This one comes with a TRIGGER WARNING. Explicit matters discussed.
ASHLEY: So how you been? It’s been, like…
JESSIFER: Two years. Since we talked. More or less.
ASHLEY: Right. Yeah. Hey, um, is it true that… um…
ASHLEY: I mean um… Are you seeing anybody?
JESSIFER: Yes, what you have heard is true. I am dating two different guys. They both know about each other. No, we do not have threesomes—one of them gets really freaked out by that whole, like, idea.
ASHLEY: I wasn’t gonna—
JESSIFER: I know, I just like to get this shit out of the way. How about you? Are you seeing anybody?
ASHLEY: Oh, um.
JESSIFER: Heard you went out with John Paris. He’s cute. Not really my type, seems like kind of a… I’m gonna say “square”?
ASHLEY: Yeah. Yeah, he does kind of give that impression. Listen, I… I’m sorry about…
JESSIFER: Dropping off the face of the earth?
JESSIFER: It happens. I’m over it.
ASHLEY: It’s just, I… Back then…
JESSIFER: I get it. People talk. Jessifer’s a big slut, right? Just like her mom? Never mind that my parents have been together more than twenty years and still fuck pretty regularly. I’m sorry, am I shocking you?
ASHLEY: No, it’s okay.
JESSIFER: ‘Cause, I mean, you asked me here. After all this time. Figured there had to be a reason you stopped talking to me, right?
ASHLEY: Listen, I… I’ve been thinking about that, about how… How I’ve judged you?
ASHLEY: I’m sorry.
JESSIFER: Apology accepted.
ASHLEY: Thank you.
JESSIFER: You’re welcome. So what’s changed?
JESSIFER: Why are you bothering to make amends? Why now? What’s changed?
ASHLEY: Oh, um… I just wanted to talk.
ASHLEY: There’s just some stuff that I can’t really talk to my other friends about.
JESSIFER: Are you gonna make me guess what kind of stuff? Is this about sex?
ASHLEY: Yeah. Yes. I mean, ‘cause, I mean, you’ve had sex, right?
JESSIFER: I have.
ASHLEY: I mean, you seem pretty open about it, pretty non-judgmental.
JESSIFER: What’s there to judge?
ASHLEY: My other friends are very judgmental.
JESSIFER: Yeah. Have you had sex?
JESSIFER: Or are you thinking about having sex? I mean… John Paris. That guy’s a… Isn’t he kinda gung-ho for Jesus or something? Wait, he hasn’t… OK, so… Let me take a step back here. Why are we talking about sex? Are you… do you want to be having sex?
ASHLEY: I don’t know—
JESSIFER: OK, so that’s a no. If you don’t know, if you aren’t absolutely sure that you want to be having sex, then you do not want to be having sex enough that you should be having sex.
JESSIFER: Has he been pressuring you? I mean, that seems a little out of character. Oh, God. Ashley. Did something happen?
ASHLEY: I don’t know.
JESSIFER: Did he—
ASHLEY: I’m okay—
JESSIFER: Oh, sweetie, no. No, you’re not okay. I’m sorry. It was him, wasn’t it?
ASHLEY: I didn’t—
JESSIFER: Did you say yes?
JESSIFER: Did you say no?
ASHLEY: I don’t… It just happened so fast, OK?
JESSIFER: What happened? Sweetie? What happened?
ASHLEY: I’m not like you, OK? I can’t just talk about this!
JESSIFER: Then why did you ask me here? Ashley, please, honey, I promise you will feel better if you actually talk about it. Just let it out.
ASHLEY: But if I talk about it, then…
JESSIFER: Then it’ll become real. Which is good. You want it to be real. It happened. Pretending that it didn’t isn’t going to help anybody. Least of all you.
ASHLEY: I didn’t say no.
JESSIFER: Did you say yes?
ASHLEY: I don’t know.
JESSIFER: Did you ask him to stop?
ASHLEY: I don’t… I don’t think that he did anything wrong.
JESSIFER: But you didn’t want to do it?
ASHLEY: I don’t think that I really communicated that to him, though.
JESSIFER: It’s not your job to communicate to him that you don’t want to have sex. If you do want to have sex, that’s what you communicate.
ASHLEY: I’m supposed to see him again. Later tonight.
JESSIFER: Is that what you want? How do you feel about him?
ASHLEY: He’s not who I thought he was.
JESSIFER: Yeah, from what you’re saying, he’s not who I thought he might be, either. I mean, I figured him for a jerk, but I just had the angle all wrong. Hey, it’s okay.
ASHLEY: I just keep thinking, you know… What did I do? What made me…
JESSIFER: You didn’t do anything.
ASHLEY: But he was such a nice guy!
JESSIFER: No. He’s not. You can’t blame yourself for that.
ASHLEY: I feel dirty.
ASHLEY: Because now… I mean, even though… I didn’t want it. I didn’t. I really didn’t. But now…
JESSIFER: Why “dirty”, though? Why that word?
ASHLEY: ‘Cause like… I don’t know.
