And I know you know what first time I’m talking about…It was freezing cold on December 6th, 1963, the night before my 18th birthday. I was on my way with my date, flying as fast as we could through the west side of NYC to his apartment. Hands tightly clasped together, our palms crackled with unspent energy. I’d bet about anything we gave off sparks to anyone who could see.
I was a dog in heat. I felt my body cooking, simmering, shimmering in waves like a desert mirage. I marveled that my feet didn’t char the concrete, that my hand’s mere touch on the subway strap didn’t set it afire. I was afraid to raise my eyes, in case my incendiary gaze should ignite the entire train.
Next to me, melting into me, our bodies melding together like runs of molten lava, he was just as hot. The slightest touch of a caress on my cheek was enough to blow me out of reality.
Tonight was The Night. At last, I was going to Do It.**
In just a few years, Rod Stewart’s gravelly voice crooning ‘Tonight’s the Night’ would sweep women around the globe into swooning heights of fantasy. Future echoes of the song’s strains flowed across Time into my groin as if it was blaring from speakers on every rooftop. I felt faint with anticipation.
I was yet just a freshman at Parsons School of Design, in New York City. Still so shy around other people I could barely breathe. I’d been so protected growing up I had zero street smarts.
But my hands knew how to make me do that gasping thing as I lay in my bed after the lights went out.
I was good at the hands thing. And I was great at imagining what It would be like with a man. Now that I would be an Adult in only a few hours, I was going to let It happen.
I’d run into Stuart* that afternoon at the dumpster out in front of Parsons. It was a regular hangout for students, with its volumes of discarded rolls of photographer’s backdrop paper, 6 and 10 feet wide, huge pieces of watercolor paper with only small sections painted upon, half-painted canvasses, unused stretcher bars, half-spent paint tubes and scruffley brushes caked with hardened paint that could be soaked in olive oil and tamed for many more years of use. That dumpster saved all of us hundreds of dollars every year.
I’d noticed him and his buddies standing around smoking every day as I walked out the door on my way to the train out to Long Island. Previously, I’d studiously avoided them.
Two things set my fate this day:
I was early, and he was alone, waiting for his pals.
Despite his name ending -edsky, Stuart had the most extreme stereotypical Irish white skin/flaming red hair I’d ever seen. It turned me completely off. I imagined being with him and was repelled by the thought of his sticky, clammy skin, my fingers caught in tight wiry curls… ew.
Nevertheless, something crawled into my head and turned me sideways that afternoon. I walked over, set my oversized portfolio down, and reached out for a cigarette. He silently handed me one, bending down towards me, lighting it from his own, our faces inches apart.
And I was caught.
I hadn’t noticed his eyes before. Light, icy blue. Like somehow a Being inside the unseen depths of an iceberg was looking out at me through them. I love light blue eyes.
I felt my insides twitch. It was as if someone grabbed my secret folds and yanked – oh so gently – but ohhh sooo sensuously, pulling my very guts down into the sudden blaze between my legs.
Knees suddenly weak as jelly, I had to grab the handle on the side of the dumpster to keep standing. The shock of the frigid handle brought me back.
I straightened up, fake-coughed, and said, ‘Why don’t we go down to Greenwich Village and see Bob Dylan?’ I knew that one of my faves, Dave Van Ronk, would be hosting that night.
You know the trope - ’we talked for hours’ - well, he did, I didn’t - as we walked all the way down to the Village. A quiet person myself, I was astounded at his ability to make so much noise and say nothing.
I didn’t care, I knew that later on I was going to Get the Prize, come hell or high water.
I really, really should have cared.
I don’t remember a single note Bob sang, or a word van Ronk croaked with his deep crusty voice.
I do remember how each time Stuart and I looked at each other, bumped hands across the drink-spilled table, touched knees under it … my mind was filled with swirling images of hot sweaty limbs entangled, and my long honey-blond hair feathered out upon a downy pillow. I was breathless….
After the show, we trudged through the newly falling snow as fast as we could back uptown to his apartment, where we quickly peeled off our dripping boots and threw our portfolios down in the hallway.
We thrust ourselves at each other with those dramatic wide-open all-consuming kisses eternally perpetrated by actors. Our teeth just schlanked and clanked and bloodied our lips. Pulling back, we shook our heads and laughed, and started over.
We embodied the typical frantic-lovers movie scene perfectly – groping, pulling, grasping each others’ jackets, hair, necks, shirts – so clumsily that neither one of us was able to remove a single piece of clothing.
We grunted and groaned in impatient frustration, stumbling backwards into a darkened room. When the edge of a bed hit me behind my knees, I was so surprised I crashed down heavily, my legs askew.
He took that as Ripe Invitation, and before I knew it, the front of his pants was gaping open to reveal his eager, struggling, jumping, hungry Man.
I laid there paralyzed in shock as he wrenched the front of my own pants down – not even removing them down my legs – just pulling the front down – and proceeded to glomph on top of me and thrust his worm-white Man down into me.
