Jack’s comment on Monday’s post was so intriguing, I knew I needed to hear more. I was much obliged when he agreed to share his story with us here at Motherese.
Please enjoy Jack’s post and then stop by to visit him at his place, Random Thoughts, where you will be welcomed by one of the most dedicated, most prolific bloggers around. Thanks, Jack!
We met in 1982. I was an awkward 13 year old boy who had a ton of sisters but didn’t know a thing about girls. That wasn’t odd or unusual for boys my age because none of us really knew all that much about the so-called fairer sex.
What we did know were the obvious things. You were built differently from us. Some of you had curves and bumps that made us feel tingly but we weren’t quite sure why. There had been a time not so long before when we all played together on the yard at our elementary schools. But junior high school was different for an enormous number of reasons.
I suppose that before we go any further I should let you all know who I am speaking of. You see, when Kristen wrote about her imaginary friend Mary, I left a remark about my imaginary girlfriend and how I had never blogged about her before.
In part it is because I had forgotten about her and how she once occupied my thoughts. Not to mention that her existence was more than a little bit embarrassing. It shouldn’t be now, not at the grand old age of 41.5. (Normally I wouldn’t include the .5 in my age, but my six year old daughter is insistent that it is important so I have to listen.)
Back in those days of O.P. shorts, Puka shells and Journey, the boys all told stories of girlfriends who loved us so much that they would do anything. Out on the yard you would hear stories about these girls who weren’t limited to regular or French kisses. Almost all of them would let you stick your hand up their shirts or put their hands in your pants.
It takes no effort to see a group of us sitting on benches while someone told these stories. We’d nod our heads and smile, none of us wanting to admit that we hadn’t a clue what to do with our hands or what was supposed to happen when their hands went wandering. And since kids can be cruel when it came time to tell your stories you had one to tell because you didn’t want to be subjected to the needling of the other boys.
So I came up with an imaginary girlfriend to talk about. She never made it to our school dances but that was because she didn’t live in Los Angeles or if she did there was a good reason why she couldn’t come. We had met at my camp or so I told everyone.
I didn’t know much about girls but I knew that if I said it happened during a slow dance to “Open Arms” or “Faithfully” I wouldn’t be questioned on it. For a long time that story worked and then it didn’t. It didn’t because some girls started hanging out with us at the lunch yard and girls want details. They poked at the obvious holes in the story and asked me to bring letters that she had written me. I can see them assuring me that since they were girls they knew that there had to be letters.
Badgered and bullied into telling more about her I dug a deeper hole for myself and talked about how she loved how I didn’t need two hands to unhook her bra. One of them looked at me and snorted something about how she must give me BJs all day long. I was completely unfamiliar with the term and told her that she did. Ignorant fool that I was, I assumed a BJ was some sort of candy or chocolate bar.
The girl who was questioning me had older sisters in high school so I imagine that she was exposed to somethings at an earlier age than myself. As a father I have seen it happen with my kids, but I digress.
I’d like to say that I remember exactly what happened after that, but I don’t. What I do remember is that for the next three years she taunted me about that. Two things came of that:
1) I tried desperately to ignore her because the one thing that I knew from having sisters was that girls liked reactions. All I had to do was be quiet and she’d go nuts.
2) Having found out what I had admitted to receiving I desperately wanted one so that I wouldn’t sound like an idiot. But I had a very limited understanding of how to make that happen.
The beauty of hindsight is the clarity it provides. Had I just kept my mouth shut or been more circumspect I wouldn’t have had a problem. Fact is, had my tormentor been male I probably would have punched her in the mouth and the issue would have been resolved, but she wasn’t.
Fortunately the school year ended and I went back to camp. Good old camp where I learned precisely what those initials referred to and what was supposed to happen. And while I didn’t experience it that summer I did hear enough to sound like I had.
When I think about that time it is funny because really the reason that I learned what I did was because I overheard two of the female counselors talking about that very act with each other. That granted details that I used to protect myself because when I got back to school I was able to talk about advanced techniques.
It also taught me to go looking for the female counselors because their conversations were always peppered with stories, comments and questions about boys. And you know what is funny, it seems that my imaginary girlfriend was able to “commandeer” a few of those stories for herself.
As a kid, were you more or less “advanced” than your peers? Did you ever find yourself inventing parts of your identity in order to fit in?