Sex. Along with acting and writing—and, if I’m honest, anything else that got me noticed—sex was beginning to claim a larger and larger chunk of terrain in my brain. At first it had been a distant island, exotic and unexplored. But now that I was in junior high school it seemed more like a beckoning metropolis full of glittering domes and colorful spires.
My idea of sex was still Tammy and the Bachelor, a sweet romantic walk ending with a chaste two-second kiss. My 7th grade “girlfriend” Debbie and I held hands once during recess—end of story (see the heart-enclosed “Mitch T. + Debbie F” on the back cover of our Junior High School yearbook above). But then again, there was Marilyn Monroe. And Rory’s next-door neighbor fresh out the shower. In other words, I knew there was more, I just didn’t know what it was.
Until I met Lynn. Lynn was a short, curvy eighth-grader who was obsessed with sex. She was an aspiring romance novelist. Jeff and I were so fascinated that we gave up riding our bikes for awhile to walk home with her. As we walked, she’d read to us from her latest in-the-works steamer in which an innocent young woman would always fall for a roguish older man who showed her “the ways of love,” i.e. peeled her clothes off one-by-one.
One day, while we were walking past the recently-completed La Mirada Golf Club, Lynn decided to change into her shorts. From the ladies’ restroom she teased, “I’m taking my clothes off now.” Jeff and I looked at each other with massively enlarged pupils. “Prove it!” I teased back. “OK,” she said, “I’m coming out!” Jeff and I almost fainted. She came out wearing…bloomers! The idea that a girl was showing us her “underthings” trumped the reality that her bloomers were about as sexy as a Victorian bathing suit (unless they were on Marilynn Monroe, of course). Still, she’d “peeled her clothes off” for us!
Apart from attending her 14th birthday party, we saw Lynn less and less. I spotted her once, smoking and sipping from a paper bag with some high school guy; she didn’t acknowledge me. I feared she’d go the way of one of her lovestruck heroines, that she’d never learn to discern real love from “true love” (even then I sensed there was a difference). But who knows? I pray that in the end she found real love after all. Or at least ended up making a good living…
Writing Harlequin romances.