Tag Archives: relationships

Ode to the Condom

28 Aug

The first time I ever saw a condom was when my mother showed it to me. My dad was in the Army, and whenever they traveled to other countries they were given prophylactics. Since my dad didn’t need them, he came back with them. My father had gotten a vasectomy right after my sister was born (I remember being 3 years old and seeing my dad with an ice pack on his tenders), so they basically just wasted away. I don’t remember the conversation we were having, but my mom asked me if I’d ever seen one. I told her I hadn’t, so she took me to her room and took out one of my dad’s perfume bottles. It had a large round cap, so my mother put the condom on the bottle. She showed me how to put it on leaving the reservoir on the tip, and how to roll it down the shaft. I was probably around 11 when this happened. I didn’t feel embarrassed or weirded out because my mother had treated it as the most normal thing in the world. As you can probably tell, my mother’s attitude towards sex may not have been the same one most girls I knew had growing up. She studied psychology and instilled in us a view of sexuality as something that was as much a part of human nature as eating or sleeping was. She always re-enforced the importance of safe sex. By the time I eventually had sex, I’d spent years reading up on it. I had safe sex, always. Condoms were always there for me, and it was the most normal thing in the world.

At 19 years old I’d been single in over a year and I wasn’t having sex. I wasn’t thinking about condoms at all until one day my sister told me she’d had unprotected sex. I wanted to smack her. She said the boy picked her up, took her to his grandma’s house, and then proceeded to tell her he didn’t have any protection, but they had sex anyway. I was livid. Had we been raised by the same woman? I told her she could never do that again and that since she was sexually active, she should always have protection. She looked embarrassed so I asked her if she wanted me to buy them for her. She said yes, relieved. So I went to the pharmacy and bought condoms for the first time in my life. The fact that I ran into my highly religious high school English teacher in the check-out line isn’t relevant to this story, but I just really enjoy that detail. Since that day I kept a pack in one of my bed stands, but never really needed it. It wasn’t until years later that I started having sex more often that I realized I never wanted to be without one. I went to the store and bought about two packs, and put condoms in each of my purses, that way, no matter which one I was wearing, I was packing. I realized that if you’re a responsible adult who is in charge of your sexuality, there is always a possibility you’ll have sex. You never know where the night will lead you, no matter how inconspicuously the day starts, you could still find yourself knee deep in penis in a matter of hours. Okay, that’s obviously a hyperbole, but the thing is, you just don’t know!

At one point in 2007 the awesome movie Knocked Up came out. I was already a big fan of Judd Apatow, and this movie was getting great reviews, so I bought it without having seen it. I loved it. It revolves around a two people who have a one night stand and when he doesn’t put on his condom before having sex with her it results in a pregnancy, as it usually happens. When she meets him months later to tell her she’s pregnant, he gets angry at her, saying he was drunk and she should have known he wasn’t wearing a condom because of how it felt. Wait, what? Sex without a condom feels different? I’d never had it, so I didn’t know my vagina was so sensitive that upon penetration it would detect whether the penis was covered in extremely thin latex or just going au naturale (I originally wrote “whether or not the sausage was in its casing” but decided against it because of me being an “adult”). So far sex had felt wonderful and I couldn’t imagine it being any different going bareback.

 

 

Someone very close to me is in an unplanned pregnancy. They never bothered using protection because she was irregular. They were very surprised when after going for a routine gynecologic check-up led to the reveal of her being pregnant. Why the surprise? Don’t people process this is what happens when you don’t protect yourself against pregnancies and STDs? She’s lucky all she got was a kid, specially since she’s a repeat offender in the unprotected sex division. She can’t work because her pregnancy is high risk. After being in a house less than a month they’ll have to move out because they can’t afford rent on his minimum wage. And that baby is going to be so extremely expensive, as all babies are. But a pack of condoms that costs a couple of dollars? Nah, not worth it.

Right now I haven’t used a condom during sex in over a year. I’ve been in a relationship for over 9 months. Due to the fact that we were long distance from the beginning we knew beforehand we weren’t going to be having a one night stand, or having sex after the third date. When we finally got together we spent over a week doing everything together; eating, sleeping, driving around North Carolina. We skipped Couples 101 and went to the advanced course, and along with it, birth control. I started using NuvaRing before I left the island to see him. I knew he wasn’t a fan of condoms but was willing to use them for me. Ironically, what triggered me deciding to get on hormonal birth control was the fact that I have thirty-something day cycles and would have been menstruating my whole week there. I wasn’t about to let Mother Nature ruin my week with what was potentially my future boyfriend, so I took charge and put a ring on it. When we finally got together it was wonderful. It was the best sexual experience of my life, but it was all about the intimacy and how we felt, and nothing to do with the fact that he wasn’t wearing a condom. To tell you the truth, I didn’t really feel a difference. He was what made it amazing.

