I don’t know how many times I’ve heard it: “You can’t go home with a guy on the first night if you want him to respect you.” But I did, and guess what? We fell in love.
- I’m still respectable. I get it — you think I’m easy. But why does a mutual desire to make out on the dance floor in a tequila-infused haze and slip into the sheets of a stranger make me promiscuous? Why can’t it make me adventurous? I’ve had my fair share of regrettable one-night stands, but I’ve also had plenty of incredible connections that came from a night with a stranger who turned into a lover. I also found the love of my life this way.
- It doesn’t define me. I don’t think I’ll ever be in that place in my life again where I so easily allow the moment to overcome me like I did in my early 20s, but I’m still grateful for my openness. I didn’t play by the rules. I never asked or expected anyone to take me out to dinner, to open the door for me or to shower me with gifts. I just wanted to have fun and find love while doing it. Maybe I would be somewhere else with someone else if I did ask for those things, but I’ll never know and I’ll never care. I do not believe someone can be defined by moments in life. The core of who I am is much deeper, much more intricate and much more abstract than that.
- It was worth it. To be honest, I don’t think we would have ever spoken again had I not gone home with him that night. We had both been in a punch-drunk love that whisked us away from reality, spiraled us into an uninhibited space of pure sexual desire and landed us in a stuffy sex-drenched room with an old towel hanging from the window to keep the summer sun from making us sweat. If I hadn’t gone home with him, he would have been another person I twirled with in a crowded bar, who, for a few hours, captured my attention with their smile, laughter and desire for me.
- It wasn’t perfect. He didn’t know my name, and I didn’t really care, because he was so beautiful with his sun-kissed brown locks, golden skin and chiseled jaw. Not to mention he stood an incredible 6-foot-6-inches tall. He was my real-life Ken doll and I would let him call me whatever he so pleased. Many would flee in disgust that a person they were so intimate with didn’t know their name, but I don’t think those people would have ended up in a stranger’s bed to begin with.
- We were vulnerable strangers. He asked me questions to be polite, and I took off on tangents about yoga, animals, writing and reading. The latter intrigued him, causing him to recommend a book that I would then stay and read in his bed while he took off for an eye appointment, inviting me to stay and sleep but secretly hoping I’d leave. He came back two hours later, clearly perplexed as to why this naked stranger was curled up like a cat in the corner of his room, but he didn’t say anything. He just got back in bed and cuddled me until he fell asleep. Two and a half years later he would tell me, despite the plethora of times we told the story and he insisted he didn’t want me there, that he was actually very happy to come back and find me waiting for him. He just didn’t know it yet.
- I learned to take initiative. We slept together on a Saturday. The following Wednesday, I couldn’t keep him out of my mind. He was adorably aloof, good in bed and just… different. I sat there, staring out the window and thinking about how vulnerable, naked and totally hungover we both were, and how, instead of talking about those things, he spoke of painting and poetry. Rather than him sweating over how to get me into a taxi quick enough to forget I even existed, he got to know me and allowed me to get to know him. So I called him.
- The rest is history. We didn’t fall into love; we tripped into it. He didn’t want a girlfriend, he wanted to enjoy me. I wanted love, but I didn’t want to work for it. So we hung out incessantly. We laughed and we played and we messed and we ultimately — and accidentally — fell in love. We’re still in love, and I can’t see an end to that.
- Don’t always play by the rules. Do I condone sleeping with someone on the first night as a means for finding your one and only? I don’t know. What drew us together was a physical attraction. Had the circumstances been different, maybe our attraction would have been more sexually confined, the progression slower. Nonetheless, I don’t think it’s fair to play by the “rules” because someone says you should. You should claim your own path; your own desires. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal if you let yourself just live a little, and not expect things to fall in place because you read a book on ways to score the perfect husband. I’m grateful for how our story began, because it was an exemplification of freedom. I was me, he was him, and somehow it just worked.