WHAT ELSE IS COLLEGE FOR?
5 Real Stories
Four of us sit on Leni’s black-velvet blanket — Leni; Leni’s wannabe-girlfriend, Val; Leni’s gay friend with the eyeliner, Tim; and me — watching Kentucky Fried Movie. It’s so obscene we may as well be watching porn. Val says, “Wanna put on porn?” Tim glowers as Leni changes the tape. My head feels like a microwave inside which my brain is slowly melting. On screen, people grunt and writhe, and Val slides her hand down Leni’s pants. We all pretend this is normal.
Normal in Miami is eighty degrees outside at Christmas. The trees here are decorated with real fruit. I’ve never been so disoriented. Ever since I met Leni at Jewish summer camp, where I fit in and she was way too cool, I’ve been half-obsessed, half-terrified; I wish she were a boy so that my feelings would make sense. I’m fifteen and humid with lust and yet I wear my brother’s huge t-shirts to obscure my boobs, which burst out of my chest one day like guests who take over a party and won’t leave. Leni’s boobs are just small enough that she doesn’t have to wear a bra, i.e., perfect, as I note ruefully when she lifts her shirt to show me her nipple piercings.
“The night I arrive I am equally shocked to find a step-dad (no one I know has one) and handcuffs on her bedpost (um, ditto).”
We watch Romy and Michele, Leni on her bed, me awkward on a chair. She zonks out before the credits. Were she a friend from my real life up north, I’d crawl next to her. Instead, I curl up at the foot of her bed, on top of the black-velvet blanket, like a dog. In the morning she laughs at me. Then she puts a hand on my hip and it’s my turn to laugh. All week, it’s like that. She touches me, testing, and I go, “Ha ha ha!” She’s patient. But the reflex persists.
The night she invites over Tim and Val, I realize I’m being punished, and that I probably deserve it. After they leave, she’s quiet. She plays me Ani DiFranco songs on her guitar.
All week, it’s like that. She touches me, testing, and I go, “Ha ha ha!” She’s patient. But the reflex persists. The night she invites over Tim and Val, I realize I’m being punished, and that I probably deserve it. After they leave, she’s quiet. She plays me Ani DiFranco songs on her guitar. The next night, New Year’s Eve, we get drunk on malt liquor and take the black-velvet blanket to the roof of her shed. The hot, muggy night is like an oil spill. Finally she kisses me.
Then she pulls back and looks me straight in the eye. For once I don’t laugh. Later she sits in the darkness playing more Ani and I shiver on the bathroom tile. I keep thinking, and want to say, “I’m sorry,” but I don’t. I don’t have to. She knows.
I am and have always been labeled “nice.” Phrases like “he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it” have followed me from a very young age. So when I found out my girlfriend of two years was cheating on me with a woman we both worked with, I wanted to get back at her, but I had very little experience with revenge.
The pet store we both worked at had a few gay men and one predatory lesbian who hooked up with every girl in the store one way or another. With vengeance in my blood, I set my eyes on Mike. He was always very talkative, and for a man, somehow curvy. I don’t know why I picked him — maybe it was the way he carried those heavy bags of dog food over his shoulder, or his habit of touching my arm any time we talked — but Mike was going to be my first and last revenge hook up. It was Friday night and we both were working an overnight shift unloading boxes.
The night shift was usually a lot of fun — we played whatever music we wanted to through the store’s PA system, and the one manager who worked nights couldn’t have cared less what people did as long as the store was stocked in the morning. I asked him “How did you know you were gay?”
Shock lit up his face, then a devilish smile. “I just knew from a young age. Why?”
As sweat dripped on my face, I said, “I think I might be gay. Could I kiss you? I don’t want to offend you or anything.” Touching me on the arm as usual, Mike said, “Meet me in the break room in five minutes.” Then he walked away with his curvy hips swaying.
I walked back to the cluttered break room. The lights had been turned off but the soda machine was glowing. When I walked in, Mike grabbed me by the waist and stuck his tongue down my throat. It felt incredible for a few seconds, then his facial hair scratched me and the smell of sweating man filled my nose. Being “nice,” I hesitated to shove him off. Just as he went to his knees, the manager walked in, flicking the lights on. We ducked behind a table. The manager laughed and said, “When you two are done playing hide and seek, we’ve got some more boxes to take care of.” Needless to say, I now only date women with no curves whatsoever.
