I first fell in love at age six, with a duo of women, and I believe that, between the pair, you can see a blueprint for every bad romantic habit I’ve practiced in the ensuing years. What follows is a summary of those two crushes, from beginning to end, and a detailed analysis of the horrible behaviors learned while pursuing them.
Jessica, the first of my loves that we will cover, was a twin. And, because my desire for the unavailable was fully formed by first grade, she was the twin not in my class (that would be her sister, Elizabeth).
Let that sink in for a moment: At a point where twins were still being dressed in matching clothes by their parents literally every day, and had done nothing in life to distinguish themselves from one another, the only thing to separate the pair was one of them was around me all day, and the other seen only at recess. Naturally, the one not as present in my life, that I could thus build up into something fantastic and totally divorced from reality, was the option I chose.
So, you might ask, what was so necessary to my loving thoughts that I be able to map them over a blank canvas in peace? The most mundane things imaginable. Thoughts of hand-holding. Hugging. Just a sense of you like me and I like you. Things I could have totally had with Elizabeth, or even Quincy, who we all knew was gay, even back then. But it wasn’t just what I wanted; it was how I got it.
You see, I wanted to win Jessica’s heart by rescuing her. And not from a boring classroom, à la Ferris Bueller: I’m talking from eminent, life-threatening danger. Now, I’m not a sociopath, so I had no desire to light aflame the wooden playground equipment we ran around inside of and save her from the blaze. Nope, that would have been too crazy/proactive for me. Instead, I just dreamt of our introduction to one another involving me rescuing her as she was trapped in some collapsing lumber monstrosity, like Christopher Reeves catching a falling Margot Kidder. Once I completed the bicep-ripping reception, I figured I would say “hi” with a jaunty smile, set her down, and then we would be a couple. Because that’s how sane people plan on breaking the ice, right?
(As an aside, I feel I should explain to younger readers that I was born in 1981, and that child safety standards were nowhere near to what they are now. My elementary school playground was a maze of titanic, wooden, castle-like towers and interconnecting passageways that were loosely maintained, at best. Each recess, as I scaled and crawled around that behemoth, my hands were pierced by more splinters and nails than Christ at the Crucifixion, which paired well with the carpet of feces provided by countless neighborhood cats that used the thing as a litter box.)
Eventually, my affections moved from Jessica (she must have acknowledged my existence with a quick smile, revealing herself to be attainable and thus repugnant), and on to my first grade teacher, Mrs. Comer. Mrs. Comer was a lean, leggy blonde, the wife of a Corvette-driving stock broker with Roger Sterling grey hair and good looks. The odds that he had snorted cocaine off her chest as an LP of Berlin’s Count Three & Pray purred in the background out of four-figure speakers were definitely nonzero. Yes, Mr. Comer was a happening dude. And my tiny tot dick wanted to cuck the shit out of him.
I’d like to report that my fantasies were just as innocent with Mrs. Comer as they were Jessica, and I wanted nothing more than to hold her well-manicured, trophy wife hand, but by this point in the first grade school year, a fateful event had occurred: I had unearthed my dad’s porn. And I’m not talking swimsuit issues or the lingerie section of the Sears catalog, either: Papa liked penetration. Now, pops wasn’t into any weird shit, but at age 6, even a basic, all-American blowjob is a confusing thing to process.
Upon finding this cache (under the floor mats of his work vehicle, a new Plymouth Acclaim), I knew two things: (1) I enjoyed looking at it, and (2) I shouldn’t tell my parents that I had found the pornographic Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
I know you’re thinking to yourself, “a child deemed too young by his parents to play video games or watch R-rated movies spending every evening with a stack of John Holmes’s greatest hits in his OshKosh B’gosh’d lap: how does this story end in any way but heartwarming triumph?” And, on paper, that mental math checks out perfectly. It’s just that my barely-developed sense of romantic expression, which probably needed another decade-plus to mature properly, had been subjected to a rather dramatic spoiler. Overnight, I went from wanting to be Crocodile Dundee because he got to kiss Linda Kozlowski, to Johnnie Keyes because he got to deep dick Aunt Peg. (For the love of God, don’t Google those names on a work computer. Like the rest of this story, they are all too real.)
Like when you watch Game of Thrones a second time, what followed was as obviously forthcoming as Ned Stark’s season one demise: My obsessive romantic thoughts morphed into obsessive sexual thoughts starring none other than Mrs. Comer. I’m talking 24-7, to the point that, in an effort to get things to stop, I fessed up to my mom about what I had been looking at in papa Papa’s Plymouth. What commenced was my mother yelling at both my father and me while he laughed hysterically, which was all harmless fun, because no serial killers have ever been born out of associating burning shame with sexuality during their formative years.
Though I prayed that scene would be the extent of the psychosexual damage I sustained, my mom somehow got it into her head that what I really needed was a parent-teacher conference. Which, because my dad was fresh off the boat and thus accepting of all of my mom’s ideas regarding American norms (and probably incredibly eager to escape her wrath), he greeted with an improvisor’s “yes, and” enthusiasm.
If you’ve ever wondered what a first grade teacher’s face looks like as a parent reveals that their pornography-fuelled 6 year-old (yep, those are words you just read) is having sexual fantasies of them, it’s a mix of Peyton Manning on the bench as the Seahawks kick the living shit out of his Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII and a beat cop finding their first body.
If you’ve ever wondered what a pornography-fueled 6 year-old’s face looks like as his mom tells his first grade teacher that he’s having sexual fantasies featuring her (the teacher, not the mom, Oedipus), imagine sobbing like he got both the puppy and the Nintendo Entertainment System he wanted for Christmas, and then the puppy proceeded to urinate on the system while it was plugged in, destroying both the NES and it.
Words I would use to describe the eye contact made with my teacher for the rest of the year would include, “minimal,” “strained,” and “avoided at all costs.” I assure you, a child has never looked forward to summer vacation like I did that year.
So there you go. Think of this like Spider-Man’s origin story, if Spider-Man’s powers were a crippling pornography addiction and the emotional maturity of a classroom gerbil. The next time someone disputes Freud’s theories that all we are is a shambling bundle of our childhood traumas, you spit in their face for me. Then, post it on YouPorn. That way, I’ll be sure to see it.