What I Did To Be Called A Slut

I have never been called a slut by a man. I don’t know if that makes me exceptional, but it’s true to my experience. I have only ever heard that word hissed from the pursed, glossed lips of another woman, always one I knew in some capacity. The word was a weapon that I became familiar with when I was 17, the year I lost my virginity, before I knew what to call myself.

Two weeks after my 17th birthday, I was at a party at a friend’s house, one of the first times I was drinking like an adult. Something about 17 felt terribly mature to me, not the native freshness of 16, but not quite the jaded legality of 18. I drank cup after cup of Jungle Juice — a terrible mixture of Rikaloff, Hawaiian Punch, and Kool-Aid, served in a Gatorade cooler and progressively heavier on the alcohol as the night went on. I wasn’t blackout drunk, but I stumbled and braced myself the wall as I walked to the bathroom.

The boy I liked was there, handsome and tall and thin and wearing a little black woven bracelet around our left wrist — something that I thought was so sexy, and still do. A few weeks prior, he had broken up with his girlfriend. I knew her name and her grade and that she was prettier than I was — all important information if you are a 17-year-old obsessed with her boyfriend. But she was not my friend. I had never spoken to her. And while an older, more mature version of myself would have shown more discretion when this boy approached me out of respect for their relationship, I only saw him reach for me across the couch. I only felt him put his hand on my shoulder. I only heard him whisper in my ear that we should leave.

And we went upstairs, to the bedroom of the parents of this friend. We fumbled in the dark and touched and talked and laughed and had sex. He asked me to put on the condom, and I tried, but he ended up asking “Have you ever done this before?” with a smile. I said yes, but I hadn’t. We slept together, and I fell asleep in the crook of his arm feeling like the most beautiful girl in the world.

We were awoken two hours later, by the sudden pang of the overhead light and our friend yelling “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING? GET OUT OF HERE, THIS IS MY PARENTS’ ROOM.”

I was half naked.

Two days later, they were back together, and the entire school knew what had happened. They knew that I was the drunk girl who slept with the beautiful girl’s boyfriend while they were on a “break,” and that I was an easy target from then on. He wouldn’t look me in the eyes, wouldn’t return my text messages, wouldn’t say my name out loud. I saw him in the hallways and he would look away, and then I would hear the cynical laughter of his friends behind my back.

“Slut” I heard a friend of his girlfriend’s whisper as she walked past me to her seat at the back of the classroom. I was ostracized, called names, and turned away. The girls felt that I had betrayed them in some way, that I was no longer one of them, that I must be sacrificed because I had broken some sort of unspoken rule. Slut became a second name, something people thought before they thought that I had brown hair or swim trophies or a good GPA. It canceled out everything about me, and reminded me that there were boundaries to stay in with other women. I know what it means to become a slut against your will, to take all of the judgment that should have been shared between you and the man, or even placed on him entirely.

And if you had asked me, I would have said that I deserved it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Mangiu

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