Drunk Dialing

“I think the last time I was really drunk, I sent some fairly colorful texts to the guy I was dating at the time. “

While I was dating Israel, I had a standing agreement with one of his friends to take his phone any time they started drinking. I have a tendency to condescend to drunk people when I am not one of them. I didn’t want to do that, especially over the phone, over 1000 miles. So I asked his friend to take his phone so he couldn’t drunk dial me at 3 in the morning.

A couple years later, when I was fooling around with Cameron – over 1000 miles distance in the opposite direction – I spent a night out drinking with my sorority sisters. After the party, back in one of their rooms, I got on her computer to “check my email,” and shot one off to Cameron.

The next day, I got a message from him. It wasn’t the first X-rated message I had sent him but he recognized it for what it was. “Did you have fun last night? How much did you have to drink?” I hadn’t realized our years drinking together had left such an impression on him.

I am definitely a two-sided coin. People – guys – talk about finding a girl who is “a lady in the streets, an animal (to avoid using the more derogatory versions of the idiom) between the sheets.” I may not be 100% lady – I do clean up well, and I know my way around an etiquette manual – but that is a fair description of how I am as a girlfriend. I am, for the most part, a pretty reserved person. I have the vocabulary of a well-educated sailor but beyond that, I don’t share too much of my personal proclivities with the general population. Once in a while, my filter falters and I’ll make an off-handed comment about some things being easier “on my knees,” sending shock waves through the room.

But pour a little vodka on that filter and it all but dissolves.

A fact Cameron had picked up along the way. Apparently. At least in so much that he could identify the difference between my sober correspondences and my drunken ones.

Because I read back through the email I’d sent him the night before – as well as half a dozen carefully worded text messages – to see if my drunken condition came through in the form of rampant typos and I was proud to see that there were very few. It was all in the language I used to describe the things I thought we should try when once again in the same room together. I fancy myself a decent writer and through my various long distance relationships, I have developed a flare for a very specific area of storytelling. It stands to reason that flare would only be intensified as I become intoxicated.

Which creates some mixed feelings since I had yet to develop feelings for Micah by the time we shared a bottle of vodka.

The Weekend Everything Changed

The following program is rated TV-MA for descriptive sexual content. Viewer discretion is advised.

The idea, in the beginning, was to get Cameron’s girlfriend to cheat on him. I don’t remember if I ever knew why, exactly. I think it was a combination of things, honestly. I think someone told Israel he couldn’t do it and he developed some masculine need to prove he could.

I think Israel and Cameron’s (and my) mutual friend, Ramos, didn’t like her any more than any of the rest of us.

And, maybe it’s wishful but I think, maybe, Ramos thought Cameron was better suited to someone else. Someone he had let in on the “get Nikki to screw Israel” joke. Someone like me.

When Ramos returned from his summer at home, in Texas, Israel, and a third friend, Angelo, came with him. Ramos was spending a few days with Nikki in her apartment, waiting for the house he was moving into to be ready to move into. Nikki’s apartment was across the courtyard from mine in the same complex.

After dropping their luggage off at Nikki’s apartment, Ramos brought Israel and Angelo to meet me. “Israel’s trying to get Nikki in bed,” he announced, early in the conversation. We talked, on my patio, for a while. An hour, hour and a half. Ramos revealed Israel was majoring in English. I decided early on that I wasn’t ever going to make any kind of connection when it came to Angelo (I never did). And they left.

A few hours later, I crossed the courtyard to join the festivities. Which mostly consisted of vodka and drinks we’d bought from Sonic. High class.

That first night, we all had some good laughs, drank a little, listened to music, just had a stereotypical college summer night. Somewhere along the way, someone suggested that “someone need[s] to make out; I nominate you two,” gesturing to Israel and me. We laughed it off and carried on with the rest of the night.

That was Thursday. Friday, I came home from a girls’ night out, just as Ramos, Israel, and Angelo were coming back from another trip to Sonic. They invited me to join them and I did. The four of us sat in the living room of Nikki’s apartment long after she and her roommates had gone to bed, watching a Saturday Night Live marathon on cable. As we talked, Ramos and Angelo fell asleep, leaving Israel and I to bring up the sun.

They spent Saturday playing tourists, and we all got together again that night.

That night was different.

