fucks about me. Hes fine with me going on vacay with my fuck toy because he doesnt even like me…. So, in conclusion, I want to believe your intentions but I’m deeply skeptical. It feels like now you’re just saying what you think I wanna hear because you think you’re getting dumped otherwise. On the other hand, thus far you’ve handled this situation really well, which makes me have a little more faith in you, and you’ve been stunningly reliable. That’s all!

Kyle: All of this makes sense. I clearly need to respond. How would you like me to do it? I’d prefer talking either on the phone or in person at this point, but it’s up to you.

Kyle: Like if you prefer text then I’ll just suck it up and text

Me: You can come over if you want.

Kyle: Ummm… does like now work?

Kyle: Oh, and for the written record: thank you for sharing all of that with me.

Kyle came over and we had a BIG TALK and I’m not going to go into all the details and his emotional fuckery and how he basically retracted everything he’d just said, because ohhh god his emotional inconsistencies and fuck boihood are the subject of another 15-page post. I will relay his explanation about the Lisa situation though, and why he didn’t trust her. Apparently their relationship was more of a careless trainwreck than he had let on; they were both fucking other people and neither were okay with it but they never discussed their misgivings because everyone had technically agreed to the configuration (making it “ethically non-monogamous”: barf), so everything was hunky-dory, right? When he’d followed her to Central America she was living with and occasional fucking this guy Tony, who was just her roommate and not her boyfriend, and she was also fucking Kyle and multiple other guys on the side. So when she surprise showed up in Philly and moved in with him right away, he wondered, “Am I just another Tony?” Because the terms of their relationship were never explicit, and he never bothered to ask, presumably he was too scared to ask. He chalked up the lack of communication to her character flaw, rather than his own; a woman must apparently intuit a guy’s insecurities and do all of the emotional labor. Another thing that made him unsure about the situation is that instead of framing moving in in a positive way, as in, “I want to live with you,” she framed it in terms of not wanting to live with her parents. As if he was her least bad option and the rent was so good she couldn’t resist.

Kyle told me I was far less subtle than Lisa (even when I wasn’t being explicit and blunt) and that he had no trouble with my communication. Later on in our relationship, he would tell me how much he appreciated how honest I was, both in my expressing what I wanted from him and what I didn’t want. He always felt like if I was doing a thing with him, for example sex, it was because I wanted to do that thing; if I didn’t, I would push him away in “no uncertain terms.” It’s nice to know where you stand. He also promised me that he didn’t have sex FOMO. He didn’t like fucking randos, he liked having sex with one person and getting to know them better. And it seemed true. Our emotional and sexual intimacy increased in step, and I felt deeply gratified.

So I suppose he allayed my fears about his hating sluts. We felt like equals in our relationship. Sex was no longer an “incompatibility,” or a source of suspicion. Our histories were irrelevant in the context of our shared present. And I believed that he knew I really liked him, there is no way I could have pulled off what we were doing together otherwise. Until we broke up and he kicked me where he knew it would hurt. And all that I had given him felt “taken.” In the way that women are ruined. In the regard that slutty women are worthless.

It always comes true for insecure men, the self-fulfilling prophesy: they excise themselves because they assume I don’t like them very much and they’re too intimidated by me to ask, and inadvertently they turn themselves into just another man who has failed and underestimated and distrusted me, who has ignored what I’ve said distinctly with my words and my body, and then… poof, I really don’t like them very much after all.

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How to Convince a Woman that Sex is Bad: Part 1

How to Convince a Woman that Sex is Bad: An Instruction Manual for Men who Feel Entitled to Undermine Women’s Feelings and Desires

PART 1: DO YOU LIKE HAVING SEX?

“I want to fuck you like an animal// I want to feel you from the inside”

What do you do when someone dumps you (or, more accurately, when you ask him if you need to stop seeing each other and he angrily concurs) and willfully agitates the wound that has been primed by so many bitter, insecure men before him. What do you do when you’re an unapologetically sexual woman who lives in a world where men don’t like women who love sex, where men don’t trust women who love sex, where men don’t stay with women who love sex—because suspicious. What do you do when you realize the sex you were having was consensual but most definitely not mutual.

How do you come to terms with your station when you feel like you were taken advantage of and guys don’t mind taking advantage of girls like you, because your value is so low anyway, there is nothing left to devalue. How do you make peace with yourself when you feel underappreciated and like someone defaced something beautiful and pure, putting a sinister contentious spin on it, and you worry that no one will ever really like you because underneath it all, underneath the woke façade, men don’t think sexual women are really capable of having feelings for men. I really had feelings for this particular man. I loved having sex with him because, well, I maybe didn’t love him quite yet, but felt very strongly about him and the sex was very good and felt collective at the time, and I did think that I would grow to love him and that we would grow together.

This is, in part, the story of the emotionally abusive mini-relationship I escaped from recently (though I still feel emotionally impounded), but mostly the story of the same shitty set up I’ve been struggling with for more than a decade. What do you do when your biggest baggage, your deepest insecurity, is entirely founded and confirmed recurrently. Because society is a swamp monster and everyone has internalized its very worst stereotypes and scripts, whether they align with our progressive beliefs or not. What do you do when you’re scared to have sex because you’re scared to get hurt, and sex mostly seems like a liability for you.

All I want is for sex to be a commonality. All I want is for somebody to love me holistically. And that does not involve pitting sex and activities against one another, privileging minds over bodies, as if physical chemistry is lesser than or separable from or more slippery than everything else that fastens us. Right now, the prospect of fucking someone new fucking disgusts me. I feel cagey, I feel no connection to my body; I want to scratch it off me. I mash my palm into my clit and and dip the tips of my fingers into my introitus and sniff them and search for myself, and I don’t smell me. How can I not disassociate from the thing that no one trusts, the thing that casts doubt on all else in its dominance. How the fuck can someone not trust something as truthful as a body.

***

I’ll start with our first mini-conflict of sorts. It was more of a source of confusion that needed clarification. It needed clarification because I liked him enough so that I didn’t want to let insidious feelings linger; what if it was just a miscommunication and not a cause for concern?

We met for the first time in late March. I was out of town and out of commission for a month because I went home to NYC to freeze my eggs. He kept in touch loosely. Impressing me with a suitably bizarre article about sacrificial insect death for the sake of the nest entitled “Exploding Aphids Plaster Holes in Their Homes With Bodily Fluids;” he was uninformed about my penchant for semen at the time and was worried that maybe I’d be horrified by the reference to “eruption” (mmmm.)

We fucked on our second date in late April. I was still a bit traumatized by what had happened with the last guy (he went all incel on me: said I was being manipulative and “withholding sex” when I wouldn’t fuck him on demand). I was also a bit nervous about the state of affairs of my internal organs (they were still healing from my egg freezing procedure). The last time I’d touched myself before our date, it kind of hurt, even though it was technically a day or two after the 2-week post-procedural no-go period. It’s hard to talk about your masturbatory status on a second date. We prepared to say our goodbyes as we were nearing my building and I felt some ambivalence, so I asked, “Do you want to come over and not have sex?… Is that reasonable?” He repeated “Is that reasonable?” as if it were a ridiculous question. He accepted. Ten minutes later, I leaned in and straddled him on my couch. He then clarified, as one should, “What do you mean by you don’t want to have sex?” So I explained, I wasn’t quite sure what I meant, maybe sexual things just not penis-in-vagina sex, things felt weird in there last time I checked. And then we got more naked. And I was quite obviously way more aroused than I  get on my own. So I was ready for him, if not for myself. I asked if he wanted to have sex but be gentle. It was a positive experience overall.

The sex was meh drunken sex is always meh. But he was respectful of my boundaries and followed my instructions and that’s most of what matters anyway. Then it came to me fucking myself. I asked if I could use toys, which is a test of sorts but wasn’t meant to be, and there was no hesitation, it was like duh of course whatever you want. And he exclaimed, “Oh god, that’s so hot,” repeatedly, as he watched me fuck my dildo husband, a threeway I tried to incorporate him into. It was nice and affirming the first two times then it felt porny, like he thought I was “performing” for him, barf. I wondered if I might have to get rid of him for objectifying me. But he cooled it over time and seemed genuinely appreciative of my ease with myself and my proactivity in attaining pleasure. He mentioned a bunch of times, later on, how refreshing it was (without using that specific word that people have used to describe me since I was 16). Other women had touched themselves while they had sex, but I had a higher level of “comfort.”

The second time was equally meh and drunken and maybe the positions were a bit more ambitious and egregious than normal but I didn’t think much of it. After that, I went away on a weeklong vacation to Colorado, ate one weed gummy per day, and fucked myself to him constantly. Including on my 35th birthday, when I posted on-brand, coming-of-age tweets about how on the precipice of my cultural expiration, I felt more “unfuckwithable” than “unfuckable,” and I was spending my big day thinking wistfully about all the dicks that smelled like home (his didn’t yet). Even though we had just started seeing each other, the thought of coming home to him excited me. In anticipation, I told him to smell worse.

Me: [photo of tree destruction porn that I took on a hike with the caption “remains”]

Kyle: Ooooo I like that. I’m going to be super nerdy for a second if that’s cool. If you zoom in on the lower trunk you can see little hole. Those come from a borer beetle most likely. Seems like this tree had a pretty nasty infection. It’s probably what killed it.

Me: I was just gonna say the roots evoked the tentacles of the sea creature tattooed on last night’s waitress’ arm.

Me: So like speaking of gross animals… would you think it was weird if I asked you not to shower before the next time we fucked?

Kyle: I won’t even wear deodorant 😉

Kyle: I was also thinking I’m not gonna jerk off for a few days before too so I cum a lot

Me: So thoughtful

Kyle: “Speaking of gross animals”

Me: Is it weird that it sorta turned me on that you rationalized your girlfriend cheating by saying that monogamous monkeys are never really monogamous? I guess I was supposed to find it degrading that you were comparing woman to monkey. But if I were gonna cheat it would definitely be with a guy I thought smelled the best.

