Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday where huge amounts of drinking goes on. I’m home from Claudia’s house and still a tiny bit groggy, as I always am the morning after sleeping over. I told her all bets are off and no one has dibs on anyone.
A Liz Phair line comes to my mind, I think it’s from “Strange Loop.” I don’t remember the exact thing but it’s something to the extent of “I wanted you, I wanted more than I knew.”
Right now I’m listening to Anita’s Superchunk tape (who are opening up for Belly), it’s pretty good.
I got the song right but for clarity’s sake, the exact lyric is,
I always wanted you
I only wanted more than I knew
That St. Patrick’s Day was one I’ll never forget, despite the vague diary entry. Claudia called me after school, when I was already home in Brooklyn, and told me Neil, Adrian, and a couple of their friends would be coming over to her house to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. By celebrate, we all know that meant “drinking a bunch of booze.” She invited me to join her, but I didn’t think my parents would allow me to go since it was dark out and I knew they wouldn’t want me to take the subway after rush hour. But I was beyond desperate to go. I had to think of a good plan, and fast.
I told my father that Claudia’s parents invited me to go out to dinner with them for St. Patrick’s Day and would even pay for a taxi to the Upper West Side, where they lived (and of course I was also invited to stay over). It’s a good thing that Mom was still at work, because chances are she would have seen through the ruse. But it was easier to lie to Dad.
“I’ll let you go…” he said. I held my breath. “…But they shouldn’t pay for your taxi.”
Not only did he grant permission, he gave me money to take a car all the way uptown (over an hour’s drive from where we lived in Brooklyn).
I couldn’t get to her place quickly enough.
When I arrived, Claudia was already tipsy and Neil and Adrian were there with their two friends. I had met Adrian before; also a punk, he was a little older than Neil, wore his hair in purple and blue liberty spikes and was kind of ridiculously gorgeous. Claudia handed me some Midori (hey, it was green and boozy, St. Paddy’s-appropriate) and introduced me to the two I didn’t know: a pretty blue-haired girl (my immediate envy of her must have erased all memory of her name) and a cute punk guy named Mark. All I remember about him was that he was less overtly punk—at least aesthetically—than the others (his hair was shaved on the sides, but a simple brown color) and Russian like me, even speaking the language.
It wasn’t long after those chugs of Midori that a giant make-out-fest broke out. (That’s around the time I told Lauren, “all bets are off, nobody has dibs on anyone.”)
At first, we all rolled around the floor of Lauren’s room in like a pile of kittens. Finally, after all the months of pining for him, I got to lock lips with Neil. So how was it? Like many overly-anticipated things: disappointing. The only thing I could think of the entire time we smooched was how small his mouth was. It was a wonder this kid could eat anything bigger than a jellybean (no wonder he was so skinny!).
I had better lip-compatibility with Adrien, and loved making out with him, but Mark and I just really clicked in terms of chemistry (just goes to show, better-looking doesn’t mean better physical compatibility). As the night progressed, we ended up pairing off (Neil with blue-haired chick, Adrian with Claudia, Mark with me) and heading off to separate rooms.
Mike and I ended up downstairs on the living room couch, making out in the dark for what might have been hours and murmuring to each other in Russian. It. Was. Awesome.
Saturday, November 27, 1993
We went to Connecticut for Thanksgiving, but not to my cousin Jenna’s house. We visited The Weinstein’s, the people we met on the cruise. Melanie wasn’t there because she’s in France for the year but Jack came home from boarding school. At first I was a little uncomfortable because I hadn’t seen him in like four months and because I was used to having Melanie around, but that didn’t last long.
We went down to the basement to watch t.v. and only came up for hors d’ouerves and champagne which we each had three glasses of (I didn’t get drunk but I got a little lightheaded which felt great). Jack was sitting on the loveseat (I was on the couch) and he was kind of far away from me. We were watching “Benny and Joon” when Melanie called. I told Jack I wanted to talk to her so I went over and sat down next to him so I could grab the receiver (plus I did want to sit next to him). He had his arm on the back of the couch and when I started talking to Melanie he put his arm around me!
Wait, it gets better!
After he hung up we were watching the movie and I was resting my head on his chest. He kept looking down at me and once he even said something like “I’d kiss you, but I’m really involved with the movie.” Of course after that I could care less what Benny and Joon were up to.
Eventually he did kiss me and it was really nice. At one point he put his hand up to my face which I thought was the sweetest thing (I always wanted a guy to do that). He had a really warm face and neck and smelled good (though I can’t explain how).
The rest of the afternoon we made out, trying not to get caught (we didn’t). After dinner we went for a walk by ourselves. It was really dark and cold out and there were a lot of stars shining (which one doesn’t see many of living in smog-filled New York).
