Like many others, I feel as if I know you, after reading the crushing short story about you that went viral after appearing in The New Yorker.
The story described how, during your sophomore year in college, you met a man named Robert when you were working in a movie theater, exchanged some funny and flirtatious texts with him, then took a study break to meet him for a snack at a 7-Eleven, which led to an awkward date and even more awkward sex. It’s evident from the tone of hurt, humiliation, and sorrow in your words that this was one of the most miserable experiences you’ve ever had in your 20 years. …
I’m sorry about what happened to you, Margot. But I don’t think you have thought through how you got into a terrible situation. In all of the responses that people — mostly young women like you — have written about your experiences, few have mentioned the two words in your story that jumped out at me: “seven” and “three.” Robert is your seventh sexual partner. You’re 20 years old. Margot, I don’t know what the right number is for you, but seven is too many. …
I’m from Gen X, two generations older than you, and I can tell you that, not that long ago, seven sex partners might have been considered a fairly robust tally for a lifetime. But for a 20-year-old? I know guys from college who married the third or second or even first girl they ever slept with. Needless to say, going back to a generation before me, seven sex partners in a lifetime would have been considered a startling number.
Your subconscious cares about who you mate with:
Margot, sex isn’t just a fun leisure activity. Your generation has been taught not to take it seriously. Yet sex takes you seriously.
It’s obvious from your words that the night you spent with Robert has shaken you deeply. Whether you want to admit it or not, your feelings get dragged into it. Your personality. Your core. …
Margot, I can’t believe I need to tell you this: If you’re in a car with a guy and you’re not sure if he wants to murder you, the date has already gone bad. The underlying problem is that you don’t know this man. Except for selling him Red Vines a couple of times at the movie theater and meeting him at 7-Eleven for that snack, you’ve never even talked to him before this night.
Texting is not a way to get to know someone. I understand why your generation loves texting: because you have time to formulate the perfect response. You get to present a better version of yourself than you really are in the moment.
But guess what? Guys get to do that, too. Guys can make themselves look better than they really are. Texting-Robert is cool and funny. In-person Robert is so weird and awkward that you can’t be sure he doesn’t plan to slit your throat.
Much more at the link.