Kyle: Is it weird that it turned me on hearing that that turned you on? Hahahaha

Me: Is it weird that I start all my sentences with the disclaimer “is it weird that…”

Kyle: Yes, but I like it

Kyle: Weird in the good way

Kyle: But it also turned me on when you asked me not to shower. For the record.

Me: It’s just impossible to actually start to like someone if they dont smell like sex. Like how do scentless people even lure partners to a second time. They have no signature.

[He asked for clarification after I said something about someone I bumped into out of context not recognizing me because I wasn’t wearing my “signature” glasses.]

Me: Smell is sexual incentive. There are a number of “signature” things one could offer to incentivize repeated sex. And without that distinguishing factor a particular partner doesnt have much value because sex is everywhere. Style is a social signature. It doesnt have the same utility because continued social interactions arent as simplistic. Like no one is gonna make compromising decisions to hang out with someone because they look cool but ppl will do almost anything for another dose of a sexual stimulus that has been imprinted on them.

Kyle: I was joking. But also view the relationship between the relationship between sexual attraction and smell as different than you do. I think olfactory communication and it’s relationship to sex is super interesting. Not quite convinced it plays that big of a role in human mate choice as you do. But hey, you wanna smell me more? Consider it done.

[He later explained that monkeys have much more elaborate nasal apparatus than humans. And I explained that I’m obsessed with the MHC/HLA and human sexual attraction studies, and also the suggestion that humans may be able to distinguish arousal sweat, fear sweat, etc.]

***

When I got back from Colorado, he told me he was beat and wanted a pizza and movie kinda night. And, of course, we didn’t watch a movie, and the sex was fucking incredible. I mean, actually, it was a bit of a false start, he did such magic with his tongue that I squirmed away, afraid I was gonna cum basically immediately, then he stopped himself from cumming quickly inside me, and it was an unwelcomed disruption, but whatever dudes, the sex was fucking hot, we were sober, it was intimate. I wanted to bone more. And, well, I’m just gonna be a weirdo and put fucking dates on this so you get why his line of questioning (i.e. infusing doubt) creeped me out. May 19th was great sex part one. And May 28th was great sex part two. Part of what made the sex suddenly super excellent is we were juuust past the obligatory going out and doing activities together phase so we were sober and present and the other part is we were at his place so my curious playful puppy wasn’t constantly interrupting us, jumping up and down on her hindlegs begging to join us in bed, and his room was very small so we were sort of crammed together in such a way that forces figurative proximity and literal heat exchange. I think maybe we fucked one time after that and then this fucking weirdass question.

Lying in bed post-coital, but not directly after, he asked, “Katie, do you like having sex with me.” I was stunned, because DUH. Duh because why would I keep doing it if not. Sex is important to me! I could fuck around a bit with a meh sex guy who I was already friends with or really wanted to become friend with, but I’m not gonna get in a relationship track thing with someone who cannot fulfill this very important function that is integral to my identity and well being. Like, the main difference between romantic relationships and other relationships is sex. Sex is the critical factor. Duh also because we were having great sex! At least I thought we were. Should I have been concerned that he wasn’t enjoying it as much as I was?

But wait, that doesn’t even make any sense, because on May 29th, a day after we had incredible sex part 2 on his floor mattress, we had the following conversation.

Kyle: [Sends me a bio of an artist we were planning to see together.]

Me: Cant wait to read. Also cant stop thinking about how good last night felt. [i.e. I’ve been jizzing all over my fingers all day; help I can’t get anything else accomplished.]

Kyle: That just turned me on

Me: Feeling you come inside me when I was still throbbing was the best kind of sensory overload. Goodnight.

Kyle (the next morning): I could feel you squeezing me as I came. So fucking hot.

Kyle: I’m gonna be distracted for the rest of the day now.

Me: Today I had the weirdest (faux)rectal exam ever. [As in, I have a fake rectum.] They made me supplicate on a church kneeler. Am I Catholic yet!??

Me: Did i ruin the previous imagery?

Kyle: When you were kneeling, were you answering personal questions so that it felt like confession? If so, you’re definitely closer to being Catholic

Kyle: Did not ruin the previous imagery though. If you wanna accomplish that you’re gonna have to sent the texts closer together

Me: Hahahaha

church kneeler

Get down on your knees… and pray

Pretty sure we had just alluded to how we couldn’t stop fucking ourselves to each other so I guess the sex was pretty good? I craved more. So much moar. At very least.

So, May 19th and May 29th, hotsex. Want moar. June 1st we’re lying in floorbed together and he asks whether I even like that sex with him (WUT!?) June 4th I’m still weirded out by this bizarre inquiry so we have our FIRST REAL TALK. I get all vulnerable and shit. I tell him about my insecurities. Wait for it.

***

Background info for this text exchange: we were having weird problems with sex positions, specifically doggy style. Kyle insisted that our hips didn’t align properly so he ended up squatting like a frog (instead of kneeling on his knees). He looked hideous, which I told him. We had also watched a series of campy documentaries about cane toads together [Cane Toads: An Unnatural History (1988), followed by its sequel Cane Toads: The Conquest (2010).]

Me: I think I found the solution to our mechanical issue, ignore the muppet in the photo [photo of me draped over my “boyfriend pillow” such that my hips are lower than my shoulders, curious puppy photobombing]

Kyle: I don’t get what’s wrong with froggie style

Me: [tears streaming out of face emoji]

Me: When I googled “frog sex,” “frog security blanket” was the first thing that popped up. Is that weird?

Me: So, can you explain to me again why you asked if I liked having sex with you? I’m not trying to imply it was a bad weird thing to ask. Like I actually think many probs would be avoided by ppl being honest abt their doubts. It just kinda weirded me out?

Kyle: Did it weird you out more than the frog security blanket?

Me: I’m serious. It’s almost the opposite of the ominous thing guys always say to me but I still cant wrap my head around it.

Kyle: And yeah, it probably was a weird thing to ask! I mean, I’m pretty secure with myself so it wasn’t really coming from a place of insecurity. Mainly curiosity i guess? We talk about sex a lot, and as I’m learning some of your preferences I’ve been curious.

Me: So first of all I might regret sharing this later but the ominous thing guys always say to me is that they assumed their only value to me is sexual. It’s super triggering and makes me feel completely worthless and I dont think I’ve ever successfully recovered a situation in which that was stated or implied. But the converse is equally weird if not personally offensive.

Me: Like I guess I’m confused as to why you think I would continue hanging out with you in this context if i didnt like having sex with you. Sex is pretty important to me so if I felt meh about it and didnt think it would improve, I’d try to transition the situation.

Me: By the way I also strongly prefer sober sex. Like I thought the two times at your place were pretty incredible and the other times pretty average but subject to improvement. You’ve definitely adjusted to what I want. And I really appreciate that after you orgasm you ask, “what do you want me to do?” Its such a simple, direct, and effective communication that I’m almost aghast that not everyone says exactly that.

Me: For example, i was gonna tell you that I basically only like positions where our bodies are at 90 degree angles but you naturally kinda figured it out and stopped leaning forward so much without our having to do any math! Are there any preferences that have surprised you?

Me: Also… another reason your q seemed very weird is because youd just sent me that article about Alyssa Milano [about women going on “sex strike” to protest abortion laws] and said you thought it perpetuated (presumably mostly baseless) gender stereotypes. So it was like, “Does he think I’m trading sex for his attention/some other resource?” So confusing.

feminist sex strike

[A good friend of his had also posted Ijeoma Oluo’s take on Alyssa Milano’s misguided “activism” on her fb.]

Kyle: I’m sorry I weirded you out! Didn’t intent to trigger any negative emotions, and in asking I didn’t mean to imply that the only value we see in each other is sexual. The Milano piece I sent weeks ago was about bullshit stereotypes, so, no, I don’t think you’re trading sex for anything! I kind of want to laugh at that but you seem rom what I recall the context of me asking was during you’re recounting stories of bad sex you’ve had and making fun of the shapes of guys dicks (could you imagine if the conversation was reversed?). I also have different experiences than you with regards to continuing to have sex with someone when the sex was below average.

frogging

Centerpiece at Tattooed Mom

He misinterpreted the “only value we see in each other is sexual thing” but we clarified my insecurities over the phone (I love dudes who wanna talk on the phone in the year of our lord 2019 like we’re not scared shitless of human contact.) In case it still isn’t clear to you, fair reader, guys generally assume that I ONLY want sex from them and, for whatever reason, Kyle questioned whether I EVEN liked sex with him—so sort of opposite problems. The next day we discussed further via text.

Me: I meant to mention this last night, I think you’re one of the only ppl I’ve come across who answered no to that okcup q that’s something like “if you were in a relationship that would last the rest of your life would it have to be the best sex you’ve ever had.”

Kyle: And that surprises me about the best sex question.

Me: Why, bc plenty of ppl in LTRs have shitty sex so you know ppl are lying about the importance?

Kyle: I mean, I guess that’s part of the reason. I also agree with your explanation for why you put no. [That sex with different people is different and people aren’t rankable.]

Me: I also put no because I think my body processes pleasure as something with a ceiling. Like the last time we hung out at your place I was like this is the best I’ve ever felt. But there are obviously other times when I’ve thought the same thing. And it’s sorta nonsensical to determine which “best” was better. Since ppl have other personal qualities that are important. And like 50 percent of what makes me happy w someone sexually is how comfortable and safe I feel w them and how sexually accepted I feel by them, so what does “best sex” even mean? I usually file ppl into the broad categories of good, meh (like they’re replaceable/disposable), and BAD (like they did active harm to me or have the sexual skills of a 15 yr old because they’ve never accepted feedback.).

Kyle: The caveat is hilarious

Hello, my name is Genie and I used to be a sex blogger. I just admitted that sex is a feelings thing for me now, sex is better with feeelings, because I’m a haggard old lady at the ripe old age of 35, and I refuse to repent for it. I was *happy* with this guy sexually, and was mostly happy with him more generally. Until he said this weird thing about his slutty ex gf, which felt decidedly personal. It doesn’t feel any better when you hear it said about another woman, it makes you feel a kinship to her and feel defensive for her or whoever you imagine her to be. It’s still like, ‘Oh, right, men are trash. Even “good men” judge the character of women by their sexual availability.’

