When I was diagnosed with herpes on my 23rd birthday (happy birthday to me!), I was devastated and thought no one would ever want to have sex with me or date me ever again. Six years later, here is a chronological list of what each of the people I’ve dated have had to say when I told them.
Drunk sex had been easy. It was fun. It’s no fresh theory, but alcohol made me feel more interesting and attractive. At parties, in bed, I could relax without feeling tangibly insecure or cautious. And with drunk sex I didn’t have to worry about the anxiety of being close to someone, or even what to do and how to do it. Alcohol anesthetized me to all complication. It got me out of my head, out of myself.
It’s a strange thing to be an adult who doesn’t feel like they fit in. We’re taught to outgrow those feelings, or force belonging onto environments, like our university experiences or in our jobs. We don’t have a choice—if you get to a point late enough in life when you haven’t found like-minded spirits, then you’ve failed. The playing field is supposed to be more level, the grass cut more evenly.
I was a lounge-singing weirdo in rainbow clothes, accidentally placed in a family of geniuses: that is how I explain my entire childhood to the people I meet as an adult in New York.
The hostel had a lovely garden, with white metal swings and pink flowers. One morning I did yoga barefoot on the grass. But there were no other travelers here, and I was eager for my luck to change.
I was 16 when I went on my father’s computer and found a significant amount of child pornography.
I’ve spoken to very few people about what it was like to be in a room watching my mother take her last gulps of air.
The first time I met Bill Murray, I was 18 years old and wearing a miserable brown ensemble.
The men in stories like this always have just enough power, in their little worlds and in ours, that to confront them would be to court an ordeal, to invite others to question our own memories and motives. It’s always more trouble than it’s worth.