“You must’ve had a night where you did two grams of nasty blow in New York City and a fifth of Jack Daniel’s and been with not the greatest chick you ever slept with and you got two hours’ sleep and you wake up and it’s the morning rush and you’re hearing honk! honk! honk! out your window and it’s gray and it’s cold and you just want to die. At that moment, yeah, I regretted what I’d done the night before. But big-picture regrets? Nah.” Iggy Pop
I have done a lot of things. I recall a week a couple of decades ago where I woke up in a different bed every night. Not alone. I have no idea why. Anyway it was all self-discovery and the important part of my journey or anyone else’s is this: You decide your own morality and your own parameters. What you do should make you feel good about yourself or at the least not screw with you mentally and emotionally. There is no one size fits all and there’ll always be an alleyway you didn’t intend to traverse but that’s ok. Accept it and move on. There is one other proviso: you can make mistakes. But you can’t call it a mistake if you keep doing it and then feeling crap. That’s just absolving yourself from your decisions.
What you do as single person has nothing to do with anyone else
Your romantic and sexual life has to be a good fit for you. It has nothing to do with what others do or what you think you should be doing at a particular stage of life. All I suggest is that you are able to do it with dignity and self-respect so that you feel good about yourself. Otherwise you’ll find yourself in a spiral of behaviour that increasingly makes you hate yourself and then you’re going round in ever decreasing circles. Remember, nobody decides for you. You and only you are in charge of your choices. And you’re responsible for them. All of them. If you can’t handle that then don’t leave the house.
Self-respect isn’t what you think it is
My pal Suze, chose to be a swinger in her forties. She’s done everything you can think of and lots you probably could never imagine. But she’s also one smart, clued-up lady who made sure she did it on her terms and was happy. And while it was a big part of her life, it wasn’t obvious to anyone unless she told you. She carries herself with confidence and self-respect because she’s happy with who she is and with her choices in life. When she decided she’d had enough, she took herself out of it. She commands respect because everyone knows she makes her choices to suit herself and she owns them. She respects herself and consequently people respect and admire her.
Now, let’s compare that to a girl who obsesses over a guy she barely knows, the girl who projects what she wants to happen rather than look at what is happening. A girl who won’t take silence or even ‘no’ for an answer. A girl who texts, Snapchats, stalks on Facebook and won’t stop no matter what. This is the kind of self-defeating behaviour that won’t just shred her dignity publicly, but also lead to a lot of unhappy moments alone and inevitably affect her self-respect because she’ll hate herself for doing it.
Here’s the thing. Self-respect isn’t about conforming to a homogenous morality: rather it’s about being confident, comfortable and acting in a manner that means people can see you’re someone to respect, not someone to mess with. This doesn’t have to be broadcast loudly or carved into a stone tablet. It doesn’t require you to make endless lists on dating sites (actually as you’ll discover it’s quite the opposite) but to figure out your needs, your choices and your vision of the life you want to live. A life that suits you emotionally, not just sexually or socially because if you mess with your emotions and act in ways that undermine you, other people will fuck with you as well. That’s how it works. Male or female. Self-respect applies (And all other genders that I can’t keep up with)
You decide. And then you live with your choices. So the first step is to figure out what’s making you unhappy and get rid of it.