We were on a visit to my great-aunts house. She was in the shower when we arrived, so her son, Ivy Leaguer, let us in. I was settled between my sister and cousin, reading a book when my aunt came into the living room to greet us. It had been over a year since my aunt had seen me. As I stood to greet her, my aunt clapped a hand to her chest and looked to my mother and grandmother.
Lawd-a mercy! The girls got tits! she shouted.
I was ten years old with B-cups. Molly Ringwald had nothing on how mortified I felt.
If youre like me, at some point or another something similar happened to you. If youre not like me and you have never had such a moment, I envy you. From the moment I woke up with A-cups in third grade up to today, my family and I have had moments that captured awkwardness in ways that John Huges wished he had come up with. At the risk of never being able to look anyone on the Creative Loafing staff in the eye again, Im sharing a few stories in no order of embarrassment. Readers are more than welcome to rate the stories as they see fit. Bonus points allotted to those who share their own stories of horror. No, honest, I won't mind. They were horrifying events when they happened, but I can laugh at most of them now.
While reading these stories there are a few things to keep in mind.
1) With the exception of the opening story, these stories take place between my sophomore year of high school and now. The youngest I was at any point in this narrative was 17.
2) My mom was a single parent for most of my life. She was/is also very big on the idea of being both a parent and a friend.
3) I am not the oldest child, but I am the oldest girl. By that I mean that I am also the oldest granddaughter and niece. As if that were not cursed enough, my mother and my grandmother are both the oldest amongst their siblings. The only other granddaughter/niece in the family is my younger sister.
"He Gets An "A" for Effort"
I was 17 when I met College Guy (he told me he was 19) at a friends birthday party. By the end of the night I had his number and he could verify that my boobs were indeed real. Within a week we were dating (turned out he was 21). During our first date, he left a noticeable hickey on my neck. I had never had a hickey before. My first thought was that the fuckers hurt like hell. Why the heck would someone want to go through that and then have to hide it from their parents? Ah crap. Mom had told me to have fun when I left for the date, but did that include hickeys? Had I just signed this guys death certificate? I borrowed a friends make-up and styled my hair in a way that I hoped would hide the evidence that someone had laid hands on my moms baby girl. The act probably would have worked had I not told my sister. I only shared the news with her because she had expressed curiosity over why I kept pressing ice and other cold objects to my neck. Figuring it was better to let her in on the secret, I showed her my neck. She asked if I had been attacked by one of the family cats.
No, I replied. He gave me a hickey.
Looks like it hurts. She said.
It does. Everyone told me to put some ice on it and it would go away. I put my hair back in place. Dont tell Mom.
My sister would later let the news of my rite of passage slip on accident. I was on the phone with College Guy when Mom calmly walked into my room. She tilted my head to the side, circled the hickey with her finger, made some hmm noises, and then took the phone away from me. She then proceeded to tell College Guy that the hickey was a good first try, but that he needed to work on his technique. A pat on the head to me and she was gone. College Guy was dead silent on the other end. His friend picked up the phone and informed me that College Guy had gone pale and was presently twitching. I explained what had happened. The friend told me that he needed to go sit down and that my mom was weird. My friends told me to look on the bright side: no one had died or gotten grounded. I guess in high school, you can overlook mortification.
"You Look Stressed, Dear..."
I was running errands with my mother, godmother, and sister during a trip home. I dont remember how we got on the subject, but somehow I wound up sharing some of the things I had picked up from reading Cosmo and surfing the net for anything to do with sexology. At one point, I mentioned that I didnt want to go into too much detail because of the company present. In the silence that followed, my sister pointed out that I shouldnt feel shy around them because they all knew that I was a freak. In my sisters eyes, Adina Howards got nothing on me. That was when Momsie cheerfully informed me that she had bought me a vibrator.
You did what?! I asked.
Well, Mom said. Youve seemed tense and you dont have a boyfriend to help you out [I was single at the time], so I figured you just couldnt afford a vibrator and bought one for you.
My godmother (whom my mother once gave a vibrator as a birthday gift) said that I might as well take it. When I arrived back in Tampa and relayed the story to my friends, they agreed with my godmother: I was stressed. I had no boyfriend/fuckbuddy/fwb/lover to help with it. Might as well take the toy.
