My So-Called Thot Year


Long story short: I didn’t have sex until I was 24. Then, eight years later, I met the love of my life, whom I affectionately call British Baekoff because he’s a Brit and likes to bake, duh! Anyway, sometimes I wonder if the Universe was like, “Good grief, boo, you’re not taking that puss-puss out for enough spins off the lot, so let’s put it on CarMax, so a grown-ass man—who files his taxes early and wears sensible pants—can take you off the market.” #IsThisHowJoanDidionStartedHerEssays.

Jokes aside, the moment I knew my boyfriend was my soul mate, any shot I had at discovering and releasing my inner thot onto the world was gone. Not that I’m complaining; I’m very happy in my relationship. Still, there are moments where I wonder what would’ve happened if I had had a little more fun when I was younger. Much like when those lucky high school graduates take a year off (aka a gap year) to explore the world, I wonder if I—nay, everyone—should have a thot year. Hear me out.

A thot year is not about getting as many notches on your belt as you can, or sleeping around with emotional disregard. Although, if that is what you desire, go for it. Rather, I imagine a thot year, especially for women, to be about embracing and exploring their sexuality without fear of judgment. A solid 12 months to get to know themselves, their likes and dislikes, their kinks, fantasies, etc. And this is not limited to physical acts. Erotic conversation and emotional entanglements are also on the menu, and hopefully, the spirit of this time will remain long after the thot year is over, and ultimately prevent the fallout from a sexually and sensually unfulfilled/unexplored life and/or midlife crisis and/or regret.

So if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to imagine what I would do if I had a year of singledom and thottery.

phoebe robinson

How am I supposed to feel sexy when I can barely keep my feet moisturized?

David Goldman Photo


How am I supposed to feel sexy when I can barely keep my feet moisturized? Any other time of year, my skin is soft and buttery like a leather jacket, but the second the temperature dips below 40 degrees, my feet—and only my feet—dry up to the point where one could host Burning Man on them with the proper permits.

“But Phoebe,” you say, “are you sure you’re trying everything you can to alleviate your dry and cracked feet?” Yes, yes, y’all. I slather Aveeno Cracked Skin Relief on my feet the way Black parents apply Vaseline to their children’s faces: rough as hell and in excess, to the point where they should come with their own Slippery When Wet signage from the New York City Department of Sanitation.

Clearly, it’s impossible for me to effectively thot if I have to (a) turn foreplay into a PowerPoint presentaysh about my raggedy feet; (b) pretend my dry heels aren’t exfoliating his calves during penetraysh; or (c) worst-case scenario: submerge my feet in lotion, put on socks so thick and big they could double as mascot footwear, and try to have sex anyway.

Men tend to think that looking good in a turtleneck is a personality, nationality, and sexuality.

But honestly, even if I didn’t have dry-feet issues, I wouldn’t be out thottin’ and plottin’ because winter is awful. The sun sets at 3:17 p.m., and whenever I walk down an icy sidewalk, I feel like a contestant on a game show called So You Tryna Die Today? Someone’s always offering me Swiss Miss hot cocoa. Everyone is wearing chunky knit sweaters like they’re Felicity when she shows up to University of New York’s orientation week.

Then there are the rare dudes who rock turtlenecks. If you encounter one, run. Not because I think turtlenecks aren’t for men. Turties are for everyone. It’s just that—more often than not—men tend to think that looking good in a turtleneck is a personality, nationality, and sexuality. Do not sleep with him. He’s pretentious and has no interest in pleasing you, and all you’ll be left with is the memory that you had mediocre sex with a person who has a last name as a first name.


My allergies are a nightmare. I had hay fever as a child. In my teen and college years, the severity of my allergies lessened; however, they could knock me out of commission for a day or two. As an adult, if the pollen is swirling, then what’s going on in my nostrils and respiratory system is akin to the Red Wedding. Just. Straight. Freaking. Carnage. And it doesn’t matter what allergy medicine I use; the results are the same. Every single sneeze sounds like Viola Davis being startled right before she cries. That, my friends, is a boner killer.


Full disclosure: I sweat. Everywhere. Namely my armpits and crotch. So to stave off my lady bits smelling like a rain forest floor (#ToucanCLAM) all summer long, I wear minimal clothing. And if all that exposed skin means I’m attracting loads of hot dudes, then so be it. This season is when all my work during the winter and spring months pays off. And by “work,” I mean sourcing sex the millennial and Gen Z way. Obviously, I will sleep with locals I meet via Tinder and Instagram, but most importantly, I will also score a celeb conquest.

Obviously, I will sleep with locals I meet via Tinder and Instagram, but most importantly, I will also score a celeb conquest.l

Okay, that’s too general. If I’ve learned anything from The Secret, it’s that you have to speak your intentions in specific detail. If I spent my thot year gazing up to Orion and wishing to snag any ol’ available celeb peen, I might end up with Leonardo DiCaprio. Sure, homeboy is cute, accomplished, believes in climate change, and, when he’s not on camera, dresses like every day is laundry day. (And I stan a consistent king.) So, sure, he seems like a quality candidate for a smash and dash, until you remember the rumor that he allegedly wears noise-canceling headphones during sex. What are you listening to that’s more important than the sounds of ecstasy coming from the person you’re hooking up with, boo? Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us? If so, put that on your Sonos surround sound so we can both learn something. See? This is why it pays to be precise.

I want to bag a celebrity who makes me feel like a The Price Is Right contestant in that I will be rewarded simply for participating. This intention is based on the delightful rumor that former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter used to hand out gift baskets after sex. He has denied this, but LOL, Der-Der, people don’t lie about receiving gift baskets. Like every time a friend told me she got an Edible Arrangements and I rolled up to her crib, damn if I wasn’t greeted by a slice of crisp cantaloupe cut by a white woman named Kelsie. Anyway, he was roasted online for it, but I think it’s innovative. After going to the bone zone, I would love to be sent on my way with a lavender soap bar, a bag of Stumptown coffee beans, and a travel-size Diptyque candle.

Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes: Essays


Because I’m a romantic, I am throwing caution to the wind. If I catch feels, I catch ’em and will deal with the fallout later. And yes, I will definitely catch feels from someone I smashed during the summer, those feelings will not be reciprocated, and I will mend my broken heart by eating cake. Over time, I’ll have a crush on someone I follow on social media. I will check out his photos and imagine what he would look like in long johns. #DontJudgeMe. Like a baseball scout, I will track his every development (aka I will see if he posts any pictures of himself with women he’s not related to and plot out my plan of attack for next summer). In the meantime, I’ll halfheartedly sext a dude I’m kind of friends with while watching Bridgerton, and that will be that.

Turns out, now that I’ve laid it all out here, it seems that if I had a thot year, I’d only be active about 6 out of 52 weeks. So basically, I’m just asking to be a college student who studies abroad with her art history class and sleeps with foreign dudes after sipping one and a half Aperol spritzes. Honestly, that does not even sound that great, nor is it worth paying overage fees for my checked luggage full of flowy and shapeless clothes. Still, what matters most is that I attempted to thot at all, and all kidding aside, that’s what I want for every woman.

Phoebe Robinson’s latest essay collection, Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes, will be published on September 28. It is the first title from her imprint, Tiny Reparations Books, part of Penguin Random House.

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