It was summer in Brooklyn, and a group of 20-somethings, myself included, were on our loft’s rooftop grilling, playing records, and of course, drinking. A lot. Stretch this casual-seeming get together out over six hours and inevitably one pair has separated themselves from the group and is in a sudden fit of public passion, lapping up the spit from the inside of each other’s mouths, even though they just sort of met.
In these moments, when you’re in that new and exciting entanglement, there’s nothing bad about… anything. Sure, for some PDA induces a reaction close to vomiting. When you’re the one who’s actually participating, though, you’re in your own fantasy make out world. You think, “Why not, life’s short, might as well spend it kissing someone who’s hot? Oh, and I’m kind of drunk.”
But when these moments—or hours—come to an end and you’re hit with the reality that you have to work the next day, and you’ve just been making out with a stranger for like, three hours, and you just need to pry yourself away and move along with your life, the complicated discourse of expectations tears down the very institution Fantasy Make Out World was founded upon. You wonder: Will we ever talk again?
So as this amazing summer eve came to an end and I de-clung myself from sexy DJ dude’s chest (yes, that was me swapping spit with a stranger—keep up), while part of me wanted to just run away with a nonchalant, “See ya later!” to keep Fantasy Fun Time alive forever, I thought that was bitchy and was just getting out of a long-ish relationship and honestly didn’t know what normal people do. I wanted to be nice. I asked, “Am I supposed to, like, give you my number?” with a genuine air of confusion, for I was genuinely confused.
“Yeah…” he trailed, pulling his phone from his front pocket (that’s what that was!). “But hey, listen,” he started again. “I’m not looking for a girlfriend right now.”
Uhhh… What? I looked at him, my head instinctively cocked and my eyebrows furrowed. “I’m not looking for a boyfriend?” I said reluctantly. He gave me that look that says, “You’re saying what you think I want you to say, aren’t you, you GIRL?”
And I hope my look said, “Fuck you, not all women want you to be their boyfriend,” because that’s what I was honestly thinking. Instead I said something like, “I just got out of a relationship. This was just fun. Just forget about the number,” and tried not to seem defensive. My semi-sober brain became muddled with the widely held beliefs so many have about dating and hooking up and gender roles. Do men really think all women are looking for boyfriends (or husbands)? Can’t we just hook up? Sext a little and maybe make out again since our proximity is ridiculously convenient and leave it at that?
I do agree that being honest and laying out what you want out of a relationship (whatever form that might take) on the table is important—after a real date, maybe, or like, a real conversation where something along the line of relationships or commitment comes up. Some moment where you can hash out what the other person is really thinking. Assuming you know what the other person wants is rude, undermining, and frankly, disrespectful.
A few days later, when not-so-hot-anymore DJ left a note on my door asking how I was with his number on the back, I let it stare at me for days before eventually tossing it. It wasn’t that I was looking for a boyfriend and he made it clear that he didn’t want to fit that bill. Rather, I decided someone who inherently assumes all women want to settle down and get serious obviously doesn’t share the same progressive views as me. And that’s definitely someone I do not want to be swapping spit with again.