So, condom, I’m sorry we broke up. It’s not you, it’s me. You kept my vagina healthy and my uterus empty for many wonderful years and I am eternally grateful to you for it. You were cheap (not in a bad way!) and effective, and you will continue making boys and girls happy all around the world. And, in case I never said it before, I loved you since the day I first laid eyes on you.

About a year ago my sister was working at a pharmacy and she saw that Durex was coming out with cute little boxes to keep your condoms in your purse without risking them getting damaged. She saw them and remarked that they were cool and that she wanted them, which made the women she worked with tease her about it. She confidently responded that women should take charge of their sexual health and shouldn’t depend on them to be the ones to carry the protection. She told me everyone agreed and looked at her with respect. And I couldn’t have been prouder.

P.S. While looking for a link to the Durex Love Box I found Cosmo had done an article of cute ways to store your condoms. So, if you’re interested in something good looking to keep them from flopping around your seemingly bottomless purse (my sister says mine belonged to Mary Poppins), click here!

Have fun and stay safe!

Art Imitates Life

22 Aug

Disclaimer: This post includes plot details from the movie Like Crazy. Enjoy.

A couple of days ago I was reading a Refinery29 article about Netflix hidden gems. I felt proud of myself for having watched some of them and having had several others already on my queue. The funny thing was when I got to the suggestion of “Ira & Abby”, one of the first movies I added (I admit I joined Neflix very late in the game, as in this summer). It stars Chris Messina (already a winner) and Jennifer Westfeldt, who also wrote the movie. Now, Jennifer Westfeldt is a smart writer, and happened to have made one of my favorite movies of the past couple of years, Friends With Kids. If you haven’t seen that movie, go do it as soon as you finish reading this because it’s perfect. The poster and synopsis for “Ira & Abby” reads like a generic romantic comedy, but being by Westfeldt I knew it would be smartly written one. Apparently, that was also the impression Tara Rasmus, the assistant beauty editor got. I’ll let her explain it.

“I think my husband and I are both still scarred from the time we watched Ira & Abby, which seemed to be a smart, NYC-centric flick in the Neflix rom-com section (it’s written by Jennifer Westfeldt, which is awesome). Instead of a breakup-fall-back-in-love story, it ended up being an extremely painful realistic tale of how marriages can go sour. Needless to say, it made both of us really stressed out, and we almost didn’t make it through the entire movie. That being said, it was also kind of awesome (girl-writer-power!), and I think everyone should see it. But only once. Now it’s an inside joke whenever we’re trolling the internet for a movie. ‘Remember Ira & Abby, and how it made us feel too many feelings?'”

Now, I realized two things from this entry. One: Jennifer Westfeldt really likes misdirection. Anyone who sees the trailer for Friends With Kids and has seen the movie knows that while it presents itself as a straight up comedy, there is a lot more to it than that. Two: I think we’ve all been in a situation where a movie brings up things we’d rather not think about. In mid 2011 I saw a trailer for a movie called Like Crazy which looked amazing. Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence… it looked amazing. When it came out in early October critics said it captured perfectly what it was like to be that in love, where you felt like it consumed you, and praised it universally. I’d never really been in a situation where I was in love and it was reciprocated, so I’d watch it as an observant. It never came to theaters here (downside of living in a smallish island), so I bought it when it came out on DVD, in March. I often buy movies but don’t watch them until I’m in the right mood to do it. So Like Crazy went unwatched for a while. The movie features the crumbling of a relationship when distance and absence take its toll on people. A couple of months went by and something unexpected happened; I developed a long distance relationship. And I fell in love. Big time. And the movie I had been looking forward to watching before was now a ticking time bomb on my shelf. Or at least that’s how I saw it.

