If we're in an Uber and it's 5 am, I don't care what the conversation is. We're talking about sex. Regale me with tales of your recent employment review and promotion. Suggest a new spice blend at Trader Joe's. It's all just code for "we're having sex in fifteen minutes, right?"
My co-sojourner on one particular 5 am Uber journey was a man I'd matched with on a dating app weeks prior, but hadn't thought to strike up a conversation with until I ran out of Netflix on a Sunday night. I said hello, and we exchanged niceties throughout the week. We never responded to each other more quickly than three hours from the previous text. By Saturday night, we hadn't yet repulsed each other and were ready to meet.
There was nothing really unique about that meeting, except maybe it started a little late. I had dinner plans earlier, he was working and we met up after. Pretty basic.
Things felt funny from the start, particularly when the second question he asked me was to name my favorite online porn destination. It was late on a Saturday, and the scene wasn't exactly set for me to find true love. I thought we both knew what was on the evening's agenda. If you don't know, kids, it wasn't exactly making pillow forts and microwave popcorn.
Many hours and many drinks later, we'd touched on a variety of topics, and it was quite clear to me as he called our Uber that he was sort of weird. But that's OK. I don't hate weird. If I meet a guy that's a little left of center and I've decided I'll never date him, I see that as no reason to overtly avoid a one-night sexual encounter. It's something we both might enjoy very much and then move on. Weird typically never spends the night, and I get the whole bed to myself.
He asked questions that were too personal too soon, but at the same time, he didn't actually seem interested in the answers. There were hands on my thighs, drunken kisses and all those other wonderful indications of commitment-free sex. He wasn't my husband or anything, but I figured we could still have fun for an evening (0r morning, depending on how you look at it).
I watch stand-up comedy while I cook. Some people listen to music, others like cooking shows and I love stand-up. I'll avoid turning on the blender to avoid missing a good punchline. I have favorite comedians and performances, and I rewatch them to the point of memorization.
As a stand-up comedy aficionado, I've spent many hours watching male comics talk about how men live in constant pursuit of sex. Did that guy open a door for you? He wants sex. Did your telemarketer make you laugh? He wants (phone) sex. Did a man breathe next to you in the elevator? Yeah, he wants you, too.
There is seemingly no male behavior that isn't somehow tied back to getting some. If comedians are any sort of window into humanity, it proves that if a guy has an opportunity to have sex, he will, right?
Well, no. This is all bullshit. My heroes lied to me.
That night, my 5 am Uber ended, and I walked up my stairs in painfully cheap ankle boots with a man who was casually slapping my ass the whole way up like a gong. Approximately 17 seconds past my front door, and we're both in my bed without a thread of clothing between us. I was having a good time.
Then, he said, “I don't have sex.”
Pardon? Come again? Or, well, don't, I guess. My vagina is literally close enough to whisper in your dick's ear, and now is the time you tell me you're not interested? Perhaps you could have said this before getting in a car to go back to my place at 5 am? Perhaps before getting naked? Perhaps at any point during the six hours we spent drinking together? Literally any other moment we've ever spent together apart from this one would have been a better choice.
Reader, if your face isn't scrunched up in a "WTF?" position right now, I want nothing to do with you. What the hell is that? I'm honestly asking, "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?"
My body must have gone tense because he sensed something was wrong on my side of our naked embrace. He instantly felt the need to explain his choice. Apparently, a few months before meeting me via an online dating app, he had decided to stop sleeping with women.
“It's just that when I have sex, I always have to deal with the whole texting the girl thing after.”
Please read that sentence again. In order to avoid “dealing with” a woman after sleeping with her (we are such handfuls, you know), he was literally skipping the good part to avoid what he considered to be the bad part. That means he was just doing nothing. Flirt all night, go home together, get naked, do nothing and leave the house.
I felt like a unicorn had just trotted through my living room whistling a lively tune. What just happened here?
I'm often left with the “What just happened?” feeling as an actively dating, 30-something single woman. Men stand you up. They stop texting you. They invite you out to meet their friends and then ignore you all night. But very rarely — almost never — do men give you a “What just happened?” moment while naked. It's a vulnerable, cold (physically and emotionally) place to be.
It went against everything I'd been taught. If I want to have a sex with a guy, all I have to do is make that clear, and we'll have sex. Nope. Apparently, there are subculture dudes who don't like having sex because they might have to have manners the next day. I've come across offensive dating behaviors before, but this one really put the sprinkles on top.
I got up and went to the bathroom to wash my face and don some pajamas. I was hoping he'd be gone by the time I emerged. But it was almost 6 am, and Ubers were scarce. So, I had to suffer this skinny blonde clown for 11 minutes more.
I was having a hard time comprehending his mantra, so my new platonic friend offered up another reason to bolster his believability: “What if I got a girl pregnant?”
Fair, that is fair. That is a good reason not to have sex. A bit too much of a health class answer for me, but I'll accept that. But, I won't even speak to a dick that doesn't have a condom on it, and I've been on birth control since the first Bush administration. So, I think I have about as much of a chance of conceiving a child during this one-night stand we're not having as the forecast for tomorrow does of being cloudy with a chance of glitter.
The strongest emotion I was feeling was anger, and it wasn't just because I wasn't going to be having sex. It wasn't even because I had stayed out 'til 5 am with this person for absolutely no payoff, when I could have gone home at midnight and been a functioning person the next day. No, what pissed me off was the very notion of skipping sex. It wasn't for some moral high ground; it was to avoid having to be a nice guy.
Is this where we are? Is this how far-gone “dating” is? Let's just stop doing stuff because then we might have to do stuff. This guy wasn't weird; he was a criminal.
The evolution of dating has been approaching this point since the days of courting. Men are doing less and less to woo the woman, and they're getting away with more and more bad behavior. Now, we're here. Now, we're at bottom.
Look what we've done, what we've allowed to happen. A man used to sleep with you and never call — sorry, text — you again, but now he'll do everything right up until sleeping with you. Then, he'll pull back because that's signing him up for too much implied obligation. He now forgoes orgasm to evade common decency. Even if it's just a simple courtesy text, that's too much. Pretty soon, dating is just going to be saying hello, shaking hands and walking away.
It's a scary place to be in. It's scary to know that I'm a woman who's turning off men without actually doing anything. Isn't that backwards? Aren't straight men supposed to want to have sex with women? Not since Pluto's demotion has my foundation of knowledge been so shaken.
Doesn't the male wanting of a female come along with a bit of (forgive me) action at some point? By this logic, let's just all stay home. All of the nights. Forever. Forget abstinence, let's just call it avoidance to put it in a term this heathen can understand. I've been in the dating game a long time, and I have to tell you, this is the most confused I've ever been.
I'll move on now, and I'll go back to the little yellow square on my phone and try again. Because I always try. I always take action, whether that action is getting to know someone I want to date, or realizing I just want a one-night stand. I'm still proud of myself for meeting complete strangers, which is tough to do again and again.
Because I don't think we're meant to be alone all the time. I think we're meant to hang out and give each other company and laugh over drinks and touch one another and interact. And most of the time, it sucks. Isn't that dating reality, though?
Every city, every bar and every Uber ride are all the worst. But, I keep going and trying because even just the hope of something will always be better than doing nothing.
And also, buddy, fuck you.