Oh No, We’re Sharing a Bed! Oh No, We’re Both Naked! Walking Disaster Chapters 4 and 5

Okay, now it’s the first post I’m writing in Brooklyn.

Chapter 4: Distracted

Travis continues to totally just be friends with Abby.

The only negative about hanging out with her as friends was the more time I spent with her, the more I liked her. […] I also noticed more about her, like how long her legs were

Yep, Travis is really tortured by the depths of his feelings. [Ariel says: he’s really gone beyond the porn star hair and angelic face.] He doesn’t notice a single thing about, you know, who she is, but he does know when she’s on her period.

I even got a pretty good handle on which week I shouldn’t give her any extra shit

Because there is no better sign of true friendship between a man and a woman than knowing when the latter is on her period. Have fun this weekend, Ariel! [Ariel says: Matt thought he was just making a joke here, but I actually am getting my period this weekend. I thought you all would wanna know.]

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Travis describes how Abby isn’t like most girls – including some pretty solid examples like “she isn’t fussy” – and how just being friends with her is killing him, so he decides he needs to try to move on. With his penis. He picks up a girl and it’s exactly what we’d expect. I mean, you guys could write this.

I’d barely shut the front door before she was removing my clothes. […] She left with a smile on her face and disappointment in her eyes.

Not even postorgasm fatigue was going to cure it, and I felt something new:

The next day at lunch, Travis hits on a lunch lady to get Abby some orange juice (really). [Ariel says: I think it’s so romantic how he’ll do anything for Abby!] After lunch, Abby doesn’t let him walk her to class, but then Travis sees a scantily-clad girl.

That’s when it hit me: I had to give up. (Wait, didn’t this already hit him? Like… this chapter?) Bagging a random hot chick was what I did best, and Abby wanted nothing more than to be friends with me. […] I didn’t deserve Abby, anyway. What was the point?

Travis picks her up and they go back to his place and bang, and I realize that this is one of those erotic romances that can’t even write the erotica well.

She kissed me like she’d been starving and she knew there was food in my mouth.

Okay, that sentence would have been just fine if it ended with “like she’d been starving”.

So close, yet so far.
So close, yet so far.

She smiled, hooked her thumbs onto each side of her panties and then pulled them down until they fell down to her ankles. Her eyes connected with mine, refreshingly wicked.

Of course they fuck anyway. Incidentally, here’s Chapter Four’s “Travis Uses The Word ‘Bag’ When Talking About Sexual Encounters With Women Because He Is A Misogynistic Dickbucket” count!

  1. I had been the one giving [my frat brothers] a hard time for two years for even mentioning they might want to do more than just bag a girl. (See, this is a prime example of why Travis’s “I treat sluts like sluts but I’m actually waiting for the right person for more” is bullshit, because he betrays his actual attitude with lines like this.)
  2. Bagging a random hot chick was what I did best
  3. I had only bagged two women in as many weeks. [Ariel says: I really would like to know how many weeks have actually gone by. No, seriously.]

Chapter 5: Roommates

Travis’s random hookup is in the bathroom and Travis is thinking about adding her to his list of regular fuckbuddies [Ariel says: I thought he didn’t even have those.] [Matthew clarifies: Nah, he does. He has a few women who he regularly has casual sex and nothing more with. Don’t know how clear I made this… I didn’t realize it’d be such an intricate plot point!] when Shepley comes back to the apartment and kicks the novel into quasi-romantic contrived circumstance mode!

“You might want to pick up your shit. Mare’s coming over with Abby. […] The boiler went out again at Morgan.”
“So they’re going to be staying here for a few days.”

It gets even better.

“Where is Abby going to sleep?” I asked, looking at the couch. I wasn’t going to let her sprawl out on fourteen months of body fluids. [Ariel says: I’m surprised anyone is willing to sprawl there anymore. Shep needs to put his foot down, damn it. ]  
“I don’t know. The recliner?”
“She’s not sleeping on the fucking recliner, assclown.” I scratched my head. “I guess she’ll sleep in my bed.”

