Area Woman Maintains Professional Persona Between Weekends of Getting Mercilessly Dicked

satire

CHICAGO—Feeling refreshed from a weekend of nonstop coitus and sinfully creative foreplay, local woman Sarah Goodman arrived to work early on Monday to catch up on emails. “Sarah is one of the highest performers in the department,” reported her manager Glen Frederick, who ran into Goodman in the kitchen and ignorantly directed conversation toward the weather instead of the saucier topic of how aggressively she was shagged less than 24 hours ago.

When asked about her weekend, the 26-year-old digital strategist reportedly made no mention of the dozens of borderline abusive acts she requested her partner perform on her genitalia last Friday. Her polite and conservative response further proved how her adopted office persona was an adequate veil for the sexual deviance that would surely jeopardize her good standing with HR and any chance of promotion.

Goodman was described by her previous supervisor as a strong technical lead who exemplified professional maturity, which largely contrasts her covert participation in questionable activities outside of business hours—she has reportedly referred to her sexual partners as father figures despite the absence of any true biological relation.

Multiple sources confirmed that Goodman’s latest training module used none of the foul language typically heard through her thin bedroom walls—spoken at a volume that countered her own request that “they had to be quiet tonight.”

“I’m excited to work with such a motivated team,” said Goodman, adding that the upcoming project would bring the company to an unprecedented amount of revenue, an accomplishment that pales in comparison to her most recent 2.5-hour session of wild and uninterrupted fornication.

Colleagues shared that Goodman was “highly organized” and “an insightful mentor” around the office. At press time, she was seen compiling user feedback surveys and not seeking opportunities to have her posterior tenderized like a fresh cut sirloin steak. She proceeded to conduct herself appropriately as if she were a dynamic and socially adjusted person, capable of compartmentalizing her life to simultaneously promote her professional advancement and satiate her fuck-nasty libido through impromptu gang bangs.

66 Days of No Sex: A Reflection From The Free Side, Part I

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66 Days of No Sex challenge ended March 7, 2017

Result: Failed (technical foul on Day 55, but no sex during the 66 days)

Mood: Pensive

I was destined to have sex last weekend.

My roommate was out of town and I had the place to myself. After two months of sexual hibernation, I expected anthropomorphic woodland critters to rally around my bed at the strike of midnight and welcome me back to the lifelong dance party featuring the Horizontal Mambo.

Instead, on Day 67, I sent nudes to an old friend with benefits. The red arrow next to his Snapchat name hollowed.

“How many guys you send that to?”

“Just you.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Have I ever lied to you?”

“Probably.”

We were regulars back in the day. He earned my trust when I told him I missed him and he told me he missed my body.

That’s the kind of respect I prefer: honesty in intention, not sweetness in speech.

It’s crazy how a guy who openly expresses interest in strictly sex is perceived as less respectful than the smooth talker who habitually apologizes for not replying to your texts and flaking on plans. The charming non-boyfriend figure that hangs out with you every weekend but doesn’t want to label what you have, who tells you how much he enjoys your company as you wait for him to come around and want more than your weekends.

My regular didn’t tell me pretty things. He established a relationship of utility rather than appearances, and for that I owe him the standard I now have for a serious, long-term partner: the courage to be transparent about your desires.

“Will I be the first [after 66 days]?” he asked.

“Yes, congratulations.”

“Winner winner chicken dinner.”

He’s prideful. Always wanting to be my only, even when I’m not his anything.

I’m attracted to how indifferent he is toward me.

It’s such a turnoff when I meet a guy and he immediately caters to me—compliments me and warps his very being to accommodate me. I don’t see attraction. I see weakness in the form of a man so easily manipulated, not by me but by a woman’s presence in general.

I can’t date someone who lacks emotional or sexual discipline. I can’t date someone like me.

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Spoiler: We didn’t have sex that weekend because he never followed up. It was our last chance—he left Boston permanently few days later for a job.

I’m now batting 0 for 3 for guys I’ve been interested in (Week 6’s non-date, Week 7’s fuck-you-dead guy).

The longer I keep up my 66 days, the less voluntary it feels. I question whether this journey of self-discovery and sexual liberation was really just a narrative of a girl who couldn’t get laid.

It happens this way—the ones I like don’t like me.

Rephrase: I tend to like guys who don’t like me. I’ve damned myself to a game of cat and mouse, where I always have to be the pursuer. The problem is I like chasing mice more than I like catching them.

A few guys have asked me to grab drinks the past two months. That gesture alone makes me lose interest. I’m prompt in declining because I don’t like leading people on—it’s rude to let people be happy when they have nothing to be happy about. I’d rather be presumptuous and clear than passive and misleading.

For the record, I hate the connotation of meeting someone at a bar: the all-or-nothing dichotomy that the relationship will escalate romantically or dissipate completely, with no middle ground for friendship.

To combat this, I’ve started handing out my business card in lieu of my phone number. There’s no faster boner killer than a business card. You’re laughing and chatting it up, all smiles and shots, and then you whip out a 2×3 inch piece of card stock to really drain the blood out of Australia and everything else down under.

I wish I could put “killing boners” on my resume. I don’t need a certification, I taught the damn class.

A business card sets the tone of wanting to stay connected as people as opposed to providing a line of communication for a booty call. It’s much harder to draft an email that says, “hey what are you doing tonight?”

It’s been working well. I’ve developed a few friendships with guys who would have otherwise been lost in my contacts under pseudonyms like “Rum Guy” or “Jake from Saturday.” The further I can remove myself from situations where it’s okay to ghost someone, the happier I am.

Day 69: a Friday night.

A good friend invited me out to meet his best friends from school.

Admittedly, I love unpredictability. The thrill of primping and going out to meet strangers gives me good jitters. It makes me question if I’m prepared to be in a relationship. I love the anything-could-happen feeling, and I’m not sure I’m ready to give up that nightly sense of adventure.

Even with anticipation on high, I wore a backward baseball cap and dark purple lipstick because I didn’t expect to kiss anybody.

Handshake introductions, beers, and friendly bashing. I love how easy it is to break the ice with guys.

I was drinking a Cold Snap when my friend’s girlfriend came over.

“You vibing with any of them?” she asked, glancing at his group of friends. A decent bunch: good looks and better conversation.

“Which ones are available?” I laughed.

She spread her hands out across the dance floor.

“All of them.”

This is one of the things I’ll miss about the bachelorette life: the immense power of being the scarce female in a group of men. I’m the only thing on the menu tonight, boys. Surprise.

