“Kung naging payat ako, ang landi-landi ko siguro.”
I remember saying that when I was still very overweight. That’s “very overweight” as opposed to just “overweight”, which is my current state. It was during my second year in college and I was rationalizing why it was so difficult for me to trim down. I said God probably knew that I would sleep around if I had the looks and the body for it. Yes, I still believed in a god back then.
I had friends who seemed to change their boyfriends faster than the moon changed phases. They’d come to me and gush about a guy they met in a chatroom or bus or party who was sooo cute and sooo charming. Then, after a few days, I learn that they’re already dating and that they couldn’t be happier. But it’s not long before they come back and tell me that things didn’t go well with the guy and that they broke up, but it’s okay because they met another guy in another bus or another party.
I usually told those friends of mine that they would never find happiness if they kept throwing themselves at every guy they met. I told them that they were throwing away their dignity and putting their hearts and bodies at risk. You know, standard stuff one says to someone who he thinks is whoring around. I never convinced any one of them, though. It’s probably because I didn’t entirely believe what I said either. It’s because behind every shake of my head and every word of disapproval I threw at them, the truth was I envied them.
I was never the good-looking boy. My weight was several pounds above normal, I wore glasses that left scratch scars on the sides of my puffy face, I wore clothes that were two sizes too big and I had the temper of a rabid dog. I was a fat nerd. At that time, the only sexual encounters I’ve had were those three times I groped and blew sleeping straight guys, which is just plain pathetic when compared to my friends’ exploits.
I wanted to experience those things that my friend told me in their stories. Locking eyes with someone in the street and ending up in his place doing him and his three roommates, hooking up with an almost-famous actor you met in a networking site, riding a bus and seeing the guy beside you flash you his number while his girlfriend slept on his shoulder: I wanted those too. To hell with morals, I wanted to get laid, but my looks were my greatest impediment. In a world where love was often referred to as a trade and everyone was assigned a market value, someone like me always got left in the outskirts.
Then something happened. I lost a big chunk of my weight (though not on purpose), my friends started teaching me how to not dress like a nerd and I started to gain some self-confidence. It was like an accidental makeover that spanned months. I started to slowly move towards the center. And true enough, I used those newly-gained cards to explore. I got my own taste at express relationships: two weeks with my first boyfriend, then two months with my second, whom I actually wasn’t attracted to and was just my mean-time guy. I started catching up on those stories that my friends told me.
But then something else happened that cut my exploits short: I met a great guy who I fell hard for and who liked me back. Yes, I’m talking about THE ex. I stopped fooling around and settled down with him.
Being in that relationship was great. I experienced love beyond everything I hoped it to be. But the thing was, after a couple of years, I started wondering if I had given up my freedom too early. And yes, part of that was because of my “adventure phase” getting cut short. After a couple of years, I started to cheat.
I went to cruising hotspots. I locked eyes with random strangers in the street. I let the guy with the gym bag feel me up in the train. I flashed my number at the guy next to me in the queue for movie tickets. And every single one of those led to one kneeling in front of the other. It had been years since those days that I called my friends “whores”, and I was already the one whoring around. It felt great. There’s nothing like seeing a guy (or more) kneeling front of you, worshipping at least one part of you, to boost your ego.
But the fun didn’t last long. After a while, I started to feel weighed down, with each tryst adding more and more weight. It just didn’t feel right anymore. Sure, the sex was still great, but once the fluids have been expelled and the pants and gasps have subsided, all that’s left is a sinking feeling. I remember going home from a threesome once and saying to my friend “What am I doing with my life?” I joked that I wanted to go home, turn on the shower and scrub my body while crying, much like rape victims in movies. It was just a joke, but I actually did it when I got home, minus the crying part.
Then my boyfriend and I broke up because of the cheating. I was free. I could finally go and play to my heart’s content without feeling any guilt. But when I tried going back to those cruise spots, I ended up leaving whenever someone started staring at me. I tried locking eyes with strangers again, but I always ended up looking away. I tried going out with guys whom I knew I could date with no strings attached, but it was me who quit in the end. I just couldn’t do it anymore.
It was the casualness of casual sex and casual dating that drew me into the whole idea of it. It’s dynamic, it’s exciting. And it seemed to be a good source of ego boost, knowing that there was more than just one guy who would want me as a partner in sex or in a relationship. The best part was the lack of pressure to me. In the end, though, it was also the casualness that I couldn’t handle. I thought it was liberating, but it was actually more restricting for me. Some people use it to steer clear of the commitment that comes when they nurture their connections with others. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just that I realized that my heart was not built for that.
I want connections and I want them to persist when we leave the room, or wherever it is that we have sex. I want to actually know more than a guy’s name before I get naked with him. I want to date guys who are at least open to the idea of going into a relationship. Sure, I want sex and I want dates, but my heart wasn’t built with the requisite armor for doing them casually. I thought I wanted to live the lives that my friends took, but it turned out that I couldn’t even handle it. I dipped one foot in and retreated when I felt the cold. In the end, I just wasn’t built for it.