I was on Nikki’s patio, smoking with Angelo. Or smoking near Angelo who was busy dialing and redialing his girlfriend’s phone number and not getting an answer. Israel burst through the door out of the apartment and made some kind of exasperated animal sound. “I can’t take her anymore. She’s driving me nuts!”

I chuckled and asked if he meant Nikki. I hadn’t made any real effort over the past couple days to hide my disdain for her. Which was largely fueled by jealousy and my feelings for Cameron. “Yes,” he groaned. “I gotta get out of here. Do you want to go for a walk?”

So, we left.

Somewhere around midnight, Israel and I embarked on a tour of my university campus. I didn’t keep track of the time, but I’d guess it was half an hour, 45 minutes later, we found ourselves at the fountain plaza, which was the focal point of the central part of campus. We had found conversation easy ever since that first meeting on my patio and that night was no different.

I can’t tell you, now, what we had been talking about, but we decided to sit on one of the stone benches that surrounded the fountain to continue. I don’t know how long we sat there, talking about whatever we were talking about, before he leaned in to kiss me.

I am very much a kiss-on-the-first-date, sex-positive, no shame kind of girl. But until he moved, I had feelings for someone else. And he knew about that. He had incorporated my feelings into the conspiracy to get Nikki to cheat on Cameron. “If I can get her into bed, he’ll need someone to help comfort him.” He tried to kiss me anyway. And I pulled away, because I suddenly had no idea what I wanted. I was fairly certain Cameron didn’t want me, even if Nikki did cheat, and Israel and I had formed a genuine connection. But he lived 1000 miles away. In another state.

We hashed all of that out and I let him try again.

And I climbed into his lap, facing him, one leg on either side. And we made out like teenagers. Until we mutually decided we wouldn’t be satisfied ending the night with dry humping on a stone bench in the middle of my university campus.

A long walk in the daylight when I finished with my classes. I’d never made it in this condition before. What was once a long walk now seemed like it would never end.

We finally reached my bedroom and had barely got the door closed and locked before stripping one another. It was a scene from a movie, or maybe a prime time soap opera, as we rushed through something that resembled foreplay. I had just gotten my lip pierced a couple weeks before and I had to revise my customary oral sex foreplay rituals to accommodate the still-healing oral wound but he took it all very seriously.

And just as suddenly as it had all started, that prime time soap became a teen drama when he revealed his secret.

He was a virgin.

I stopped everything, not sure what to do with that. Thinking like a girl conditioned to believe virginity wasn’t something to be handed out like candy on Halloween, I didn’t know if I wanted that responsibility. Or was virginity even important to guys?

As I considered the situation, weighing my options – get laid and maybe, finally, move on from Cameron or masturbate myself to sleep and make things weird tomorrow – he explained that it wasn’t, necessarily, his choice. He hadn’t found a girl willing to take what he had to offer. Any girl willing to give him oral sex had refused to go any farther, intimidated by his …. er, gifts.

After we (both) finished, he got up to leave and I told him to stay – if he wanted to.

Sunday, they had more tourist activities planned so we split for the day. Sunday night, I returned to Nikki’s apartment, expecting to hear all about keeping Israel “out all night.” Ramos made one, quiet, casual comment, and that was all that was said, much to my surprise. And relief.

We left again, this time passing my roommates on the road before finding our way to a small amphitheater that I hadn’t even known existed and that I assumed was used for astronomy classes. We talked. For an easy couple of hours. And we kissed. He told me he thought my soul was sad and that he couldn’t believe my friends had never mentioned it before. And we made our way back to my apartment for a repeat performance of the night before. Our one-night stand became a two-night stand and would ultimately become an intense, tumultuous eight-month engagement.

 

Crossing a Fine Line into Dangerous Territory

“I’m sorry. I can’t meet you for breakfast. My fiancé found out and now she’s mad at me.”

That was the turning point. That was the moment when everything started to fall into place and I started to put together exactly what my relationship with Lennon had really been about. There had been red flags before that but something in that moment – that moment that came after weeks of hashing and re-hashing my feelings for Micah – caused it all to suddenly become as clear as it could have ever been.

I need to take a step away from the narrative for a moment to inject a warning: The rest of this post touches on the subject of emotional and sexual abuse. Please be advised.

