People who sit next to me on park benches

Photo by Chela Simón-Trench

Sex Column to a Sex Columnist

Dear Carrie Bradshaw,

This week starts with declining an invitation to be on Pi Phi’s Sex and Love Panel. I try to envision myself sharing not-too-much-but-just-enough about the intimacies of my sex life while sitting between two Gorgeous men on the crew team. Instead the control center of my brain doesn’t stop projecting the painfully probable vision of myself completely freezing during questioning, leaving the entire audience with the impression that I am a prude. Two terrible hours of my brain flip-flopping between this scene and sentences from Heidegger’s Being and Time go by, and I hastily respond: “I’m so sorry but I’m busy that night! Xx Chela.” Maybe I am a prude after all. 

On Tuesday, the teetering doom of mid-February slips into full descent as I march home from class. In my room, I change into a completely different outfit, but that doesn’t help so instead I type into Google: “hypnosis techniques for fighting desire for male validation.” Yeah. A lifetime (six years) of an all-girls education and an actual lifetime (all my life) living in an all-girls household (two moms). Only one year (freshman year) to dissolve a blissful immunity to the trance-like experience of receiving the male gaze. 

And then the next thing you know you’re on your way to the darker underbelly of the already dark Patriarchy (Sigma Nu fraternity), and somewhere down the line you forget the whole reason you started using she/they pronouns in the first place, what it feels like to be a woman by your own definition. But where does the desperate Google search for hypnosis techniques go on Saturday night when you plant yourself atop a precarious, folding wooden table for two hours to feel that shameful high of men looking at you like they want to eat you? 

Carrie, you once asked the question in your own column: do we really want these things, or are we just programmed? You were talking about marriage, babies, and a home to call your own. When February rears its ugly head, do you find yourself in a completely different outfit saying to your best friend, “I don’t know if I’ve ever had a relationship with a man that was not based on pursuing his validation?” And your best friend doesn’t know what to say to you. And you realize that she doesn’t really get where you’re coming from because she has been programmed. My all-girls enclave has shielded me all this time—I don’t want male validation as much as I feel programmed to want it. And that’s why I think I landed at “hypnosis techniques” in that search box and not “how to.” My mind lost to a perch on a breaking wooden table. I need something stronger to break the cycle. 

Knowing how much you and your friends talk about men, I fear that you can relate to my sentiments, and I’m sorry. 

Your dedicated Sex and the City enthusiast despite it all, 

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