I’m tempted to write this article with poetic obscurity because my parents are reading it. I wouldn’t want to add another reason to the cue of reasons the generation above us has for believing that Millenials are a problematic enterprise of technological corruption.
I also don’t want to scare them.
But, this is hardly a post about my own vulnerability. I am writing to make men feel vulnerable.
I’ve written this article and I’ve written it again and I’ve written it again. I’ve wondered who would read it, if I would offend anyone in my family, if judgement would come, if the men I’m about to talk about (without quoting them) will somehow find this and feel assaulted by me.
I didn’t post this article yesterday because I was scared.
First of all, to the men who might read this (doubtful that’s possible) and think “I’ve been used”, take a second to stop being stupid. Think about every woman you know. Multiply that feeling I’ve given you, that vulnerable feeling, that can’t-be-hushed-but-there-is-no-justice-because-I-can’t-tell-anyone feeling, take that feeling and multiply it by at least sixty, apply it to the face of every woman you know and understand: There’s no room to feel bad for you. Go apologize to one of those women. No, don’t bother apologizing. Just remember this feeling when you see her.
To the people who know me and don’t want to read about my sex life: Don’t. I really consider it my duty, especially in response to the feedback I’ve gotten about this site, to write truthfully and offer a voice to those truths. I am writing about an honest evolution. Right now, that happens to involve a salacious topic.
I don’t put myself in danger anymore. I’m too experienced in the art of self-aware-destructive-choices and I have no interest in allowing a man to Win the prize of my desperate seduction just because I feel sad.
This isn’t an article about sad choices.
This article is about the virtual “cock-blocking” capabilities of a woman who hardly has any interest in meeting anyone new, let alone sleeping with anyone new, let alone promising to sleep with anyone new. This article is about repression and release. Under investigative terms, last night I talked dirty.
I’ve wondered why it’s so easy for Kara and her kind to be sexy publicly without any regard for their parents. What does Nikki Minaj’s mother think? I write that realizing that there might be a deep cave of complex family history for Nikki Minaj. But, what about all the girls who are imitating her? Why do I feel so bad being sexual?
A recent experience sex-shamed me into absolute self-repulsion. This was before the dirty talk. The event triggered the overflow of memories, beginning at a frightfully young age, memories of men I didn’t know doing things I didn’t ask for but, in shock, not saying no and then, blamelessly recovering: Wrong place, wrong time, wrong drug, wrong people. Oops. Recently some one pointed the “you did that and I didn’t want it” finger at me. Unworthy of it but wounded, I believed it. With my vivid memory of the event, I know I did nothing, I know I am affirmed in my sexual worth, to find someone who won’t mess with me. Just. One. Guy.
Well. Now the exploration can really begin.
What will make men feel more vulnerable?
I didn’t really participate in the dirty talk far beyond what was necessary to keep speech with the overflowing way-too-eager men I was talking to but I did invest a few hours on a humid Tuesday using two different dating apps to extract the sexual fantasies of a handful of virtual “matches”.
The experiment was comically fruitful. I had no idea what kind of creative intellect our city would be brimming with. Some violent, some timidly naive, most pornographically influenced, all from the distance of however far away, I “unmatched” and ignored one man at a time after each one of them willingly painted himself as a picture of vulnerability inspired by my shameless exposure of his most animalistic hopes.
Remember when chat rooms were stigmatized, and maybe they still are, with perverted license for anonymous degrading language. Remember ICQ and MSN and AOL and even email, all forms of horny outreach for the, forgive me but, very normal population of All of Us who had appointed time on the internet to relieve ourselves of loneliness. Even I , as a young girl, met two different virtual boyfriends on ICQ. Both of them were boys from my community and not weirdo old men BUT they would most likely have been weird older men at the time. It’s different now. Not completely different. But, different.
If you’ve never been on a dating app like Tinder or Bumble, you can’t imagine how easy it is to meet a stranger in a secure space. If you’re holding the belief that these conversations are dangerous, please pop your head out of the nineties and realize, the internet is in our pockets now. Porn is a second away at all times. We are constantly horny and alone. Repressing sexual desire due to stigma is a mistake.
These conversations were fun and enlightening. They were way more telling than “what did you do today” or “I see you’re a technician at Virgin Mobile” or “what kinds of stuff do you write” (please stop asking me that). I got to know a number of men intimately without being in any danger. They don’t know my last name. They don’t know where I live. A few of them asked for photos but I refused and if they asked a second time I deleted them. Some of them wanted to “come over right now”, I deleted them. I wasn’t trying to hook up with anyone. I just wanted to hear them at their dirtiest. If they weren’t willing to play, I wasn’t willing to know them. Flipping through their profiles, I can see them dripping with impulses. Why would I wait until we’re in person to get to know what those impulses are?
Prior to the dirty talk, it only took me four days of having these apps to realize that the safe and kind boring conversations I was having were probably not that Safe and Kind. I’ve been on this earth for twenty-eight years and I know that women can’t trust charming flirtation. There’s no such thing as innocence and, if there is such a thing, it’s most enjoyable when it is shared between partners but we can’t share if we don’t know. So, when do we get to ask?
