In Which Our Anonymous Dating Correspondent Forages Back Into The Recent Past to Recall A Particular Wish-Fulfillment

Non-fiction week concludes today. It was…the best. Next week: Magazines Week. In two weeks: Black History Month Week. That’s correct, I sympathize so much I’m upping this shit to five weeks. Now I turn the floor over to our anonymous dating correspondent.

God Love John Starks

The first time I ever saw a pair of boobs, I was eleven. I’d seen breasts before, and girls had taken their shirts off not knowing any better, but there was nothing going on. Actual boobs? Eleven.

Seventh grade is when the six elementary schools in my town merged and formed a junior high school. Instead of having 75 people in my grade, now I had 450. Complicating issues was the fact that I’d moved to the town in the middle of sixth grade. That meant I had three months of friendships to build upon, not six years worth. This left me clinging on to people of questionable volition.

Brett Carney lived five blocks away from me. Where I lived, that’s a five minute walk. We had similar interests. Roller hockey, Rage Against the Machine, the onset of puberty. He had an older brother, Roger. Roger, 17, was my eleven-year-old idea of failure. He smoked packs-a-day and drank, was fat and smelled awful, worked at a grocery store and ate chips, all day, all he could eat. He listened to “industrial” music and the term itself brings back his room, the blacklights shining on awful posters with pentagons, pretty girls in shitty makeup looking for all the world like they’d gone blisteringly, unfathomably wrong and taken Roger with them.

Brett wasn’t into any of that yet, though. It was patently obvious he would be — his mother and stepfather created Roger in their hazy ideal and it was impossible to even imagine Brett would turn out different, even at twelve.

Brett told me after school one October Tuesday that there was going to be a birthday party at his house on Friday. More importantly, though, he told me that Ally Shell was coming to the party, and last time he’d been with her at a party, she’d shown off her brand-new boobs. Ally was one of a handful of girls in school who actually had developed at this point. By the end of the year, she’d been joined by what seemed to be half the school, real or not. She was clearly taking kindly to this newfound attention.

Immediately after Brett told me, I didn’t know how to react. I was excited, certainly, but to do what? Giggle? Cheer? Clap? Curse? The latter was a tangible decision I had to make in my head at that point, the product of growing up in a strict Catholic environment. Brett cursed regularly and so did his parents. That may have been the thing I admired most about him.

Before I could react, though, Brett grabbed my arm. “Bill,” he said, “I don’t want you to fuck up. If she’s going to show her boobs, don’t try to touch them or ask her to show them again. Just be happy you get to see them and then pretend nothing happened.”

“Did she let anyone touch them?” I asked.

“Just Dave,” he replied. Dave would periodically ask me how my pubic hair was coming in, since I was a year younger than him. I gained his respect when I correctly answered that the color of semen was, in fact, “white.” He died our senior year when he got drunk and tried to drive through a tree. He got two pages of the yearbook dedicated to him and his long-time on-again off-again girlfriend, the same one who he’d cheated on all throughout high school, tattooed his name on her back and didn’t date for five years. I was very jealous of Dave’s touching access.

“Do you think she’ll let anyone touch them on Frid-”

“No. This is why I’m worried about inviting you. Are you going to be cool?”

“Of course I’ll be cool.”

Friday came and with it, the party. All smoke and dick jokes. All shopping for said party’s gifts were conducted in a giggly manner at Spencer’s Gifts. Years later, I would make my only actual purchase ever at a Spencer’s Gifts, buying a dildo in order to cheat during a scavenger hunt. I am pretty sure I, ever the cheap contrarian, took an old hockey stick I’d never used and gifted it. I am also pretty sure it was broken before the night was over. I wasn’t thinking about that, exactly.

Ally had come to the party in a Derrick Coleman Nets jersey. This allowed her to show off the fact that she was wearing a bra. Both of these things made me very happy. Ten years later, I am yet to see a woman wearing a basketball jersey outside of a basketball arena. This makes me quite sad.

Right on cue, out of nowhere, I heard a commotion from a bedroom in the house. Roger’s bedroom. Something about a top. I wasn’t taking any chances. I, along with several other boys, stampeded over to the room. Brett, sitting on the bed, insisted that the door be closed. I was the last boy to get in before the door was shut, depriving at least four or five boys of writing this story.

Ally, in a very polite gesture, was offering Brett the opportunity to touch her boobs for his birthday. She was, in fact, about to take her top off. No one said a word. Ally laughed and with it went what felt like the last bubbles of oxygen out of the room.

She lifted up her jersey and, with it, everyone in the room gasped for air as if we’d suddenly realized that we’d both forgotten to breathe and were about to actually see this happen.

