Earlier this week, as I was waking up from a solid 10 hours of sleep, as I am prone to do, I was suddenly hit with the question all women fear: Am I a slut?
Now, I do not agree in the oh-so-common practice of “slut-shaming” or making anyone who chooses to be sexually active feel guilt or remorse for their actions. I would never call a fellow female a “slut” for having more than one partner, nor would I encourage any one to think that a sexually active female is anything to call attention to. However, when it comes to judging oneself, even Statler and Waldrof couldn’t compare to the inner saboteur that wrecks havoc on my conscience.
I was a girl who believed in love and who never wanted to sleep with any one other than her high school sweetheart (aptly titled, “The First”). When he turned to alcoholism and infidelity, that wish had to be slightly altered. So, of course, there came “The Bad Boy,” “The One Night Stand(s),” “The Best Friend,” “The Hopeful Future,” “The Soulmate…” all of which led me to sleeping on my couch, dishes piled high in the sink, and microwavable mac and cheese dinners.
This Friday was going to be different. I was going to shave my legs, wear my push up bra, and spend the evening with “Long Distance Boy.” I was going to be charming and free-spirited and laugh loudly and drink deeply. l was going to push all of my cares, and his inevitable indecencies, aside and have a raucous good time. I was going to silence that inner convent girl who believes in one true loves and sexual discretion and be a strong, independent woman who knows what she wants and exactly how to get it.
The only problem was…I didn’t want that. Nothing about what I was going to do made me happy.
I’m not careless, nor am I carefree. Sure, I laugh loudly and drink deeply, but did I really want to shave my legs for a self-professed anti-monogamist? A man who claims that fidelity is not possible, nor probable.
I want a relationship. I want a partner. I want loyalty and commitment. I realized that I had to start acting like I was worth that lasting commitment. I want a loving, lasting, loyal relationship. I have tried very hard to suppress that want – saying I’m an independent woman, I’m single, I can do what I want with my body. And I believe that: I can live in that manner if I want. But it has not make me feel good and it does not make me feel like a strong, independent lady – it makes me feel like a weak, little girl who folds whenever a guy gives her attention. And that is slutty.
So, I told “Long Distance Boy” about my decision and he handled it like quite the gentleman. (Though he disagreed that loyalty and monogamy were the same thing.)
But, more than that, I realized I had to tell the person I considered “The Soulmate” the very same story. I realized that in waiting for him in the hope that he would choose me was against all that I believe in.. or had believed in when I was much younger than I am now. (Funny how it seems you know yourself the best before you have had time to “get to know yourself.”)
He was loving and respectful and gracious – told me that he respected me more for doing this and that he loved me…
After crying for what seemed like ages, I dreamt last night that I held the length of my hair in my hand, shorn off close to the scalp. I felt the panic rise within me as I cradled my severed ponytail to my chest, my left hand groping the back of my skull for any remaining strands. When I turned, I saw a mirror and in that mirror, a reflection. The reflection was of a beautiful woman; a sparkling creature with a luminescent glow, a beautiful smile, star-like eyes… I was Jennifer Lawrence.
No, seriously, I had turned into Jennifer Lawrence.
But the point is, I guess, sometimes you have to remove the dead ends of your life to reveal the beautiful woman you are.
I also dreamt about pulling a prank on Steve Buscemi and Vice President Biden with a Can of Farts. So, my interpretation could be a little off…