I’m seventeen and since my first time, I have had zero more times; I haven’t kissed another human and haven’t really had any crushes since then either. The ones I did have seem more like an attempt at paraphrasing another person in my peer group; agreeing that he was worthy of a crush after she enthusiastically revealed her unbidden, unrelenting passion for some dweeb who played guitar. I was at college and had made new friends, I had discovered writing about my passions and devoured William Blake and Jeffrey Chaucer like it all truly meant something to me. To this day, I cannot remember anything other than in The Bard’s Tale when the cuckold got his revenge by sticking a hot poker up someone’s arse, but at the time both that and Songs of Innocence and Experience resonated deep within me. I was very pretentious, but still also entirely unrealistic about everything life had to offer me… including literature, it seems.
I had received a laptop that Christmas and because I could use Google in the privacy of my own bedroom, I’d become quite the researcher. I’d come to terms with what had happened to me and since then, watched The Notebook religiously because I felt that Ryan Gosling wouldn’t let anything like that happen to me. I’d also discovered that rape happened to a lot of women and that everyone had their own ways of dealing with it and overcoming the feeling of worthlessness; I had simply chosen to bury it deep within my mind grapes and move on with life in my own way. I had discovered blogs and discovered a woman who wrote so casually about sex that it hardly seemed like the horror show I’d experienced, but something more, something pleasurable and freeing. I discovered dominatrices and the men they belittled, but who seemed to love it… I had my own sexual awakening through absorbing all of the knowledge that I was reading from the internet and putting it all into some kind of bizarre perspective; sex was okay and I should not spend my life refraining from it because I was afraid of what might happen. It was also during this time I discovered masturbating and pleasuring myself with my hands, which is something I’d never really thought of doing, but, upon having my first orgasm, realised it was something I’d been doing since I was very small in a game I used to play that caused my parents to shout at me and tell me to stop… Now I know why. I finally decided that sex wasn’t bad and that I should remove all bad thoughts from my mind and proceed with life like a true seventeen year old.
I had one crush at college. I had decided he looked like Chad Michael Murray and as someone who had never seen One Tree Hill but had seen A Cinderella Story, I decided that he was my romantic mecca and that eventually we would marry and I’d watch him play rugby on weekends. Nothing ever happened with this person, he spoke to me once and that was to thank me for opening a door and because I had truly entered my awkward phase and was still entirely uncertain what to do in situations that involved male humans, I simply turned and faced the wall behind me. That was the last time he spoke to me. I spoke to him once after at a college party. I was hammered and decided I was going to make my move. He was wearing a bowler hat and looked like a dick, but I couldn’t let one bad fashion choice ruin what could potentially be The Greatest Love of All. He was smoking a cigar and he tried to stub it out, but burned my hand instead and it was in that moment I decided that I wasn’t ready for a relationship where burning seemed an appropriate thing to do to a woman, accidentally or not.
It was back to the drawing board and, of course, Ryan Gosling helped me during this difficult time and my obsession grew. Realising that I couldn’t very well develop a non-existent relationship with a human very much out of my league and whom I would never have a chance with even if I did by some miracle end up a famous actress playing opposite him in a film that required the sensual removal of some nude stockings (what?!), who wouldn’t find me as attractive as I would him. Presumably because I’d be crying and drooling over his general magnificence/beard. I used social media a lot to emphasise how ready I was for love by posting lyrics from angsty, indie bands and filling out online quizzes, taking particular care at how funny and girlfriend-material I was, even though I’d never been a girlfriend so I didn’t know. I didn’t manage to attract the attention of anyone at all, even though I happily Myspace friended everyone in the North East.
I did, however, hang out with a good friend of mine every Wednesday instead of going to English Language class (phonetics? No thank you!). He went to a nearby college and would pick me up so we could hang out at his house; we’d watch really old movies and occasionally share a joint, chatting a lot and then I’d leave, so I could get home in time to pretend I’d actually been at college learning all day and not sitting watching shit on tv and indulging in illegal activities with a very short human my mother didn’t much like. It was during one of these Wednesdays that I turned to my friend and said, quite simply:
“Would you like to have sex with me?”
Given that he knew what had happened to me and had known me rebuff every single one of his attempts at flirting since we met at the age of fifteen, he was undoubtedly shocked. But, at seventeen, I was quite adorable, my hips and breasts hadn’t quite exploded to the size they are now and wouldn’t for two years (puberty rather than obesity), but I had mousy brown hair and massive blue/green eyes and my glasses made me look geeky, but not so much that I became hideous. Naturally he said yes and I informed him that it was for research purposes only. We shook hands and made our way to his bedroom.
Sex was okay. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t horrible. I didn’t really enjoy having sex with this person, but would for a few weeks before dropping off the face of the earth in pursuit of someone else to explore my sexuality with. Foreplay was non-existent and I never came. Also once the condom got stuck inside of me and I had some kind of emotional breakdown that my skin would grow around the condom and eventually I would have to have it removed because the growth inside me got too big; I’d have to give birth to it and the doctor would frown and chastise me for being so careless with a condom. Anyway, it put me off condoms and this person quite grotesquely and that was that.
My sexual exploration also never really took off the ground as much as I would have liked it to and truth be told, I didn’t actually achieve orgasm with another human until I was twenty three, which seems really unfair, but also perhaps because my vagina eventually thought OH MY GOD, I am so sick of her prodding and poking, let’s just give her an orgasm and maybe she’ll stop! Which I can imagine her doing because she’s a bit of a bitch. I was using sex toys during this stint, which seemed to be the only way I could achieve orgasm for a very, very long time, which is probably why I hold them in such high esteem now.
In a way, Ryan Gosling did save my sex life and I think it’s probably because his beard is just too damn sexy to resist. The Notebook also acts as a kind of cathartic piece of cinema because it reminds me of being a young girl so desperate to fall in love and experience waking up with someone who looked at me as though I were the only girl in existence to evoke any form of passion in their heart, but then also that, after many, many, tearful afternoons of watching Gosling FINALLY get the woman that he wanted, that it was something that would eventually happen and as a result, I would have to stop fearing sex and embrace it.
I’m not trying to justify or defend what The Scumbag did, but in a way, it did shape who I am today and my sex life and how open I am about discussing it and how truly important I think it is, stems from that one horrible experience; it made me who I am today and even though it was a terrible experience, I have moved on from it and become the Doris we all know and love (and loathe) today!