Saturday, September 26, 2009

De-Flower Power

Now that I have a teenage daughter in High School (I sometimes repeat that to myself just to come to a place of true acceptance of this fact) I find myself sharing stories, while in groups of friends that start with, “When I was her age…”

This has lead to re-visiting a lot of things that I have not thought about in what feels like hundreds of years. It also makes me thank my lucky stars that I have such a grounded, down to earth, NON-boy crazy, level headed daughter. Basically, I'm very happy that I don’t have a kid who is anything like I was in school.

I was having lunch with my friend today and we were sharing war stories from when we were teenagers when we came to the story of how we lost our virginity.

Now, my story is actually pretty entertaining, but I have never shared it publicly because, well, because I know my parents read my blog.

I’ve come to the decision that I am in my mid-30’s, married, and have a teenager. I’m pretty sure my parents no longer think I am a virgin, so I can share this story. (This means Mom and Dad, if you want to remain blissfully unaware, then stop reading now.)

I grew up in a little nowhere place called: Eagle River, Alaska.

Population: Who cares?

The most exciting thing that town had to offer was driving to a slightly less smaller town, that we referred to as our city, and driving around a 12 block “strip” on a Saturday night, listening to your music loud and honking at your friends as you drove by.

The boys were all total hockey playing lumberjacks and the girls all had big hair and their biggest concerns were, “Who scammed on my man?”, “I can’t have flat hair!” and “Didn’t she already wear those same Guess jeans on Monday?”

I was cursed with the boobs of a 20 year old at the age of 12 and an even bigger brain. I was shy, hard headed, kind of dark, and a lot cynical. I liked boys, in fact I would say I was boy crazy, but I was also smart enough to never let on that I even noticed them because my much greater fear of being rejected ruled most opposite sex interactions.

Instead, I liked to put myself squarely and firmly in the land of “Just friends” so as to avoid any pesky romantic notions and ruin a good thing. I figured I would rather be best buddies with a guy than have to deal with all of the drama that comes with dating, kissing and God forbid, SEX!

I have a lot of theories why the idea of getting naked with any man scared the bejeezus out of me. My main theory is; When I was a very little girl, I went to church and a Lutheran school. I bought into everything that was being shoveled at me at a very young and impressionable age. There was a lot of “burning in hell for all eternity” that I was terrified of.

I remember accidentally walking in on my brother changing and seeing him nude and going out to the woods and praying every day for a week because I thought stumbling across male nudity was a one way ticket to burning forever. I also thought when I swore, God got mad at me, so I picked up this annoying habit of dropping the F bomb in my head and apologizing afterward. It was like a twisted broken record. Basically, church literally put the fear of God in me and I think it left me with a slight case of post traumatic stress disorder.

By the time I hit puberty, we had moved a million states away from the family church and I had some major exposure to the public school system. I realized a lot of what I was told back in the day was a load of honky BS.

I held on to the basic value system. You know, the whole, “Do unto others” and “Love thy neighbor”, try to “Do the right thing” But my definition of ‘right’ changed to more of a “Follow your conscience” and less of a “Do it or else!” attitude. I started doing the right thing because it felt right and I’m a good person, not because I was terrified of a God was going to lay the smack down if I didn’t.

At some point, after becoming a teen and moving into that new phase of life, I realized something very important about the kids in my small town: Teenagers are assholes. Selfish little self centered know it all sex crazed jealous bat shit crazy assholes.

There are a few exceptions as there are to every rule. My kid is no asshole and she has great non-asshole friends. The few friends I still hold dear from that time were not assholes, that is why I still choose to know them. But for the most part, I have to say, I think it is probably a 1 in 30 kind of statistic: Non-assholes to assholes.

Given the fact I was shy, pretty, smart, and surrounded by assholes, I did what every teenage girl would do in this situation and rebelled against all of it. If I could not join them, I was going to beat them. I was going to get involved with world issues, Greenpeace, Amnesty International. I was going to write letters about animal testing and go join in on gay rights activism.

I was going to be so busy that High School romance and politics would have no place in my world. And, for the most part, that worked.

I found myself getting labeled as “Alternative” which was pretty much a bad word back then, (This was pre-Nirvana America) and people left me alone.

