Abstinence Makes The Heart Grow Horny (And a Little Drunk With Power).

Well hello there my dears. Many of you don't know this but, before I married my delicious husband Bob, I was actually trying my hand at an enormous man cleanse. Now, this wasn't just limited to enormous men, rather, it was all species of man I was trying to avoid. In fact, I decided it was time to go two whole years without dating. Now, by 'no dating' I mean, no flirting, no kissing, no non-platonic touching, no 'oh, hey we have a lot in common, let's exchange numbers', no intrigues of any kind and definitely NO SEX.

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Playfully nicknamed, 'The Man Ban' among my friends, this was a total lock down, the Cockblock of all Cockblocks, capital C.

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So, why no touchy touchy, you may ask? Well, there were three main methods to my madness:

Reason the First
I had been dating someone who was completely wrong for me on and off for about 5 years and when my father passed away we, rather predictably, broke up. After this, I almost immediately had another serious boyfriend who was so lovely and caring, but it was all just too much so soon after losing my dad. One day I would love the new man in my life with all my heart and, the next, I was so numb and confused and seemed to feel nothing for him at all. I had lost 5 of my loved ones in the space of 3 years and, in dealing with this bereavement, I didn't really have a clear handle on what my feelings were day to day. It just felt catastrophically unfair to me to drag someone new into that when things still felt so raw.

Reason the Second
After breaking up with the nicest man on the planet, I realised something... I had not been single, or without someone on the periphery, since I was 14 years old. That was 11 years of solid dating / intrigues. 11 years of always having someone around when I needed them and to make me feel validated. The sad fact is that, throughout my teenage and young adult years, I'd never really been completely alone.

Reason the Third
Ok, there's no delicate way to put this.. bereavement makes you really horny. I'm sure there's a perfectly rational explanation about the affirmation of life in the face of mortal tragedy but all I know is, for me, this was a dangerous feeling. I've never been big on random, anonymous sex but I found myself just wanting to sleep with everything. I didn't trust this feeling, and certainly didn't want to explore it further as I sensed it would make me even more miserable. So, I decided the only logical thing to do was to remove myself, and my *rhymes with BAGINA* from the equation.

So, at the tender age of 25, I decided, no more. The gloves were off and the pants were on. Two years, no waiting. Or lots of waiting, depending on how you look at it.

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At first, it was excruciating and, as luck would have it, I had just started law school and was meeting new and interesting people every day. Also, and somewhat suspiciously, one or two ex boyfriends who'd heard about the ban suddenly came out of the woodwork, wanting to reconnect swearing it was all platonic and well intentioned. Everything inside me was thinking "What harm could one little drink do? It won't be a date, it'll be fine". But I stood my frustrated ground and stayed stone cold single... like a nun in *an incredibly sexually charged situation I can't think of right now*

As the months rolled on I slowly felt like I was getting stronger and becoming more sure of myself. It was so liberating to not have every event in my life directly affect another person emotionally. I marched myself to bereavement counselling and began to muddle through defogging my incredibly exhausted brain. It was the first time in my life I have ever been truly solipsistic and, if I'm honest, it saved my life. What I was craving so intensely before was flesh, it was surface level contact to erase the fractured and chaotic tangle of loss and grief. I fear that, had I indulged it fully, I wouldn't have stopped and part of me would have disappeared. Not all at once but, one day, I would have woken up and realised that everything had completely eroded away.

So, the Man Ban was my emotional Ronseal. My weatherproof coating, impenetrable and water resistant. The decking of my heart was protected from all the elements, a superior quality woodstain specially formulated to protect exterior wood. Independently guaranteed to last for at least 5 years.


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I fear I may have delved too far into this analogy.

What I'm trying to say is, taking love, sex and romance off the table was my protection from myself, I suppose. Without the complication of dating, I had time and space to work through my grief and navigate my way through without the pressure of needing to be available to anyone else and, most importantly, without using another person as a crutch. I was alone but by no means lonely. I was frustrated as hell, but I was free.

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Now I'm not sure this exercise would've worked if no one was hitting on me. The idea of abstaining doesn't really have the same impact when no one wants to sleep with you anyway. Being approached and having the opportunity and restraint to refuse a suitor was a vital part of this endeavour; but, ultimately, became the fulcrum point for something altogether more ridiculous.
A word of warning Internet, if you are considering the Man Ban yourself, I urge you to proceed with caution from this point on. The one thing I was utterly unprepared for was the unbridled power trip that ensued or, as I like to call it, my little ride on the Bellend Express (leave it).
The notion of being propositioned by an attractive man is lovely in itself, but couple this with the fact that, no matter what they proposed, my answer was always going to be a resounding no, and things started to snowball. It would begin with someone walking over and introducing themselves and I'd be all like:


They would persevere and make small talk and eventually we'd get to point where either, they'd ask for my number or, suggest we should go out. I would politely decline and expect that to be the end of the matter. It was not. Each time, I was asked to explain myself. I was asked if I had a boyfriend, -No. If I was a lesbian, -No. Then why wasn't I dating right now?? And what was my problem
When I explained that I just didn't want to date anyone at the moment, I was only met with more aggressive and outlandish tactics. 

