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“Have You Been Fooling Around with the Boys?”

I guess it’s my turn because I have kind of a similar story — at least at the beginning. I was also sixteen going on seventeen (in two months). I was very young for my age and quite naive. Shaun was my first real kiss, too, and I had not gone any further. But he was two years older and had lots of experience. In fact, his family had lived abroad for a few years and had left him and his younger brother to discover things for themselves.

I had no idea of what was ahead for me, but I do know that, like you, I was excited to be with him because he was cute and popular and played the guitar and sang. Shaun and his brother Danny had their own band and recording studio. He was also student body president of the co-ed boarding school where we both attended.

Me: I was going to be a virgin when I got married. After all, this was January of 1964, and I was “a good girl.” He: He was a cheat and already had a steady girlfriend in another part of the state. But he worked on me and worked on me and kept working on me. I didn’t know what saltpeter was, but he told me he was going to use it because it was a substance that suppressed sexual desire, and I was so frustrating. He also gave me a Time Magazine article to read which was in favor of sex before marriage.

In boarding school, we had every meal and study hall together, so there was a lot of time to work on me from the beginning of school in September to January 29. Yes, fifty years later, I remember the date. Keep in mind that four months in boarding school is equivalent to about a year anywhere else.

Shaun tapped on my dorm window, quietly pulled off the screen and helped me out. There was snow on the ground, and we walked in silence for about fifteen minutes until we reached the meadow. We had sneaked out at night before to kiss under the stars, but this night was different. No alcohol. No drugs. Just a sleeping bag. And I went from a girl who just kissed to losing my virginity that night.

Afterward, he walked me back to the dorm, helped me back in through the window and kissed me goodnight. I sat on my bed. I was numb. I hadn’t felt anything. I stared at the wall. I don’t think I slept at all that night, and in the morning I still felt nothing. Just scared.

The next afternoon, I was sitting cross legged on the floor, sewing name tags into his shirts, when the bleeding started. Lots of bleeding. I went to bed that night with a towel between my legs, and in the morning it was soaked through. I went to the school infirmary, where I was given milk and cookies and told the bleeding would soon stop. When asked what had happened, I said that I had used two tampons back to back. I stuck with that story when my parents were called to meet me at the hospital forty-five minutes down the mountain. I stuck with the story when the ob/gyn in Palm Springs asked me, “Have you been fooling around with the boys?” Of course not. I was going to be a virgin when I got married. I was “a good girl.” What I didn’t know at the time was that he was “a bad boy.”

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

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