“I’m debating between A* and B*,” I said.

A* was sitting at the bar and B* was tearing up the dance floor.

“B* is really great,” she said. “I feel like A* could be douchey.”

“I think A* is more physically attractive, but B* is so funny. I love his personality.”

B* didn’t take himself too seriously. I appreciate when people are comfortable being the source of entertainment for a crowd. You can only derive so much happiness from looking at (or touching) an attractive person, and even that lives within a finite window of his or her age-based prime.

A good sense of humor, on the other hand, is a renewable fucking energy.

The drinks kept flowing and I lost count by the time we all went back to my friend’s house.

Funny people should be rewarded for bringing joy into the world, I thought.

I went to the bathroom, wadded up a few squares of toilet paper under the faucet, and wiped off my dark lipstick.

B* and I were rolling around on my friend’s bed, tongues in each other’s cheeks, senses spinning.

“I don’t want to have sex,” I blurted out.

We were having fun at the petting zoo, and I was already telling him about how my apartment didn’t allow goats.

“That’s fine, I—I didn’t think we were,” he said. “We can do other stuff.” He inched toward the edge of the bed and asked permission to go down on me.

Let this be a lesson to all: Always go for the nicer personality. Generosity translates to all aspects of life.

I wanted it. I don’t know what held me back, especially because he was a vetted prospect, the best friend of one of my best friends. This was exactly what I asked for a few days ago: an honest and familiar guy, saying yes to me.

“It’s okay, thank you.”

I said thank you. Like, “Thank you, kind sir, for your patronage at this restaurant. Please come again soon.”

Controlled eagerness is what I saw in him. He was a gentlemen about the disconnect between my actions and words and the other odd tidbits coming out of my mouth. We stopped touching each other as much, but still some. I felt bad.

“I don’t like it when guys like me,” I said.

“You’re a pretty girl.” He kissed me. “Guys are going to like you.”

“Let’s go back outside with everyone.”

“Okay.”

We slept on an air mattress in my friend’s living room. His other friends slept on the couch. Snores, a log of an arm draped on my side, morning like sabers through the blinds. I whispered I was cold so he would hold me closer. Throughout our drunken sleep, I rolled away and scooted back into his chest for attention.

Mouse in and out of shadows, waiting under clawed paws for the grip of life or death.

 

Part II on it’s way…

Week 8: The New Slang for Female Masturbation and My Personal Stats

Day 65 of 66 Days of No Sex

(Previous week here)

Mood: Pleased

My friend with benefits closed my squeaky bedroom door behind us. He took off his baseball cap and wiped a sheen of sweat from his forehead, victim to the autumn’s dry heat.

“I was so bored today I jerked off like twice,” he said and flopped onto my bed.

“Yeah, I jerked off before you got here.” He raised a brow.

“Girls can’t jerk off.”

“Why?” I asked.

“…because you don’t have a penis.”

“You know what I mean though.”

“Why don’t you say masturbate?”

“It sounds so textbook-y. Like what you would say in sex ed. I like saying jerk off.”

He gave me that look whenever I did weird things like smell his armpits (I told him I liked the pheromones). We dropped the subject and did our business, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how women didn’t have the as many options as men when it came to talking casually about masturbation.

Wank it, whack off, jerk it, jack off. A million nursery rhyme combinations for guys going to town with their right hand.

And what do women get?

Flick the bean.

Perhaps the most underwhelming terminology one could think of for female self-love, especially when you consider that the clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings compared to the penis’s 4,000.

While guys refer to their privates as one-eyed sea dragons, soldiers, and even pork swords, female anatomy is reduced to pantry legumes.

We deserve at least a dignified salutation like Ms. Bean or Duchess Bean. But even then, I don’t like how female masturbation is classified as a dainty and graceful thing like blurry, soft-core porn where the camera man pans off into Naria like he forgot he was on set. 

“Flick the bean” would be appropriate in a world where I exclusively wore white lace dresses, frolicked in pastures, and drank afternoon tea with Mary Poppins, not a world where I am a proactive and assertive working woman who touches herself to get shit done.

Female needs and our reactions are just as intense (and dare I say common) as our male counterparts. Women should be able to speak as nonchalantly as our guy friends do about masturbation without resorting to dated and misrepresentative phrases like “flick the bean.”

So today, I’m officially coining the term “stab the cat” for female masturbation.

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It’s spicy and playful like Taco Tuesday for your vagina, minus the hot sauce unless that’s your thing.

It’s an aggressive action word—because who doesn’t want to think about Detroit’s crime rate when they are pleasuring themselves?

Most importantly, it gives credit to female orgasms because when you stab a cat once, it still has eight lives.

The great thing about “stab the cat” is you can put your own spin on it:

  • “My boyfriend was out of town so I cut up a full litter last week.”
  • “I had some time before work so I killed Cecil in the shower.”
  • “My fuck buddy asked if he could watch, so I ripped off my Tigger onesie said, ‘Meeeoooooww STABBY STABBY DOWNTON ABBEY.'”

I’m not trying to be ostentatious about my sexuality, which is the unfortunate default for any woman who talks or writes about sex. To me, masturbation is as natural as the desire for love and connection.

Acknowledging sex but not masturbation is like being okay with people eating, but then expecting them to pretend they aren’t hungry when they don’t have food.

It’s time we normalize female masturbation.

And as weird as it sounds, I think part of the problem is society oversexualizes the idea of female pleasure. Maybe overhype would be a better word.

When a guy admits he jerks off, he’s being honest. When a girl admits she stabs the cat, she’s a freak nasty pornstar who thinks about sex 24/7.

It shocks me when men are taken aback by how common female masturbation is—or better yet, how they react to a woman who owns up to touching herself. It’s comparable to me saying I pay taxes and someone responding with, “Wow, you’re so financially responsible!”

It’s not a big deal. And this disconnect in sexual liberation isn’t all on men. Ladies need to stop feeling ashamed. I certainly understand the average woman is not as vocal as I am and that is perfectly okay.

However, there’s a difference between being private and being apologetic about your sex life. To my closet feline abusers who may feel iffy about owning the masturbation movement:

You are human. You bleed from your crotch plus or minus 12 times a year, you eat fancy brunches then poop them out, and you are allowed to touch your genitals once in a whileSay it with me: I am woman, hear me roar.

***

Data is a beautiful thing, and so is the curing of curiosity. I knew people would wonder about this “loophole” for a girl who thought 66 days without sex was a dry spell. No way Connie’s going cold turkey….

