Like most, I was a tween when I thought I knew what "love" was: My first so-called date with my first so-called boyfriend, not to mention a large group outing with my friends and his friends, was at the movie theaters. Pop culture showed us that movies are the perfect date and wrapping your arm around her shoulders is the perfect move. My hormonal guy friends showed me that teenage movie dates involved making out, hickies, and other things I found to be utterly trashy at age fourteen. This guy made me realize that not trying to hard was the perfect way to spend a movie date. Like most short lived, premature relationships a lot of our time together was spent at the local theater. On one of these particular occasions, without thinking about it, my right leg slipped and rested on his left thigh. After years of being romantically awkward, I finally felt comfortable with someone of the opposite sex. More even, I felt comfortable talking about it, about attractions, attractive reactions, and something we called, as childish as it may be, "legsex."
At the time I held the little things like these very dear to my heart. I thought being comfortable with this person meant that I loved him. But as quickly as I realized that "legsex" was as universal as holding hands, I realized that the moment at the movie theaters that night was a pivotal point in my growth as a sexual woman. I wasn't in love. And I would become comfortable with numerous men, with "best" friends, like what he was and should have been all along.
How then do I separate lovers from comforters?
Like few, I was still a teenager when I realized "love" wasn't a committed relationship: Within a month of getting to know another particular guy strictly through aim conversations and text messages, due to the lack of driver licenses on both ends, I knew I had fallen for him when I rejected the male who I've been chasing for a year prior to meeting said particular male. I'm forever glad I took that risk. Over a month later after spending quite a bit of time with each other, he finally asked me out to an outing with his friends. It was a big deal for me having been given cold shoulders, more or less, from my first so-called boyfriend's friends. After lunch, we drove to our next destination and it was during this car ride that I knew "love" was more than comfort. It was trust also. The four of us including him and myself started to climb in the car when one of his friends sat in the back. "Hey you wanna sit in the front?...Ya know so I could sit with her." He even sat in the bitch seat, that's the middle, so that during the actual ride, he could slip his right hand over my left leg, nonchalantly slip a comforting smile my way, and continue to conversate with his two mates in the front. Though at first I thought of it as a gesture of immense comfort, I realized it was a gesture saying "Trust me, because you can. Because I want you to, the way I've carelessly trusted you."
The reason why I've been chasing that one male for a year is because it was never just him, there never was just one guy I had my eyes on at a time, that I wanted at a time. After the first reckless, immature relationship I had, I vowed I'd never allow another to have all of me.
I never called him, the trusted one, my "boyfriend." He never called me his girl. Commitment was never decided between us.
Like a not-so-average female, I waited until college to let my guard down. I was romantically uninterested and physically curious. By the time a couple of first kisses passed me I found myself in a dorm room that wasn't mine, or the makeshift movie theater of a college freshman's budget. In a strange twist of things, I felt comfortable with my unromantic attractions to him and simultaneous trust with our friendship. When the film started that night I let him lay beside me. As the film's narrative climaxed, I let my right leg comfortably rest like a foot does on the edge of a desk, trusting the hand that firmly held on to it. Though all emotions were put aside for the night, I woke up content without regrets and happy that I walked down the hallway with my friend by my side.
Psychologically and physically, I've grown to recognize that my legs are the most sensitive parts of my body. A means of letting someone know comfort. A means of asking for trust. A means of letting someone know you're comfortable as they ask for your trust. This is number seventeen.