Saturday, May 19, 2007

First Kisses Part 1

Although the other day I started literally at the very beginning of my life, I don't feel an overwhelming need to write everything in perfect, chronological order. I'm just going to write what comes to mind. Maybe one day when I write my memoirs, I'll arrange them then.

When I was 12 I moved from Millpond to another small town called Riverbank. Riverbank was in New York and was far nicer than Millpond had ever been. I thought I lived in New England, although technically I lived in the Hudson Valley-ish area. We were close enough to The City to go there fairly often on school trips and people from The City liked to come to Riverbank on the weekends to stroll around and pretend they were in a Norman Rockwell painting as they hunted for antiques and licked ice cream cones. With a Japanese restaurant, a Main Street that wasn't in shambles and a theater which had not been turned into a revival house for Pentecostal snake handlers, Riverbank was as swank, sophisticated and stylish as I wasn't.

Where the kids in Millpond wouldn't play with me because my biological father was a lunatic, overzealous religious fanatic and my mother was a convicted felon (now reformed) who had married, God forbid, A JEW, the kids in Riverbank didn't like me because I was a hillbilly with a broad southern accent who did not wear Lands End.

There was no chance whatsoever that anyone was ever going to kiss me and my entire world depended on getting that first kiss.

The kissing craze had started the year before in sixth grade back in Millpond, where girls were fast. They had to start kissing in sixth grade if they ever expected to get pregnant by tenth grade and married in eleventh so they could get divorced as seniors and go to the Prom with their future second husbands. Jeez. Y'all didn't know that? Actually, since that was 20 years ago, I think things have changed and now the girls are french kissing and giving blowjobs before they get out of third grade. But anyway.

At Millpond Middle School the student council held monthly dances to raise money for more dances. The purpose of the dances was expressly for french kissing in the darkened bleachers of the school's gym after everyone got tired of dancing to "Footloose" and "Puttin' on the Ritz." Then at the end of the night (about 9:30) they'd play the last slow song, possibly Madonna's "Crazy For You", and all the couples who had been frenching in the bleachers would avalanche onto the dance floor to shuffle slowly in circles at arm's length before their moms picked them up outside. Was I one of these lucky individuals? Of course not.

I sold candy at the Millpond Middle School dances. I was a huge dork, forced to wear printed turtlenecks and elastic waisted corduroys instead of the cute patent leather flats and pink pin striped jeans the cool kids got to wear. I had to live with my grandparents while my biological father converted heathens in South America and my mom and her Jewish husband tried to start businesses in other states that involved scary people from foreign countries. All the other girls had the beginnings of boobs which they flaunted in training bras, while I still wanted to play pretend and dress up in old nightgowns imagining I was a princess or a gypsy. Nothing about me made boys want to kiss me.

I wasn't genuinely interested in boys as I sold my reese's cups and peanut m&ms. I just wanted someone to WANT to kiss me because then I would feel validated and pretty and special and worth something. If a boy wanted to kiss me that would mean that I was worth kissing and maybe then other people would like me too. But no. Didn't happen.

When I moved with my mom and dad (the real one, the jewish one, not the bio one who was converting heathens) to Riverbank, New York and I started 7th grade, I figured maybe things would be different, but of course they weren't. Kids smell weakness in others kids. They know which ones are vulnerable. Middle School is like life on the freakin' Galapagos Islands. It's all about Natural Selection and survival of the fittest. The stronger kids weed out the weaker ones, in some unconscious, evolutionary attempt to prevent the undesirables from reaching adulthood and making more undesirables. It's awful. I've seen people whose emotional scars from seventh grade still haunt them as adults.

Something awakened in me in 7th grade. I still didn't grow boobs (that didn't happen until I was 26). I don't know if it was all the talk of stamens and pistils in Mrs. Beck's Life Science or what, but I started liking boys. This did not in any way cause boys to start liking me and thus I began what would become a decades long cycle of loving men who were no more interested in me than they were in the life stories of giant tortoises.

