No Sex in the City
by Stefi Sparer
I am not like everyone else in this class. I am not taking this Humanities 330a, Visual Culture in Literature, Drama, and Film course because the professor was rumored to have Richard Gere appeal. I am actually taking this class to learn something about culture. Personally, yes, I would like to know how Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation has shaped American culture and ruined popular democracy because I am not like the other college girls. Oh, college girls and their need to have sex with anything that will shower once a day regardless of whatever band shirt it’s wearing. It’s almost endearing.
I have never been a “sheep” and consequently, have never been Spring Fling Flower Princess or anything and I am OK with that. In the fourth grade, I was the only girl who didn't show up to school with those awful butterfly clips in my hair and that same day, was thrown out of the Pony Club my so-called “friends” and I started, but I didn't mind. I was on to bigger and better things anyway. Like Zach Morris from Saved by the Bell. Non-conforming teen detective Veronica Mars isn’t popular either, but she was prettier than anyone else over at Neptune High and she has scored her own television series. I figure it’s a tradeoff. I like to think that my own non-conforming super power is my awesome hair. The TV show comes later.
The young ladies in my class, all five hundred of them, were getting ready to fight for the kill. Anything with cleavage that actually shaved their legs that day was seen as a threat. The skirts felt vulnerable as they eyed each other through their lined and mascara caked eyes, looking much like a wide-eyed doe prancing through a forest of flowers wondering where their mother is and why they smelt gunpowder. I could see their thought bubbles, all in text message short hand, mentally challenging their opponents over the lone hot guy who “accidentally” signed up for a girly class and undoubtedly will “turn” gay by the end of the semester. “Go ahead,” their perfectly glossed lips sneered before returning to their practiced pouts, “Try me.” And then the real reason they were actually in class on time with full face make-up and styled hair before noon walked in. Our professor. Played by George Clooney, or as close as you can get in a university at 7:30 in the morning.
“OK,” Clooney says at the podium, whipping his reading glasses off and flashing us a dazzling set of perfect, white teeth that must have taken thousands of dollars in veneers because nobody is that flawless, “If there’s anything I can do to make this class more enjoyable, I’ll do it.”
“He could grope me…” The girl sitting next to me, who has decided we are now friends, whispers in my ear.
I won’t deny that the professor is crazy good looking in a movie star kind of way, but I will admit I can’t picture myself sleeping with him. Not that I could ever picture myself sleeping with anything other than the stuffed dog my Grandmother gave me when I was born. “I’m just not that kind of woman,” I like to tell people, but as my twentieth birthday fast approaches, I wonder how much longer I can keep up the Jessica Simpson approach to life.
In high school it was a lot easier to hide behind this mask of innocence and fairy tales. In high school, we are still “children”. We have parents who enforce curfews and make us eat our vegetables. College is different; there are more reasons to screw up. College has more alcohol, more parties, and the promise of a Girls Gone Wild baseball cap if we flash our breasts.
According to my peers I should now be writing essays more along the lines of Sex and the City episode recaps. “I finally had sex last night!” a girl friend of mine tells me over a giddy phone conversation.
“What?” I’m shocked. I’d known her since I was twelve, back when I had bangs and before she was slutty.
“Yeah, yeah,” she says again, “With this guy I met at the party.”
“Let me get this straight,” I sigh, “You had sex.”
“With a guy you had only just met at a party.”
“Were you drunk?” I ask.
“Well, psh, yeah. Obviously,” she tosses back as if we’re talking about how cute Jesse Metcalf was in last night’s episode of Desperate Housewives. It’s almost as if MTV’s The Real World: College has invaded her once demure little brain and the producers were telling her she’d get more camera time if she put out in a hot tub. Some people will do anything to be in a thirty-second promo.
Perhaps I am old fashioned or perhaps I am just flat out prude, but I find there’s a difference between having fun and being stupid. “You just gotta stop caring. Then your sex life will improve,” a male friend, a skinny guy who was once considered “nerdy” but now, thanks to The OC, is a hot commodity, advises. “This is what college is all about. You go to some parties, the girls get drunk and… boom! It works for me.”
“I have these things called morals,” I counter.
He teases me, “I’m… I’m not following…”
“I had a good childhood,” I explain. “My dad was nice enough to me that I have no need for random sex.”
“Boring,” He sighs. “You need to at least relax and have a little fun or else you’ll end up a forty year old crack addict like Whitney.”
These words haunted me as I sat in a car about a month later with a date. I almost laugh because the arrangement is so cliché; a car parked on a mountain over-looking the city at night with two young adults sitting in the front seat listening to dangerously mellow music- so cliché it didn’t feel cozy at all. I just felt like I was in some horror movie and big hairy werewolf played by Michael J. Fox was going to fly onto the roof of the car ruining what my date, Michael, seemed to consider a “perfect moment”. I was actually kind of sad when a werewolf didn’t crash our evening because thirty seconds in, I realized I just wanted to go home and go to bed. Alone.
I’m not slutty Meredith Grey who only ever thinks she’s worth something if she has a man in her bed. I never had this thought that I couldn’t be alone and needed to be with someone all the time until I got to college and realized I was the only student alone and not with someone all the time. Suddenly, I was the odd girl out and the third wheel. I can’t just hang out with my friends. I have to hang out with my friends their boyfriends. Or at least what they are calling their boyfriends, but I think we all know what they really are. College has no rules. Except maybe that the girl in the least amount of clothing always goes home with a guy. And sometimes also another girl. These co-eds are free to do what they want when they want with whom they want and I’ll never be like them, not matter how many times I see Animal House on DVD.
“You look really pretty tonight,” Michael said as he stroked my arm.
“Thanks,” I said, as I yanked it away to switch out CDs. I put in the most non-romantic music he had to try to change the mood, and to do this, I had to turn on the light. Well, actually, I didn’t have to, but I did.
“Hun,” Michael grumbled, “turn off the light, you’re killing the atmosphere.”
Did he seriously just call me “Hun”? As in Atilla the? Is this 1954? What am I doing here? I shouldn’t force myself into something I’m obviously not ready to do, especially not with “some guy” I’ve known since high school and didn’t have any romantic feelings towards. I shoved The Beastie Boys in and turned it up as he lunged for me. He may have put on about twenty pounds since high school, but I was angry enough to have the strength to push him off.
He respected me and slithered back into his original seat. “You don’t even want to make out?” he yelled over the three Jewish rappers on the stereo. I shook my head “no” to the defeated kid.
“Sorry,” I shrugged.
“Nah,” he said, adjusting his shirt, “I respect that. That’s good, I think, to have morals and whatnot.”
“Seriously?” I questioned, shocked.
“Yeah,” he said, “I mean that. Give a guy like, three more years. They’ll kill for brains and standards. You know, when you’re dating long term or whatever. Its kind of sexy if you’re into that I guess?”
Maybe I have some deep seeded fear of having intimate relations or I’ve watched Fifteen and Pregnant too many times? Carrie Bradshaw might ask me if I’m afraid of my own sexuality and then add that media might be screwing me before any guy could. Even though “time is ticking” as a friend once told me, I’m not ready to just “get it over with”. I realize my first time won’t be perfect or probably even remotely romantic, but I’d at least want to sort of like the guy I’m with. I’m still kind of young, and I just have a feeling that finding love will take a lot longer than one night with the drunk creator of the “Boobies ‘N’ Beer” Facebook group.
Stefi is the Spring Flower Princess of FTTW