Huh! Huh! Huh!
And he was done.
Panting, he raised himself up, looked me in the eye and asked, “Was it good for you? Shall we do it again?”
Which sent me right back into the shock I was just emerging from.
A blind fury the likes of which I have never experienced since then abruptly filled my every cell and all the spaces in between.
It erupted so fast and so furiously that I knew without a shred of doubt that if I even grazed him with my pinky, he’d be flung explosively right through the ceiling and all four floors above us all the way out to Jupiter.
So I verrrrry verrrry carefully whispered, “Get the fuck off me.”
“Wha’?” Confusion swept across his sweaty white/red face.
“What do you mean? Don’t you want mo….”
“NO I DON’T WANT MORE!” ripped out of my mouth.
“You call that … ” I stopped because I didn’t know how to name what had just happened, other than Farce. Stupid. Graceless. Crude. Circus. Rape. Disgusting. Selfish. But of course those words only came later.
Just as suddenly as I’d felt rage, I felt as if a hundred funny bones had been tickled. Laughter spilled out of me – high, loud, raucous, raven-like – spewing from my lips, coming from deep in my chest, out of the bottom of my belly and all the way down to my feet.
I hoiked myself up on my elbows, looked at his chagrin, and collapsed into a new fit of laughing.
The laughter laughed me, I had no control over it.
But now I knew I could push him away safely. I did so, his little peepee hanging down, drained and dripping like a pathetic worn glow-worm, aching to retreat into his saggy tighty-whities tangled around his knees. He toppled off me onto the floor.
I dashed up off the bed, grabbed the pillow case to wipe off his grime, pulled my pants up and … kept on laughing/crying/screaming, my grief-pain-hurt-disappointment-disillusionment flowing out of me like a suddenly released dam on the Mississippi River.
I screamed, “This is what people think is so exciting? This is what girls wait years to have happen? Thinking losing our virginity is going to be some romantic, sexy, slow ecstatic adventure into a divine exploration of pleasure? Ahhhhh hahaha hahaha hahaha!!!! Hahahaha hahahaha!!!!!”
I couldn’t stop laughing.
And then I did, feeling the energy morph into a cold, ripping, clawing fury.
“You are going to get your arrogant selfish ass off the floor, get cleaned up, and walk me home. Right. Now! And then I hope you die of shame!”
We put our cold soggy boots jackets hats and gloves on, grabbed my portfolio, and off we went. Thankfully it wasn’t far.
He wanted to come in.
Suuuure. You must be kidding. I slammed my door in his face.
I never gave him so much as a glance from then on. He tried and tried to get me to talk to him, even kneeling in the school hallway, begging me go out, have dinner – lunch – talk – apologize – whatever – anything.
I suppose I might have at least spoken to him, but I couldn’t see a single reason to even acknowledge his presence. There was no way in a century of Sundays I’d ever go out with him again.
I was so relieved when he finally gave up. You might admonition me, say I could have explained to him … but no, it wasn’t up to me to train him for his future encounters.
It took me decades to understand that I actually had had a ruling hand in every one of my relationships, whether with him or not. But all the way up until I was 49 years old, I let men walk all over me, just so I could feel loved. Sort of.
I had these ideas about what a relationship ‘should’ be, what men ‘should’ do, what I ‘should’ do. None of which worked in real life.
Although it was my ultimate dream to have one, I never really believed that I might, indeed, have a fully enlightened, balanced, loving relationship. Each time, I gave up my dream for the sort-of kind of not-really-love I thought was all I’d ever get.
I finally gave up my yearning during a supposed-to-be lovey wonderful Christmas weekend getaway with my then boyfriend.
It’s still crystal clear in my mind. It was dawn, December 26th, 1994. Still lying in each other’s arms, still sweaty from our morning tryst, he blurted out that he’d been cheating on me with a friend of mine.
This was the ultimate betrayal – he’d been living with me, FFS, in my place! The nerve!
He was so outta there.
I’ve been alone and so, so happy ever since.
I might be considered a ‘relationship failure,’ but ask me if I care.
Nope, I’m just fine.
And I still don’t like red hair.
* No worries, Stuart is long gone to another plane of existence.
** Do It: I used this expression for fun - it still makes me laugh, remembering slumber parties with my 12 and 13-year old girl friends, where we’d huddle together on my big bed and whisper naughty jokes and use Bad Words after my mother had turned off the bedroom light.
FFS - for those who don’t know - means: for fuck’s sake.
And for those who have read my account of being raped at age 13 who commented, “Then you didn’t really lose your virginity this time!” I considered that I lost it twice.
Thanks for reading my story. I hope you enjoyed it, and that it inspires you to make awesome choices and live more deliberately and funly than you ever dreamed you could!
My First Time Was A Total Disaster
© Angela Treat Lyon 2023
Image: I Feel Your Heart Inside Mine
Enamel paint on wood.
© Angela Treat Lyon 1991
In the kind-time, let’s just keep on keeping on….