Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Lesson in Interview Skills

            It was a pre-interview morning like any other: Starbucks, breakfast, shower, study.  I squeezed myself into my interview skirt and tucked in my white blouse with the black buttons.  Forgetting to put on a tank top underneath the slightly see-through blouse, I pulled on a sweater instead; I was too lazy to undress and redress.
            I arrived at my interview and timidly walked in to a tiny office with a staff all in one room; they all turned to look at me when I opened the door.  My interviewer’s male secretary stood up to escort me the four feet from the front door to one of only three private offices.  I fidgeted, standing outside my interviewer’s office door waiting for him to finish a phone call.  When we finally sat down together, I was surprisingly calm.  My nerves usually get the best of me in the form of sweating through my clothes, talking in circles, and continually crossing and uncrossing my legs.  The conversation was a nice balance of qualification questions and small talk; he was easy to get along with.
He wanted me to meet the two other men with private offices, so he stood up to walk me over and introduce me.  Just before he reached his door, he pointed at my shirt and said, “You may want to take care of that before we walk out.”  I looked down to discover that three buttons on my cheap Forever 21 blouse had popped open, exposing my black lacy Victoria Secret bra and most, if not all, of my cleavage.
            “Oh my G…how long has it been like that!”
            “I don’t know.  Ten or fifteen minutes?”
            “What!  Why didn’t you tell me?”
            “I didn’t want to embarrass you or distract you.  But I thought you should know.  If I didn’t tell you, the guy you’re about to meet with would have.”
My face was on fire with shame and cheeks in pain from laughing so hard.  He kept assuring me it was no big deal and asked if I needed a minute to compose myself.  Infected with a serious case of the embarrassed giggles, I re-buttoned my blouse and then did up my one-size-too-small-never-supposed-to-be-buttoned-sweater all the way to ensure this would not happen in the next two offices.  My interviewer sat back down and began asking me questions which I can only assume was to distract me and calm me down.
“So, where do you like to hang out on the weekends?”
            Okay.  Now that I’ve exposed myself to you, you are curious where I spend my free time?  Bad timing.
            I got home and immediately called my dad to tell him the story; we share a sick sense of humor.
            “Did you do it on purpose?”
            “What! No, dad, I did not flash my interviewer on purpose.  I was not trying to seduce him.  My blouse popped open.”
            “Well…if you got it, flaunt it.”

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Make-Out Is The New Hug

A wise man (my cousin) once told me (when I was 12) that “the make-out is the new hug.”  While I didn’t really understand it at the time, I have grown to accept this motto as my own.  In some instances, a kiss can be meaningful, fiery, arousing.  But, generally, it’s just a,” Hey, you’re cute; it was nice to meet you.” 
For those that are having sex, kissing is a stepping-stone, something to get through in order to get to the good stuff.  But when I go out on the prowl, my single intention is a solid make-out; that will do it for me.  I don’t MO to lure men home with me.  In fact, I advise against it.  When they insist on walking me home or try to come upstairs, I inform them that nothing will be happening.  I’ve learned by boys’ reactions that this must be a game girls play to make their suitors work harder or to make themselves seem less…easy.  The boys are often less than pleased to discover that I am not being coy, I am legitimately trying to save them from blue balls.
I keep a list (though it is in great need of an update) of everyone I have hooked up with.  It consists almost entirely of make-outs and sits somewhere between 70 and 80 people.  Added up, it sounds like a lot but at least I’m only a make-out slut and am not single-handedly keeping condom companies in business.  Many issues may arise for someone who sleeps around or at the very least exceeds what 8th graders (and I) consider hooking up.  But there comes only one problem when my sexual satisfaction relies upon one simple task: bad kissers.
            Boys I’m meeting are in their mid-twenties and up.  They have had plenty of time to practice, presumably had a girlfriend or two who, one can only assume, would train them as needed.  There’s no excuse.  It’s one thing to be a terrible kisser in junior high when nobody knows what’s going on, but by now, boys, well everyone, should know better.  Here’s a hint: I got my tonsils out last summer, so no matter how deep you dig with your shovel tongue there is nothing back there for you.  Reel it in.  And when we’ve finished, I don’t want to have to towel off. 