Jack led us to this grassy area near a University where we made out on a hill under the stars. I swear it’s true.
The next day I had to leave so we exchanged addresses and I gave him my picture. He is going to be able to come to my birthday party in 3 weeks. I miss him already.
Jack never responded to the one letter I wrote him and never made it to my birthday party.
I think I his parents mentioned something to my parents about him having a girlfriend. So much the better that we weren’t caught smooching. However short-lived it was, it was the first proper kissing I experienced since the previous spring. It was pretty great to lock lips with an attractive, nice-smelling boy who in retrospect I realize bore a striking resemblance to a gawkier Donnie Darko-era Jake Gyllenhaal.
There’s nothing quite like that nervous anticipation before the kissing begins, and doing it in secret made it just about the most thrilling boy encounter I had experienced up to that point. The champagne, the basement, the starlit walk later on, the stolen kisses the following morning… It was certainly the highlight of my fifteeth year, regardless of the silence that followed.
To this day, I haven’t seen Benny and Joon all the way through.
Monday, August 23, 1993
My summer has not been that boring. The thing I have been doing the most is writing. I just started one day and now I have 64 pages and seven chapters completed. That is the most I have ever written. I hope to have at least 80 pages done before school starts. School. Ugh. I have to go back in less than three weeks.
It will be great seeing my friends again. And Leon (he’s my friend too but I have to put him in a separate category because I am going to write about him). Thus summer, I have kept in touch with him more than I have with Didi. I think we have become really good friends. In one of my letters I told him that even though we might not see each other on the bus a lot, I wanted to stay good friends and not lose touch. He said he agreed in his next letter.
Also, one night I couldn’t fall asleep and I got this really crazy idea in my head. I thought I should ask Leon out! I wasn’t even sure I liked him but I thought since we had so much in common (movies, books, MUSIC) it would make sense. Plus, I rationalized that we would not see each other a lot anyway so this way we could. And if it didn’t work out, or if he turned me down, I wouldn’t see him much. Then I realized it would be a mistake, especially since I was not sure how I felt.
What I did decide was to invite him to lunch before we went in to get our schedules. I couldn’t ask over the phone so I wrote him a 6-page letter and asked him at the very end if he wanted to have lunch, just as friends. He got it the day he had to leave for Paris and called me a couple of hours before. Before we hung up he said he would call me when he got back so we could get together and have lunch. That made my day.
A couple of days ago I had a dream that made me think about things. It took place right across the street from Hunter and is this area of steps, benches and plants that is attached to this huge building next to it. Leon and I were both there and we were standing face to face. Then we… we kissed. It was strange. The kiss was alright, I guess, but afterwards everything was very uncomfortable. I don’t know, it’s weird.
It’s stating the obvious, but maybe my subconscious was trying to tell me there was no real chemistry with Leon, and that we should stay friends. Of course, I would never take such sensible advice from my subconscious. What would be the fun in that?
Granted, I did not have the most auspicious record of asking boys out. One disaster was followed by a second blow to my ego. Both left traces of embarrassment and disappointment, but obviously not enough that I wasn’t ready to attempt a rejection trifecta–albeit, one in which I lose every race.
Leon was different, though. He wasn’t some boy I developed a crush on because of good looks. He was someone whose personality engaged me, someone who I wanted to have a crush on in a way, because he was someone actually worth liking. Except that there was still something not quite there in terms of romantic potential. In theory, I should have been head over heels, but in practice I…wasn’t. Nor was I used to being so friendly with a boy on a platonic level, which was all kinds of confusing to a self-professed “guyaholic.” So for once, I was going to try to be a bit more cautious and sensible, boring qualities it was becoming necessary to cultivate.
Regardless of this romantic ambivalence and machination, considering the fact that Leon and I are friends today, I must have done something right.
Saturday, June 12, 1993
Today was my date with Mark.
This morning after 7:00AM I had all these terrible nightmares, one where he doesn’t show up and the other where he hates me. I was so nervous.
I was afraid that he would be late but he was on time. My parents just said be home by nine.
First we went to a diner and had bagels. Then we went to Rockaway beach and it was really nice. There weren’t many people there and the sand was almost white. We sat down and talked for a while. He lied down a lot and I was sitting Indian-style. I liked him a lot and was hoping he would kiss me. At one time he was on his knees and kind of leaned toward me and I thought he would but he didn’t. Then he started trying to tickle me a little and I kept brushing his hands away. He also played with my hair, tugging at it and looking up at it.
Then I lied down on the sand and he started taking my hand and stroking it and putting it between his hands. He kept teasing me that my hair color wasn’t real. And then he was on his elbow (but over me) and telling me that it was a wig. His face was very close to mine and that’s the last thing I remember before he kissed me.
