Love & Sex

My First Time

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Female • 17 years old • Virginia

Just two minutes after walking out of the theatre, I remembered nothing about the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, Eraser, we'd just sat through. I was standing in the lobby with my cheek jammed up against a payphone receiver, assuring my mother that I was headed to my friend's house for a sleepover, that I was not with my boyfriend, J., whom she didn't like. It took a while to convince her. The whole lying time, I was staring at the poster for Eraser in its lit-up box. The tagline on the poster read, "He will erase your past to protect your future." If only, I thought. Mom and I both knew J. was an asshole.

Of course I was with him, with plans to spend the night with him and lose my virginity. We'd been seeing each other nine months. He was the lead singer in a band about to make it any moment and he wanted to show me the way, but didn't have much more time. In his long, graphic, explanatory speeches were pauses in which I could ask questions about his ex-girlfriends' quirks and preferences. The last couple of weeks, though, I'd just cried through these. I'd wanted to tell him: shut up, go away and leave me alone. I was somewhat intrigued by, mostly fed up with his supposed sexual prowess. Let's get this whole fucking thing over with, I'd told him.

Illustration by Thomas Pitilli

I said goodnight to my mother, hung up the phone and went outside. The sleeve of J.'s shirt was hanging down over his curled fist, smoke climbing up past his shoulders and head. He stubbed the cigarette out, squinting at me. We left the movie theatre and went to his friend's apartment. This friend had already graduated from our high school; he had, in fact, been in my older brother's class. "Well, well, well," he said, on seeing me in his kitchen. His name was also J., and he was the type of guy to repeat a story he'd promised not to tell because he'd never been laid himself.

Our bedtime was early. Soon my J. and I took our wine coolers and sleeping bags into the carpeted dining room, and I took off all my clothes. He kept his t-shirt on.

He kissed me, he tried to get me off with his hand, he went down on me. Those kisses seemed tentative. Then he lifted my legs to wrap round his thighs, and we did it three times in quick, benumbed succession. All this without breaking eye contact, except for the moments when he turned to place the loaded condoms in one of his beat-up loafers. (His friend had said to mind the carpet.) Clearly, what I was experiencing was memorable. I just couldn't remember it a couple of moments later. Sort of like Eraser.

J.'s so hot, I thought. He's had all those girlfriends. He's a lead singer, for Christ's sake, and I'm a virgin, or was very recently. How come I can't tell when he's inside me and when he isn't?

It was a question for one of those pauses in J.'s speeches. But because he stopped lecturing me after that night, because he dropped me a few weeks later and moved on to another virgin, I never got the chance to ask him.

Now, of course, I know why.

According to MySpace, J. and his tiny member are still in a band, still about to make it any moment. And the friend with the apartment, the one who told anyone who'd listen, including my brother, about my losing my virginity three times in his dining room, is one of those college-dropout-struggling-standup-comedian types. Not the funny type.