Sophie Kromholz writes a personal essay for TYCI on the minefield that is the modern relationship…
Since the age of about 14 or so, the first things people have asked me about when catching up, from my parents’ friends, to my own is: “So, is there anybody new in your life?” Along with breasts and menstruation, my romantic and sexual activities have been on the menu since puberty.
I have had very mixed feelings about this. Initially there was the dread of the question, if there was indeed no one, and the pleasure if there was – as if I had proven my value. What bothers me most about this now is the emphasis it places, and its most disconcerting implications.
It’s been on my mind a lot lately. In part because it seems to have come up in conversation a lot, overflowing from people’s cups of worry, and also because of a flurry of misguided communication.
An acquaintance recently got in touch in the wee hours – his tone was overtly sexual. It seemed that when I had offered up my couch as a place of refuge, when he explained his unfortunate living situations, he had misunderstood and thought that “my couch” was synonymous with “my vagina”. It wasn’t. I did not respond as anticipated and things turned nasty. He asked me if I had had any better offers. I cringed. My time and body are mine to do with as I please, and I don’t choose to take everybody up on every offer that comes along. Also, I was washing my hair that night.