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‘I Didn’t Set Out to Be a Slut’

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Screw Everyone bookWhen most people think of a slut, they envision a woman who is a lost soul, wildly insecure, mentally unstable, and possibly dumb. Au contraire encore! I might not speak great French, but I am not dumb. And I didn’t set out to be a slut; frankly, I didn’t even realize I was one. I just thought I was being nice.

Call me an enthusiastic consenter, or a fairly responsible hedonist, but sleeping around was often the by-product of getting what I wanted. I felt empowered going against the accepted “rules” of society by intentionally going home with a guy. They weren’t just random guys. I picked them. That being said, I was an advocate of equal opportunity hook-ups, with everyone from jazz musicians to blind albinos.

Right from the start, I planned and strategized my potential romantic encounters like a veteran criminal. My quest in life went beyond wanting to “try anything”; I wanted to try everything. Sex and relationships became my drug of choice. What turned me on the most was the seduction, the thrill of trying to get someone to like me, and seeing how far I could take it. Rarely was it a problem to get the ball rolling; the issue was how to control it once it picked up speed. By my estimation, dating was 1 percent confidence and 99 percent troubleshooting.

And then there is the simple case of efficiency. Say what you will about going all the way on the first date, but if you want answers about compatibility faster than what Google can provide, it’s the best way to go. Plus, I like men. I never considered them “the enemy” or an unsolved mystery to be analyzed to death. I had too many other things to worry about. I didn’t relate to any of the classic dating rules, either. If you believe you can master your romantic fate by playing games, like waiting three days to call someone or pretending to be busy on a Friday night when you’re really just watching Prime Suspect with an overpriced bottle of Chardonnay, then fantastic. But I think the only person you’re fooling is yourself. I’d rather slip into my favorite pair of jeans and head over to the local Pig and Whistle pub for a quick pick-me-up. Experience showed me that if there was anything I could count on in life, it was another beer and another boyfriend in my future.

After thirty years of intense study in Canada’s school of relationships, I graduated by moving to New York City, which baffled me on every level. Much like affordable apartments, relationships were not easy to come by. I retaliated by boldly claiming that I didn’t want to find “a relationship.” I didn’t believe there was such a thing as “the one.” I wanted to have a good time and enjoy my freedom with guys I consciously didn’t want to get to know. Underlying this was the fact that despite gender stereotypes, I was the one with an intense fear of settling down. I was sold on the idea that letting the same someone in, year after year, would stagnate my personality.

When men have this problem, it’s called “commitment issues.” When women have it, it’s referred to as “hitting the jackpot.” At least that’s what most of the guys I dated thought.

As luck would have it, eventually I would be faced with a new challenge: I was introduced to someone who didn’t respond to the brash and freewheeling character I’d invented for myself. Moreover, he wanted the real thing: marriage, commitment, stability, old-fashioned love—which, like a spray of DEET, repelled me and made me want to fly as far away as possible. Unfortunately, I’d already done that by moving to New York. So I stayed.

I discovered myself, conquered my fears, and even found the “real thing” through promiscuity. That may sound as backward as saying “cocaine saved my life!” but it’s true. I traveled from flask to flask, futon to futon, gathering data, figuring one day I’d put it all together, and like a mad scientist, build my own perfect Boyfriend Bot. It’s not the ideal plan for everyone, but I give it four gold stars.

Excerpted from Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, by Ophira Eisenberg, with permission from Seal Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright 2013.

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