There is almost nothing more galling than admitting you made a mistake. The only thing maybe is having to admit you made a mistake, wrote a blog post about it, and then immediately had something prove you totally wrong. Recently I posted this piece, and I meant it reader. I did, I truly meant it. Despite all appearances to the contrary I am an awkward lump of a woman. I have eaten three dinners in a 4 hour time frame because I felt too shy to say to anyone that I’d eaten dinner already. It seemed that I was doomed to spend forever trying to beam my thoughts into someone else’s brain through serious faces and eyebrow raises. And then two totally unrelated things happened.
A few weeks ago, drunk on rum and wandering through town after Notting Hill Carnival, I passed a beautiful building. My friends and I all stopped and stared in. There were paintings, carved columns, and thick handwoven rugs. We stared and stared and finally someone suggested we ask to go in. At first it seemed laughable, we couldn’t possibly go in: and then we looked at each other. One by one, we left our cans of Red Stripe on the marble steps and walked in. The building was a hotel, and we wandered round marvelling at how ridiculously beautiful everything was. The receptionist was polite, and when we were bored we all left, waving good bye, picked up our cans and went on our way.
Then later, much later, weeks later in fact, I was naked with someone, and they asked me what I wanted to do. My brain froze for a moment, what did I want to do? I had always thought asking someone what you wanted them to do to you would be boring. It would reduce sex to a tick list, a sad to and fro where you kept saying “You ok? You like that?” and one of you said “Yeah, sure”. What do I want to do? In that pause a thousand ideas flashed through my head. An infinite world of choice. I wanted to do him. I wanted to do this. I wanted to… the idea struck me and I instantly blurted it out.
There are not enough words to explain how wonderful the moment that followed was. I had asked for something I wanted and I got it. It was like Christmas and birthday at once. It was a sheer white hot moment of infinite pleasure. Whenever the moment to switch it up came we asked each other, shall we do this? Do you want to do it like that? And each time we did it got better. The constant exchange of ideas made sex feel more like a collaboration, a fun project we were working on together, albeit briefly. It stopped me worrying about enjoying myself, because I was, I genuinely was. I wasn’t trying to figure out how to do it I was just getting on with it.
As I sat at home watching South Park and processing all the post sex feelings in my head I thought about what the world would be like if I just asked for things I wanted. The next day I was out and wanted to go into a shop that was closing, so I asked nicely and the security guard said yes. At the library I asked someone to climb a shelf I couldn’t reach for me, they agreed. I emailed someone asking for a favour, they granted it. I sent another email to a friend discussing my feelings about our estrangement, it worked out well. And so I want to say about that post: I was wrong.
I wasn’t just a little bit wrong, I was hideously awfully terribly wrong. I could blame it on being socialised to be an ameanable woman who never causes a fuss. I could try and call out my anxiety, but it wasn’t really that. It was because I was lazy. Asking for something means that the answer could be no, and staying quiet leaves me in a world where my dreams are all about to be real but never are. Having tried out this brave new world, there’s no way I’m going back.
Bouncy Stoya GIF by unknown!
Title by Janis Joplin