What’s Your Number?

whats your number

A couple of weeks ago my roommate and I were involved in our favourite Sunday ritual: rom-coms, Uber Eats and vegetating on the couch. We’ve passed many a weekend watching Cameron Diaz in “The Sweetest Thing”, Cameron Diaz in “The Holiday”, Cameron Diaz in “The Other Woman”…you get the idea, she plays ‘hard-ass looking for love’ quite well. Anyway, on this particular Sunday we flipped on “What’s Your Number”, a silly story about Anna Farris’ character tracking down her 20 ex-ual partners (Trademark: Samantha Jones) to see if any of them are worth a second shot. Why, you ask? Well, thanks to trashy magazines designed to make women feel miserable, her character learns that the average number of partners a woman has in her lifetime is 8, and anyone over 20 is deemed “unmarriable”- a category that she finds herself in right before her younger sister’s wedding….yikes on bikes.

Now, my roomie and I are usually quite talkative during our slothy Sundays, constantly interjecting to discuss drama from the previous night or to comment on the latest pic of avo toast on Instagram….but as we watched a VERY skinny Anna flirt with a VERY gorgeous Chris Evans, we were both oddly quiet. About half an hour into the movie I looked at her and awkwardly said: “Doesn’t 8 feel kind of low?” To my relief she immediately agreed, having been wondering the exact same thing.

This got us thinking…is 8 really the average? It felt kind of low to us but honestly, we’ve been known to be a wild pair so maybe we were the outliers? Thus, we set out on a noble quest for the sake of all womankind: conduct an experiment to determine what today’s average truly is (amongst our friends at least).

So, once again I don my scientist lab coat and present to you, The Thirsty Thesis: A study investigating the response pattern of millennial women when questioned on their sexual history. 

samantha-jones-1024

Thesis: The average number of sexual partners a woman has in her life is greater that 8, contrary to that reported in “What’s Your Number”.

Method: We sourced voluntary responses from 19 of our friends to determine statistically significant results (Funny, had we gotten one more participant our list would’ve been deemed unmarriable…).

Findings:

  1. The mean was 20, however, the median and mode were both 14. For those of you forgetting statistics, the mean is the average, median is the middle number  and the mode is the most frequently reported number.
    • These data points show that we had a high degree of variability in our results, with a couple numbers largely skewing the data. Removing the bottom and top 2 outliers to adjust for this variance (I told you I’m a scientist), the more accurate average amongst us was 15 sexual partners. 
  2. If the girl’s unsure, don’t listen to her. EVERY TIME someone was unsure of her number and reported two potential responses, she’d end up realizing the higher number was true when pushed to confirm.
    • In my expert opinion, this highlights a subconscious pressure amongst women to keep their number low, as no one actively admitted to misrepresenting themselves for any reason other than failure to recall.
  3. Three participants asked for clarification on what actually counted, providing  further support for the hypothesis that women will try to lower their number wherever possible.
  4. The difference between the highest and lowest number reported was 78 people.
    • For those of you gasping, don’t…this was a significant outlier and honestly…to each their own. See ‘Discussion’ below for further details on “slut-shaming”.

Limitations:

  1. When the numbers seemed too low, I polled more sexually promiscuous friends of mine…sue me, I was 3rd highest on the list until 90% of the polling was complete.
  2. This study relied on self-report, which given on the sensitive subject matter may not be an accurate reflection of the proper numerical response..

Discussion:

If you’re a sexually active woman in 2018, the topic of your number is definitely something you’ve thought about at least once (in the last week). Post after post on DTT6 highlights our sexual exploits, with some referring to the count explicitly (Sorry Carrie, there’s no such thing as a 10 a & 10 b 😉 ) and others shying away from posting about every tantalizing tale (myself being one of the biggest perpetrators here). Come to think of it, I’ve actually even added a notch to my metaphorical bedpost since conducting this study…

Nonetheless, whether you report a 2 or a 20, there seems to be a connotation attached to the number of partners you have as somehow reflecting of the kind of person that you are. In my mind, this is completely absurd and totally problematic. The “2”, who may be cautious with her heart or just had multiple long term relationships, is no better or no worse than the “20”, who may be focused on her career or just hasn’t met the right guy to settle down with. When you’re perpetually single and want to have a lot of sex you end up sleeping with a lot of people, it’s just the reality of the situation.

And honestly, the very idea that a woman is somehow deemed “unmarriable” because she surpassed an arbitrary number picked to be “normal” is both archaic and downright offensive. The tagline for this very movie perfectly points out the root of the problem: Women subtract, men add. This common-held conception posits that men can have as many partners as they want and this is acceptable, but women should remain pure for their husbands. Though pre-dating the 1950’s, this ideal really took off when Hugh Hefner (RIP) brought to life the modern ‘Bachelor’ with the introduction of Playboy. Keep in mind, this was a marketing construction, built to sell magazines and a lifestyle to sad consumers who needed an outlet from their painfully repressed suburban lives.