            A good kiss is not something to be undervalued.  That sudden and surprising feeling when your stomach drops is so rare and so glorious.  Being thrown up against a wall usually does it for me.  Most shocking is when someone you think will be a good kisser, isn’t and when someone you are just hooking up with out of convenience or pity, pleasantly surprises you.  Some of my favorite kisses have been from the most unexpected of make-out partners: a frat boy who I once saw peeing under a table at a bar, a gay stranger I met in Boys Town after the Britney Spears concert, a magician, a nice Jewish boy I could bench-press.  The good kisses I expect are nice but the ones that come out of nowhere are the ones I remember. 
            If it is true that making out is as casual as a bear hug, then it shouldn’t be a big deal when friends make out.  It’s only a natural progression.  While I do believe (despite my father’s awkward and incessant warnings) that men and women can be just friends, it doesn’t eliminate the curiosity or the fact that alcohol blurs judgment.  Many of my co-ed friendships blossomed out of a drunken make-out.  I’ve been informed that’s not normal, but it works for me.  But what about those friendships that were made the old fashioned way?  Personally, I’m nothing if not curious what kind of kissers my guy friends are.  It’s nothing sexual, but when I hear their detailed sexual escapades, I can’t help but wonder about their skill level and style.  It doesn’t help that I watch people’s lips when they talk instead of looking into their eyes. 
            Someone once asked me, “How do you know when you’re finished?  I mean, when you’re having sex, you know when you’re done, but how do you end your hookups?”  Either the lights come on after last call or someone falls asleep and rolls off.  Not as definitive a finale, but sufficient.  People assume that because kissing is basically as far as I go, it would mean more to me than those that are sexually active.  But perhaps it even means less.  I know it’s not leading anywhere; it’s just for sport or momentary companionship.
            Unaware or unaffected by the fact that it may strike most as strange to hang out with a make-out buddy as though nothing had happened, I do it anyway.  Situations are only as awkward as you make them and I trained myself to thin out my boundaries, if not erase them completely.  After all, if I hugged you goodbye, you wouldn’t think twice.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Penis Sandwich

            The walk of shame: a college fundamental.  Well, for most.  I didn’t take my first walk of shame until after I had graduated.  Since Michigan gets out for summer in the spring, I went to visit a friend who was still in school so I could postpone admitting it was time to join the real world.  It just so happens that this kid I hook up with, and by hook up with I mean make out with, every time we are in the same city, also attended that very university.  Let’s just say I didn’t sleep at my friend’s house any of the nights I was there.  In fact, she didn’t either.  We spent the wee hours of the morning texting each other from boys’ beds; the conversations consisting mostly of hunger complaints. 
            Unfortunately for my friend, I didn’t need to go out to eat.  I had already received room service in the form of a penis sandwich.  Despite being the sexpert that I am, the concept and functionality of the penis sandwich remains confusing to me.  In this boy’s bed with only my shirt removed, I noticed that he was completely naked.  As an aside: why is it that boys are so quick to get naked?  There’s no shame or hesitancy, any shape or size.  Do they think that women are as visual as they are; that if we see what they’ve got going on, we will be enticed, more willing to engage with it?  I can’t count how many times I’ve had boys over that undress before I’ve even had time to brush my teeth.  Shocking for them, I’m sure, when I slip into my flannel PJ pants and men’s XXL T-shirt (so comfy) and then refuse to remove them.
            Not that I am ever too willing to take my clothes off, I was particularly hesitant this evening.  Perhaps, and call me crazy, it was due to the fact that his roommate was less than a foot away, “sleeping.”  After trying to convince me that the roommate was for sure already asleep, though I had literally been talking to him less than five minutes before, the boy turned on a fan.  Because that would block out the sound of our kissing for the roommate and in return, the inevitable sound of his snoring for us.  Brilliant. 
