It was my last semester of college and I was broke. I was just getting to the point where I was frequenting the dollar store for meals when I found an ad in the local newspaper for a bartender/waitress position at some classy jazz bar in the fancy part of town. The job required that you apply in person, so I headed down to the bar, sort of lied about my experience, and was hired on the spot.
The guy who hired me—my new boss—was a total babe. He was a bit older than me, with blonde locks that made him look like an ancient Greek god, and he played guitar in a John Denver cover band, which was the epitome of coolness to 24-year-old me. I started my first shift a couple days later and realized that while my boss was kind of an asshole (he was serious and intimidating, almost as if he'd been in the bar business for too long) I kind of wanted to bang him.
We had worked together for a few months, flirting with each other here and there, when one night he asked me if I wanted to "watch a movie or something" after work. We all know what that means. I'm no stranger to crossing boundaries, and I'd been secretly hoping to hook up with him for months—plus, I was going through a bit of a dry spell—so I figured I'd go for the gold.
We went to his apartment, watched about 20 minutes of a movie I've since forgotten, and started making out. My conscience was telling me that it would be a bad life decision to fuck my boss, and I was enjoying making him wait, so we didn't go any further.
It wasn't long before he invited me over again. We started making out on his bed again, except this time, our clothes came off. I'm usually extremely responsible about having safe sex (no glove no love, am I right ladies?) but this time I got caught up in the moment. He thrust inside of me two or three times without a condom before I made him stop. I wasn't on birth control, and the last thing I needed to tell my parents was that I got knocked up by a bartender/musician who also happened to be my boss.
The next morning, I left for a trip to the Pacific Northwest to visit some friends. He took me to the airport and texted me sweet nothings while I was away, making future plans and all that nonsense. It was nice.
Shortly into my vacation, I couldn't help but notice that something was... not right down there. My vagina felt like a leaky faucet. At points, it throbbed so painfully that I can only describe it as the feeling of someone throwing battery acid on my genitals. I tried to enjoy my vacation, but it was nearly impossible with the constant nagging from down south. Peeing was excruciating. It was so itchy all the time that it was hard to walk or sleep—to do anything, really. Strange smells were coming from down there, too, and there was a waterfall of weird discharge.
I had really fucked up this time. I had to tell the man who signed my paychecks that he had nearly killed my vagina.
I started to suspect that this had come from my boss, but I didn't want to say anything yet—first of all, he was my boss, and secondly, I can't think of anything more sabotaging to a blossoming romance than accusations of an STD—and after all, maybe it was just a really terrible yeast infection.
A couple of days later, as I rolled out of bed, I almost fainted upon standing. That's when I knew shit was getting real. I drove myself to an STD clinic where I sat in the crowded waiting room for hours, my vagina burning, itching, and feeling like Niagara Falls, and contemplated if I ever wanted contact with a penis again. They finally called me in and I lay back on the white butcher paper-covered exam table with my poor vagina exposed to the crisp air conditioned room. The nurse did some swabs while I looked up at the cat posters stapled to the ceiling.
When the nurse came back, she had that look of sympathy in her eyes that can only mean bad news. The HIV test had come back negative—but I did have a sexually transmitted infection. Actually, I had five. The tests had come back positive for gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and bacterial vaginosis; later, my pap smear confirmed that I also had HPV.
I was shocked. Maybe it's possible that I had some of these diseases beforehand and they were laying dormant, but I hadn't had sex with anyone else in over four months, and even then, I wore condoms and got tested regularly. If all of these problems did indeed come from one person, my boss must have had the most diseased dick in America.
The nurse gave me two antibiotic shots in the ass and prescribed me a handful of oral antibiotics and sent me limping onwards with a vagina full of infection and a heart full of regret. I had really fucked up this time. Worst of all, it wasn't over: I had to tell the man who signed my paychecks that he had nearly killed my vagina.
We already had a date set for that night at some shitty microbrewery. I knew two things for certain: I wasn't going to break the news in a crowded restaurant, and I needed a fair bit of liquid courage to get through this thing. I ordered myself a beer sampler with at least five varieties of craft beers and drunkenly small talked my way through dinner.
Afterward, we went back to his house. He put on Harold and Maude—once my favorite movie, now forever associated with shitty memories. I nervously sat on the other end of his couch and prepared myself. Here goes nothing, I thought, mentally pep-talking myself into breaking the news.
Before I could even say anything, though, he interrupted: "We need to talk." I let out a sigh of relief. Yes! I thought. He already knows and he's going to do the work for me. I looked up at him, relieved, and nodded.
"I don't think I can see you anymore," he said. "You're just too young for me."
All I could do was stare back at him. I was speechless. First he had infected me with practically every sex disease known to mankind—now he was dumping me?
Emboldened by all the beer I had drank, I started yelling at him, breaking the news about my vagina and all the STDs. He denied everything, arguing that it was impossible, and that it couldn't have been him. I stormed out of his apartment.
In normal breakups, you can scream "I never want to see you again!" and slam the door in someone's face. But when you're seeing your boss, that's not an option. I dreaded going back to work, where I knew I would have to see him.
The next day, we were called in for a "mandatory meeting." I was so nervous to see him, but the full staff was there and I was able to avoid him entirely as the owner directed the meeting. In a weird twist of fate, we were told that the bar was closing its doors—effective immediately—and were given severance checks.
In a way, it was a miracle: I never had to see him again. But there was a downside, too: I was now unemployed, still broke, and had five sexually transmitted infections. Sometimes you fuck the boss, and sometimes the boss fucks you.