I suppose I attribute a lot of different things to why I waited until I was in my early twenties for “the real thing”.  My own paranoia that grew out of paying too much attention in middle and high school health class, my idiotic decision to take Biology of Human Sexuality in college, my mother’s insistence when I liked a guy to “just be friends, not sleep with him” and ultimately that I believed I would have a gut instinct telling me when I had met the right guy.  Looking back, it is no wonder that I ended up in therapy.    

 “Hey Dad, what does Immaculate Conception mean?” I was staring out the car window at a church we were passing.  All the other churches I knew were named after a saint.  My dad coughed and then cleared his throat. 

            “Uh…Immaculate Conception?” he coughed again.  “It means that…well it’s part of the um Virgin Mary story…it has to do with…uh-“

            “Oh Bible stuff?” I interrupted, bored already.

            “Yes!  Yes, Bible stuff.”  He still sounded uneasy and I did not understand why at that age, but decided I needed to change the subject.  Being a Cashew (half-Jewish and half-Catholic) I had been able to opt out of attending CCD or Hebrew school unlike most of my other friends.  Anything Bible-related was really foreign to me.    

            Then there was the movie “Adventures in Babysitting” a favorite for any female growing up in the eighties.  Elisabeth Shue’s character discovers her boyfriend cheating on her and he makes a flippant comment to justify himself about how her legs are locked together at knee.  At this point I questioned each of my parents as to what Bradley Whitford’s character meant and I was shushed and told to be quiet and just watch the rest of the movie.  But my favorite moment where my parents are concerned in relation to sexual activity was “THE TALK” I was privy to, the week before I left for college.  The three of us were about to embark upon our umpteenth trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond for more egg crates or God knows what else, when my mother decided she would remain home. 

            “I think I’ll just stay here, the two of you go,” she was looking at my father with a weird expression and speaking far too loudly.  Then she hugged me and whispered in my ear, “Your father wants to talk to you, just you and him.”  She let go of me quickly  and I stumbled as she hurried back into the house.  The ride to the store was uneventful as well as the actual shopping as we discussed details of my upcoming move into the dorms at the UniversityofDelaware.  But the ride home took a turn for the awkward when my father grew silent and I could sense we were about to have an uncomfortable father-daughter moment. 

            “So uh” he cleared his throat, “uh I just want to tell you that you need to be careful when you go to college.”  He shifted in the driver’s seat, clearly ill at ease.  A little confused at first, I responded thinking he was referring to partying and underage drinking.

            “Don’t worry dad, I know not to drink too much and never to put a drink down, walk away and pick it back up again and-“

            “No, no I’m not talking about that,” he interrupted, and then paused.  I sat there.  Uh-oh.  I know where this is going.  We sat there quietly, just the sounds of Cousin Brucie on the radio breaking the silence.  My father cleared his throat again for his second attempt.  “I just think you should know….” Another long pause ensued.  Then it all came out in a rush.  “AIDS will kill you and herpes is forever!”  He relaxed back in the seat, visibly relieved to get the words out.  More than a little bit in shock, I quickly replied.

            “I know.” 

            “Ok.”

            “Ok.”

And again we rode in silence.  Him satisfied that he had done his part to keep me chaste and me completely mortified.

“So where is he?” Elise looked skeptical as we both checked our cell phones for the time.  1:45 AM.  I looked up and scanned the bar again hoping that I would focus in on Matt’s tall physique in order to refute the possibility that he had just not shown up.  I felt a sick twist in my gut and checked my phone one more time for a text message or missed call.  Nothing.  I had put my number on the invitation, so he had to have it.  My mind searched for possibilities as to why he did not even call…car accident?  He lost the invite?  The sick feeling enveloped my whole body as I watched some of my friends talk to Elise in the corner of the bar.  She was shaking her head and shrugging her shoulders and they had sympathetic looks on their faces.  I could just picture it.  Another potential guy for Dani bites the dust would be what they were saying. The thought of their pity made me want to throw up.  Instead I reached around my friend Doug at the bar and took the shot he was in the middle of paying for and threw it down my throat.  Bleccch, it was Jagermeister.  I gagged and turned to chug my beer as a reprieve, while Doug looked around in confusion for the shot that had disappeared-my cue to wander away from the bar. 

Mentally I cursed myself as I wandered back over to the dance floor where my friends were rocking out.  I had been looking forward to hanging out with Matt all day and was even too nervous and excited to eat.  But here it was almost two in the morning and I was not naïve enough to think that he was going to show up now.  I let my alcoholic haze carry me through the rest of the party and had a great time with my friends.  But I refused to believe that Matt would be so callous.  He had promised, I thought desperately, and he had not called to say otherwise.  I shook my head, trying to force all thoughts and emotions over him out of my mind.  I would have to let my disappointment seep in the next morning along with my hangover.

“So he just didn’t show up?  I winced and rubbed my forehead.  It was the next morning, I had a pounding headache from my party and my mom was subjecting me to an interrogation that I really was not equipped to handle.

“Yes,” I answered wearily.

“Well then he’s not interested in you.”  My mom stated bluntly. 

“You don’t know that for sure,” I said testily.  Who the hell did she think she was?  She hadn’t even met the guy!

“Well if he really liked you he would have made it last night.”  She said with superiority.  My crankiness was in full swing now. 

“Maybe he had some kind of emergency,” I protested.  “Or he lost the invitation.”