Just think of that hot guy you cyber with on AIM (Mr. Chaotic, before we became whatever we are today) when you use it said one (un)helpful friend. I called Momsie to ask about it two weeks later. I told myself that it was more out of curiousity than actually wanting the damned thing.
The one you didnt want? Mom said. Well, you didnt want it and my boyfriend threw out mine, so Ive been using the one I was going to give to you But I cant give it to you now because thats unhygienic. Dead silence. Do you want me to buy you another one? You can email a link of one that youd like and Ill see if any of the stores down here have it. Silence except for the sound of me using a pillow to smother hysterical laughter. It was either that, or banging my head against a wall. Oh, grow up, Camile! I stopped laughing long enough to say Love you, Mom. Ciao!
My friends in Tampa began to speak of Camiles mom in terms of awe and fear.
"If You Meet Camile's Mom, Camile Begins to Make Sense"
Up until I was about 16 years old, my mother had always said that porn was forbidden. By forbidden she meant I will ground your ass until you are 50 if I dont kill or disown you first. *big, cheerful smile* After I turned 16 (by which point she had also hooked up with my first step-dad) her tune switched to if you ever become curious, Id rather you come to me than get it from your friends. Porn is different than romance novels. Her attempt at openness earned her another round of I refuse to have this talk with you from me. To this day, I do not know if what happened next was out of determination to prove that she was trust-worthy, or to turn me off to porn.
During my senior year (of high school), I dated Ratbastard Asshole. He had a habit of lugging his computer tower with him when he came to visit me. We would spend our time watching episodes of Ranma 1/2 and porn (when we thought no one else was home). One day, we came back from getting snacks to find my step-dad going through Ratbastards porno folder. Time to kiss your social life good-bye! I thought. Instead, my step-dad waved a hand at the computer and said Its a decent collection, but I could probably help you find better. Momsie chose that time to come into the living room.
What cha looking at? she asked. Moving my step-dad out of the way, she opened one of the clips. I expected shouting. I expected threats to lock me in a tower until I was decrepit and dying. I did not expect Momsie to turn to Ratbastard and tell him that my step-father was not allowed to watch porn unless she was there. Judging by the glazed over look Ratbastard turned to me, he didnt expect it either. Two nights later,
Momsie interrupted an AMV marathon to announce that she wanted to see if Ratbastards porn collection was any good. Three hours of listening to my mom critique the actors performances (including whether or not the so-called virgins were true virgins), I was sure that I would never want to watch porn again.
She Was Just Concerned... Honest!
My final story takes place during Winter Break of my freshman year at USF. I was in a long-distance relationship with Goth Hotty at the time. After four months of visits filled with coital bliss, we had run into a bit of a problem. Nothing too major I was drying out in the middle of our marathon sex sessions. Spirit was willing, but the flesh was spongy, bruised, etc. etc. I had promised to buy lube before I ventured back over for a visit. My first problem was that I didnt have a car and didnt carry cash (for the bus). The second problem was that (at the time) I didnt know that I could have gone to the nearest pharmacy (a la CVS) or grocery store for the stuff. Probably would have avoided what happened if I had that knowledge beforehand.
I knew that Momsie would not balk if I asked her to take me to an adult store. I just didnt want her asking questions. Everyones got a pipe dream, right?
What do you need from an adult store? Just tell me and I'll get it for you. Mom said.
It's something I need to get myself." I said.
Camila, What could you possibly need from an adult store that you couldnt tell me about?
Oh, many things, Mumsie, but we wont get into that Lube.
Momsie stopped what she was doing and turned to face me. She took her hands in mine and looked me dead in the eyes.
Camila, she said. Why do you need lube? Dead silence. Doesnt he know about foreplay? Open-mouthed stare. Do you want me to talk to him?
No! Mom just no! I shouted. Taking a few deep breathes, I continued. He uses foreplay. Thats not the problem.
Are you sure? Momsie asked. You only need lube when your partner isnt hitting your happy points. He He knows how you like to be touched, right?
It is very possible for a black person to blush and actually have it show on their faces. This was one of those moments. As Momsie patted me on the back and made soothing noises (she was still under the impression that bad foreplay was the problem), I clicked my heels together in the vain hope that I would be transported anywhere but home.
I never got around to getting the lube.