few weeks of feeling a bit lonely, I ignored the part of me that was uncomfortable with seeking out companionship online and downloaded the app. I wasn't necessarily looking for a boyfriend, just someone to turn to in the times when I needed a distraction from myself.
He messaged me first with a line about how there was so much snow in Portland we would probably be able to cross country ski on it. I liked that his approach wasn't the often used "Hey, what's up?" And took what he said to mean that he was charming and funny and a bunch of other characteristics I'm attracted to in a guy. We chatted for a bit about nothing I remember, and soon I was asking him if he'd like to get a drink. I tend to skip over the online dating phase of getting to know someone through messaging. I've watched enough Catfish to know that you can fall in love with someone online who doesn't really exist and I'd just rather save myself the emotional turmoil of getting excited about a person who in real life is nothing like their seemingly wonderful, cat loving, charming online self. I got off work and quickly changed into an outfit that I thought made me look cute but like I didn't try too hard to look this way. Then I drove over to the bar he chose because it was in my neighborhood. Only it wasn't really, so, I showed up late because I underestimated the travel time and took a bit too long trying to look effortlessly pretty. As I walked up to the bar, I passed the window where a boy, who I could only assume to be my Tinder date, was sitting at a table writing in a notebook. He was cute and I was immediately attracted to his need to carry a notebook around so that he could write down what I decided to be thought provoking ideas about himself and the world. He had chosen to sit in a quiet back room away from the madness of the weekday bar crowd, which gave me an opportunity to get a drink before meeting him. This helped to simmer the uncomfortableness swirling inside me that accompanies me on first dates brought on by the fact that I don't drink and I'm in a place where the assumed behavior is that I will be. I worry that my date will feel self-conscious because I have made him drink alone. I guess I could suggest other first date ideas like dinner or bowling or something not revolving around alcohol, but the truth is, I like bars. They're casual and non-committal and they give you an opportunity to talk and get to know another person, which is all I really want to do on a first date anyway. Well you know, that and possibly get laid. And so, I ordered my Diet Coke without the silence of him wondering if he's on a date with a recovering alcoholic. Which of course he is, but I'm not ready for him to know that yet.
With my non-alcoholic drink in hand I walked over to where he was sitting (after I texted him of course to confirm that it was actually him and not just a Bukowski type of writer) and sat down. If I was born with one gift, it is the gift of talking. I can have a conversation with even the most un-responsive sort of person and have a comfortable openness about me that makes me easy to talk to. So I don't really mind this part of first dates given that it's socially acceptable to talk about myself, which is my favorite thing to talk about. I liked that our time together began with discussions of random things about life rather than traditional first date small talk. And as he monologued about something I had a hard time following, my mind wandered to other things besides his words. I silently assessed him, and like the crazy person I am, wondered within twenty minutes of knowing him, if he could be someone I see a future with. Then my focus turned to the huge mole on his cheek and I shallowly wondered if I still found him attractive. And then I debated with myself if I could get past the mole. Or was it even a mole of just a bad break-out in which case it would go away and I would have nothing to worry about? Eventually I stopped being so self-centered and put my focus back on him. The conversation was nice. Not particularly exciting, but nice nonetheless.
After two rounds of drinks it was that point in the evening where you either call it a night or move on to something else together. We could go to another bar, but now that he saw I wasn't drinking it seemed a bit futile. If I'm being honest, I think I knew relatively quickly that I wasn't that into him, but I wanted to be and so I tried to convince myself that I was. And so, I did what I ashamedly normally do, I asked him if he wanted to come back to my place and watch a movie. He agreed. They pretty much always agree. We put his bike in my car, because of course he rides a bike, and drove back to my house. He asked to bum a cigarette which I liked because I never date other smokers. I always feel uncomfortable smoking around someone I'm dating when they don't smoke, because then I smell like it and I taste like it and they don't, so it's not enjoyable for them. So, I try to be polite and not smoke around them, which means all while were hanging out I'm a bit distracted by the intense craving for nicotine.
Once at my house I grabbed my computer and set us up in the living room with a cozy blanket and minimal lighting. I can't tell you what movie we watched, and it really isn't important, even at that time, because we all know movies are just the soundtrack to hooking up. He put his arm around me and I cuddled into his quite thin frame which didn't offer much comfort or cushioning. I was only partly watching the movie, mostly I was in my head waiting for the inevitable moment when we would both look at each other and lean in. I wasn't planning on sleeping with him. But, eventually our clothes became a tangled mess on the floor, and with our half naked bodies pressing against each other, withholding sex became unimportant. We had crossed the invisible line from making out into foreplay, and I felt as though we may as well have sex after we've gone this far in that direction.
