Pride of the Protestants

Ok.  So.  I have a couple of topics that are kicking around in my head-bucket right now, but the thing is, they kinda hit a nerve in my life if I dig too deep into them and I get all whiny and annoying, so I’m struggling currently with a way to discuss them without degrading into melancholic mental masturbation (the triple M, believe it).

First is sex-associated guiltI’ve got it.  It’s a problem.  It’s a huge surprise to friends I discuss it with.  That surprise is, in turn, a huge surprise to me.  Because correct me if I’m way out of line, but hasn’t the whole thing about Americans and sex been that we have unhealthy Protestant/Puritan-derived attitudes toward sex and sexuality??  That Americans are too uptight about sex and have a whole universe of ways to feel guilt and shame anytime s-e-x comes up??  No?  That was a dream I had in the 90’s? Oooohhh, oh. Ok.  So that’s why with the fight to kill pornography and the criminalization of prostitution, and the no boobs on TV; I was making it up.  I dreamed up this guy named Max Weber whose ideas formed like a pillar of  sociology and modern anthropology.  Turns out I made up this computer and this town called New York, too.  See, there’s that whiny thing I was warning you about.

Anyway, this came up when I blabbed all about banging a 22 year old I’d just met to a car full of friends and new acquaintances the other night.  I told the story, and then closed with a “and now i wish it hadn’t happened…I feel terrible about it” line.  The unanimous response was, “what’s wrong with you that you would feel bad about it at all?”  Delivered as though everyone had suddenly realized there was a leper disintegrating in the car seat next to them, and let’s not be too shitty about it, but man is that guy skeeving me out.  But we like him.  But whoa, who in the world ever regrets a one night stand?!

So now, in my neurotic obsession with eventually discovering and ironing out every little personality flaw i possibly can, I want to know why I feel uneasy about that encounter and how I can fix it.  Or if I should.  Because as I’m sure you’re picking up, I’m skeptical that there aren’t sometimes good reasons to feel like you shouldn’t have jammed your dick in some stranger’s pussy.  So maybe I also want to figure out why in a car load of people not one person went, “Oh yeah, I feel ya on that.  Live and learn, bro.”  Granted two of the passengers have been happily married forever, but I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to get there mentally.

Obvious choices are: 1) you were in the wrong car at the wrong time; 2) you feel like you took advantage of the girl; 3) she was over 10 years younger than you; 4) you feel like there’s an expectation to develop a relationship now, but obviously that just ain’t gonna happen.  One stand-out is: 5) she barely even touched your dick, and definitely didn’t suck it.  What a ripoff.  Disappointment becomes guilt?  Do I feel used?! Meh, maybe actually.  But the closest I think I can get to the real source of angst is related to my second point:

My fucked up reluctance to dive into dating.  Ok ok, don’t get me wrong, I socialize, I have random sex (condoms=yes), but there are some girls I never follow up with (who are kinda hot and kinda fun) and some girls I never meet (from okcupid, who straight up ask me to bang them), and some girls I zero in on and obsess over who are clearly awful.  Every “decision” I make seems to point to an unhealthy dating drive apparatus.  I’m avoiding the good ones, clinging to the bad ones, and in general not really getting into it at all (but can’t seem to tear myself away).  There’s a couple cogs loose in the romance box and it’s making this awful clanging sound.  And I think I smell oil burning.

So what makes this discussion worth having in a public forum?  Well, there’s a whole army of people circling the relationship drain with me.  How do I know?  Straight up anecdotal tiny slice of life “evidence” of course.  Take Okcupid.  I recently went back through my inbox into the murky origins of my account, on a fishing trip to see what was down there.  More than half of the girls I was in contact with 2 years ago are still active online.  It’s like we’re the survivors club or something.  They have the same optimistic heart on the sleeve profiles; out there looking for the right guy, or maybe just a good guy to go to museums with or possibly a “partner in crime”.  Gross.  It’s never that simple.  If it were, I’d be taking one up the Hudson to Storm King in a Zipcar every weekend.  There’s something wrong, ladies.

So here’s what I propose:  I am going to take a moratorium on dating.  For 30 days, no more romantic encounters with girls.  For one month I will refuse every invitation to dinner, or after-work drinks, or company to a concert, or whatever, from any lady interested in establishing “relations”.  I will resist the temptation to get phone numbers, I will NOT go back to that bar where Margot the insanely hot girl from Jamaica introduced herself and made it a point to touch me 87 times.  I don’t care.  It’s not for me.  I have ISSUES to work out and taking girls off my plate for a while might help.  I mean, no guarantees, but I got my fingers crossed.  I’m already on day 3 and look at me, I’ve finished a blog post I started 15 days ago or so.  My mind already feels clearer.  The panic is definitely setting.

Of course you know what happens when you make yourself unavailable to girls, right? They come out of the woodwork; they pounce.  So I’m not giving up sex.  If a one-night stand happens I’m rolling with it.  But I’m gonna be true to my inner asshole and NOT call her.  I may even tell her as much up front.  That might be good for some extra dirty sex, ya never know.  Ok I do know, it will be.  Not the point.