When I decided to visit one of my best friends from college in her new city of Austin, Texas, I was 26, single, and crashing with my parents in suburban New Jersey. It had been more than a year since I’d so much as shared a bed with a guy, even for one night. I was experiencing more than a sexual dry-spell; it was a full-fledged draught. I hoped the long weekend away would include, at the very least, an innocent make out session. For my own sanity, I needed to break the streak.
I’d long struggled with the concept of desiring sex. Having been through 12 years of Catholic school, (16 if you count college), I’d grew up with crucifixes in the classroom and religion courses, which taught me pre-marital sex was a sin. But by the time I was a high school sophomore, as cliché as it sounds, everyone was doing it. My pack of girlfriends and I were in serious relationships, our boyfriends wanted to have sex, and we were just as curious. I tried to imagine a half dozen well-mannered girls being turned away at the pearly gates for having slept with our first loves. It just didn’t make sense to me. So I lost my virginity just shy of my 16th birthday to my first love.
I will never be proud of the string of one-night stands following the split from my high school boyfriend, but experiencing sex from both ends of the spectrum, I found my own comfort zone — it wasn’t the best idea to sleep with dozens of guys, but I could want to have sex. It was okay for me to want to kiss someone, or make-out with someone, and yes, even sleep with someone. Even for just one night. And not feel bad about it.
When I arrived in Austin, my friend and I ventured out with her friends. I was drawn to one member of the group in particular the second he stepped on to the patio bar. Six-feet tall with short tousled brown hair, sun-kissed skin and piercing blue eyes, he wore a muted frayed-edge long-sleeve t-shirt, faded jeans, and broken-in leather loafers.
“Who’s that?” I whispered to my friend.
“Oh, D?” she asked, following my gaze. “Cute, right? You should go talk to him.”
I looked back toward D, watching him take a seat on a wooden bench, his eyes momentarily met mine. I smiled. He smiled back. If I were rejected, that would be okay. I’d leave the whole weekend behind at the airport on Monday morning. I had nothing to lose. I started toward him.
“Nice boots,” he said, gesturing to my well-worn buttery, leather riders. “You want to sit?” he asked.
He was even cuter up close, the five o’ clock shadow adding grit to his effortless look. I didn’t just want to kiss him. I wanted all of him.
“You from Austin?” he asked.
My eyes locked on his as our conversation revealed vital stats; he was a 29-year-old attorney, obsessed with “30 Rock” and Pearl Jam. We quoted our favorite Liz Lemon lines and tracks played Pearl Jam tracks on the jukebox.
“How long are you in town?” he asked.
“Until Monday morning,” I responded, waiting for his eyes to meet mine again.
“This is going to sound weird, but I am extremely attracted to you,” he said, when he finally brought them back up. “I kind of want to ask you to be my girlfriend for the weekend.”
I was hoping I’d be able to use my sarcastic banter to charm a kiss out of him, but his invitation for a weekend-long relationship made me want him even more. I had no idea what being his “weekend girlfriend” entailed, but I wanted in.
“Okay,” I answered. “Do you want to get out of here?”
I checked in with my friend who’d been keeping a careful eye from afar. She swiftly shooed me off, “Go! Have fun!”
D and I took less than five steps from the bar before we were kissing in the street. Minutes after a cab dropped us off at his apartment we were undressing down the hall to his bedroom before falling into the mess of his bed sheets. I didn’t even care that we pushed right through to the main event. I was craving it.
Afterward, we lay together quietly, he holding me closely against his chest. I’d been in that position with other guys, but this time I wasn’t lying there wondering if he’d call later that day. I knew he was devoted to me for the next 48 hours. I didn’t have any expectations for the coming weeks or months. I wasn’t worried if he’d think less of me for jumping right into bed. The pressure didn’t exist. This weekend girlfriend thing felt pretty good.
Over huevos rancheros the next morning, D asked me about how I’d ended up living back home and I found myself answering honestly. More honestly than I’d answered anyone in recent months. I didn’t feel the need to be coy, or carefully choose my words in order to portray myself as the person I thought he would want me to be. D didn’t flinch at my honest answers, even went as far to identify with my struggle with depression, sharing his experience of having to move back in with his parents for a little while when he was going through a tough time.
Because I didn’t have expectations, I was more open with him then I had been with any boyfriends that I’d had. I was so afraid of being imperfect, that I might never be a fit partner for a decent person; I hadn’t considered that a guy might actually have the same insecurities as me. If there was a time in my dating history that I’d lived completely in the moment, this was it.
“I’d like to see you again,” he said when he pulled into my friend’s driveway. “Meet up later?”
I nodded, kissing him goodbye.
Later that night, D and I escaped the bar scene and returned to his place, this time clambering onto his living room couch to watch DVR episodes of “30 Rock” and fall asleep in our clothes. In the morning we huddled together in the unseasonably chilly weather, sipping cappuccinos on a wooden bench outside his favorite coffee shop. I thought I only wanted sex, but company was what I really wanted. With a weekend boyfriend, I learned, it was okay to want both. I think D felt the same way.
“I kind of want to take you to the airport in the morning,” he said, before taking the last sip.
“My flight’s at 6am,” I said, expecting him to retract to the offer.
“That’s okay,” D said. “I don’t mind.”
D set three alarms to make sure we were up in time, gently shaking me at 5am to brush my teeth and throw on my jeans. In the car he held my hand until we arrived at the terminal.
“I’m really glad we met,” he told me.
I looked at his blue eyes, letting the words sink in. They were so simple, yet honest and reciprocal, a rare feeling when dating.
“I don’t mean to kick you out of the car, but I’m afraid you’re going to miss your flight,” D smiled, breaking the moment.
It had been a great weekend, but the weekend was over. It was time to get out of the car and go back to my life. And that was okay. Our rendezvous may have been over, but I was coming away reignited, confident that the next time I spotted a guy I’d like to know, I didn’t have to aim so low. I could shoot for more than one night in bed.
But that would be okay too.