I’ve had some time to chew on that moment and all that came before it. And I’m still not sure what to call whatever it was.

My gut reaction is to call it emotionally or (and) psychologically abusive. Gaslighting? Manipulative, at the very least. I had a dream, at one point, where I was telling someone about it and they told me (read: my subconscious used someone else’s face to tell me…), “an ‘unhealthy’ relationship becomes abusive when you are made to feel like you don’t deserve any other option.”

I had other options. I had Cameron. I had David. I took the Israel option. And that wasn’t even the half of it. Several of David’s friends would have jumped at any chance I offered them; a couple of them told me as much. And there were a few in the circle of friends I shared with Cameron, too.

I had other options. But even though I knew I could find … literally, anyone else who would treat me better than Lennon did, I couldn’t walk away. I don’t know that I thought I deserved his treatment, but at the same time, I’m not sure, in the moment, I thought it was bad. Hindsight is, after all, 20/20. And I think I thought I loved him.

It was little things. A lot of little things that added up to a much larger picture. It was him telling me that I might find a real boyfriend, if I’d stop screwing him, while I was on my knees in front of him. It was him lying on top of me, in nothing but a t-shirt, asking me how things were “coming along with Cameron.” It was him wrapping his arm around me and sniffing my hair while I told him about my plans to spend a week with Israel’s family over our Winter break.

It was the day he picked me up from my apartment and took me back to his. We kissed, rounded third base and started toward home plate where he turned on a video game and ignored the half-naked woman in his living room. And not only once.

It was the times he used location to control the situation, refusing to ever use my bed, even when I lived alone and he had roommates.

It was when he told me he wouldn’t touch me again unless I had sex with his neighbor. His female neighbor who was in an “open” marriage (I refused and he eventually gave up the quest…or she did).

It was when he contacted me when he wanted to (cyber) cheat on the girlfriend he had followed to another state.

And it was when he thought an invitation to meet for breakfast was code for something else entirely (that likely also started with a “b”), knowing that I was 100% invested in Micah.

It was an unhealthy situation, without question. But was it abusive? Was it emotionally abusive? Was it sexually abusive even though he always had my consent? My residual reactions leave me wondering. And I’ll probably never, fully, resolve it. It will probably never be more than just another, less-than-sunny chapter in my sexual and romantic history.

Fixed Points in Time

“I wanted to ask if you wanted me to stay but I didn’t want people – or you – to think it was because you were drunk.”

Time travelers talk about fixed points; times and events in history that can not be changed. In working through this blog, I have come across a few of those moments. Moments when something happened and I can trace the butterfly effect through the rest of my timeline.

I was in my first apartment. Technically, a townhouse. It was student housing on the university campus but, for the most part, we had all the freedoms we would have had in a regular apartment. Read: we could have parties. With alcohol. And we did. For my 22nd birthday, my roommates and I hosted a blowout. It didn’t start out that way but it definitely ended that way. The first people – Cameron – crossed the threshold between 9 and 10pm and the last one – Cameron – left after 3am.

I had thought I had a pretty good handle on things… until I saw pictures and there were people I didn’t remember being there. But I was proud of the fact that there was no drama, no tears, no fighting. We lost one of my roommates, a couple of times, but every time we found her again and returned her to her bed.

Cameron was one of the first people through the door that night. I had already started drinking at dinner with my roommates and I was ready for more. This little Irish girl is a walking stereotype. Or was. When I was doing it regularly, I could put away my weight in whiskey. Or rum or vodka. And I had all three lined up that night.

I am not sure, exactly, when the liquid courage kicked in but at some point, early in the night, I poured my heart out to Cameron. I confessed the crush I’d had on him since the first time we met, two years before. To which he blithely replied that he knew.

Years later, when we were waist deep in whatever long distance relationship mess we had gotten ourselves into, he told me that he had known all along that I liked him. But even with that revelation, I only recently remembered that he had told me that night.

I told you. I was several sheets to the wind at this point.

We hung out the rest of the night. Anyone who didn’t know (and some who did) wondered if we were coupling because we were together, if not physically touching, for the duration of the party. Until the last person left (before him). As things were winding down, with eight or ten people left of the sixty or more that filtered through, a couple people playing some incarnation of Mario on my roommate’s Nintendo, Cameron sat on the arm of our couch and I laid across his leg, one arm draped over and my head laying on that.