So from Day 1 of my challenge, I tracked how often I stabbed the cat. It’s cool to see my physical urges visually quantified, especially when I correlate the data to how I was feeling each week.

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The hardest weeks were 3 and 4. After that, no sex felt like a normal part of my life. On Week 5, I was so busy at my writer’s conference that I didn’t really allocate any alone time. I think that short break stabilized my libido for the remaining weeks. Aside from my technical foul on Day 55, there wasn’t much temptation or general horniness from my end, which brought me to nice plateau.

So there you have it: sex fiend to statistician in 65 days.

I’ll end with a gold nugget from a little bird. Last week, I heard a girl was upset with her boyfriend for liking my latest post—she thought my writing was too erotic.

No comment, but I love the idea of someone having to clear my blog from their browser history. Life goals I didn’t know I had ’til now.

 

After the challenge…

Week 7: “I Failed” and Other Confessions of a Thirsty Girl

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Day 61 of 66 Days of No Sex (date of incident was Day 55)

(Previous week here)

Mood: Amused/Disappointed

I’m splitting a pitcher of Budweiser with a friend and two of his buddies at Side Bar, a divey joint in the heart of downtown Boston.

“So you’re on what, Day 50 or something?” one of them asks with a grin like young Simba.

I met this guy a year ago at an ugly Christmas sweater party when I tried and failed to get in his pants. He left after we played a few games of beer pong. Our interactions after that were limited to a Facebook friend request and reciprocal picture likes. I’m surprised he’s aware of the challenge.

“Why are you doing it?” he asks.

I push myself away from the bar and sit up as if I’ve prepared something more polished than what comes out of my mouth.

”I just feel like I was doing a lot of dumb shit. Every person I was hooking up with was a mistake in some way: coworker, had a girlfriend, so on. And I wasn’t behaving in a way that was in line with what I wanted. So if I figured if I couldn’t have sex responsibly, I shouldn’t have sex at all.”

They always ask if it’s hard.

“The first few weeks, but then you get used to it.”

“And you can always touch yourself.” He doesn’t look at me when he says that, just hovers his hand over the top of his beer, rests his fingertips on the edges of the plastic cup.

“Right.” I take a sip. “You guys single?”

Of the three guys, two of them are, including Christmas party guy.

“I’m picky,” he says.

“Me, too.” I smile and hold my beer up to toast the early night. “Cheers,” I look at the taken one, “to your happiness.”

***

Literally two Budweisers later, I’m sitting on the lap of a blond dreadhead at Highball Lounge, sucking on the side of his neck because it felt so good when he kissed mine.

Two months without any real physical contact does wonders for heightening the senses—the baby hairs of his neck under my tongue, the brush of his thumb on my thigh. It’s euphoric.

Dreadhead and I shamelessly make out in one of the oversized armchairs, and I have no idea where my friends are or if they are watching my live action hypocrisy.

When I consume more than 2 ounces of alcohol, I act like it’s the first time I’ve ever encountered a member of the male species. 

Dreadhead whispers in my ear, “I really want to fuck you.”

I bite on his lip and press my cheek against his.

“That’s not going to happen.”

I’ve gotten good at saying that. I have to say it a lot at work when my prospective candidates have unrealistic salary expectations near the end of their interview processes.

The words sound harsh aloud, but putting hope to rest is one of the nicest things you can do for a person.

So I kill Dreadhead’s fantasies before he can tell me the details and explain the arbitrary 66 days and magical date of March 8th. I don’t think any of it is sinking in, so I pat him on the shoulder and go find my friends. Exit right.

I rejoin Christmas Party guy at the bar. Another Budweiser. A leggy bartender walks down the length of the tabletop, and pours champagne into my mouth from what looks like a glass bong with the spout of a genie lamp. From that height, it fizzes into my mouth and splashes against my chest when she tapers the stream.

My spaghetti strap top is drenched, and champagne is dripping from my chin and the tip of my nose. I’m the lead engineer and the caboose of the Hot Mess Express.

I dab the wetness from my face and turn to Christmas Party guy.

“I think you’re cute and I want to kiss you,” I say. He gives me that shy Simba smile.

I don’t remember what happens  here, how we transitioned from acquaintances to physically familiar. He tells me we shouldn’t, but he lets me. It all happens fast.

I’m grinding on him in the dark and crowded dance floor, pushing him against the wall, grabbing him by the wrists and running his hands along my silhouette and down the front of my sticky, sequined tank top. And although he’s going along with it, I feel resistance in his muscles and a drag in his motions.

At this moment, I’m grateful that double standards are benefiting me as a woman.

Because if I were a guy forcing a woman’s hand over my crotch at a bar, it would be perceived as the rapiest thing ever.

As a woman, I get away with sexual domination in public settings, even when the guy is visibly trying to pump the brakes.

I also consider the hesitation is him protecting himself from the drunk girl who acts bolder than her sober self is willing to claim. He’s immersed in that grey area with me—kissing me back, still holding on to my hips as I press against him.

I feel powerful being the initiator, insulated by societal notions that I am never the predator, no matter what I try or how hard he pushes back.

In a brief commercial break from my own trash reality TV, I think about this season of The Bachelor. Who am I to judge Corinne for trying to fuck Nick on the 7th date? I’m trying to fuck this guy on our 2nd encounter. The only difference is it’s not on national TV, but should people really judge their actions based on how many people are watching?

Exit Highball Lounge. Christmas Party guy offers to drive me home, but we have a quick nightcap at Beantown Pub. He tells me I don’t have to finish it if I don’t want to. I tell him we don’t waste alcohol.

“I’m going to use the restroom,” he says. “You’ll be here when I return?”

I feel like a child, but he’s smart to consider I’d run away.

In the brighter atmosphere, we actually talk. He ended something serious recently. I tell him it’s a hard place to be, when everything around you reminds you of them.

“You’re not a bad-looking girl,” he says. “I just had to leave the party early last time.”

He’s not hitting on me at all. Rather, he’s reassuring me.

We walk to his car and I have to take my heels off on the way. The hard ground doesn’t hurt my feet that badly, but I complain because I want him to know I’m in pain. He offers to carry me and I say I’m fine.

It’s quiet. The windshield frames a 2-D world outside, while we’re in a cube of bright green and white lights inside. The car is moving now.

“I want to fuck you.”

Had I not heard the words earlier, maybe I wouldn’t have phrased it this way. But I want him now.

