“Brown-Chicken-Brown-Cow”

SEX! Say the word aloud and people giggle like little girls, nervous about what might be said next.

“That’s all boys want,” mothers warn their daughters. But do they not remember their horny adolescence? Are they ashamed to admit that they “want it” too?

The father of five daughters, Dad would joke about why Mom kept getting pregnant. He said it was because she was hard of hearing. When prompted to explain, he would tell his audience,

“I’d ask her if she wanted to watch TV or what, and she’d say, ‘What?’”

My parents loved each other, and I’m fairly certain made love to one another for more years that may seem proper, but I’m hoping that in their 65 years together they also had plenty of good old sex, making the beast with two backs, making the dogs howl next door, making the neighbors jealous.

I remember finding Dad’s stash of Playboys when I was about 13. Perhaps I was delivering laundry to their room, perhaps I was searching for hidden presents, or most likely because one of the bodacious blondes on the front cover was peeking out at me from under the Farmers’ Almanac.

In any case, the surge of adrenalin I felt—all over and under—when I risked liberating the lady from the night-table was all I needed to keep going back for more. My visits had to be well-planned, and it was a challenge finding time when, in a household of seven, I could be alone.

I was a scrawny, pimply teen, and as I surreptitiously watched my older sisters making out on the family room couch with their dreamy boyfriends, I knew that no boy would ever love me. Fortunately, I had figured out how to love myself with the help of Dad’s magazines.

Fast forward to sweet 16 and never been kissed.

My best friend since kindergarten was way cooler than I. Emm lived across the street and our parents partied together frequently with others in our ripe-for-T.V.-sitcom neighborhood. Her parents owned a house on Cape Cod, and Emm had grown up more quickly than I. She could hold her own with kids who frightened me. She smoked and drank well before the legal age; I had tried a puff from my grandfather’s cigarette when I was ten and knew I was going to die immediately and go straight to hell. Mom had shared sips of red wine on special occasions and had me believe that a little glass of Port was “good for the blood,” but I never attended the parties Emm went to in our early teen years. My fear of losing control always overpowered my fear of being a dork.

Until that sweet, sweet summer. I had accepted an invitation to go to the Cape without the usual crowd and Emm let me know that we were invited to a party—with cool guys—scary guys—college-age guys—without parents. I knew what that meant, and for some reason I felt I needed to prove to her that I could be cool, too.

I desperately wanted to believe that I could hang with any crowd, especially this crowd which was way outside my comfort zone. Emm and I picked out our “majors” to accompany the lie that we were college freshmen, and although my instinct was screaming, “Run away!” when I entered the beach house which reeked of beer and cigarettes and pot, I had already committed to experiencing something new. My very first full beer disappeared without any of my “new friends” realizing how horrible I thought it tasted, and the nearly immediate buzz I got made the second one taste much better.

It also brought one of the nameless dudes to my side with the suggestion that we take a walk outside.

“Don’t . . . don’t . . . DON’T!” my angel was screaming, but I did. Despite my zits, I had a rack that commanded attention, and I let myself believe that this cute boy found my company enthralling. So off we went into the ocean breeze, despite a warning from my lifelong friend, who by that time may have been feeling a twinge of protectiveness. She knew I was untouched.

The salty air was dizzying, or more likely it was that second beer, and after staggering down the road a bit, I somehow ended up under him in the sand behind a clump of bushes. Although my “Run away!” instinct was still on alert, his hands on my body sent new-experience shockwaves throughout my being, and his soft lips sucked the spirit from my bones, leaving me a quivering mass of cherry Jell-O in his clearly experienced hands.

There’s something about a good Catholic upbringing that simply doesn’t prepare you for the first time a confident boy decides he’s going to have his way with you. Although I remembered laughing with my sisters when Mom had claimed that one aspirin would prevent pregnancy (“Just hold it between your knees and don’t let it drop!”), I had never received the down-and-dirty details of this uncomfortable topic, and was beginning to feel that I was in way over my head. But oh! I was feeling so incredibly cherished!

For the first time in my life I felt sexy. Cute boy wasn’t missing an inch of my skin-tight-bodysuited physique, and I wasn’t about to stop him . . . until . . . my jeans were suddenly unbuttoned and . . . uh-oh! . . . a stranger’s hand was headed where no stranger’s hand had been before! What do I do, what do I do? But handy-boy must never have “dated” girls who wore shirts that snapped at the crotch before, and he was struggling to find a way in/under/around an obstacle he could not comprehend. Frustrated yet persistent, and by now I was scared enough to know I wasn’t about to help him, he kept tugging on my locked-down shirt, desperately trying to lift it to get a little skin—but succeeding only in increasing my degree of excitement down under.

Suddenly sirens were blaring—literally, and thankfully.

A police car on full alert passed us slowly and stopped not too far away, a sudden sobriety engulfed us both, and I knew for the second time in my life that I was going to hell. Without discussion we scrambled to our feet and slunk back to the house, arriving to find a very sedate group. I was so relieved to be back in the company of a trusted friend that I was ready to get the party going again and moved to turn up the music, only to be stopped and told it was time to go. Evidently the police had come to the house while I was engrossed in a grope-fest and had put the kibosh on the party.

I could not have been more relieved, excited, tingling, and buzzed by the time Emm and I got back to her house and we were safely in bed, which for some peculiar reason began to spin. I’m pretty sure that once I stopped giggling, I fell asleep with a smile on my face. I’m also pretty sure that I finally earned a couple “cool points” with my best friend, but equally important, I had escaped an experience I was clearly not yet ready for. And I no longer felt like a dork.

When I shared this story with my Mom recently, she was horrified, and probably lost sleep thinking about her 55-year-old daughter who could have lost everything 39 years ago. I didn’t share the part about discovering myself years earlier with the aid of Dad’s secret sex-kittens.

5 thoughts on ““Brown-Chicken-Brown-Cow”

      • And by the way, I love the way you reinvented yourself as a visible person! I see you wrote a book about teaching…
        My novel “Miss?” is written from the journal entries from my first year of teaching 7th grade English!
        Small world.

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