“We’re just following ancient history, if I strip for you will you strip for me?” No, we didn’t actually take clothes off or anything like that for voyeurs’ sake. We were kids, pre-pubescent nymphs with ripe imaginations bubbling over with sexual curiosity. I was always the instigator of the role-playing, and of course I liked to be on top. But I tell you none of it ever seemed like anything more than benign experimentation. I thought all the other tween girls and their friends struggled in bed together like husbands and wives. (And maybe they did.)
It was just after Christmas, someone had given me a gorgeous bottle of champagne bubble bath as a gift. The thick, 1980’s, Madonna-neon pink liquid filled up the slender neck and robust bottom of the bottle like candied lava. It was wrapped like a pirate’s treasure in crinkled gold foil and it called me, spoke to me by name! I was so enamored with its beauty that I couldn’t even bring myself to pop the cork. It was decadent, and it visually reeked of something I wanted to know more about, yet I knew nothing. That afternoon I took the sparkling rose’ with me to my friend s house as if to ironically toast the end of my childhood.
Her vanity was organized with all her pretty things arranged on display. She had shapely little glass bottles filled with drug store perfumes, and wet n wild make-up in hues of blues, along with a silky scarf or lacey doily of sorts to use. (I Love a poem.) I added to her collection by showcasing my bath- time prize front and center, inviting, but untouchable. Her record player sat in front of the window under the cascade of curtain sheers. She pulled out the bazooka pink Adam Ant record and played it for me, ushering me to listen to the words. We sat on the side of her bed giggling at the risqué lyrics, innocently trying to grasp them.
I don’t really remember how I asked her, but I know I made light of it not really understanding what it meant. I wasn’t deviant, or anymore manipulative than other kids, I didn’t consciously think to myself, “I want to take advantage of her.” I just wanted to know what physical intimacy was all about. I may have asked her how she thought people had sex. We had talked about it in the past and sort of physically role-played for demonstration purposes only, but this time I wanted to walk the line between fantasy and reality.
I must have come on strong with a convincing argument, or else my notions seemed harmless enough because she agreed. She wasn’t as comfortable with the idea, nor was she as into it, but she was a good sport. Nothing much happened other than a clothed, uncoordinated horizontal dance. It didn’t take long before her words emptied the blood from my face, and sent my stomach airborne. Still to this day her message echo’s in my guilt chamber and ricochets embarrassment from the pit of my shame, “You’re hurting me!”
That verbal slap stung me with awareness the way the bite into the apple did for Eve. Instantly I knew shame, and she was harsh, her message fired at me like a preacher from the pulpit. (Save me Jesus!) I didn’t own up to my feelings, I locked them away in the dungeon of repressed memories until I met Susan.
It was one of those telling moments in life, or social cues you pick up when it’s too late. I realized that I made my sweet, dear friend uncomfortable and it halted my brazen curiosity. I was at a precarious age verging on puberty, I was impressionable and vulnerable, and searching for answers. (Not much has changed.) I wasn’t capable of sexual misconduct until I was privy to her negative reaction. Once I became enlightened, I made a beeline towards more “socially acceptable” behaviors as to avoid that rotten, squeamish in my own skin feeling I felt that day. I never again wanted to cause such a guilt worthy breach in any of my friendships. The whole situation was uncannily odd because she was the only person I felt comfortable enough with to act out my urges, yet in the end it only pushed her away. The juncture tarnished our friendship and our connection faded away into the seams of our unspoken pasts.
That event was the pivotal motivator that effortlessly mainstreamed my way of thinking. From then on out, up until my late teens/early twenties, I never intentionally let my queer-guard down around another girl again. Primarily because you just didn’t do that, it wasn’t acceptable enough for me to even see it in myself.
I went polar-opposite, I became obsessed with boys; and I wanted to rule all of them! Whenever I started “dating” boys, I never could figure out why I heard more often than not, “You’re weird!” (I still get that one a lot today.) However, I ended up doing pretty well for myself in the teen-hetro world, maybe too well. I lusted after intimacy but always wound up feeling even more alone, and eventually I stopped loving myself. I was jealous of other girls, and in constant wonder about what the boys thought. I would scan their targets, listen in on conversations and I aligned myself with their need for female attention. I was noticed, but I also saw what they found attractive in other girls. I too coveted the calm and curvy, bronzed legs hiding under classroom desks. My calves were like nervous ivory sticks, bustling with envious energy. I watched the boy’s clamor oafishly for consideration, and it spiked my hairs if the charmed one was talking to me.
I was outgoing, but in a coarse and rogue way, (I’m still working on that one.) I was girlie but not frilly. I wasn’t very athletic except when it came to weight-training class and volleyball. (I didn’t get the memo.) I found my distaste for over- the-top enthusiasm when I signed up for cheerleading. I loathed the rah, rah, and loved the flips and flops, and jumps from the top. (Sorry, couldn’t help but rhyme.) I played butchball; I mean softball too, but not very well. The games moved too slowly for my restless and quick moving mind.
I weaved in and out of scenarios searching for meaning and neutrality, and the looking actually became my comfort zone. It became a pattern I repeated continuously until the death of my Maw- Maw, twenty-three years later. Her death was like the dynamite that demolished my rote and stale cycles.
It didn’t change my behavior much but it opened my eyes to the reasons. Still to the core I’m a walking book of unanswered questions, and that will NEVER change! I’m a seeker and explorer of face value and hidden truths.
Who’s to say what the aforementioned stories about my experiences in junior high prove or disprove about the evolution of my sexuality. There were a few other things that happened to me prior to the influence of Adam Ant.
But what I really want to know is will I ever figure it out? And does it really matter?