Sex For the Plot

Design by Karela Palazio

“Oh my god, I have to tell you what happened with…”

This has become my catchphrase. I live for the moments I come back to my suite, home from a long night out, to divulge the torrid updates about my man of the month. 

On a random Saturday night in high school, I was tucked into bed at 9:30 p.m., settled in for an early night of YouTube and ice cream, when I got a call from my best friend who went to private school in Brooklyn. He told me to come to a party he was at. “They need more girls,” he said. After some mild convincing, I got dressed and into an Uber across the Brooklyn Bridge. I took a shiny elevator up to a duplex penthouse where the ceiling (yes, literally a glass, mechanized ceiling) opened up onto a roof deck overlooking the East River. I mingled and played pong against a pretty, tall, blond boy, and some blurry minutes later, we were kissing and swaying all over this living room (or was it the kitchen?) I had never been in before.

The next day, I went over to my friend’s house. “Do you know who that guy was?” he asked me. I didn’t. “His dad was the Governor of Nebraska.” 

The first guy I hooked up with at Yale was someone I’d gone to high school with. He was a year above me and I’d had a pretty serious crush on him. It was a drunken, full-circle, magical moment of my freshman Harvard-Yale weekend involving a very public and disruptive DFMO. 

Over winter break last year, I matched on Tinder with a guy I could tell was short by the pictures on his profile. (He turned out to be about 5’8”.) He offered to take me out for drinks, and I didn’t have anything better to do, so we met up at the bar near my house, and each had four drinks, which he paid for. After a couple hours of smooth talking, we got in a cab and headed to his house. 

He Venmoed me the next day. It wasn’t for the drinks.

Do you know how many times I have told these stories? How effortlessly the words fall from my lips, rehearsed to perfect comedic timing? My closest friends can recite them as well as I can (with the same quips and red flags, in the same order I throw them in), and often do when we discover a new person has yet to hear the tale.

What is exciting to me about these stories is not the potential of a relationship, not what went down, not even the men themselves. It’s telling them. These sexy not-so secrets just make life more interesting. Sex for the plot. That’s what I like to have. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve always been a little boy-crazy. I had boyfriends (even husbands) all throughout elementary and middle school. I always had a crush, and I always wanted to talk about it. It was exciting to desire. Just as much as it was to be desired. 

But in fact, it was never about desire. The nights I ply myself with alcohol and kiss boys whose faces I can’t recall without looking at a photo don’t mark how wanted I am. I look at my friends—some in relationships, many in complicated situationships, who might be happily casually involved or unhappily celibate, and I find it hard to sift through what it all means for me. It seems like everyone else is so desired, and falls so easily into the excitement of something new. I, on the other hand, must create that excitement. I must write my own plot. 

You see, I want to be in love so bad. I watched Mamma Mia dozens of times as a kid, always wanting that summer, carefree, blonde kind of love. I’ve tried to construct my life into happy domestic vignettes, marked with babysitting jobs and boys I liked to keep around. My high school journals are filled with entries trying to dissect the psychology of 14-year-old boys through linguistic analyses of their texts and (God forbid) Snapchats. At one point in time, I even had a Yubo account (iykyk). I am still waiting for my Prince Charming to be awestruck by my beauty and mystery as I sit reading Being and Time in the philosophy reading room in Sterling.

In the meantime, I have sex for the plot. And yet, each time I speak my piece, a little part of my hopeless romantic heart chips away. It’s one thing to live a man-eating persona, and an entirely different thing to feel fully satisfied by it. I definitely don’t.

And I can assure you of one thing: none of those guys have told the stories of those nights as many times as I have. Not even close. There goes another chip.

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