Cherry Popping

Okay so, previously on this blog I’ve talked a lot about bad dates. And some good dates. And dating strategies. Mostly that’s what I write about.

Stuff is about to get more explicit, though, so get ready for some talk about sex and bodies.

Are you ready?

I was at a friend’s party last weekend, and the discussion took a turn towards periods. My friend mentioned that she hates wearing tampons, the she finds them uncomfortable. As she was saying this, I realized that I also used to feel this way, and I said so. “Oh yeah? What changed, then?” she asked. I thought about it for a minute and then realized the answer.

The answer is that I must have had one motherfucker of a hymen.

You don’t hear much talk of hymens, really. They aren’t that important anymore, not since the days when people cared whether women were virgins (ugh). That’s really the main association people have with hymens as far as I can tell. Which is kind of inaccurate, it turns out. Some women are just born without them, or they break at a very young age when playing on jungle gyms, etc.

And then there are women like me. I don’t actually know for sure what happened but in retrospect I think I can postulate a theory, a theory that involves me having a really persistent hymen.

Sex with the first few partners was not easy in that department, and I thought for a while it was somehow psychological, or something? The first time I had sex there was bleeding – kind of a lot, actually, and it freaked me the fuck out. After that I had plenty of sex but intercourse was not huge on the menu because it was just difficult and uncomfortable and it happened but just not that often.

But this got annoying, because it just started stressing me out that I didn’t understand what the deal was, and I was annoyed at myself because I really thought it was a psychological block I had. So anyway during a spate of a lot of dating in NYC I kind of geared myself up to just kind of go for it.

In the spring of 2011, I dated two guys – the first was John. (I honestly don’t really remember that much about John, and I’m using his name here because it’s so common and he will never ever read this blog and I have literally no idea what his last name even is, so.) John and I went on exactly two dates. I will maybe tell the story of our dates in another post because it involves pulling in a bunch of other background stuff that I don’t want to get into here. The point is that John had a small-ish penis and I was like, oh good this is perfect, I’m just going for this. We had sex and it was entirely lacklustre but nothing bad happened and there was no bleeding and I was so relieved and happy. I didn’t care that the sex was bad. I will always be grateful to John for helping me get my intercourse confidence back.

A few weeks later I met another guy – let’s call him A. A and I also went on exactly two dates, and at the end of the second date, we went back to his place. We started having sex, and it was going pretty well actually until we both noticed that there was blood just… everywhere. He asked me if I was okay, and I said yes, because I was. I wasn’t in pain, I hadn’t felt any pain, I had no idea what had happened. It was definitely not when I was supposed to get my period, so it wasn’t as though the movement had instigated that, so I was confused and kind of worried, because that amount of blood is not a good sign especially if you cannot think of a reason for it.

So anyway I had a shower and he had a shower and then the mood was kind of ruined. And part of my brain was trying to think of what the fuck had happened and as we were lying there, he started laughing and I was like, what? And he was like: ‘ohhhhhhh you know. Special moments.’ And he laughed again.

And suddenly, suddenly I realized that this man, this man who was something like, I don’t even know, something like the NINTH person I’d slept with, suddenly he was under the very distinct impression that I’d just lost my virginity to him. And I was like ‘uhhhhh’ but there was literally nothing I could think to say at that point to disabuse him of that belief, because I still had no idea what had happened. And it looked kind of a lot like I had just lost my virginity (or whatever, I mean, honestly virginity is not even a real thing but that’s the topic of another post or dissertation or something).

He wouldn’t see me again after that, probably because he thought I was going to imprint on him like a baby duckling? Like, p.s. that is not a thing, losing your virginity to someone is not a recipe for biological and emotional attachment, and penises are not magic wands that cast magic love spells on women. That’s not how this works.

I didn’t figure out what must have happened until later that summer, when suddenly tampons fit much easier and I started dating another guy and suddenly sex was just not a problem at all and there was zero bleeding. I heard subsequently that people have had to have procedures done to get their hymen broken, and that just sounds really awful and painful.