My remaining two roommates bowed out and went upstairs to their rooms. The last remaining guests filtered out the door and Cameron excused himself to the bathroom. Not quite ready to call it a night – at 3am – I set about picking up some of the big pieces. When he came back out, I told him I was going out for one last cigarette; did he want to join me? He said he’d had enough but he’d stand outside with me.

As I finished smoking, he “remembered” that he’d left his jacket inside. Back in the warmth and light of my living room, we stood facing one another, less than a foot separating us. My heart and brain – and if I’m honest, my hormones – argued over whether or not to invite him to stay.

“You’ve been stuck to him all night,” my heart said, “and he’s still here. He wants to stay.”

“You’re still drunk,” my brain argued, “he’ll never know if you wanted him to stay because of that.”

“But look at that body,” my hormones offered. “Do you really want to send THAT home?”

“Don’t you want to fully enjoy your first time together, without anything clouding your perception?” And Brain wins the debate. And he hugged me goodnight and went back to his dorm.

That night was a fixed point in my timeline. Sending Cameron back to his room without sex is a point from where I can trace everything that happened after that. If he had stayed, David’s jealousy over seeing me smoking with Cameron’s singer between their sets might have been directed at Cameron instead. If he had stayed, I might have never met Israel. I might have never slept with Israel.

If I’d never slept with Israel, we likely wouldn’t have had the relationship we had. I might have ended up in California with Cameron. We might still be out there. If Israel hadn’t broken my heart, I might have never discovered the band Kill Hannah or met all of the people I met because of them. I can link a great deal of what has happened in my life over the last decade to that moment when I decided not to invite Cameron to spend the night in my bed.

So much of what has happened in the interim has been good. I’ve met amazing people. But sometimes I wonder how it would have been different.

Trying to Fill a Void

I cut Cameron loose and have been basically unattached ever since. A couple different guys have crossed my path since then but I’ve remained unattached.

The problem is Micah. Micah first pinged on my radar about four years ago. But that’s not what this story is about.

This story is about the fact that I have completely lost touch with Micah.

David has long been my “One Who Got Away,” but lately, I’ve been feeling like Micah is better suited to the title. I can’t explain any of what happened – other than to take a major portion of the blame onto myself – but something definitely went awry.

The trouble is that I am a Scorpio. I am passionate and when I love, I love hard. I love with everything I have. And it’s really hard for me to not have an outlet for that passion and love. As a result, because of everything between Micah and I, I have been searching for something meaningless.

Literally. For the last few weeks, I haven’t wanted to be present in anything. My heart hurts and I haven’t wanted to invest it in anything. A couple weeks ago, I found myself hoping I’d run into Cameron at a concert and that everything that had never worked out between us would finally… ahem, work out.

Or David. I kind of felt like running into Cameron was a far more likely scenario but David wouldn’t have been an unwelcomed sight. If he ever still thinks about me. Which he probably doesn’t. But for that matter, Cameron probably doesn’t either.

I mean, I would not be insulted to find out that I am either one’s occasional masturbatory fantasy. I’d have to lie and tell them I thought about them, too, because don’t guys like that to hear that sort of thing? I’m asking for real. I’ve never had to lie about it to anyone. Including Cameron. Which might make things awkward in this hypothetical, never going to happen in real life, fantastical scenario.

But beyond just running into old flames (flames? I mean, sure…) and dragging them off somewhere (mostly) private to… get reacquainted… or, acquainted, since I never got that far with either of them… I digress. Beyond just running into old flames, I’ve been entertaining all kinds of weird distractionary ideas.

I have one friend who seems to be terminally single, despite being an intelligent, moderately attractive (probably, truth be told, quite attractive aside from being completely not my type), decent fellow. We joke around and everything is cool and I would genuinely like to be better acquainted (not like in the entendre I offered in the previous paragraph; legitimately just better friends). But then my traitorous brain says, “Things with Micah are, at the very least, on hold and you deserve someone in your life…”

And now, I am having horror flashes of said friend getting his eyes on this and freaking the fuck out because his name crossed my mind at some point without being directly involved in a conversation with him and so that must mean I’m crazy and obsessed and worth freaking the fuck out over. Because that’s how this whole game is played, right?

