Updated: Mar 15
I wake up to a stranger sitting on the end of my bed putting on his socks.
“Oh, good morning”
“I’ve got to get to work”
“Er, ok, what’s your name again?”
“Oh, hi Chris”
Then we shake hands. It’s as if I’m thanking a bank manager after scoring a loan. A cordial exchange. A polite moment that seals our deal.
I’m conscious of my sweaty hand inside his.
“Right, I’m off” he says,
I witness a thought cross his mind…
I should kiss this girl goodbye seeing as I had sex with her last night…. Nah, fuck it.
I hear the door slam and sit back in bed thankful he’s gone.
“Farewell my love” I say in jest quietly to myself.
At that moment I’m still in the cute stage of my hangover. That bit when you wake up still pissed and nothing seems to matter. That stage where you feel all liberated and don’t care that you’ve given your body up to a lanky guy called Chris.
“Yeah, I pulled, nice one, this will be a good story for my mates down the pub later” I think as I drift back off to sleep.
I sleep for 2 more hours. I dream I’m being chased down an alleyway with no escape. I wake just as the hooded attacker pounces. I sit bolt upright in bed as fear and shame creeps into me. Anxiety seeps into my toes and absorbs up my body like a sponge soaking up water. It reaches my heart and makes it almost burst out of my chest, then my head gets soaked with negativity.
I feel sick. I run to the bathroom and wretch over the toilet. It hurts. I spit. Nothing comes up. I remember being sick in the nightclub toilet, my dinner had already been flushed away. All that’s left was some bitter tasting gob. I manage to brush my teeth without looking into the mirror then head back to bed hoping to sleep off the worst of it.
Of, course sleep and panic are not good friends. They are opposites. Instead I sit in my bed all day questioning what I have done.
Who is that guy? Did we use a condom?
I think I met him outside the bar where I’d gone for a quiet meet up with some girlfriends. A few casual drinks had turned big, as it always did. I’d gone from promising myself to be tucked up by 9pm to scrounging fags off strangers in doorways. Our brief meeting at 2am led very quickly, without even a kiss, to me inviting him back to mine.
“Hello, had a good night?”
“What you doing now? Fancy coming back to mine?”
There it is, the agreement, not only to spend more time together (if only it was that innocent) but to allow this man into my house and into my bed.
I get a flashback of snogging in a taxi, dragging on a spliff, laughing in a shop and buying wine… then the sight of my front door key scratching over the hole in the lock while someone stumbles around behind me. Then black out.
I don’t remember much at all until the awkward hand shake the following morning. I guessed we’d had sex, there’s a vague memory of a willy coming towards me at a strange angle, but nothing more. I don’t even remember kissing him. I miss out on all the nice bits, if there were any?
And then he’s gone… all I can do is head to the chemist, with my head bowed low, to get the morning after pill.
I felt sad at home later, he’d not even pecked me on the cheek. The whole horrible affair was over, and I felt like a piece of shit. The deed was complete. He'd got what he wanted and I got what (I thought) I wanted…
I repeated this pattern far too often throughout my 20’s, especially when I was travelling the world on my own, I had no ties, no repercussions. But secretly I hoped these liasons would lead somewhere, perhaps into an exchange of phone numbers or a relationship?
I was naive. The reality of the situation was far from what I imagined. I wasn't someone these men were hoping to fall madly in love with...or marry....
I was a useful hole. A place where their urges could be fulfilled. It could have been any old fanny, but it was mine... being drunk had made my fanny vulnerable. (cringe)
It turns out that the brief exchanges that I translated as sweet flirtations, were men wanting a leg over, horney beasts roaming dance floors to find a shag at the end of a boy’s night out.
By agreeing to letting men come home with me I was agreeing to much more. I was making a deal, one that involved putting myself at risk.
I was drunk, always drunk. I missed the obvious, the fact that I was being used. I was silly, a romantic at heart, searching for love at taxi ranks. I gave up my body to strangers in the hope that one might stay, even just for a while, at least for a fry up and a cup of Earl Grey?
Why didn’t they like me? Why didn’t they stay?
I realise now, men that have sex with you on the first night do not respect you. They think you’re easy, not ‘take home to your mother’ material. They fuck off as the sun rises. Outta there, with a smug grin and a skip in their step.
Whereas I was left feeling embarrased as the door slammed closed and another chance at love passed me by. Each unsatisfying meeting made my heart hurt.
Since giving up drinking I have been able to dissect my past behaviour, realise I was giving out my love in all the wrong places.
Sober, I try to imagine inviting a man I’d met in a kebab shop into my home and having sex with him…
First of all - I wouldn’t be in a kebab shop, eating a revolving elephants leg isn’t appealing anymore. Secondly, inviting someone home, that I haven’t even had a conversation with and letting him put his penis into my vagina is unfathomable, it makes me heave. How could I have done this? It’s disgusting. I could have been robbed, raped or murdered.
I risked myself physically and mentally. Giving up my body hoping to be accepted because I thought it was what was expected. I never said no. As time passed the rejection ate at my soul, making me full of self-hatred. That self-loathing had me sleeping with more unknowns. And repeat….a horrible downward spiral that had no bottom.
You can guess what caused all of this….it’s caused everything negative that ever happened in my life, my lovely friend booze. It skewed my judgement, it made me make very fucked up choices. Allowed me to plonk myself in situations that would now scare me to death.
It’s amazing that I thought I liked drinking for so long. It tricked me. Now that I’m out the other side I can see the dark paths I trod. Where casual night out had me jeopardising my safety. I’m honestly glad I survived. That’s how bad it was.
One Night stands are nothing. Pointless. They are dangerous and dig away at your self-esteem until zero is left. There are no positive outcomes to instantly giving up your dignity. Only hurt and sadness.
My poor body. It’s been through a lot. I want to pay it back now, be kind to it, not fill it with poison and unidentified shlongs! I’ve been married for ten years so I’m thankful to be off that scene and as far away from unsatisfying midnight scuffles as humanly possible.
I’m not ashamed of my past. Those nights have made me who I am today.
I want to thank the Chris’s, Dave’s and the Brazilian with the smelly breath,(we've all had one) without you I might not have ever sought change.