“Oh Dani,” now she looked at me sympathetically.  “You’re smarter than that!  Has he called you to say why he didn’t make it?” she asked.

“No,” I said sullenly.  She raised her eyebrows. 

“Guys who like you, and I mean REALLY like you?  They will always make the effort to see you if they know you want to see them.  Your father drove down to the beach twice in one day from Brooklyn once, and you know what?”

“What?” I humored her, even though I knew the answer.

“Your father HATES the beach!”  She declared triumphantly, having proved her point.  I buried my face in my hands.  Guys were not like that anymore, were they?  The ones my age did not seem to have a chivalrous bone in their body.

“Wait! Dr. B I have a question.  Last time I came for the cryosurgery, you only froze me twice, why did we need to do four today?”  Dr. B looked at me seriously and I felt my stomach clench.  He was never serious.  Something had to be wrong.  I noticed the nurse trying to discreetly slip out of the room.  Oh God, what else could happen?  I have already lain on a table with my lady business spread for the world to see with liquid nitrogen being shot up into it, how in the hell could it possibly get any worse.  A year ago I would have told you liquid nitrogen is what they use to make the atomic bomb.    

“We had to step things up a notch, because last time the cryosurgery didn’t completely dissolve all of the abnormal cells.  I decided to freeze you a few more times today so that the LEEP would be the last resort.”

“The leap? What is that?”  The term “last resort” echoed in my ears and settled uncomfortably in my brain. 

“It’s spelled L-E-E-P.   It stands for Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure.  It will basically remove the tip of your cervix where all these pre-cancerous cells have congregated so that they cannot come back.”

“Oh.”  This did not sound good at all.  I felt sick to my stomach again.  “Does it have to be done in a hospital?  Why is it the last resort?”  Please God, may I never ask you for anything else in my life, don’t make me have to go through that electro-whatever.  Please.  I will go to church.  I will do volunteer work. I promise I will NEVER have sex again.  Well…not with Matt anyway, I conceded.  No point in being totally unrealistic.  But I swear I’ll be good! PLEASE GOD!  Dr. B sighed,

“We don’t like to do the LEEP to someone your age if possible because it can potentially-not definitely-“he added hastily, “create problems later on during pregnancy.”  He still had that serious look on his face.  I felt the panic inside me slowly building until I could practically taste it.  Was he telling me that I might not be able to have kids?  Is this for real?  I did not want to ask him to clarify; I was terrified of what he might say next.  The room was starting to spin again; I reached a shaky hand out to help myself sit and realized I was already sitting.  “And no, you would come here for the procedure, not the hospital, it only takes about twenty-five minutes, but we would administer a local anesthetic beforehand.  But let’s not think about that yet, we might not even have to go there,” he patted my arm and picked up my file, “be good kiddo, you’ll be fine, I’ll talk to you soon.” 

Gingerly, I walked out to the main desk and handed in my insurance card.  That thing was racking up more miles than my Visa.

A few nights later I was out at a local bar and met Eric. He seemed really cute and really nice and asked me for my number before I left. And when he called I actually answered instead of letting it go to voicemail. We went out to dinner a few nights later and were having a fairly fluid conversation until he sat back, tapped his fingers on the table and declared, “Ok let’s lay it out upfront, what’s the story with your ex-boyfriend?”
“What?” I was in the middle of eating one of my ribs (totally not date food but sometimes I just do not give a shit) and almost spit it out in shock. Who asks about the exes on the first date? Who wants to know EVER, but really on the first date? “What do you mean, what’s the story?” I said slowly. He laughed.
“C’mon, eveeeery girl I know has some sob story about an ex-boyfriend, so let’s trade war stories.” He leaned forward and grinned at me and I was suddenly completely ill at ease with him.
“I’m not ‘eveeeeery girl’” I responded sharply, “and I have no sob story to share, sorry. No drama here.”
“Wow! That’s a first!” He laughed loudly and I looked around, feeling that he was being a little too loud. “Well I’ll share my story then,” he offered. I smiled politely to feign interest, but the checks in the negative column for this guy were rapidly multiplying. “So I lived with this girl,” he began, “but after two years together she cheated on me so that didn’t work out. That was my most recent girlfriend. I was ready to propose to her too,” he added thoughtfully, taking a sip of his beer. “Anyway I lived with this other girl before her and she cheated on me too, so I think I might be getting a complex!!” He slapped his leg and laughed hysterically. I shifted uncomfortably in my chair and took a big drink of my Pinot Noir. He seemed to be waiting for some kind of reaction from me, so frantically I tried to think of some other comment, other than “sorry for your bad luck, can I go home now?” I racked my brain.
“So you’ve lived with girlfriends!” I said brightly. “Two of them!”
“Actually three,” he corrected me, “But obviously that one didn’t work out either as you can see!” He cackled again.
“Three?!” I burst out before I could stop myself. “So they all moved in and out of your house?”
“Oh no,” he assured me, “I moved in with them all three times. Do you think you want dessert?”
“What? No, no dessert. So you moved in and out all three times? Where do you live now?” I couldn’t stop my line of questioning. The negative column for this guy had spilled over into morbidly fascinating.
“Oh I live with my parents right now, I’ve been there for about four weeks, since I broke it off with Kelly, that’s the girl I almost proposed to,” he reminded me. “You live alone right? How big is your apartment?” I stared at him and realized he was not only interviewing for his next girlfriend, but also his next residence.
“Check please!!!!!” I called out.

Hello world!

September 18, 2011

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