Abby and America show up and Travis’s random hookup comes out of the bathroom. Awkward! Or as Travis puts it…

For a minute I was completely distracted from the awkwardness by the letters W, T, and F.

…for some reason. I have no idea where those letters are coming from. Did someone say that? Mouth that out? Are they just kind of floating in the air Sesame Street-style? The mysteries of this novel just keep coming, you guys, like how people haven’t quite figured out Travis is the “Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ma’am”-type yet.

“I’ll leave my number on the counter.”
“Eh… don’t worry about it,” I said, purposefully nonchalant.
“What?” she asked, leaning back. The rejection in her eyes shone bright, searching mine for something other than what I truly meant. […]
Every time!” America said. She looked at the woman. “How are you surprised by this? He’s Travis Fucking Maddox! He is famous for this very thing, and every time they’re surprised.”

Okay, I actually kind of like America after that one. Good job, America. You’re my new favorite character! You’re now in the ranks of Hush Hush‘s Jules and Anastasia Steele’s mom.[Ariel says: You also liked that one character in The Host for some reason. I would go hunt down the exact link, but everyone’s just gonna have to take my word on this because I don’t want to reread a scene about a cave soccer game. No fucking way.]

Abby’s pissed off at Travis, who bro-tasically explains himself.

Did women deserve to be treated like sluts? No. Did sluts deserve to be treated like sluts? Yes. I was a slut. […] I didn’t complain to my frat brothers that I put out on the first date and Megan (I’m not sure who this is) treated me according to the way I behaved. [Ariel says: In Beautiful Disaster she’s mentioned a couple times. They don’t get into it too much but she’s the only girl implied to be a repeat offender for Travis. ] It is what it is, no sense in pretending to protect your dignity if you set out to destroy it.

“Wait a second,” you might be saying. “Where’s the misogyny?”

Girls are notorious for judging each other, anyway, only taking a break long enough to judge a guy for doing it.

Oh, phew, misogyny was waiting for us at the end of the paragraph, like an old friend.

[Ariel says: I’m with Travis on this one, though. There’re actually really interesting articles and books on why girls are more socially aggressive (judgement in this case). Guys are getting more and more socially aggressive too. So the less misogynistic way to phrase this is that people are super judgmental, but yes, girls are more likely to display this in social settings to assert power and bond with each other. Feel free to discuss with me in the comments!]

I’d hear them label a classmate a whore before the thought ever crossed my mind.

Travis neglects to mention how the thought instead crosses his penis.

Travis explains to Abby that he’s giving her his bed because he’s never brought a girl back to his room, and only ever has sex on the couch, which makes me wonder where Shepley is all the time. [Ariel says: RIGHT!?!] Abby goes to take a shower, and Travis goes through her bag, takes out a t-shirt and a pair of panties, and goes into the bathroom right after she finishes showering to give her her clothing, I’m not even kidding.

I brought in Prudezilla’s things to be a nice guy, and she was freaking out.

I couldn't find a gif that said "noooo" quite the way I wanted to.
I couldn’t find a gif that said “no” quite the way I wanted to.

That’s not even the weirdest thing he does this chapter.

“C’mon, Pidge! I’m gettin’ old, here!” […]
“You’re sleeping in here, too?”
“Well, yeah. This is my bed.”

On the one hand this is hilarious, because this couldn’t possibly be more contrived. I bet the next chapter begins with it raining and the window accidentally opens and their clothes get all wet and they have to take them off! On the other hand, this is hilarious because he’s sharing his bed, what? Platonically? It’s hilarious all the way around! How does Travis think this will help him deal with his unrequited feelings for Abby? How does Abby think at all? Two heterosexual people of the opposite gender cannot share a bed, no matter how platonic they are, and not have it be weird – except maybe for one time a friend and I got rather drunk in college and thought it’d be funny to freak ourselves out in the morning if we woke up in the same bed because drunk people are real jerks to their sober counterparts (pretty funny, drunk Matthew). But aside from that… these characters are idiots. And not even in the “college students are idiots” way. They’re actually just idiots.

