I’m the Girl You…
I slip on my leggings on as I check out my outfit in the mirror. I love the long sweater I’ve chosen for the cold day, making me feel luscious and womanly. It’s a different body than what I’m used to. I don’t understand it completely due to my weight loss as I pick out the new sizes from my closet, but it’s one that makes me feel good. Yet it all seems to go away when I step out into the world.
Walking down Ventura Boulevard, my eyes notice the men who look my body up and down, making me scratch behind my ears and feel self-conscious. Even on the days where I’m not wearing makeup or dressed to impress, I see them try to flag me down, wave at me, cat-call me. It’s been my life for as long as I can remember. Because I’m the girl you fuck.
These men don’t really see me as they call out to me. Sure, they seem my ample cleavage, my height, my long wavy brown hair. They see my swagger as I walk down the street as the music plays through my headphones and my feet hit the pavement, syncing with that beat drumming in my ears. It’s used in part so I don’t see them, but I do. You can’t help it, really.
They don’t see the person inside this body — her zest for life, her brilliance, her writing and art. They don’t really care to. Rather, they’re glancing at me and somewhere inside their heads they’re taking me to bed in their minds, imagining me in different positions. Because I’m the girl you fuck.
It’s been happening since I was 12 years old and walking home from junior high, my Jansport slung across my back. By then, I was already 5’7 and already looked older. The guys driving by on my childhood streets as I walked home from school were yelling for me to jump on their laps, when in truth I wanted them to ask me out, hold my hand and kiss me like they did in the movies. Talking to me, not acting like buffoons who felt like I was a piece of meat to be fought over and claimed. Even at a young age, the training was that I wasn’t worth the effort of gentlemanly behavior.
My height made people think I was invincible, but I wasn’t; my soul was raw, my heart ripe for rejection. I remember the guys jumping at camp trying to kiss me when I didn’t want them to, the boy in the hallway who felt like he had the right to touch my breasts, and how I got punished for his behavior. Then how I would stare at the shy boys from across the room and how they would never come to me. If I wanted it, they never came.
When my sexual awakening picked up, I was conflicted: I wanted sex, but wanted to be in a relationship and in love with my partner and hear him whisper to me how beautiful I was while he made love to me. My teenage weight gain made it difficult, but I wanted to have it all. Someone who loved me and desired me too.
Circumstances seemed to tell me that I couldn’t have both — when guys publicly dated me, I was treated like a delicate China doll, never touched sexually. Otherwise, I would just be told that he wanted no commitment, just sex, and would never be seen out in public with them. I craved touch, so the hormones won. And I became the girl you fuck.
My therapist asked me at one point how many men I had been with over the course of my life. I laughed, looking up at the ceiling, and said I didn’t know, losing track years ago. Dating, probably hundreds. Sleeping with, in the 40s or 50s. It probably would have been in the hundreds as well had it not been for my seven-year foray into marriage and monogamy.
“Was the sex unsatisfying then?” she asked me about my marriage.
“When it happened, no,” I replied. “When it happened. I usually had to make a five-point rational argument as to why we should have sex, and there were so many regulations he put up as to when we could and couldn’t do it I’m shocked it happened at all.”
During that time of my life, the aspiration was to be the “good wife” — working, cooking, hosting, hungry for sex, doing everything to please my man and make him happy and looking good for the world. Yet it wasn’t enough. He made me feel strange for wanting sex so bad, like there was something wrong with me. That was his M.O., making sure that there was something wrong with me. In his mind, he was fine. I wasn’t.
After I left, I immediately started having sex again. In my mind, I knew if I didn’t I would build it up and become scared of it, and I refused to be scared of my sexuality. It was the thing I craved the most, apparently the only thing I knew how to do, because I was no longer the good wife, and I never knew anything else. I was the girl you fucked, so that’s what I did.
To this day, I have never been in love with a man who I had sex with. It just didn’t register; if he wanted to sleep with me, clearly he wasn’t interested in anything else to do with me. When some guys would fall for me, I’d end up confused — we were just having sex. What was the big deal? Meanwhile, every guy that won my romantic sentiments over the course of my life had been a chaste experiment with flirtation but no fulfillment and no actual relationship at the end of it.
“That’s messed up,” my therapist said when I told her the above statement. I didn’t deny it; I knew it for a fact without her having to say the words. I leaned back across the couch, my hands grabbing a pillow and hugging it towards my chest tightly, my fingers finding the fringes along the edge nervously.
“I don’t understand,” she said. “You’re attractive, kind, have a great personality, smart, extremely generous, a good person. How can you settle for just sex?”
It seemed strange to me, old fashioned. I didn’t settle for sex; I liked it. It felt good, and I never fell into the yapping of people saying to hold out because you needed to make the guy want you. I never felt shame from sex and didn’t want to feel bad about having desire ever again.
Yet there was this overwhelming sense of loneliness that came from the fact that I was never asked out on dates and treated like a lady. I missed cuddling and innocent touch. The creepy guys leering at me on the street, at the bars, at all these different places were haunting me, and it seemed like my “no” didn’t carry much weight with them. There were moments where I felt like my single life, no matter how fun it could be, was a waking nightmare. Because I’m the girl you fuck.
It was this mentality that was making me swipe left and right on a dating app over the past several weeks. I passed by a guy that was cute and had a picture of himself dressed as Waldo from the old “Where’s Waldo” books I used to read as a kid. I was naturally compelled to swipe right, and we got to talking almost immediately.
The hours and messages passed back and forth until we were talking on the phone. He was sweet and charming, sending me pictures of his bookshelf and him and his best friend in Halloween costumes instead of his junk. I eventually asked him why he wasn’t propositioning me.
“Well, I figure we have plenty of time for that later,” he said with a laugh. And so I kept talking to this very nice guy, and met him for a date. He wore a woolen sweater and had a sweet smile and broad shoulders. He paid the tab for our classic cocktails and fried chicken wings as we played video games and continued our conversation.
At one point, I teased him for not doing the yawn with the arm around me, mainly because I was left confused. He wasn’t trying to sexually tempt me or do anything that most guys on dates would do, but would just casually brush his arm or hand against mine. He was just talking to me, laughing at all my jokes. It was fun, and the second date was set before the first ended (although it never actually happened, it was reassuring at the time).
He walked me to my car, and I stood by the front tire, bundled in my black coat and knit woolen hat on that cold night, standing on Ventura Boulevard wondering if anything was going to happen on a physical level, and resigning myself that maybe it was all in my head. The moment came for goodbye, and I thought he was going in for a hug. However, it took me about two second to realize he had gone in for the kiss.
And… wow. It was kissing, not even needing tongues to make it incredibly passionate and sexy. And that moment came where suddenly I left all caution in the wind and flung my arms around his neck as he pulled me in by the waist, his hands not moving up or down, but with just the right amount of assured pressure so I felt present in this moment.
Suddenly I wasn’t the girl you fuck. I was a woman and he was a slow burn, a flame switched on in my head. Somewhere in that kiss, there was something telling me that I didn’t have to be others told me I needed to be, but rather my own woman.
Sure, it didn’t stop the leering men on the streets or at the bars, nor did it give me guarantees about my dating future. But it opened my mind that maybe there was more to me than I thought. I couldn’t change what others thought of me, but I could change how I viewed myself.