The way my housemates tell the story, the final Saturday morning of the spring semester in our two-story, six-bedroom Collegetown palace developed much like a busted game of Clue.
The crime scene: a pair of blue boxers found bathing in the late morning sunlight at the bottom of the stairs.
The suspects: five heterosexual females and one heterosexual male.
Which one of them got laid last night?
Suspect number one, Maggie, was the first to stumble upon the ratty cotton evidence. She figured the orphaned boxers belonged to her boyfriend. He may have lost them en route to the bathroom or at some point when he emerged in search of water between snuggling sessions or whatever it is that people in committed legitimate relationships engage in. Embarrassed by him (nothing new there), Maggie carried the skivs in question back to her bedroom only to have her dude deny ownership.
Jessica, suspect two, was confronted with the rogue underwear next. Inspecting the item, she experienced that pang of crap jealousy you get when the person in front of you in the checkout line at Wegmans is buying a fat pack of condoms (as we all know, that’s totally the worst). She’d slept alone.
Employing logic, Jessica guessed the stray underwear belonged to our male housemate, suspect three, who may have gotten some action or may have just dropped trou on a trip to the kitchen to retrieve some leftover pizza/wings/Beast/butprobablypizza. And yet, after a thorough interrogation of suspect three … still no.
Who the hell did the boxers belong to? Was there a new creeper in our midst?
By noon, the shrill overtones of energized girly voices in the house had finally shaken me from my blissful slumber. When I came downstairs, two illuminating clues enabled my housemates to solve the mystery: I was rocking a variation on the Amy Winehouse matted beehive (read: wicked bedhead) and my makeup from last night was sufficiently caked on, Tammy Faye-style. Mystery solved.
I’d brought home Bryan the previous night. He was a senior whom I’d met at a party earlier that semester; our first meeting was as magical and memorable as the Jell-O shots that facilitated it. In fact, I do believe I wrote in my summer Sun blog (titled “Big Red Bachelorette” until I realized it was evocative of an overweight cabaret dancer with Rosacea) that his opening lines were about as lame as they come. Perhaps I mistook the tummy gas from the Andre I was drinking for lust-at-first-sight butterflies.
We’d been talking for several weeks via text message and had hung out a few times before we made the decision to engage in no-strings-attached, purely-for-physical pleasure sex. He was a senior and therefore was a limited-time only offer expiring in a matter of days. Plus, he lived directly across the street from me, which turned out to be quite the convenience when midway through the session, Bryan delivered perhaps the worst (and now most infamous) line of dirty talk I’ve ever had the pleasure of receiving: “hop on, sweetheart.”
I want to put it on a t-shirt. Was he serious?
Well, I certainly was. Once we were done, I asked him very nicely if he could please peace out immediately. At four in the morning, I watched him dress and leave my room.
Anyway, back to the crime scene: my day-old mascara was clouding my eyes a little bit, but I could still distinguish the image in front of me: Jessica and Maggie beaming at me, their smiles bursting with the pride of a thousand Ivy-League mothers.
Jessica handed me the boxers, which I’d immediately recognized as the ones I’d taken off of Bryan in the darkness only 11 hours before. I checked the label. Ralph Lauren. Nice. I’m assuming the boxers were caught in his pant-leg and just kind of fell out when he was on the way out.
Actually, maybe he just dropped the boxers there on purpose. Why he’d do this, I do not know — but I certainly wouldn’t put it past a person that says things like, “hop on, sweetheart.”
Had this been an actual game of Clue, Jessica and Maggie would have won. In lieu of a prize, the girls instead received a poetic retelling of my experiences from last night, dirty deets and all. They listened patiently.
The point of this whole story? I wasn’t initially considered a prime suspect in the case of the abandoned boxers. See, my housemates had never heard of Bryan before, much less would have had any idea I was hooking up with him — it wasn’t exactly as though I’d been gushing about the guy over brunch — and he had never reached a level of importance in my life beyond his presence in my cell phone.
And now he was a notch in my bedpost. My friends didn’t judge me. Why should they?
Listen, I’m open about sex and so are my friends. I want all of us here at Cornell to be comfortable talking about it, men or women, gay or straight. Whether you’re having it, not having it but wishing you were, or not interested in having it for whatever reason, let’s just be able to chat about it honestly, okay?
Especially women. We all know about that double standard that’s been around forever: men who have lots of sexual partners are “players” or “ladies men,” ladies who have engaged in sex with many different partners are called “sluts” or “whores” in a negative way.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve asked a lot of people to share their “number.” Not surprisingly, women were much less willing to reveal their numbers than men were. I was once even told that my number (14, by the way) makes me a less desirable candidate for a relationship. Really?
I have sex because I enjoy it. I’m not ashamed of my number. Why should I be? Every partner I’ve had was the result of an informed, responsible decision. I always use proper protection, get tested faithfully and have never compromised my emotions, self-worth or safety. Call me a slut if you want. I refuse to believe it is a negative thing. In the immortal words of Margaret Cho, “I’m just slutty. Where’s my parade? What about slut pride?”
Share as much as you’re comfortable sharing (some people like to keep intimate details, well, intimate), but can we please do away with the shame? Being sexually active is nothing to be ashamed of. Be honest and truthful with your friends and especially with your partners.
Oh and hey, not having sex is nothing to be ashamed of either.
The lack of a picture in this column is strictly for your benefit. If you’re going to visualize the sex columnist having sex, visualize whomever you want: blonde, brunette, redhead, short, tall — anything you prefer.
So hop on, sweethearts: it’s going to be a hot, hot year. Just try not to leave your boxers at my house.
Jenna B. is a senior. She can be contacted at email@example.com. Bedroom Eyes will appear alternate Thursdays this semester.