Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seems we’re all talking about virginity these days….
I found it hard to relate to the two previous posts on virginity, because I don’t remember losing mine, so it never got to be an issue.  Although the way I lost it became a VERY big issue for a while.
I’m amazed at how little I remember – I was 10 or 11 at the time, not a total child.  I’ve never known how to label what happened.  “Child abuse” as a concept didn’t exist at the time, and although it has since become a big subject in the media, it always seems to be in terms of wicked family members.
My experience wasn’t like that.  I had a little job delivering newspapers to houses before school.  The newsagent just got friendlier and friendlier.  He “promoted” me to helping me mark up the papers with the house numbers for the delivery routes, so I was on my own with him in the shop, and got even friendlier.  
And I was flattered – I assume. I actually have no memory of what I felt, I just know that no physical violence, threats or hothouse family atmospheres were ever involved, and don’t know how else to explain my compliance.
He had a dog.  I desperately wanted a dog.  My parents wouldn’t let me have a dog.  So I started going round to his house after school to play with his dog, or take it for walks. This led on to playing with him, and then to sex.  He must have been very patient and determined.
This went on for more than a year.  Of all that time, I have only four short “videos” in my memory.  Four.  They aren’t particularly shocking, except for the fact that I was 10 or 12 and he was 28 or 29, and weren’t, as far as I’m aware, traumatic.  But I don’t think I need to describe them here.

What WAS traumatic was when my parents found out.   Oh Lord, did the heavens ever fall in.   I hadn’t been forced, therefore I was a fallen woman, a shame to the family, a disgrace, dirty, untouchable.  My father couldn’t bear to look at me, whilst my mother was very vocal in her disgust, which spilled out all over the place.
That also went on for years.   The fall-out was quite spectacular and my feelings for my parents have never recovered.
It wasn’t until I was 24 when someone handed me a book on child abuse that I began to punch my way out of the paper bag of being a fallen woman, a shame to the family, a disgrace, dirty, untouchable.  But by then, of course, I had become so (in the eyes of people who believe in such concepts).  Having lost my virginity and any sense of connection with my parents at 10 or 11, it wasn’t difficult at all to look for acceptance and affection elsewhere using this new-found skill.
Of course, we only have one life, so it’s never possible to set up experiments with a control.  I can’t know what my life would have been without that experience.  I suspect I learnt far too early on to “service” in bed rather than share, but isn’t that many women’s experience anyway?  I can’t imagine trusting my parents, but I might have done if this hadn’t happened, and who knows how that might have changed my life?  Not to mention how my life might have been different if I hadn’t been cast in the role of untrustworthy scarlet woman so early on.  On the other hand, becoming independent and taking risks might have been more difficult if I’d had any kind of meaningful relationship left with them.   For example, the fact that moving abroad would mean I would see very little of my parents has never been a problem for me.   And in my wild sleeping around days (which I might have had anyway), I actually met some truly nice people who are still friends today, 30 years later.  And all of my long-term relationships (I’m on my third) grew out of one-night stands (do people still use that expression?).  Re-reading those last two sentences makes me wonder whether it's perhaps because I was introduced to sex so early on that's it's never been a really big deal to me,  and in fact has often been a way for meeting people and making friends.

In the end, it’s not an experience that dominates my life, but I’m aware it’s there, lurking in the background.  Witness this post.  There’s no conclusion, or even any real point to this post, but reading two posts in succession about virginity, well, this is what has been stirred up for me.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Fucking bitter resentment. I am supposed to be all about Zen, calm, fucking smooth, relaxing and somewhat pleasurable contentment. Right?

Okay, so here's the deal. My dad, secret drug addict, abuser, terrifying man who later benefited from the invention of Prozac and became #1 Team Grandfather to my son's baseball team.  They provided him a reason for living and he provided them with countless blow pops, licorice sticks and whatever else they requested after a big win. That was my dad. My life was but a concession.

Mom - depressed, not available, now dead.

Oldest brother - dead.

Middle brother - dead to me.

Youngest brother - dead.

First husband - in prison.

Second husband - doing very well, thank God I had the strength to set him free.

Third husband - in a federal satellite camp (could be called prison) but my kids tend to refer to him as "away".