By my freshman year of university, I’d done no more than kiss other girls, so I was more than ready for the college cliche — dorm-room experimentation We were lying face to face in her bed, and she’d mentioned that her stomach was an erogenous zone. You can’t ask for a better opening than that, so I started stroking the strip of exposed flesh between her jeans and her shirt.
After a few quiet moments, she initiated the “what are we doing” talk. I’d had this talk before, and it had always stopped the proceedings. But this time it was clear that we were both curious, so we agreed that it was a one-time thing between friends, and didn’t have to become anything more than that. Once we reached that agreement, we began making out in earnest. Those dorm-room beds weren’t very wide so our tumbling back and forth — each of us trying to be on top — was a little risky.
“It was like we both wanted to have our way with the other, but neither of us would give in.”
Eventually, I won that battle, getting her out of her jeans and settling down between her legs. I’d never gone down on a girl — not even close — but I’d had it done to me enough times that I figured I could wing it.
I slid my fingers inside of her and began licking her and the reaction was immediate. I had to use my free arm to pin her hips to the bed and hold her still as she bucked and writhed on the bed. Had I not been so eager to “do it right,” I would have drawn things out a bit more. As it was, I was practically running a race to get her to orgasm. The sounds she was making were incredibly gratifying and making her come made me feel like a superhero.
It was my freshman year in college, the night Washington State University won the Apple Cup, and a group of friends and I were celebrating the victory at a rowdy house party. Amidst the masses of people that night, I saw this fun-loving girl wandering around.
“Her name was Phoebe, and she had beautiful flaming curly red hair, a dusting of freckles along her nose, and a laugh that made her blue eyes sparkle.”
We seemed to always be near each other, even though the house was packed with people. I wanted to say hi, but for some reason was too shy. She seemed too cool and mature to want to hang out with a freshman like me.
Finally, as we danced to the live band that was playing on the outdoor patio, she pulled me up onto the pool table. As friendly partygoers walked by, our hips swayed to the beat and we moved closer together. Mid-song, she leaned in and kissed me on the lips. Her lips were soft and smooth; they were like nothing I had ever felt before. I knew right then and there I wanted her to kiss me again. But before the next song, she smiled at me with her twinkling eyes, jumped off the pool table, and was gone into the swarm of people, leaving me breathless and in awe.
We met one summer at a barbecue. He was twenty-seven and I was twenty-four. Summer gave way to winter, and by then we’d become very close friends who flirted with each other occasionally. Together, we attended a New Year’s Eve party, where he told me that I look sexy when I bite my lower lip and that it turned him on. Following that party, and after several nights of him sending me sexually explicit text messages.
“I finally decided to play along and open up.”
Texting him was fun — we sent each other texts of emoti-penises back and forth while sitting on the same pew at church. It never really occurred to me that my friend and I were in fact “sexting,” but it finally dawned on me the night my friend sent me a picture of himself naked from the waist down. He soon talked me into sending him a picture of myself; at that point, I wasn’t totally opposed. Then, one night in mid-January, I found myself heading over to his house around two a.m., where he awkwardly greeted me at the door and welcomed me into his house. He led me to his room and I nervously followed him, unsure of what was actually going to happen.
Standing in his room, I looked at his posters and commented on his DVD collection, while we both awkwardly undid our belts. We soon lay down side by side on his bed. He pulled out his laptop and searched for porn on the internet. In silence, we began slowly undressing, fumbling to push and pull our clothes off while simultaneously trying to avoid eye contact. Lying naked next to each other we began to masturbate, stealing glances at each other’s penises, our elbows bumping into each other gawkily. We let out mutual groans of pleasure, and both moaned out “wow” and “nice” when we came. Toweling off and pulling our clothes back on, we exchanged silent looks. “I have to get home,” I told him.
“I have work in the morning,” he replied. “Well then, later. Let’s catch a movie sometime.” He walked me to the door, gave me a bro-hug goodbye and told me to drive safe. We caught a movie the next day and remain close friends to this day, but as an unspoken agreement, we don’t talk about that January night. I do wonder what he did with those pictures.