“And almost immediately
I felt sorry
Cause I didn’t think this would happen again
No matter what I could do or say
Just that I didn’t think this would happen again
With or without my best intentions”
“Fuck and Run” always makes me think of a morning about eight years ago: I woke up naked in a blindingly bright room that was not mine. The thread count of the sheets was too high for my miserly taste and the walls were an unsavory beige. I rolled over, discovering that I was in bed with a blonde girl. Definitely traditionally attractive, but also not the sort of person that generally attracts me. And then the night before came rolling back to me at lightening speed: meeting Ryan at a bar where he was talking to a blonde girl (oh yes, this was the girl), drinking a lot, surprisingly making out with this girl in the bathroom, going to an after-hours, losing Ryan (later it turned out he went to a gas station looking for candy and then passed out in the parking lot), and then going home with this girl…fooling around, eating frozen raspberries, listening to this girl talk about her recent abortion and then (thankfully) falling asleep.
I tiptoed out of the bedroom, dressed myself as fast as possible, and then walked home wearing leather pants in the sweltering sun. My head was throbbing and my mouth felt like it was filled with sand. All I could think was, “What the fuck? Suddenly my life really is some Liz Phair song, where I am randomly sleeping with people and feeling semi-remorseful about it.”
That’s the thing about this song: it refers to that point wherein casual sex becomes regretful. Sleeping around can be pretty great: fun, exciting, and a good way to get to know your sexuality. But the moment you begin to feel guilty about it, it’s over. Time to take a vow of celibacy or find yourself a nice monogamous relationship. How can you tell that you are perilously near this point? Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Am I hiding this from my friends? Or at least, waiting a few weeks to admit the truth about what happened last night. This is important…unless your friends are a bunch of rigid puritans, you should be able to be honest with them about any one-night stand. If you are afraid that any friend will be upset about your behavior, then the problem lies with you. As soon as an iota of shame begins to creep into your mind, it’s time to don the figurative chastity belt.
2. Am I sleeping with people in an effort to find a boyfriend? Oh, please…I’m not even going to explain the obvious perils of a “yes” response. I don’t subscribe to all of that “Rules” stuff, but at the same time, offering it up on the first date is not usually–with occasional exceptions– the recipe for lifelong romance.
3. Am I actually going home with strangers because I need attention/validation of my attractiveness? Attempting to fill a lonely void? Once again, a “yes” answer is bad. There are plenty of positive ways to get attention that do not involve meaningless sex. If you really feel this bad about yourself, it might be time to consult a therapist.
4. Am I sleeping with individuals that I would never find attractive/interesting if I were sober? Oh, heck…no need to explain the right/wrong answer here.
If you answered in the negative to the questions above, then keep up the good work. For me, the moment I realized that I wanted to keep my business on lockdown was the morning I woke up in bed with a girl that would ordinarily never catch my eye. (Of course, Ryan met me for lunch and I spilled the details and then we decided to be boyfriend/girlfriend…but don’t let yourself believe that this is the typical outcome). But this was the first time on record that I actually regretted hooking up with someone. I never assumed that true love was going to result from these encounters. I wanted to have fun. Essentially I had broken up with my long-term boyfriend BECAUSE I wanted to see what the world had to offer (in other words: sleep around and do drugs). I had read enough Henry Miller and Erica Jong (and Judy Blume) to know that experiencing other people was an important part of figuring out who/what I was.
Some people like to use this song as proof that casual sex can ONLY be filled with regret. I disagree. I think this song is about realizing that the fun is over because it’s time to move into a new phase in one’s life. Take this part of the song:
” And whatever happened to a boyfriend
The kind of guy that tries to win you over?
And whatever happened to a boyfriend
The kind of guy who makes love cause he’s in it?
And I want a boyfriend
I want a boyfriend
I want all that stupid old shit like letters and sodas
Letters and sodas”
I can assure you that Phair isn’t saying, “Oh please! Someone be my boyfriend so I can stop being a slut!” It’s more like, “Well, this is getting old. A boyfriend would be a refreshing change.”
And last, but not least: any guy who calls you (or any other girl) a slut or a whore because of the notches on your bedpost isn’t worth your time. Not only is he a seething misogynist, he is jealous. If he weren’t so ugly (outside or worse, inside), he would have slept with just as many people. And don’t fall for that “Well, I’m always in serious relationships” nonsense, because no guy who actually refers to women with the previously mentioned terms could ever be in any sort of truly positive, loving relationship. If a guy calls you a “floozie,” it means you are talking to my grandfather. Please call my grandma ASAP, as he has a tendency to wander off and get lost.