Men, I Don’t Think You’re Sending Your Best People
When I was sixteen, I decided I was going to lose my virginity to Larry. I had read enough Judy Blume, including the porn-adjacent Wifey, to know that I was going to like sex a lot and I thought I should take logistical control of the whole thing. Larry was tall and blonde and on the soccer team, yet somehow also Jewish. Rumor had it that he had unburdened a few girls of their virginity, and he considered himself somewhat of an expert.
Good enough for me. A few weeks later he was on top of me, in my childhood bedroom while the sound of the gardener mowing the lawn buzzed next to my window. It was sweet and fun and didn’t even really hurt. “Maybe that’s because you ride horses,” Larry said after, sounding sort of proud of me. I had heard enough horror stories about first-time sex to know that I had cleared this hurdle with flying colors. No trauma for me.
But a month later Larry accused me of giving him chlamydia. I explained that this was (obviously) impossible, because I had never been with anyone before. But he doubled-down, and I found myself believing that maybe I had?
Even though it was impossible, Larry was so clear about it, had such certitude. This was in 1987, well before the internet, so I couldn’t google “can you get chlamydia if you’re a virgin?” Larry broke up with me, and I drove over to my friend Valentina’s house in tears, blasting R.E.M.’s The One I Love. I felt broken-hearted and crazy.
But it turned out to be a gal he met on a soccer trip to Malaysia who gave him chlamydia, a fact I found out when one of his teammates couldn’t stand to see me tortured any longer. The friend told Valentina, who then called me immediately: “It wasn’t you,” she yelled into the phone.
Then we marveled at the cruelty of the whole elaborate lie. Clearly, Larry was a sociopath. Clearly, he was an outlier. Clearly, other men wouldn’t be like this.
Then there was Sean, the baddest boy in high school. One night he pointed a rifle at my head while we all hung out in his friend’s jacuzzi. We all laughed.