Recently it was my birthday. I had a party.
I created a Facebook event, and invited all my actual friends who I genuinely wanted to come. Then I invited tenuous Facebook friends I don’t know so well – people I thought might realistically be able to make it, who I would really like to see, but also that would make my living room look a bit busier.
A few days before, I was walking to the shop to get milk, when I got a Facebook message. It was from a guy, his name is not Mike, but let’s say it was.
I first met him in 2011, when I was a lecturer. I was on the panel interviewing him for a trainee therapist job; I was representing the University, because the successful applicants would be trained on our course.
At the time, I remember thinking he seemed handsome.
He got the job.
For my professional integrity, I’d like to say that those two facts are not connected. They almost certainly are not connected.
So I taught him on my course. Although, it was for less than a year, and I never really felt like a proper lecturer. I wasn’t very good at it. I just teetered at the front of the room, feeling out of place.
Anyway, somewhere along the lines, we became Facebook friends. I remember doing a reference for him a couple of years ago. Maybe he added me after that.
Anyway, I had invited him to my party, as I thought he was living in London now. He had previously messaged me asking if it was OK to bring someone. I said of course it was.
This time, as I walked to the shop, I read a message from him saying he had lost his plus one, and was it OK to come on his own to my party?
I said “yeah, lots of people there won’t know anyone else, so it won’t be cliquey.”
He said he had just broken up with his girlfriend, so he would have to leave his phone at home, to make sure he didn’t drunk text her.
This was just a day or two after the Cuntgate Messages from Whippersnapper, so I said “Oh my god, I can really relate to that.”
“We can drown our sorrows together,” he said.
I’m not sure what it was, but the conversation had a bit of a flirty vibe. Although I still felt miserable about WS, I definitely had a bit more swagger in my step as I walked back from Sainsburys.
The morning of my party, I pre-emptively got my bikini line waxed, just in case anything happened with Mike.
After the terrible waxing incident a few months ago, I had gone back to a salon near an old workplace.
That day, I had yet another stressful incident.
First, after keeping me waiting for ages, she sent me into the little room to get undressed and get onto the couch, and left me for another 5-10 minutes. I could hear through the door that she was on the phone, while I waited.
Then, she came in and started waxing my left leg, whilst still on the phone! She said “Sorry, there’s an emergency with my daughter.” She was speaking in another language, but I heard odd words like “hospital” and “emergency room.”
I had a weird dilemma – I felt like I couldn’t be annoyed, because there was something wrong with her daughter that sounded serious, but on the other hand, I didn’t want someone applying scalding hot wax, very close to my genitals, whilst on the phone.
She was on the phone for fifteen minutes, and then eventually ended the call. She explained that her daughter had fallen and hurt herself a few days ago, and today her injuries had swollen up, so the phone call was about whether her sister should to take her to hospital.
I didn’t want to be a dick about it, as her child was unwell, but part of me thought:
“Her injuries have swollen up. Shall I take her to hospital?”
…that sounds like a 2 minute conversation, tops.
The evening of my party arrived. It went well. I had created a playlist on Spotify, and I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but it was a work of art.
I really like Prosecco. I had bought a couple of bottles of Prosecco, amongst other alcohol for the party. Then, as the evening progressed, at least 5 of my guests handed me bottles of Prosecco as they arrived.
Mike arrived quite late, and it’s safe to say by that time, I was absolutely smashed.
I remember chatting to him in my kitchen. I remember bits of the conversation.
The next thing I know, several hours later, I have a hazy memory of lying on my bed, having sex with Mike, being incredibly conscious that I have no bedroom door, and lots of my friends AND BROTHER were still downstairs, in the living room.
I didn’t know exactly how the sex came about, but I found out later.
I think I remember a couple of my friends, very awkwardly and apologetically coming up to get their sleeping bags, or I might’ve just been told about this the next day.
I definitely remember seeming to sober up a bit, towards the last few minutes of the sex. I suddenly became aware that I was tied up, and felt kind of annoyed about it (it later transpired it was my idea).
I remember being particularly annoyed when he broke one of my belts, which he was trying to use to tie me up. It was a really cool, neon pink belt that came with quite an expensive dress from Oasis.
I remember not being thrilled when he completed the transaction on my face.