And we can’t forget our “bagged” tally:

  1. The first time I bagged Megan and she left without so much as a cuddle, I didn’t cry about it and eat a gallon of ice cream.
  2. However, if I took that whore home, bagged her, and released her strings-free, I was suddenly the bad guy.
  3. “I bag ’em on the couch.”

That brings us up to 18! And the last three chapters have all had three uses of the word! Looks like Jamie McGuire’s hit her average!



  1. scummy48 Reply

    So having lots of random sex means you have no dignity and deserve to be treated like a slut (what does a slut deserve to be treated like exactly?). is Travis any less disgusting for saying that this goes for men too? I’m gonna say no, not really.

    Also when I read the “kissed me like she was starving” I was like actually that’s kind of a nice line. But then I finished it and holy fuck why did no one take that part out? Why did this author (too lazy to scroll back up and find her name) right it in the first place? Who thinks that’s sexy?? I’m just imaging a penguin feeding her baby penguin.

    • 22aer22 Reply

      I’ve read the “kissed me like she was starving” metaphor so many times; I guess this was McGuire’s way of adding a twist on the cliche? Albeit a terrible, disgusting twist.

      And I’m totally with you, Travis’ obsession with sluts, and labeling people as sluts (including himself) isn’t only troubling, it’s fucking annoying.

      • matthewjulius Reply

        I think maybe she was *trying* to make the girl’s kissing sound disgusting to make some point about the kind of sex Travis has. Doesn’t make it any less ridiculous though.

  2. Madeline Reply

    I feel disgusting reading just a section of Travis’s thoughts, I’d hate to read the whole book

  3. joy bird Reply

    Travis’s whole soliloquy on “sluts” just vaguely reminds me of that “R U Dateable?” Guy’s spiel, which was rightly called out by a bunch of teenagers on Twitter recently.

    Also of my now-deceased granny’s justification of/apologia for racism that went something like “there are Black people, and then there are [n-words], so it’s bad to treat Black people like [n-words] but it’s okay to treat [n-words] like [n-words] because, hey. They’re [n-words] and they should have thought about that if they wanted to be treated decently.”
    But I could be missing something in this analogy because that line of thinking horrifies me and I’ve largely blocked its nuances (LOL, like it has nuances) from my memory.

  4. joy bird Reply

    Also: it’s pretty well established that, due to fucked-up cultural values that women = stupid and always wrong while men = awesome and always right, women are socialized to seek male approval and prioritize it above anything other women might have to contribute … right? That’s the basis of the “special and not like those other (stupid wrong) girls” exceptionalist thought fallacy, no? I think that’s why women tend to judge other women and throw them under the bus: because we’re taught to hate other women while aligning ourselves with what we’re told men think, and being horrible to our peers is a signifier of aforementioned exceptionalist thought fallacy.

    So basically Travis is proving he’s never thought about any of this even a little tiny bit, other than to use it to justify his own awful behavior. As a side dish of terribleness, it also allows him to put Abby on a pedestal for not being “like those other girls.” Basically his whole argument boils down to “Bitches, amirite? They’re the worst. So of course I hate them.” It’s just one big shit heap of misogyny with even more misogyny on top, like a putrid cherry that’s been marinated in formaldehyde. Not a fan, personally.

  5. Ali Reply

    I don’t even know what to say. I just want to tell funny stories about my kid

  6. readingwithafeather Reply

    I can attest to that whole sleeping in the same bed platonically doesn’t work out. Seriously, don’t try it unless of course you’re okay with what will happen.

    It will happen.

    Especially if alcohol is involved.

    Yay college!

  7. Madeline Reply

    “she left with disappointment in her eyes” I know McGuire is trying to make it seem like random hook-up girl wanted more in a relationship sense (for whatever reason) but it really just seems like he didn’t fulfill her sexually. Which I’m pretty sure is the only thing that attracts all these girls to Travis. Add that to all the other terrible qualities Travis has and you have the most unlikable protagonist ever! *slow clap*


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