I want to fuck him dead (to the brink of it, not in the pre-existing state)—make love to him so relentlessly and mercilessly that he will cease to exist as a sentient person on this planet.

“I’m not that kind of guy,” he says. “I don’t do one night stands,” which is the worst thing he could have said because it only makes me want him more.

Tell me how long I need to date you then. Continued: the conflict of him wanting to get down on one knee and me wanting to get down on two.

“You’re so close [to 66 days],” he laughs. “You can do it, Connie. I’m not going anywhere.”

1) Did I just cockblock myself? 2) Did he just give me pre-sale consent?

“I saw you with that guy,” he says. The streetlights color his face in shadow panels as we cruise. “I knew you were wild.”

He doesn’t mean for it to hurt me.

I see myself in his passenger’s seat, almost like an out-of-body experience: Heels tossed on the floor, loose gravel stuck to the bottom of my blackened feet, wishing I had packed my bank statements or annual reviews, anything to show him I was a fully formed adult and not the girl who was begging to fuck him.

This is the feeling I don’t want anymore. I’m disappointed that I make it hard for guys to see the sincere me. I don’t have any right to complain about fuckbois who don’t take me seriously when I act like a fuckgirl who doesn’t take myself seriously.

It means nothing to spark attraction, to grab someone’s hands and place them on your body. I’m the wild card, the girl that guys want in their hands to use, not the one they need in the endgame.

That’s because I choose to be the wild card.

Christmas Party guy idles his car outside my place, doesn’t fully park. He really did just want to drive me home. I don’t wash off my makeup when I get inside.

I’m pissed I am less than 2 weeks away from 66 days and I fucked it up. (This is a violation of Rule #2: not explicitly or implicitly propositioning for sex). All I had to do was keep my mouth shut. Be civilized, and not tell boys I wanted to fuck them dead.

It wouldn’t be so frustrating had I not gone so long without incident, had I not done so well.

I wanted to prove to myself I could change through forced habit, but tonight my character caught up with me. 

I’m going to be six feet under and my tombstone will read:

Here lies Connie Chan

Daughter, sister, friend, and writer

Who fucked them all dead.

 

I blame Budweiser.

 

Next week here!

Week 6: Why I Prefer Guy Friends and When Guy Friends Don’t Prefer Me

Day 51 of 66 Days of No Sex

(Previous week here)

Mood: Overlooked

I’m 75% done with the challenge and from this vantage point, 66 days without sex seems like child’s play. The first four weeks were the hardest in terms of temptation, but now I feel like I could go a year or even a few years without sex. I think it’s more about adapting to a new lifestyle than sex itself.

Giving up sex is like giving up blueberry PopTarts—when I don’t actively think about not having it, it’s easy. But the second I taste that hard sugary icing and dry crust, I’m already thinking about the next time I’ll tear open a silver pouch of my favorite kind of processed crack.

I haven’t so much as kissed anyone in the past 51 days. Without any romantic activity, the only guys I see regularly are my coworkers and pre-existing group of friends. I’ve had a handful of dreams about male colleagues, and I must say, I’m pretty proud of my self-control even in Fantasyland.

Dream Connie and a coworker were on a tropical trip. Sun was hot, sand between our toes, throwing glances in the cool Caribbean shade.

We were kissing and I looked up at him.

“We can hook up a little bit,” I said, “but I can’t have sex with you.”

He said that was fine, and I went into work the next day with an unfounded appreciation for his soft lips and respect for women’s boundaries.

I told my work best friend about the dream, to which he replied: “Oh no, is he on the list too now?”

We give each other a hard time about our dating antics. At the peak of our Roaming Wild days, we made a bet that the other person would be the first to marry. Loser pays a month of the winner’s mortgage (neither of us are close to buying). He has a girlfriend now, so I’m really rooting for them to work out.

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My best friend at work is a guy. My best friend in life is also a guy.

I’ve always tended toward male company, but haven’t been able to articulate why. I used to say girls were catty, but it’s the drama I hate, and I’ve found plenty of girl friends who avoid that like the plague.

I found some clarity this weekend after comparing my interactions with two distinct friend groups: 3 girls on Friday vs. 2 guys on Saturday.

I realized I like hanging out with guys more because roasting one another is a cornerstone of male friendships.

Nothing is nicer than a merciless verbal takedown of someone you love in the name of good fun—I live for the mix of embarrassment and amusement on a friend’s face when I get ‘em good. The clap of a high five after I’ve kicked someone right where it hurts, a one-liner as scathing as it is true. It’s what I imagine a baby’s laughter sounds like to people who like babies.

It’s easier for me to break the ice with guys because it feels natural for me to shit on people or joke about something crude. I feel in my element, without the need to soften my words or brighten my demeanor.

It’s harder with girls.

My female friendships are primarily based on emotional support and validation, and while I have plenty of hilarious girl friends, rarely are we the butt of our jokes. By contrast, my guy friends can offer just as much thoughtful conversation and consolation, so it makes sense why I prefer the more dynamic relationships.

I just can’t imagine walking into a room of girls and openly addressing the density and/or promiscuity of their respective mothers. It’s probably a character flaw that I think that’s ever okay, really.

In all seriousness, it comes down to comfort level. The best friendships are when you don’t have to try to be yourself.

I’m various levels of myself with a lot of people—I’m most myself with a few.

To be fair, preferring guy friends is also a control thing, at least among those outside my inner circle. At the end of the day, if my personality falls short, a guy friend who is somewhat attracted to me has more of a reason to stick around than a girl friend. A sick, but true assessment.

Good Charlotte put it best when they said, “Boys will laugh at girls when they’re not funny.”

Attraction has a way of blinding us from the vices. It’s the same social buffer that ushers two mildly compatible people into a relationship, and greases the squeaks long enough for them to drive miles into the sunset before realizing it’s actually an engine problem.

Maybe it’s a fear of abandonment, but I like knowing someone else has a stronger inclination to hang out with me than vice versa. I like power, especially the power of choice.

I harbor a deep resentment toward appearance-based attraction, though I’m guilty of it. I most dislike when people can’t be honest about their motivators.

Me stroking the stubble of a guy whose personality and face I once loved: “If we didn’t look the way we did, we probably wouldn’t be here.”

I respect that he agreed with me.

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I grabbed lunch with the guy I asked out last week—“asked out” in a very literal sense. There was no implication it was a date, just food between friends. His reciprocated interest would have tipped the scale in my favor, but when he showed up 15 minutes late in a graphic T carrying a stuffed backpack, I was sure it wasn’t a date.

