I was sixteen years old when I made the bittersweet transition from Virgin Most Pure to Experienced Woman of the World.

In retrospect, I was way too young. I had no idea what I was doing. I had no clue as to the nature of men, or the nature of sex, or the nature of relationships. I had not a single shred of knowledge about what to expect.

Back then, all I knew was that I had a Very Serious Boyfriend and we were both totally DTF.

I ended up dating this same boyfriend until my junior year in college, despite the fact that long-distance relationships are completely dumb and unsustainable at such a young age. When we did finally split up, it didn’t take me long to realize that I was without a man for the first time in my sexual “career” and that I had absolutely no idea how to navigate the single life.

Because no one had ever thought to tell me how.

And why would they? For the previous four years, my friends and family members had operated under the perfectly reasonable assumption that since I had a Very Serious Boyfriend, I was probably pretty wise to the ways of men. It didn’t occur to them to consider that while I certainly knew my way around a penis, I only knew my way around ONE penis. And that penis? It loved me. It knew me. It was a known quantity.

Without it, I was clueless.

If only there had been some resource I could have turned to back then. Some sort of reference material, something I could have studied at the college library, some helpful guide to the mad world of dating and casual sex. A volume, perhaps, of useful diagrams, theoretical case studies, and educational anecdotes meant to impart only the most valuable of advice. Lessons such as this:

Freshman year.

It’s three in the morning, the dormitory is relatively quiet, and you’ve finished your studying for the night – yet you’re still all hopped up on Adderall and oily coffee. What to do? Laundry, of course! No one will be using the machines now.

You heave your bag of dirty smalls over your shoulders, grab your roll of quarters, and head for the laundry room.

And there he is. A tall drink of water standing over one of the washing machines with a bemused expression and a hesitant, fearful stance. It takes you less than four seconds to assess the situation – this dude has crept down here in the middle of the night to avoid any witness to the certain MASSACRE he is about to perpetrate on his laundry.

Because this guy? Has never used a washing machine before in his life.

His chambray eyes alight on you and immediately fill with hope. “Look,” they say, “A woman! She will surely know what to do with this clothes washing contraption.” And because you’re not a helpless idiot whose mother didn’t bother to show you how to use a laundry machine before you left for college, you do know what to do with it. You know very well.

You show the gorgeous spoiled moron how to sort his laundry, measure the detergent, pour it in, and choose a cycle. He is so relieved and grateful that you agree to sit and flirt with him while your collective clothes agitate and spin. Pretty soon he’s got his tongue in your face, and you’ve got your hands down the back of his jeans. The next thing you know you’ve both swiftly agreed to a laundry facility quickie.

That’s the easy part.

The tough decision comes after the Laundry Room Delight, when you’re on your way back to your dorm room, your clothes fresh and clean, your nether parts tingly and sore. It’s at that point that you will without a doubt ask yourself: “What do I do now?” And the unequivocal answer is:

Nothing.

Seriously. Do nothing. Don’t try and find out who he is. Don’t try and track down his number. Don’t look for him around campus, or ask your friends about him, or hang out in the laundry room night after night hoping for another “accidental” encounter. Trust me, he does not want this kind of attention. He does not want you to seek him out. Do that, and you will end up vastly disappointed. Instead, simply try and enjoy the experience for what it was – a hot, sexy, hormone-filled college romp. Cache it away in the depths of your mind for later “mental exploration” and move on.

Listen up and listen good. This here? Is the best advice about dating and sex that no one ever saw fit to give me. The advice to just BACK OFF. To not obsess. To not pin hopes of marriage and children and “happily ever after” on every guy who ever graced my bed. And most importantly, to spend at least some of my college years having fun, having sex, and having fun sex, rather than fixating on and mooning over every cute boy to ever pull and pray all over my lady garden.

No one ever gave me this advice, so I’m going to give it to all of the young ladies out there who need some guidance in the ways of dating and casual sex: enjoy your youth, enjoy your bodies, but don’t have ridiculous expectations. Ridiculous expectations lead to disappointment, and you don’t want to spend the best years of your life disappointed. Worry not – your “one” will come along – but it probably won’t be the guy who fucked you in the communal laundry room.

Sarah del Rio
Author

Sarah del Rio is a comedy writer whose award-winning humor blog est.1975 brings snark, levity, and perspective to the ladies of Generation X. Despite being a corporate refugee with absolutely no formal training in English, journalism, or writing of any kind, Sarah earns her daily bread as a freelance writer and editor. She has also contributed to several anthologies, including I STILL Just Want to Pee Alone, the latest installment in the national-bestselling I Just Want to Pee Alone series. Sarah contributes regularly to BLUNTMoms and has made frequent appearances on The Huffington Post Best Parenting Tweets of the Week List. She has also been featured on Scary Mommy, In the Powder Room, and the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop. You can also follow Sarah on her blog est.1975 and on Facebook and Twitter.

15 Comments

  1. Yep, every guy is not marriage material. I sincerely hope my daughter (who at 8 is already less idealistic and more level headed than her mother) figures that out earlier than I did. Which was…about the time I found the guy I wanted to marry. (Slow learner here.)

  2. its so obvious once you know yer so elusive till you do! I will definitely be giving this advice to my daughters.

  3. I’m 43 and need to take your advice! LOL Divorced and making up for some lost years… Thank you!

  4. Shannon Day

    Yup. You “nailed it” with this one Sarah. It’s good to follow a few whims once in a while, especially when you are young. Experiment, learn and figure yourself out before you dive into full on coupledom. I liked relationships. That was my thing. Creating them, ending them and moving on the next. I wasn’t calculated about it, that was just my pattern. I was a serial monogamist. As much as lessons can be learned while “practising” for marriage, it was a move to Asia that allowed me to chill the hell out and just BE. That’s when great lessons were learned, about what I was made of. It was refreshing and essential time spent doing what I wanted to do with little concern for relationships.

  5. Did we go to college together? 🙂 Totally can relate to this post and pray my girls will have fun in the laundry room, only if they have protection. Glove it, before you love it amiright?

  6. I wish I’d had this advice! I used to obsess over guys like nobody’s business. I wish someone would have said, “Chill! You have plenty of time!”

  7. I find this post interesting, however I have never been able to understand casual sex. Maybe because I married, and divorced my High School Sweetheart, which was also my first man, and after 17 years together I find myself not being able to fathom how casual sex could make sense. I did engage in sex with another man after my separation, but even then I was exclusive with him for a year, even though we never decided to be a couple, and all that year I kept asking myself, what the hell am I doing? Why am I with this guy who I don’t trust enough to give him my address. The sex was good and that’s about it. But I felt this constant voice inside my head that kept telling me that if I didn’t want a relationship with him, then it made no sense to be with him. So I eventually broke it off and never went back. I have never been able to have sex with a man again without wanting a relationship with them. It just simply makes no sense to me. I sometimes wish I could think this was totally OK and normal, but at my age, I guess I just want stability, a stability I have never had before, not even when I was married.

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