My roommate burst in the door looking, shaken and pale, as I attempted to finally play an F chord on my guitar without giving myself premature arthritis (it wasn’t going well).
Something about the look on her face told me I needed to take a pause from attempting to become the next Jimmy Page and figure out why she looked as if she had seen several ghosts.
“Okay, so,” she began as she peeled off her jacket and sat on my bed, “I was hanging out with Jon.” I nodded and wrapped my arms around my knees.
“And he and I started hooking up,” she continued, as I prepared to go into Mama Bear mode – if he had hurt her, I would have to be held back. But, I had met Jon and he hardly seemed the type. I let her go on.
“And I told him after a while that we weren’t going to go any further.” She was shaking a little less at this point and I sighed, knowing what was coming next. “And he basically told me that was cool but I should go.”
I nodded again and then shook my head. “This is the first time you guys hooked up after that party, isn’t it?” I asked her. “Yes!” she exclaimed and shook her head, “And all we did then was kiss! I don’t get it!”
I pulled the ice cream out of the fridge and the schnapps out from behind our hamper and offered her a choice. She selected the schnapps, so I grabbed a spoon to get my butter pecan on.
After a swig or two, she swiped her hand across her mouth and asked me, “So is this how you feel all of the time?” I had to laugh at first because I hadn’t made the connection as of yet. “Yeah, actually, I guess it is.”
In college, it’s not so easy for a girl who takes sex more seriously than which dress to wear to formal. You can be waiting for marriage or just waiting for the guy to care about whether he sees you again, but whatever it is, people assume things about you and guys tend to feel justified in getting angry and acting rude.
Some people may artificially slow down physical relationships to play games with their partners, but my chastity has never been a game to me. It’s kind of weird to become That Girl without even realizing it is happening.
I never made any announcements about my personal life to anyone, but many people close to me don’t discuss certain things with me or around me. One of my close male friends stares at me during sexually explicit scenes in movies to see if I look upset enough for him to fast forward.
Sometimes, the opposite happens. Once in a study group, the male members made as many sexual innuendos as possible to see how fast I would either turn red or leave. I guess I just give off a vibe, but that vibe was never enough for dating prospects to be sure of my standings on the subject.
It seemed I have to state early and often my feelings on the big bad three-letter word, which would be fine if it would have guaranteed guys who have a problem with it to give up and get out of my life.
But somehow, the guys who fall into that category hang around long enough to feel justified to act as my roommate’s hookup acted.
I comforted my friend as we watched “The Notebook” and she bemoaned the fact that not so many guys are like Noah. She didn’t need someone perfect, she said, but just wanted to wait for a guy who really loved her. She had been burned by thinking she could handle a one-night stand and I had witnessed the aftermath firsthand.
The next day, when she hadn’t heard from the boy in question, she told me she wasn’t worried and that he was probably just waiting a few days not to seem to eager.
Three days after that, there had still be no phone call and she didn’t seem like herself. She decided to text him, or maybe just to stage a run-in with him in person. I advised her against the latter, but she was sure it was the right thing.
When she returned to the room, she looked as if she had broken in half. She saw him and ran directly into him, in fact (though she seemed to have played the encounter relatively cool under the circumstances). He looked right at her and then looked through her.
He had walked away from her immediately, but didn’t even have the decency to scurry away quickly, as if embarrassed. She was a wreck. She consequently decided that casual sexual relationships were not for her and, after I saw the effect they left on her, I had to agree.
Waiting for sex isn’t for everyone, but neither are casual sexual relationships. Sometimes, people just do not want them and some people absolutely cannot handle them. It is a hard choice to stand up for what you want and need.
It can be a painful and frequently lonely road. As I hugged my friend close to me, I reassured her of things I wasn’t sure were true, that things would get better. That she would find plenty of guys who wouldn’t care that she didn’t want to sleep with them the first time they hooked up.
She would not be called a prude, a tease or a bitch for making her own choices with her own body. But, if my own personal experience is any kind of example, she should learn to expect the exact opposite of what I promised her.
Following your heart isn’t supposed to be an easy path, so I know to just keep the room stocked in ice cream, peach flavored liquor and Ryan Gosling movies in the meantime, as we continue on the road less traveled.
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