In relationships, we have all been in an unpleasant position at one time or another. Whether being asked if your partner looks fat in their jeans or if you want to meet the parents, most have been in a spot that was uncomfortable and awkward. That sticky situation where your ego, morals and, indeed, your sexual sense of self, get called into question, is a place I call the “wet spot.” The situation presents itself to put out or get out. There you are, stuck in a land between hookup buddy and casual sex partner, and the choice is yours to decide: are you that girl?
We’ve all seen her walking home at 8 a.m. on a Sunday – tight jeans, cigarette stained hair and eyes cast downward toward the ground. There she is – the angel of the morning. She’s ‘that girl’ walking the walk of shame.
Everyone, be they straight, gay, upside down or sideways, has been put into the wet spot of becoming a one-night stand. Not a friend with benefits, not a possible significant other, just a warm body on a cold night – the lovely social status with the small but ever-present possibility of becoming a semi-regular booty call. In a world filled with endless possibilities, why would women subject themselves to meaningless sex and the walk of shame? I decided to find out.
Meet Erica: a cutesy girl in her early 20s desperately trying to portray herself as an intellectual and pathetically failing at hiding her eating disorder. She wants to convince you she’s attractive with her cap sleeve tees and stretchy jeans built for a prepubescent. She wants you to know men find her attractive – whether you care or not – and tell you she’s not hungry when her stomach growls have been mistaken for earthquakes. Simply meeting Erica and seeing the way she represents herself is enough to answer the question of why she is a one-night-stand girl. But underneath the ‘masked’ insecurities there is even more self-doubt and loathing. In the end, she says, “I just want to be wanted.”
A pun in itself, the Cheap Trick song “I want you to want me” should be the theme song of Erica’s life story. She continued to tell me over coffee one day (no cream, no sugar), “It’s important for me to know that people, especially men, are looking at me. I want to know that girls are jealous of me, and envious of the guy I am with. I want to be the one all the guys want and the one all the girls want to be.”
I could not believe that I was talking to a college-educated woman in the year 2005. Could it be that some women out there still feel that they need, nay, in fact, must compete with one another – and over men?!
First, let me tell you my taste in men could not differ more from Erica’s. She likes those puppies that you need to take home and fix whereas I prefer a man who needs no first aid on the soul. And secondly, in a post-feminist-movement age, where women are supposed to be united and liberated, I am amazed to see a woman starving herself and suffocating in her jeans in order to impress and intimidate me. I don’t know who Erica thinks she is, but whoever she is, she is not as important as she would like to be. She does have the potential, but is using her energies in the wrong way. Think about it, girls – you want me to be jealous of you because you got some guy at a party who is probably bad in bed, has drunk breath and won’t drive you home in the morning? Rethink your math, ladies, because that does not equal a winning night or a jealous Bonnie.
Still I had to inquire with Erica – how did it feel to have sex with these guys knowing that they don’t care about her and will probably never talk to her again? It was at that moment that some humanity came through and perhaps the real Erica emerged.
“It isn’t really about having sex with these guys. It isn’t the sex that I want. It’s the attention … I want to feel cared for, even if it is for a moment. But when I am having sex with them, it isn’t where I want to be,” she said. “I want intimacy, and that does not always come with sex. The next minute, next day, next year, I feel worse off than when I started. Every time I have to find the clothes I wore the night before on some guy’s dirty floor and find my own way home, I can feel myself slip away more and more.”
Maybe Erica really isn’t looking for me to be jealous of her. Maybe she just wants me to see her. Maybe being rude and obnoxious are her only tools to get my attention. Maybe Erica really wants to be loved – and succumbing to drunk advances is her short-term fix.
But I keep meeting more Ericas, and it makes me increasingly sad. To my female readers – I ask of you, please, show more respect for yourselves, because walking home alone on Sunday isn’t cutting it. You may wonder why guys treat you like a booty call. The answer is easy – you let them treat you that way. By showing that behavior as acceptable, you not only hurt all of womankind, but you hurt yourself.
And to all the men out there – you know who you are – leave those girls alone! Have some respect for our women and kindness for those who only know how to get attention through sex. These women deserve better, and you men deserve better. There is many a nice girl sitting home on a Saturday night – try to ring her bell. As for the girls flinging themselves at you at parties, let them know they are worthy of your time, not just your hard-on.
To all of the Ericas out there – know that I am not jealous of you, I’m worried for you. Know that there are more ways to get attention than starving yourself and sleeping around. As Antoine de Saint-Exup?ry wrote in “The Little Prince,” “It’s only with the heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”