Sidenote: If you don’t know the history behind Playboy, Penthouse & Bachelor pads, you totally should read on up…it’s beyond fascinating and such an interesting outcome from that time period. I’d suggest “The answer to suburbia: Playboy’s urban lifestyle.” Fraterrigo, Elizabeth. (2008). Journal of Urban History 34 (5): 747-774. It’s accessible online AND YES THAT IS A PROPER MLA CITATION THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

But I digress…Despite Hef’s genius marketing strategy, there really shouldn’t be differences in the way that men and women are perceived for the sexual choices that they make. I’m not naive to think that we can fully disrupt these norms, but we all biologically have hormones, so I refuse to support an antiquated ideal that forced women to wear CHASTITY BELTS to contain their sexual urges. Women want it just as men do and this is not blasphemous by any means.

66386704fb43efe40d2a970203f7532e.jpg
Damn – Between the Playboy and chastity belts references, this may be the most I’ve ever used my Communication Studies major in real life.

I am not saying that there isn’t a point in time where being sexually frivolous can be unfair to your partner and to yourself, especially if you aren’t taking necessary precautions. However, I truly believe that as long as you are being safe, respectful and doing your thing for the right reasons, you should feel empowered to sow your seeds in whatever field you’d like (Farming euphemism for the win!).  To me this means owning your choices and making them because you want to, not because they may perceived one way or another by someone else.

End of the day I still enjoyed parts of this movie – particularly Chris Pratt as Disgusting Donald and Andy Samberg as the sexually-perverse puppeteer – but I CANNOT STAND the ending message. Anna ends up with Chris Evans’ character, finally accepting that she can cross 20 partners and still get married, only to find out that she didn’t actually sleep with one of the guys and Evans is her 20th partner, putting her in the marriage range….wow, progressive AF you guys. One small step for feminism, followed by one subsequent face-plant into gender normativity.

Conclusion:

Forget everything this study has taught you. While it was fun to do and actually quite informative, the lesson here that is way more important than knowing how you compare to an average of your peers. It’s about realizing that the number of partners you have does not determine your self-worth. It is the choices you make that define who you are. Now that’s a tagline I can get behind.

Advertisements

Mr. Maritimes

239.NB_1web

At the beginning of December I matched with Mr. Maritimes and we immediately clicked. He’s currently in school and wants to eventually work with those suffering from mental illnesses in psychopharmacology. He’s super close with his family, loves dogs, his niece and his hometown in New Brunswick. Sound like a great guy? Ya he is, and I, the family-oriented, psych grad with two dogs, quickly became infatuated with Mr. M and his optimistic outlook on life. I couldn’t wait to meet the guy who seemed like so much of what I was looking for.

There was one hiccup in what was sure to be our storybook romance. We matched while he was in the midst of (8!!!) exams and wouldn’t be able to meet in person because he was constantly studying. As timing is always on my side, he was then headed home for the holidays and I was going to Mexico, making January the first time we’d be able to physically meet. This is not my ideal situation in the slightest, and I told him that texting 24/7 was really out of character for me. He asked me to try and make the effort which I decided to do, as we’d had some AMAZING talks that went far beyond what we did on the weekend. However, while I really enjoyed our conversations, the little voice in the back of my head kept nagging me that there is a very good reason why I like to see if I have a connection with someone off the bat: People are not always as they always appear online. But, assuming I was being cynical, I put the voice in my head to rest by masking it with another urging me to give this guy a genuine chance.

After weeks of straight texting, Mr. M eventually decided to take a study break and meet me for a drink. I am not too proud to admit that I was super excited for the date, to the point where I cancelled plans that I was supposed to have afterward on the off chance that it went really well… if you know what I mean ;). Come Friday I was ready to finally figure out if Mr. Maritime was going to be as awesome in person as he was on paper.

Well, it’s not that I was catfished…he looked enough like his pictures and was similar enough to his texting persona, but the spark was not there….like at all. We met up at a really cool bar and definitely had a lot of common interests, we just didn’t have an in-person connection like we did virtually and it was far more disappointing after having already invested three weeks in each other. With time to think about our replies the conversations were awesome and complex, but in person they were static and forced. I was terribly disappointed and frustrated after the drawn out evening, but we continued to text back and forth. On my end, I knew I was going away the next week and for whatever reason decided not to “break off” our texting relationship before then. The day I left we spoke briefly and he told me to text him when I got back.