It’s the most fun to love the person who shares in your vulgarities and your insecurities. When things are evenly interesting, that’s when comfort can be found. Exposing the men I “meet” on these apps right at the brim of learning their names, opened them up to judgement and a crucial awareness on my end, more than I could ever learn from an “innocent” date or a mutual interest or even a prolonged friendship.
There is, therefore, a purpose to this procedure: I do not want to be a targeted woman in a room with a man ever again in my life. It has happened to me plenty. I don’t know if it can be avoided. Even men I know well, I’m in a room alone with them, we have a few drinks and eventually it isn’t that comfortable anymore. I have never been with a man who wasn’t exploiting my vulnerability. So, before I get caught up in the world of Tinder, I want the power struggle to end. Now.
I want to know exactly who I am dealing with, exactly what you want, exactly what you dream of whether we are in a room alone together or in public or chatting online from opposite ends of the Earth. I want to expose You and I mean the You that You won’t even admit is You (until provoked by a cute stranger who might agree to see you if you’re respectful of each No she pronounces even from afar). I want a bare naked representation of you or I don’t want to deal with you. Because, you are a man and I am a woman and that rarely works out for me. Tell me when you’re naked. I’ll listen from there. And then, maybe I’ll trust your ability to withdraw from a power position.
Granted, I’m not an idiot, it would be hard to meet any of these men in person without them assuming that I’m game for “whatever” and therein lies the wonderment of ego: Online (last night, at least) I’m the woman who asks you What You’re Into but in person I just want to talk about T.S. Eliot, split a pitcher and watch the Jays. It’s the same woman, let’s not pretend. But, how do I wear my ego in front of these men? Do I wear it inside out with the vulnerability predominantly exposed or do I let it hang over me, shield-like, while they awkwardly figure out how to remind me that there’s a reverse to what I’m showing them? The answer and the point is: It doesn’t matter. It’s all transparent now anyways.
I can go out with one of these guys and we can drink beer while we talk about our families, all the while knowing the filth we spoke about previously online. Or we can go out and talk more about filth. I don’t know, I can’t tell what I’ve done. However, I am glad I did it safely, and that I had fun and that I heard some absurd stories from some probably very normal men about what they hope for when they are alone at night.
The trick I learned on Wednesday is: If the man can have a normal conversation, veer into something gross and come back to a normal conversation, he might be the man for you. Men who get fixated probably will always be fixated. Men who continue to ask me about my writing after we’ve both seemingly accomplished a self-fulfilled task on either end of the phone: Those are the true gentlemen. It’s only been a two day lesson. Watch me get proven wrong. The experiment is just what it is: An effort to find comfort with a man.
I would never have thought to do this a month ago. Being Kara, a stranger to myself, wearing a costume, pretending every day, it’s shown me that there’s no shame in sexuality. It’s actually just really fun. This is life now. This is the way we love: We get on our phones and we Try. We try to be smart or funny or popular, we try to get to someone. Staying away from technology because paranoia tells you that WOMEN GO MISSING SOMETIMES is just a dated way of understanding our selves. We are shelled when we are in public. We are vulnerable when we are at home and online. Why, then, is it crude to express connectivity with our most vulnerable selves? Why is it “filthy”? Because of the language? I just want to type the word Cock for you a bunch now: It’s just language. Believe me, that’s the safest kind of dirt. It feels good when it’s harmless.
I’ve spent phases of my life, lying around waiting for that One Person to get in touch with me, to show me or tell me something I can love. It’s a rough waiting game. Waiting for a text message from that guy who doesn’t really like me is like waiting for the guillotine to come down: It hurts anyways. So, why bother intellectualizing it? Because, self-torture is man’s conditional response to shame.
Well, fuck you, shame.
If I had made my dating accounts under Kara’s name, face and images (and I can still do that) it would be more anonymous and maybe more eventful. When I began with Kara, I used her as an excuse to feel sexy without shame but now I cannot tell you what a relief the vulgarity is. I didn’t wait around for this. I messaged “you’re cute”, a response came and within minutes, with the right questions, I had a friend for the evening, I had entertainment and intimacy, however impersonal. No shame. No torture. Just pleasure and joy, vulnerably.
Kara could have done it too but why should I credit Kara for my brilliant writing and seductive charm? No. I’m Rachel. Finally. It’s an odd statement of self, but it happened and it might happen again: I found him, he found me, we could be Us for a deck of messages and then goodbye.
The confidence of impermanence has grown in me. I am not afraid to say who I am. Because, I can escape. You cannot hold me here. No one can persecute me for being who I am. No one can inspire shame in me just because I am choosing to write things on a screen or to remind you that I’m a woman or to follow my impulse towards exploration. It doesn’t need a mask. It doesn’t need Kara. It just needs a mindful approach and a secure app. So easy is the expansion of self.
We are all dirty creatures. We don’t need to fake anything. The more we hide it from each other, the more it explodes in ways that end friendships, in ways that break hearts, in ways that confuse us. There is nothing more straight forward than dirty talk on a dating app. Get a profile. Be filthy. Enjoy the safety net of your own home. Stop waiting for your torturer to remind you that everything ends. That person isn’t here now. Wave goodbye.