When my mom died in 2007 of depression, masked as breast cancer (because you truly cannot have a lump in your breast that size and not know it might be an issue) left everything in her estate to my middle brother because she knew he might not be far from death and she wanted him to always have a place to live.  She spent her life keeping my drug addicted brothers off the streets so of course, she naturally chose to keep him, the last of the three, in a safe harbor throughout her death.  It was easy for her, "my daughter has always provided for herself, so she most certainly always will".

When my ex-husband went to his country club, a/k/a prison camp last year, there were no provisions made as to how I was going to make ends meet as a full time mom.  Nobody to help with childcare.  Three kids, a full time job, a house.  I was barely able to keep my nose above the water as a 50% joint custody mom; yet, it was easy for him to see, "she has always provided for us when I didn't hold a job or spent us into debt or relied on her to pay all the kids expenses even after we were divorced, and she most certainly always will".

As I write this, I am approaching the fifth month of being a full time working, full time single mom and I fucking hate every single word of this post typed thus far, for it reeks of pity.  I have been swirling about in a cauldron of evil consisting of:  Hate, Resentment, Entitlement, Hair of the Dog, Bitterness, Red Dirt vs.White Snow, Shaved Spirit of the Innocent, Red Wine vs. White Wine or worse yet, no Whine at all.  And it comes to me. I want to move back to Oklahoma because it's not supposed to snow in late March. Oh and also......

Duh.  These are your lessons you dumb shit. Since when did you ever feel sorry for yourself?  Get the fuck up and manifest this anger into your destiny. I gave it to you for a reason.  You only do well, when you are pressed, pressured or pissed.  Now you are all P's to the three and I am sitting here, laughing my ass off, waiting to see how you swat at this ridiculous hornets nest I save for the only those I love the most.

My kid's dad recently told them God only punishes those he loves the most, that's why daddy ended up in camp "away". To which, the sick and much demented grandmother figure replied, "then God must really, really love your daddy". Concessions.  Holy, moldy shit, concessions.

I have picked up my giant ass fly/hornet swatter and I am going to destroy anything that stands in my way and that means you: Resentment, hate and pity - you were sent here to piss me off.  

But what happens when you catch yourself in the mirror and you stop, truly stop in your tracks? You try to deny it but it is there.  You look just like your brother, who looks just like your dad.  You said it yourself last Thanksgiving when you couldn't take your eyes off your brother because he made you uneasy, like he was going to send you to your room at any moment for being the worlds first and only virgin whore. And here I am, looking like my brother who looks like my dad.  Same fucking nose, same fucking eyes, same fucking.....?

Same fucking hero to a little league baseball team who counted on the gray haired man with a lawn chair, a huge smile, and a pocket full of dollars for a sugar coma provided by none other than a concession stand.

Fuck me - I have to stand on top of these concessions? I'm going to need more than a few licorice sticks.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Understanding Words

Rube talked about her virginity, and now I have to talk about mine because my comment was too long and it turned into a story. Heart you, Rubes.

Being comfortable with my virginity was like living on Saturn, surviving off iced salt and chaos rings. I wore it like a cloak of shame and self-disgust. When everyone was sharing dashing stories about sex, I would darkly withdraw. Because I was not a virgin by choice, I was virgin because I was not sexy, and I'd been told so I knew it was true.

Some people would say, "oh, but you had the chance, of course, and you weren't ready." And I would clarify, "No. No one has ever shown any interest. Believe me. I'm not stupid." They would insist I was wrong and offer ignorant and careful consolations, like "well, you know, I was thinking about trying this new kind of make up, maybe it will help you feel more confident about yourself, you should just relax, sometimes you can be a little stubborn and some women find that men like them better when they listen," which is just a betrayal, justifying my previous belief that they were liars who didn't have the guts to tell me I was plainly unlovable to my fucking face. Besides, telling someone like me to "listen" and "relax" has the same effect as shoving your hand in a fire.

I would angrily point it out and they would deny it three times, but I understand words better than most people and have little respect for both magazine rehash disguised as advice and subtle implications between friends. It's goddamn insulting.

I would prefer to hear, "Well, looks are important. They're the first thing someone sees. You dress down on purpose, you don't exercise, and you assume everyone you talk with has the same knowledge as you, which is goddamn frustrating. Either stop bitching or change something." It's such a relief when someone speaks without that deceptive mind-crap.