Ignoring all my better instincts that we may be about to put on a live show, we began a horizontal version of what is known on the dance floor as grinding.  He never pressured me to do anything, he rarely asked, (I always questioned his patience), but I suddenly became very aware that I had his “full attention.”  For some reason, this night, he took matters into his own hands.  He maneuvered me on top, which I usually avoid by making myself as heavy as possible or by verbal attack, and then flipped his little soldier up in between our stomachs.  Just to be clear, it was his stomach, the soldier, my stomach: the penis sandwich. 
The grinding doesn’t usually do it for me through my clothes under normal circumstances, but I’m pretty sure the way he set this up took away any chance of my feeling anything.  I was doing all the work and getting no return on my investment.  Confused, bored, physically fatigued, and sure all of this was blatantly written on my face, I wondered how long he expected this to continue.  We weren’t dating and I had already showered so it was unclear where he thought he was going to unload because I certainly was not going to allow it in my bellybutton.  I imagine that would be difficult to clean up.
            The next morning, I walked down the street to my friend’s house wearing the boy’s pajamas and my heels from the night before: a stunning ensemble.  I felt a little embarrassed that perhaps I was the only one unaware of the penis sandwich’s origins.  I walked in to the entire house of girls all seated in the living room, so I told them my tale.  I was happy to discover that my feeling awkward was for once not my fault.  Apparently the penis sandwich is not a sexual staple.  If nothing else besides years of endless teasing unbeknownst to the poor kid, at least I could finally check “stride of pride” off my To Do list.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Wall

Standing alone inside the private single bathroom of my high school’s dance studio, I attempted once again to give up diapers and graduate to tampons. 
Girls in my dance company stood outside the bathroom door, cheering and shouting, attempting to help me overcome the man, the myth, the wall.
“You have to angle it! Are you doing it right?”
“It won’t go in; there’s a wall.”
“Just let me in, I’ll do it for you.  You’re not doing it right.  Angle it towards your lower back.  Let me do it.”
“I’ve put it in at every angle.  I’m pretty sure I had it between my butt cheeks at one point.  It won’t go in.  There’s a wall.  The wall!”
Like Madonna’s cone bra or Britney’s shaved head, the wall became my icon.  It followed me through high school, college, and into my twenties.  Even my mother, who is technically responsible for the wall, would join in on the teasing whenever it was brought up.  Nobody believed in the wall; referred to as either The Berlin Wall or The Great Wall of China, it was a tale I told as fantastical as dragons or unicorns. 
It was so unbelievable that I had a friend tell me he wanted to see for himself if the wall really existed.  So I let him, for scientific research, but mostly for proof.  Legs unshaven, ages since a bikini wax, and retainers in for the night, I let the experiment begin. 
With enough evidence to reach a conclusion, he curled his hand into a fist and knocked on the wall behind my bed.  Vindicated.  I knew I wasn’t crazy.  Just broken.  He promised I could use him as a reference in the future when people dared question the very real and very obtrusive wall.  (As a second opinion, I saw a gyno who confirmed “the wall’s” existence.  It had some legitimate name I can’t remember and over quite a few appointments, she knocked it down.  NBD.)
Without getting too deep, this “sexual” interaction got me thinking about the idea of sex without sex.  The idea of sexual activity (my friend’s fingers-the wall) without any sexual implications: no pleasure, no feelings, no passion. 
What constitutes “sex” is different for everyone.  Whatever sex or hooking up means to you, is just an activity, let’s say contact sport, like any other: football, wrestling, or a really intense game of tag.  It’s the pressure and value we assign to these sexual activities that make it sex
Who’s to say what sex really is anyway?  Someone once told me that sex is “anything that causes orgasm.”  Someone else claimed “any penetration” is sex.  Penetration of what?  By what?  At the doctor’s office, fingers and metal probes technically penetrate the females seated comfortably with their legs in the stirrups.  And women pay for those appointments.  Does that make it prostitution?  It doesn’t feel good because we are uncomfortable, because we are supposed to be uncomfortable.  Without the passion (and a good buzz going), these sexual acts are just that.  Acts.  Just a motion that can, under other circumstances, elicit pleasure. 
