A few years ago, I was lying out in Sheep Meadow, alone in the company of a bathing book (trashy one you wouldn’t otherwise read), when a man on a bicycle approached me. I was underage and pretending I wasn’t with permission from a fake ID that somehow worked, though it featured a girl who was blond and green-eyed, quite the opposite of me.
Classily sipping on a mimosa out of a paper bag and ignoring the fact my chest was turning red, Mr. Bicycle jumped down, shirtless and sweaty, and asked my name. With little makeup on and even smaller concern about it, I chatted with him for half an hour or so until he claimed he had a late lunch to get to. Per his request, I slipped him my number and went about my tanning afternoon, not that interested in him but intrigued enough hope he called.
Skip to a week later and I’m sitting across from Mr. Bicycle on our second date at a place on the lower east side that’s dimly lit and offers food that’s not only overpriced, but overcooked, too. I’m not a picky eater unless I’m paying for it, in which case I want to get the best sizzle for my steak, but since Mr. Bicycle was forking over dough for the bill, I politely downed my dinner with a smile.
Half-way through, I decided that Mr. Bicycle has potential and was someone I would agree to a third date with. We hadn’t kissed yet, but I wanted to. I wasn’t ready to have sex with him, but I figured he was pretty good and pretty blessed in that department, based off his mannerisms and his build. I didn’t know much more than the basics about him: age, background, occupation, his affinity forPeru, his dislike of Asian food. Unlike me, he actually resembles my fake ID (which I hadn’t told him is fake), eyes as green as Sheep Meadow and blond locks that fall effortlessly around his face. He also has dimples, which time and time again, seems to be a feature on a man I continuously attract.
The night was coming to a close and the city was in an unusual state for a July evening, the humidity wasn’t suffocating and the streets were not buzzing in activity or tourists. For once, New York rests and while it was the second date and Mr. Bicycle had no promise of anything really, I rest happily in the smirk that comes with a date gone well. He asked to walk me back to my apartment, to make sure I got there safely like a gentleman, and I let him. As we approached my doorway and I reached for my keys, he pulled me into him and kissed me sweetly and passionately.
It would have gone down in my book or in this blog as the best first kiss of all time, if what came next didn’t happen. After the 45-second-or-so lip lock, I smiled up at him and turned to open my door as I said, “Thank you for a great evening, Mr. Bicycle.” He stopped me, turned me around and looked me dead-in-the-eye.
“Aren’t we going to go upstairs and f***?”
Stunned and taking myself as “not that type of girl,” I immediately became offended and plainly dismissed his advance. I fidgeted with my key in a rush to get inside and away from this guy who was so inappropriate, when he asked yet another uncalled for question: “C’mon, Lindsay, aren’t you sexually liberated?” I ignored him and stepped inside ad I told him again to have a nice evening, before I ran up the many flights to my apartment, consumed with disgust.
I recently told this story to a friend and as I went about what I usually portray as an unfortunate series of events, I found myself not relaying it without as much style as I usually do or with as many convicted statements like “Can you believe he did that on a second date?” or “What a f***ing a**hole, right?”
No, instead I found myself finding the story….quite commonplace. I mean, what girl hasn’t encountered a guy who has no class attempting to get in her pants? It’s not like every man doesn’t try at least once, anyway – right? If he doesn’t, we question his orientation in a heartbeat – those poor nice guys just often don’t make the cut. While I didn’t want to sleep with Mr. Bicycle that night, had I wanted to – should I have felt bad for doing so? Was he out of line for proposing sex – perhaps. Could he have gone about about it a better way - definitely. But is it wrong for him to act on sexual urges? Nah.
It took me a few years, a few partners, and a few earth-shattering orgasms for me to change my tune a bit. Or maybe, it took until I did what Mr. Bicycle spotted I hadn’t done yet: sexually liberated myself.
I was never raised or taught to “wait until marriage” to have sex, though I was brought up in the church. I think my mother is more realistic and she just warned to be careful and to make sure I trusted the person I was giving a “special part of myself to.” I have always valued my private and special parts and I think thus far, I’ve been rather selective of who gets to explore them.
But I’ve also stopped judging myself for having desires. I’ve stopped holding myself back and placing rules and restrictions on myself that are based off nothing but what I think I should do or what I think is acceptable by standards I haven’t even defined. I’m in awe of my friends who are sincerely sexually liberated -the ones who demand their sexuality to be respected and make no excuses for the lives they lead or the beds they’ve laid.
Maybe I shouldn’t be envious – maybe I should see sexual liberation as an act of opening your mind, not spreading your legs. It’s more about giving yourself permission to say (or scream) yes; it’s about trying new things without basing your decision on outside perceptions, but by what you’re comfortable with and what you want. It’s about valuing yourself as special, as you are, and deciding what special (or just foreign, tanned, and ripped) people you want to share those special spots with.
Too much emphasis is put on our numbers, who we do or don’t sleep with, and what that says about us. When in reality, all sex says about any of us is that we’re…human. There is no better sexual awakening or liberation than realizing that what you feel, what you want, and what you do is exactly what you were made to feel, to want, and to do. So feel it, want it, and do it – in whatever way makes sense to you. Because to have successful sex or successfully let yourself go to enjoy that sex – the first person you have to release…is you.