One of the things I pondered on the weekend as I rode the bus to avoid getting drenched on my scooter, was early sexual memories.
I’m not talking about first kisses, first fondles, that sort of thing. I’m talking about a few particular memories I have that sort of crystallized some of the really stupid hang-ups I’ve worked hard to overcome over the years that have since passed. There are two I’ll share here tonight. I sometimes wonder how those early moments shape who we are in the decades to come, so I suspect I might take a look at this theme more in the future.
The first was when I was seven or eight, standing in the bushes behind Tyler & Devin’s house, with a round of “you show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.” After proposing the afternoon’s antics, Tyler got things rolling and tugged his jeans down around his ankles. I dropped my little shorts. He pulled down his Y-fronts. I dropped my little pink panties. We looked at each others bits and parts. But then…
The woods served as a shortcut to most of us kids in the neighbourhood, particularly en route to the Holy Land – 7-11 and Dad’s Ice Cream Shop. Except, of course, the portion with the haunted house. We all avoided that, of course, its broken windows and battered wooden siding, that constant smell of mold and must, all of it warding us off before we’d land foot in that unkempt yard.
It was just when we had revealed our bits and parts that a few kids in the ‘hood came crunching through the forest and discovered us in our exhibitionist glory.
“You’re a dirty girl!”
“Ha-ha! I’m gonna tell!”
“Oh, I hate girls. Gross, Tyler!”
We shimmied our pants back up, blood rushing to our faces. Tyler started grinning, wandered over to the other kids, and me, I scurried out of the forest, ran under their treefort, and raced that half-block on home.
That lesson taught me that showing your body was something to be ashamed of, something I’ve kind of gone through the motions of explaining how I’ve gotten in touch with it since.
The second “profound” moment was a Friday night when I was about 12 and my friend Meghan was sleeping over. We were in the kitchen, popping popcorn the old-fashioned kettle-on-the-stove way, never a quiet venture, when I had to run upstairs to ask my parents a question that has long since escaped me. I barged into their bedroom only to discover my hefty 300-lb father rolling back and forth on top of my mother, naked, in bed, like a beached whale trying to will itself back into the wet folds of the ocean.
The light streamed in from the hall, illuminating the horror on my mother’s face and the amusement on my father’s.
“Oh… shit.” I muttered, slammed the door, and bounded down the oak staircase to the kitchen. “Forget it,” I told Meghan. “Let’s watch TV.”
About three minutes later, my dad rather unsubtly wandered into the kitchen in his robe and nothing but. “Popcorn ready?”
Unbeknownst to him, Meghan was far more savvy about sex than I was then. I didn’t have to tell her what I’d just witnessed, but we’d exchange horrified tales in the dark of my bedroom as the night progressed.
This was the first time it’d ever occurred to me that I wasn’t a test-tube child or a present from a stork. The notion of my parents fucking wasn’t something I couldn’t comprehend, but instead one of those thoughts I never wanted to entertain. Meghan, though, had no choice. Her parents never realized the amount of noise that came from their bedroom when they’d fuck, nor how thin their walls were, and every Friday night, without fail, they’d go at it. Which, of course, was part of the reason Meghan began staying over at my house, every Friday night, without fail.
There were more formative memories… many, many more. When you’re raised Catholic, I assure you, they come in droves. But that’s all you get, for now.
I’m having a rare moment: I have no idea how to wrap this up. But there it is. Funny now, but psychologically-scarring then. Part of the reason for this sudden “I don’t know where to go” is that I’ve just remembered something my mother once said to me about sex with my father, something that fucked me up and made me dread ever having sex, something that left me angry at her for a time. There can be issues with becoming friends with a parent, and this was one of them. It’s incongruous with the above, so I won’t share it tonight, but it’s fodder for another time.