Home for the holidays for the first time in two years, I found myself in my childhood bedroom looking through old photos.
Among all the glossies of me as a totally hot teen with overly plucked eyebrows and white flared, low-rise jeans, several albums spanning two years of my pubescence stood out. In almost every picture in those albums I was clutching a babe with a Craig David chin-strap and frosted tips. This, dear friends, was my high school sweetheart.
We met online. I was obsessed with being Greek, and he was obsessed with trance music, which is how I, ^Da_LiL_MaRiA^, met him, MinistryOfSound, in an mIRC, (a service we Australians used instead of AIM) chat room for a local Melbourne radio station that had DJs with names like Alex Dyslexia who spoke perfect English with thick Mediterranean accents.
Who would have thought that at age 15, one simple request delivered as a little acronym—a/s/l—would have led me to a lifetime’s worth of firsts: the first time I met someone online, the first time I fell in love, the first time I had oral sex, and indeed the first time I had penis and vagina sex. It was also the first time I ever let a guy pour honey over my tits and lick it off. And the last, thankfully.
Of all the photos of us together, one evoked the sweetest recollections. It was from his school dance in 2000. He was a couple of years older than I was and went to an all boys Catholic school near my stuffy private girl’s school. The Catholic boys were known for being sort of bad ass, so I felt like the coolest girl in my grade for attending their dance—especially because he had a car, and did I mention the frosted tips?
I was dressed as if Rachel from Friends threw up all over me: a floor-length strapless gown that was ruched across the middle and pencil-thin eyebrows, translucent Christina Ricci skin, a bouffant “half-up-half-down” hairdo, and deep plum lipstick. He wore a satin tie. I also had on those strappy stilettos that lace up your calf. I know because I found them tucked away in the back of my wardrobe as well.
The dance was in the ballroom of a swanky hotel, and the boys had rented a couple of hotel rooms upstairs to host an after party—do you see where this is going? My parents wouldn’t let me stay the night at the boys’ hotel rooms station because they had all just turned 18 and could drink legally in Australia. But I was dead set on growing up that night. I didn’t think I was ready for sex, but I wanted to blow my boyfriend bad.
We hadn’t been dating more than six months at the time, and I was very much a virgin. He’d had sex with a few girls before me, which was exhilarating, but I distinctly remember not being ready to have sex anyway. These days a few glasses of wine and being told I look like Natalie Portman is all it takes to get me in the swing of things, but alcohol hadn’t any kind of tangible affect on my sex decisions then. I was sober and chaste, even though I dressed like a mob wife. It was all very cute and sort of ugly at the same time.
Halfway through the dance we made our way up to the hotel room. In the elevator, I reiterated that I still wasn’t ready to have sex. But my body was electric—I knew I wanted to be touched and to touch. From the minute I put that dress earlier in the evening some kind of energy propelled me forward.
“But you know,” I said, “I want to try and maybe do some other stuff.” Other stuff I was ready for. Up until that point I’d only ever been fingered and dry humped by teenage boys, and I suppose you could say I was hopeful that things were going to get better (if you’ve ever been fingered or dry humped by a teenage boy, then you’ll understand).
In the hotel room we started making out. And more than the dance, the conversation in the elevator, or anything else that happened that night, I distinctly remember him on his knees minutes later. I was perched on the edge of the bed with my legs wide open, and he slipped off my g-string. That was the first time anyone ever went down on me, and I pretended to enjoy it but really, I was way too sober and inside my own head about it to relax and let it happen. I was desperately trying to commit every detail to memory, more excited by the act of it happening than the feeling it was giving me.
The weirdest thing about it is that I don’t even remember if I gave him a blowjob—my first ever blowjob—or not. I’m fairly sure it happened that night, but really, the only thing I know for sure is that I felt elated to have had my pussy eaten in a hotel room while I wore a slinky gown. It was the most grownup and sexually relevant I’d ever felt. I was now a partially participating member in the world of adult lust, and it made me feel disproportionately wise.
I also remember our descent back into the party below. As I went to put my knickers back on, he stopped me.
“Don’t,” he said, “it will be sexier without them.”
I stuffed them into my purse, and we walked hand in hand to the elevator. When it came, we silently got in still holding hands. As the doors closed he looked at me.
“I love you,” he said. I don’t know if he’d ever said it to me before, but it was by far the loveliest time I’d ever heard it said.
“I love you too,” I returned. As the doors opened onto the function hall, I squeezed his hand and walked out into the party. And I did love him—as recklessly and thoughtlessly as you can love someone when you’re a teenager. It was his face that I had chosen to rub my vagina all over. So high on the feeling of loving and being loved by someone other than my mother and flushed with the blush of a first-time sexual encounter, I danced for the rest of the night without any underpants on until my parents came to pick me up.