Posted in how to convince a woman that sex is bad: part 1 | Leave a comment

Foodstuff, body humiliation, and fingering trauma

TRAUMA SEEPING OUT OF CREVICES

This guy who broke up with me recently (let’s call him Kyle) gave me a list of complaints (which of course should have been rendered while we were still together, when they were actionable), stuff that he assumed reflected my “sucking,” stuff that he assumed I wouldn’t be willing to work on or didn’t want to fix. What he didn’t get (because he couldn’t be bothered to put effort into understanding my preferences and, instead, wrote me off hastily), is that the origins of my reticence to do mundane, normal person stuff are trauma-based. As I explained in response to his categorizing my suffering as “some really terrible years when you got sick,” what he was “touching” wasn’t a few terrible years, it was decades of trauma. I got sick when I was 14 and never graduated from high school. I’m now 35. My life has been vastly different from most everyone else’s because of my chronic illness. It will continue to be foreign and it will continue to be a dividing factor in all of my relationships which fucking sucks. I will always feel like a liability.

For outsiders it’s hard to grasp that one could be unable to attend high school (and go on to attend grad school); for people who were raised working class it’s hard to comprehend that, to some, working is a privilege; for those who have only met me recently, during a period of relative rest and good fortune, it’s hard to estimate how monumental my illness has been—that it’s been a defining factor and organizing principle in every area in my life. It’s challenging to impossible to see all these things, it’s challenging to impossible to truly see me, because it’s technically impossible to see an invisible disability—directly.

But my illness comes out in everything, from how worn I feel after a day of work (which I am grateful I’m now able to take on), to how unwelcomed I feel in an academic environment when I read a course syllabus with built-in microaggressions, to how reluctant I feel to have a simple meal with a guy I’m dating. I have upsets and anxieties that peek out from every fold and corner. I accommodate these encroachments on my functioning via avoidance and alternative options. Only these seemingly imperceptible sidesteppings inevitably creep up on my relationships. And how I feel, when a guy I’m dating miscategorizes the impact of my illness or fails to recognize my peculiar behavior as stemming from and stepping around an underlying agony, is how could I have allowed someone access to my body who denies its history. How could I have let him touch me so deep.

EXCERPT FROM KYLE’S LETTER TO ME ABOUT WHAT WASN’T WORKING

But I was having serious reservations about being with you, and it never seemed to me that you would really change anything. I mean, [conflict we had about him looking for a discarded lamp for my apartment without asking me if I wanted one] was so weird to me that god forbid I ask you if I can cook you dinner again (one time when I invited you and you declined you did so by saying “that sounds disgusting.” I realize that’s your sense of humor, but it also makes me think you suck a little)…. Those were some things that weren’t working for me. Others are more about some basic compatibility. I like cooking and cooking together, but you don’t know how to cook and don’t seem interested in even entertaining the idea of cooking together. Maybe I should have asked more directly or told you I was serious, but you laughed at me the one time I vaguely suggested it, so fuck it.

MY RESPONSE AS TO WHY I AVOIDED COOKING WITH HIM

My relationship with food is complicated, and not the kind of complicated that most women mean because society sucks and food is bodies and we have extra pressure about what our bodies look like. My relationship with food has 25% to do with privilege and 75% to do with my meat casing attacking itself and, by extension, my seeing food as the enemy even though there is nothing intrinsic to the ulcerative colitis process whereby food triggers an immune response. My relationship with food is illogical because trauma responses are illogical. Food takes up a prohibitive percentage of my day. I try to eliminate it by making food consumption as fast and divorced from the food making process as possible. I know if you knew what I am about to tell you, you wouldn’t say “you suck” in response to my rejecting your plans to cook with me. You don’t have to feel bad about what you said, but you do have to listen to what I’m about to tell you and accept that my reaction to your request has nothing to do with “fundamental incompatibilities” and everything to do with the fact that my body doesn’t function normally and everything about food is going to be arranged around that humiliation.

At first I was annoyed by your annoyance. Like who is Kyle to tell me that I should eat the specific food he wants to feed me. People have preferences! This reminded me of a boyfriend who bought me a necklace, which I accepted graciously when he gave it to me because the timing and effort he put into considering my preferences were thoughtful, and it resurfaced months later and I confessed to appreciating him but hating it, and he told me I should like it because it should remind me of him (his dick was in my mouth almost constantly, I didn’t need a trinket to remind me of him!) and my rejecting it was some fundamental rejection of him. The point of doing something nice for someone is not about the gratification you derive from it. At first I was annoyed by your annoyance but I was also like, Oh, I said something weird and irritating about food, that tracks. I also tortured the last guy I dated who wanted to cook for me, there was a lot of miffed miscommunication around it.

So, here’s the deal. I spend a large percentage of my time thinking about “ins” and “outs.” In the way that a diabetic would think about sugar and insulin. In the way that a bulimic would think about items swallowed versus items barfed out. You wouldn’t think I have massive issues around food because I’m not very self-conscious about the way my body looks, and when people think of women’s food issues they think of “superficial” aspects. You wouldn’t think I have massive issues around food because my eating habits are fairly unremarkable; I don’t eat obsessively healthily or “clean” and I don’t scarf down total junk. You wouldn’t think I have massive issues around food because it goes against the rest of my personality; I’m the girl who fucks dildos on second dates, I like my body. You wouldn’t think I have massive issue around food because I work with bodies all day. It is my literal job to convince people that their body functions are perfectly “normal” and perfectly “healthy,” and I even believe it; it is rare that a patient grosses me out. I’m humiliated by my body and humiliated by my being humiliated by my body. It is a compound issue. It makes me feel like a bad feminist. It makes me feel disgusting. You are interacting with someone on a very intimate level who deep down thinks her body is disgusting.

And look, if you want evidence of how deep this pathology lies, I’m sure you remember this story, because who the fuck would forget this story, why would I even tell you this story. I told you about how when I lived in Ireland and the food there was shit, I used to go to Tesco, the most revolting supermarket, and wander the aisles and immediately overwhelm and think about how I’d rather fuck myself than go grocery shopping and actually consider that I could masturbate instead of eat and it would satisfy me for at least 15 minutes. During that time period, I ate a lot of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough, even though it’s a mediocre flavor, because it’s uncontroversial. And familiar. And thoughtless. When I realized how much I dreaded the trip to the supermarket, I restrategized and started fucking myself before I headed to the grocery store, so bolting wouldn’t be as enticing. Unpleasant activities aren’t quite so noxious when you’re filled with endorphins. And once I was there I would fill my basket with Cully and Scully shepherd’s pie, which looks like literal shit with mashed potatoes on top, because if I was spending all my time contemplating “ins and outs” and what foodstuff would look like once it was transformed into shit, I might as well preempt it with repugnant imagery. What’s one more cardboard tub of shit when you have toilet bowls full!? It became a ritual, the whole supermarket masturbation racket. Which I could finally drop once I moved to Philly. Oh god don’t be one of the people on [contentious neighborhood blog] who yells about groceries and gentrification and racism, don’t @ me! [Food coop] is small and I can handle navigating it without any “prep,” yet I still purchase food there that requires minimal prep because food gives me cognitive overload. The whole supermarket masturbation thing is so weird and deeply personal and I said it for laughs. Because I like joking about the strange things that make me feel uncomfortable in and alienated from my own body. I seek acceptance. Thanks for accepting me.

I talk about my GI issues, and I’m getting a colon caterpillar tattoo for christ sake, and we can laugh about my GI issues to some extent, and it’s no secret, and I seek to confront stigma via lack of secrecy, but talking about my psych issues around my GI issues is a whole other level of personal, and we weren’t quite there yet. Though I did share with you that I went to an IBD psychiatrist who referred me to an anxiety clinic. So we were *almost* there. Another aspect of “we weren’t quite there yet” is talking about the realtime state of affairs of my intestines and how exactly my anxieties around my GI issues versus my physical digestive differences manifest in my daily habits. I’m extremely self-conscious about my shitting problems. I hated that when we were on acid I shat literally about 20 times. I love that in your house the bathroom is on another floor so you never have to hear me shit. The last time a guy tried to cook for me, all I could think about was that we would eat and then he would want to fuck me right away and I’d have to be like hold on let me process and shit this food out first, there is no room for your dick inside me rn. Once we brought take out food back to his place and he made some snarky joke about how I was gonna shit in his apartment then go home, and it wasn’t his fault because he didn’t know how self-conscious I was, but I found it more embarrassing than funny. Instead of getting a toothbrush in [his] bathroom, I asked him to purchase me more substantial toilet paper as [a] token of his devotion; you have substantial toilet paper already—good job! I’ve shat in your apartment and you’ve shat in mine. We haven’t concealed our body functions from each other. Organizing food and toileting for me is such a big deal that I remember that the time we had pizza at [local restaurant] together I debated whether I should shit there or in your apartment and decided that I might as well wait until your place because by that time all the food would be ready to come out at once. Do you remember how you organized that day around eating and shitting? Probably not, because it’s mundane for basically every other human.

When I think about cooking together at your place, I think about shitting at your place. I think of the possibility that you might want to fuck me after I’ve just eaten. I think about talking about the foods you are making for me and how they will sit in my stomach. It is nonsensical because regardless of whether we eat at [local restaurant] or at your place, it will happen in your presence, but when we’re at your place cooking, that means my evening is more centered around food and body functions and it feels somehow inescapable. Now, I know logically that you don’t actually care about my bathroom habits and you’ve been nice about recognizing food that I can’t eat and understanding that it is a medical issue and not just entitled pickiness. I know you’re not squeamish and my lack of colon doesn’t make me any less attractive to you. You recognize women as humans. You come from a family of sisters and duh women shit because humans shit. I know that [] my lack of colon doesn’t make you want to *fuck me* any less. You kind of like my weirdness and grossness, I think. Nevertheless, I’ve been socialized as a woman and will never escape the harmful social norms I’ve internalized. Even if we lived in a society where no one equated concealing body functions with femininity, and no one was concerned about being unladylike, I would still be anxious and self-conscious about this stuff.