I lay incredibly still while he scampered off to get a tissue, and I thought about the fact the first time we met, I was interviewing him.
Mike stayed the night. In the morning, he snuggled up to me. I moved about a foot away from him, which was an achievement in my single bed, and said “yeah, it’s always awkward the next morning, isn’t it, when you’re not sure whether to hug or not.”
We chatted and it was nice. We talked a bit about our respective recent breakups. We talked about Psychology and politics. I went down and made us tea (actually he wanted coffee – a tick in the No column). I realised one of my friends was on her own, as everyone else who stayed over had already gone. She was asleep on sofa bed. I made her a cup of tea.
When I came back up, he said “I can fuck off, at any time, if you want me to go….”
I said “Well, you don’t have to leave right away… but I am conscious my friend is downstairs on her own”.
I got back in bed, and we chatted for another half hour or so. Then he got up to leave.
As he was getting dressed, I said “this might sound a bit awkward, but… can you talk me through what sex we did?”
“Wow, you really were drunk. I did keep asking to check you consented.”
He told me that we had been getting on well in the kitchen. Everyone was in the living room, and we had decided we wanted to go upstairs, but didn’t want to be too obvious. Apparently, I had suggested he wait in the bathroom, and then after a couple of minutes, I would knock on the door, and we’d go upstairs together.
He went and waited in the bathroom, as instructed. Unfortunately, when I’m drunk, I’m the living embodiment of Mindfulness and living in the moment, as often I have no memory of anything that happened more than two minutes ago, and I’m not thinking of the future either.
As soon as he’d left the room, I completely forgot about the whole thing.
Apparently Mike sat on the edge of the bath for about twenty minutes, waiting for me, just playing on his phone to pass the time. Eventually, he came back into the living room and found me deep in conversation with my friends.
“Oh yes!” I said, when I saw him, and we went upstairs.
He talked me through what positions we did, and was complimentary.
“What do remember?” He asked.
“I remember suddenly thinking about the fact I was tied up, and feeling a bit annoyed.”
“You were annoyed?! But it was your idea!” He exclaimed.
Apparently, a while into the sex, he asked me ‘what I like’. Apparently, that was my answer.
That does sound like the sort of thing I would say.
Especially if I’d misunderstood the question as “what do you like, to spice up the sex, a year or two into a relationship?”
I have no idea how mainstream or kinky it is, especially in these modern times of Christian Grey, but I first tried it when I was about 18 and my then-boyfriend read about it in FHM.
I am surprised I suggested it for a first shag though. Normally I think general sex is pretty good, and it has about one or two hundred shags of mileage before anyone needs to start worrying about anything fancy.
But I believe him. For one thing, he wouldn’t have known where to look for my pink neon Oasis belt if I hadn’t directed him to it.
He said it was a shame I didn’t remember much of the sex, as it was really good.
I said “well, maybe some time in the future, if we’re both on the rebound again, we could do it again and drink a bit less, so I remember?”
He said “yes! No alcohol next time.”
“Well, not no alcohol, let’s not go completely mad… but less alcohol.”
He left, and I walked all the way down to the front door with him. I’m not sure why I felt the need to escort him off the premises, but it meant we had about 3 awkward hugs, one at the bottom of each staircase.
I sort of think this is a weird, funny story about something that happened on my birthday.
However, you could think it raises some worrying issues:
- whether it was exploitative to sleep with a former student
- whether it was exploitative, him sleeping with me when I was clearly too drunk to consent
- the fact I possibly drink too much. Should people really be finding themselves tied up, in a doorless bedroom, and not remember it was their idea?
- the fact my poor older brother possibly heard me having sex.
However, I think all these things are just about OK.
- On the university rules and regulations website, which I checked the next day, there is a lot more guidance about current staff and students in relationships, and how to avoid conflicts of interest. I don’t think there is much risk of a conflict of interest or abuse of power, when several years have passed since I briefly taught him or had any power. (I certainly wasn’t in a position of authority that night, when I was tied up and he had just chosen to submit his work onto my face).
- I definitely was too drunk to consent, but I know I wanted to do it when I was completely sober, so I feel OK about it.
- I definitely need to keep an eye on my drinking.
- I had Sunday lunch with my brother a couple of weeks later, and he seemed OK and not too traumatised.