We ordered brunch plates at a newly opened tap house in the Seaport, more of a mountain cabin transplant with dark chairs, thick wooden beams, and soft gold lanterns along on the wall.

I was comfortable talking to him about work and places and politics. I didn’t feel jitters, as I did with guys online, but maybe because we were grounded with mutual friends and there was no pressure for things to “work out.”

Our interactions were not put to a test, no checklist of qualities to make it to the next round. We had already accepted each other as people. We were friends.

It still feels wrong to say I like him because I don’t think I know him well enough.

I want to separate who he actually is from who I think could be in my life.

As the waitress kept checking in on us, I was a bit disappointed about how I had no effect on him. I’m not sure what I expected to happen, what an indication would have looked like.

But that’s one of the things I liked most about him, how unnecessary I feel to who he is as a person. I hope he doesn’t need me, or anyone for that matter.

The first time we made eye contact was at a happy hour. We saw each other from across the room, and before we had talked or even introduced ourselves, I sensed it. He’s fond of me, I thought.

Looking at him now across the table, I didn’t sense attraction, and I haven’t seen it since we first met. Attraction is how drawn you are to someone. Chemistry is what actually happens when you interact.

I think a lot of people are willing to overlook chemistry when both have agreed to stay attracted.

My ease in being around him made me question whether I actually liked him as more than a friend, or if I was chasing his attraction. He has a great smile when he laughs.

We left the restaurant and as we were walking to the T, I knew it wasn’t just friends because I thought I wouldn’t mind holding his hand.

Next week here!

 

Week 5: On Being an Outsider and Watching Gay Boys Make Out

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Day 43 of 66 Days of No Sex

(Previous week here)

Mood: Excluded

I’m at a hotel party hosted by my old college professor. We’re a few blocks away from an annual writer’s conference that draws out over 12,000 attendees every year. The hotel room is filled with educators in boxy glasses, poets in beanies, and too many liberal arts degrees. Of my professor’s network, I’m the only one not currently enrolled in an MFA program or teaching or buying a damn bookstore in Baltimore.

It’s awful being in a room with your own kind and feeling like an outsider.

My professor introduces me to another a previous student of his who recently completed his MFA at NYU. He has stubbled cheeks and an impressive mustache.

“So what do you do in Boston?” he asks.

I recite my job summary the way I would confirm my address at a dental office. I have no pretty bows to wrap up how my life fits into itself, or why job has nothing to do with writing. I feel bad for leading mustache man down a rabbit hole of failed dreams. There’s a social contract not to make others feel bad about your life not panning out and for others to nod kindly at whatever you say.

“I’m figuring things out,” I say. I take another sip of my bourbon, really hoping this mouthful will the merciful one that knocks me out. “I still write on the side,” which is technically true, like how your sirloin steak is on the side of your veggies.

“What do you write?” he asks.

It feels weird to label what I do. Erotic blogging? Slut journalism?

“Creative nonfiction.”

I exhaust my relevancy in a minute, and my poet friend jumps in to talk to mustache man about faculty members they’ve had, specifically ones I’ve never heard of. I excuse myself and my half-empty bladder to the restroom.

I’m drying my hands when my professor comes by.

“You talk to [mustache man]? I was trying to hook you two up.”

“Yeah.” I ask my professor instead about another writer who was at his reading.

“He’s married,” he says. “His wife is a writer, too.“ He tells me they’ve been married for so and so years, and cuts their dating history short when he notices I’ve stopped listening. “But if I had to pick someone who could successfully…“

I smile and take it as a compliment.

The bourbon has yet to serve me my last waking breath so I return to the party, but linger in the corner to check my phone.

There’s a guy I’ve been texting, and I have this unreasonable infatuation with him. We’ve known each other for almost a year but have only interacted in person a handful of times. We met under casual circumstances, so he has no reason to believe I like him as more than a friend.

I don’t think he has a preference for me, and if he did, he has the social awareness not to go for me the way others do—he’s not the type to let his tail wag at the smell of food.

I find myself thinking about our future, though we’ve never been on a date. I know how familiarity will feel with him: being on our computers in bed, remembering what’s in his bathroom drawers, asking him for help. We would have a sensible and emotionally manageable relationship.

I don’t want to sleep with him—I want to be associated with him, and for people to look at us and think, “that’s a strong pairing.”

I drink the rest of my bourbon and pull up his name on my phone.

Would you like to get dinner sometime?

This is the only guy I’ve asked out in the last year since deleting all my dating apps. It feels judicious.

***

I’m at a gay bar later in the night. My poet friend’s classmate is getting eyes from a guy behind me. He’s leaning against one of the walls covered in sports memorabilia and giant black and white portraits of women from the 1900s.

“Don’t look now,” I tell her friend, “but the guy in the baseball T thinks you’re cute.”

“Does that mean colored sleeves?”

It takes one rum-and-coke drink order for me to return and find them kissing. It’s all skinny arms and the ruffling and flattening of boyish hair.

They hang off each other’s bony shoulders like they’re clinging to a buoy, as if holding on to someone, anyone at all, makes them safer than the rest of us.

I can’t stop watching them kiss. Despite being in the middle of a dance floor, it’s not grotesque or trashy. In between making out, they smile at each other like they need the breath and the extra moment to appreciate the face so close to them. It looks kind. They look happy.

I’m being called honey as men excuse themselves around me. A drag queen in a vibrant fuchsia dress is being peppered with kind words. There’s an inclusive energy among the distinct friend groups at the bar.

Without warning, I’m imaging the venue being sprayed down with bullets—the framed pictures on the walls with fresh holes, the choreographed ducking and falling of bodies to protect ourselves. The playlist pounds on over a clash of voices like an unrehearsed opening night, the orchestra of fear.

I stay low and still, inches away from the face of someone else. We breathe the same sweat, and our cheeks stick to a floor covered with simple syrup and lemon rinds. We hear nothing at all, yet sense the drying of mouths and the enlarging of lungs.

Maybe we kiss to feel safe, or at least look at each other to be kind.

 

“Hey, I think I’m going to call an Uber.” I lean into one of my friends who is dancing in a tight circle. A remix is playing and everyone is smiling and on their feet.

***

I’m alone in my hotel room. The bed has two feet of walking space around the edges. It’s positioned directly in front of the bathroom, which has a toilet that runs all night unless I use the ice bucket to refill its tank.

I’m tipsy. The bed sheets are starchy and hard, and I think I’m allergic to something because my legs have been itching at night.