I spent every day of my life for years living in well-founded, palpable fear that I would shit my pants. Even if you are alone at home, the insight that you have no control over your bowels is mortifying and humbling. It sort of bothers me that you’ve brought up shitting in bed with [your ex who you travelled in South America with] so many times, which of course you think is funny, because it is for a normal person. It felt really ableist; it felt like a humblebrag. [Like why would you keep making jokes about your “accident” to someone who for years wasn’t able to control their bowels. To commiserate? You think I can relate? It really just diminishes what I’ve been through.] Even though I can generally take jokes at my expense, if I ever shat my pants around you it’s something we could never ever joke about. It’s something you could never tell your friends about. Which is sort of besides the point because there is basically a zero percent chance of me shitting my pants now; I have physical control. But I still think about it constantly. My day is organized in increments around when I last shat, what I’ve eaten recently, where the nearby bathrooms are, how hydrated I am. The thing about trauma, is that even when the threat is removed, the fear lingers—it rears its head at inconvenient times; it bleeds into areas of your life that are otherwise benign. When we started seeing each other, I told you I didn’t sleep with guys I was fucking because I’m a terrible sleeper, which is true, I’ve always had trouble falling asleep and another human exacerbates the situation by adding an extra stimulus. Pretty early on, I started liking the idea of waking up next to you and *asked* for you to stay over. You are a good, non-tumultuous sleeper. You were a calming presence. I was comfortable enough with you so you didn’t seem like a foreign stimulus. But I had this big problem that prevented me from falling asleep. I’m usually unable to fart; it’s physically impossible for me because liquid shit propels itself with air backlighting it. Lying on my stomach to go to sleep is the only time when I can fart, something about the gravity [settling] and air rising, my abdomen compression squishing [the air] out. Except, I can’t fart with you in my bed, so I had to get up to go to the bathroom periodically and had tons of anxiety around it. I know, this is more than you bargained for when you invited me over for dinner. I am more than you bargained for.

Food was complicated even before my body collapsed. I told you I had an eating disorder when I was younger. You probably are rolling your eyes at the dumb little rich girl entitlement of having an eating disorder and are gleeful that I got what was coming to me. Once I got better and stopped investing my time obsessing over the math of food, I couldn’t spend time thinking about food prep anymore. Even though I am fully recovered and no longer have distorted cognitions around food and body image, habits linger. You noticed the way I handle garbage is peculiar and sometimes people who are familiar with eating disorders comment on the method by which I disassemble my food. Even though I am fully recovered, regimens around food (such as measuring ingredients) can be triggering. Eating disorders are ritualistic and so too is cooking. I know other people who had eating disorders also try their hardest not to engage with food and totally tune out when people offer recipes. There is a reason I eat ice cream, bananas, and peanut butter; it’s thoughtless and marginally nutritionally complete. A more commonplace reason I don’t cook is that cooking when you’re single is inefficient and unrewarding. It’s just a chore.

I thought back to what I could have said to you that you thought might be a reflection of my weird sense of humor, and I didn’t just say “Ew, gross.” I said something about cauliflower’s lack of nutritional value and high “fart index.” I was trying to make light of something that isn’t funny to me. I would have cooked with you, Kyle. I would have cooked with you if I knew it was important. But since I didn’t know that, since you didn’t tell me, it was easier to make weird jokes about cauliflower and farting. I’m sorry I suck. You keep saying you like my honesty and how direct I am about what I want. When we were with [your friend] at [neighborhood bar], you said you had never been a relationship with anyone else who was so honest before, and you appreciate that you always know when I want to have sex, because otherwise I would shove you off in no uncertain terms. But there are some times that you don’t want me to be disagreeable; this is apparent now. And you never expressed when those times are. We never had established a mechanism for “I don’t want to do this, but I will because it matters to you and you matter to me.” You avoided supposed conflict over things that I could have easily rallied around and that wouldn’t have been a big deal. And you accrued resentment toward me for not attending to your unstated needs. This sucks.

Posted in foodstuff, body humiliation, and fingering trauma | Leave a comment

Semen Achieved

Martin Shkreli is the philanthropist who keeps on giving. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let’s harness humility and say grace for the substance I am most thankful for: semen. Not his.

Below is a conversation I had with The Man Writer featured in Keepsake nearly a year and a half before Martin became wayyy more famous than him. (Debatably, than he.) For those of you who patiently pined to know what dating/fucking The Most Hated Man In America was like, here is your bread and manbutter.

The style is in the substance. The style is in the substance. Chant with me, my friends and frenemies and straight up enemies. And ex lovers who fear me, and ex lovers who wanna be me.

Semen Achieved

(August 24th, 2014)

In which I fuck and suck a preacher’s son for his glorious bounty.

Red Semen Achieved 1

Red Semen Achieved 2

So bizarre. Before Martin, I always assumed shower meant automatic cleanup. And presumptive discretion.

Martin Business Week Article.jpg

Red Semen Achieved 3

Always figured he bought the rights to oxytocin nasal spray, Novartis’ Syntocinon, so when he failed to please women he could placate them instead.

Trouble breastfeeding. Trouble sucking women dry.

Hashtag settling.

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The novice Peter North I’m referring to is The Minnesotan from BJ Haterz Need Not Apply.

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**my college boyfriend

This refers to the guy I dated senior year of college. I talk about him in The Series of One-Oh-Eight and  Hippies Think Bodies are Beautiful and The Inevitable Downfall of a Sexual Narcissist.

Wonderfully weird eyeball vagina youtube video.

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Only someone who has watched a lot of porn would specify such time intervals.

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Hashtag nosedrugs.

We just say sex.

How divorced are we from animal instinct that we have to specify cream pie. I weeeeep for society. Civilization and its motherfucking discontents.

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Hashtag younglove.

Brains Out

(May 17th, 2014)

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Red Brains Out 2

Hashtag blessed.

 

 

 

 

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The Champagne and Cocaine Crowd

We are to meet up at the 6 stop on 86th and Lex, focal point of my adolescence. Spence, my snobfest all-girls elementary thru high school, located just a few blocks away off Museum Mile. Every time I come back, I get all sorts of feels. Memories. Hormones. Emotions. A momentary relapse into being pimple-faced and metal-mouthed, perhaps, or maybe it’s the sensation of my instincts welling up behind my internalized surveillance. Pressure. Suppression. The entire act of being among them is one of self-monitoring, sucking in one’s stomach, literally, figuratively. I never belonged there, arrived via ERB scores, no blue blood coursing through my veins. My parents, impervious to the power of connections and influence, harbored a haughty disdain for those with social aspirations, never ventured to meet the Right People; ergo, like Odysseus, I was Nobody. Stood no chance at a social standing. Sink swim or ride, it’s a forced choice proposition if you don’t have a Hamptons or Connecticut house; if you summer in the city and live East of Park Avenue year-round; if your parents haven’t hired personal shoppers to dress you, tutors to do your homework, and drivers to usher you from appointment to appointment; if they haven’t started a lifestyle company in your name to pad your college apps. What are you to make of yourself, if you haven’t come packaged?

Nodding, manners, smiles, silence, sliding in where an opening clears: survival skills I assimilated early on. My existence in their social sphere so tenuous, I misspent my youth quaking in fear of being reprimanded for a petty faux pas, nevermind channeling the precocious sophistication to know what “faux pas” meant. Two years ago, emerging from illness, I staggered into a Spence Young Almuni Event reflexively. Reminding myself of who I was, once, and never wanted to be. Planted firmly on my traction biker boots, I assumed the defensive mental posture of subway stance, one foot in front of the other, knees slightly bent for instant transition. Staring steely-eyed from the rim of my basin-bellied wine glass, insulating myself against trips and spills. This time, instead of fading into a wallflower corner, paralyzed at the sidelines of popularity, simultaneously hoping and not hoping that someone would ask me to dance at Goddard Gaieties, I found myself in the whirlwind of a receiving line with nary a firm handshake rehearsed. Gracefully greeting young women in tidy yuppie costumes, the grown-up iteration of pleated uniforms and pennied pleather loafers. Once record-breaking rebellious, jeering the authorities with their back talking bravado and brash refusal to comply with the school dress code, The OG Preppy Handbook, now they were muted. Understated black silhouettes flanked by men’s last names. From holding convictions, to part of the system.

Medically quarantined, I had become a source of intrigue. Chronic disease disaffect beckoning with understated mystery. You look great, they said and meant it. They, who worked in marketing and fashion merchandising, repping lifestyle brands by way of Harvard Business School—the PR-pitch friendly, modern-day Mrs. Degree. They wanted to know how I had lost the weight. About the curly hair. The clean skin. Pesky bacteria be damned, eradicated with every last trace of my homely existence. Except for my impetus to appear before the High Court for the brutalist of judgment. The girl who would not fail to show up, the girl who would not shut the fuck up.

That conquest impulse zipped me into my Betsey Johnson dress and paraded me down to the elite underground. Whether they lacked the taste or social acuity eludes me. Either way, they lavished me with praise for my inexplicable weight loss, knowing full well about the glamorous eating disorder I had struggled with as a shy, skittish adolescent. Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. Swallowing a bite of food, an act of political defiance more powerful than exercising one’s right to vote, in our closed circles. “Chemo drugs,” I deadpanned. “Saying goodbye to my colon,” more specific. My panacea punchline. My dirty little secret. My swath of lucky bitchdom. Mine.

