I thought I lost my virginity in Jamaica when I was 16. It wasn’t until I actually lost my virginity in France that I realized I was wrong.
I was titillated the day my mother handed me a book called “Sex in Plain Language”, with instructions to “READ IT!”
My curiosity was really peaked when she used the same tone she typically reserved when telling me to “PRACTICE THE PIANO!” I assumed she would provide the same assistance with the book as she did with my piano playing. I was wrong! There was no further discussion.
In her defense, I have to take into consideration that growing up in a Catholic family, with the church dictating and limiting her means of birth control, and having given birth to six kids, it’s no wonder she was not in a hurry to give me the keys to the mint.
In my bedroom, with the door closed I stealthily opened the book, feeling like I was Alice about to step through the looking glass…until I hit my head on the near.
Talk about an anticlimax! There was nothing plain about it. I remember thinking it was all a big tease. It was as though she was saying “You can have the treasure… if you can find it. Here’s a map… written in Greek!”
I open it and find some rather feebly executed ink drawings of mammary glands. I have no idea what I’m looking at. They don’t look anything like mine.
I come across an illustration of ovaries and my first thought is, “Is that what boys look like? And if so where do they hide it?” It looked more like a Rorschach etching to me. This was going nowhere fast
I hightail it across the street, with my new instruction manual in hand, to my girlfriend’s house. She is older than me. She roars with laughter when I inquire, “What is a Ma’am Merry? Or an “Oh Very?” I don’t recall exactly what she told me that day. I do remember her putting my mind at ease.
My approach to my vagina and sex was similar to that of two people on a road trip. I’m happy to navigate while you drive. Once you know where you are I’m going to take a nap. Wake me when we get there.
Fast forward to the my family vacation at Runaway Beach Resort in Jamaica at age 17. As I lay on the beach at a Jamaican resort, under the stars with my much older, Pakistani Paramore, (Who worked in the hotel gift shop) I’m feeling quite worldly. I just won the limbo contest and and was feeling no pain having had my first Cuba Libres. Tasty little suckers.
We are in the throes of passion when he asks me if I’m a virgin. I tell him “Yes.” I’m lying on the beach with the sleeves and the hem of my maxi dress meeting at the middle of my waist, when I looked down to see something that astonished me.
Nick is a handsome man, with brown skin, and… a white penis? It actually glowed in the moonlight! Yikes! It startled me. I’m thinking there is something wrong with him, because it looks like rigor mortis had set in!? It’s white and hard. Why is it white?? I knew nothing of condoms. And they were much thicker and whiter back then. I’m clearly befuddled. Which may explain why he ends up dry humping me. But I’m thinking I just lost my virginity.
I’m finally a woman of the world! But what a bore! I have more fun under the faucet of my bathtub at home. So what was the big deal? I’m in no hurry to do that again. I’ll take the faucet thank you.
Fast-forward to age 17 in Fontainebleau, France where I attend Ecoles D’Arts Americaine as a piano student
The school is located in the palace. The right wing holds two large studios and two or three stories of practice rooms. The practice rooms, in the time of Louis XV, were once servants’ quarters and looked out over the famous Forest of Fontainebleau. It’s all very romantic.
As students, we are housed at the hotel D’Albe, located across the street next to a café. Every night after dinner we go and have a beer at the café next door. There is no electricity in the practice rooms so practicing was not an option.
I often sit for hours in the café working on harmony and composition. In so doing, a very handsome waiter, Mario from Portugal, catches my eye. He flirts with me regularly in French. He doesn’t speak a word of English. I don’t speak a word of Portuguese. But that doesn’t stop us
I love the French language. However there are some words that, I believe, are intentionally vague.
We know word fiancé in English means someone that you are engaged to. In French, it means someone that you are engaged or married to. I didn’t know this at the time,
Being so young and naïve in this little town in France, men outside of the school tend to prey on me. Two of them actually got into a fist fight in the square over me. I think it’s ridiculous and walk away from both of them.
Mario and I got together several times when he was not working. I was really taken by him. We wanted to be alone together and one night after a couple drinks, he got us a hotel room.
I wanted him so badly. Keep in mind, I was fairly confident because I’d had sex before in Jamaica, or so I thought.
We were necking. (Yes. I use the word “necking” I think it’s sweet.) I was so happy to finally be alone with alone him. As we laid on the bed together he asked me something that seemed rather important. But I had no idea what he was asking.
Eventually he using his hands to indicate a pregnancy, he said “Alors, pouriez vous avoir un bebe? (Can you have a baby?)
OOOOOHH. NO! I was on birth control.
So we went ahead. Oh My GOD! I was so NOT prepared for what happened next. I was into it. But I didn’t remember it hurting with Nick. DUH! Cuz I was still a virgin! HELLO!
Afterwards I was completely confused. It was cool. But it hurt. So while I was crazy about Mario, I felt like I was missing out on the bigger picture…again. Does it always hurt? If so, why bother? I don’t get it.
The next morning I walk back to my hotel at about 530 am. I was planning to sneak up to my room. But the door is locked. I it on the doorstep until close to 7 am, swiping at bees that swarm around me. I’m cold and tired.
The next day I am en route to the practice rooms, walking along the cobblestones in my wooden shoes/sandals which btw, are NOT designed to be worn on cobblestone, when a tall thin woman heads toward me with a crazy look in her eye.
I look around to see where the crisis was. Kind of like when you hear sirens and look in your rearview mirror hoping that cop is not after you. There is no one else around when she takes her shoe off and starts screaming “Mario est ma FIance! MARIO EST MA FIANCE! She starts hitting me with her shoe as I try to escape this madwoman in hopes that no one notices this weird scene.
I try talking to her and asking what that means, but she just keeps swinging and pelting me with her shoe. I finally take mine off and flee for the hotel across the street.
I escape to my room and climb into a deep hot bath. Donna asks me to join her for lunch. She can see that I’m upset about something. I tell her I’m just tired.
I sit in the tub pondering my actions over the last 24 hours. I was in love with Mario and I thought he loved me. I’m so naïve. Then all the Catholic guilt starts to rear its ugly head. Not only did I lose my virginity…again, but to a man who is either married or engaged to someone else.
I cried buckets of shame and heartbreak into the water. I could not believe my stupidity. About 2 hours later, Donna returned from her piano lesson to find me still in the tub.
“Oh My Gosh! Are you still taking a bath?”
“Ya.” I started to cry.
“What’s the matter?” she is one of the kindest and funniest people I’ve ever known.
“I can’t tell you! You’ll think I’m a terrible person!” I cried.
“No I won’t. What’s wrong?”
I tell her everything.
“Is that all? Don’t be silly!” She grabs a couple towels.
“You’re turning blue. This water is freezing. Let’s get you out of here.” Like a guardian angel, she swoops in and wraps me up in a couple towels and sits with me until I settle down. Keep in mind, I’m 17.
“Oh Sweetie. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s all gonna be fine. You aren’t bad person for having sex. That’s just silly. And you can’t help it if you didn’t know he was married. Come on. Pull yourself together. You’re not a sinner. And you’re gonna be just fine. Let’s go to dinner and afterwards we’ll go for pastry!” Donna loved the patisseries.
I can’t write about Donna without getting a bit misty. What a kind soul.
Later that evening I went to the café to question Mario about it. Her name is Isabel. He denied it. But I was able to put the pieces together. That explained why we had to go to a hotel to be alone and not his apartment. I got over it.
Funny thing? I’ve heard it said that you never get 100% over the person you lose your virginity to. I did. I barely remember what he looks like.
The guy who gave me my first orgasm? Well, that’s a different story…