I was the girl who was friendly with everyone, but didn’t subscribe to any cliques. I just lived in my own little bubble of “get school over with and get the hell out of this town”. That was my mission statement. I lived for the day I could walk away, get on a plane and go to a city, any city, as long as it was on a coast and not full of Republicans.

Somewhere, midway through high school, most of my girlfriends had already had several boyfriends and were already regularly having sex. They would casually discuss it at sleepovers and over lunch. They would compare notes, like girls do. Talk about how this one does this, or that one doesn’t do that, or would you ever let him do that?!

I watched each of my friends lose their virginity, one after another until I was the only one left. No one likes to be the last picked for softball and no one likes to be the last one still holding her flower. Petals were dropping around me like a cold snap in the Springtime. I was beginning to feel like I was missing the bus.

One of the handy upsides to being the school Alternative chick is that rumors run rampant. People mock, dissect, make shit up about that which they do not understand. Because I was dark, liked to wear blackberry lipstick, dyed my hair unnatural colors, and wore vintage clothes, many fascinating things were decided about me. I heard I was a Devil worshiper (of course), I did loads of drugs (Why not?!), and I was a massive ho beast with a dash of dominatrix tendencies.

The stories I heard about myself were amazing and fantastic. Sometimes it hurt my feelings, but sometimes I would wish I had the self assured prowess of the woman they were accusing me of being.

I once heard how I tied a boy up and had my way with him in his car at a dance. I heard how I forced a boy to take hallucinogenic drugs and performed some crazy witchcraft on him before seducing him and rocking his world.

Once I even heard a guy claim he slept with me, and then when asked how it was he told his buddies it was “All right”. That boy, I yelled at in the lunchroom. I walked up to him and said, “IF you are determined to lie to people and tell them that you had sex with me, at the very least you can tell them it was the greatest sex of your life!” and marched away in a huff.

The reality was, I was just a scared girl. I was scared of all things sex related. Between fear of getting knocked up, VD and the remnants of visions of hell fire burned into my psyche when I was all too young. I really wanted nothing to do with it. I didn’t even like the idea of letting a boy stick his tongue in my mouth, much less anything else in/on/around/near me.

That is the great thing about rumors. People would rather believe the juicy gossip than believe that you are a boring old scardey-cat virgin. So I just didn’t say anything. I didn’t talk about it, and everyone eventually forgot that I had not done it. It was my big secret, and it was getting harder and harder to deal with.

I wanted to know what all of the fuss was about. I wanted to be able to talk about sex with my friends and actually have some firsthand experience. I hated that I didn’t know something that they all seemed to know. It made me feel weird and isolated and suddenly I cared that I never had a boyfriend. Suddenly, I found myself wondering if I was really a social outcast by choice or if there was something wrong with me. It really started to do a number on my self esteem.

I remember the day I decided I was going to lose my virginity. I told myself I was going to find a nice boy, who I thought was attractive, but someone who would be uncomplicated. I didn’t want it to be a best friend in case it ruined the friendship, but I didn’t want it to be a stranger either. I approached the idea of having sex with the same emotional detachment of a social scientist starting a new experiment. I was going to have sex, that was not a question, I just didn’t know with whom this sex would happen.

The first thing I did was convince my newspaper teacher that we needed an article about STDs and teen pregnancy and I was going to be the girl to write this article. The research to the article entailed a trip to Planned Pregnancy for a Pap and birth control pills. I told her I wanted to experience everything first hand as a first timer in the place so I could write about it to my peers, showing them how accessible these things were. She thought it was a great idea.

I called and set up my appointment at the clinic. I had my friend, Helen drive me. I was pretty nervous seeing as I had never had sex and I was about to get my first pelvic exam. I was so embarrassed about being a virgin that I told my doctor I had already had sex and that my pretend boyfriend and I were going to be having regular sex so I needed to get on birth control pills.

The doctors were impressed with how I was taking charge and being safe. They gave me a lecture about condoms and STDs and then told me to get undressed and into a gown.

When I was lying on the paper covered table with my feet up in stirrups and my business hanging out for all the world to see, I started to re-think this grand idea of mine, but it was too late. I was there and this was happening.

The doctor came in. He was a nice older man. Very non-descript, and non memorable, just how a doctor in this scenario really should be. He smiled and walked around to the end of the table where my head was, which surprised me as I thought his focus would be on the other end.

He asked, “This is a training facility and I was wondering if it would be OK with you if I had a student assist me with your exam today.”

