I’ve been accused of a lot of things in my time–granted, just my New York time. In Los Angeles I was a shut-in incapable of getting into trouble thanks to the sobriety required to drive a car (at least, the sobriety of required of me to drive a car). But when I came to the city that gets “romanticized all out of proportion” (to borrow a phrase from Manhattan), I started letting my long dormant freak flag fly, and, over time, that flag became more like a muleta that taunted and repelled “men” who could sniff the sluttery out on me.
In retrospect, I think any boyfriends I might have had were all fake, a false projection and construction of my mind. Or maybe they were just dicks without one. For either 1) the reaction to sleeping with me was the immediate fear that he had contracted AIDS because he started developing flu-like symptoms (it was all very informed, clearly) or 2) I was insulted on my boudoir skills by being told, “You’re just a prude who’s fucked a lot of people.” In both separate regards, it left me pause to wonder what century I was in. This is no longer the era of Italo Svevo’s As A Man Grows Older, wherein Angiolina, the object of an aging “man’s” affections, Emilio, drives him to madness because of his perception of her as a loose woman.
And if women were not seen as disease-ridden whores, then they’d inevitably bore the “man” interested in them, just prudes who haven’t fucked enough people, really. So maybe wearing a Scarlet A for AIDS is the best way to put everything out in the open for “men” terrified of getting their precious nub ruined by a female “too seasoned.”