I chose 'stop bitching.' Why? Because I wanted to know. I wanted to know if someone could really, truly be attracted to me as I am, no masks or games. This is me, in all of my angry, whiplash, anchored, beer-fueled glory, and I am loud, sometimes cruel, and protective to a fault. And your joke was not funny but I like the effort. We'll work on that. Let me tell you a tragedy:

Once upon a time there was a stone who loved the wind, but she loathed how it teased her.

It's horribly sad, isn't it? Poor immovable stone.


So a friend got very, I mean, embarrassingly, nay! obscenely drunk this weekend and confessed she and her husband had mutual crushes on me and every time they thought I would join them for a threesome I would go home or fall asleep and they would go to bed unfulfilled. She thanked me for always being gracious about denying their advances, and never getting awkward or uncomfortably judging.

I had no fucking idea what she was talking about.

No fucking idea.

She gave me instances of nights I fully remembered, and they were fun drunken conversations between friends, and how the fuck was I completely unaware they were underlined with subtle, insidious flirting? Granted, I would never have done it because the thought of being in a threesome makes me uncomfortable, terrified, and cold, but shit. I am not, nor have I ever been, polyamorous. I am way too selfish.

I've been edgy and nervous ever since, trying to cycle back through so many conversations I've had with guys and wondering if they were actually interested and I'm just completely illiterate in the language of pre-doin'-it. Oh my god, what if I'm a sociopath. I have an inability to read facial cues. Shit. Fuck damn. What about Donny? What about Ben? What about all of those guys I dismissed as friends when chances are I was unknowingly letting them down easy?

I have so many phone calls to make, which I never will. "Joe? Hey, it's Rassles. Yeah. Hi. So remember that night we met and we stayed up watching cartoons, and you told me I should have more faith in guys and they all weren't judging bastards and I laughed at your face? Yeah? Were you trying get some? Did we stop hanging because I wouldn't put out?"


"Well, Rass, honey," Savannah explains, "That's because you're naive."

"I am not naive. They rarely rarely rarely try anything with me. None of my male friends has ever tried to sleep with me." I finish off my beer, slam the glass on the table and stare at it, or behind it. There is a hole in the table.

"See, that's because...this is what I'm saying: You're naive."

"I don't follow your logic. I need another beer."

"They always, always, always want to sleep with you. Everyone wants to sleep with you. Always. All the time. Own it. Look everyone in the eyes and let them know that you know that they want to fuck you. Rum and coke," Savannah grins at the server walking by, who smiles back.

I laugh and turn my head to the server. "Ha! Kai getta High Life, please?" she nods and smiles at Savannah before heading back to the bar. "And then they say, 'what is wrong with you? Stop looking at me like that.' I know. It's happened before."

"In like junior high."

"Left an impression."

"You cannot judge how men see you based off of a conversation you had when you were twelve."

"Yes I can. I need more male friends."

"What does that...? Shut up. Half of your friends are dudes."

"Yes, and most of them are married and none have tried to make sex with me. I should have a pride of dudes at my disposal, if so many dudes want it. A fucking pride."

"Okay, no one wants to 'make sex' with you. Now you're not naive, you're just a dork."


I am not good with subtle implications, and I understand words worse than most people. Oh, you wonder about the man who will eventually break my stupidity?

Let me tell you a satire.

Once upon a time there was a stone who loved the wind, and she never realized its teasing, faint caress was a return of affection rather than friendly, belittling mockery.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mama Pop

Boundaries...My moms ain't got them.

That is what I am discovering in therapy, well, one of the big things. And of course, figuring out how to set my own since I was not raised around them. Awesome fun I tell you, paying a near stranger $120 an hour to tell you that you need to not let your mother run her emotional battlement tank all over you. Sometimes the obvious isn't obvious to everyone(ie. me). Though it is helping and I am learning all sorts of fun techniques to move me forward and help me stop my brain from taking a kernel of anger and turning it into an three-day rumination on why my mom sucks(that list is a post in itself)when I should be sleeping.

In fact I have come up with my own mental device to disengage when I start fixating on thoughts about her. I picture her face stretched across a balloon, and then I take a long sharp needle, all glinty and menacing looking, and I pop her. It's just violent enough to satisfy me in some small way but kind of funny and shuts off the train of thought. Anyhow, a story...

