This past weekend Bryan and I tiptoed around a topic of conversation that has come up quite a few times over the course of our young relationship and I decided that, good or no, I wanted very much to know the answer to the dreaded question: How many people has he slept with?
“Charlotte, no good can come from it. It’s in his past and it shouldn’t change anything,” my best friend told me when I mentioned to her that I wanted to have this conversation with him. And because I’m so very good at listening to the sage advice of my loving friends, I decided to push him for an answer anyway.
I wasn’t scared of what he would say when I told him my number (awkward teenage years coupled with insecurity, stupid boyfriends in college, and two long-term relationships post college kept my number on the lower end of the scale), but I had a feeling his would be higher than I would have liked. And I also made it clear he couldn’t double and I wouldn’t half. He reluctantly told me his number might change the way I felt about him and that it’s better left unsaid but I reassured him that it wouldn’t. Once I had an idea of just how many girls we were talking about I could just let it lie and I wouldn’t obsess about it ever again.
He made jokes, tried to change the topic, and told me Adam Corolla had said that 50 is a good go-to number: it’s round and sweet, shows experience, and, he insisted, wasn’t high enough to make a woman faint. I didn’t tell him that even this number seemed high, and it’s a good thing I didn’t because he was honest and told me what it really was (which, consequently, was considerably higher than Corolla’s ballpark figure).
Wilt Chamberlain* buried his head in the pillow and said we never should have brought it up. But I didn’t blink. I wanted to make good on my promise of not freaking out, and, somehow I felt a wave of calm once he did finally release that information to me.
Am I happy his number is on the high side? No. But it doesn’t discredit what we share and he’s never made me feel as though I was just another notch on the belt. Did he care that my number was on the low side? No. Although this does touch on a whole other topic of double standards that exist in our society. I wonder what would have happened if I had pulled the same number out of my hat that he presented me with.
Have you ever broken up with a boyfriend or had someone break up with you because they weren’t happy with your number? Do you have a cut off number, as in, if someone has slept with X amount of people, you can’t date him/her? Is this a conversation you steer clear of in general?
Talk to me.
And for the record, I’m not going anywhere. A number is a number is a number.
*As much as I tease, Bryan comes nowhere near Wilt’s record-breaking claim of sleeping with 20,000 women. Good god, when did that man sleep?!