Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Case Against Placebo Boyfriends

I don't think I've ever tittered before. I'm not even sure what a titter is. But when the question hit me, that's what I began to do.

"Why don't we just have sex? Right now."

Clint and I don't have sex. He and his brothers live down the street and serve as my surrogate family at the Jersey shore. I realized early on that it was much more important for them to serve that role in my life. Sex changes everything...doesn't it?

We had just finished surfing and a storm was fast approaching so we jumped in my truck and raced back to his house by the bay. While driving, I told him about a sexual dream I had that morning that included a surfer we knew.

"Everything was so open. It was like there were no...rules around sex. You just saw someone and had sex with them. So when Justin [the surfer] appeared in my dream, I went up to him, unzipped his pants, lifted up my skirt and climbed on top of him. It was all very easy, free."

Clint sat silent and tense in the passenger seat. For a moment, I wondered whether telling a male friend intimate details about a sexual dream is a little different than telling a female friend.

When we got back to his house and out of my truck, the black sky tore open and unleashed. Already wet and in our bathing suits, we stood in the pouring rain for a minute or two, enjoying the feeling. This is a perfect summer moment, I thought. Just this.

We grabbed some towels and dried off under the deck, looking out over the bay as the rain came down harder. Then I noticed a strange sensation; it was if the air had become electrified, bouncing back and forth, through me, through him. Everything felt very alive yet very still at the same moment.

Then zap!

Clint turned to me and said, "Why don't we have sex? Right now. For the next hour. Or two." He didn't sound totally serious...but not totally unserious.

That's when the tittering began - a high-pitched, girly laugh that I don't ever remember emitting in the the entirety of my life.

"Really, that's what people would do in this situation. They'd have sex."

"It's true...they would" I managed to say.

Strangely, "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" began playing in my head at full volume. I took a wet barefoot step toward him. That easy, sexual dream version of me was in full agreement with his suggestion.

Why wouldn't we have sex? We spend a lot of time together, we know each other very well, we're kinda hot. We're straight. We only live once. Besides, everyone already thinks I sleep with him and his brothers anyway. Let's give them something to really talk about.

Then the head interjected, reminding me of all of the stupid and annoying things Clint has said and done in the past, how careless he's been with my feelings, how terribly...dudelike he can be. If we did have sex, it would suck afterward. He'd potentially tell others how he "tagged" me. Or he'd share with me in detail how much he likes the ass of some chick on the beach, later that very afternoon. And I'd feel disgusted and annoyed. Definite step back.

But what are these stand-in, placebo boyfriend types for anyway? They just kind of hog up time and space that could be dedicated to someone you really like. Why not at least use them to their maximum capacity?

Another step forward.

Filler men can be so frustrating. So much feels right and natural. You have nothing romantically invested in a faux boyfriend, so you relax and truly act yourself. Sure, we all want to believe we're really "ourselves" with our significant other but there's a special lack of concern for a stand-in boyfriend that feels pretty good. I call Clint a moron whenever I damn well please, for instance. He tells me to shut the fuck up when the urge hits him. Easy like Sunday morning.

So why mess up that magic? There's no undoing sex once it's been had.

Step back.

"I need to...iron my clothes."

" You need to what?"

"You heard me, moron. I have ironing. To do."

And with that, I walked left.

Later that day, Clint would introduce me to his friend as his "surfing buddy and neighbor" (which, trust me, he would have done, even if we had sex.) I thanked my lucky stars that I hadn't made a sexually grievous error. Placebos are made up of sugar and have no real medicinal effect whatsoever. But I guess if you don't know any better, placebos can do the trick. Unfortunately, I know better.

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