Sincere enough, were their condolences and well wishes. Once they realized the faux pas they had committed—judging a bookish girl by her cover, caught without the right platitudes, no ad copy to cover nuance. Perhaps I would have reveled in the influx of attention, perhaps I should have, except for being plagued with wonder: Would they have been equally apologetic if I had emerged before my time? Dared to look disheveled in public? Only a year before I had dropped out of our ten-year high school reunion, pregnant with steroids, tethered to a toilet, unrecognizable in face and demeanor even to myself. It wasn’t the fat, per se. I wasn’t cute chubby like a tween anticipating a growth spurt, unbuttoning my low-rise jeans for burger and milkshake breathing room. The weight had distributed unevenly and cruelly: depositing in my cheeks, chin, and stomach; skipping my chicken limbs entirely. Triple chin, unsightly folds, I was packed to the brim like Mama June in Here Comes Honey Boo. A slouchy kangaroo pouch strapped to my middle portion where a minimalist belly used to reside. Its defiant squatter rights foreshadowing the installation of my sloppy ileostomy bag, swinging pendulous, uniboobed down with tube top spandex.

If I hadn’t felt bad enough about the utter defilement of my form and function, I was doubly guilty for caring, having internalized the toxic social norms for which I derided the compulsory perfectionists of the UES. The double bind of being a woman: valueless if you’re fat or ugly; frivolous, even unfeminist, if you take pains to attend to your appearance. It wasn’t vanity, exactly, that kept me indoors, under covers, solitary; it was the visible manifestation of a body slipping away from itself, it’s impertinent refusal to cooperate. The conventionally attractive privilege I had been born into no match for the capricious sac of skin, bones, and flesh I was becoming.

Just a year after my courageous comeback, I marched through TriBeCa clunking down with confidence, on my way to the annual Young Alumnae Party at a “seasonably inspired” restaurant featuring “hand-crafted” cocktails. Only to discover spring collection 2013 had been rotated out of style, washed up with last year’s news cycle, acid-washed jeans, ankle boots. Arriving at the unmarked entrance fashionably late, a pack of girls I hadn’t seen in over a decade, sprinkled with a few who fawned over me last year, passed me by with purpose, barely a whiff of acknowledgment. Like the pretty pony with blinders attitude you’re instructed to emulate in those Stranger Danger school-wide assemblies everyone sleeps through, backpacks as pillows, light as a feather stiff as a board. No longer a source of thinspiration for them, miraculous transformation debunked, once again, I had become inert. Will never be Tai from Clueless, not even some rich girl’s “project.”

Approaching various groups, angling to break in. My wine glass tipped toward their laughter and language, my noise muffled by the bad acoustics. The awkwardness of being ignored as an adult in a room full of people you know, on the outskirts of eye contact. I reverted three decades to an out-of-touch parent in a sitcom, tin can telephone pressed up against child’s door, shut off from communication. Pretending to loaf into an amorphous group, an emphatic gesture of impression management, I scrolled through my phone and checked my texts, repeatedly, as if to indicate I had someplace better to be, I knew people who enjoyed my company, even requested it. I knew people. Welp! Deflated, yet somehow still taking up too much space, I resigned to give up and move on. Turning toward the exit, tracing the flight of stairs up and out, I was met by a familiar and friendly pair of eyes: Lana nodded me over. After the wave of relief settled my shoulders, stature rising like a turtle’s head popping out of its shell, my first thought: What was her transgression? Being black, no doubt. No other explanation for her sitting alone, barstool balancing. Also searching. Or maybe she just hated those bitches as much as I did.

We commiserated about the glaring lack of food at all Spence events. Miniature cornbread with a dollop of cream cheese, the skimpy appetizer du jour circling ironclad cliques. “Artisanal” what rich people call food they appropriate, to justify its consumption, make it quaint, those adorable poors and their staples. Put a toothpick flag in it.

“Next time I come, Ima shove a sandwich in my purse,” she joked.

“Don’t even be discreet about it. Flaunt that shit. Something needs to be done.”

“Seriously, with all this free booze. They’re tryna get us drunk. So we donate.”

“As if I have anything to donate. Contribute to these people,” I chortle out of my noise, more respiratory depression than postnasal drip. “What. Tha. Fuck. Let’s bring a meat platter,” I up the ante. Raise you a baloney to their BS!

Meat platter, “charcuterie,” as the champagne and cocaine crowd designates it, dignifying grass-fed Oscar Meyer cold cuts apportioned into infinitesimal bits. For placement on gluten-free crackers enriched with flax. For those who are “sensitive.” Those who didn’t need to attend high school, because they had magazine internships that turned into real estate jobs, because they had buildings named after them before they were legally old enough to change their own name. Who needs sustenance, anyway, when everyone knows rich people harvest their energy from Soul Cycle. Shovel refined powders up their nostrils with Quinn Morgendorffer really cute pores, but hold the bread, eating paleo is like eating consciousness.

Forget about cornbread. That’s for savages. Coarse, unrefined.

“Might as well serve crumbs, and call it caviar,” we both laugh. Like we are old chums. Though we first connected at an event a few years ago. When we felt left out.

Cocaine. Crumbs. Cocaine. Crumbs. Let us have cake. (But not in public.)

The best part of being an outsider: some people make you feel like you belong. To a secret society of underdogs with our own outreach handshake, a strict admissions policy: Don’t be an asshole. Acknowledge others, as if they exist. As if they know what faux pas means. Even if they opted out of taking the language of educated young ladies, even though they don’t have any hired “help” to direct in Español.

“All that tuition money and they give us a side to Kraft mac ‘n cheese. Beg for our continued ‘support’ and frown upon panhandlers, obviously. I never even graduated from high school,” I paused. Punctuated with a hearty laugh. Raised my puppy eyes toward her for approval.

“Do they even know?” she asked, intuitive.

Just nod if you can hear me…

To be noticed for the wrong thing, not to be noticed, to stand out, to be invisible. Worse than being reprimanded or eliciting a glare is to be shunned. The codified behavior that Upper East Siders adopt to connote “not me.” Traveling in packs, standing in tight circles, backs blockading the masses of plebes, pretending those who fail to stay in the subtly suggested lines aren’t worth acknowledging. Always poised, always polite, always proper, they simply look right through you. Eyes fixed, nose up, hair flip. Dismiss.

To go back to the Upper East Side is to be under constant surveillance. Simultaneously invisible. The paradox of scrutiny. Pressure. Suppression.

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10k Q & A: Part 1

YOU SEEM SO OUT OF CONTEXT IN THIS GAUDY APARTMENT COMPLEX

This is like hearing a sample of a sound bite of a conversation and coming to a conclusion. We do not know what lead up to this exchange or what followed… this could very well have been a contentious exchange between the two that she instigated and he turned it into a sarcastic sexual thing.

Oldnewbie on reddit

Yes, for the sake of brevity and relevance, I only included one chuck of our most recent correspondence. If you must know, the rest of our faceboook exchanges consisted of his persistent and unrequited attempts to see me, his requesting a “three-way” between his cats and my cat, his claiming I like to pretend I’m different since getting a new boyfriend but he knows I’m still just a slut, and his refusing to acknowledge my new boyfriend as legitimate impediment to my fucking other people. Still think I’m selectively editing to my advantage and his detriment? If you read the rest of my blog, you’d realize it’s curated, as any distillation of a large body of information must be, yet not especially flattering. Deliberately not so.

“Note the ‘I know you’ve got nothing better to do’ part which is him indicating she has no life.”

Oldnewbie on reddit

LOL. If the archives of my blog are any indication, I beg to differ. Assuming having bountiful reserves of men at my disposal constitutes a life. “I know you’ve got nothing better to do” is a figure of speech, a weak and transparent attempt at persuasion. A gentle neg.

 

KNOCKOFFS

 “Buying counterfeit bags is illegal.”

 —Broad City

As much as I want to join in on the circle-jerk and grab my pitchfork, keep in mind that Business Insider only said: ‘A woman claiming to be Shkreli’s ex-girlfriend said he sent her a series of Facebook messages…’ So this entire conversation is still unverified and can very easily be faked. Don’t rule out the possibility that this “Katie” person is just trying to get her blog numbers up. All because Business Insider ‘reported’ on it does not mean it is a verified source.

naxypoo on reddit

Of course you wouldn’t believe a woman. Especially a slutty one. Girls who like to fuck can’t be trusted. Are pathological. How many women had to speak up and how many men needed to be vocal in their support before anyone believed Bill Cosby, wholesome-as-pie sitcom dad, is a serial rapist… Oh hey, got you to look: feminist agenda forwarded! And my boobs are real too.

FYI, Business Insider is not Perez Hilton. While screenshots were the bulk of the materials I sent them, I also forwarded an email from Martin’s old work account in which he begs for my continued acquaintance. Can one fake a forwarded email? Maybe. Doubtful. I definitely don’t have those kinda skillz. Got my high school equivalency diploma from the NY State skool of hard knocks, after all.

I will henceforth only respond to “The Woman Who Would Give Her Name Only As ‘Katie.’”

 

DEFECATION

Oh god. Does she know what a defamation suit is?

hip_hop_opotimus on reddit

Yeah, bro. It’s when you tarnish someone’s reputation by spreading lies. I’m insulated against such a charge because truth. Ya know, freedom of press. ‘Murica, fuck yeah.

 

IMPLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY

“What I’m having right now is an inappropriate physical reaction to my total joy for you…”

–Hannah Horvath, Girls

As with the other accusations against him, Shkreli dismissed Katie’s claims about his behavior. He told Business Insider “we don’t know the context” of their conversation. Shkreli also suggested the screenshots posted by Katie could have been “fabricated.”

“You can see it, but perhaps there’s some, you know, back and forth that you don’t have on an email address or something,” Shkreli said of the screenshots posted by Katie. “Maybe I’m referring to something else. You know, it’s possible that it’s not what you think. It’s also possible it’s fabricated. I don’t know. I don’t have them. It’s from 2009. It’s a jilted lover or vice versa. It just doesn’t seem that meaningful.”

—Business Insider, The Hedge Funder at the Center of the Drug-Increase Controversy has a Long History of Alleged Bad Behavior

I’ll defer to wise reddit commenters for this one:

That reaction, and the details from her blog post make me pretty comfortable believing that this is a genuine exchange between the two.