I was a virgin until I was twenty-one. I wasn't the girl with the perfect, bouncy blonde ponytail with my 10-carat gold chastity ring and pristine white-knee highs. I was what is now called goth but then was just theatre chick, smoking, swearing, furiously masturbating, curious, slutty, kiss a new boy at a different party every weekend kind of girl. I was the girl who found the Joy of Sex book on our bookshelf at ten and then secreted it away for me to peruse at my leisure. I would sit on the concrete curbs of my street, far enough away from the windows and ears of our parents and I would entertain and educate my friends with descriptions of things like premature ejaculation and cunnilingus.

I made the choice early on not to have sex in high school for a handful of well-reasoned reasons. First, because I had moved schools after my first year of high school, the group of friends I landed with were mostly a year ahead of me. They did everything first from driving to fucking. I saw my best friends get their seventeen year old hearts broken in the wake of teenage intercourse. What do you mean you are breaking up with me, I thought we were going to be together forever kind of stuff. Second, my mom had birthed me at the tender age of seventeen and I saw that this was not in fact the easy path so many needy teenagers seem to imagine it is. I was resolute not to put myself even remotely near to the path of teenage motherhood. Third, I was keenly interested in sex and boys but I had enough information to understand that a sixteen or seventeen year old boy was unlikely to have the know how to make sex nice for me. So I decided pretty early on that I would save myself for college and a smarter set of boys or maybe even later. Until then I could play the ballgame to third base with no regret.

Being a kids who was, in hindsight, remarkable comfortable with certain parts of herself, I was not secretive about my decision not to have sex. I didn't wear it like a badge of superiority or some pledge to my future self, I was just open and comfortable with not being ready. My mother, probably in some part shamed by her Catholic upbringing and own unwed pregnancy, took my virginity as a sign of her successful parenting and my obvious(to her) virtue. It also became, sadly, a selling point.

Thankfully she waited until I was a freshman in college to dangle me in front of guys like a shiny new piece of unkinked tinsel. My mom met most of these would-be suitors at a dive bar a block from our house that she frequented after an arrest and DUI made it more important for a short drive home after a night of knocking them back.

"He was real nice and I gave him your number."

"You what?" I said.

"I said I gave him your number," she repeated through a mouthful of lasagna she had brought home with her, lasagna I was pretty sure she was going to be throwing up in an hour or so.

"Eew, why would I want to date some guy hanging out drinking at that shithole?"

"He was really nice, I showed him your picture, played pool with him."

"Even better." I said, sorry that my sarcasm didn't register with her when she was loaded.

"I told him you were in college and that you were, you know, you were a virgin."

This is when I would usually walk out of the room, afraid I was going to punch her in the face. How about blonde? How about interested in law or likes to read or has a cat or swims real fast or sings pretty or wants to learn how to drive stick or likes movies or listens to Peter Gabriel or anything besides whether some guy had poked my hymen like a hungry chimp shoving a stick into a busy ant hole.

I never, ever invited my mom in any way to find me a boyfriend or was ever remotely receptive to her thinly veiled attempts to pimp me out to some guy sharing the stool next to her. What did she get out of this, attention? The idea of dating some stooge my mom liked through a really solid pair of rum and coke goggles was revolting. That my mom would even say this or do this was proof to me that she didn't understand me at all. She didn't understand that I hated that she drank. She didn't understand that I would never regard her or an idea openly or warmly when she was drunk, that it would never be funny or silly or anything other than sad for me. She didn't understand that bringing one gross, inappropriate man into our house had been one more than I had ever needed. She didn't understand that although I hadn't had sex, I would never be with anyone who thought it was important that his girlfriend or wife be a virgin. These were not guys that had saved themselves for marriage, these were guys that made judgments about women and probably wanted a virgin so she wouldn't know how hard they sucked in the sack. My mom didn't understand that being a virgin wasn't part of my identity, it was just a choice and mostly a choice born out of not wanting to be like her.

These are the thoughts that keep me up at night. These are the memories(and they seem infinite) that make me so angry that I think I will crack my teeth from clenching my jaw. These are the reasons it took me almost fifteen, adult years to figure out how to trust and love someone, certain that they would not hurt me in ways that would make me lose all faith in them. These are things I think of that make me think of my own daughters that then make me furiously add up all the ways I am not like her until I can see it like a hand in front of my face. These are the things that clog my brain at two in the morning until I remember my balloon trick and that imaginary menacing needle.