Four months ago I decided to become celibate. And it’s going well. Okay, so ‘well’ isn’t an adjective I’d use to describe my life at the moment, but it’s been…interesting. Enlightening. My hymen is about to grow back, I haven’t rubbed up against the dread-locked guy on the 438 bus yet, and the sex dreams involving Magneto, Adalita and Annie the CPR dummy are fun to interpret. Sure, there’s the nasty case of RSI in my left middle finger, and a brand new obsession with knitting squares of wool, sending them overseas, and hoping that they will be sewn together to make a blanket for some poor, malnourished child in Zambia; but aside from that, not having sex is really not that bad. My life now isn’t that different to when I was married. I just have pink hair and live in a different suburb. Minus a dog. And a mortgage. I’ve hymenated myself and come full circle.
Besides, I have way more spare time to go to the gym, which has enabled me to shave two whole minutes off my three kilometre run time. So I can now sprint away from penis at a velocity that I may not have managed if I was spending my spare time on my back. There are benefits to gaining physical fitness, of course. My physique is honed. Just in time for nobody to see me naked. Oh the irony. I’ve started showering with the window open in the hopes that my 50-something neighbour will have a gander because someone has to benefit from the hours I’m spending on the treadmill, and if I can’t give a bearded hipster an eyeful of my pale arse I can at least give an old Italian man a heart attack.
I could write that my lack of lovin’ is benevolently contributing to the dividend payments of Duracell battery shareholders, and that my decidedly solitary lifestyle is allowing them to buy a second chicken dinner at the pub on Thursdays. For their girlfriend. Who will then have sex with them. Because nothing excites women like a schnitty. Or a man with shares in a battery company. Breaded chicken breast and a diverse stock portfolio is more intoxicating than a man-bun, you know. My Duracell bunny has allowed me to become the Mother Theresa of copulation.
Okay, that part isn’t even true.
I use Eveready.
You might not even like those jokes.
And I really don’t give a schnit.
Okay, I’ll stop now.
But seriously, my brand new lifestyle is courtesy of a Chilean who I went on a few bad dates with when I first got back to Australia. Let’s call him Fern, because that’s alarmingly similar to his real name. And I’m going to be mean to Fern. Sorry, but it’s what I do.
Fern and I were work colleagues back when my job involved stuffing burgers into paper bags with my left hand while I wiped teenage grease from my T-zone with my right. We lost contact, in the way that you do when you meet someone at the age of fifteen, only to meet up again when I started dating my ex-husband. Fern was friends with my ex, and would smoke pot and play basketball with him back when we were stuffing Whoppers into paper bags. We saw each other again at a party, exclaimed how odd life was, and periodically engaged in inebriated exchanges at social gatherings thereafter. I pondered the fatalistic aspects of becoming engaged to a man who had always existed on the fringes of my social circle. Fern apparently stared at my backside when I would inevitably stretch out and fall asleep on a flat surface after too many wines. I got married. Fern stayed single. I briefly wondered if he was gay, lost myself in married life, ultimately got divorced, and lost contact with him.
Then he read my blog.
He found my difficulties of getting a grasp on espanol slightly hilarious, emailed me, and offered to teach me. I gratefully accepted his offer, we started chatting, and things eventually escalated to the point where we sent long and quirky emails to each other while I was traveling. He asked me out, without expressly asking me out: Hola Guapita. Si no estas aburrida de todo lo ‘latino’ me gustaria llevar la a conocer mis amigos espanoles y tambien mis restaurantes sud americano favorito. Which roughly translates to, “Hello Pretty Girl, if you aren’t bored of all that is Latino, I’d like to take you out to my favourite South American restaurants with my friends when you get back.”
Fast forward three months and I am walking through Newtown with him, slightly disconcerted at the way I can look straight over the top of his head without raising my chin. I don’t remember him being so damn short, I thought. He’s like a Latino hobbit. What the fuck am I doing being led down King Street by Diego Baggins? Despite this, the date was perfectly adequate. We chatted. We laughed. He didn’t eat. I did. He kept getting up to use the bathroom. I crossed and recrossed my legs. He covered his mouth when he talked. I wondered if my paella had left a chunky bit of blackened herb in my teeth. I threw bad Spanish at the waitress. She looked to him for a translation. I excused myself to check my teeth in the bathroom and he surreptitiously paid the bill while I was gone. Upon exiting the restaurant, he grabbed my hand, let it go, wiped his palm on his T-shirt, re-grabbed said hand, then confidently wove me through the traffic of King street all the way to the Bank Hotel. We drank beer. He chain smoked, knocked a flying cockroach out of the air in a way that was slightly ninja, inched his chair closer to mine, asked how many tattoos I had, then told me about his internet dating mishaps in a way that was slightly tragic.
Just after midnight he drove me back to my parents house, put the car in park, leaned over, opened his mouth wide, and latched onto my face like an eager catfish. The thirty seconds that followed was, for me, not unlike being licked into submission by an obsessive compulsive bulldog. I pulled away, he made a bad joke, patted my head affectionately, and delicately suggested that I get out of his car. Now.
Then he texted to ask me out for a second date. And, despite the fact that I wasn’t particularly enthused, I agreed.
Because he was nice. Really nice. Plus he was a musician, but we’re ignoring that part. He was just…a nice guy. Who was into me. And indulging the emotionally stable men that show interest in you when you are disconcertingly close to middle age is the mature thing to do, right? Sure, the three things I usually find essential in the opposite sex are a height difference in his favour, a kiss that makes my toes curl, and chemistry that makes my brain fuzz; but focusing on that at the expense of someone who was
a musician nice seemed shallow. Sure, he resembled a sweaty, salivating Tolkein character, but he seemed normal. And he wasn’t Gary Glitter. Or Macauley Culkin. So why not give him a second date?