I felt like I was in another world. He’s a very good kisser (I hate to admit it but it was the first time I ever french-kissed. It wasn’t gross like I expected it). There we were, on the beach making-out. It was like something out of a movie. Hell, it was better than that, it was real!
Then we left (I really had to go to the bathroom) and drove around some more. We stopped on this quiet block where we kissed some more (he kissed my lips, chin, neck and even ears. It was really cool being kissed on the ear.) and other stuff (I wouldn’t let him get carried away. No further than second).
After that I saw my lip was swollen (it was very passionate) and was a little worried. He drove me home, told me to give him a call, and I kissed him good-bye.
My parents were pretty pissed about the lip (“What is he, an animal?”) and my mom wants him to apologize next time I see him and my dad wants to have one of those “man-to-man” talks with him. Oh boy. At first my mom told me I couldn’t see him anymore but I can on those two conditions. Also she doesn’t want me acting so slutty with him anymore (not exactly her words).
Except for when I got home, I had a really great time. Mark is really nice and very cute. He has brown hair but he thinks his eyes are brown and they are more hazel-green (gorgeous!). Also he has these long, long eyelashes and dimples! *sigh*
Well I better go study my social and science. I hope I have a great relationship with him. Gotta go!
The thing I remember most about my first make-out session isn’t the boy or the beach or the anticipation and excitement of it all. Oh no. What I remember most clearly was really, really needing to pee in the middle of all the kissing. Having such a romantic set-up and beautiful setting for the event, I wanted it to last and last, so I held it in for as long as I possibly could. I mean, how many city kids get to have their first “real” kiss take place on a deserted beach?
Did I say the set-up was romantic? I thought so then, but in hindsight, my mind goes back to Mark’s behavior in the diner. We each had these paper place mats that listed cocktails with accompanying illustrations. There were familiar ones like the Martini and Pina Colada, but Mark kept pointing out and laughing about the “Sex on the Beach.” If he mentioned it only the one time, it would probably not have stayed with me, but he said it a few times, and any discomfort I felt as a result, I brushed away. However now I can’t wonder whether he was trying to plant some kind of subliminal signal. One that wasn’t successful due to my caution, inexperience, and unrelenting bladder.
When I finally couldn’t hold it in any more and asked to find a restroom, the nearest one we could find was at Sizzler, a low rent eating establishment known for its salad bar and buffet which wasn’t quite as cinematic as Rockaway Beach.
Oh, and I had those swollen lips for days. A friend of mine joked,
“That’s not love, that’s assault and battery!”
It turned out to be neither.
Thursday, May 30, 1991
I know this sounds weird, but I think I’m beginning to like Justin again! The smallest problem is that he likes this girl that I could be asking out while I’m writing this!
[That's not a small problem, it's a pretty big one! Because liking unavailable men does not bode well for my romantic future!]
Today on the bus we played “Truth or Dare,” and on one of the dares I kissed Justin! Later Hahn, Linda and I found out from him that he has never even kissed a girl or had a wet dream. Linda says that this means he is very immature about sex. Probably!
And I was Little Miss Worldly when it came to physically intimacy, right? Wrong. To date, all the action I had seen with boys was a byproduct of playing games like Spin the Bottle or Truth or Dare. And any smooching that occurred was domestic not imported (does anyone even use the term “French kissing” anymore?). I can only imagine the badgering Justin must have endured from us that he admitted his inexperience to three girls. At the time, I probably rationalized that Justin wasn’t ready to be with an almost-woman like me, and that’s why he changed his mind about saying yes when I asked him out. Except that I couldn’t rationalize away the fact that he was about to make a move on another girl in our grade. All I could do was take some satisfaction in the fact that no matter what happened with the two of them, I was still the one to kiss him first.
I feel very peculiar about this whole “Justin” thing. Every time somebody brings up him asking the girl out, I get upset. Maybe I’m not missing much. I know that I’m doing that “sour grapes” thing, but who cares. We are going to play “T. or D.” tomorrow. I hope that “something” comes out of it!* –Bye-
I don’t know what “possessed” me to use quotation marks “so damn much” but it was a passing phase. Some teenagers experiment with alcohol or drugs; I preferred to experiment with punctuation. I know, how very “wild” and “rebellious” of me.
*That’s what she said.
April 21, 1990
I have LOTS to tell you!
[This is the beauty and also the danger of keeping a typed journal: it's easy to write quickly and to produce a greater volume of words...which is maybe not always the best thing for a twelve year old.]
