I wanted to smack you then, but I could kiss you now.
We hear so much about the men who take. The men who see girls in vulnerable situations and take advantage. The men who take what they want from who they want when they want it. The men who don't take into account that the girl standing in front of them may be too drunk or too emotionally overwhelmed to really know what's going on, or what they're consenting to.
It's so easy to paint men as the sex-starved, manipulative enemy in today's society. One mindless moment can go from a respectful, consensual interaction to a profane (and sometimes illegal) violation.
But those aren't the men I want to talk about.
I want to talk about all the men in my life who held me in their hands at defenseless moments and chose to take care of me instead of use me for their own selfish pleasure.
When I look back at my life, I realize how many terrible situations I put myself in and I think about how much worse things could have been if it weren't for the good guys: the ones who decided our friendship or their integrity were more important than a sloppy night of so-so sex.
Back in my heyday I couldn't have been an easy one to turn down. We're talking about 20-something boys and a barely-legal, fairly desperate, and very flexible girl who had no problem begging for what she wanted: usually sex.
I can remember the frustration on their faces, the struggle of hormones being forced into submission by manners, common sense, and respect. My pouty lip, promise of deplorable acts, and good genes never swayed these boys to give in on their morality.
There was Mike who refused to take my virginity no matter how many times I begged him in the back of his red Ford.
There was Dave, who, at the end of an excessively drunken Halloween party, walked me to my ride and buckled me in, ensuring I couldn't run after him (or he couldn't carry me away, I'm not sure which.
There was Jeremy who said he liked me too much to risk ruining any potential we had as a couple.
The list could go on and on, and while I may have come across some real assh*les in my life, I have been very fortunate to have some very good men around me as well.
Their virtue made them nearly insufferable in the moment as I begged them to take off my clothes but I look back on them as confirmation that this world my girls are growing up in isn't completely screwed up. I've had the overwhelming desire to message a few in particular and say, "Hey, thanks for not being a selfish prick when I wasn't at my best."
Because the truth is, it meant a lot to me then — and it means a lot to me now.
To every guy who at some point refused to sleep with me because they knew it was the right thing to do, thank you. I hope you all ended up with smoking hot wives who take incredible care of you and your lives together because that's way better than any clumsy drunken sex could have been with some slurry coed in the back of your 1986 sedan.