Looking back, the warning signs of douchebaggery were always there. “Sorry to kick you out of my car the other night,” he began via text message, “but you looked so good that if we had of kept kissing I wouldn’t have been able to stop myself.”
Which is, well, a little….oh, I don’t know. Rapey?
Hey baby, you looked so hot in that grey All About Eve dress that I could have committed a sex crime on you. You looked very rapeable last night. Rapealicious. Positively rapetastic. I could have forced myself on you like Oscar Pistorious through a bathroom door.
Date number two was closer to home. Literally. I was crashing on the couch that my parents had generously donated to their thirty-something wash-out of a spawn; and he was living with his parents as well.
“Why does he live with his parents?” my best friend asked me.
“Because he doesn’t have a job.”
Pause. “And why doesn’t he have a job?”
“Because he left the corporate world to focus on his music.”
“Right.” He took a sip of coffee. “And how’s that going for him?”
Well enough to be able to move back in with mum and dad.
We went to the drive-ins at Blacktown. I’m not proud of it, I was geographically challenged. We had a few too many beers at a nearby pub, forgot about the drive-ins, and wound up making out in his car.
Here, things got weird. He asked if I wanted to take our passionate tryst “into the back seat” and I declined because- call me prudish- I didn’t want to fuck my nice guy in the back of a Nissan Skyline by the side of the road in Western Sydney’s ‘Southern Cross’ heartland, two metres away from what may or may not have been the decomposing carcass of a stray cat. I’m picky like that. And I stand by my decision- the first time you have sex with someone you want to remember it fondly because the memories are often all you have when it ends. I’m not saying that you need candles and Marvin Gaye, but a bed or flat surface of some description is always a bonus. As is an area of more than two metres square. And a gear stick, unless its being used as a sex toy, is often just problematic. It’s an unneeded accoutrement. Don’t get me wrong, car sex can be fun, but for the first time I usually want to get my in-and-outs inside of a man-made structure that preferably contains a stained futon, rather than a backseat littered with McDonald’s wrappers and empty packets of JPs Blue. Understandably, he may not have wanted his mother to find a girl who is very white with hair that was very blue urinating in her bathroom the following morning (“My mother doesn’t like Australian women. Unless they speak Spanish. So she might like you.”) but I didn’t want to seal the deal with my nice, I’m-not-really-sure-if-I-like-him guy in a skanky, I’m-not-really-sure-if-I’m-comfortable-with-this way.
He dropped me home, slightly disconcerted, and I messaged him a few days later, suggesting that we get a hotel room in the city for our next date; which is saying, without really saying, “I’ll fuck you.”
And I got silence in return.
Silence is cruel. And cowardly. You’re left wondering, Did they receive it? Should I send it again? No, that looks needy. Stop checking your phone. Go for a walk. Drink a bottle of wine. Hug a stuffed animal. Alphabetise your CDs. Just do anything that will get you away from the reality that you are being rejected, without really being rejected.
Although, it has to be said that a phone silence isn’t as bad as a Facebook silence. At least with a text message you can delude yourself that in some freak telecommunications accident, the text was never received. Facebook messages have a timestamp: Seen at 8.10a.m. Ignored at 8.11 a.m.
To be honest, the whole scenario confused me. Since when does not acting like a tramp scare a dude away? I pondered it for a long time- at least ten minutes. It even made me pause Better Call Saul and stare pensively at a white wall for a few moments. Then, I took my rejection and turned it into arrogance, ranting at my best friend about ‘strong females scaring men away’ and how ‘things with a dick suck. Except you. And Wil Anderson.’ After this I calmed down, removed my cranium from my rectal cavity, and worked on feeling bad about myself.
My friends sensed my bruised ego and tried to make it sound less tragic: “Maybe he just really wanted to shag you and thought that it would be easier than it was. I mean, you did say that he read your blog, right? Maybe he thought that fucking you was going to be easy.”
It was about this time that I wondered if life would be easier if I went whole lesbian.
Being rejected by someone that you weren’t even that into isn’t fun. And I’m not sure what I was thinking in the first place for this whole mess to happen. Had I followed my intuitive, ovarian twinges after our first date, I never would have agreed to the second. I wouldn’t have come dangerously close to being finger-fucked near the drive-ins at Blacktown, and never would have felt crappy about myself. Had I followed my gut, rather than intellectualising- again- none of this would have happened.
So I decided to try celibacy. Why?
Well, once upon a six-months-ago, I was sitting on a beach in Puerto Escondido. Beside me was a deliciously English man that I was falling heavily into like with. Our time together was short, ultimately tumultuous, but indescribably lovely. And it reminded me what it feels like to shag someone that you really like. To lie beside someone, your soft bellies touching, hands curled under the pillow, lips in a cats cream smile, wanting to stretch time into eternity. To stay awake talking all-fucking-night because, as Dr. Seuss said, you don’t want to go to sleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. I sat beside this man on the beach, watching the sun slowly drop into the ocean before us, and I was happier than I can describe without verging into Hallmark territory. And it’s made everything thereafter feel cheap. Fake. A copy of a poorly photocopied reprint. It raised the bar and lowered my threshold for bullshit. I don’t want lukewarm, yeah-he’s-okay-I-guess nonsense anymore. I’ll wait for something better. I might wait a while, but that’s okay. I just bought shares in Duracell.