I wasn't particularly against having sex with him, though I'm not entirely sure why. I wasn't very attracted to him. And there was no magical feeling inside me that felt like I wanted to explore a relationship with him. I think I was just lonely in Portland and desperate to cling on to any form of company, even if it meant convincing myself to like someone more than I did. Plus, casually sleeping with men I hardly know is just something I do. I don't think there's anything wrong with freely exploring my sexuality with whoever I please, if that is all it is and it comes from a place of sexual liberation. But it doesn't. It comes from years of guys treating me as if sex was all they wanted from me, and me relenting so that I can have some male attention while I try and pretend to myself that I am worth more than that to them. I have become so de-sensitized to sex that it is no longer an experience of intimacy. Mostly I'm just in my head thinking about other things or wishing for it to end while my body moves in ways I think they'll enjoy. It's not healthy behavior, I know, and something I'm sure a therapist would be exceptionally useful in helping me with.
For a girl that has as much casual sex as I do, I'm not very safe about it. I think it's just because I'm not very good at taking care of myself in general, which probably wraps up into that whole low self-worth thing I struggle with. I have an IUD in, and so there is no chance of me getting pregnant, thank goodness. But STD's exist, and I don't often take the proper precautions to ensure that I don't get one from someone I hardly know who may be more concerned with getting laid then divulging that information to me. But, as all of our clothes came off and sex with this boy loomed closer, I thought this might be a good moment to start taking better care of myself. And so, I stopped kissing him long enough to tell him I was going to get a condom and I walked my naked self to the bathroom. Now I don't know too much about condoms because like I said, I don't use them that often. Apparently they come in different sizes, but since it's not the normal sizes of small, medium and large I really don't know which ones correlate with which type of penis. Perhaps I should have bought a variety of sizes so that I had options, but then again wouldn't it be kind of insulting to pull out the smallest size and give it to your partner? It's like, "Here. This is for your small penis. Yes, I noticed it was small and in case you were self-conscious about it at all, I just wanted to re-enforce it. Now, put it on and try to feel masculine and sexy while you're humping me." But, I guess maintaining the ego of the person you're about to have sex with should be the least of your concerns when it comes to protecting yourself. Anyways, I just have this one size condom and it worked perfectly well with the partner I had used them with, so I guess I just thought it was kind of a universal size. I handed the condom to this boy and we had horrible sex on my couch, moving our bodies in only one position. It soon became clear that he was going to make no effort to have me cum, which didn't really matter because I wasn't nearly turned on enough anyways. I just wanted the whole thing to be over with. And, soon enough, like very soon enough, it was.
I got off of him and stood up, not even caring enough to be self-conscious of my naked body. He looked at me with a concerned expression painting his face and told me that the condom was not on him. I had seen him put it on, but in this moment of confusion I felt it necessary to ask him if he had. Once he said he had, we looked around the couch to see if it had somehow fallen off in our non-position-changing sex. I mean, we didn't move much, and so the likelihood of it coming off and falling onto the couch mid-sex was really slim, but at this point I really didn't know what else to do. As we searched the couch to no avail, I had the thought that perhaps the condom had come off inside me. I went into the bathroom to explore the caverns of my lady parts. Now I don't spend much time with my fingers deep inside me, so I'm not entirely certain what my vaginal walls feel like. As I proceeded to move my index finger in a hooking motion, I tried to differentiate the slick feel of my vagina from that of a condom. But it was useless. After ten minutes of searching my lady bits for any sign of a foreign object while someone I've known for a few hours silently freaks out in the next room, I had found nothing. This is what I get for trying to be a responsible adult. Not knowing what else to do, we searched the entire love making area for the mysterious vanishing condom. We took out the cushions, shook out the blanket, but it was useless. The condom was nowhere to be found. In a desperate attempt to make the whole situation end, I repetitively asked him the question I already knew the answer to. When he replied with certainty that he had put the condom on, I concluded it must be somewhere inside me and I once again shoved my fingers deep into my precious lady parts. I was unglamorous and uncaring, fingering myself in front of him in the least sexy way possible. But still, I couldn't feel anything. He was not subtle in his attempt to remain calm as a slight panic consumed his face. There were hints of shame and a strong desire to leave stitched within his silence. I on the other hand, was the least embarrassed you could be in a seemingly embarrassing situation. I was too consumed with thoughts of not wanting to live with a condom lost inside me than to worry what this boy was thinking about me.