This seems like a good place to share my philosophy on … I’m not even sure. Dating? Falling in love? Falling in bed? The reality is two people who are equally interested in one another in the same way at the same time is an EXTREMELY rare occurrence. I’m far more convinced that 98% of all romantic partnerships start with one person being super into a second person and the second person throwing their hands up and saying, “eh, why the hell not? You’re not totally repulsive and I have nothing better to do with a Saturday.”

But when I get to this place – and this place was the majority of my time in university – where I’m totally stupid over someone – first Lennon, then David, then Cameron – but they’re not into me/available/cognizant of what’s going on, I find myself in that “eh, why the hell not?” role, but instead of giving a friend who is smitten a chance because they’re “not repulsive and I have nothing better to do with a Saturday,” I go seeking someone to whom I could be persuaded to offer a chance.

Maybe all of this is completely convoluted. Maybe it only make sense on the inside of my brain. Gods know I am a champion at making things more complicated than they need to be. But this is where my head is right now (my heart is not even participating in the conversation). My head is focused on finding someone to fill a void because I am hurting and I am lonely and I feel like I deserve something(one) nice, even if it does end up being completely meaningless.

Disclaimer: No. This is not a classified ad. I am not taking applications for meaningless sex partners. I am simply recognizing a behavioral pattern, which was, in a way, the whole point of this silly blog exercise in the first place.

How the Cameron Saga Came to a Head

“I’ll need a place to crash,” he said, “I can pay you back with food, beer, or sex. Personally, I’d pick sex.”

We hadn’t talked in a couple years. After I had graduated and moved back to my “hometown,” we had lost track of one another. But then, there he was, in my email. He assumed, because we had partied together throughout university, that I had the lock on where he and I could find a good party for the Memorial Day weekend, should he come into town for it.

Plans changed and he ended up back with his old band to play a birthday party for the guy who owned the bar where they had played while we were all still in school.

I didn’t hear from him again for a couple months.

And then another couple months after that.

The pattern was bizarre but I rolled with it. I was on the uphill climb from what had been a soul-crushing break up and the idea of rebound sex wasn’t even remotely unpleasant. Especially rebound sex with Cameron. Considering Israel had been, in a way, revenge sex while I was still into Cameron (the first time around…).

So, I let him shoot me a random email every once in a while and tried to fight back all of my old feelings. Rebound sex, I kept telling myself.

“What’s he doing in L.A.?” My Little Sister had taken it upon herself to stalk his social media as I told her about what had been going on.

“L.A.?”

“Yeah, it says he lives in L.A.”

And just like that, a complicated situation got 1000% more complicated. I swept it under the rug, figuring it was probably something I should have figured out sooner and bringing it up this late in the game might seem a little weird. And we were talking, now, with a fair amount of regularity. Three or four nights a week, mostly through an instant messenger but we had exchanged phone numbers as well.

“What’s up?” A standard “I’m bored, let’s chat” opening text message.

“Nothing. You?” You, not U, because I have never gotten on board with text speak.

“Just hanging out at a bar. Bored.” He’s texting me from a bar. On a Saturday night. In Los Angeles. He’s not bored, he’s hooked.

I let it go for a few days.

“What are we doing? I’m not pushing anything, I just want to make sure everything is out in the open.” Following Saturday’s text message, I had a good idea what we were doing, but I wanted to hear it from him. “Are we just talking about something physical, or are we looking at something more?”

“I hadn’t thought about it.” He admitted. “I guess we should try the physical, first. If that doesn’t work, will ‘something more’ really work? With the distance?”

This came close to a year after his initial offer of sexual favors in exchange for a place to crash after partying with me. Looking back on it, and on the revealing Saturday night text message, we had already progressed to “something more,” we just hadn’t had the conversation.

The strange song and dance that was our relationship continued for another six months. We talked almost daily, about everything. Music, recalled things that had happened while we were in university – a lot of which was him telling me things I would have never known otherwise – the standard “how was your day?” conversations, just to say we had talked that day. And we talked about sex. A lot.

“I got your email.” He had been logged in to the messenger we used, waiting for me when I got there.

I replied with a wink 😉 and asked him what he thought.

“I opened it at work.”

