So there I am at the check-in desk at the Econo Lodge Motel on Southwest Thirteenth Street in Gainesville, Florida.
Standing to my right is Andrea. She likes the punk rock. I can tell from the Devo and Undertones buttons she’s wearing on her black jean vest. That and I guess the dyed green bangs on her head. The clerk behind the desk looks at us funny over his wire-rimmed reading glasses.
“What was that name again?” he asks.
“Ramone,” I say. “Dee Dee Ramone.”
“Is that spelled capital D, and capital D?” he asks.
“D-E-E space D-E-E,” I tell him.
“Ramone?” he asks. “Is that one of them there Hispanic names? We don’t want no trouble.”
I tell him there won’t be any.
“And her?” he asks looking directly at Andrea, who is busy trying to get free gum out of the Elk’s Lodge gum ball machine.
“She’s my wife,” I say.
“That would be Mrs. Ramone?” he asks.
I tell him he’s pinned the tail on the donkey.
“Does she have a first name?” he asks.
“Sheena,” I say, “S-H-double-E-N-A.”
The clerk writes the names down on his registry sheet and gives us the key to the room.
“You are in room number thirty-one,” he explains in his silly work jacket that says “Earl” in scripty letters next to the motel’s logo.
“Uh huh,” I say.
“That’s downstairs and to your left when you walk out of this here office,” he explains, “and I don’t want no funny business in my motel, Mr. Ramone!”
Again, I assure him that there won’t be.
“Good,” sighs Earl. “And I sure as hell hope you two is married, because if you weren’t, well you’d be sinning. And God don’t like sinners.”
I assure him that we are in fact married and we just need a good night’s sleep. He tells us he’s glad, then goes back into his back room where we hear him turn up Hee-Haw on his television. I look over at Andrea, who is still busy with her finger up the inside of the gumball machine.
“We’ve got the room,” I tell her.
She smiles. That kind of sexy smile. Then she says, “Great, let’s go, but first help me get my finger out of this fucking machine.”
As we both approach room number thirty-one, my heart starts to beat really quickly. And my stomach starts to hurt. Plus, I’m sweating. And the one hundred plus temperature outside doesn’t help things.
“You have done this before?” Andrea asks me for like the fifth time that day.
I tell her of course I have.
“Okay,” she says. “You just look kinda nervous.”
I tell her it’s just the heat, what with me wearing my black leather jacket and all. She just smiles at me. We reach room number thirty-one of the Econo Lodge Motel, and I try putting the key in the keyhole, but it won’t fit. Andrea, smoothly, takes the key from my sweaty hands and slides it in.
“Are you sure you have done this before?” Andrea asks for the sixth time that day.
I ask her to please quit asking me that question, and that of course I have.
“I’m twenty-two,” I lie. “How many twenty-two year old virgins do you know?”
She smiles as she opens the door and we feel the cool breeze of the air conditioner sweep against our skin.
“Well,” she says, “let’s get to it!”
Just like that. She walks over to the bed, sits down and begins to remove her black leather boots. As she does, I just stand there and stare at her. My brain is racing faster than my heart. What was I supposed to do now?
Here I was, the end of my first quarter at college, at the Econo Lodge Motel on Southwest Thirteenth Street, about to hopefully lose my stupid virginity once and for all.
And I think I never felt such fear before in my life. I guess it’s fair to say I was a late bloomer. Late, hell, more like I missed the fucking train. Totally. While others were on board, living it up and drinking it down in the bar car, I was the guy who was sitting alone at the snow-covered train station, wondering where the hell everyone went.
I’m not sure why, but I think it’s because I never really understood sex. Like, how it was done.
I remember as a kid, my stepmother Cybill, bringing home this Time Life pop-up book about reproduction. In those colorfully printed pages were what looked like cut-out figures of dogs, cats, chickens, and eventually, human beings. The book explained in blurry detail how the “male” of a species planted a “seed” inside of the “female.” That “seed” would eventually grow and grow, and finally a puppy, kitty, chicklet, or baby would be born. The book went on to explain while the make of the species had a penis, which it could insert into a female’s vagina, it mentioned something about that not happening with fish.
