We met lips first. The sweet, wet taste of his mouth and the feel of his hands gripping my back made up the majority of my memories about that first night. That, and the sound of my friend’s criticism swirling amidst the clanging of glasses and the jumble of meaningless words and curses which were pulsating through the air at the bar. But in that moment, it was just me and him.
His hair was soft, his eyes a dark chocolate-y brown. His kiss was intoxicating, the perfect poison to end an already hazy night. I had seen him before — we had crossed paths in countless bars; exchanged smiles and those slow, sexy glances that you can feel all the way down into the pit of your stomach. My friend had pulled me away from him the first couple of times.
“Don’t do it,” she said as she yanked me out of his sight. “I’ve hooked up with all of his friends, I know what they’re like, they’re all the same.”
“It was fun.” That’s what I told her after that first night. But fuck, what was his name? “We were just kissing, so what?”
I didn’t see him again for weeks after that. I couldn’t remember giving him my number and although I had a slight memory of getting his, I couldn’t remember his name to search for it in my phone. What the hell was his name?
It’s funny how things spring up on you again, usually when you aren’t expecting them, when you aren’t waiting for them, or wanting them, they arise.
“It’s you,” he said, his face breaking into a huge, drunken smile. The corners of his eyes crinkling from pure, alcohol induced joy. I leaned in, lips first, as was our style.
My friends were critical again. “You really need to stop kissing people in bars,” they said.
“It was the same guy as last time though!” I said indignantly, let me live my life, I thought quietly.
This time I had a number though and even a name. A few text messages begging me to come back to the bar, to meet up with him, to let him come over. “You’re so pretty, I just want to keep kissing you. We don’t have to do anything, I just want to hold you.” Yeah right.
I looked at the messages the next morning. Seems a little clingy.
My generation appears to be afflicted by a deep psychological problem. We want the people we can’t have and once we find out that we can, indeed, have them, we don’t want them anymore. It’s that grass is always greener mentality I suppose, and perhaps it affects us in more ways than just our relationships. We want the clothes that are too expensive for us, the jobs that are the furthest from our reach, the hair color that’s not naturally ours and the love that only exists in romantic comedies. We are the victims of our own day dreams, and when we get too caught up in the ‘what-ifs’ we begin to lose sight of what actually is.
We met up again the next night, my drunken self unable to stay away from those intoxicating lips. We began the night as we usually did, kissing in the corner of the bar. I don't know why kissing him was so fun. There was this spark between us; this pure physical connection that made the fact that we didn’t know anything about each other an insignificant matter. They were the types of kisses that could last for hours and stay endlessly entertaining, but nonetheless it didn’t take long before he muttered the inevitable phrase:
“Do you want to go home?”
To whose home it didn’t matter. We made it as far as the bushes that lined the dark walk from downtown.
There was something wild about what we had going on: there weren’t any strings, no deep feelings, there was just youth and passion and heavy breathing and laughter. But lust, as I’ve learned on countless occasions, is a tricky thing to hold on to, and if you don’t keep your eye on it, it may very well get the best of you.
We spent just one more night together after that. I invited him over. It was maybe 2 am, my friends and I were all still awake, still drinking and smoking — it had been a long night already. I had butterflies in my stomach before he even arrived; the anticipation of seeing him made my whole body tingle. I let him talk to my friends for maybe five minutes before I pulled him into my bedroom.
It was the bed that changed things. The realness of having him under my sheets. How adorable he looked as he lay there, muttering nonsensical words as he drifted into sleep. I couldn’t keep my mind from wondering if maybe there was something more to him than just that pair of lips and those dark eyes. I barely slept that night. I spent hours feeling his breath on my neck, listening the the rise and fall of his chest. All of a sudden I was imagining a future, a life with this guy whose name I barely knew. Fuck.
Perhaps he could sense it the next morning. Sense the attachment I had formed as the night rolled on. If he did, he didn’t make it obvious, but that was the last time I saw him.
I told myself I wouldn’t text him until he texted me first, apparently now I was the one trying to play hard to get: what happened to him being the clingy one? Half way through the week I realized I wouldn’t be hearing from him. I sent him a casual text, and after hours of no response I sent him a dismissive one, just to ensure I was the one who had the final say in things.
I’m always amazed at how quickly the tables turn. Amazed at how quickly I forget that lust is lust, not love. And with all the love-faking we do these days I guess I’m not surprised that occasionally I get confused. I always think of it as a fucked up double standard, an unfair quirk written into my biology. Which in a way it is. It isn’t just a difference in how men and women view sex. It is a literal chemical reaction, the release of a chemical known as oxytocin, which is released into a woman’s brain in high amounts during intercourse. Oxytocin causes increased feelings of connection and allows humans to be more trusting. It is what causes people to form close bonds, but during sex that chemical reaction is one sided.
We don’t work in the same way, men and women. We think differently, we act differently, we love differently. For a while I can allow lust to take the reins, I can ride it out, but eventually my need for something deeper intercedes. Eventually my need for protection and for someone to talk to at the end of a long day takes over. Eventually that wild passion takes a turn into dangerous territory and whether I like it or not, my heart becomes involved. I know it’s not the same on the other side, while my mind is moving a thousand miles a minute, he lies there, in a deep state of contentment. Well that was fun, what next, who now?
There’s no use trying to deny it; no point trying to see if you can become more detached from sex and treat it like a man does. Biology literally won’t let you.
And sure, I could preach to the guys, tell them they should be more cautious about who they sleep with, since sex is more emotional for women, but I’m smart enough to know that I’d be preaching to an empty room. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be cautious about who you are sleeping with and why. I’m not trying to say you can’t have fun — I’m all for doing what, and who, you want to do, as long as you're not doing it in a destructive way — but you can remind yourself of why you were attracted to this person in the first place: was it a good mental connection and a compatibility of personalities? Or was it strong arms and a mutual desire to rip each other's clothes off? It turns out there’s a big difference between the two.
Sex is one thing, but love is something else entirely. If you are looking for a way to find someone to love there are other ways to go about it, ways to even the emotional playing field before you hop into bed with one another. But if you’re just looking for a little fun and a little physicality, then accept that and don’t let those chemicals fool you. If this guy is looking for the same thing then perfect, things will probably work out. But if you never hear from him again, remember that you didn’t see much of a future with him in the first place. Remember what brought you into the moment. Remember why you started kissing that guy in the first place. Because that wasn’t love. Baby, that was fire.