JESSIFER: Are you saying that you want sex now? Or that you’re, like, curious, at least? I mean, first of all, wow, that’s not a reaction that a lot of girls have, at least not from what I’ve heard, to that kind of experience—and that’s okay. It’s okay to, you know, you feel what you feel, just… Why “dirty”?
ASHLEY: Because now I want sex.
JESSIFER: What’s dirty about that?
ASHLEY: Don’t you ever…
JESSIFER: No! Do I feel dirty? No! Sex is not “dirty”. It can be slimy and it can be sweaty, but I mean, that’s the fun part. It can be gross, I guess, especially if you’re not used to it, or if people have told you specifically that you need to be grossed out by it. And, OK, I guess if you don’t do it right, it can be… unsanitary? But it doesn’t sound like that’s what you mean. Is it?
ASHLEY: It’s just, it’s not how I think of myself, you know? I’m not that kind of girl.
JESSIFER: What kind of girl are you? What kind of girl is the kind of girl who doesn’t want to have sex?
ASHLEY: I’m… I don’t know, sweet. You know?
JESSIFER: You don’t think I’m sweet? I mean, I know I can be blunt sometimes, but…
ASHLEY: I mean, no, I don’t mean, like… It’s not that you’re not a good person, that’s not what I’m saying at all, but… I always thought of myself as, you know, innocent.
JESSIFER: You don’t think I’m innocent?
ASHLEY: I mean, have you heard yourself talk?
JESSIFER: I’m sorry, does having sex make a person “guilty”? Is that what we’ve come to here? And I’m not talking about what happened to you; what John Paris did, that definitely does make him guilty. But where’s the crime in being curious or even, sure, I’ll say it, being lustful when it comes to sex? What does that have to do with Innocence? Some of the worst atrocities ever committed were committed by people who were actively trying to stop sex from happening, to curb sexual desire—sex isn’t a crime! If anything, for most of history, sex has been the victim. So don’t feel “dirty” about wanting it. Feel… I don’t know, feel powerful. Feel good about yourself. You’re out here reclaiming your sexuality, reclaiming this beautiful thing that’s been beaten, you know? And tarnished, dragged through the mud. Think of it as like… Think of it as like a dog, like this itty bitty pupper that never did nothing to nobody but be kind and sweet, but you can tell it’s been just, somebody just thrashed the poor thing to within an inch of its life. And you don’t know who, because, I don’t know, they’re gone, they don’t even matter anymore, but now you’ve got this cute little puppy that makes you feel… I don’t know, some kinda way about the world, it doesn’t matter. So now you’ve got the opportunity to take that poor, abused little doggy, maybe it’s a pitbull, you know, and everybody’s always told you pitbulls are mean, but it’s this cute little doggie, and so you take that cute little doggie, you take this precious thing, and you help it become something beautiful.
ASHLEY: Did you just compare sex to a dog?
JESSIFER: What? I like dogs. Do you see what I mean, though? It doesn’t have to be dirty. It’s a beautiful thing! Despite, you know… everything.
ASHLEY: Are you telling me I should get back on that horse?
JESSIFER: Sorry, it’s funny how sex is a horse now, instead of a dog. But do you want to get back on it? Is that what you want? ‘Cause, I mean, if that’s what you want, I could probably hook you up. My boys are pretty obedient and I don’t mind sharing ‘em. That sounded so wrong, I’m sorry, I can tell you’re shocke again, and that’s not what I meant, but like, I’m sorry. My point is, if that is what you want, I mean look at you, you would not have any trouble finding another horse to get onto, maybe one that’s a little better behaved? And not a jack-ass? Sorry, I’m having way too much fun with that metaphor now. But, like, is that what you want?
ASHLEY: I don’t know.
JESSIFER: Well, what did we say about not being sure? You know, the other thing they don’t really tell you. It’s okay to just be curious. You know, to be that, without actually acting on it. If this was how you’d always felt, I’m betting we wouldn’t have not been friends for the last two years. So this is, like, a new thing for you, from the sound of it. So I’d say, just be curious for a while.
ASHLEY: What about John Paris?
JESSIFER: Oh, fuck that guy. I mean, not, like… Never mind. Don’t “fuck” John Paris.
ASHLEY: What should I do, though?
JESSIFER: Well, first of all, I would say, as your friend, cancel whatever you had going on with him tonight, and maybe tomorrow at school, make it clear to him—in a very public space—that you don’t want to see him anymore, because he is a villain.
ASHLEY: Should I report him?
JESSIFER: I really want to say yes, to that. But in this town? Honestly, it’s likely to hurt you more than it’ll hurt him. I mean, for the purposes of statistics, I would still say yes, you should definitely report him, even if nothing legal actually happens, but I mean, you need to know the risks of the situation. You need to know that… that could actually put you in more danger.
ASHLEY: So you think I should let it go?
JESSIFER: I think that you should let go of him. But I want to be very clear about this, too, I am not saying that John Paris ought to go unpunished.
ASHLEY: So then… what?
JESSIFER: Do you really want to know?
ASHLEY: I don’t know. Do I?
JESSIFER: You know what I said before about how sex doesn’t necessarily make a person not innocent anymore?
JESSIFER: Let’s just say that there are other things that might make me guilty.
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