Recently someone I'd brought home for the first time threw me off.
"I like it nice and gentle," he said.
I felt like saying, "Do I look like a nice, gentle girl?" Instead, I said something to the effect of "Uh, OK."
I understood that he'd put out a need and that I should respect his request. I also honestly didn't know how to be any nicer or gentler.
He stopped again later. I felt stupid. I felt like a toddler being told to "make nice." It wasn't sexy. I didn't want to make nice. I didn't want my screaming punk band turned off and traded for crooning folk music.
This has nothing to do with BDSM or fetishism. I don't pretend be a fanged super-villain or hard-hitting top.
The girls I run with are typical bad girls. We know how to use our heels as weapons. We sit at the back of the bus playing our Walkmans too loud. We wear deep red lipstick and purposely smudged eyeliner, and when our stockings run we don't go home, we wear the same pair to shreds. We're demanding loudmouths who shit-talk when necessary. We go to metal shows without our boyfriends.
I've been known to scold some of my bolder babe girlfriends about the pressuring they do under the guise of flirtation, and to caution my friends' lovers about buying them flowers. "It's not that she doesn't like flowers, it's just that she's not that kind of girl. Buy her a flashlight and a staple gun and paint them pink."
I've watched many tough-girl friends settle for sweet romantics because at least they knew they would be treated well. This made me uncomfortable, as I felt when my tough-girl friends aggressively hit on people who wanted nothing but sweet romance.
We girls have had many conversations about what it means to be an "intimidating" girl, whether we should come to terms with never being approached by suitors or resist having to make all the effort.
We've discussed what it means in terms of sex. Are we expected to be demanding dominatrixes or to give up the bulletproof exterior once we've left the bar?
We've been through "how to communicate what we want" and "how to communicate when we don't know what we want but still want to maintain our confidence."
For years I've been very conscious of what I put out as an image. I've pondered whether "maybe I'm too much" and "maybe what I like is regular - maybe I don't even know what's kinky."
The reality is probably somewhere in between. Inconsistency is rampant in our world. At times we're extremists, and it's near impossible to reach our limits, and at other times we stop at second base and call it a night.
Dates don't expect us to be able to cook, and some of us can't. Some of us can't make body harnesses out of nylon ropes, while others of us most certainly can. Sometimes we go to the bar and order our own drinks, and other times we demand that our dates order. We're contradictory and we wouldn't have it any other way. I like to think we have boundaries - at least the girls I call friends do - and communicate and respect them.
I understand that to the person I'd brought home "nice and gentle" was in fact sexy, and I have no desire to judge that. It's just that it turned me off and I knew I couldn't convince him to suddenly share my tastes.
In a relationship, all of this could have been talked about. As a first and possibly fleeting encounter, that seemed less of an option.
I understood that it was uncool and perhaps unethical to pressure someone into rough sex. I also came to realize that going through the motions of soft folk-music sex was compromising my sexuality and unfair to me.
The situation resolved itself in sunrise and silence and sleep. Beyond that, it didn't reach any sort of resolution at all.