I lean over to the bedside table and grab my phone. I start unbuttoning my shirt, revealing more of my necklace, more of my chest. I take exactly two pictures: one on my back and one on my side where the single ceiling light throws a flattering shadow.

I don’t have any recipients in mind. Sometimes, I just like to look at myself to appreciate the times I do feel pretty, and to validate my loneliness being a choice. In pictures like these, I try and see myself how guys do when I look at them.

I see a girl who knows exactly what she’s doing.

I see a girl who’s asking for very different things than me.

Next week here!

 

Week 4: “I’m Not into Asian Guys” and Why I’ll End Up with One

Day 35 of 66 Days of No Sex

(Previous week here)

Mood: Torn

Happy Chinese New Year! It’s the year of the Rooster, but the only dick pic I received last weekend was this bedazzled cock from my mom:

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I’m pretty in touch with my Asian-ness. To ring in new beginnings (again), I attended a family-style dinner in Chinatown last Saturday with an Asian professionals group I found in Boston. Afterward, I grabbed drinks with college friends I met through Asian-interest Greek life.

Had I not grown up in rural Kansas, maybe I wouldn’t have joined an Asian-interest sorority. At 18, it was the first time in my life I could walk into a room and look like everyone else. It was a major culture shock to transition from a hometown that was 0.6% Asian to a university that was 25% Asian.

While I finally blended in with my peers, my taste in guys didn’t transition as smoothly. I grew up liking white guys by default—there were really no other choices.

My high school boyfriend was Crest Whitestrips white. We shared many of the same foundational values, but we were from two different worlds. I thought I was destined for city life, one diploma away from leaving my hometown and never turning back. He was president of the Agriculture Club and wore cowboy boots out of practicality, not style. I toured his family’s farm and, for fun, he taught me how to pitch hay. He also let me pet his goats, and that’s not an innuendo. It was like a gimmicky episode of The Bachelor where they attempt to do cute activities together but really they’re just making out in random places like barns in Kansas.

We got along, loved each other even, but we both knew it wasn’t long-term. Neither of us could provide the lifestyle the other wanted. The only lasting thing from that relationship was my inclination toward white guys.

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I barely knew any Asian guys before college. Aside from two guys from my online Chinese class in high school and a handful I met at a summer leadership camp at Stanford, pretty much all the other Asian guys I encountered were family. Because of that, I felt a sense of kinship when I did see Asian strangers, and expected cordial interactions because of our “shared blood.”

I maintained this mindset from childhood through high school graduation. By the time I actually met Asian guys in college, it felt incestuous to pursue any of those relationships romantically.

After a house party my first week of college, a brother of one of the Asian frats walked me back to my dorm. It was a sexually confusing time where I found him attractive, yet I also felt related to him. Ignorant and overly transparent me decided to tell him, “I’m not into Asian guys.” I thanked him for walking me home, and spent the next few months fawning over one of the only white guys in his fraternity.

Fast-forward a semester to a less racist me: I started hanging out with an Asian guy who friends said had a good reputation on campus. Guys and girls alike deemed him handsome. I wasn’t initially attracted to him, but I fell prey to the peculiar physical magnetism that transpires from enjoying someone’s personality.

I liked him so much, my tastes changed to suit him. On the whole, I was still more physically attracted to white guys, but he was the major exception, my special case.

We started dating and I brought home to meet my parents a year later. My mom and I waited for him at the airport in Kansas City. He stepped off a plane from New York in a clean black jacket, dark jeans, and studious glasses.

I hugged him and introduced him to my mom, whom he called, “ah yi” or a respectful title used for an older woman or aunt-like figure. They continued to speak in fluent Mandarin.

I had never brought someone home—friend or more—who could fully communicate with either of my parents without my translation.

We went to Ruby Tuesday’s for steaks afterward and he spoke openly with her about his flight, his family, his food—my mind was blown. I had one ongoing conversation with both of them, without breaks to explain phrases or mime out words I couldn’t translate. Everyone was on the same page. It felt easy.

Dating changed drastically for me after that relationship. He and I never explicitly talked about it, but our cultural similarities served as a lubricant for our already compatible personalities. There were unspoken norms, such as intense academic devotion, the binding obligation to care and provide for our parents when they grew older, and balls-to-the-walls aggression when fighting for the check at dinner.

These singular examples were only a snapshot of our upbringings and the countless experiences we shared before we even met.

For those who have never played the original Sims, there was an option to toggle your character’s personality traits. You had a set number of points you could distribute to qualities like Neat, Outgoing, Nice, etc. If you made your character very Neat, it would compromise how Outgoing were, and so on.

I subconsciously judge my dating prospects in this way. I have lower standards of physical attraction for Asian guys because I know there’s a cultural compatibility that better looking non-Asians are unlikely to have. I think we all weigh our options in this give-and-take way. The best relationships happen when both parties understand which personality points are most important to them.

For me: If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my Asian parents.

After college, I tried dating a handful of half-white and half-Asian guys to balance my physical and cultural needs. But none of them spoke Mandarin, so I may as well have dated a hot white dude. After my third failed “relationship” with a halfie, I threw up my hands and resigned to a steamy case of Jungle Fever. Contrary to popular belief, you can actually return from going black—it’s really a matter of preference, but you do you.

Korean/Irish Daniel Henney, for research purposes.

It’s hard for me to explain, but compatibility goes beyond speaking Chinese to my parents. It’s not to say I can’t find all the same qualities in a non-Asian. It’s a matter of convenience and the likelihood of finding these traits in a person. It’s small stuff that doesn’t make or break a relationship.

In the simplest sentiment: I want to be with someone whose life movie has the same background music as mine.

Currently, I’m living a silent movie. Things are black and white. There’s not even a sex scene (still going strong!), so it’s pretty much a dud at the box office. I hear music, but it’s not my soundtrack. All the same, I’m simultaneously mouthing the words to a song as a lead and watching myself as moviegoer, wondering if in the next scene my solo could  turn into a duet.

Next week here!

Week 3: Community vs. Companionship

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Day 23 of 66 Days of No Sex

(Previous week here)

Mood: Overwhelmed

This past week is the perfect example of when I would use sex to unwind. #literallyfucked #politicallyfucked

I feel like I was so engulfed in political and professional stuff that I didn’t have much time to think about my love life. I did cry over a boy, but I’m not sure former presidents count.

I love getting worked up about current events—though I’m no political pundit, I really appreciate when someone is in tune with the world around them. I admire when a person cares about an issue that doesn’t affect them personally and invests in a cause to support someone else’s wellbeing.

