An essay about rejection.
In a recent sequence of events, aka ‘my love life’, I ran into a bit of a wall. Evidently I have a larger ego than I thought because I don’t take rejection very well.
Previous to this moment I had been seeing someone for a little over a month, and I felt like I was developing feelings for the first time in a while. That has since ended, but I still want to have sex on a semi-regular basis. And why can’t I? In the past two years, it’s never seemed like a very difficult thing to do. What with bars, clubs and apps like tinder.
Accessibility aside, it seemed to me that men often do want to sleep with younger women, and that my age gave me some sort of advantage. In fact, I was at the Drake hotel this past weekend, in a crowd of mid to late 20 year-olds when my friend suggested we try to finesse ourselves into some free drinks. We were dancing at the bar waiting for the bartender’s attention when my friend tapped on the shoulder of the guy standing next to us and just like that, he swept two vodka sodas over. Clearly two drinks that he had purchased prior, and that he was already in the process of replacing. He didn’t even turn when we walked away with them. So, yes, it did seem that easy. And the universe seemed to reiterate how easy it was when another attractive, albeit drunk guy walked up and asked us where we were from. Even easier when I ran into him again and he asked for my number.
On top of a growing ego, I’ve been sporting a mentality as of last week that makes things like this seem more exciting. “Things like this” being sex with a stranger. So I texted him back a couple days later and received two pieces of information:
- His age
- His address
(still no name)
As it turns out, he’s actually 28. Almost 29. I was at work when I found this out and did ponder for a few minutes if I had any uneasy feelings about the age difference. Under different circumstances I imagine it might’ve bothered me but what I had in mind didn’t require me to level out with this person. I understood that he was in a very different stage of his life, completing a PhD. Already with a bachelor’s degree, four years of full time working experience and living alone in an apartment with multiple bedrooms. Whereas I, share a small dorm style apartment with a roommate twice my age and work part time at a coffee shop. But physically, I didn’t see him as that old. He was skinny and figured more for 24 in my head. Besides, I was both attracted by and curious about the fact that he lived alone.
I tried to pretend that the process of getting into his building wasn’t embarrassing but the concierge (Darryl) had to sign me in and I didn’t even know the name of the guy I was visiting. When Darryl called the room, he asked if “the little young lady” could come up. Thank you for addressing me like I’m someone’s daughter, Darryl. When I got upstairs he answered the door in slippers, which I automatically associate with old people, plaid shorts and a patterned shirt that was probably bought from west 49 or some other skate style clothing shop. His apartment was equally mis-matched, but clean. Adult.
There wasn’t much in terms of transition, besides all the information I just relayed about him. When it seemed like there was nothing else to say, he suggested we lie down in his room. Unfortunately the following didn’t progress as fast. We were 10/ 15 minutes into hooking up and still fully clothed. At one point It occurred to me that he actually seemed bored. So I asked and in typical man fashion, he answered “I don’t know”, proceeded by a second ‘I don’t know’.
With my confidence dropping rapidly, I asked him how he had imagined it playing out. Too much making out was one problem, which I had thought at the time was his fault. Lack of foreplay was another, which he explained wasn’t a deal breaker but more or less something expected from a one-night stand. (He had tried to push my head down earlier and I stopped him). Ironically I try to avoid giving head to strangers because it’s just not fun and I was already planning on never seeing him again. Beyond that he had suggested that at his age, one night stands are less exciting. He’d rather have good sex with one person than mediocre sex with a bunch of strangers. In fact, he didn’t even flinch when I asked how many people he had slept with. Upwards of 30 or 40 was the answer.
I eventually walked myself home, after staying a little too long. He said at one point that I seemed analytic about sex. But really my ego was just hurt, and I was trying to prolong the moment so that I might be able to turn it around. As soon as I left the building I started to cry a little. Clearly I had gone in with some motivation outside of having sex with a stranger. I often find myself chasing validation without realizing it, and this was the first time that a man had ever turned down sex with me while it was already happening. Clearly I had developed this notion that I could default to sex for validation if I couldn’t find it in a romantic way. I kept returning to the thought that this person didn’t want me and it took me several hours (and sleep) to realize that I didn’t actually care if he did or not. Given that I didn’t even know his name until I stepped foot in his apartment.
I realized the day after this whole interaction, that while rejection stings, it’s natural for certain people to have less chemistry than others. If everyone instantly connected with each other, there would be no such thing as bad sex and the world would probably have overpopulated by now. Also, I realized that my age doesn’t make me invincible. Men will want to have sex with women they’re attracted to regardless of their age. And while it feels good to be where I am in life, I can accept that there isn’t an expiry date on my sex life.