That question is often asked in the trenches of a dark, seedy bar between two people more loaded than a pair of Las Vegas dice! It can be very flattering for a new guy to approach you and ask you for a way to contact you whenever you cross his mind. However, what if the “number” to which he refers is NOT telephonically correlated?? Time for everyone’s favorite subject: MATH!!
It can be a very nerve-wracking discussion of course, but in the interest of illustrating the many ways in which gays should stop trying to parallelize the practices, norms, and mores of our straight counterparts, perhaps gays not need to ask the question at all. Do you wonder about the number of men (and women, if applicable) that your current husband, boyfriend, beau, or hookup has “slept with?”
On Friday’s episode of Anderson, the new talk show for the famous (and sexy!) CNN reporter with the last name Cooper, Anna Faris (of Scary Movie fame) came on to promote her new movie, “What’s Your Number?” In this movie, Anna plays a woman who is led to believe that “the one” may have been one of her 20 exes. So, she goes on a quest to look all of them up in the hopes that the second time around will be the love she missed before. The movie came out yesterday.
During her interview on Anderson, Anna discussed the idea of asking your new friend about his sexual experiences. Of course, as expected, there was also a psychotherapist on hand to assist with the philosophy behind this and a few tangential issues. I wondered how many of us even think about that number, and what a certain number would say to us about our potential beau. Do we expect that the men we date have been with half the town simply by virtue of being male, or do we think a little more logically and take into consideration things like lifestyle, libido, and age?
I think gay men are only mindful to the past of our exes in the sense of their possible exposure to STDs, particularly HIV. In my experience, gay men are only concerned with catching the next major STD on the “cure list,” and given the current state of medicine with regard to the world eradication of HIV, people (but particularly gay men) seem to be less cautious* about dating or relating with “poz” men.
When I say cautious, I just mean that many people do not see HIV as the “death sentence” it used to be back when it was the virtually unsolvable puzzle during its discovery to the American public in the early 1980’s. Many of us are aware that the disease exists, and either know someone who has it (whether they even know it or not), has slept with someone who has at least been exposed to it, or we have it ourselves (whether we know it or not)!
That said, think about a few things, and answer these questions in the comments section:
- Would you ask your lover (someone you are or intend to sleep with) for their number? Do you think it’s a conversation worth having?
- How willing would you be to offer your number? Would you lie about the answer? High or low?
- Given our current state of affairs, including medical advances and social consensus, of what importance is a suitor’s number to you?
- Is 5 a lot? 20? 100? 500? Is there a “too many?” If so, what is that number based on?
- Is it better to have a high number or a low number?
The psychotherapist for the show, Dr. Heide Banks, remarked that the only thing that matter in a relationship is THAT relationship. What she means is that new boyfriends should not concern themselves or their new dates/suitors with regaling, reminiscing, or regretting ghosts of boyfriends past. Leave the past where it is. Learn the lessons, and move on with someone new. I tend to agree.
To conclude, I will just note that while I think knowing that number (either of yourself or your suitor) is important for a few reasons, I certainly don’t think that it is telling of the kind of person you are as an individual. I would be wlling to bet that if more of the guys that many of us have been with were at least as interested in monogamy and commitment as they claim to be, many of our numbers might be halved! What do you think? True or false?
Therefore, I think it only fitting that Salt ‘N’ Pepa have the last word on this issue…at least for now. After all, in the end, it’s None of Your Business!