Is it possible that it’s faked? Sure. But think about the verified, true things that you know about his behavior and demeanor. Does it seem likely to you that this is faked?

Now, I feel it’s poor taste to blog about such an exchange. I mean, I think most people have had conversations with [ex]significant others that would be interpreted as wildly inappropriate if presented to someone… who wasn’t familiar with the relationship…

Still, I feel like the exchange itself is real, and it’s her life (and blog) to post about, and she pretty clearly feels like he’s a scumbag, which is hard to argue.

James_Bolivar_DiGriz on reddit

I appreciate his point that, though he believes sharing details about a past partner to be distasteful, (every non-fiction writer’s plight,) it is my story to tell. Too often someone who has interacted with a famous or would-be famous person gets shafted into the opportunistic “proximity to fame” category, when they are compelling in their own right. Forever after they are recognized as an accessory to another’s story, instead of the subject of their own. Is it sleazy to bask in someone else’s spotlight? It takes hustling and thriftiness to get one’s material together on another’s news-cycle clock, that’s for sure.

Yeah, I think the normal person’s reaction to a false accusation that they tried to pay 10k to lick someone’s genitals would be to laugh in the face of the person confronting you and just say, you know, obviously something so insane could only be fake.

The fact that he can’t just deny it like a normal person is a pretty big flag that, yeah it happened.

hithazel on reddit

Nailed it. Sorta like how when my Lit-Theater college boyfriend reacted with rage, instead of amusement, when I solemnly inquired as to whether he miiight be gay, I interpreted it as a confirmation rather than a denial.

 

I THINK HER NAME IS LUCY BUT THEY ALL CALL HER LOOSE

She’s clearly a class act as well.

RedeemingVices on reddit

If you believe that sex—or recreational sex—is trashy, then I’m as trashy as they come, gladly. Thankfully I don’t believe in the illusory correlation between sex and social class. Check your self-righteousness.

 

THE IMMACULATE COLLECTION

Probably has an immaculate box.

—hambonejackson on Barstool Sports

Nope, not if we’re going by porno standards of attractiveness. To be a traditional (mainstream?) porn star, I’d be required to book a date at the salon for a labia trim, since sexual desirability for women is typified by minimalism, coyness, hush hush. Then again, Playboy is no longer hosting nudes of women so altered with plastic surgery, airbrushing and artifice they no longer resemble living breathing human beings. Awaiting the headline: Humans Prefer to Wank to Life Forms Immediately Recognizable as Human Beings than those Styled as Real Sex Dolls. All of this is to say, I have big, flappy lips that make smacking sounds when happy. If you wanna be “vagina swallowed” as Ilana from Broad City would phrase it, I’m your gal. Messy pussy as a boutique sex act, mmmm. If you wanna get high fived for scoring a perfect ten, nice ‘n tidy, not so much.

You sound like a gem, referring to a woman’s interactive body parts in the most objectifying language possible. Box: a receptive object used to stuff stuff into things. Snoochie boochies!

I need a visual. Is she hot?

oldschoolfl on reddit

Not 10k worth. Average for an attractive person. Won’t turn heads. Rarely gets turned down. Know how to get what I want. Amateur is sorta trending right now, tho? Solid GFE.

I need pics of this “Katie.” Can’t put this dude on blast and refuse to show your face.

—oberyn on Barstool Sports

Hold up, so I should suffer for his bad behavior? My sex life may be prolific, but my misdeeds pale in comparison to his, will never have a devastating, nevertheless potentially deadly, impact on thousands of vulnerable people. More mischief than misconduct, that’s meee. And do you understand the disproportionate repercussions women face professionally on account of their personal lives? Anyone remember Monica? That intelligent woman who became a public punching bag and eternal punchline for opening her orifices to a man in power. But let’s crucify witches, lady adulterers, and those who a long time ago in a galaxy far far away had sex with an inconspicuous white-collar criminal in-training. Let’s fucking blow whistles in whistleblowers’ ears REAL LOUD. That’ll teach ‘em. For opening their slut traps, and their mouths.

 

CAN I GET JUST A LITTLE BIT OF POWER

If I were rich I would definitely pay exes for sex, then proceed to call them dumb whores as I came in their eye. Power moves only.

—tcsewell3 on Barstool Sports

Ha! Exactly the tone he was going for. Pitch perfect.

“I wonder if it’s a power thing for guys like him. For ten thousand dollars he could probably find girls far hotter than his ex that would do wayyy more but for some reason he feels the need to harass her. Maybe it’s some sort of fetish I just don’t get but it’s rude as hell.”

KakaKrabbyPatties on reddit

Yup, he could get way hotter than me. And more willing to put on a show for money. For $10k even the most repulsive loser could find a decent woman to feign enthusiasm and tolerate his company. When we were dating and still in touch, he was all about checking things off an imaginary list, whittling notches in the belt holding up his UFOs (as long as his hands didn’t get dirty!)—nevermind pleasure. The more extreme or hard-to-come-by the more points, I suppose. Sex points, scene points. Justification of effort dictates levels of satisfaction with one’s accomplishment? Figured it was just a phase, that adolescent acquisitive thing. Mostly I was game. Until I objected. Until he became too objectionable.

“It’s all about getting his ex to do something she doesn’t want. It’s all about the power and his money status. Dude is weird. If it were about sex he’d do what you said n find a different chick.”

mostdope28 on reddit

You nailed it. It’s about humiliation, hegemony, and maybe a lil’ bit o’ revenge served stale on a silver platter. I doubt paying for sex is ever really about the sex unless it’s a really boutique sex act. Or one finds themself compelled to explore explicit sexual transactions by an idle curiosity, a journalistic sense of duty to extract EXPERIENCE and TRUTH. More curiosity than compulsion. (Though I’m open to suggestion otherwise.)

Just like rape is not about the sex. (Not that I’m equating rape and non-coercive financial exchanges in the slightest.) Because nobody CAN’T get laid. Martin isn’t THAT prima facie repugnant and red flaggy. A decade+ ago he didn’t have enough institutional power to be that punchable.

Posted in 10k q&a: part 1 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

10k Addendum

Remember how I said I couldn’t post uncensored screenshots of Martin Shkreli and my facebook correspondence because facebook was holding them prisoner? Well, lucky for me, facebook has released his account from investigation and restored access to the incriminating messages he once tossed off into the gaping void. See what I did there?

A few of you have suggested the shots I previously posted couldn’t possibly be real, must be a shoddy Photoshop job, as Facebook Chat never appeared in that format. One of those three allegations is true. These conversations were NOT from Facebook Chat, which was introduced but not yet mandatory in 2008, according to this press release. Notice the boldface of “statistics” and “vday” below? That indicates they are the subject lines of what were once classified as Private Messages, before Chat and Inbox were merged.

A few of you do not remember, or are too young to remember, how the internet worked in the Golden Age of Anarchy and Innovation, back when people revealed their innermost goth on livejournal, lavished their friends with inside joke-ladden praise in Friendster’s “testimonials,” shared their liberal arts school projects on DeviantArt, posed for SuicideGirls in front of graffiti walls, pirated Belle and Sebastian from Kazaa and Limewire, connected to other political activist types via IndyMedia, called each other from-dorm-room-to-door-room using landlines with 4-digit extensions, wrote facebook updates in the third person, life updates on white boards gum-tacked to their unlocked doors, and carried their key cards in their Vicky Secret water bras. Ahh, that was fun reminiscing from my lumbar spine-supporting rolly chair and geriatric slippers.

Alas, Martin Uncensored:

Redacted MS1

Redacted MS2

Redacted MS3

Redacted MS4

Stay tuned for a Q and A (or comment and critique) where I attempt to respond to your feedback and coverage of this news story en masse.

Posted in 10k addendum, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

10k

Before I moved across the big pond, I made sure to do lots of New Yorky things: eat everything bagels, go to the new Whitney, ride on the handlebars of a hipster’s fixie, steal something of no monetary value from a self-promoter, kiss Lit Lounge and the lingering traces of East Village grit goodbye, tie up frayed threads of partners past and prospective. Characters I met at shows, on tinder, transferring subways, through friends and friends-of-friends and the claustrophobic scene that is NYC when you were raised a private school brat and your world in infinitely insular. But by far the New Yorkiest thing I’ve done is dating a fist-pumping hedge fund bro who is now tabloid-trashy infamous.

That’s right, kids. Freshman year of college I dated Martin Shkreli: unrepentant capitalist, quoter of Eminem lyrics, embodiment of douchebaggery. The most reviled man in America during this New-York-minute news cycle, which opportunistic politicians have played to their advantage. Martin and I dated long-distance when I was 18 and he was 19. He was working as a junior analyst at Jim Cramer’s Cramer Berkowitz, around the corner from parents’ Midtown apartment in the tenuous post-911 landscape, and attending Baruch College sporadically. His favorite bands were Thursday and Taking Back Sunday, his favorite word austere. We met on the bus home from a Green Day/Blink-182/Saves The Day show at Jones Beach the summer before I frolicked off to hippie dippy liberal arts college. Charming right? A teenage dream. Except it soon became obvious that Martin was a pathological liar, would pretend to cheat on me and brag about it to raise his value in my eyes, so I’d always feel like I was hanging on by a thread, could be replaced, would vie for his approval and forgiveness. Except it backfired, made me think he was pathetic, not desirable.

When we broke up for good, we kept in touch for a while. Had copious bouts of post-break up sex, as per indulgent college-aged kid protocol. I stayed with him for a day or two on the UES after he moved out of an apartment in the Olympic Tower that he had rented from a high school classmate who didn’t know what to do with his inheritance. And then I moved on, like a reasonably well-adjusted emerging adult human. Except when facebook became a thing, in November 2004, Martin began contacting me. First friendly, then increasingly inappropriate and desperate. Unwanted. In April 2008, a full 5-years after we had broken up, he sent me a facebook message alleging, “95% of the time i get off i’m thinking about you.” “ick,” I responded. And it didn’t end there and then.

