Thanks For The Toothbrush

In a brand new creative narrative, Label presents a real experience of how it feels to find yourself as part of someone's well-thought-out plan to use you as a one night stand. Despite the fun that no-strings-attached encounters can bring, the piece explores being at the wrong end of a sexual power imbalance, and the importance of respect in any sexual relationship. 

I didn’t feel cheap until I saw that unopened toothbrush. The very fact that he had an entire cabinet of his medicine chest dedicated to ‘house guests’ really soured the entire evening. The mood music, the Prosecco, the plate of Belgian chocolates- it was all part of his game of seduction. And standing there in his bathroom, looking at the unopened toothbrush that had been earmarked for his next ‘sleepover’, crushed my sense of self-worth.

Then something happened- I started to laugh. I stood there smiling to myself in the mirror wondering how much money he must spend on toothbrushes each month. Does he buy them in bulk? Or does he replace them on an occasion-to-occasion basis? I took a breath, and changed my mind-set. If this was a game, fine. Let’s play.

I have no tolerance for those who judge men or women based on their sexual exploits. Whether you’ve slept with 100 people or one person, in my opinion, it doesn’t matter- as long as you do so with respect. This man did not respect me, and that was the difference. Leading me into his bathroom, showing me the medicine cabinet full of “everything I might need” for the night, the expectation that I was a weak enough person that I would still spend the night after so much manipulation, that made me mad. He wasn’t looking for a night of physical pleasure; the sex would have been mingled with his need to be psychologically dominant and emotionally abusive.

'Just a part of his game of seduction'

'Just a part of his game of seduction'

I’m not sure if I’m a “mean” person for what I did next. I continued to stroke his ego, take the abuse, and let him think of me as demure. Yet, slowly, but surely, I started to fight back. I teased him by slipping just out of reach every time he lunged to kiss me. I slowly undressed him while remaining fully clothed. And I was more than willing to demonstrate my flexibility. You could see the frustration starting to build. And, when it got to the point of the evening where he said I needed to make up my mind about whether I was going to stay or not, I said “ok,” put on my shoes, kissed him goodbye and walked out the door.

The moral of the story is this: I see nothing worth condemnation about a one-night-stand. However, our sexual needs do not override our obligation to be respectful. Any form of relationship, whether it’s a night of bliss or a long-term-commitment, is abusive if one partner is dominating (and not in a BDSM kind of way). That he spent the entire evening manipulating me by simultaneously demeaning me, and then making me cocktails and hand-feeding me chocolates is abusive; almost to prove that he was somehow better than me. How insecure he must be if he derives pleasure by “conquering” those he believes he’s made submissive! I smiled as I walked home that night, and simply thought, “thanks for the toothbrush.”