Thursday, April 30, 2009

Going Out With A Bang

I don’t remember exactly when I met Tom; I knew him through some friends in the neighborhood and it seemed like I’d known of him forever. Suddenly, my senior year of high school, we were hanging out all the time. And he was just my type. Very tall, into metal, crude and immature. Perfect for me at 17. So naturally I told my friend I liked him, and she told him, and eventually he asked me out the spring of my senior year.

Things were simple then. At that time “asking me out” meant I was his girlfriend, immediately. We went to our senior proms together and then embarked upon a lazy summer, time to waste before I went off to college and he… well, what he would do remained to be seen. Soon we were in the midst of a string of lazy days and nights of stirring up trouble because there was nothing better to do. Miniature golf or bowling or finding somewhere to get drunk or stoned. Sitting on my porch smoking cigarettes and making out after he got off work.

Ah, summer romance. Blissful, carefree, incomparable. But we had one major problem. We had nowhere to have sex. His parents were always home, my parents were always home. For some reason they all seemed determined to keep track of our whereabouts and closed bedroom doors weren’t allowed. And so he lost his virginity a few blocks away from my house in the backseat of his Buick Riviera while Slayer played on the radio.

The sex was not good, but we had little time to practice and improve. All but one of our trysts took place in a car. And even when we could find time to squeeze in some car sex, we had our issues – namely, he took quite awhile to finish, which is not ideal when you are basically having sex in public. All in all, we managed to christen four cars that summer.

Sex outdoors on summer nights might seem vaguely romantic, but we weren’t in a convertible or the bed of a truck gazing up at the stars while a light breeze ruffled our hair. When you looked up while lying on your back, you saw the gray car ceiling and the overhead light. Neither of us was particularly petite and thus there was always bumping into consoles, achy legs falling asleep from their odd placement and strange balancing acts, and bruises from seatbelt buckles. Honestly, it made me occasionally long for the boring comfort of a bed.

If my first relationship had taught me that sex could convince me I was in love when, in reality, those feelings were questionable, this one taught me that I could fall in love despite a lackluster physical relationship. Of course, it’s difficult to separate my feelings for Tom from the fact that it was a perfectly set up summer romance. Our relationship had an expiration date; right before we began dating, I’d been accepted to NYU. I’m a romantic, but I’m not a fool – there was no way I was giving up college in New York City for a guy.

So we spent as much time as possible together and tried to ignore the fact that I was leaving on an ever-more-rapidly approaching date. Finally, it was our last night together. We planned a romantic date: a movie and Taco Bell. Afterwards, of course, our final round of car sex.
We had found a spot that was a bit more discreet than down the street from my parents’ house. Not too far from our neighborhood, two cemeteries faced one another. A year or so before, it had been popular among our peers to drive down a road along one of the cemeteries. The place was dotted with glowing red lights, which were rumored to be Satanists or ghosts but were, in reality, candles left at gravesites. We think. The street narrowed here and eventually came to a dead end at old railroad tracks. Behind the tracks was a forest preserve, and while there were a few blocks of houses along the road, it was a ghost town at night. A factory or warehouse of some type could be found on your right just before the tracks and the parking lot was empty at night. I loved this spot. It was thrillingly desolate, equal parts sexy and spooky.

We retired to this parking lot that night. We had my dad’s Blazer, which was a real treat since the backseat folded down and we did not have to negotiate an upright car seat. We put down the seats, climbed into the back and clumsily removed our clothing. There isn’t too much foreplay involved in backseat sex, especially when curfews are involved. We quickly got down to business.

Honestly, I don’t remember the actual sex all that well. What I do remember is that, just after we’d finished, Tom looked up and out the rear window of the car. I noticed the interior had become suddenly brighter just as he said, “The cops are here.”

I had been a good girl my whole life. Well, a good girl who was very, very adept at hiding any bad girl tendencies, with the exception of her cigarettes. Here I was, days away from leaving that behind – moving to another city where I could drink and screw on street corners for all it mattered, as my parents would never know. And the fucking police had caught me.

I froze and looked up at Tom, most likely begging him with that look to please, please take care of this. And I will always be very fond of him, if only because he did, kind of. He somehow managed to get his pants back on – he was still wearing his shirt, as he nearly always did – and told me that he would go talk to them while I got dressed. I tried my best to dress lying down, as I was acutely aware that a police officer was probably watching. I probably took my time. And I joined Tom at the cop’s open window.

It was just one police officer, if memory serves. And he was, of course, completely condescending. Not all of the particulars and details of the conversation have stayed with me. I know that, after learning our ages, he tried to convince us that we had been participating in statutory rape – Tom had turned 18 the week before and I had about a week to go before I was of age. I knew this was bullshit, but we promised not to engage in illegal sex anymore. Then, after running the plates, he asked, “Who is William G----?” And I answered, “My father.” The cop responded in the most patronizing tone possible: “How do you think daddy would feel about knowing what his little girl is doing in his car?”

I was being slut-shamed by a police officer. I mumbled some half-assed response and Tom basically took over, making small talk. He mentioned the pizza place he worked at, a pretty popular one in the neighborhood, and had soon won over the cop, who basically ignored me. I zoned out until the parting remarks. In saying his goodbyes, Tom said, “I would shake your hand, but…” The cop laughed and drove away.

I was both amused and horrified. I had never been made to feel like such a cheap slut, and I can’t express how glad I was that they were able to bond and then share their mutual dissatisfaction with my vagina or whatever the hell had supposedly besmirched Tom’s hands. Part of me was simply pleased he had basically handled the situation and gotten us out of whatever minor yet embarrassing trouble we could have gotten into. Part of me knew he didn’t think I was a slut, but had played the buddy routine with the cop in order to make him go away. But another part of me was disgusted by the whole thing.

In the end, I guess I was disappointed to learn that, even though I was out of high school and on my way to the real world, men would probably still be celebrating their perceived sexual prowess while expressing disdain for mine.

Then again, I was able to leave for school without my parents suspecting I’d been fucking in cars all over town that summer… and I had a pretty decent story to share with my college roommates. Which I did almost immediately. But I’ll never be a big fan of cops.

-by Amanda G.

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