The first boy I liked was named Henry James, and Henry James ignored me. I loved Henry James because his mother was dead. Being a morbid pre-teen, this seemed impossibly romantic and like something out of a British novel, so I had to love him. He was practically an orphan. He may as well have been Pip from Great Expectations. Looking back I am about 98% certain that Henry James grew up to be homosexual. As I write this I bet that Henry James and his life partner have just thrown a fabulous dinner party to show off their newly renovated Victorian home and I'll bet that Henry James has some sort of design job and not because that is a stupid gay stereotype, but because he was really good in Art Class, which also contributed to my great love for him. I've always liked the sensitive artsy types. Now so as I don't piss off my gay readers, whom I adore, I have to explain why I think Henry grew up gay. This is not a case of sour grapes on my part. I think Henry grew up to be gay because when I reflect on this boy it would have been pretty obvious to anyone who wasn't an innocent 12 year old. He never liked any girls and then five years later he went to Prom with a boy whom he claimed was just a very good friend.

So I spent all of 7th grade mooning over a half orphaned, gay boy who was good at art. My chances at being kissed actually dropped from the year before when I was selling watermelon Now and Laters in my teddy bear print turtleneck at the Millpond dance. Still I persisted. I would get my first kiss over the summer and I would start eighth grade with a vengeance and free of my enduring love for Henry James.

The Summer between seventh and eighth grades was one of the most memorable and wonderful summers of my entire life. In time you will hear many, many stories about this summer. This is just one of them.

That summer we lived in Ocean City, Maryland. One day my mother loaded a bunch, but not all, of our stuff into her Isuzu Trooper and started driving. At the time we had a massively pregnant cat and a dog who had just gotten hit by a car and should not have lived. We also had my sister, who was three and my great grandmother who was 398 and had emphysema, but wouldn't quit smoking. My dad went to Israel for his sister's wedding and we ended up renting an apartment in Ocean City where we jammed ourselves, the massively pregnant cat, the crippled dog, my hacking 398 year old great grandmother and my sister Hope who quickly became fascinated with the idea of pooping on the beach.

The apartment was the size of a volkswagen. The kitchenlivingroombedroom was combined and then we had a bathroom and another bedroom in the back which had two twin beds. My mother and great grandmother slept back there and Hope and I slept on the pull out couch. My mother set up two cardboard boxes in her bedroom - one as the cat's delivery room and the other as the dog's ICU. The cat did not approve and gave birth to about seventeen kittens under the pull out couch bed in the kitckenlivingroombedroom, which prevented us from closing the bed for the rest of the summer. We had to crawl over it to get from the front door to anywhere else in the apartment, without stepping on a kitten. I don't remember a night spent without sandy bedsheets. I think I still have grains of sand permanently embedded in my back. We spent every single day at the beach and every single night at the board walk eating frozen bananas on sticks and running in sincere terror from the man with the chainsaw who came flying out of the Haunted House at the end of the pier every 20 minutes or so.

That summer I befriended a girl named Katrina who was about my same age, but was already six feet tall. She wanted to be a supermodel. Katrina was 13, but looked and acted as if she were a good ten years my senior. Her dad was in the military and she had older sisters, one of whom had a baby already. Katrina, a devout Duran Duran fan, had actually even been fingered. I was in total awe of her. Whenever we went to the boardwalk older boys, boys in high school even, maybe college, came up and asked for her number. She knew how to smile and flirt, and not only had Katrina been fingered (oh my god) she also got drunk. She could drink like three wine coolers. Katrina was like a six foot, blonde, wild berry flavored goddess in my eyes. Never, had I met a more glamorous and fascinating individual. I proceeded to spend every waking hour that I could in her shadow.

"You are totally uptight." Katrina declared. "We need to get you drunk and get you kissed. It's so lame that you've never kissed a boy. You can't go into eighth grade without being kissed. I mean, I had my first kiss when I was ten already. We're doing it tonight!"



jen said...

I love the direction you've decided to go in!
As much as I loved your blog for its entertainment value, I now love the personal tales and reminiscences even more. And since we're about the same age, you're taking me back to my youth, also. Ah... good times. ;)

Anonymous said...

and first comment! yippee! so glad you are back. i'm up at midnight at my home in Australiam yawn, what a treat you posted. i am thinking of summers in Lavelette NJ with my older and more experienced (which in my case meant any experience) cousins ... looking forward to part 2 ...

Anonymous said...

lol i have to wait for part 2 ?!?!
noooooooo see ya soon:)

Green said...

On the turtleneck with teddy bears, were those bears each holding a set of three different colored balloons? Because the ones on my turtleneck were. Second grade - good times, good times.