It seems the challenge of breaking a woman's resolve is far more alluring than any seduction one can devise on their own. It became less about taking me to dinner and more about convincing me that I was completely wrong.

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From this point on, it just became a game for me. When faced with these situations, I was deliberately as difficult as possible. I became obtuse and obnoxious hoping this would discourage said suitor from pursuing the matter any further. I told one person I was really a man called Dave with a micro-penis and, he could have a picture of me shitting if he liked because I'm really into scatology and digital photography right now. But, still, he powered through with a blind, willful tenacity I can only admire in hindsight. I would ask the more persistent men to prove how much they wanted a date, devising humiliating, intricate dares and ridiculous tasks for them to complete in front of everyone in whatever establishment we happened to be in. And, the funny thing is, they always did it. 

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What is it about a hard no that makes someone think they absolutely must have something? I am not earth-shatteringly gorgeous, I am not the most charming woman in the world, as much as I like to think so, I possess no real magical powers. Yet, still, in that two year period, I have never been so utterly barraged with offers. It's like they all had an app called 'Hubris & Horny' with a direct GPS link to all declining females within a 2 mile radius.

I realise that not all men are competitive scumbags and, perhaps it was grossly unfair of me to tar them all with the same ego-maniacal, pompous brush but it was just so addictive, Internet. 
Besides, I wasn't getting laid for two years, literally no one was touching me, ever. I had to get my kicks somewhere; and, I'm ashamed to say, I rather enjoyed having someone jump through impossible hoops for me. I was positively drunk on power... and it could happen to any of one of us. One minute you're having coffee and reading a book, the next, you have a Russian boy named Artur on bended knee in the middle of the street, screaming out a power ballad at the top of his lungs in the hopes that you'll write your phone number on his arm. You don't, but he does it all the same.

It was all a big, ridiculous game and I was invincible. It was the Man Ban Wonderland and I was the King..  
THE KING, I TELL YOU.

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At one point, I was even considering extending my flirtation with abstinence for another few years, nay, until the end of time. The unmitigated rush of laying down the gauntlet, and then refusing someone anyway made me feel as smug and self important as that annoying Grail Knight from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

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Oh, fuck off ghostpants.
I became so addicted to my resolve, this precious and impenetrable iron will I'd cultivated over the years. You could try to break it, but you would fail. I realise now, that I had retreated into this to help weather the losses beyond my control; and that it had become such an anchor in my life that I was now terrified of letting it go. Also, my ego was now lager than this prize potato

I met my husband 1 year and 11 months into this exercise and, when he tried to kiss me, I slapped him so hard across the face. We then proceeded to debate for 2 hours on why he should be allowed to kiss me and why on earth I should renege on my precious ban with only four weeks left to go. He put forward his case, completely unphased by my complete arseholery, refused my challenges, because they were ridiculous, and told me that we were going to fall in love and I just needed to deal with it.
He then told me to shut up and kissed me anyway.

The moxy of that man. No wonder I married him right in his handsome face.

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As for the Man Ban, we waited the four weeks until I'd reached my official two year mark before we indulged in anything further out of principal. That's the same thing, right?

Yep.
I totally made it to two years.
Totally and completely.



I'm still the King.

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*slowly backs away, shifty-eyed*






5 comments

  1. Haha!! I love this. You have a great style of writing! It reminds me of my tone, but better written and less rambly :)
    I lost my mother, father, and little brother in the space of 3 years, and I can so relate to this. Us greiving people all choose different things to cling to so we may give ourselves the illusion of being in control. Its commendable that you were able to come out of it and recognize it for what it was. I'd love to share this to my Facebook page if thats ok!
    Venus

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    1. Hi Venus,

      Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it. I'm so sorry for your loss. That must have been quite an ordeal to go through.
      I think you're exactly right, it is about trying to gain some semblance of control when everything else has so spectacularly hit the fan.
      Of course you can share this on your Facebook page. That would be lovely :)

      Where can I follow you? Do you have a blog/ write about the things you went through? xxx

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    2. Ah yes, I already do follow you! Right, I am going to binge read your poems when I get home from work :)

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  2. This is absolutely brilliant and written so well! I am 22 now and single for the first time since I was about 13, so can relate to this (fortunately not the loss of family members and so sorry you had to go through that), but being dumped on facebook chat after 7 years still left me feeling pretty shitty. I've unintentionally stayed single for around 6 months but am very tempted to turn it into a fully fledged man ban now!

    Alex
    x

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  3. Hi Alex,

    Oh, I hope the fool who broke up with you stubs their stupid toe. I definitely advocate the man ban.. doo iiiiiiiiiiiit.
    Thank you for your kind words too, much appreciated.
    I've just been checking out your blog, absolutely love it xxxx

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