I can’t deny as I walked around the new Yoko Ono exhibit in London this week that I had no idea how much she had accomplished as an artist way before John Lennon came on the scene. ‘Never mind Yoko Ono wrecking the Beatle’s career’, as someone noted recently, ‘the Beatles wrecked Yoko Ono’s career’. But no one mentions that because the Beatles were seen as a more significant force at the time. Which for some reason leads me to an exchange I had recently with a young man that I struggle to present to you.
It’s tricky when you simultaneously feel terrible for a person and totally disagree with their personal politics. I took major umbrage at this man’s use of the word ‘whore’ to describe the female lead in his story. Quite apart from anything else, it’s lazy and unimaginative. This is a word that boys use when they don’t get what they want and stamping their feet and throwing their toys out of their pram via the ‘W' word is the only reasonable course of action. My gut feeling was to point out to him that one day, he may be the father of a daughter, and one day, she may not give a man what he wants and he may call her a whore too. Perhaps that thought might put things in perspective?
Not to mention that the use of this word degrades one of the oldest professions in the world. I have three words for you: supply and demand. If people didn’t require the services of sex workers, they wouldn’t exist. It’s that simple. Deal with your guilt people. But don’t use the ‘W’ word when you can’t. But enough now because alongside my discomfort, I have a lot of sympathy for the man in today’s story. There is no doubt that his female counterpart took his heart, stamped on it and walked away. Even if she didn’t do it intentionally, this is what happened.
Most significantly, I think this is one of those stories that on first reading, appears to be about one thing but is actually about something quite different. This is the story of a man mourning not only the loss of friendship and potential romance with a woman – his ‘first’ no less - but the friendship and strange intimacy that maybe only a war can produce. ‘We were co-medics in the same platoon in Afghanistan’, he writes. ‘We fought side by side for a whole year. We saved lives together. We carried dead bodies away together. We were best friends. But this home wrecking whore ruined it. I had my part in it by deciding to have sex with her. He was like a brother to me. I think we are all at fault, we are all idiots I guess.’
This is their story.
‘I am a 21 year old guy. I am a Combat Medic in the Army. So there was this girl who was cute, (*Brittany, she is in the Army also) I sorta liked her and she sort of liked me. One day I was hanging out with her and she met my room-mate. He is 26, also in the Army. (We can call him Ted). Anyways I lost her to him I guess. I didn’t really care very much about it though. Everyone looks at me as a 'cool guy' sort of I guess, everyone assumes I already lost my virginity. I just play along because I don’t want to look weird. It’s odd, I have fought in a war and have multiple valors and combat badges but I am a virgin... Sounds pretty weird. I guess I am sort of scared of women too. God knows why, whatever.
So Ted has a girlfriend back at home but he cheats on her every chance he gets. So pretty much Brittany would come over and sleep in his room every night. The mattress on the bead squak (sic) a lot so I can tell when they are having sex. He had been having sex with her for about a month. One night me and Ted were going to go a platoon party at a bar, she wanted to come along so she did. While we were there, Ted found some other girl and went home with her. Brittany was crying and angry. I told her I would call us a cab back and she should sleep in his room and I will get her a cab back in the morning.
We started on our way back, got in the cab and she was clinging to me. I didn’t care, she was just being drunk and vulnerable. We get back and she is lying on my bed. I was lying next to her (because it’s my bed) she was lying next to me telling me about how betrayed she felt. I sort of talked to her but eventually fell asleep, I was pretty drunk. I woke up and she was gone, I didn’t really care. I got up to piss. She heard the toilet flush, and before I got back to the room she was in the bed again. I was a little confused. She told me I rolled over on top of her so she slept in his bed. I apologized and just got back in my bed, Brittany followed. If you know anything about the male body, we normally wake up erected. It’s the whole morning wood phenomenon. She started cuddling with me, and before I knew it she took her shirt off. I told her she wasn’t ready for me. She laughed. I told her to get ready. Her pants dissapeared. I had sex with her for about an hour, but I didn’t ejaculate. My room-mate was calling me, He snuk out of the girls house he went home with last night and needed a ride back. That’s when we decided to get breakfast and go get him.
The whole way to me riding over to get my roomie she talked about how we can’t ever talk about what happened, then she started talking about how much she hates Ted. We all got breakfast. She stayed over the whole day and again had sex with Ted that night. All the while she is married and has a kid. At first I had feelings for her, but about a week later she told one of her friends who spread it around. Apparently it is my fault. Ted moved out, to my knowledge she still stays with him every night. We walk by each other whenever we see each other, no eye contact, no greetings. She is in love with Ted, and Ted doesn’t like her very much. He uses her for sex and is open about it. Even though it doesn’t make her happy she is OK with it.
It’s been over a month now, my feelings for her have subsided. No texts or calls from her to hang out or to even say hi, no more facebook comments but we are still facebook friends. I am over her, but she still doesn’t give me eye contact or talk to me. After all this, I have deduced that she is a whore. My only regret, I didn’t wear a condom. I got checked and I am clean. I’m not emotional about this at all, she was last month’s news but I wish we could have at least been friends after it. That’s what happens when you lose your virginity to a whore though. That’s life.'
*All names changed to protect identity