I remember at one point I posted on Facebook how I wanted to see the movie but couldn’t bring myself to do it, along with the link to the trailer. The responses it got were intense. People talked about sobbing and being heartbroken by it. One girl was living away from home and decided to watch it upon me posting it, then later posted again how it was a huge mistake that left her devastated. Holy crap! This movie was basically giving my friend list PTSD just by being mentioned! Needless to say, I kept it in my shelf. Months passed, and my wonderful boyfriend left for almost a year on a Marine Expeditionary Unit. As I write this, it’s been over 6 months since we’ve seen each other and we have about 3 more to go. And about two months ago I saw the movie. I remember watching it and feeling relief because the relationship was not like ours. While away, their interactions were awkward and forced. Ours are always giddy and natural. Almost every day I wake up to find a message from him in my email inbox and every single time my heart jumps a little. I’m in love and I can’t help it. So I kept watching the movie, already feeling better about myself and my relationship because my boyfriend and I weren’t like the main characters. At one point the characters break up and start seeing other people. Jacob (Yelchin) starts seeing Sam, played by everybody’s girlfriend Jennifer Lawrence. Sam is sweet, fun, and has an easygoing relationship with Jacob. At one point, out of the blue, Anna (Jones) calls Jacob and asks him to marry her. And I was watching it calmly when all of a sudden I went HOLD THE FUCK UP. See, before my boyfriend went back to North Carolina he met up with his ex girlfriend. They’d talked about getting married when they were together, but ultimately she realized she couldn’t do long distance and didn’t want to move to NC because she wanted to go to New York and find herself in the city while she pursued writing. About two months after my boyfriend had been on the ship he emailed me that he didn’t tell me anything because it had happened on the second-to-last day he was on the island and didn’t wanna ruin our last memories together, but that his ex had asked him that when he got back from deployment he MARRY HER. Say what now? My first instinct was jealousy. I mean, sure, the email also stated that he turned her down and that it wasn’t going to happen, but at some point he wanted that. My second feeling was pure, unadulterated rage. THAT BITCH. She knows I’m dating him. She had her chance. It was specially adorable that at some point during that conversation he invited my boyfriend to go to a festival so he could meet up with her mom, and mentioned I could come along too. Don’t know if that was before or after she proposed to him, but it was a nice touch. Bring the girl I want to get rid of to this beautiful reunion where she’ll feel completely uncomfortable and out of place. I didn’t get mad at my boyfriend because he was right. If I’d known about the proposal beforehand, the night would’ve been sem-ruined, and my memories of it would have been tainted. The reason I’m mentioning this is at that moment I went “wait… what if I’m the Sam character in the equation, not Anna?”.

I’d like to tell you I became paranoid and freaked out, but I didn’t. Truth is, while I don’t trust that chick (seriously, posting on his wall, asking him where he is? there’s an inbox for that), While it would probably make for a more riveting story about how I overcame my relationship insecurities, the truth is I trust my guy. He tells me he’s crazy about me every single chance he gets and demonstrates it. A lot of people ask me if I don’t worry about him being faithful, or tell me that I impress them because they would never do that. Some people ask me out of genuine curiosity, some being spiteful (trying to make me doubt my man isn’t gonna make me come running to your penis, fella). The thing is, if I didn’t trust him, I wouldn’t be doing this because a relationship without trust isn’t one worth having. The movie didn’t have a happy ending, but it didn’t matter. We can have one.

However, if you still want a story about how a movie can make you feel too many feelings I’ll tell you about the time my high school boyfriend and I watched Million Dollar Baby. I picked it out thinking it was a boxing movie. Like Rocky, I told myself. It was a very silent car ride home.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 5.35.23 PM

I even tweeted about it.

I even tweeted about it.

What I did on my 24th year on this planet.

13 Jun

The day I turned 24 a wonderful guy I know came from the states for the week. We got into the ocean at sunset and played around like little kids, then to the pool, then to his hotel room to shower and watch one of my favorite movies. Later that week as an official birthday dinner he took me to Old San Juan to eat perfect pasta and drink sangria. He put his arm around me as we walked out and kissed me, and with a big smile wished me a happy birthday. Two weeks later I got on a plane and spent 2 weeks in Spain and 2 days in Paris with my family. About 5 days after we arrived I got a letter from the university telling me I couldn’t study for a whole year. This was early July.

 

By mid August I had run out of places to apply for jobs. Every day I filled out a different application, answered the same questions each time, and sent out resumes wherever I could think of. For over two months nobody called. Then one company did. After weeks of interviews I made it in. By the end of September, I was already working in a big, globally renowned company. By January I was offered permanency. By March I had it. By April 1st, I had a health plan.

 

I kissed a couple of guys, got rejected, and got a surprisingly healthy amount of admirers (not all of them welcome, barely any single). I made the decision to stop putting off my move to NYC and set the plan in action, and it’s going right on track. Was told by a man he wanted to end up with me, get married and have babies, then told by the same man he had no time for me. Had bad dates with douchebags and good dates with assholes. I had crushes. I got tempted. I prevailed over temptation. I succumbed to temptation. I made amazing new friends. I grew a pair. I stopped letting people walk all over me and started fighting for what I deserved. I have one more hour left of being 24. I think I did okay.