Instead of taking her bra off, she cusped the bottom of it and pulled it up to her neck. She had no tan lines. I remember thinking how weird the indentations on her chest and back were, how I’d never seen that in magazines before and how it reminded me of wearing tight pants and inflicting the same marks on my waist. Brett touched them – he didn’t cup them, squeeze them, caress them, he just touched them, like he was petting an animal he was afraid of. There was a palpable release in the room. I felt like I wanted to smile but resisted the urge with every last cell in my body that was not, at the moment, rushing towards my penis. This left a very small portion of my blood cells busy to work on frowning.

It was at that moment where I was focusing equally on staying soft and frowning that the door I was pressed up against pushed in. I had been leaning against it with enough force to keep the fellow seventh graders out, but I wouldn’t be able to stop someone much stronger, like Brett’s mom. As her head came in the door and everyone in the room turned around, everyone in the room started grabbing for the little bits of oxygen around. No one moved except for Ally, who calmly put her bra down and reached for her jersey. Dory’s arm remained in the same spot it had been, just without Ally’s breast occupying the space next to it.

I waited for Brett’s mom to start screaming at us, Brett, Ally, whoever had been smoking in the living room, something. I half-expected her to smack me or drag me out of the room to my waiting parents, where my voyeurism would be fairly punished. I think everyone else in the room was feeling the same way, Brett most of all. Ally seemed bizarrely comfortable and unmoved by what was happening. Instead, when Brett’s mom finally spoke, it was hushed and somber, cracking like someone who’d spent the previous few minutes screaming. “Brett, you have a visitor outside that you need to see.”

When she said it, I looked up at her face and saw that she’d clearly been crying moments earlier. I figured it was because she knew what was happening from the other room and was upset at her son, or that she’d thought that he might have been smoking with his brother. I didn’t realize that I was taking the image of my own mother, and what would have upset her, and transplanting it onto Brett’s mother at that very moment.

We all shuffled out of the room so that Brett could head outside to meet his visitor. Turns out it was his biological father, who’d driven from Florida to Long Island to be there for the birthday. It was the first time he’d been around in five or six years. They had the most awkward hug that people who have never fucked could possibly have, one person in close squeezing while the other’s retracting, then both adjusting to the other’s posture and inverting the hug, and then trying to go back before releasing in disappointment and discomfort.

They went outside the house with Brett’s mother. Ten minutes later, they came back inside without the father. Brett’s mother had again been crying, and while still finishing up, she told us that the party was over and that we had to leave.

I felt like I should say something to Ally before I left, but instead I just looked over at her and stared. She smiled at me as I walked out the door and head home.

I never spoke to Ally again — she went to school with me for five more years, but we ran in different crowds. Brett stopped being friends with me a few months later when he invited me over for a sleepover and took the opportunity to fuck with me all night, culminating in a fistfight that I lost. I left his house at 4 AM and walked home in a t-shirt and basketball shorts some January weekend night.

He dropped out of school and I didn’t see him again until 2001, my first year of college. I went home one weekend and saw him at the grocery store, bagging the same way that Roger did when we were in seventh grade. I got the sudden urge to talk to him, and then an even stronger urge to not fail my way through college and end up like him and Roger, and then the strongest urge: to see a girl in a basketball jersey flash me. But then, I thought of the weird indentations on Ally’s chest, and I thought of the same indentations on my own girlfriend’s chest, and the two became the same for me.

When I went back to school, I brought an old John Starks jersey with me and tried to get my girlfriend to wear it to bed one night. She refused and claimed potential chafing, but I suspected she saw right through it as some sort of sports fetish. I wondered if Brett did the same things, but I was too distracted in my own machinations to think through anything. I fell asleep trying to figure out what my fantasy was, and if I’d already achieved it.

our anonymous dating correspondent usually contributes tales from the present (here and here). he hopes you enjoyed this trip through the past.

We love Eyeball Hatred. Congratulations on 10,000 posts.

Thanks to Idolator for linking to us. We also love Idolator. Like, a lot. We read it everyday. When our post made it there, we were thrilled, then we realized it was because of Cheney posting about Lost. Thanks, Cheney. Thanks, Idolator. The second one wasn’t sarcasm.

When we started this blog, we never thought it would explode like this–WordPress’s top blogs, Growing Blogs, etc. If things get any better I won’t have to pay Molly in gossip any more. We’re going to continue to make inappropriate jokes and post delicious mp3s, practically forever. We like to plan on forever. It’s what separates us from the animals.

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“I Have No Sister” — Oh No! Oh My!

“Black Mirror” — The Arcade Fire

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