Charlotte said...

Haha! I can't wait to see where this story goes.

By the way, I'm almost 22 and I still haven't had my first kiss...I try not to think about it too much. :/

Zu said...

Why are gay boys so attractive to teenage girls? I had a huge crush on G, was devastated when he dated my friend, then horrified when he broke her heart by confessing that she was his cover.

Calitri said...

Ah, the real real OC (Sorry OC, Jersey, you don't count because you're a dry town and much like 90% of Utah, I choose not to recognize you as existing. Though, I will be visiting this coming weekend, but I'm bringing alcohol with me, so you're temporarily unshunned), there's no place better for firsts. As a part-time summer resident of the Maryland seaside town for the past 26 years, I've had some of my more memorable ,though decidedly less PG, firsts along those sandy shores. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story.

Gucci Muse said...

I can't say I have ever seen pink striped pants-nor have I ever cared about what happened in grade school, middle school, highschool and educational years beyond that-because if I did, I think I would have been like a high school friend of mine who I ran into while in my mid twenties who was in therapy due to her experiences in GRADE SCHOOL.

SNM, if you have not noticed, but I am sure you have, all those kids back then, are nowhere now; now that is some sweet stuff.

Mrs. Sara said...

It was seventh grade when I got my first pair of blue jeans.

My mom dressed me in coral colored legging/tunic sets before that. Let me tell you, tight coral pants with a loose coral shirt does not make a fat girl look ANY smaller.

MP said...

I had the same turtle necks..and I wore shoes strings w/ hearts and whales in my hair like a ribbon, and I had safety pins w/ little colored beads on my shoes strings. I wasn't there..but thanks for the memories, I can't wait for part 2!!

sparkling cipher said...

Mine was when I was 16. I was always boy-crazy, but even if I wasn't too shy to speak most of the time, I was also not very pretty from 6th-8th grades - chubby, bad complexion, no sense of style. Yeah, a dork.

But that made it all the more special when a really great guy finally kissed me.

Please tell us yours was special, too.

Anonymous said...

You've gotten me thinking about my first kiss. I was in third grade where everyone played kissing tag at recess, the funny thing is that no one ever actually kissed anyone when they tagged them. One day while running around the playground a little boy caught me and GASP! kissed me! I was horrified but I still remember his first name, Blake.

Ahhh, the memories.

Theresa said...

I feel so much better now! I didn't get my first kiss until I was 14 and it was the summer before my freshman year of high school. I also didn't get boobs until I was about 25 and an ass and hips soon followed thank god.

Love the new direction of the blog. You are still as entertaining and funny as ever. :)

A Margarita said...

Argh! The suspense! I like the fact you're writing about personal life. You're extra insightful when you write about yourself.

Faithful Reader Guy said...


As much as I miss the very amusing and sometimes lol tales of the mis-fits and nut-cases of Wide Lawns HOA, your real life self is much better reading.

Your book will be fabulous I'm sure

K. said...

I was a little sad to see the nut jobs at Wide Lawns go away, but this is turning out so much better! You are a real person I can relate to. I'm loving reading about you and your life. You are fabulously interesting person - and a great writer!

I was in 6th grade when I had my first kiss - in the hayloft of the pig barn. Does it get any more romantic than that?

Elizabeth said...

Heh, Swallowing my anger as a kid from all the shite I went through from my peers has had one positive experience in my life: I use roller derby to manage my rage/anger issues.

20+ years later, forgiveness for those people is easier on some days than others... and I continute to loathe my hometown.

But hey, I'm pretty happy... and no matter what life throws at me it can not be as bad as that psychological torture I grew up with at school. >:)

Anonymous said...

I was actually 12 years old when a 15 year old boy kissed me for the first time. It was at my house and no tongues were involved (!), but my mom saw and boy, was she mad! I fantasized about that kiss until my next one at age 14.

Love your new stories!

The Dippy Chick Company Blog said...

You are bringing back so many memories of the 80's. (I'm an 88 grad.) Wow. My first kiss was the summer between 8th and 9th grade.
Oh, and I can't even tell you how many guys I dated who turned gay. :)

UmmFarouq said...

I have laughed so hard at your memoirs. We are the same age. This is just great stuff. (and real!)

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