There was a moment of stillness as we stood there perplexed, each shuffling through a mess of ideas on what to do next. There is a hospital down the street from where I live, but I refused to go to the emergency room and tell the nurses I had a condom hidden inside my vagina. So instead we decided to utilize Google. None of the search results were very helpful, just a stream of suggestions that included squatting and pushing out like you're having a baby. I tried them nonetheless, but they, too, were unsuccessful. Not knowing what else to do, I asked him if he would try to get it out of me. Still completely naked, I laid back on the couch and propped my legs up in a gynecological exam position. He stuck his fingers as deep inside me as they would go and fished around my secret lady parts. I didn't know it was possible to be so un-turned on by someone fingering me, but apparently it is. After what felt like forever of the most awkward pap smear in history, he pulled his empty fingers out of me. And so, again I tried. We remained in this cycle, taking turns sticking our fingers up inside me, and I couldn't help but laugh at how comfortable I felt in this situation. I just wanted to get this damn thing out of me and I didn't care how cool, or smart, or beautiful I appeared in the process.
At this point, it had been over an hour of us unsuccessfully searching for this magically disappearing condom and I was minutes away from waking my mother up in the middle of the night and asking what I should do. I was defeated yet determined to keep going. What choice did I have? I certainly couldn't live with a used condom lost inside my vagina. But then I thought of something. I went to my kitchen and pulled out a plastic kitchen spoon. The kind of serving utensil with the prongs on the end that you would use if you were going to serve pasta. I handed it to him and instructed that he stick it as far up me as it would go and see if he could fish the condom out. Apparently vaginas are much deeper then I ever thought because the entire thing, minus the prongs, went seamlessly inside me. I took what was left of the spoon from him and swirled it around hoping to hook onto the condom.
Feeling like this possibly dangerous procedure was useless, I then had the genius idea of scraping the handle all the way down the walls of my precious insides in an attempt to make contact with the condom and drag it out of me. The handle came out speckled in deep red blood and condom-less. Defeated, I laid on my couch exhaustedly holding the spoon like an unwanted prize as a slightly painful feeling swelled inside my lady bits. If this situation taught me anything, you know besides the fact that maybe I should consider not having sex with every boy that gives me attention, it's in times of distress my brain goes into a problem solving mode rather than one of sheer panic. Unlike this boy, who offered no suggestions but rather uncomfortably watched me with his terror-glazed eyes as I tried a million ridiculous things to get this damn condom out of me. Soon, from the hopefulness of my imagination, my brain thought of another idea. This whole time I had been sticking one finger inside me trying to hook onto the condom and pull it out, but what if I stick two fingers inside me and try to pinch at the condom and pull it out with a more firm grasp. What if this whole time I had been unknowingly making contact with the slick feel of the lubricated condom and it had just been slipping past my finger? While this boy lay lost in his own little world of panic, I stuck my forefinger and my thumb up inside my vagina and ignorantly pinched around. And then I felt something. I pinched down hard on whatever it was and pulled. Sure enough, caught between my fingers was a bloody, used condom. I outstretched my arm and held it up in the air for what I'm sure was minutes as my body succumbed to an ecstasy induced paralysis. This boy was visibly relieved as well, though he didn't say much, and he didn't stop shaking for the rest of the night.
We went to bed soon after in the solitary way many one-night-stand couples do. I slept heavily, curled into myself, and awoke the next morning to the crumpling sounds of him getting dressed. I guess the idea of morning sex had been tainted from the night before. We exchanged a few superficial words as I helped him get his bike out of my car and he rode away as I went back inside to drown out my thoughts with television. Later that day I texted him and asked if he would like to do something again sometime. He said yes, but only as friends. Well I guess that's what happens when a condom gets lost inside you - it doesn't leave much hope for a second date.
I wish I could just store this experience away deep inside me where my catalogue of bad sexual encounters live. But, as it turns out, I sliced part of my vagina with the little plastic nodules that exist on the handle of the spoon I had shoved inside me and sex has been incredibly painful ever since. It's been seven months and I'm left rubbing cream on my vagina every night and living with the repercussions of a terrible one night stand with a boy I don't care about. It wouldn't be such a big deal if I could just not put penises inside my vagina and let it heal, but I happened to have met my boyfriend the week after this incident and I'm finding it hard to keep my hands off of someone I love so much. Dealing with my somewhat broken vagina has been really frustrating and challenging in our relationship, but we're figuring it out. My boyfriend thinks this is an excuse to have anal more often, but I do not. My "sex is painful" face disturbs him, but I find myself making it less often the more time that passes. I would say that I regret the experience, but what's the point, it happened. And maybe I needed one more ridiculously horrible sex story before I met this wonderful person who may very possibly be the leading man in all my sex stories from this point forward. I guess the moral is, have safe sex, kids. Or don't. Either way there may be consequences.