Me, being so mortified that I was even on this table in the first place and in a huge hurry to get it over with without fuss, just shook my head and said as nonchalantly as possible, “Yeah, sure, whatever.”

He walks over to the door and waves someone in.

Through the door walks a super young, gorgeous man. He looked like a soap opera doctor and not more than 10 years older than me. I wanted to jump off that table right then and run down the street with my ass hanging out. I was a deer in headlights. I did not want this guy doing this exam. I just had no idea what to do, so I froze.

The doctors moved to the ass end of the table. Dr Hotty then asked me to move my bottom to the very end of the table. I scooted up a little. He asked me to scoot a little more. I moved about a millimeter. He then said, “I’d like you to scootch up until it almost feels like you are going to fall off.”

I giggled and apologized and said, “Sorry this is my first Pap.”

Then he said three words I will never forget ever as long as I live, “It’s mine too!”

I think I blacked out in my brain for a second after that.

Knowing what I know now about annual exams, this one was about 25 times longer than any exam I’ve had since. Everything he did, he asked the other doctor first. It felt like it took him a year to get the light adjusted just right.

And then it happened, Dr Old Guy asks, “So, you said you have had sex before?”

I said, “Um, yeah, but it was really quick and only once.”

He seemed unconvinced and mumbled something to Dr Hotty, which made him seem extra fumbley and then Dr Old Guy took over. There was a really bad pinch and the exam was over. I’m pretty sure they figured out I was lying right at that moment, but I never confirmed it. They gave me my prescription for pills and my first three packs and sent me on my merry way.

After that debacle I knew that losing my virginity to a teenage boy was going to be a piece of cake.

I was a woman on a mission. I spent my days in class watching the boys that I knew. I had a little check list in my head. Is he accessible and attractive? Is he nice? Do I find him at all intimidating or threatening? If we were no longer friends after, would it ruin my life?

I really thought I had it down to a perfect science. I was not going to get emotionally involved I was just going to get it over with, experience it in it rawest form. I was going to have sex for the sake of having sex. I was hoping to enjoy it, and there was even a romantic part of me that was maybe hoping that it might lead to something bigger, but for the most part, I just really wanted to have the experience. I wanted to understand what I was missing out on.

Ironically enough, it was in my Science class that I found the perfect boy. He was newer to the school, but totally adorable. He was an athlete, but not a dumb jock. He had a really sweet smile and good manners. He was as cute as a button and I already had a little crush on him.

He sat near me in the class and we talked on a fairly regular basis. We seemed to get along well. He was a bit of a flirt with all of the girls, so he left a lot of openings for me to be able to pose the, “Would you like to have sex?” question.

Once I figured out the who, I needed to figure out the how. I knew I did not have the guts to just come right out and say it. I was way too much of a coward at that point to do that, and I knew if it was me who asked, it would make my already wild reputation like a million times worse. So, like any good scientist or predator, I waited for the right moment to put things in motion.

It was a lot easier than I thought. One day, after he had been out of class for a few days due to a sports injury, he was back in class fitted with a full leg cast that went from heel to the very top of his thigh. His leg was propped up on a chair in front of him and blocking my desk.

I asked him politely to move it, and he answered in his cheeky way, “No, I want you to straddle it.”

Without thinking I answered, “Not here, but maybe some other time.”

I could hear the words as they came out of my mouth, but I didn’t really believe they were actually my words coming out of my Pollyanna, pure as a lily, virgin mouth.

The look on his face was priceless. Like he wanted to believe I was joking, but he wasn’t sure. I don’t know if it was because of my reputation of being some kind of crazy dominatrix sexpot or it it was something in my tone, but he decided to believe me. The next thing I knew he was whispering to me, “What are you doing after class?”

“Going to your place.” I answered.

By the time class let out I had completely chickened out and had to buy myself more time. It was still early in the day, and before lunch, so when he came to collect me, I told him I had just remembered I had a test in my next class and could not miss it. Could we possibly move our meeting to lunch? He agreed and told me he would meet me in the hallway at a certain area after class.

I spent the whole next hour in a complete daze. I was in a tailspin of emotions. Everything I had done up to this point was to get to this place and now that it was about to happen I was completely freaking out.

