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December 4, 2009

Turn a One-Night Stand Into an LTR?

Sometimes Cosmo just makes me crazy. (Okay, that's silly... it always makes me crazy!) The editors and writers constantly contradict each other - and themselves. They tell us to be fun and fearless and confident... but then do everything possible to treat us like we never will be. They base everything on stereotypes and generalizations... and for a magazine that has so many sex tips every issue, they're the worst at slut-shaming anyone who might actually use them.

I was a little surprised when I saw an article entitled "Turn a One-Night Stand Into an LTR" in the December 2009 issue. (Let's not forget that this is the same magazine that once suggested we should wait at least a month before sleeping with a guy for the first time.) But of course, I wasn't too optimistic. In the article, Chris Connolly gives us the "male perspective" on one-night stands in what I can only imagine is an attempt to totally fuck with his readers' heads. The article is full of contradictions and full of... well, crap.

Now first of all, it's annoying as hell that there even exists an article on how to turn a one-night-stand into a relationship. Now I'm a big fan of the occasional one-night-stand, but it is definitely not the approach to take if you're looking for a long-term relationship. I'm not saying it never happens (it happened to me twice actually but both times it was unplanned.) My point is that it's okay to want a relationship and it's equally okay to just want sex... But if you're looking for more than just sex, having casual sex in the hopes that will magically turn into something more is both dishonest and doomed for failure.

Connolly describes his own one-night-stands so that the readers can learn from them, however the only lesson I learned from his anecdotes is that his decision-making process is completely arbitrary. Of course, he tries to blame it on the women's actions (I guess it wouldn't be Cosmo unless they found a way to make us feel even worse about ourselves). Now you can't even have casual sex without over-analyzing every little thing that you might be doing "wrong".

Like this example about "Natasha":

She was cool and the sex was good, but I couldn't wait to get out of there the next morning because of the way in which we'd met. Guys know we act like idiots when we drink, so when we have trouble remembering the night before, we figure it's best to forget about it altogether.

So um, what exactly are women supposed to learn from that incident? That no matter how cool you are and how good you are, even something that's out of your control will end up ruining your chances... Love how he managed to turn his own insecurity into something that the women should worry about. Now we can be totally neurotic about even where and how we meet guys. [By the way, he met Natasha at a bar. So you can throwaway all those Cosmo tips about how to decipher what he really means by how he holds his beer bottle... because clearly if you meet him at a bar, it's not going anywhere.]

Or how about his interaction with "Nicole":
We chatted one night after a class we were taking, and I asked her if she wanted to grab dinner. Afterward, we went to my place.

It all fell apart the next morning. First, Nicole grabbed my phone and punched in her number saying, "You'll call me, right?"

Now sorry, but that doesn't really sound like a one-night-stand to me so much as it does a... date that ended in sex. I don't know, maybe if "Nicole" knew it was a one-night-stand she would have reacted differently. I have to wonder what he said when she asked him if he would call her. My money's on "sure baby" and then he never did. Yeah, this Chris guy sounds like an awesome catch. How can we win the heart of a swell guy like him?

We just have to be more like"Clare"... the one-night-stand who did it right. Let's see what we can learn from her:
Clare was a friend of friends and, just several hours after we met each other at a party, nakedness resulted.
Okay, we learned something already! Meeting at a bar (like poor "Natasha") = bad. Meeting at a party = good.
I immediately noticed that Clare wasn't thinking beyond that night. When we talked about a movie we both wanted to see, she didn't suggest we see it together. [...] Her attitude allowed us to simply to enjoy ourselves -- exactly what a one-night stand is supposed to be about.
Okay, wait, let me get this straight... The secret to making a one-night-stand last beyond that night is to not think beyond that night. Hm. Okay, so then basically in order for us to behave in a way that will turn a one-night-stand into something more, we need to pretend that we don't want anything more! So really, dishonesty is the answer. Gotcha. Thanks Cosmo!

Also, letting his friends see you naked doesn't hurt:
The next morning, she was wearing only a thong as she leaned out my living-room window, admiring the garden... when my roommate walked in. She laughed, said hello, and hurried back into my bedroom, where she good-naturedly chastised me for not telling her I lived with someone. But she didn't get angry.

So let's review... how do you turn that one-night-stand into a long-term relationship? You have to either:

a. Pretend that you don't really want a long-term relationship OR
b. Actually really not want a long-term relationship at all

But of course, choice b is just a trick... because as we all know, every woman secretly wants a long-term relationship, even the women who think they just want to have a one-night-stand. What we're really just waiting for is the right guy to realize how awesome we are and save us from casual sex once and for all!

Or at least... that's the assumption Connolly makes by thinking that an article like this is even necessary. Because god forbid Cosmo write something about casual sex that wasn't really about how women can stop having it. Enough of the thinly-veiled guilt trips about how we should make that one-night-stand mean something and the neuroses-inducing instructions about how you probably ruined your chances at finding true love with that dude you went home with last night... primarily because you were probably too preoccupied with finding true love in the first place.

Someday I would love to see the kind of one-night-stand article that women really need: one that tells them that it's okay to just have a good time and enjoy sex for sex's sake without any guilt trips or insecurity. (Unlike this piece of garbage, which only tells you to lose the guilt and insecurity, so you can score a boyfriend... not so you can actually feel better about yourself and your life.)


sarah elizabeth ward said...

right on.

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