I was intrigued. “Did you read it at work?” I imagined him in the back office of a Los Angeles location of a major musical instrument retail chain, a noticeable bulge in the front of black slacks.

“No. I closed it when I figured out what it was.”

I was disappointed. “But you read it later.”

It was his turn to wink. “I did.” He told me he couldn’t wait to try some of it out.

Thanksgiving was coming soon. He had made plans to return to Colorado to spend a week with his family. His sister would be home on leave from the military and he wanted to spend time with her. But he wanted to spend time with me, too. We set it up. I had a four-day weekend from work. He’d come up Friday and spend Friday and Saturday with me.

A week left to go. After 18 months of talking about all of the things we wanted to do to one another, we were a week from doing them.

“I have to ask you a question.”

“Shoot.”

“If we sleep together, are you going to go crazy?” Those were the last words Cameron, the gorgeous, intelligent, talented skateboarding guitarist accountant, ever had the privilege to say to me.

SEX: Where It All Began

“It hurts.”

“You bleed all over. It’s like a murder scene.”

“You’ll ALWAYS remember your first time, so you have to make sure it’s special.”

Lies girls are told about sex.

The truth is they are not all lies. They are not all truths. Different factors go into whether or not each one (and others) is true for different people (women). Physiological factors like if you’re tense or nervous, you may not be as … ahem, open to the experience and it may hurt more.

But this isn’t a sex-ed lesson. This is about one of the most important stories in my romantic (and sexual) history – my first time.

The reality is I don’t remember it.

I remember events surrounding the experience but the actual act of having sex for the first time has kind of blurred from my memory.

Allen and I had known one another since we were eleven. I will get into more of the details regarding how that friendship became more in a future post; right now we are talking about sex. We had been dating for three or four months when he invited me to be his date for his best friend’s birthday party. We went bowling and told my parents that there would be a movie after. Or maybe the movie, then bowling…Regardless, we added a few hours so that I could stay out longer.

We left the bowling alley and went back to his house.

We went back to his room.

We lie down on his bed and turned on his favorite movie.

And for the rest of my life, my “first time” will always have been soundtracked by Tom Cruise in a race car.

I mentioned before that I don’t remember much. I was, quite obviously, not disappointed in the experience because I came back for more. That was January. And I’m fairly certain that my first orgasm didn’t come until that following summer. But for what it was (a quick and – apparently – dirty trial run) and for all I had to compare it to (which was not nothing), I must have enjoyed it. Or at least didn’t hate it.

I look back on that now and hear voices from emotional females insisting that it should have been special, that I should remember it, even now, twenty years later. That it should have stuck with me, that it should have been the thing by which I define all future sexual encounters.

Frankly, I think all of that is sexist, chauvinistic bullshit.

Men are not expected to remember the minute details of their first sexual experience. They aren’t really even expected to care about it. For men, especially teenaged men, sex is supposed to be something akin to eating food. They can go without it for a few days but eventually, they will become weak and irritable and gorge themselves on the first piece of meat they can get their hands on (and yes, I meant that exactly how it came out).

There is this idea that, for females, sex should ALWAYS mean something. There should ALWAYS be an emotional, psychological, and spiritual connection between a woman and any and every sexual partner she takes. Even though my first time was within the confines of a committed relationship, none of this has ever made sense.

The fact is that I had had, even before losing my virginity (which I view as a concept more than an actual physical process), several physical encounters, both pleasing and less so, and I had, even before that night, figured out that I was meant to be a sexual being. I was never meant to rely so heavily on emotional connections.

I don’t deny that I prefer intimacy and that sex with connection is often more fulfilling than an emotionless, no-strings-attached tryst, but having experienced both, I also refuse to accept that either are without merit.

So, the short and curly gist of my first time story is that the biggest myth I was told was that I would always remember it. I don’t. I don’t remember how it felt. I don’t remember if it hurt or not. I only remember that he told me months later (because it came up in some strange conversation) that I had bled that first time. I don’t even remember, for sure, how long it lasted, only that we watched most of the movie and were able to turn it off before the credits were finished. A part of my memory suggests fifteen, maybe twenty minutes, while pop culture suggests five is a generous guess.

Whatever happened that night, it opened me up to become the sex-positive woman I am today. I can’t tell you if it was a life changing experience, only that it would be the first experience of many.