So what if we took the value out of sex?  Imagine you could consummate a marriage by high fiving, spooning, kissing.  I suppose these do not qualify because they are too common, too accessible.  But so is sex.  It is everywhere, it sells everything.  We, as consumers and human beings, are saturated with sex.  In the grand scheme of things, it has already lost a lot of its meaning and value.  And while some save themselves for marriage or love, some use sex as sport, some relaxation.  Some see it as a gift, some a prize, some a mistake.  Sex can be used as bribery or obtained out of guilt; sometimes it’s just animal instinct. 
Personal opinions and certain laws aside, there are no right or wrong circumstances in which to engage in sexual activity.  It’s up to the individual (or couple or threesome) to determine what constitutes “sex” for them and what it will mean.  For me, you can judge all you want that I’m a 24-year-old virgin; I don’t expect the clouds to part and rainbows to appear and I certainly don’t need, don’t want a rose petal trail leading to a heart shaped bed but at this point, I may as well at least wait for someone who doesn’t think romance is having a quickie in a bathroom stall.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


About five years ago, I met this guy on a plane.  He was cute, we flirted, and before you knew it we were Facebook friends.  Haven’t spoken much since then until last week when he decided it was time to catch up via Facebook chat.  After hellos, we dove into the compulsory question session reviewing specific facts to prove we at least vaguely remember each other.
“Did I remember you telling me you were a virgin?  Yeah, I thought I remember talking about losing your virginity and joining the mile high club at the same time.”
I’m going to blame this drastic over share on the high dosage of Xanax I pop before flights but my lack of boundaries is clear.  I have zero recollection of this conversation and shock myself by the ease with which I share this information with people, strangers.
My mouth often fails me. 
The first (and only) time I gave head was the last day of my junior year of college.  Dane Cook tells of the first time he got head but I have a feeling my tale does not end quite so satisfactorily.  Every first day of class of every semester of college was spent finding the guy worth going to class for.  And with great success, I found a good one in an English class.  Turns out he was as interesting to talk to as he was delicious to look at.  While I spent the semester staring at him, he spent it hooking up with another girl from our class.  Typical.
The second to last night before summer break began and he disappeared forever (he had just graduated), he called wanting to hang out.  Surprised and obviously excited, I later learned that excellent timing was on my side.  Standing on the porch outside the house party we had just attended, he informed me that he had recently dumped the girl from class via text.  Proving he made the right decision, she responded by posting the “Text Message Breakup” music video to his Facebook wall.  Well done. 
By comparison, I was already looking pretty good.  With nothing to lose and a serious desire to quench the thirst I had been suppressing all semester, I interrupted his story.
“I just want to make out.”
After an adorably embarrassed smile from him, we did.  Even more surprising was the booty call I received the next night.  Most girls would be offended; I was flattered.  Success.
When I got to his house that night, I found him on his roommate’s floor stuck between the desk and the bed.  Off to a great start, he eventually joined me outside where we sat on the porch swing talking with another couple for hours.  Finally he said, “Okay, I’m going to bed.  Who wants to race me upstairs?”  I looked around.  “That was my way of inviting you up to my room.”  In his bed and for only the second time fully naked with someone, the sex invitation/conversation/virginity reveal occurred.  I texted my roommate asking her opinion and the three of us eventually decided no on the sex.  He was literally leaving in a few hours for New York.  So we ran backwards through the bases. 
“Have you ever given head?  Really?  Okay, we are going to have a lesson.”  Thrilled at this learning opportunity, I was suddenly face to face with his “situation.”  I’m clearly no expert but I can tell the difference between a hot dog and a bratwurst and I was scared.
“What if it doesn’t fit?”
“It will.”
“No but really.  It’s not going to fit.  What if I choke?”
“You won’t.  I promise.”
After finally convincing me that it would fit, and it did, I learned that lesson the best I could…for about two minutes.
“I’m done.  My jaw hurts.”
And once again, my mouth failed me.