Somebody told me about sex while we were walking home from fourth grade one day. She said her brother had done it and knew all about it. When she described it to me, my reaction was “Yuck! Who’d want to do that?? Yuck!”
In Jr. High School, I did try to fit in with my peers. I really did. Every day, first thing in the morning, the girls used to call each other on the phone and say “today, we all wear our poodle skirts with a cashmere sweater set.” I did what they said, bobby socks, saddle shoes and all. But I don’t think I was really like anybody else. We didn’t talk about it, so there was no way to know.
My first boy/girl party was a 7th grade birthday party. They started to play Spin The Bottle. If the bottle pointed to me, I was supposed to select a boy, go into the closet with him, shut the door and kiss him. I went into the closet, shut the door, and then came bursting out in tears, ran out of the house and ran all the way home. I was terrified — I don’t exactly know of what. I just got terrified and anxious and couldn’t do it.
In Jr. High School health education class one day, we had Sex Education. The boys went into one room and the girls went into another. They showed us a Disney-like cartoon film called “Very Personally Yours” put out by the Kotex Company. It showed that you weren’t supposed to take cold showers (the girl in the cartoon was in a shower with ice cubes falling on her and she turned blue and shivered) and you weren’t supposed to take overly hot showers either. (The girl was showering in a stream of steam and she turned red). I think there were some outline drawings of female and male genitalia but I don’t remember anything else about the film except you were supposed to use Kotex products. When we left the class, we got little pamphlets that reviewed what we had seen in the film. The boys ran up and down the hall trying to steal them from us when we tried to lock them up in our lockers.
All the pulp magazines like “True Confessions” had stories about “bad girls” who lost their virginity, or even had babies when they were teenagers. It was very bad to do that in those days, yet I knew some of my friends did it. It never occurred to me. I didn’t even date, I didn’t like boys. I thought most of them were mean and rough, and I pretty much stayed away from them . I did have some fantasies that involved boys – well really men. I had crushes on all my male teachers and made up all kinds of stories about how we could be alone together and they would fall in love with me.
There is a lot more to this story but I will end with one story that makes me laugh. At least I thought it was funny when I got old enough to understand it.
Once in a while, I’d go into my parents room and look in their bureau drawers. I knew it was wrong, but.. well, I was curious to see what they had. In one of my father’s drawers, there was a joke book with sexy cartoons. I really didn’t understand most of it, but one joke with the caption “Missionary Position” caught my eye. I knew that was a way people had sex, but never having done it myself, I didn’t know what it looked like. Not only that, I was Jewish and didn’t even know what a missionary was.
The picture was of a bed, but instead of being a single or a double bed, it was a bed shaped like a cross, i.e., it was like two beds at right angles to each other and they crossed in the middle, so the bed was shaped like a cross.
I spent years and years, trying to figure out what kind of position people had to twist themselves into in order to fit in that bed and have sex in the missionary position. I thought about it for years. I mentally and physically worked out whose legs would go where and just how they’d join up the important parts in the middle of the bed. Never did figure it out, of course, until years later, I remembered it was a JOKE BOOK, and the JOKE was on ME.
I have long since forgiven myself for taking that joke so seriously. I wonder if there were other kids out there that were as dumb as I was.