Relationship Milestones with Sophie St. Thomas

June 10, 2014 • Love & Sex

Marriage. Children. Starting a shared Instagram account for a drop-kick dog (noun: a dog so annoyingly rat-like you’d like to drop-kick it off a bridge like in Anchor Man). Truth be told I’ll likely end up getting married one day when I’m responsible enough to deposit checks on time before my bank account falls into the negatives and pop out a mini-Soph or two that I’ll dress up like Bowie for Halloween, but as the present tense goes let’s discuss the relationship milestones that don’t have Pinterest boards dedicated to them. If love will tear us apart, trips to the free STD clinic will bring us together. But first let’s get some period stains on some sheets and fall in love, k?

  1. Witnessing bodily functions that your kindergarten teacher would file under “potty mouth” if you discussed them. Real talk: the first night you spend sleeping next together spooning, uh… the little spoon probably farted on the big spoon in their sleep. The first few weeks you may pretend not to notice if you smell a smelly-smell out of politeness. I once heard of a trick that girls do where they pull their butt cheeks apart under the sheets as apparently this prevents an audible “toot.”  Yet eventually after a night of take-out watching a movie, one is going to slip out that you cannot deny or blame on the dude next to you at the bar. All you can do is laugh.
  2. Period blood. Everyone should be entitled to their own views on period sex, but everyone should not be entitled to act like a dick when it accidentally happens and some gets on your sheets. The female reproductive system is more mysterious than the deep sea and perhaps has scientists more baffled. Even when on birth control or for the sort of women who keep a “cycle calendar,” sometimes we just bleed unexpectedly. If you’re an adult male and you cannot handle this fact or act grossed out by blood on a condom, I curse you with a sex life filled solely with hand jobs. If you swing the other direction and happen to be really into period sex, look at these cool zombie blood sheets I found on Etsy! No more hiding stains!
  3. Keeping some of your things at their apartment. In the early stages of seeing someone, you can’t meet them at dinner with a toothbrush and a change of clothes because it’s presumptuous that you’re going home together, and you certainly can’t bring a bag of extra underwear and work clothes presuming there will be many nights to come you have sleepovers. This conversation usually arises naturally. Until then, keep a change of clothes and a toothbrush at your office or learn the art of converting a man’s oxford shirt into a dress.
  4. Deleting your online dating profile I suppose this is only applicable if you met online. Although these days everyone at least has Tinder, no? I dated someone once who kept his OkCupid active for months after we were exclusive. When I found out, he explained he enjoyed the ego boost of the messages. Unless you’re in an open relationship and it states so on your profile or on there with your significant other looking for a third, maintaining a dating profile while committed to another is rude and misleading for all parties involved, your partner as well as those who message you. How to approach the subject? It may seem outrageous, but I advise simply having an adult conversation about it at the appropriate time in the relationship.
  5. Facebook relationship statuses. You’re brand new, shiny in love and want to shout it and show the world! I get being excited about a new relationship and wanting to let people know, but from past experiences going forward I’d advise the old fashioned method of just telling people when you’re ready; as entertaining it can be to your 1000+ Internet friends to watch your relationship status dip and dive. One major question I have for Facebook is: What’s up with the “It’s complicated” option? Are not all relationships complicated? Is that not a given? If a relationship is so fucking complicated it needs a public badge why would one broadcast their romantic instabilities? Honestly “It’s complicated” seems like a more fitting option from a drop-down menu for the employment section of one’s profile.
  6. Getting sick. When some men get sick they tend to either act like Bruce Willis from Unbreakable or an adult baby from My Strange Addiction. It’s complete denial that they are capable of the human weakness of viruses or bacteria entering their bodies coupled with mass consumption of Dayquil or they’re in the fetal position begging for tummy rubs. I find either rather endearing, as long as if they go the superhero-route they take care of themselves somewhat so they don’t become deathly ill. When I get sick I usually push through it until my body stages a protest and calls me a cab home from work and turns on Netflix without even consulting my brain. If I’m highly contagious and my dude has an important business trip coming up I’ll be respectful, but when someone’s immediate reaction to hearing their partner is sick is a whiny, “but what if I get sick!?” you’re kind of a self-adsorbed douche nozzle.
  7. The end of condoms. This one is my favorite! If I wanted to write this more romantically, it would read “monogamy,” as I only have unprotected sex with those we’ve agreed we’re sleeping together exclusively and know are clean. Although I’ll make this clear when someone tries to not use one, I’ll also make it clear that there’s no way I’m agreeing to be your girlfriend just because you like it raw like ODB.
  8. Shimmy shimmy ya, shimmy yam, shimmy yay. Tied into relationship milestone above yet used for other awkward purposes (unwanted pregnancies, birth control, discussion around such subjects ideally should be less awkward, which I am perpetuating by labeling it so, but let’s be real there is no way around the fact that decisions around how and when to avoid pregnancy can be emotional and uncomfortable) is both getting tested. As an OCD-sufferer who keeps the coochie clean, I’d swoon more intensely over an envelope containing test results than a love letter (although I will happily take both). Then, assuming other proper birth control methods are in place, we can become fluid-bonded (my favorite expression to use that makes me feel like a real sex columnist)!
  9. The first time you meet the ex–which will happen sooner or later depending on how close they remain in their group of friends. A difference I’ve noticed between 23-year-old Sophie and 26-year-old Sophie is that I used to Facebook stalk my boyfriend’s exes and make totally unwarranted assumptions about their lameness. I still have a jealous streak and will likely check out someone’s ex largely out of curiosity, but not with the disdain or frequency once upon a time. I’ve actually found myself been thinking, “Cool, I totally see what he saw in her.” Not to mention, they dated before they even knew I existed and broke up for a reason, so getting jealous over them is like hoarding resentment towards the previous owner of my cat. (No, I don’t own boyfriends or make love to my cat, but you get my point). Sometimes you have to meet these creatures of the past if they are still in the present as a friend or through mutual friends. It’s always going to be sort of weird making casual conversation with someone who knows what it’s like to bang your boyfriend, but what can you do but play nice.
  10. The first indiscretion. It could be a simple uncomfortable drunk flirtation, a string of texts messages that evolve to innuendo, a stolen kiss, or yeah, you might get cheated on. Monogamy and infidelity are such complicated and case-by-case instances I can’t offer more advice than if it happens: Why, are you capable of forgiveness, and is the love between you still there?
Read more:
Why Did Richard Prince Cross The Road?
Sylvan Esso’s “Play It Right”

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