The (Lack of) Relationship Trailblazer

12 Jun

Have I ever mentioned how my parents met? They were neighbors. My dad was with a friend of his and they were talking about wolf whistling, you know, the classic way to tell a woman she’s banging. My mom was walking by, and his friend had done a lame attempt, so my dad stepped in and said “this is how you whistle to a girl”. I don’t know how it evolved but soon they were dating. It was the 70’s. Mom was 12, Dad was 15, and that was basically it. They’re still together, still in love, and I couldn’t be more grateful. This, however, has produced the dilemma that my mother cannot relate to pretty much any dating experience I have. I mean, I’m blessed that she’s not the least bit judgmental about the fact that she’s only ever slept with one man while I have a slightly higher number (impossible not to), but she has nooo idea how rough it is out there! Women in my family have had the luck of settling down either with their first or second boyfriends. Three women in my family are currently married to the boyfriends they had in high school, my sister is in a long term relationship with a guy since she was 18 (she turns 22 next month), and the only other single people in my family are my 52 year old aunt (separated) and her mother, my 80-something grandma (widowed). These women have no idea what it’s like to be wanted only for sex by men who don’t even disguise it! I mean, no guys texting late at night or early in the morning saying “I’m home alone and I want you”, then practicing radio silence again until the chance to get their dick wet arises again (this is how ladies talk, by the way). I mean, not even a beer? An invite to get a burger at McDonalds and go dutch?

Here’s an email I sent a pen pal (yes, those still exist) about my “dating” life.

Allow me to recount my last two outings (they don’t even count as dates) with men. Men that I met on OkC, by the way.

Guy #1. Lives close to where I work so I tell him we can meet up for the burger joint that’s across the street from work. I went right after my shift, so my hair wasn’t looking great and I was in my uniform, but he sort of sprung it on me so I didn’t have time to look decent. We each bought our food and beer. He asked me what I was looking for from the site. I told him I wanted to date. Not full on committed relationship where everything’s all serious, but more than just hooking up. He then looked at me and said “To be honest, I kinda expected some hooking up tonight”. I laughed and said I was flattered. He told me he’d gotten out of a relationship in October and wasn’t ready to date anybody yet Since it had gotten dark and he had walked over he asked me if I could drive him home. When I dropped him off he said “Are you sure you don’t wanna come up?”.

(Sidebar: On my profile, on the “Looking for” part I put in everything except casual sex. Do people even read that? I didn’t put it in for a reason, so if that’s the only thing they’re interested in, I’m sure there are many lovely ladies online and in real life who would be very happy to oblige them.)

 
Guy #2. While on said burger and beer outing with Guy #1, Guy #2 sent me a message asking me if I was at said burger joint. When I got home and read it, turns out Guy #2 not only lives 4 minutes from my house, he works at the burger place. He asked me to meet him for drinks once in Old San Juan. I went, and the moment we got to the place he ran into two gorgeous girls and we spent the whole night with them. They all knew each other. He was flirty with them and bought them drinks as well. Then, when they ditched him, he got aggressive with me, and by that I mean he grabbed my crotch in the middle of the street. I brushed him off all night and headed home, all the while turning down his invites. I was actually excited about going out with him before I left the house. He showed some promise previous to showing douchiness. 

By the way, I’m ashamed to admit I eventually slept with Guy #2. Twice. Once without intending to, the second time to see if it would be better. It’s not that it was bad per se, it’s just that I didn’t feel that rush I’ve felt before. I didn’t feel sexually fulfilled, I guess. I know why it is. This guy is clearly not into me, not even a little bit, except when he’s in me, then he kinda is. The rest of the time I don’t exist and I don’t cross his mind. The moment I realized this was how he felt, I stopped being into him, too. Ugh, it’s a mess. I’m a mess. See? This is the kind of thing no woman in my family can relate to! In this guy’s mind and, sadly, a couple others, I am no more than a series of tight orifices and magnificent tits (yes, they are amazing). Luckily, to most guys who think that way, I haven’t given it up. This guy just happened to request my company in moments where I wanted to stop thinking about someone and when I got rejected by that someone (again, good times!). Now, all there’s left to do is wait for this guy to finally get together with the girl he’s crazy about and change his Facebook relationship status. Like the guy that did it on Valentine’s Day. Or the guy that wanted to cheat on his girlfriend with me (he just got engaged to her)! Ah, these really are the best years of my life.

 

Gigi: So what now I’m just supposed to turn from every guy who doesn’t like me?

Alex: Uh. Yeah!

Gigi: There’s not gonna be anybody left!