Midway through the first week of January I had still not texted him or written about our date. Initially, I wasn’t too sure as to why it was taking me so long to write the post. I am usually very good about writing about my experiences almost immediately after they happen, finding it a cathartic release of sorts. This time, I think I put it off because I was frustrated for going against my instincts and was also feeling guilty for not messaging him at that point. I had inadvertently invested about a month in someone that I didn’t want to be with, but obviously still respected, and was stuck between sending a “breakup” text or going against my instincts again and following my friends’ suggestion: ghosting him. All my friends suggested waiting for him to message me before I shut him down, but how awful would that be! At the same time, should I really reopen our dialogue with the sole intention of closing it?

Luckily, I decided to trust myself and messaged the guy. I figured it was better to let him off the hook instead of having him wonder if/when he was going to hear from me. Even though I felt shitty doing it, I explained that he was great but I didn’t see us moving beyond friendship. Turns out he had seen it coming (probably due to the delay in my message) but was cool about the whole thing and really appreciative that I hadn’t hung him out to dry. We parted ways with smiley emoticons and that was that.

Honestly, this whole thing was surprisingly hard on me and it sucks intentionally letting someone down. Nonetheless, I feel a whole lot better having tried to do the right thing instead of succumbing to the easy option of blissful ignorance. Clearly I’m very sensitive to the whole ghosting thing, explaining why I was unable to write this post until I had tied up all the loose ends. While I’m all for casual dating, it should never be at the expense of respect and human decency.

So there you have it, a moral dilemma far larger than the actual situation called for. But! If it’s true what they say and what goes around comes back around, then I’m taking this as a sign that there is sure to be some good karma coming my way soon.

 

Mr. Ego Boost

balloon_pop

Samantha – This post is going to make me look like an asshole. I know it, I accept it, and am just going to own it because I promised myself to be honest on this blog. Ok, disclaimer over. Here is my date with Mr. Ego Boost.

It started on J-Swipe – because which of my stories don’t begin on a dating app these days – when I came across this guy that had gone to my elementary school. I know I know, why do I keep revisiting guys from my childhood? Not really sure, but it’s a good convo starter and he remembered me too, so we set up a time to meet for drinks after work.

On paper, we had the makings of a great date. Grabbed a beer, went on a walk and had sushi for dinner. He was very sweet and said all the right things, including claiming to be an incredibly honest guy. This turned out to be true almost to a fault, where he may have disclosed more to me than he probably should have.

For starters, I have never seen anyone so nervous for a first date. From the beginning of the night I knew I wouldn’t have to maneuver the awkward end-of-night kiss as it was clear from all the face-rubbing, lack of eye contact and visible forehead sweat that he wouldn’t be making the move.

Surprisingly no, this is not why I said this post would make me come off as an asshole.

Further, as a dating blogger and self-appointed subject matter expert, I have read quite a bit of literature pertaining to the world of online dating. One of the things included in almost every “How-to” post about first dates is to not talk about previous people you’ve dated. Though never having done this myself, I didn’t really understand why it was such a faux pas…I mean, what’s so bad about connecting over some of the undoubtedly horrible dates we’ve all had whilst navigating the modern dating pool? Well, let me share something the dating sites never properly articulated but are certainly right about:

You should NEVER talk about your past on a first date, because when you spend so much time talking about what you guys used to do and how badly your ex effed you up, it shows that you are probably not entirely over it.

Around this point was when we left datesville and Samantha the therapist stepped in. He kept harping on how ‘together’ I was in comparison to him, to the point where I felt obliged to stroke his ego and talk him up…to HIMSELF. This is not the best first date move either, because while I am by no means suggesting acting like someone you’re not, a little confidence is sexy! And telling your date that they can do better than you is probably putting the wrong idea in their head. Personally, I’m not looking to start off a relationship with someone who needs me to constantly validate their self-esteem and be reassured as to why I am with them. I have been down that road and found that you have to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else.

See? Told you I’d sound like a jerk.

Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong impression.  I had a pretty good time hanging out with this guy that I had not seen for almost 15 years. When we got onto a topic he felt comfortable about, eye contact was made and we could actually joke around, making me wonder if I should go on a second date knowing it wouldn’t go further than that. At the same time, is it really fair of me to go out with someone again because I like hearing how awesome I am for two straight hours?

This is another indicator that I am a total asshole.

In a weird turn of events, his badly needed ego boost turned out to be a huge boost to mine. It was really nice spending time with someone so genuine and I would have loved for this one to have worked out. It’s really a shame that all the sweet things he did do, like giving our leftovers to a homeless guy and making me feel pretty damn special, were overshadowed by crippling self-doubt that turned me into his shrink instead of his date. I mean, he did pay for dinner and I did provide some solid advice, so maybe I should be looking into a career change…