All things considered, I really feel like I’m less likely to do fuck-times with a psychopath than Sidney “No Standards” Prescott. The truth is, she never should have gotten to the point where the surrendering of her virginity left her sullied in sin and vulnerable to becoming a horror movie casualty. Billy Loomis was not exactly what we would call “a good boyfriend”, and it’s not like she had any lack of red flags about this. Let’s break it down:
Warning sign #1: He climbed in her window unannounced, late at night, all greasy-haired and crazy-eyed, not to, like, bring her flowers, or a mix tape of love songs he spent all night recording from the radio and just couldn’t wait until the next day to give her because he needed her to understand his powerful love feelings for her right then in a way that only Bush and Oasis could articulate. He wasn’t showing up to tell Sidney that she was his Wonderwall; he was showing up to essentially be like “hey girl, what’s with the annoying lack of you getting on my dick lately?”
Lesson: Surprise, Sidney: If a guy acts entitled to your body, and repeatedly complains about your unwillingness to ignore your personal comfort in deference to his sexual satisfaction, it’s possible that he doesn’t respect your body enough to not stab it repeatedly with a knife.
Warning Sign #2: His hair was parted down the middle, which as we all know, is follicular sign language for “run, girl, you in danger.”
Lesson: Judging people’s character according to their hair isn’t superficial, it’s survivalist.
Sidney’s poor judgment in virginity recipients has had a profound effect on my life. If I’m having sex with you, you should know I’m simultaneously figuring out a half dozen ways I could escape in the event you try to murder me, or even more likely, ways I could turn the tables and murder you instead. If you think I’m keeping my eyes locked on yours while giving you a blowjob to be sexy, you couldn’t be more wrong – I’m watching your shifty ass for my own protection. Please don’t take it personally – if you take offense at my employment of strategic fuck-time defensiveness, I suggest you file complaint with the purveyor of cautionary tales of misplaced sexual trust, Wes Craven.
I was 10 years old when the first Scream movie came out, which was a decidedly tender time for forming what would become the fundamental underpinnings of my outlook on healthy trust dynamics in romantic relationships, the pros and cons of having sex, the basics of personal safety, and the overwhelming number of ways a person could kill or be killed if shit got real. Like any reasonable person, even at age 10, I knew never to let anything Jamie Kennedy said resonate too heavily. Nevertheless, the idea his character puts forth that “sex equals death” rang acutely true. As I got older and the reality of what went down during sexual encounters because more apparent, all that exposed flesh seemed like an invitation to stabbing, and not necessarily in the mutually agreed upon ways.
In the first of many efforts to “have it all”, I decided early that I was going to boldly do what modern slasher cinema would have us believe is impossible: get my kicks, and stay alive to bitch about it.
A few years later, during my first copulatory encounter with the most benign lamb of a man on the planet, who cherished me endlessly, I was ready. While he was removing my pants, I was wondering how long it would take me, if necessary, to wrap the sheet around his neck. 2 seconds? Six? While he was staring into my eyes with rapt anticipation, I was retracing all the details of his past I knew – where was the gap in his history where one of my family members inflicted irreparable psychological damage on him that kickstarted his mission to exact revenge by extinguishing my young life? Was our courtship merely a convenient way to gain enough of my trust to get me into a compromised position before painting “SUCK IT, JESS’ MOM” in my still-warm blood on this hotel room wall?!
It didn’t matter, really. Unlike my doe-eyed movie counterparts, I was resourceful. Worst case scenario, I figured I could easily reach over to the nightstand with one hand while holding my beloved immobile, smashed into my chest with the other, shatter the ceramic lamp into shank-tastic perfection and plunge the weapon née décor into his back, and while I didn’t have the utmost faith in the integrity of its ceramic body, I imagined it would at least be sturdy enough to fluidly penetrate skin and muscle, make way past ribs, and break into the heart or lungs, whichever vital, corruptible balloon the shard happened to be closest to. At that point, I figured it would be fine if the lamp started to chip and erode; if his stab wounds didn’t do him in, surely clay debris polluting his insides would foster some colossal infection from which he would never recover. He would spend agonizing days or weeks in the hospital, feverishly catching distant echoes of doctors saying things like “antibiotics not working” and “shouldn’t have fucked with her” and “kinda deserves it” before finally succumbing to his bleak eventuality, by which time I would probably already be dating someone older and hotter.
“I love you so much, I could die.” My lips said sweetly, beaming upward in the direction of his damp, earnest face. My eyes were saying: Just try. I dare you. I’m ready.
Luckily, he didn’t try to kill me. We had sex for 6 and a half minutes, and then he bought me a slice of pizza, which as far as ways to kill an afternoon, I thought was a better alternative to being sliced open. After ten years, and..some…number of men since then, I realize sex and pizza is a better alternative to just about anything.
I later had a boyfriend who told me how much he loved it when it I clutched the edge of the mattress when we were gettin’ our business did, clearly thinking it flatteringly symptomatic that I was so racked with the intensity of the experience that I literally needed to hold on to something. I smiled and nodded, failing to enlighten him of the truth, that this move, in fact, had been perfected over the years as a way to stroke my lovers’ egos while also granting me easy access to the kitchen knife stashed under my mattress. If you’ve never had an orgasm while your fingertips graze the cool handle of a nearby weapon, then you, my friend, have not yet experienced truly safe sex.
Other standby anti-murder sex maneuvers include putting my hands on my partner’s face, a move that always reads as a gesture of adoration but is in fact a super convenient way to gouge their eyes out should they suddenly start communicating hidden homicidal intentions. Bam! Now you’re blind. Good luck killing my bestie in a garage door now, asshole. I also make sure, whenever I move into a new apartment, to tell any wall-sharing neighbors that of all the sex sounds they’re likely to hear, if they hear me scream “THE CHICKEN ROOSTS AT NOON!” they know my sex-friend is trying to get their murder on, and to promptly bust in and save me. Like I said, backup plans.
And here’s the real lesson: When Sidney was first attacked, and Billy just happened to be there, she immediately knew he was her attacker, which lead to his temporary arrest. In her moment of terror, with her primal brain in full effect, with no capability for logical contemplation, Sidney didn’t hesitate to believe that her boyfriend was also her would-be assailant. Later, when hard evidence and legal reasoning – which are both arguably as far removed from gut instinct as possible – didn’t back up her intuition, she doubted herself, and subsequently gave Bullshit Billy her body out of guilt for her seemingly erroneous accusations.
Lesson: Always trust your gut, lest it be violently spilled open. And never have sex out of guilt. Respect your body more than to use it as an “I’m sorry” card. Also, the police are largely useless rednecks, so always keep a knife next to your condoms.
But, for his many failings as a boyfriend, I have to agree with Billy Loomis on one point: you can’t blame the movies. Movies don’t create untrusting single girls…movie make untrusting single girls more creative.