Dear Boyfriends I Had When I Was In My Twenties

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An open letter of apology to past boyfriends -- or at least it started that way.

I was sitting here, singing along to Alanis Morissette's Unsent when I began writing my own letters to past lovers.

At first I began, as Alanis had, by listing them each by name. But quickly I realized that my errors were a pattern, and the names interchangeable. As this is mostly a letter of apology, I don't think it slights them any. And so I bring you, Dear Boyfriends I Had When I Was In My Twenties.

(I'm no songwriter, and less of a musician; so it's a letter. But if you find yourself humming along, that's cool.)

Dear boyfriends I had when I was in my 20's,
I'm sorry for being so insecure that I was afraid to eat a cheeseburger in front of you.


In my defense, I was afraid I would open my mouth too wide, drop ketchup on my dress, and look like an all-around mess.

Dear boyfriends I had when I was in my 20's,
I'm sorry for buying that lingerie, putting it on, then hiding my-lingerie-wearing-self beneath the covers as quickly as possible. Or, not wearing it at all.


In my defense, I didn't understand what you liked about my body. I knew what you were supposed to like, but just didn't see myself that way. I tried to, I really did. But the bathroom lights & mirror reflected images of me with those black "don't" boxes from Glamour magazine -- and I was afraid you'd see them too.

Dear boyfriends I had when I was in my 20's,
I'm sorry for having sex with you and faking the orgasm. Quite frankly, I don't know how I did it because I never had a proper orgasm until my 30's; but I did fake it, and I'm sorry for that.


In my defense, I thought that was what you wanted, me putting out; but I denied us both so much by neither understanding how "I worked" nor accepting when I wasn't really ready.

Dear boyfriends I had when I was in my 20's,
You have no right to forgive me. But I hope you do.

And then I realized that this open letter of apology wasn't (only) for my past boyfriends; it was, or should be, directed to my body.

Dear body I had when I was in my 20's,
I'm sorry for being so insecure that I was afraid to eat a cheeseburger.


My stupid insecurities forced you to go hungry. That made you gurgle unhappily, which caused me additional embarrassment. Especially when such hunger & nerves became gas -- gas I wouldn't let you expel, so I tied my insides in knots of silence, and ended many a nice evening going home to toot alone.

Dear body I had when I was in my 20's,
I'm sorry for buying that lingerie, but never letting you enjoy it.


You had every right to not only revel in how you looked in a mirror -- without seeing those stupid "don't" boxes -- but to enjoy how silky bits rubbed against you. You were then, and remain now, worth it.

Dear body I had when I was in my 20's,
I'm sorry for having sex & faking orgasms.


It's obvious to me now that my thinking (that the best way to stop his whiny petting and grinding pelvis was to "just do it & get it over with") was not really the best way to deal with things. It may have, indeed, been the quickest way to put an end to the conversation or situation, but it wasn't the pragmatic exchange I pretended it was. Not only did I have intercourse when I wasn't ready to, and fuck without real enjoyment, but I screwed us (you, my body; me; and the guy) all out of something special.

Dear body I had when I was in my 20's,
You have no right to forgive me. But I hope you do.

 

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You can't prove she's not Marilyn reincarnated. (You really canít!)

DeeDee is a wife and mother, a collector of kitsch and women's history, and a blogger on vintage living.



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