So it left me confused, to say the least. Actually, as a child, I figured all the kids were born with penises. I just figured that girls were reckless and broke them off early on. I suppose that explains why when my sisters and brothers played doctor, I’d never let the girls anywhere near my private parts. If they couldn’t take care of their own, hell if they were going to touch mine. The book also explained what a vagina was, and showed a cartoon picture of one. It looked like a sideways version of my grandmother Rosie’s mouth. Missing the teeth and everything.
Anyway, so I meet this girl named Andrea up in Tallahassee near the last weekend of my first quarter of college. We are both at this shitty redneck bar, where a stupid cover band is playing Tom Petty and Elvis Costello songs. It’s “Punk Rock” night, and I’m with my pal Louis. We had decided it was time for a road trip of our own, and without telling my parents, I snuck into town and stayed at Louis’ parents’ house.
We are both dressed as the Blues Brothers. We’re wearing dark jackets, dark hats, and dark sunglasses. Dark trick sunglasses. The kind that light up with little red lights, by being connected to this wire and a nine volt battery that sits in your pocket.
Anyway, we are dancing with each other, because we’re too scared to ask any girls to dance. We’re having a great time, and Louis makes me swear that if I get drunk, this time, he drives the whole way.
“Louis,” I slur, “we are on a mission from God. Don’t worry about it.”
We both laugh at the Blues Brothers reference and continue to pogo to a B-52’s song. The first real punk rock tune of the evening. Eventually, this punky-looking girl walks up to me and the words “would you like to dance” fall out of her mouth.
I’m stunned. Or in shock. I can’t tell which. Anyway, as we hop up and down on the dance floor with the blinking lights underneath it, she asks me if I remember her.
I look at her, her green bangs, her Buzzcocks T-shirt, and tell her I don’t.
“Last time you saw me,” she yells. “I was wearing a Clash T-shirt. Does that give you a clue?” I think about it and try like hell to remember a girl this cute in a Clash T-shirt. But the only thing that comes to mind is a nipple.
A round, red, succulent nipple. Then it hits me. She’s the girl from the Ramones concert that first day of college. I’m about to tell her I remember her, but seeing the smile on my face, before I can speak, she sticks her tongue down my throat.
The next thing I know we are going at it hot and heavy on the dance floor, and Louis is just watching us embrace and kiss as he smiles. When the song is over, I introduce Louis to our little Clash T-shirt wearing friend from the Ramones concert and he asks her how it’s going.
She explains to us that she attends Florida State University, here in Tallahassee, and there are no good “men” like us in town. She further tells us that when she was in Gainesville to see the Ramones, she thought we both were really cute.
“Really?” asks Louis, from behind his blinking Blues Brothers glasses.
She asks us if she can introduce us to a friend of hers, and the next thing I know, Louis is making out with this tall blonde girl whose name I never caught, while I get busy with Andrea.
At the end of the evening, Andrea pops the question.
“What are you doing next weekend?” she asks.
“Why?” I ask her. Stupid.
“I want to know if it’s okay if I drive down to Gainesville so we can spend the weekend together,” she tells me.
Not able to speak, Louis answers for me.
“George would love that,” he says.
She gives Louis her phone number, and Louis gives her mine. Still too much in shock to say anything, I just watch as they arrange a time and place where we’ll meet up. During the whole next week, I walk around with a permanent hard-on.
I’m finally going to get laid and I somehow know it. Probably because of the last words Andrea whispered in my ear that evening in Tallahassee. In a little more than a sexy gasp she had told me, “Fuck you later.”
As the big night approaches, I tell Jim that this beautiful girl named Andrea is coming to stay with me for the weekend, and if possible, could he please sleep somewhere else.
“Nope,” says Jim.
“Why the fuck not?” I yell. “I’d do the same for you.”
“I can’t,” says Jim, with a serious look on his face.
