True Stories: Notes of a Former Peeping Tom

In retrospect, my parents probably knew why I was heading out to the woods in a black sweatshirt.

By Damien Galeone

"Hey, you," the other boy said. "Hey, kid. I can see you." He was kneeling behind a tree to protect himself from the lights of the house. He pointed his binoculars at me, as if to prove my position. "I see you right there."

I was lying on my stomach, growing uncomfortable as the wet leaves soaked through my flannel. "Um, hi." I didn't know what to say. What do you say when you've been caught peeping into someone's house? I kneeled and looked at him, an entire series of explanations lining up in my head from most to least believable.

He was wearing a black Tilley hat and a black sweatshirt. His jeans were dark. When a screen door tapped against its frame on the house a few yards out of the forest, we both dropped on our stomachs like practiced infantrymen.

My God, I thought, he's another Peeping Tom.

For some reason, I would forever refer to him as Peeping Bob.

Peeping Bob was older than me and kept his head on a swivel during our conversation. "Any action?" he asked.

"Nothing much," I said. I was relieved that we had both somehow ended up on the same page. There was no need for discussion about our motives for being in the woods at night, dressed like snipers. "I thought there was something going on over at the Golinski house, but it turned out to be the TV."

There was no need for discussion about our motives for being in the woods at night, dressed like snipers.

He began scanning the perimeter of the woods and I rose into a crouch to depart. As I made a move to go, he nodded without turning his head. "Hey, watch out on your way home. The Carminos are out on their deck drinking."

"Thanks," I said, and left the woods.

My research into the sexual proclivities of my neighbors had ended — for the night, anyway.


I spent a great deal of my youth describing my penis to people who had not inquired about it. I spoke of its girth and length, and when that began failing to get the attention I desired, I shifted to its use. According to me, it was rampantly busy satisfying various members of the opposite sex. It was a wonder I could walk with all the action it got. No female was safe from my libido: neighbors, friends, and once, a veterinarian who was caring from my poodle.

Not only were these tales absolutely false, but after a while I began lacking the pragmatic experience to continue entertaining my classmates with my tall tales. It was okay to talk about the basics — most boys know about first and second base, with a rudimentary understanding of what happens at third base and home plate. I was twelve years old and my imagination was dangerously active, its attention to detail both magnificent and disturbing. But in reality, my experience was theoretical, and my appetite for actual sexual experience remained unquenched. I craved to see these things for myself, to gain some understanding of the lies I was spinning. At the very least, it'd make my stories more entertaining and more real. That's why I'd taken to the woods.

There were issues. First of all, I found that my neighbors were as boring at night as they were during the day. This meant that my carnal education wasn't advancing as rapidly as my education on local evening wear and TV viewing habits. There were, on occasion, a few moments of playfulness between husband and wife, but those did little to serve my descriptive needs.

Leaving the house at night wearing black sweatshirts and jeans and coming back covered in leaves and dirt was not the best way to fly under my parents' radar.

Secondly, discretion wasn't something I really understood at that time. Leaving the house at night wearing black sweatshirts and jeans and coming back covered in leaves and dirt was not the best way to fly under my parents' radar.

In retrospect, asking for a balaclava for my birthday was probably a mistake. Nevertheless, the problem remained that I needed more in-depth research to keep up with my public persona as a smutty folklorist, and the life of a peeping Tom wasn't doing that for me.

I took to pornography with lubricated glee. Teens merely masturbate; I was doing research. I studied the movements, the changes that positioning demanded on one's anatomy, and the "dialogue." I reported to my classmates with well-researched detail, each week expanding the plots and scenarios as my education advanced with debauched fervor. I was the Garrison Keillor of spoken erotica.

Though I was usually the only one who told stories, I was probably the only person in the room not in consistent physical or, at the very least, conversational contact with girls. While my classmates were sticking their necks out with girls (sometimes successful, more often rejected), I resigned myself to the role of observer in the world of sex — a role I augmented with an almost obsessive imagination, but still, my fictions couldn't keep up with the other guys' real, physical experiences.

Commentarium (21 Comments)

Oct 12 11 - 1:07pm

Love it! So well written!

Oct 12 11 - 3:19pm

I really like this story,never been a peeping tom but the character is really relatable!

Oct 12 11 - 5:52pm

Nerve is such a mess at the moment, with great stuff like this on the one hand and teenage trolls everywhere on the other. More of the former & do something about the latter please.

