Posted by: Bruce Allen | November 30, 2007

Dear Wondering in Washington–

Dear Mr. BruAl– We already know all we want to know about when you lost your virginity, with whom you lost it (sigh), where you lost it, what the lighting was like that night, etc. But do you ever look back, to a day years earlier, to a day when you MIGHT have lost it, had you not been such an immature, unaware, unworldly wanker?

Wondering in Washington

Dear Wondering- This is wild. Just today I was driving aimlessly, wondering about what I was wondering about, when the thought occurred to me that I should have broke my own cherry maybe two or three full YEARS before I actually did, and that, even worse, I had no one but myself to blame for having maintained my unwanted virtue during those intervening years. In the course of wondering about all this, I also found it necessary to wonder if me own mither, whether consciously or otherwise, had tried to set me up back when I was 15, a thought in turn wickedly exciting and mildly revolting. Impossible.

Recall, dear readers, the year 1966, one of those wonderful years during which the parents owned the house at Ocean City. Out of season, we would go down as a family, or with another family, or with friends of mine, for long weekends. Rarely, and only then in the spring, when my folks had to get the house ready to rent for the summer, would the parents go down by themselves for the weekend, leaving me, at age 15, Home Alone. It wasn’t until late 1968 that I routinely got in any trouble during those weekends on my own. Usually, the P’s left me with a major chore or two to do while they were gone, which left me insufficient time to let my attention wander too far. Plus, I was a big wuss and didn’t like to go around getting in LOTS of trouble.

Back in those days, mom worked as a school secretary at an elementary school out in the Potomac/Carderock area of Montgomery County, MD. Most of the teachers with whom she was socially friendly were younger than she, and WAY younger than dad. In fact, the ones I met were all in their 20’s. Several were single women, sharing apartments and trying to get established as teachers. And several of these women were legitimate Cuties, especially to a sheltered 16 year-old who had barely made it to second base.

Anyway, mom and dad were getting ready to leave on Friday afternoon when mom told me that Kathy Somebody, an Irish 4th grade teacher, had volunteered to come over to the house on Saturday morning, play me in tennis and take me out for a bagel after. This was just okay with me, in that I thought I was unlikely to improve at tennis by playing girls. But I had met Kathy the Teacher several times and thought that, all things considered, playing tennis with her and getting a free bagel on Saturday morning was better than trimming bushes.

And so it went. Miss Kathy showed up at the appointed time, maybe 8:30, complete with perky short white tennis dress, perky little knit buttons on the back of her socks, and perky white Keds. (I was probably wearing worn out hightop black chucks, cut-offs and a white Kick Me, I’m A Dork undershirt.)  Anyway, we drove down to the rec center, played a couple sets, maybe she won one, maybe I won one, I dunno today. It was actually fun, and we drove up to Wheaton for a bag of bagels and donuts that we brought back to my house.

After breakfast, which seemed to take longer than it should have–I was a funny guy, even when I was 15–we were sitting at the dining room table. (At this point, the revisionist has possibly taken over.) It seems as though Kathy stopped saying anything at all for a moment, softened her gaze, looked down at the floor for a brief second, and then looked up into my eyes. Looked through my eyes into my huge skull, bored her look right into the center of my dim little overtaxed, clapped-out brain. Looking, perhaps, for an incipient gleam in the eye, the glimmer of a notion, as it were, the hint of a new awareness, you know, the one that separates the men from the boys…                  In the Greek navy, they use screwdrivers.

And found nothing but dumb, clueless obsidian density reflected back. Lights on, no one home.  The Not Barry White look, one that murmured, “Hunh?”  Perhaps Miss Kathy was disappointed, mildly interested in tapping an untappable, a poster child for Young, Dumb, and So On. Perhaps she was relieved to have sidestepped what could have been a highly awkward moment with the son of a co-worker. Perhaps she suspected I would run my mouth to everyone I knew, and that she would ultimately face charges of statutory rape and contributing to the delinquency. Perhaps she was only considering whether or not she needed to change the kitty litter back at her place that afternoon.

I believe, or at least I certainly WANT to believe, that had I been even marginally aware of what COULD have occurred that morning, I might have been able to return her look with a look of my own, a look that said, “Hey baby, we need to get something straight between us.”  The basic peripheral glance, to see whether someone was possibly noticing something worth noticing. Anything other than the look I gave her, the look of pure sweet oblivion, the social awareness of a pothole, the sensual spark of mucilage. Any salacious intentions Miss Kathy might have entertained were completely lost on this poor, dumb jerk of a kid.

The funny aspect of all this, if any, is that it did not dawn on me until I was in my 50’s that I had perhaps missed out on something that day. One can only imagine how my stature would have risen among my horny virgin teenage friends in 1966 had I been able to boast of having knocked off a freaking TEACHER. I’m pretty sure that, had I not missed a cue that spring Saturday, I would have been elected Best All Around Senior over that Gorman feller, instead of finishing a distant second in the balloting. (After all, wasn’t it Gorman who was secretly getting, um, friendly with one Shalmah _ under the bleachers during football games?)  And wasn’t it just that, his renowned sexual prowess, never mind all that Iron Cross gymnastics/ class president crap, that got him elected to a four year ride at Williams, while I bounced from second rate institution to second rate institution on my way to an academic career distinguished, as my dad used to say, only by its utter lack of distinction.

Dear reader, I hope this answers your question. I hope it doesn’t make you regret having asked it. Dear BruAl depends on challenging, insightful questions understood only by a few bent souls who grew up in Maryland in the 60’s and who find time to read extremely long and irritating messages. Please write again someday, say around the 5th of Juvember, 2014.



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