There’s a time old female dichotomy: the Madonna and the Whore. It’s called Mary Magdalene syndrome and it really comes down to a perceived need to pick one of the two personalities and stick with it. You’re either the girl next door or a vixen. Are you a Betty or a Veronica? Mary Ann or Ginger? Genie in a Bottle Christina or Dirrrty Christina? Really though, this is an antiquated problem. Feminism might have talked about which of these two roles guys relegated you to. Post Feminism might have discussed which of the two standards you chose for yourself. But now, postfem, postmodern, postwhatever the point arises, how do I easily, eloquently and sexily, claim both roles?

Here we refer to the esteemed philosopher Lil Jon. In a seminal argument, delivered in musical format, he proclaimed that he wants “a lady in the streets but a FREAK in the bed”. Yeah, yeah yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Sorry, sidetracked…. But I wholly support Lil Jon’s thesis. I am both. You can take me home to meet your parents (who will love me) and then tie me up in your childhood bedroom. Over time, when you’re with a guy, this dual persona is self evident. He is familiar with both of your attitudes. He is proud to have someone so lovely on his arm and proud to have such a sex kitten under his sheets.

But what happens when you’re not in a relationship? How do you convey this to a guy who doesn’t know you well? I’d never go to bed with someone on a first date but that doesn’t mean I’m not a FREAK. Just because I enjoy safe, consensual, casual sex doesn’t mean that I’m not a lady. And I know it really doesn’t matter what people think; except when it concerns sexual politics, it kinda does. At least to me.

Obviously, this isn’t a first date pronouncement: “Would you like another glass of Merlot? By the way, I’d like it if you pull my hair when I come.” It’s also way too melodramatic a sentiment to bring up within the context of a casual shag. “Thanks for spanking me so fucking good. And just so you know, just cause I like to get bent over doesn’t mean I wouldn’t appreciate being treated respectfully.” You can’t articulate your duality, you have to insinuate it.

I’m far from an expert but here are some of the ways I try and let the guy in question know that just because he’s seeing one side of the coin right now, it doesn’t mean he’s not going to meet the other me.


For when you’re in FREAK mode, you want to handle it in a ladylike manner. So KEEP IT CLASSY. Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with casual, but if you’re dabbling in your dirrrty side and want to let him know you’re a lady as well it’s all about the details.

1. Presentation. If your behavior is going to err on the naughty side, there’s no need to hammer it home. Wear something sophisticated rather than overtly sexy.

2. Think about location. PDA is a no. Don’t even contemplate getting down somewhere public. If you’re comfortable with it, go to your place. You’re a mature adult engaging in perfectly acceptable adult behavior so act like it.

3. Your place. It says a lot about you. You don’t need Mozart playing or chandeliers hanging but if you’ve decided to escort someone home and he sees a tasteful, put together bedroom it speaks volumes. Make sure your bed is made, obviously. Things should be neat.

4. Manners. Just cause it’s about having a good time and you might be talking dirty, acting raunchy and letting your freak flag fly doesn’t mean you should forgo them. 

5. No drama. You have to have follow through. Whether you’re calling a cab or staying the night be mature about the situation, polite and relaxed.


For the times that call for ladylike behavior but you want to let him know a FREAK dwells within, it’s all about HINTS. This one is much more difficult to convey. You don’t want to be inappropriate, come on too strong or send mixed messages.

1. Attitude. Show him what kind of girl you are in bed in your conversation. Be brazen, direct and spontaneous. It’s a perfectly ladylike way to let him know you’re not shy.

2. Choose your outfit wisely. Even guys read these kinds of signals. Don’t be so obvious as to wear something showing a lot of skin to let him know you can be kinky. In the get-to-know-you situation, a more demure dress with really sexy tights is my favorite way to go.

3. Be direct about flirting. Don’t do the coy thing. Lip biting, hair playing and nervous giggling are juvenile. Flirt on purpose. Smile warmly when you have physical contact so he knows your hand on his arm was no accident.

Are my suggestions vague? Ya, they are. It may feel like a tightrope act. For some people it’s easy. For other girls it doesn’t matter at all. They might not be bothered with this kind of neurotic subtlety. To both those kinds of gals, I say good for you. But if it is important to you to convey that you are a Lil Jon kind of gal, try it out. It’s not like he won’t be delighted to make the discovery that you’re a lady in the streets and a FREAK in the bed. Yeah.

~Stella Davidson