Here’s the punchline first: Two years after we stopped dating, I wrote a kind, understanding email to my friend Richard.
I was in Seoul, Korea, the city of my ancestors, and I’d enjoyed a merry night of drinking soju with friends of all nationalities. After taking one shot too many, my friends had started regaling me with bad sex stories, like that time their orthodox, Catholic roommate walked in, the girl’s cat sat on their head, or they sprained their ankle while rolling off the bed.
It was during this very conversation about sex that sparked a slow, alcohol-induced realization that Richard, whom I’d liked in college, and who had also liked me, had ended our budding romance because he’d never had sex before.
Richard and I had been friends. But once we’d started talking about dating, he’d gotten weird and evasive. On this night of drinking, I realized that his virginity had made him awkward around me, the way someone would be awkward when trying to cook for a vegan without knowing what “vegan food” was.
In this conversation, I realized Richard’s virginity had not been an intentional choice, but a default that he hadn’t liked. This had led to his trembling hands, his spotty phone calls, his inability to hold conversation with me during the time we’d tried dating– which I’d taken as rejection. Which had led to our demise.
And in my sudden forgiving benevolence this night in Seoul, I stopped at the local, 24-hour-access Internet Room, paid for an hour of internet, and wrote Richard an email at 3:46am.
The email I wrote was a kind, loving, understanding email intended to fully, 100% alleviate his awkwardness. It said something like:
“Hey, I was just having a conversation with friends about how being a virgin makes you feel uncomfortable, and I was sharing fond stories about you. I hope you’re doing well. Love, Elisa.”
You know, an email that wouldn’t make him feel awkward. An email like that.
Okay, the actual punchline of the story: The next day, I woke up with zero memory of having written an email. Zero memory of entering the Internet Room, logging into my password-protected email account, typing the email in perfect grammar. Zero. I remembered nothing.
It wasn’t until 3 days later, when randomly checking my “outbox,” that I discovered this kind, loving, understanding letter to my former-flame/awkward-virgin friend, Richard. I read it for (what seemed like) the first time. I was shocked. I was horrified.
Then, I laughed my ass off. Because what else was there left for me to do?*
So today, why do I choose to share this old story with you? I tell you, dear reader, all of this because OH MY GOD I WROTE MY LAST BLOG POST AFTER GETTING (accidentally) DRUNK ON SUNDAY NIGHT.
And I woke up on Monday morning to read the hot mess of a ramble*** that I published to a thousand inboxes, including, probably, yours.
All I can say is: 1. There is a fine line between “honesty” and “just don’t need to say it” that I am on an eternal journey towards discovering; 2. Apparently, my honesty is incoherent, not poetic. And 3. I’m sorry for subjecting you to such a mess.
So, I’m writing this follow-up post to say I’m sorry, y’all, for pulling an ’email to Richard’ episode on you. Please do not judge me, or my writing style, for my inebriated mistake.
And finally, I’m also sorry, L and C, for making you the subjects of my drunken oversharing in this post. I swear I will never ever again share embarrassing stories about either of you. For example, I would not reveal the time one of you ended up on a date with a bartender, because you’d stripped your pants off at a club while sober, and she found it with your wallet and phone number inside. And how the other one of you turned down propositions from 4 heterosexual guys in one week, because they all, coincidentally, happened to be married with children.
I’ve learned my lesson. My honesty, and my writing, cannot handle the inhibition-release of alcohol, particularly since the inhibitions I do have, I should probably try and hang onto.
Meanwhile, y’all have my word. I shall not overshare about any of you again.
Your secrets are totally safe with me.
*don’t answer that
*** since publishing, it’s been heavily edited. yay for editable blog formats!