Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Subway Experience

The Subway Experience

A few weeks ago I was riding the subway. Subways - or rather my fellow travellers- have always particularly interested me, especially in big cities. It appears that when living just long enough in a big city’s anonymity people feel free to share every intimate detail with not only their friends but with the entire public - or in this case: the entire compartment. Apparently it got very easy for us to become intimate with total strangers and let them be part of our most personal thoughts and in some way allow us to be naked in front of everyone. Therefore it wasn’t very surprising to hear a young woman talking about her last night experience sleeping with a guy she had just met. She said he was quite ok and that somehow ‘it’ just happened. After a night of ‘ok -sex’ they fell asleep cuddling and the next morning brought back the old insecurity - their future remained uncertain but the cat was out of the bag.  A shame - she was finally ready for a new relationship. Therefore she will call him - despite the mediocrity of things.  

How does one get oneself into such a thing?

I couldn’t help but wonder what it is that made that woman be so intimate with someone she had just met - particularly if he wasn’t quite it. I believe the older we get and the more relationships we had the more frustrated and disillusioned we become. Hollywood tells us that this one special person is out there and that we recognize them by everything being perfect and compatible from the very beginning. It seems while we more than ever know exactly what we want in our partner we have forgotten that a good relationship needs hard work. Have we accepted to be with a lot of Mr. Wrongs until Mr. Right finally comes along - just to not be alone until then? Very modern forms of relationships are those simply not wearing the label ‘relationship’. Somewhere between friends with benefits, the open relationship and the old classic relationship this new non-relationship tries to combine all the advantages. It does not need to keep that easy-way-out door open because officially no one was ever in. This non-relationship leaves us under the impression of not being alone and having something real. There is always someone to think about, someone to drag to an event and most important there is always someone for lonely nights. And all that comes with no obligations and no responsibilities. This non-caring makes it very easy to bare all - after all none of it is serious and can be taken back with a giggle and a pat on the shoulder. We don’t need to fear judgment or shame. Without investing emotions we cannot get hurt or fail and when we did not like it we will simply let go of what we just tried on. And then... NEXT! But this time the real thing please!

Not on the first date?

What happened to ‘Not on the first date’? Is it true that first date sex suggests a certain non-seriousness? Does it imply that we just don’t want to be alone for the night? Or is it nothing less than a simple checking out the others qualities before deciding whether to invest feelings or not?  After all no one stays young forever and getting the personal happy-end runs on a tight schedule. The longer we look for our perfect partner the longer our checklist gets. So why not start with the essential things: Is he good in bed? If he is Mr. Right he most certainly will know how to work me right away. Right? If the first time was not that bad we are likely to give it a few more tries. The result usually is: casual sex. A friend once told me that after having casual sex for three times someone will always start to want more. Does that mean that the intimacy of sex can trick us into having feelings for one another or are they real? Scientists try to explain that phenomenon with the hormone ‘Oxycotin’ - the so called ‘attachment hormone’. With women this hormone is distributed while or after having sex, with men on the other hand it is distributed through the prospect of having sex and increases over time of abstinence. Thank you Grandpa Ape. So is ‘Not on the first date’ really a coming true advice for all those who are looking for something serious? Apparently.  
Down which roads can first date sex lead then? It can either remain the dead end it is, result in casual sex or end in a relationship with no safety net and second bottom. If we were in Hollywood no matter which road taken it would always end in ‘married happily ever after’. But since we don’t live in far far away we better not get our hopes up.

What it is

Going back to subway woman it seems that she is willing to be with Mr. Quite-Okay and have Maybe-Getting-Better Sex until Mr. Right will finally have the courtesy to show up. She will be in a We-Don’t-Want-To-Label-It non-relationship until someone better will come along.

First date- and casual sex with people we, when being honest don’t find to be the sweeping us off our feet kind of guy, sends a clear message: you’re my favourite gapfiller but I am still waiting. And as long as we are willing to send and receive that message and get unemotionally naked in front of strangers we will not know to appreciate intimacy. And we will continue to share everything with everyone - on the subway for everyone to hear.

Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions.  ~Woody Allen

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