This week I made the cardinal life mistake of embarking on sex with an ex, which I always tell people not to do in almost every column I’ve ever written. Sure, you’re an empowered person and you make your own choices. However, it never turns out well. After this week, I have empirical proof of this assertion. It’s science.
Let me explain.
Monday night I decided to hook up with a guy I broke up with in March. I didn’t break up with him because I didn’t like him. I broke up with him because he was unreliable. He simply couldn’t be bothered to show up to things on time (or at all) so I couldn’t be bothered to date him anymore. I read He’s Just Not That Into You. I know what the deal is.
But last week we started talking on the internet, which we do every so often. We get along well in these low-pressure situations, where we can have the great chemistry we effortlessly enjoy without me needing to rely on him for anything. Because it was late and I’d just gotten home from the gym, sitting in my bike shorts and nothing else, our banter quickly turned sexual — as often happens. I didn’t mind because it’s not that I didn’t like having sex with him. That part I enjoyed very much.
I then had an epiphany. I had hacked the situation. What if we just had sex, without the relationship requirement whatsoever? Why didn’t I think of this sooner? I had somehow forgot that I tell people not to do this professionally on a very regular basis. We are often terrible at taking our own advice.
However, I looked forward to the occasion not just as a way to break my no-sex streak (since last October) but to use my Google calendar for something I’d always wanted. I got to schedule sex. This Tuesday from 10 P.M. to 11 P.M., I would be having sex, which I labeled as “Sex.” I only listed it as being an hour long because a) it’s the phone’s default setting and b) he wakes up early, so I was trying to be considerate in my scheduling. It felt like the right thing to do.
Yet when 10 P.M. rolled around the following Tuesday, he texted me to tell me he was still working — because he brought work home with him. He’s employed by the Parks Department. What work did he have to bring home? Were there emergency mulch permits that needed to be signed? Couldn’t the stinky wood wait until tomorrow?
But it quickly became clear to me that he was stalling, filibustering our sexual escapade. Around midnight, his roommate was still up, and he felt uncomfortable fucking with me a conscious human around. A valid concern, so I told him to wrap it up. However, by 12:30, I had heard nothing back. I texted him to inquire whether he had died. If not, I was going to sleep. He responded by telling me that he and his roommate had upgraded to “hanging out.”
After going to the kitchen to wash a couple dishes and work off some anger, I replied something inane not worth bringing up or remembering. It was after midnight, and my brain was full of rage jello. He asked me if I would consider hanging out another night. I shot him down, informing him that I was busy every other night, which was true. The Sex Appointment served a purpose. It helped me fit him in.
He said he was sorry, but he didn’t know what else to do. I told him that he had a choice. He could completely blow it with a cute guy who waited all night for him and sleep alone or get a little uncomfortable.
He quickly apologized and told me I was right. I told him that I knew I was right; that’s why I said it. He asked if I still wanted to come over, and against my better judgement, I said yes. He wore me down, but not in the way I expected.
I told him not to make me regret this. Famous last words.
If this were a horror movie, this is the part where you tell me not to go inside. I was practically running up the stairs in heels.
By the time I got over there, we were both so exhausted from the evening that had transpired that we went to bed very quickly. Before we went to sleep, though, I got to see what he had been working on. He had been playing Marvel: Avengers Alliance online. This was what couldn’t wait until morning. He shut the computer. Lights out. I was now feeling very good about breaking up with him in the first place. Good choice, self.
The next morning he woke me up about ten minutes before he had to leave, which entailed a very quick clothing change. I remember how this worked from my “Empowered Slut” days, and I had some gum in my bag for just such an emergency. I could just French Shower later, which (to be quite honest) is just showering for me a lot of days. To quote Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, I’ve never been much of a bather.
TMI, but you’ve gotten this far, haven’t you? There’s no turning back now.
As I was leaving his apartment on my “Stride of Pride,” I had to brush through some very inconveniently placed trees that were in my path. I didn’t think of this much at the time. They were very pretty trees. Leafy. I admired that Chicago could be such a large city yet still be so green. Ah, the Malickian wonders of nature. Grace truly is divine.
But a few days later, I started to develop bumps all over my arms and legs. I assumed that it was because he had left the windows open and I had been bitten a number of times by a very greedy pack of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes like my skin very much because I don’t smoke or drink and I drink Naked Juice like they’re pulling a Four Loko and discontinuing it. This why — despite being a Buddhist and affirming all creatures, no matter how small — I make an exception for mosquitoes. They can’t part of God’s plan — or any universe I believe in.
I joked to friends that like Goldblum, I had started to mutate into a half-human, half-insect monster, as my appendages began to resemble brundle arms. I would stick out my hands and squeal in a puny voice, “Help me!” and we would laugh, because eventually the bites would go away. The balance would be restored, and the mosquitoes would get theirs in the end by leading short, miserable existences that commence when they are eaten by spiders. Karma, bitch.
However, it turns out that we had it all wrong. The bumps aren’t mosquito bites at all.
When I was working in a coffee shop earlier in the weekend, a barista asked me where I got poison oak from. I didn’t know what he was talking about. He told me that he has Asperger’s and rashes are one of his specialties. My mother told me that God gave everyone one thing, but I never figured that diagnosing other people’s freakish skin ailments would be one of them. Who knew.
Intrigued by his assertion, I looked up poison oak on the internet only to find pictures of the hive-ridden remnants of my skin, right next to photographs of trees that looked familiar. “Hey, I’ve seen those leaves before,” I thought to myself. “Those were on the friendly tree that I hung out with earlier this week.” Oh, shit. I looked down at my body, ashamed that I hadn’t thought of this before.
In addition to failing at Boy Scouts, this means that (yes, internet) I was slut-shamed by a tree. This was not for hooking up (which is my choice as an adult who consents to my own sexual decisions) but for double dipping the chip in a sauce I knew to be expired and moldy. There was no way that was going to taste good.
While learning a valuable lesson about ex-recycling, it proved something else. The Happening was right. The plants are out to get us. Well played, M. Night Shyamalan. Next time, this slut will step up the game. I’m prepared.