Let’s start with Thursday. Well Chen-chi said that she didn’t want to do it because she didn’t want to hurt Mitch and Rose, so I told her that it was O.K. and not to tell ANYONE.
So we told Rose and I guess that she believed it and she said that she just wanted to date him for fun. (SLUT!!!)
[A. I should have had misgivings the second Chen-chi backed out. Half of a revenge scheme is no scheme at all. B. Yeah, I don't know why I considered Rose a slut when Mitch was the one asking every girl in Brooklyn with a pair of acid washed jeans out on dates. And heaven forbid a pre-teen girl want to go out with a boy for fun. Not like I was still bitter or anything.]
Anyway, we didn’t tell Mitch about Rose yet because we couldn’t really think of a way to tell him so that he would believe us.
Well anyway, in the afternoon a lot of us had to go to the gym for “Jump Rope for Heart*” and afterwards I found out that Chen-chi told sleaze EVERYTHING!!!
I was (and still am) FURIOUS! That Bitch has such a big mouth!!! I hate her!!!!!!!!!!!
[Hm, karma much? Somehow I had conveniently forgotten ratting Chen-chi out for that egg on Halloween. Not that she knew it, but I absolutely had it coming.]
Well on to Sam’s surprise party. He was SO RED when we all yelled “Surprise!”!
It was SO much FUN! His parents even ordered a five foot hero! And later we played “Spin the Bottle”! (Sean’s mother even offered it!) I couldn’t believe it but I even had to kiss Mitch 3 times! 2 times on the cheek and once on the LIPS! And Elaine even had to go with him (as in French, tongue to tongue!)! If Rose found out about it she would be SO mad!
Sam was really nice to everyone (as usual) but I think that he was being especially nice to me. I really hope that he likes me because I’m beginning to like him more than I ever did before!
Nothing says “fun party” like a sandwich you need two people to carry and impromptu smooching games. I don’t know what kind of liberal mother Sam had that she would actually suggest a game of Spin the Bottle to a bunch of kids. I’m no parenting expert, but isn’t that, you know, the exact opposite of what you hope happens at your child’s party? Don’t you want your little boy to stay one for that much longer instead of throwing him into a circle of prepubescent girls with a bottle? I remember Mrs. P even went into the other room when we started playing, to give us privacy. I can only imagine what she organized for his thirteenth birthday (strip poker?).
Also, the irony wasn’t lost on me that Mitch and I did more kissing after our break-up than during the entire time we went out. Maybe Mrs. P should have tagged along at one of our dates.
* For those who never participated in a Jump Rope For Heart fundraiser, it is just like a race or walkathon or whatever way folks physically exert themselves for a cause nowadays. This fundraiser involved spending an afternoon jumping rope in shifts after going around the neighborhood pestering everyone we knew to sponsor us. Our meager proceeds went to The Heart Foundation and the entire thing was a nice way to get a yellow t-shirt and make us feel like we were making a significant contribution to society. One jump rope at a time.
I just came back from my trip and it was super!!!
I met this gorgeous guy, his name is Francis and he lives in Brooklyn, not too far away from me. I met a lot of people. Here are their names: Liev, Martha, Marina, Ilena, Carrie, Mark and Glen.
Also, I got my First KISS.
We were playing a game called “spin the bottle” and I kissed Francis twice on the cheek and he kissed me 3 times on the cheek and 2 times ON THE LIPS!!!!
I really like him and he likes me. He lives like 15 blocks away from me. Ilena is giving me his address. I still can’t believe I got kissed on the lips by this GEORGEOS boy. My mom saw me with him and she likes him. You never know what will happen.
Wow, My First KISS!
With all these gorgeous boys crossing my path, you’d think I’d take time to learn to spell the word correctly, but alas. The important thing is that I finally got a smooch from one of these “georgeous” fellas.
The momentous experience took place at a bungalow colony in upstate New York. In the summertime, it was common for groups of Russian Jewish families to gather in these ramshackle living quarters near enough to a body of water and let their kids run rampant.
Some of our youthful escapades were innocent enough, like playing handball or holding séances or singing Cyndi Lauper and Little Mermaid songs in a gazebo pretending it’s a stage (that last one might have just been me). Other activities were more questionable, like playing Seven Minutes in Heaven and Spin the Bottle.
One night, a group of us gathered in a circle beside the outdoor pool with a discarded glass bottle. Someone took the first spin and I began to fervently pray that Francis’ spins would land on me. The only thing I remember about Francis is that he had blonde hair and green eyes, and he wasn’t a jerk. That was enough for me to be over the moon when I got to kiss him, not once but two times. Even though they were quick pecks on the lips, I remember buzzing with excitement long after the game was over, unable to sleep after such a new and thrilling experience.