The following email was intended to be answered during the "Ask Your Dumbass Question" segment of "Sordid Tales: The Podcast!" However, I thought it would be fun to use it for CityBeat's Love and Sex Issue.
Dear Sordid Tales: I am a male in my late 20s who was recently jilted after a six-year engagement. Now that I'm single again, I'm not interested in anything serious. However, I'm not interested in being cruel or deceptive, either. All I want to do is submerge myself in a bunch of meaningless one-night stands without hurting anyone. Here's my dumbass question: Let's say I meet a woman in a bar and she agrees to go back to my place. How do I let her know it's only going to be a one-nighter without scaring her away? Sincerely, Done with Love
Wow, Done with Love, now that is a conundrum. Trying to inform a woman that you're interested only in a one-night stand without blowing the deal is like a hitchhiker trying to tell the motorist who pulled over that he's the Roadside Strangler without blowing the ride.
Which is another way of saying, "It can't be done."
However, you didn't write to hear the word "can't," now did you? And one thing I know for sure is that you can do anything that you put your mind to—except, of course, the things you can't do—and, let's be honest, that's a lot of fricking things. I mean, you can't flap your arms and fly, you can't breathe underwater and you certainly can't win a Republican nomination without any Koch money.
Now, the good news is, there's compelling evidence that women are increasingly receptive to the idea of a no-strings hookup. Largely because an increasing number of women are finally standing up and saying, "Enough is enough, bitches! We're gonna bang who we want to bang and don't give one rotten rutabaga what anyone thinks about it."
It's also partly due to the fact that an increasing number of men are coming out of the dark ages. More and more of us are realizing that women— newsflash—are sexual beings, too, and we're not quite as quick to slap a scarlet H(ussy) on anyone's sweater. We've come a long way, too, babies.
So, yeah, Done with Love, the possibility of finding women who are into one-night stands is better now than it ever was. However, that doesn't make your other hurdle any easier to hurdle. I'm talking about your honorable, albeit problematic, desire to forecast your no-strings intentions.
Here's the thing: For many women—and, as you probably know, I'm not a woman, so I'm basically pulling this out of my ass—most sexual encounters begin as a one-night stand. By this I mean, unless the male exhibits value (emotional, intellectual and sexual), she's not going to want a second encounter. I know this is contrary to our man-centric intuition, but when it's all said and done, generally speaking, the woman is the decider. It's she who decides which of her suitors gets to do what, and when, and how often, and to presume that it's you, the man, who decides is to go against her instinctive, primordial disposition.
You're going to put her off is what I'm saying.
You: "Listen, sugar, you need to know, this is only going to be a one-time thing."
Her: "First of all, cupcake, don't call me sugar.' Second, what makes you think I even want to see you again?
So, no—that tactic ain't gonna fly. And to all the women out there reading this thinking, Gee, I would totally hump a man who was being that honest, I say, "Hooey!" May I remind you of the Cross Dresser's Revelatory Rule of Female Self-Deception? The CDRRFSD refers to the movie Tootsie, in which Jessica Lange laments to a cross-dressed Dustin Hoffman (who she doesn't know is a male) that she just wished for once a man would drop his pickup lines and say, "I find you very interesting and would like to make love to you."
Jessica is totally believable in this scene, and as a man, you can't help but say, "Ain't that some shit? The honesty-tip. Why don't I do that more often?"
Because a few weeks later, when Dustin sees her at a party (no longer in a female disguise), he approaches and says, "I find you very interesting and want to make love to you," to which she responds by throwing a drink in his face.
So, no, I don't recommend direct honesty. Better to indicate your intentions indirectly. For instance, make sure to say that you recently escaped a relationship, that it was suffocating and you are excited to play the field again. Don't bust this language right out of the gate. Wait until you've laid some groundwork and she's showing the universal signs of attraction—lots of arm-touching, eye contact and resisting the urge to recoil in terror when you crow over your World of Warcraft exploits.
When these signs are evident, go ahead and drop a series of one-night-stand code words, such as how you don't want to get "serious" with anyone, and that you're just looking to have "fun." Oh and don't forget to throw in all the important Lonesome Traveler of Life-type phrases, like how you're a "free spirit" with a "wandering soul" and a "lover on every continent." If, after all that, she still expects an invitation to dinner with your parents, then, by God, son, you did your best. Let the post-coital bullshitting commence!
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Edwin Decker blogs at www.edwindecker.com. Follow him on Twitter @edwindecker or find him on Facebook.
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