Freedom to choose

Nikki Young Writes

I do not wish to know the intimate details of your sex life. I do not care what choices you make: whether you enjoy rolling in the hay with a boy, a girl, both, either or any combination of the above. It makes no difference to me; I don’t want you to talk about it when I am around. It is supposed to be your private life, please keep it that way.

I do not wish you to pester me about my sex life, or lack of it. It is none of your business; if I wished to discuss it then I would do so. The incredulous look on your face when I admit that I have never been in a relationship merely irritates. This is my choice, it hurts no one else.

You seek to reassure me that I am pretty. You suggest friends who may interest me, joint dates. Do you think I have never been asked out? I can feel the waves of pity emanating from that sympathetic smile as you judge and find me wanting. Perhaps you are not as inclusive and understanding as you like to boast if you cannot believe that I am comfortable with my choices.

My parents were so concerned when they left me at the Halls of Residence; apparently worried that, without them to watch over me, I would be jumping into bed with any boy who moved in my vicinity. It has never crossed their minds that I may find other sexual preferences attractive; they have never shown a great deal of imagination.

It is a relief for me to be away from their prying eyes, from their concern that every male friend I inadvertently mention is trying to lure me into bed. I wonder what sort of people they knew growing up that their outlook should be so skewed; I would not choose to befriend any who would not accept a simple ‘no thank you’ and move on.

Now I am faced with you, a right little fixer upper with your coy looks and flirtatious manner. Go enjoy the attention and the freedom that university life has granted you, but leave me alone. Your parties and your conquests do not interest me, I have no wish to join in.

You ask me how I can reject out of hand something that I have never tried. What would be the point of trying something that repulses me? I feel no lack of fulfilment, the only relationships I wish to foster are platonic friendships with accepting others. You have shown yourself to be incapable of meeting my criteria yet persist in hanging around. I will not become one of your projects.

Have you ever felt truly satisfied? You tell me that I am missing out on so much yet live an apparently shallow, superficial life. You do not appear to understand the joy that I feel when I immerse myself in a good book, or become involved in the performance of a well acted play. ‘But that is not real!’ you cry. It is real enough for me.

Your experiments with drugs and sex leave you crashed out and regretful, yet still you offer yourself up to whatever new experience is next suggested. ‘You only live once’ has become your battle cry as you follow the glittering crowd into the night.

I am content, whilst you constantly crave more than you have yet found; why do you imagine I would wish to emulate? My only regret is that I allowed you to latch on to me. You thought I was a kindred spirit given the way I looked and moved; a demurely dressed version of yourself.

How wrong you were, yet still you persist in trying to uncover the character you have cast me as. You suggest that I suppress what I am, deny what I could be. Have you not yet learned that difference can offer personal empowerment?

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