Because he couldn’t summon my company with his alternately mopey emo boy and manic money-thirsty persona, he began begging me with obscene amount of cash. We’ll never know whether he was serious or bluffing. Either way a fist-pumping exercise in eighties-style douchebag bravado, an emaciated mouse of a man trying to beef himself up with an impressive portfolio, classically conditioned to the sound of the NYSE’s Closing Bell. Funny considering when we were together he never spent money on me unless his friends were standing by the sidelines waving him on, green with envy or antipathy.

See screenshots of relevant conversations below. The first set I copied and pasted from fb to gmail about a year ago, before this whole biotech big pharma price gouging scandal blew up. The next set I took directly from facebook earlier today to prove our correspondence is authentic. Unfortunately you can’t see his side because facebook has made his account, or at least the messages that were sent from it way back when, inaccessible. The third is a message he sent to me from his work email while running the hedge fund Elea Capital Management, further proof that I did in fact know this guy and have rebuffed his continued advances. Obviously I have redacted my last name from the screenshots; otherwise they are undoctored.

Martin Shkreli Facebook 1 Redacted

Martin Shkreli Facebook 2 Redacted

Martin Shkreli Screenshot 1 Redacted

Martin Shkreli Screenshot 2 Redacted

Martin Shkreli Screenshot 3 Redacted

Martin Shkreli Email Redacted

Martin Shkreli Email Response Redacted

The final point of contact, which sadly I didn’t capture, was his attempt to refriend me on facebook this summer. (Never bothered to delete the request; facebook won’t allow me to access it now that his account is under investigation or whatever). I had unfriended him after he solicited me for prostitution and wouldn’t stop pestering me. Unbeknownst to me, his latest attempt came at around the same time he became CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. A friend in finance speculated the surprise contact could be explained by Martin’s sudden acquisition of cash to spend… on women.

Stay classy, baby.

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Keepsake

KEEPSAKE

MAY 2014

“That’s backwards of how the whole author thing works,” Andrew condescends, upon my suggesting I might read his book if we meet in-person and I don’t hate his guts. “If we meet and you hate me you can still hate-read my book,” he presses. And we move on from there, except a few weeks later he’s back at it, assigning reading as a tinder date entry-level prereq when he was the one who messaged me; I did not sign up for his private tutorial. “I just find it unattractively arrogant that you think I wanna read your book, or that I should read it, or whatever,” I attempt to deflate Andrew’s sense of entitlement. But he dismisses me with an adolescent “Meh. I don’t care,” as if he’s literally plugging up his ears and humming over me. “It’s like in college when the guy who didn’t do the reading still wants to be involved in the class discussion.” Incensed, I interject, “Wtf! Do I have to praise your work to talk to you? Are you gonna read stuff that’s important to me, or is that not relevant because I’m not a published author??” And I knock him down a notch: “I’m pretty sure I know people who have made much more significant contributions to society than a memoir about cocaine use.”

Andrew, arbiter of appropriateness, puts a yellow flag on our dispute, determining it has gone “off the rails.” The next day, allowed to speak, I reiterate: I will not subject myself to being quizzed on your life, an area in which you are indisputably an erudite scholar; I will not be a fan girl in a one-sided, worship-based relationship; I didn’t fucking consent to this rigged student-teacher social hierarchy. I allow him to apologize, if insincerely. When I ask what exactly he is apologizing for, he does a decent job paraphrasing my grievances. So I am willing to put it behind me, pretend to ignore my misgivings in the spirit of sex. Aren’t we all?

Shifting from foot to foot, waiting for our order at the pick-up window of the chili pepper red food truck, parked inside Habana Outpost’s outdoor enclosure, I spot him out of the corner of my jumpy eye, which is darting around for signs of the water, plasticware, untaken seats. Corn, is what he ordered, and a smile breaks across his sparsely freckled complexion, as I turn toward him with our dinner tray jutting out from beneath my overhang of tits. Andrew limps toward me, more gimp than gangsta, and I think he is juuust my make: long and lanky, slightly damaged, ladylike legs naturally spindly and now mismatched from a break sustained toppling over himself, subway steps deceptively slick after a nighttime scrub down. We sweep down under the canopy of a picnic table and face each other head-on for the first time, after over a month of unrealized suggestion—racy, fantastical, immaterial.

He reaches across the wood planks to hand me a sweater, as promised, attending to my complaint about the chilly summer breeze as he headed out the door to meet me. Soft and pleasantly unwashed, like bedsheets that have been slept in for weeks, comforting, his everyday pinpoint polka dot hoodie. I sniff it, covertly, as I flip it over my head and wrap it around my shivering shoulders, one swift motion is what I’m going for. With his offering comes a sailor hat and Hawaiian lei, party favors from the nautical-themed birthday party that he invited me to then silently uninvited me from just last night, on our joint birthday. Sensing the miffed expression creeping across my face, my lips thinning, he hands me more sweet nothings, dresses excuses as compliments, “I wouldn’t have been able to focus on the other guests if you were there.” I raise one corner of my mouth, unconvinced. “It’s best we met this way. So I wouldn’t be so distracted trying to get them to go home so I could be alone with you. The second I saw you in your floral dress… I was like ‘yes!’” I think back to five-minutes ago at the food truck, my eye catching the glimmer his. Our conversation has already elapsed a little stilted and awkward, not audacious and alluring like our previous correspondence. Better in print, I suppose.

Subtly, I try to shift the topic from backgrounds and upbringings to something that authentically animates me: lawn flamingos, kitsch… gay porn, we somehow land on. And you can’t talk about gay porn without buttsex, my colorectal surgery, lack of internal butt, his obsession with great butts, doing yoga to ogle them… “I’m into butts but not… ‘butt stuff’” he blushes, fair skin tinting to approximate the graphic cherries on his scarf. Still sheepish, “This is like, I don’t know about saying this on a first date.” His voice falters. “It’s cool,” I urge him to go on. “This is like, our 5th date, basically. We know so much about each other already.” He tells me about his ex girlfriend from nearly five years ago, the one from The Book, her interest in poking around “back there,” his eyes opening wide and teeth gritting in restraint as he tells me the horror, the craaayziness. It’s small potatoes to me, after all I’ve done and seen—bland, almost.

Presenting as a peacock, he’s deliberately adorned himself in two items of flair—grey fitted vest over pink button-down, loudly patterned scarf he insists is an “ascot.” And I suppose that is the conversation piece, this a page ripped straight from Neil Strauss’ The Game, a pick-up manual for men without natural charisma. I’m starting to wonder whether he’s the real deal or carefully curated, a concoction. Feel as if I’ve pulled back the curtain on The Wizard of Oz, himself. Flamboyant image overcompensating for timidity, introspection, bookishness. Dorkiness, even. Quotations for every occasion or character flaw like a walking hallmark card or alibi—recited, rehearsed. Had I not invested a month in him already, I would have brushed off the situation as an intellectual connection with no physical chemistry. But I let him dilate time, lead me to the next location, extending bum leg all the way out, then rolling up on the front pad of his foot, with me following in tow. “Topple-over tits” is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of how he was walking. His demeanor, his disproportionate body. Underneath his puffed-up plumage is a sparrow teetering on teeny legs—mild-mannered, shy, sweet.

At the threshold of his brownstone, I take in our surroundings: his stroller-brigade Boerum Hill block does not resemble the pre-gentrification Fort Greene backdrop of the fantasies in which he casts himself as a legendary Downtown “scenester,” who nightlifed in Manhattan before it became a glorified B&T suburb. Creaking open his double door, he leads me into a collector’s cave of memorabilia. Not kitschy like David Cassidy or hardcore like Agnostic Front. But narcissistic like a shrine dedicated to his own microfame. His foyer greets me with a prominent magazine display, more mantelpiece painting than doctor’s office rack, only one item balancing on the moulding. Inquiring about the significance, he lifts it off the lip of the wall, flips it over, and there it is, on the back cover, a miniscule photograph of him, head poking out behind the important people. A hanger-on, he is, like Woody Allen’s Zelig, seeking to camouflage with celebrities, assume an identity of having “made it,” solidify fleeting acquaintances in photo ops, become part of any cultural zeitgeist that will have him, then relive it as a historian. All I can hope is that he’s a brilliant self-satirist, in on his own joke. This is a mockumentary, the soundstage walls set to come down. “This is Spinal Tap.”

On his bedside table, merch is spread out garishly—pins with his signature selfie. Meant for the days of jean jackets, backpacks. “May I have one?” I demure, estimating megalomania memorabilia to be the most hilarious sex souvenir this side of the East River. It’s sort of a test, how seriously does he take his craft. “No, I give those to people who have paid for my book.” My nose scrunches up at his denial. “Would it be weird if I showed up at one of your readings?” I ask. “Not at all, but I only do readings at indie bookstores,” he reminds me of his cred, emphatic, as if that were even the question I asked. Or maybe he’s reminding himself. “You should hand them out to girls you fuck and hope they bump into one another, knowingly. Like that Degrassi episode where Jay gives Emma gonorrhea of the mouth and brands her with the bracelet he gives all the girls. ‘Every Player Gets a Prize,’ it says.” “Ha! How ridiculous would that be?” Soo ridiculous. So ridiculous. That, shit, suddenly I covet a stupid trinket.

Before we met, I knew exactly how he wanted to be described. I had read it in a bad review of his book, a damning indictment if ever there were one. According to the reviewer, on his boundless quest for self-validation and cultural relevance—amidst his peers assuring him his work is brilliant and marveling at how a skinny literary nerd manages to land so many hot chicks—his biggest transgression is bragging about his girth. By way of another character, of course. Social proof! He had slipped it into one of our text message convos, as well, apropos of nothing—that he and his college girlfriend dated for three whole years even though he was “too thick” for her. Yeah right.

