Every February 2nd, I can expect a letter from one of my oldest and dearest friends, wishing me a Happy Anniversary. Anniversary? Not my wedding anniversary (July 13) or my birthday (Dec 14) or the date I got my driver's license (Sept 14) or the day I had my first real kiss (Sept 17...connect the dots on that one!) So what gives?
The year was 1985. I was a junior in college, living in a women's dormitory in a small private liberal arts school in rural Ohio. I'd been dating the friend mentioned above for about 9 months, long enough to have shared the painful story of my first (involuntary) sexual experience. We were absolutely crazy about each other, but between my skittishness (understandable), my "thou shalt not" upbringing, and his solicitude (this is important, don't want to screw this up), we hadn't quite gotten around to having sex. This strikes me now as utterly astounding -- my memories of desire are so keen that I look back
with a certain amount of impatience at my younger self. Didn't she know that youth and beauty are fleeting? No. Apparently not.
I have no romantic story to offer about my first consensual sexual experience. It was funny from start to finish. We had returned to my room from a cocktail party in which the featured drink was a Sloe Gin Fizz to find my roomate's
top bunk piled high with clean laundry but my roomate nowhere in evidence. Several minutes of dark fumblings later,
we realized -- much to our horror -- that roomate was indeed in the bed above, passed out in the middle of the
pile of laundry. So, ahem, midstream as it were, we had to take the mattress off the bunk so as not to disturb her rest with
our movement. Surely I must be the only woman in the world who questioned, with a nervous giggle, "So, was that
it?" in the tender moments after my partner's climax. I wasn't complaining -- no, far from it. I was really genuinely
confused because what I had been led to expect of sex (painful, dutiful) and what I had experienced directly
(painful, terrifying) was not at all this new thing. I really wasn't sure if we had actually had sex or not and I
wanted to check to be sure. Still, the question itself touched off such raucous laughter
in my partner that we had to evacuate the room and run to the dorm kitchen, where we laughed for at least
fifteen minutes. He was, is, that kind of a guy. (He reads the blog too -- feel free to jump in and add or
comment if you want...) While the romantic relationship didn't survive, our friendship endured and for this I
am glad. Because really, if you can stick with me after something like that, you're really the sort of person that
I need to have around always.
So, that's the story of my beginning as a sexually active woman. At least, that's the one I count. Happy Anniversary to me.