Fast forward. It’s spring time, and I’m in sixth grade. My friend Cori and I are riding our bikes around the neighborhood as I finish up my paper route when we come across a truck parked in one of my customer’s driveways. On the back of the window is a bumper sticker with the picture of a hand and a tag line that reads ‘Safe sex is in the palm of your hand’.
Cori burst with laughter, and I kind of just looked at him.
What’s so funny?
Haha, oh it’s that bumper sticker!
You know…[he jerks his hand up and down near his crotch] safe sex?
Thus began the only hobby that I have ever entertained longer than a few months. That, and breathing and eating. And even then, sometimes those fall into second place. Only because for a time I thought that my hand parties caused acne.
Shift ahead two years, and I’m in my last months of middle school. I’ve been dating this girl, Jeanne, for some time now and we’re pretty hot and heavy. Meaning we’ve been holding hands a lot recently and we’re looking to take the next step.
At this point I can hear you all saying ‘Wait…girlfriend? But I thought…?…My head hurts’. As well it should. We’ll deal with the sexuality in the next post, kids, so stick close and pay attention.
Jeanne and I had known each other for most of middle school, but had only become friends during 8th grade science class with Mr. Palm. Everyday we would file into class, me with my poorly covered science book, and her with her trapper keeper and binders that had scribbled ‘I ♥ Creature‘ all over it. She sat next to my best friend Steph, so the conversations we had were numerous, though very short, because Mr. Palm would always ask me to please stop bothering the young ladies seated behind me. He would always address us as Mr. and Mrs., making my classroom disruptions seem adult, and thereby all the more scandalous.
I don’t recall when we started dating, but I do remember when we made the big jump. The summer before our freshmen year of high school, we were playing manhunt in Steph’s backyard. Jeanne and I had hidden behind the same bush, waiting for the hunter to finish counting. We turned and looked at each other, and then it happened. The wildest, most passionate closed mouth kiss you’ve ever seen, next to a drunken aunt’s uncomfortable hello.
That was both my first kiss with Jeanne and my first kiss ever. And, if I recall correctly, my last kiss with Jeanne, because I broke up with her a few weeks later, on account of the fact that we were going to be going to different high schools. And sure, maybe because I was gay. Whatever.
It wasn’t until several years later, when Steph and I were driving downtown to get a bite to eat, when a particular song came on the radio that caused her to lose control of herself in hysterical laughter.
There is no blame, only shame
When you beg you just complain
More I come, more I try
All police are paranoid
So am I, so’s the future
So are you, be a creature
Do you say, do you do
When it all comes down?
I don’t wanna comeback down from this cloud
It’s taken me all this time to find out what I need.
After calming down, she asked me if I remembered how Jeanne would always write ‘Creature’ on notebooks, binders and in the margins of books when we were dating.
Immediately, I didn’t like where this was going.
I don’t get it, what’s your point Steph?
Ohmigod, I can’t believe you didn’t KNOW this! YOU’RE THE CREATURE!
And if a lifetime of insecurities and issues can’t be traced back to my first/last girlfriend referring to me as ‘Creature’ for a pet name, then I don’t know what can.