I didn’t mean to say it, exactly. I hadn’t rehearsed it in my bathroom mirror, or anything. And I wasn’t even sure we were having sex, penis-in-vagina style, until I hovered over him patiently waiting for consent, encouragement, enthusiasm, and he over-pronounced all the vowels, “Soo inappropriate for a first date. Preeemartial sax.” Yet, when the opportunity presents, somehow I can’t resist—testing to see if he will recognize my mimicry and implicit mockery. On my hands and knees, he pummeling me from behind, I peek over my shoulder and coo, “Mmm, you are really thick.” “Is it too much?” he hopes and dreams, his starry eyes sparkling in self-adulation. Nearly breaking character, I have to brace myself from collapsing into giggles. Struggling to one-up myself with a retort, I manage to deliver, “No… it’s purrrfect. I feel so tight around you.” My muscles clench around him and my timbre wavers.

MAY 2015

Once he commences ignoring me, I decide that I no longer need to have any principles about him. So I purchase his book, send him the receipt, and mock him mercilessly, “I read your book. Twice. Now what do I have to do to get you to fuck me again? I would get down on my knees and suck you while reading your book aloud if it were physically possible.” Shockingly, he doesn’t bite my bait. Whatever, I’m not sure the degradation is worth the sex anyway, sweetheart this, honey that. Except the sex is reallly good. So who cares if he’s a profesh narcissist who uses dating as a platform for self-promo. My vag doesn’t know the diff. Anyway, I’m not sure if he’s more damaged than most or if he just flaunts his flaws. It’s the prob people have assessing me, I guess, so I feel a certain kinship.

A year later he reinserts himself into my frame. Bidding me a happy birthday. And I can’t help but reduce him to an object, a passing fad. Collect them all!

commemorative pin

A week or so later he reemerges, and I check his social media to see to what I owe the pleasure. Apparently he broke up with his “girlfriend” and was looking for attention, to pick a fight, who knows. I put that word in quotes because it seemed superficial and tenuous, like he felt compelled to announce his relationship continually all over social media, told her publicly how pretty she was, literally tagged anything she commented on #girlfriend, as in “my #girlfriend is funny.” The most insecure in their standing are always the showiest. “Well thanks for thinking of me when you needed someone to lick your wounds,” I brushed him off. “But I’m not some fucking volunteer tending to lost souls. Just like I’m not a hospital volunteer. You already used me enough during your overwrought recovery for a broken leg and ignored me when I had cadaver placed in my spine. You know how it is.” And then I remembered I was a ghost, with unfinished business. “Oh… wait… one critical thing I forgot…” I pleaded before he slipped out of my grasp forever. “On our first date you asked to see a picture of my shit.”

green poop map of america

So juvenile. So satisfying.

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The Whir-Grind

The Whir-Grind

 

March 16th, 2015

“You have to start taking responsibility for yourself, start acting like a 30-year-old,” my mom scolds over some petty infraction. “First you won’t go to J. Crew with me to return the suits, suits we ordered for you, then you won’t even order food for yourself…” Either she trails off or I walk away mid-sentence on my way to slamming the door dramatically. “The reason I didn’t go with you is because I’m exhausted, I’ve been through a lot,” my voice wavers. And I’m determined to nail the dagger in, crookedly, before it gives way completely, “You fucking insensitive cunt!” Not quite making it to the door-slam climax I envisioned, my eyes churn ablur, like a washing machine stirring into the sudsy cycle; I toss into tears, high-pitched heaving. In the vacant hallway between our side-by-side apartments, I fiddle frantically with my dangling keys, holding on by the string of a lanyard, shaking them into the slit of a hole with the dexterity of a three-year-old pushing a hexagon through a shape sorter. Just quick enough to deny our mutual neighbors the time to trickle out and gawk, at the commotion, my lack of hand-eye coordination.

Her bitchy accusations trigger a cascade of emotions. “You have to act like a 30-year-old,” the cruelest thing you could say to your daughter who has long been incapacitated due to illness, dependent on you like a newborn child, sometimes contained to a person-powered wheelchair and sometimes in diapers, stuck in her body and unable to move on with her life, barely able to move in the literal sense. If only I could meet the facebook-ready milestones people my age famously achieve, if only I could be healthy consistently enough to hold down a full-time job, move out of my parents’ apartment, be independent.

The most serendipitous of life opportunities doomed before launching, shopping for suits for med school interviews was a production, an ordeal. Boxes and boxes of merchandise rejected, packages piled up like shoddily stacked bricks waiting to collapse.

Most colossal was the inauspicious timing. Lying in bed groggy on prescription painkillers, 2 weeks into my 4-6 weeks of projected recovery for spinal fusion surgery, I swiped my phone open to an e-mail informing me I’d been selected to interview for a seat in the 2015 entering class of a prestigious Irish medical school. Which I had applied to on a whim, supposing what is another 400 dollars and extra essay shipped off into a sea of hopelessness, only to sink spectacularly with the rest of the lot. I should choose one of two interview dates, the email instructed, one right after the other, both three weeks from then, when I still would not be permitted to BLT. You see, post-surgery, I was unable to Bend over to put on my own socks or feed my little kitty, could not Lift more than three pounds, must not have Twisted my torso when rolling over and out of bed. With so many movement restrictions in place, even if stores stocked suits in my size, I wouldn’t have been able to travel on my own to try them on.

Everything about the interview process became an onerous challenge, many hours of logistical and physical effort put into perfecting a conservative costume that would ornament me for one-half hour, while gauged in caliber and gait. There is the issue of my being petite, sizes “P.” With no business-formal clothing for truncated bodies available in corporeal stores, I’m relegated to the realm of slow-acquisition internet purchases followed by requisite tailoring. Inconvenient considering my limited time frame for finding. The bigger issue, har har, is my boobs. Structured jackets unintentionally repurposed as straight jackets, how do I button while remaining free to gesticulate my arms? If only suits came in deep-plunge v-neck style, giving my ample babies room to breathe. So frustrated and flustered I became with the stiffness and misplaced darts, my mom grabbed hold of the reigns and ordered extra options behind my unbendy back.

One night she admitted, “I know you said absolutely no Talbots. But I ordered you two suits from Brooks Brothers. Very classic pinstripe in summer navy, skirt and pants version. Shipping was free, you can always return if you hate.” “Echh, okay.” I resigned. “Stuffy central. But it’s doubtful a Brooks Brothers suit will fit me, anyway, forgetting the uptightness factor. They’re cut for boobless gentiles from Connecticut.” “No, not the Classic Cut. I specifically avoided ordering the style with that in the description.” “It said ‘For Boobless Gentiles’?” I jested. “Pretty much.” Perusing the website, I exclaimed, “’Trim Bust’!” “That’s it.” “Well, I don’t want to trim them before my interview!… though I did shadow that plastic surgeon.”

Fit problems, so man wrong ways to fit and only one right one. Minor sartorial crime a boob-hugging jacket it tempted to commit: the fabric gapes, blouse peeks out between buttons. Crime against humanity, fear-provoking possibility: the top-button hangs on by a thread, flies off mid-interview. Since the inception of this high-stakes Dressing The Part game show, me, the bumbling contestant, I’ve had recurrent nightmares aping the plotline of a Friends episode. The one where Ross got hit in the head with a hockey puck and went to the hospital for stitches. Sitting impatiently in the waiting room, the compact culprit jumped out of his clasped hands and knocked out the nasty intake nurse, had it coming, har har. Only, in my version, I lean forward innocently over the perfectly polished stained-oak round table, answer a question passionately, taking special care to sustain direct and animated eye-contact. So engaged I am in my interaction, I fail to notice what is coming to pass inches below my virgin eyes. The boob-button rips from my chest thread-by-thread and cuts the air sideways like a Frisbee aimed bullseye at the Olde Irish Man’s pert nose. Dumbfounded, he is struck.

After my post-interview blowout with my mom, wherein she implied how useless I am for fucking failing to meet expectations, I stay up all night weeping hysterical, feeling fucking useless like all my effort has been for naught. Each memory recalling the next, they snowball upon each other, I tumble under the slip-slide of their avalanche, crushed by the current of weight and chill. The following morning at 2 p.m., nights dragged on and days truncated by depression, I wake up bleary-eyed, puffy, drained. Strain to bloat my sleep for as long as I can pretend I don’t exist—until my head beats as if I’m banging it against the wall over-and-over, when is this life gonna be fucking over, and summons me out of bed toward my kitchen.

I plod through the swampland of drudgery that is my beige living room, dragging my baggy pajama pants as if they’re weighted down with a dip of mud. Arriving at my kitchen with my earplugs still in, I assess the daunting array of equipment, plop all my morning smoothie ingredients into my trusty all-tasks-in-one blender, and mentally prepare for the utilitarian whir-grind, a noxious noise dissonant to my head beat.

Pound Pound, a loud thud at the door startles me from my smoothie preparation. “Go away,” I Oscar The Grouch, assuming it is my mom to nag me some more. “It’s important,” my dad says shortly, with urgency or annoyance, I don’t know. Money matters, must have been sent as an intermediary to intimidate me. To recoup tuition money from NYU, for a class I had to drop because my surgery was postponed and the recovery time seeped into the semester, couldn’t even lift my textbook, surely greater than 3 lbs. Because my parents refused to pay for my surgery, my body too much of a burden, and I became reliant on insurance, the endless paperwork and bureaucracy of it all, one more application submitted into a sea of hopelessness, a cubicle cubby, somewhere.

Last night begins flooding back into my washed-up head, my parents, their indifference, their demands. “What!?” I yell back, suspicious. “I have a Fed Ex envelope. It came for you.” Blocking my runaway cat with my foot, I creak the door open ever-so slightly, propping it with the dead bolt. And there it is, a thick envelope. Another package. I rip it open as he waits, irritated by my dismissal.

“What is it?” he asks, impatient.

“An acceptance letter.”

“I just got into med school?” I mumble into my shirt, unsure or embarrassed, perhaps.

“I got into med school,” I affirm, looking up at him and locking eyes.

We hug, perfunctory, then leave my apartment, a clamoring procession on our way to tell my mom. Down my hallway we stride, a few paces closer to independence. This package, not for the reject pile.

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