Day two of a thirty day writing challenge on sexuality. Here’s part one.
“Do you know where babies come from?” my mother asked.
How old was I? Don’t know. Mid-single digits, maybe.
I felt embarrassed. Was I going to have to really tell my mom where babies come from?
“Well, when two people love each other, God gives them a baby,” I admitted bashfully.
How was I going to live with myself, knowing that my mom knew that I knew the secret to babies?
I don’t remember how she reacted. Maybe she laughed, as parents sometimes do when kids say something endearingly naive.
I think the impetus for that conversation was when I found a strange book behind the couch.
Where Did I Come From? was the name of the book. It was filled with cartoons of naked people. I felt excited and uncomfortable when I saw the images.
My father sat my brother and I down one day to read that books.
That was fun.
Dad was always pretty open about sex. That made me cringe a lot when I was younger, but his candidness made it so that we became just about best friends in my adult life.
Even though Where Did I Come From? covers all the basic bases of sexuality, I don’t recall actually grasping sex very well back then. I had the gist down, but it was all still quite confusing.
For instance, I used to think girls pee out of their butts. Because they sit down to urinate. I was corrected by the matriarch of the next door neighbor’s house, which was quite sobering.
Then after that I thought that women pee out of their vagina. Didn’t get corrected on that one until I was seventeen, by my best friend’s grandma, who informed me of a mysterious third hole that much later in life I’d identify in a college biology course as an external urethral orifice.
Let’s see. I vaguely remember there being a brief sexual section of the health class curriculum in middle school.
My Baptist middle school, which taught that most fun things are off-limits and Satanic.
My teachers were uncomfortable discussing the details of sex, so how could the students be comfortable learning?
They glossed right over it all, leaving the rest up to our parents.
Meanwhile, I guess my parents assumed that my bro and I knew everything we needed from reading that book with dad when we were kids.
I was too shy to ask my parents more questions.
Google wasn’t a thing yet.
So I entered prepubescence and adolescence without much of a clue except what I’d learned from movies and lore spread around by my equally-sheltered friends.
Getting into early high school, my guy friends and I. We were pretty gay.
We’d have these big sausage fest parties, all laying on beds pretending to make out with each other with our hands over our mouths.
One of my guy pals and I would stay up late telling each other sex stories while touching ourselves next to each other on my water bed.
So I’d be talking to my friend while he touched himself, and I’d say, “I am taking off my blouse and letting you suck my nipples.”
I was pretending to be a woman, you see. Totally heterosexual.
If anyone accused us of being gay, or calling us, you know, fags, faggots, homos, or queers, we’d recoil and be all like, “Ew!”
But then retire to a night world of, “You feel my soft hair lightly caressing your balls.”
I didn’t actually know how to masturbate, mind you.
Touching myself consisted of simply touching my genitals and rubbing around with no particular purpose. I didn’t understand the concept of stroking it or ejaculation until I was sixteen.
The first time I came outside of a wet dream, was by the hands of a girl.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Let’s talk about girls for a second.
Never for a moment did I fall for the ridiculous notion of girls having cooties.
I was OK with other boys falling for that. More girls for me.
My first official girlfriend was in kindergarten. Julie. We played Lite-Brites.
The first love of my life was in my life from first grade to fourth grade or so. Oh, Jane.
Jane dumped me for another Andrew in third grade after I got too intense for her by putting my arm around her at a track-and-field event.
I felt led on, because she’d been planning to move to a third world country to marry me.
Maybe she wasn’t the first love of my life, actually.
Maybe that was Mandy and Lei, two girls who grew up in my neighborhood. They’d have bike races down my childhood street of Clifton Ave. The winner would get my hand in marriage.
Mandy always won. But I wanted Lei to win. So I kept calling for rematches. But Lei just couldn’t stand the heat. Survival of the fittest. I was forced to marry Mandy.
Of course, we didn’t actually get married. But I did show her my penis underneath a tarp below her swing set. She said she was going to show me her vagina, but I don’t remember seeing it. If she’d shown me, I think I’d remember.
I did see Lei’s vagina once though. She didn’t mean to show it, and I didn’t mean to look. But there it was.
I had no idea what the hell I was looking at. But I liked it.
Late elementary school and early middle school were a marathon of me asking every girl in school out and getting rejected. I asked out the popular girls. The quiet ones. The social butterflies. The recluses. They all said no.
Until Harmony. She said yes. It was sixth and seventh grade when we dated.
A couple times, we cuddled and rubbed arms. It was pure heaven. I wanted to rub arms for eternity. I wanted her to rub arms way more than she wanted to rub arms.
I wrote Harmony a five-page letter with the point of asking her if I could kiss her. She said no.
I liked her. But Katelyn was the one who truly had my heart…
Oh, Katelyn… What I would have done. For just one day in your arms.
You get the point. I loved girls. All the girls.
One of my best friends tried to sneak outside a window at homecoming and see the seniors getting dressed and undressed.
We were caught. I cried my fool head off, and my friend ran away and left me to face the kangaroo court. I was too slow to run away…
We called our plan Operation: Squishy Rock. Because we thought boobs were like squishy rocks. And we wanted boobs.
Most of the aforementioned happened before my family had the Internet.
When we got AOL when I was thirteen or fourteen, my life rapidly and irreversibly changed for the better, worse, and everything in between/beyond…
Also published on Medium.