i don't write about my sex life as often as i used to, and the reasons are plentiful. mostly it's because i know my readership, and a slim percentage of them decidedly don't want to read about it--i'd venture a guess that they'd much prefer i didn't have a sex life, or, at the very least, that i not air the details publicly. these people are, of course, all related to me; so to be fair, this first paragraph is both an introduction and an opportunity for those who have a distaste for too much information to close the browser window on this page for the day and to check back with me later when i'm back to bragging about good grades and posting pictures of fun weekends in san francisco. (feel free to use this link to move you away from the sex talk, before it resumes in the next paragraph. i won't mind.)
my friend bunny has this theory about memorial day, which has been reinforced for her three times over: people lose their innocence on memorial day. i am someone who ranks among that grouping, and this year marked my ten-year anniversary of the pivotal, ahem, barrier-breaking (couldn't resist it) event in my life. this leaves me to wonder: what does one get for such an anniversary? tradition indicates tin or aluminum (ouch!) and modern says diamonds. i vote latex. now, let's move on.
i had to work on memorial day, 1995, so i was not indulging in the typical long weekend debauchery and revelry. i was, however, indulging in a brand new crush on a new co-worker named mike, and i spent the weekend talking my head off, and, in turn, talking laurie's head off, about him. "oooh, he's so cute!" and "oooh, i wonder if i could go out with him!" being the common exclaimation. he was mysterious and aloof, older by about 8 or 9 years to my young (but legal) age of 18. we worked for greenpeace, going door-to-door on nightly canvasses raising money and membership with varying degrees of skill (mine on the low end; i sucked at it). so we'd opted to canvass memorial monday, because folks would surely be home to answer their doors.
so we worked the lovely spring evening in some section of los angeles, and rode the van back to the west side office. mike was playing hackey sack (this is 1995, okay?) outside, and i was amping up the charm, laying it on as thickly as i could muster with all the might of my utter inexperience. somehow he wrestled an invite to hang with me and laurie, as we liked to do, after work at our favorite coffee place. she had her dad's truck with the covered truck bed, so he and i hopped in back and lay on the carpeting. would you believe he initiated a game of "hide the hackey sack?" i complied, and giggled as we mashed together in the cramped space on the ride in to hollywood.
so we had coffee, we tried to break through mike's cool exterior. where was he from? how did he like the job? i have no recollection of the answers. i'm almost certain that he avoided answering them. he was clearly looking for something else. and so we decided to take the party back to my place, which was, embarrassingly enough, in the basement of my parents' place in the hilly suburbs of the city. he suggested drinks, and since he was of age (to drink, to drink! remember i'm 18!) he was elected vodka purchaser. but he wanted to buy something else, and before he hopped out of the back of the truck to head into the store, he asked the question: "so, would you? do you want to?"
i've been eternally grateful for this moment, even in the hindsight colored by his subsequent shoddy treatment of me, because i realize this moment was a luxury that is seldom afforded to girls on the brink of womanhood. i had a choice, and i sincerely believe that this was a choice that i was empowered to make. so i thought about it. i had a conversation with myself: "okay, self, do you want to do this? are you ready? do you accept the consequences?" and myself answered "yes."
back at the house, with laurie still in tow, we drank sloppy vodka drinks until he and i moved into the other room. (poor laurie, left tipsy with the television on the other side of the thin basement walls, and my poor parents, who, the next morning, asked "what was all that noise?" and i said without elaboration, "i had a couple of friends over.") i don't remember much, not because of the vodka, or because of the pain--because, yes, of course it hurt at first--but because i wasn't thinking about collecting the sensations and moments to record in my memory. i'd thrown out the idea of romance ages before that moment in the parking lot when i'd decided to go ahead with it, because i knew then, instinctively, that i was not the girl that was going to have someone special seduce her for her first time. and, really, ten years later, i still don't feel like that girl. i had no idea then what to expect of the moment, nor the potential for great feeling or satisfaction; those impulses came much later, with different partners, at different times. it was fun. it was as thrilling as anything one might do in a dark room late at night with figures of authority slumbering upstairs, no matter how adult you might be. it was, frankly, what it was.
the aftermath was laborious on my part. the feeling of wanting him to be that perfect person, that guaranteed mate, came flooding over me in the morning light. i'd sold myself down a murky river, though, because he certainly wasn't capable or interested in being that person for me. i think i understand now more what i was for him, and i don't want to say i forgive him, for there wasn't anything to forgive him for. it wasn't the act that i wasn't ready for, but all that came with it. and, honestly, that can only be taught by experience.
my experience has varied in the ten years since then. i've been madly, tragically, profoundly in various states of love, lust, attraction, repulsion, and hurt since then, with an awful lot of men. sometimes it's special. sometimes there are moments after moments worth catching in my memory's butterfly net and pinning to my heart's scrapbook pages. many of it has been forgettable, including names, dates, details. but i own all of my experiences, because each time i embark on a new adventure, i've learned well to stop and ask: "okay, self, do you want to do this? are you ready? do you accept the consequences?" and ten years later, on memorial day 2005, i'm oddly, in the same place...but with an entirely different perspective.