Yesterday I asked my facebook fan club (yes I get to call it that) what they wanted me to tell them about. My favorite response was, “Your favorite memory from when you were 17.” I really like the idea of this one and as it happens she picked the perfect year. I’m not lying when I say that this memory, when it happened, taught me that everything was going to be okay. How’s that for a story? Just think- if she had said “16” I would have told you about getting my driver’s license or something. But she said “17” so you get to hear about the time I lost my virginity in my grandma’s bed.
The End. Goodnight everybody! Remember to tip the wait staff and try the veal!
Kidding, of course. Now before I go any further I want to tell you something: This is not one of those anonymous blogs. My family reads this. That doesn’t matter much but I think I deserve some credit for telling you in front of them that I lost my virginity in Grandma’s bed. I won’t say it’s brave, because it isn’t. But it’s something, no?
Anyhoo, here it is:
As regular readers of my blog know, I had a pretty miserable childhood. I don’t go into much detail because I don’t see the point; there was nothing spectacular about the misery. But garden-variety misery is misery enough when you’re a kid. The upshot is this: I entered my 17th year desperately needing love or something that could pass for it.
I was into my second year at Burger King when I turned 17 in April. Spring was in the air, as bad poets say. People were making plans for prom. I wasn’t one of them, of course. My self-esteem was still so low you would have to dig a hole to find it. If you would have asked me what was more likely, that a stranger would walk up to me and give me $1 million or that an attractive young lady would agree to go to the prom with me, I would have gone with the stranger without hesitation. Still, I hid my despair well. I made people laugh. I flirted with the ladies. And it happens that I caught the eye of Alison, one of girls at Burger King. Not that I knew any of that at the time, of course. True, only a goofball could have missed the signals she started sending me- the attention, the giggles and smiles. But I was a goofball, believe that. I did notice that she was acting differently towards me (I can’t say for sure but I bet I went home and massaged The Truth just thinking about it) but on my own I would never, ever have thought she wanted me to ask her out. I just figured she had me confused with someone else. Luckily, my friends saw what I couldn’t and tried to get me to make a move.
“You should ask Alison out,” Kevin (yes, Sug. The now Bull) said one day. What he knew, from talking to her, that I didn’t was that she was certain to say “yes.” He could have saved everybody a lot of trouble by telling me that then. But he didn’t.
“Yeah, maybe I will,” I responded to get him off my back.
But I didn’t. Finally, after an awkward couple weeks in which Alison grew less and less nice to me, Kevin came to me with a piece of paper on which Alison had written her name and phone number, in purple ink, with cute girl penmanship.
“Here. She wants you to ask her out. Call her now.”
“I’m not going to call her from work. I’ll call her tonight. I promise.”
“I will.” But I didn’t think I would. Could it be true? Are these people really my friends or are they fucking with me, more bullies who want to make me look like the piece of shit I am for their enjoyment?
Guess what? I fucking went home and I called her. I let myself believe that I had friends, that I was worthy of a pretty girl’s attention.
And, as you know, she said yes.
Our first date was an after-work get together at Denny’s with our Burger King friends. I drove her home and walked her to the front door. We stood there talking for a while before she finally said, and I shit you not, “Kiss me.”
Have you ever been a 17 year-old boy, convinced that you are a piece of shit, still sort of thinking this is all a big joke when a beautiful girl tells you to kiss her? Holy shit! When my autobiography is made into a movie this scene will have fireworks and music building to an explosive crescendo! I don’t remember much about the actual kiss and, frankly, I’m a little embarrassed about what I probably did to my sock drawer when I got home. But I remember very well how it felt to have a girl want to kiss me. And there are no words for that feeling, as I hope you know.
That kiss was in April, I imagine, because prom was in May and we were an official couple by then. I don’t recall what else we did in those early months. Probably went to the zoo and a few movies, talked on the phone a lot, and kissed like bandits. I know we didn’t have sex. You may find this hard to believe but I promise it’s true: I was in no hurry to have sex with Alison. I was too nervous- she had had a boyfriend before me and was not a virgin. I found that terribly intimidating. I worried that the jig would be up, that I would be discovered as a fraud, if we had sex. Plus I was enjoying the hell out of having a girlfriend. I could have lived happily in that bliss for the rest of my life.
But, of course, that bliss starts to wear off. And I’m not going to lie to you, she wanted me pretty badly- I didn’t know it at the time, but I was kind of a stud in those days. Eventually, I came around to her way of thinking and we decided we should screw.
Yes, screw we would. But we immediately began having logistical problems. We tried parking my car in a dark corner somewhere only to be chased away by a cop. We tried her basement but her mom was too smart for that nonsense and never let us feel safe down there. My house was absolutely out of the question. My mom understood teenage hormones even better than Alison’s and wouldn’t let us be anywhere except the living room. Eventually, I decided it was time to take Operation Sex Haven to the next, safest level.
My grandparent’s cabin was 150 miles away, close enough for a day trip. And it was vacant much of the time. My friends and I had used it as a weekend drinking spot before with no problems. I knew where grandpa hid the key and as long as we cleaned when we left, we were safe. The trick was being sure that my grandparents wouldn’t show up while we were there, which I usually accomplished by calling them before going to the cabin.
“Glad everything’s good,” I would say, “So do you have anything going on this weekend?”
“Oh, no. Uff da. We’re too old to be running around you know,” Grandma would reply.
So Alison and I decided to make a day of it. We’d tell our parents we were going to the zoo or some damn thing and would be gone all day. Her curfew was 11, which gave us plenty of time; ahem, more than enough for 5-6 hours in the car and let’s call it 5 minutes in bed.
Yada, yada, yada. We had sex. And the sex was not great, as I’m sure you understand. But, even though we had been a couple for several months, it was the first time I 100% believed that this was not a joke. I trusted that Alison loved me, wanted me. Which made her the first person in my life who had ever really known me and wanted me anyway. And that, my friends, is a feeling that sex, even good sex, cannot touch.
We stayed at the cabin until the last possible minute. I figured it would take us three hours to get home and we left at 8, probably a little after. There would be hell to pay if we got home late and of course in the mood I was in I would have paid it. But I didn’t want to. Guess what? It was foggier than shit out, not that either of us had noticed. I couldn’t safely drive above 30 miles an hour. If you’ve done the math you know that 30 miles an hour would get us back at, like, We’re Fucked Thirty. So I drove too fast, like an idiot. When we got to the highway I was fortunate enough to fall in behind a semi, also driving too damn fast, like an idiot. I followed far enough behind the semi that I could just make out its taillights, reasoning that if it slammed on its breaks or hit a deer I would have time to stop and hoping that the distance between us was too short for something to emerge in the soup. As we sailed through the darkness, Alison sleeping with her head in my lap, the red taillights of a semi just visible ahead, I felt something I had never felt in my life. I felt…safe. I felt good. I felt loved. And I knew with 100% certainty that I was going to be okay.
P.S. Grandma is up in heaven now. And you may believe she is now rolling over in her grave if you wish. I choose to believe that she is happy that her grandson is okay.
P.P.S We made it home on time, smooth as silk.