Now kittens, before we get started, let me first say that in life, the highs can be breathtakingly high and the lows, well, they can run deeply low. But only from the lows in life can you learn how to truly climb to the top.
So close your pretty eyes, as I take you on this epic, life-changing journey of what was truly one of my life's highest uphill climbs.
CUT TO MAY 2006, West Hollywood CA...
It was one of those easy-peezy Southern California days when it's like God set the outside temperature to a perfectly mild 72 degrees. I was hanging out with my boyfriend at the time, Luke.*
Luke was pretty. Girl pretty. He had long, blonde, fluttering eyelashes set off by ethereal seafoam green eyes. He had that rare skin color that self-tanner dreams are made of: "Sun kissed." "Warm honey."
The juxtaposition of sandy hair and dark skin made him a very coveted piece of boy-candy in my tight knit circle of teen Hollywood transplants.
But Luke had chosen me. Raven-haired, dreary-day-in-London-conceived, Northeast-bred, Marlboro-Light-smoking, leather-adorned -- me. Maybe he had a thing for wild juxtaposition too.
This particular afternoon, we were sitting in his boyish little bedroom smoking weed and staring silently into the baby blue sky. With each hit I took from his expertly strung joint (He was a born and raised California boy, and trust me, no one rolls a joint quite like a West Coast native) the sprawling Santa Monica sky looked even more unreal.
I felt like the clouds had been perfectly placed by a high brow interior designer.
It didn't feel real. Nothing in those days did. I guess that's what happens when you're high as a f*cking kite all of the time.
"Let's have sex. I love having sex when I'm stoned, babe," Luke said in his stoner drawl, drawing out each word like a true California Pothead King.
I dreaded that sentence with every fiber of my scrawny 19-year-old being. I mean don't get me wrong, I adored Luke. He was my snuggly sunshine bear who got me blitzed for free and took me to concerts on Sunset Blvd. He knew everything about Los Angeles, and as an East Coast baby, I was completely and utterly fascinated by this LA surreal world I had been tossed into.
Luke represented the West Coast illusion to me. He looked like the West Coast: an impossibly bright smile with alabaster white teeth, stoned half-open eyes and a palpable passion for Sublime.
I just didn't want to f*ck the West Coast. I didn't want to f*ck Luke.
I wanted to f*ck New York. I wanted to f*ck women.
Luke and I did have sex once or twice, but it was always fast and detached. It was something I endured but never, ever enjoyed. And for the past several weeks, I, Zara Barrie, had become the great master expert at avoiding sex with my boyfriend.
"I'm SO sorry, but I think I drank too much," I would fake slur after one vodka cranberry, making a big show of acting drunk, like a melodramatic vaudeville performer theatrically "stumbling" in my mega platforms.
"I don't know what's wrong with me, but I don't think that pasta sat right with me," I would bold-face lie, not very convincingly in retrospect, seeing as I hardly ate at the time.
"I'm on my period," I would say, as earnestly as possible every 10 days. Another epic lie, seeing as I hardly got my period at the time (the no-eating and chain-smoking).
I was clearly running out of excuses. And I had a sneaking suspicion that even though sweet Luke was stoned out of his skull, he was starting to catch on to the reality that I was avoiding sex like the plague.
I might have been lit like a naked bulb, but suddenly, I was overcome with a brilliant, amazing, awesome, wonderful, fabulous idea:
I'm going to give him a blowjob, I smugly thought to myself, pleased with my impressive, on-the-fly problem-solving skills.
I mean, I hadn't given a blowjob since high school -- but really, how hard could it be? We all know men prefer blowjobs to sex, and at least I can just shut my eyes and "think of England" (as my mother taught me to do) throughout the process.
"OK, let's do it," I said, with a little too much enthusiasm.
I quickly devised a game plan in my head: I would tease him for a little bit, and then go straight in for the blow-jay kill. In my (limited) experience with men, I learned they will never stop you from giving them a blowjob to have sex.
I uncharacteristically took the lead, with a newfound confidence. After all, I was now a girl genius who had figured out a way around SEX. I led him to his bed (a mattress on the floor) and threw him down like a real WOMAN in control of her life and choices.
I had gone from a stoner girl to a smart vixen woman in a matter of minutes.
"Woah, I like this side of you," Luke drawled with an enthusiasm I hadn't ever heard in his deadbeat voice.
I kissed him, biting down hard on his bottom lip, hoping that the more aggressively sexual I was, the more turned on he would be and the SOONER the whole charade would be over.
However, with each hard, deep kiss, I began to feel increasingly nauseous.
"You're just high, Zara. You're just HIGH," I told myself as I felt a cold sweat coming on.
Cold sweats turned into full-blast fever chills as I made my way down to his boy parts.
I took a deep breath. Just close your eyes and think of England, like mother told you to do when something unpleasant happens.
England. Green grass. Grey skies. Charming accents. The Queen. ENGLAND. ENGLAND. ENGLAND.
By the time I began to blow him, I felt like I had come down with a full-blast flu. Every tiny body part felt like it was about to vomit. The tips of my fingers felt like they were going to yack.
Get it together, Z. You will not, YOU WILL NOT, ruin the sex life of this sweet innocent California boy just because you're lusting after the hot Asian girl who works at the Coffee Bean on the corner. In five minutes (tops!), the whole thing will be over, and you can smoke a little weed (which totally cures nausea!) and go back to watching "Family Guy." You got this girl! I believe in you, I silently coached myself.
I was beginning to lose the battle and had no choice but to accept it.
I could feel my saliva starting to do that f*cking awful thing, when it thickens right before you're about to brutally vom.
Before I knew it, I was loudly gagging. It wasn't the subtle sexy gag you see when girls "deep throat" men in pornos. It was a deep guttural wretch. It was animalistic. It was like something you would see on a documentary about wild animals on National Geographic.
It happened: I projectile vomited all over my sweet, twinkly-eyed boyfriend's dick.
"Did you just throw up on my cock?" Luke asked, his voice sounding more incredulous than angry.
All I could do was look at him and nod my head with puke dripping down my bright red face. Gross, I know, Kittens, but it was a life low after all.
But for some inexplicable reason, I started laughing. It was a hysterical, high-pitched, frenetic laugh. You know when a girl laughs a little too loud and little too manic right before she has a nervous breakdown? It was that kind of laugh.
Oddly, Luke started laughing too. He reached over, grabbed the tissue box lying conveniently next to his bed, and wiped the entirety of his dick down, little bits of white paper getting caught in my vomit. He giggled in utter disbelief the entire time, as I slowly died inside.
I was mortified. I began planning my immigration to Australia where I would change my last name and become a reclusive woman who collected wind chimes or something.
I shot out of his apartment like a bat soaring straight out of humiliation hell. I went home and shame-spiraled for several days, cringing every time my brain wandered back to the painful image of his dick covered in my vom. WHO THROWS UP ON A DICK?
APPARENTLY YOU DO, ZARA.
But I learned a valuable life lesson through my dire humiliation. No matter how hard I try, no matter how BAD I want to be attracted to a person, it's never worth pity hooking up with them.
You can convince yourself you're attracted to the popular boy because he's so popular, but if you're not feeling it, your body will let you know. You might not throw up on his cock, but you will feel awful the entire time. This is when sex is oddly painful for girls.
The brain can manipulate, but the body never lies.
Pretty soon after that, I came to terms with the fact that I'm a big ol' lesbian who is physically repulsed by dick. My body clearly knew before my brain figured that one out.
And for the record, never, ever have I ever been "sick" when hooking up with the hot girls of my dreams. Just saying.
*Name has been changed