Last year, I was talking to this guy about the upcoming election and asked, “Are you big into politics?”

He said, “I don’t like politics, but I like policies.” I swear I’ve never had to suppress such a raging lady boner. Hands down the best (unintentional) pickup line of 2016.

On Saturday, I attended Boston’s Women’s March and the solidarity among strangers was incredibly uplifting. I felt safe and empowered and thankful. Afterward, my group of friends headed to a nearby restaurant to share stories and laughter over fried chicken sandwiches and hot cider.

In many ways, I live a life devoid of loneliness.

From grade school through college, and now in the real world, I feel there are always people looking out for me. I’m grateful to be insulated by a strong social network and community of friends. It’s enabled me to feel supported in my personal pursuits, and secure during times of emotional distress.

But in my privileged and popular social life, I feel pangs of hunger—an ache of sadness that even the most thriving and loving community cannot cure the desire for companionship. 

It’s always the small and superficial things that get me. Over brunch, one of the girls talked about travel plans with her boyfriend. On the subway home, my two engaged friends pondered afternoon plans of movies at their apartment.

I walked home by myself from the station and picked up a chocolate bar on the way. The sweetness makes me happy. It’s funny how I can literally be surrounded by 175,00 people and still feel alone. Or how I can be sitting across the table from someone I don’t connect with and find more belonging in solitude.

As much as I want a life companion, my expectations of compatibility with another person feel impossibly high. If I break up my qualifications among multiple people then I can find the right DNA, but it’s never all in one person.

Why isn’t it enough for me to have good conversation with one person, and be physically attracted to someone else? Why have I bought into the idea that complete satisfaction must come from a singular source?

I think it has to be a convenience factor—you find one person who is good enough, and sacrifice on the things that don’t matter. But I think it all matters, and that’s probably why I’m still single: I’m selfish.

I am unwilling to commit to someone who I don’t think is good enough, yet in my noncommittal arrangements I still want to pick and choose the aspects of a committed relationship that benefit me (namely cuddles).

That’s not how relationships work, and I know that. So that leaves me caught in a limbo of high expectations vs. settled satisfaction. I don’t want to be alone forever, but I also don’t think I will be truly satisfied by someone who doesn’t meet my standards.

My friends tell me I’m picky, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask for someone to be:

  • Smart
  • Funny
  • Attractive
  • Kind
  • Disciplined
  • Athletic
  • Ambitious
  • Socially Aware
  • Rational
  • Hardworking
  • Thoughtful

Because at some level, I think I am all those things (add Vain to my list). And I have tons of friends, both single and taken, who are all those things. So why is it so hard to find that one person?

I miss physical contact. I find human touch really comforting, so even having someone hold me or rub my back in a nonsexual way would have been nice this weekend. I texted a friend/old friend with benefits to catch up sometime. I wasn’t seeking sex, but I did think about how we used to nap together after eating. I’d tell him I was too bloated to move around and he’d say that’s okay we can sleep. And we would.

After the Steelers lost, I consoled one of my guy friend saying, “I’ll cheer you up.”

And I definitely meant it in a bad way, so I had to follow up with “…is what old Connie would say.” *insert a million angel emojis*

I changed my work desktop background to Antonio Brown because I’ve been sexually frustrated. Since I’m not hooking up, I think it’s restored some gratification in just looking at someone, and not doing anything. Like how a kiss used to feel really special before you experienced all the other bases.

If Antonio Brown played baseball instead, I’d allow him to score a home run. That’s just the frustration talking. Unless Antonio Brown is reading this right now, in which case: Please contact me March 8, 2017, and not a day sooner.

Next week here!

Week 2: Familiar Faces and Bodies

Day 15 of 66 Days of No Sex

(Previous week here)

Mood: Disconnected

I miss familiarity. It’s not just about the sex. It’s the comfort of being around someone who knows my idiosyncrasies, like how I always want a glass of water afterward. Someone who is not surprised by my birthmarks and has seen my guard down, all bare-skinned and suggesting things with just my eyes.

Even in a strictly physical sense, it’s reassuring knowing the compatibility of someone’s body with mine—the muscle memory, learned tempos, and perfected chemistry. A one-night stand satisfies the bare minimum, but a longer arrangement has the perks of intimacy that are worth the risk of emotional attachment.

I miss comfort. The moments before and after sex when a guy asked about me, knew the pain points in my life, and told me about his day. It was a good setup—brushing my teeth and coming back to a warmed bed, ducking under the covers, and shocking him with my icy hands. We’d fool around to the point it was no longer playful. The best sleep followed the most exhausting nights.

Tangled limbs, deep breathing. In the middle of my sleep, I would roll around in soft and heavy blankets. My arms and legs would poke out to catch bursts of cool air. And I’d scoot over too far to feel patches of hot skin in what felt like the least lonely place on Earth.

I believe my most recent hookups cared more about me more as a person than as a body, which is nice. They’ve all been in contact with me this year but not about sex. It’s likely a combination of them rooting for my success and not needing me as much as I need them.

A few friends have asked how I’m holding up. I definitely feel more temptation than last week, with Friday being the hardest day so far. I grabbed dinner with some friends and we took a few shots of lemon-whatever at the bar. I got home and plugged in the string lights above my bedroom door, which triggered memories of gathering the dirty laundry off the floor and waiting for the “I’m here” text.

Friday was a prime example of my most vulnerable state: inebriated, socially enticed, and eager in an empty house. Usually, at this point of the week, the backlight of my phone illuminates my face as I text a few regulars. And the night is determined by the first to reply.

This past Friday, I looked up at the string lights from a crisp and cold bed. The bulbs were still the multicolored ones I used to decorate for Christmas. I closed my eyes and thought about the times the lights had witnessed.

It was my idea to take videos one time. The string lights were bright enough to expose, but dim enough to leave a little mystery. “For later,” I told him.

I was tempted to watch one on Friday. I told him to delete the pictures of me from his phone once, to which I watched him comply with no protest. I wasn’t sure if this would be a violation of his privacy, though he never asked the same of me. I didn’t end up watching them, but I didn’t delete them either.

***

“That was really the last time,” he said. That could have been his catch phrase.

He handed me my shirt from the floor of his backseat. We were in his driveway. I parked my car at his place and he drove us to a steakhouse nearby for dinner. You could see my handprints on the fogged windows. I tapped his shoulder.

“It’s like that scene in the Titanic,” I said.

