90 Days and 90 Nights by Hari Nef
Here’s what happened:
On day 14, I didn’t have sex with the businessman visiting from Israel who wanted to stick his hand down the front of my jeans but didn’t want to look at me.
On day 16, I didn’t have sex with the guy who’d slept with at least three of my best friends because it seemed too easy.
On day 18, I didn’t have sex with the man I kissed in the lounge because he might have given me chlamydia last year.
On day 50, I didn’t have sex with the straight guy who vanished from campus last year who greeted me by telling me I looked beautiful and that he hadn’t had sex in a very long time and that was really eating him lately.
On day 50, I also didn’t have sex with the net artist I met on Tinder who strictly wanted to collaborate.
On day 68, I didn’t have sex with the well-read swimmer I met in the undergraduate dean of Columbia’s boardroom.
On day 78, I didn’t have sex with the very handsome young man who seemed to like me (I got drunk off the Moët opened bar and demanded his intentions).
On day 85, I once again didn’t have sex with my ex-partner after we shot these photos for the first installment of my sex column, which I would happen to file after not having sex for 90 days.
Early in the day, Zak texted me, trying to get a sense for my angle:
Coul u re iterate what your gonna be talking about
hari and men fall 2k13 loll
seeing, being seen
being more available and more untouchable than ever
hating men worshipping men etc
negotiating the ways i can snatch validation from them
Cool thank you
These have been the 90 days since the end of the 370 days I dated Zak. The past 510 days have been crazy:
I turned 20, then I turned 21.
Waxed my chest four times, and lasered it twice.
Smoked 16 ounces of weed.
Mourned three deaths.
Lost 20 pounds.
Gained 4,000 followers on 2 social media platforms.
Worked three internships and got fired from one.
Backed out on the better part of one gender.
The 90 days have not made sense of themselves. They sent mixed messages about what I wanted and what I could get. They drove me out of my dorm room and right back into it. They taught me about the blood work and the hormones. They closed my body up. They turned me out. They exalted me.
I counted each day ardently, stubbornly, sobbing into a bong and knowing my beauty. I sent one-word scorchers to contacts with no surnames. I scoffed at proposals for threesomes and I never missed rehearsals. Tinder and OKCupid sent me daily alerts of compatible pairings. They lay untouched by either party.
Zak answers me when I text him. I’ve texted him seven times since we broke up. Jokes come first, compliments. I blossom from the contact. I ask him how he is; I bury him in my latest triumph. But then I get weird. I switch to lower case letters. I solar-print myself in the image of a romcom heroine, smiling through tears:
yeah mom told me I was nicer when i had a boyfriend if u can believe that
at least people have stopped coming up to me IN THE CLUB being like
“did you and zak break up”
i can’t decide whether i’m like “that’s funny” or “that’s depressing”
probably both lol
But I’m no match for him. He knows how to handle me. He’ll send back some single word, lurid and kind. Zak is good at not wanting me anymore. He lets me down easy. I’m always thinking about how mean I was to him, and how good he felt on top of me. Zak was my first or second love. I love Zak.
He showed up 32 minutes late and set up his camera equipment. He watched me get naked and wrap myself up in a dusty black sheet. I never looked into the lens; I counted my powers. I asked him if he’d had sex with anyone since we broke up. He told me he had. I asked if he’d noticed that I’d lost weight. He told me people had been talking about it. The battery died and he went over to change it. I took my phone out and found Zak’s new lover on Facebook within 10 seconds.
I threw myself on a rusty old bed; I moved my body and touched it. I gave him what I thought he deserved, and what I thought I deserved. I wanted to push a safety pin into my throat.
Photography by Zak Krevitt
Hari Nef is an actress, writer, and casting director living in New York City.