I smile very sweetly, give him my sultriest bedroom eyes, and purr, "I'm doing my taxes, obviously. My accountant should be here any minute. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK I'M DOING??!??"
He seemed to realize that this was not the reaction I was looking for when I stomped out to the bathroom to remove my makeup and swear at our cat. I was as red as my favorite slutty lipstick.
How could I have been so STUPID? WHY did I think for a second that my innocent-as-the-day-he-was-hatched Catholic choir-boy of a fiance would be into this sad little burlesque wannabe getup?
I was humiliated. My chest hurt and there was a lump in my throat. I was angry enough to slap a nun. I wiped off about $30 worth of Sephora product and hate-wore my rattiest old sweatpants and granniest of panties before stomping back into the bedroom.
What Makes Us Vulnerable?
Why did I react that way? It was such a benign moment that my fiance still had NO CLUE what he had done wrong. Like when a puppy chews up a stiletto and tries to figure out why you're yelling because he's not *quite* yet grasped the nuance between a Laboutin and a strip of rawhide. He couldn't quite put his finger on where things went sideways.
But I know why I freaked out. I made myself vulnerable, and felt rejected. Sex does that sometimes - to just about everyone. When you're vulnerable, fear is driving. Fear of rejection, fear of experimentation, fear of not being good enough or desirable enough ... all of these fears are making your decisions. I had wanted so, so badly to turn him on and make him forget everything but me. When he laughed, even with such an innocent laugh without any ridicule or malice behind it, it cut me to the core because I wasn't in on the joke. I had been dead serious, and he didn't realize it.
Fear exists to protect us. Fear has its place, but it is a shitty bed-mate.
The Key to Bouncing Back
So, I stood there in my shittiest pajamas with a red scrubbed face and a scowl you couldn't smack off with a 2x4 when I shoved the bedroom door open with every intention of giving him the silent treatment until he either apologized or I died of pure spite.
There on the bed, I found him stretched out in his best draw-me-like-one-of-your-French-girls pose. He wore only his dress shoes with socks pulled up to the knees, those boxers he doesn't wear because they're too tight, and a tie.
I was completely frozen for a full half minute before I began to laugh so hard I almost peed myself.
The answer, it turns out, is to laugh it off. Sex was never meant to be taken too seriously. Now, taking care of your body and your partner's body? That you should take pretty damn seriously. The sex act itself? No way. Sex was meant to be laughed at. That's why fifth graders have been drawing penises on their desks since we first emerged from the primordial ooze. Penises and vaginas are objectively hilarious. Seriously, even medieval English poems are full of dick jokes, and they literally jailed people for having sex when they weren't supposed to have it.
When it comes to sexual embarrassment, the best course of action is to forgive yourself, forgive the other person, and let it go. That might not be possible right away. My ego was sore for a few days afterwards, and it took more than one heart-to-heart conversation to heal my wounded sense of intimacy. It took even more time for me to open up to him with a performance like that again. Yet with time, we turned a rough patch into a fun thing by shopping for lingerie together.
Embarrassment happens to everyone. It has nothing to do with how sexy or sexually skilled you are. If you don't treat sex like it has to be serious while you're having it, you leave room for fun. Then you can explore in safety with your dignity intact. Sex is supposed to be fun. Sometimes, it's funny. Oh, and laughing is totally sexy.