I was asking myself questions like, “Should I do this? Should I wait until I’m really in love? Do I believe that people can actually fall in love and it isn’t just a hormonal and chemical response? Am I just too different to ever actually be in love with anyone or ever have anyone actually love me?”

By the time the bell rang and it was time to meet him in the hallway, I was ready. Actually, I would not use the word ready, I would say I was decided.

I was just going to do it and get it over with. Burst the bubble of mystery once and for all and move on with my life. He seemed like the perfect candidate and it could not have been a better opportunity, so I was going to do it.

I walked to our assigned meeting place, part of me was hoping he would not even show up, but the other part of me was bubbling with anticipation. I was full of butterflies and was quickly losing the ability to form complete sentences in my head.

He was there, leaning on his crutches with a giant grin across his face when he saw me, “You made it!”

Yes I did.

I don’t really remember going to his car, or driving to his house, but these things happened.

The next thing I recall is walking into his bedroom. It was clean, had dark wood accents and a giant waterbed in the middle of the room with navy blue sateen sheets.

Now, at this point in the story, I think it bears repeating that this boy had a cast all the way up to the top of his thigh. One of his legs was completely immobile. He has a WATERBED and slippery sateen sheets.

I could have not made this a worse scenario if I was making it up. Sex under these circumstances would be darn near impossible for me now, much less back then when I had NEVER even come close to having sex before. The only thing that could have made it worse would have been a panel of judges sitting at the foot of the bed with score cards.

I remember asking him if his leg hurt and he told me that he was on pretty strong pain killers so it didn’t bother him, that’s when he remembered that it was time for him to take more. He swallowed some pills, adding another obstacle to our already crazy situation, and turned on the radio.

I remember telling myself that it was really important to remember what was playing because these were the songs I was losing my virginity to. I don’t know if I was thinking I needed to make a mixed tape someday or what, but it seemed extremely important at the time.

“Are you on the pill?” he asked

I told him no, even though I was, because I wanted him to use a condom, especially after having just written seven pages on STDs for the school newspaper. I was completely skeeved out by it all.

He kissed me.

Our clothes came off and we were in the bed lying there side by side like a mom and dad on a TV sitcom.

It was strange and uncomfortable but exciting at the same time. His warm smile and soft voice is what got me through it. He had a natural way of making people at ease around him and it was a very handy trait at this point in time. I thought if I focused on his voice and smile it would get me through it.

The sex was weird, awkward and brief. We had a lot of things working against us, and go wrong, namely a waterbed, sateen sheets and a full leg cast.

It was over before the end of, What it Takes by Aerosmith, had finished playing on the radio.

Then we laid there for a minute and chatted. It was that nervous chatter that doesn’t really change after awkward sexual encounters: How has your day been? What is your favorite class? How soon before I can get up and get the hell out of here?

I remember thinking that I should tell him that this was my first time. That all of the rumors he had heard were not true and that I chose today to be the day and him to be the guy who would be my first.

I wanted to say those words, but when I opened my mouth I said, “I hardly ever do anything like this.”

WHAT!?!? Who?!? What the crap!?! It is like I just blurted out some bullshit I heard on a movie or something. Like I was some nonchalant lady, from the big city, who takes on lovers and throws them away at her whims. I could not believe I said the words, but once they were said, I could not un-say them.

I just turned, “This is my first time” into “This is business as usual”

After that, we got dressed and he drove me back to school.

We didn’t say anything on the drive back, but when we got to the school he turned to me. I think it was out of fear of what he was about to say to me that I told him, “Please keep this between us. I don’t want it to get around that this happened. Are we cool?”

It was like I was there, but there was some crazy bitch in the driver’s seat.

He looked surprised and agreed and we hugged and parted ways.

I remember having a lot of thoughts about it after it happened. Being surprised that I didn’t burst into flames of hellfire for what I did, surprised it was not earth shattering and we didn’t come out all sweaty and shiny like they do in the movies, but most of all surprised that I didn’t feel really anything.

I thought I would feel terribly guilty or somehow shamed, but instead I was overcome with one thought: “That’s it? That is sex? This is what everyone has been making such a big deal out of?!”

To this day, I never told the boy he was my first. I made a joke when he befriended me on Facebook that I should write him and tell him. Could you imagine how awkward that letter would be?

“So hey, I know it’s been nearly 20 years, but there is something I’ve always wanted to tell you...”

Yeah right.

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