It was only a kiss!
So, I kissed a male friend a few weeks ago. We were drunk. We were out with our bunch of friends. We were sat next to each other, affectionately leaning on one another, we looked at each other... smiled... kissed. Just a little snog. It was nice.
Now, I can be truthful, because I am open and agenda free. I like this guy, I think he's hot. I would snog him again if I thought he wanted to. But I can also very comfortably (in other words, without feeling rejection or heartache) maintain a completely non-sexual friendship with him.
But something somewhere has gone wrong. I'm not sure exactly what, but I think one of the following phrases might have been triggered in his mind:
I didn't sleep with him. I didn't invite him home with me when I left shortly afterwards. Was there an expectation that I would? Does a woman these days need to have a pre-snog agreement stating clearly what might and might not happen? Was I considered under an obligation to make him come? I certainly got this impression from a muttered (inaudible) comment in a contemptous tone.
Now here I must confess that two weeks later, seeing no prospect of further affection/romance/sexiness with my friend, I snogged a friend of his. Was this an insult to Snoggee Number One? Was I too free with my tongue? Did I cheapen myself? Is it sluttish to snog two men within a month of each other? Perhaps more sluttish if they are friends...
I made every conscious effort to continue my friendship with Snoggee Number One as "normal" – to be no more or less flirty than I normally would be. I did text to say that I liked the snog (without receiving any response at all), but I didn't ask for anything more. And yet when I saw him in a group of friends and gave him attention (a chat, a cuddle), I got a feeling that he was trying to brush me off.
The rant begins...
Read those three terms again. What nasty, shitty little phrases to describe women! And how impossible for a single woman to avoid all three! It was only a kiss! Why does it have to mean anything? If I had managed to avoid the label of 'prick-tease' by sleeping with him, then I would automatically have gained the accolade of 'easy'. And simply by trying to maintain a friendship I have opened myself up to the charge of being a needy Bunny Boiler.
If a man can casually snog a woman without being a fanny-tease, easy or needy, why can't the same nonchalance be attributed to the woman?
And yet I felt whispers and sniggers behind my back when I was out with my group of friends last. WTF? It feels like I am 15 again, rather than being a little over twice that age. Sure, I realise that I can, could have (should have?) controlled my own actions, and having failed to do so must reap the consequences. But it's pretty fucking frustrating first of all to not be able to just shrug it off and for everyone to get over it, and second to not even know which particular brand of contempt Snoggee holds me in – the prick-tease brand, the easy brand or the bunny-boiler brand.
Yes, I am a grown woman, and I ought to just bite the bullet and ask. But you see my coffin is made – and my headstone is inscribed – and whatever my words or actions now, they will be interpreted with that inscription as an explanation.
Whatever happened to romance?
In her blog "the problem with slut-bashing" Justine Musk writes about an American term 'dinner whore', which is basically a woman who goes out for dinner with a guy then doesn't sleep with him. Er... as Justine says: "I think we used to call that a date."
What happened to just going with the flow? Why does a woman have to make a commitment; to sex, a relationship, whatever, before anything has even happened? I'm scared even to admit to fancying someone because I know the people around me will react with certain expectations.
I almost feel like writing on my forehead: "If I kiss you, it is because I find you attractive. However, I will not have sex until I feel it is right. Should you decide before this time that you are not interested, your rabbit will be quite safe."
I will check my own behaviour. I will be more careful how I come across to others (perhaps snogs are for private, not to be undertaken in a room full of people).
But I will also hold my head up high when I am poorly judged, knowing that I am:
romantic – rather than a prick-tease
open to possibilities – rather than easy
affectionate – rather than a bunny boiler.