“I’m serious, we can’t do this anymore. I’ve been feeling so guilty lately.”

“You choose to feel guilty.”

We dressed ourselves and moved back to the front seats. He kept the heat on and the music low.

“I thought it was fun. You didn’t have fun?” I stroked his leg over the denim.

“Of course I did, but we shouldn’t. I don’t want this to affect our friendship. I still want to be able to hang out without it being weird.” We had an unspoken agreement where I would bait him, and he would voice concern, as if that somehow made our actions less reprehensible.

“I’m going to want to do stuff with you when I see you.”

“Me, too.” He brushed my hair back. “But we have to be good.”

“So basically, we can’t see each other as much.” I waited for his argument, but he just put his hand on my knee.

He always had a way of touching and almost examining my body. He needed to be aware of the state of things and have a sense of control. If things were off, he’d correct it. He brought me food on nights I stayed late at the office. He fixed my laptop before we watched movies together, and pushed me to go to the doctor’s for regular checkups.

It was pitch black besides the lights on the dash. I started crying. He pulled me into a hug over the console. I breathed hard into his chest, as I had times before when he comforted me about the pain he caused.

“You know I’m still here for you,” he said. “If you have car problems, or it’s late at night and you don’t know who else to call, I’m here.” He wiped tears from my face.

That was actually the last time.

Next week here!

Week 1: Why Puberty Made Me Tell Penis Jokes

Day 8 of 66 Days of No Sex

Mood: Optimistic

First week down without incident! Of the immediate changes, I stopped taking birth control a few weeks ago and tossed a guy’s toothbrush from behind my bathroom mirror. My room is messy as usual and I have little motivation to tidy up since I’m not expecting company.

I started my period last Friday, which would usually bum me out for “wasting” two free nights, but it was a needed weekend to catch up on laundry and reestablish a routine after the holiday break.

I didn’t have any strong urges this week. Returning from a two-week vacation, I was pretty busy with work, which helps stave off the boredom lust. There are a few categories of non-horny lust: for-old-time’s-sake lust, de-stress lust, you’re-already-here-might-as-well lust.

For example, I had a late flight into Boston last week, leaving less than 12 hours between collecting my suitcase and starting my workday. As I rolled around in bed trying to pass out, my hand instinctively inched toward my waistband from the sheer stress of dealing with tomorrow. I was dead tired, not the least bit in the mood, and eventually fell asleep on my hand after a half-assed attempt of phalange foreplay. That’s de-stress lust.

But this week was less about hormones, and more about how I interact with guys casually. I was especially cautious this week about Rule #2 (no propositioning for sex) by steering clear of any gateway flirting.

My closest call was when I was eating chocolate pretzels and drafted the following Snapchat:

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The intended recipient was someone I’ve hooked up with before. I was picking out emojis and asked myself: Do I actually think this is funny/share-worthy or am I trying to provoke a come-on, to which I will shoot down in the name of new year new me? After deciding the latter, I deleted the Snap. It was a thinly-veiled attempt to feel better about myself. Though it didn’t violate any rules, it felt skeezy to send like I was lying to myself in some way.

My sense of humor in general has very sexual undertones, as anyone close to me can testify. I tried to think back to when I wasn’t this way. I don’t recall being perverted as a kid, but I can remember being this way before my teen years. I think the turning point was when the girls around me started growing into young ladies.

Flashback to a 10-year-old Connie, sallow and bony, with a butterfly clip parting my hair to the side. I was in 5th grade, and some of the girls in my class started wearing training bras. One by one, my friends were inducted into an exclusive club, memberships verified by boys snapping the elastic bands on their backs. I thought it was a matter of time before it was my turn.

But puberty for me was like waiting for a lost package in the mail and watching everyone else receive deliveries from Amazon Prime. I was the shortest person in my class and the only Asian among mostly white people. Let me break down why this is an important detail:

When a white girl is in her teens, she looks 25.

When an Asian girl is in her teens, she looks like a slightly younger Asian boy.

Graced by neither curvy genetics or a heavier build, I was doomed to a flat chest and non-existent fanny. Entering 7th grade, I still wore an undershirt and ducked into bathroom stalls to change my top. I had asked my mom once before if I could start wearing a bra, to which she glanced over her newspaper and replied: “Why? You don’t have any boobs.” It wasn’t until later that year when she found me crying, and gave me set of my sister’s hand-me-downs.

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Even after I joined the big girls club, I still fixated on my physical shortcomings. While my classmates stressed over pop quizzes, I was suffering from major PTSD, Prepubescent Titties Stress Disorder. When asked what I wanted to be in 10 years, I would say an interior designer or a lawyer, when secretly all I wanted to be was a B cup.

And my foreignness in the context of my 4,000-person hometown in rural Kansas was only magnified in mainstream media. Country songs didn’t sing about girls with black hair and small eyes. Hollywood’s leading ladies exemplified the Western standards of beauty—blonde hair, skinny noses, and long lashes. I knew few celebrities beyond Lucy Liu who embraced an alternative version of attractiveness.

Throughout high school, I genuinely believed, in terms of physical desirability, Asians were inherently inferior to white people.

I was a straight-A student, constantly praised for my work ethic and academic diligence. But I didn’t need teachers and classmates telling me I was smart—I knew that. I needed someone to tell me I was pretty.

My fear was that if I wasn’t a classic example of American beauty, if I didn’t have the attributes that made women sexy, guys would never see me in more than a platonic way.

So I figured if I had a mature mind and spoke in adult ways, that people would have no choice but to treat me like a woman instead of a girl. Thus, Penis Jokes Chan was born.

Along with my new sexualized identity, I developed a pretty uppity attitude in high school, using my brainpower as grounds to feel better than others. If I couldn’t blend in physically, then I would stand out intellectually. My way of masking my low self-esteem was to bludgeon people with overconfidence and my sensationalized individuality. Yes, that meant I listened to tons of Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy.

I think some of my residual insecurity influences how I behave now, especially in our current social media landscape. I take selfies to feel validated, I Snapchat boys to fish for compliments.

A good friend actually called me out on using a cleavage picture with this 66 Days challenge. I told him I wanted a provocative image to be associated with this kind of project, but maybe on a level I’m unwilling to admit or acknowledge, I was paying homage to my 10-year-old self who never overcame the fear of being undesirable.

If I grew up with bigger boobs, perhaps I’d have a tamer sense of humor and would overcompensate for other aspects of my life, but those are daddy issues for another day.

Next week here!