Oct 12 11 - 7:36pm
Teenage Trolls

Don't tempt us!

Oct 12 11 - 7:20pm

Love! This is some of the best writing I've seen on Nerve. I really enjoyed this story.

Oct 12 11 - 9:58pm

I couldn't have enjoyed this more. Excellent writing, great story.

Oct 13 11 - 5:34pm

I guess I'm in the minority, but I didn't like it. First off, the piece has very little to do with peeping. When I clicked on the link, I was sort of intrigued to step inside the mind of a peeping tom...sort of like one of those true crime books. So I was disappointed on that level. Second, imo, the writer just comes off as a huge dickbag. I get that we all have insecurities when we're young, and we all do some stupid shit...but there's some real psychosis going on here (the incessant lying, the peeping, etc.).

Then, when he finally does get some real action, he needs to take some popshots at the girl's weight? I know the size differential is part of the story, but considering he'd spent so much time invading people's privacy and populating his world with unrealistic porn stars, perhaps he should have been a bit more respectful in describing the first girl who was actually willing to give him some.

I mean really: "I was afraid of being crushed by this massive girl"; "her prematurely developed breasts flanking a snowman with fluffy balls for eyes and buttons"; "I remember grasping her fleshy hip." We get it; and if this was such a momentus about you treat her with some dignity too.

And oh yeah, I thought the writing was pretty shitty too.

Oct 14 11 - 7:07pm

Dave, my guy, I have to agree with you 100% on evert point you made.

Oct 14 11 - 11:57pm

I agree with you, too, Dave.

Oct 16 11 - 8:06am

Are you kidding? I think Dave might just be a very large and rotund woman :o)

Oct 13 11 - 8:08pm
wcel mgfc

Imo, dave comes off as an oversensitive and overanalytical tool. This was a fairly relatable and very funny depiction of adolescent sexual angst. And Dave, please lighten up on the psychoanalysis. You were intrigued about the idea of stepping into the mind of a peeping tom, but were dissapointed that it was a humor peice and not a true crime story? "There's some real psychosis going on here." Really Dave? When I clicked on the link I thought it would probably be a fun story, perhaps a bit voyeristic, and the writing was actually pretty good which I agree with bp, is a nice change of pace for Nerve as of late.

Oct 14 11 - 6:08pm
some bitchcunt

I'm not sure there was enough relevant detail repeated about the relative size of the girl. Are we supposed to be amused or sympathetic to the writer's position?

Oct 14 11 - 10:07pm
gem 3gh

Puberty can be hellish and also exciting. This story reminded me of some of outlandish things I did to try to satisfy my curiosities. I think all kids go through a phase where your top priority is to learn through whatever means necessary something new about the opposite sex or just sex in general. I know I did. The lies this writer conveyed are nothing compared to the stuff me and my friends would come up with. We were all so full of shit. I did not really need porn or have access to it. Any image of anything remotely feminine and my imagination was set loose. I also related to the desperation. It was just non stop obsession and frustration never satisfied with the feeling that it never would be. Pretty good story with some good humor and was a little disturblingly nostalgic.

Oct 14 11 - 10:14pm
tommy boy

dave your a douche! Story was pretty good, writer was recalling his teenage troll years!

Oct 14 11 - 10:31pm

My douchebaggery aside, your comment highlights another reason I didn't like it: this is a grown man's recollection. This isn't some 13 year old brat telling the's not even being told from a teen's voice. This is a grown man recalling his teen years, but his thoughts and characterizations still sound like that of a pimple faced asshole. Anyway, I just didn't like it.

Oct 15 11 - 3:05pm
tommy boy

wow man you really hated this story!

Oct 20 11 - 3:35am

dave1976 is taking the story too personally! Does it remind you of yourself when you were a dickbag teen?

Oct 15 11 - 1:01pm

Didn't Ted Bundy start out as a Peeping Tom?

Oct 16 11 - 8:07am

F-ing hilarious! This sounded like a passage from the next great American novel. The fact that it touched such a 'Nerve' (see above) says it all. Great stuff!

Oct 20 11 - 2:07pm


Oct 20 11 - 5:16pm

Hi Goo, I Agree: your dick IS lame, as are your mother's tits and your dad's prick; yet here we are. Get a pump for, well, your brain, and stop bothering everyone with boring, monosyllabic shanks.