And so I wasn’t angry that he wouldn’t see me again, because I will always be grateful for this guy’s valuable contribution to my sex life, grateful for the fact that he literally was the one who finally popped my very definitely non-virgin cherry.




The Drunk Date

A friend of mine just started online dating, and his dates keep cancelling on him. I remember going through a spate of that in Toronto, and it was really frustrating. I make plans, and when those plans get subverted I find it really annoying. I also no longer have the energy to go on dates with people I find boring or annoying, and I also find it exhausting to figure out how to end things early on gracefully. It’s just such a minefield and I just can’t right now.

Which put me in mind of yet another bad date from my past: the drunk date.

I think this date happened back in 2010. It was summer, and we were set to meet at a bar. I can’t even remember his name but let’s call him Drunk Guy. He is so-called because he showed up half cut to our date, which he proceeded to loudly announce. In those days, I had more emotional resources, and was just sort of interested to see where things went and how dates played out and so I went with it. We had a half-decent conversation at the bar over a drink, and then he suggested getting ice cream down the road.

There was a huge line up, it was a popular place, and the staff were a bit run off their feet. I ordered mine, and then he ordered his, but when it came time to pay, he seemed annoyed and inquired into the charge. It turns out he hadn’t realized that you had to pay more for a sugar cone (or something, I don’t even know) and was trying to talk the barista into giving it to him at the base rate. This was … embarrassing. As someone who’s worked in the service industry, this does not impress me. It shows a total lack of respect for the people serving you, when you try to pressure them into giving you stuff for free because…. you deserve it? Because… you’re special. Ugh. As a woman I also find that repulsive because it denotes an entitlement that is gross, and also that the person pressuring you is counting exactly on social norms and people’s inability to deal with uncomfortable situations in order to get what they want.


Anyway then we wandered over to his house (I know. I KNOW. WHAT WAS I THINKING. I was so young, and so naive. I would never do this now) to hang out in his yard. It was a decent place to hang out actually, but when we got there, I realized that it was sort of weird and unwise that I’d even agreed to go back to his place with him alone, not knowing him well, not feeling like this guy understands and respects boundaries. (This date was before I became an angry feminist. I will eventually write about the date that literally turned me into an angry feminist. But another time.)

I used his washroom (possibly this was part of the motivation to head to his place?) and then we hung out on a bench in the yard, where he put his arm around me in this gross way in which he didn’t even ask if that was okay and was really not paying attention to me or my body language.

The most hilarious part of this entire evening, however, was when his phone rang. And he took it. He took a phone call from his MOTHER in the middle of our date.

It was not an emergency. He was not expecting her call. She just calls him, apparently. To check in. To say hi.


He proceeded to justify this in a very blasé way, telling me about his relationship with his mother (too soon, dude).

Then, to top it all off, he went on to tell me about the ‘affair’ we were going to have that summer. Which… what is that impulse even about. It’s also not the only time a man has done that, by the way. That is a thing I’ve experienced between 5 and 10 times during the years I’ve dated. I’m not sure if they think they can impose their desire? Or maybe it gives them a sense of control? Or they’ve seen too many rom coms? Or they are idealizing how dating works? I don’t even know. I’m not sure there IS an explanation, or a narrative that would make sense of this.

What I do know is that it erases my agency, my say in how this will play out. It doesn’t even acknowledge that I need to agree to it. Where does my interest, my agency, my desire fit into a narrative in which he explains to me how our relationship will play out? Ugh. No thanks.

At this point some voice in my head started saying ‘ok look this date is going to make a good story someday, but maybe it’s time to hightail it?’

Because I mean, dude. That’s not how this works. That’s not how desire works. That’s not how dating works. That’s not how relationships (or ‘affairs’) work. That’s not how consent works. You don’t TELL me how it’s going to be. Things figure themselves out.