When I ask him why he informs me that his parents are due to arrive the same weekend with me being in a bed with a girl and all, especially since I was a Jew. Understanding Jim, and feeling bad for him, I tell him I’ll make other arrangements.
So there I am at the check-in desk at the Econo Lodge Motel on Southwest Thirteenth Street in Gainesville, Florida. Standing to my right is Andrea. She’s wearing some punk buttons, one of which reads “Orgasm Addict.”
I explain to the desk clerk that I am Dee Dee Ramone and this is my wife, Sheena. Finally, after swearing we are married, we get the key to a hotel room.
As we enter the room and feel the cool air, Andrea starts taking off her clothes. I realize that this is really it. I’m going to become a man. Pop my cherry. Lose my virginity. Whatever.
And I’m so scared it feels like the Cold War is going on inside my intestines. As Andrea takes off her remaining items of clothing, a black leather bra and leopard print underwear, she gently slips in-between the covers and tells me to do the same. I start undressing in front of her, feeling very shy. When I get down to my underwear, I slide next to her between the sheets.
“You have done this before?” Andrea asks me once again.
I assure her I have, and then she starts to kiss and rub me on all the parts of my body I didn’t even know I had. As I climb on top of her, like I’ve seen people do in the movies, she tells me to do it.
“Fuck me,” she says gently.
And it’s then, with my penis ripping a hole through my underwear, I tell her the truth.
I don’t know what to do,” I say.
She gently tells me she figures as much, and informs me that the first thing I have to do is remove my underwear. After I do, she gently guides my penis into her vagina. As we make love, Andrea moans in what I can only assume to be ecstasy, over and over again.
I slide my penis in and out of her, fast at times, then slow.
This goes on for at least an hour, and soon I begin to get the gist of things. When she begins to moan harder I go faster. When she gently sighs, I go slow.
And the whole time I’m doing this, there’s no way in hell I’m going to climax. The next day and night are spent the same way. Having sex. When my penis isn’t inside her vagina, I find my mouth near her crotch, and her mouth near mine. While it’s very exciting, and my heart races at speeds I never knew existed, I still can’t climax and begin to wonder why.
As I make my way in and out of Andrea’s vagina, I begin to think of that dream I had in Daytona Beach. The one where I was riding on a surfboard in a lake of fire. And somehow, this felt the same. While warm wet feelings washed over my entire body, it felt good but wrong. Beneath me was this beautiful woman, who was not screaming while being burned by the flames of Hades, but moaning in pleasure.
And, yet, it just didn’t feel right.
As I found myself surfing armageddon that day in room thirty-one of the Econo Lodge, I realized there was a lot more to life then just getting between a woman’s legs, which, somehow, felt oddly familiar.
There were other things. Love. Passion. Romance. And most of all, a feeling of connection.
Our lovemaking ended on Sunday, after a few more hours of going at it. While I was never able to climax, I told Andrea I had every time she asked me if I did.
“You are the most amazing lover I have ever had,” she tells me as her pretty green eyes look into mine.
“I think we’ve done it like ten hours over this weekend,” she explains.
The sides of my penis feel like it, but I don’t tell her as much. As she gets dressed in front of me for the last time, she tells me she thinks she’s in love with me and to look her up in Tallahassee when I get there for the summer. I tell her I will.
Later that night, I find myself masturbating furiously on my dorm bed as I’m alone in the room. By this time I’m in total pain, and if my penis doesn’t explode, I will.
I think of Andrea, her vagina, her firm breasts, and round ass. But nothing happens. I then begin to think about Gwen Stacey from that Spider-Man book all those years ago, and then the next thing I know my semen is splatting against the ceiling.
Suddenly I hear a key in my door turn and then Jim walks in.
I notice the swelling on his jaw doesn’t look as bad as I thought it would, as I quickly zip up my pants without him seeing.
“So how was it, Jew?” he asks, as he sits on my bed beside me.
I tell him all about it, as I wait for my sperm, which is forming into the shape of a water drop against the ceiling, to splash down upon his head.
This article originally appeared in Nerve’s Personal Essays.