Read aloud this at Salonathon a few weeks back! The theme was “How I Discovered My Sexuality”. Here’s my story. Thanks, as always, to Jane and Will for having me!
(Please turn on this song and listen while you read this essay. I promise it will be even better.)
Jesus is the reason.
He’s the reason I discovered my sexuality.
It’s October 1996 and we’re on the dance floor at Clinton High School homecoming. “Come on ride the train” by the Quad City DJs is booming through the loudspeakers and I can feel his boner on my leg as we train danced our 14 and 15 year old bodies. I am awkwardly taller though wearing flats and a bit too little, little black dress. My Sun In blonde hair is cut in awkward bangs, resembling a bad version of Drew Barrymore’s in Scream. He is wearing all black, except for his black tie which has green alien heads patterned across it. This is the scene of my very first kiss with a boy.
Well. so maybe it wasn’t Jesus, him directly, but he was the reason that a bunch of high school adolescents got together in the woods for a week every summer. Along with Jesus, came a cesspool of hormones and teenage love and angst. I was much more interested in the teenage love and hormones than Jesus, and hence why I met Will*.
Have you ever seen that documentary, Jesus Camp? Yeah, that’s pretty much where I met him, just the summer before. Things like crying and testimonies by the humongous wooden cross and more crying and weeping by the campfire and Christian rock music and Michael W. Smith were common place. Blech. Oh except this was far superior to regular Jesus camp, because I went to Jesus SHOW CHOIR camp. I spent a week every summer not only praising Jesus, but learning songs and choreography to perform in front of our parents at the final show. You haven’t lived until you’ve done a song and dance routine with an umbrella singing about Noah and the flood.
(Me at Jesus Camp. I have been crying.)
Will was blonde, blue eyed and angelic looking. His dad was the Jesus show choir camp director. Will was in a Christian band named Justify. With a cross instead of the T, ya know, for Jesus— JUStIFY. Obviously, I was smitten. I’m not sure how you become camp boyfriend/girlfriends within a few days, but by Wednesday, he was mine.
I even documented it in my journal.
Wednesday, July 24, 1996
Dear Journal, I am at camp. It has been so fun. I have a boyfriend. His name is Will. I think I’m falling in love. I don’t want to go back to Danville. Will is one of the sweetest guys. He is so special to me. I feel so good in his strong arms. I love the warmth of his body heat.
I digress, so here we are back at the Clinton High homecoming, “If you feel like dancing, come on, it’s up to you…” Finally, after months of waiting, he kisses me, “We got the sound to keep you gettin’ downtown…” It’s just as magical I pictured it. I may have to lean in a bit more than he to lock lips, him and my identical blond hair probably touching as the lyrics boom, “The train is coming through.” (There’s a special dance move you should definitely learn if you don’t it already.) I’m not sure I knew what a boner was in my 14 year old jesus camp heart, but I sure found out during this moment. We continue train dancing for the entire 7 minute song, with his 15 year old penis tenting up in his pants, resting on my leg, my ass, and poking me through his pants through the entire dance.
After the dance, we go back to his parents’ house to watch a movie, but, instead, make out, strengthening my virgin lips for two hours. Jesus kept the make out session to PG.
Don’t worry, this was also fully documented in my journal:
We got home and changed, then Will put in the movie The Birdcage. We watched it for like three minutes. Then we started making out. I don’t think we stopped for more than 30 seconds for the whole 2 hours that the movie was playing. I miss his sweet kisses so much. I miss feelings his arms around me. I miss the sound of voice. I miss his smile and his laugh and the touch of his hand and fingers intertwined with mine. I miss his wonderful blue eyes. I miss every little thing about him. I love him with all of my heart, soul, and body.
We’d go to many more dances together, my homecoming a few weeks later, the Sweetheart Dance, Sadie Hawkins, where for some unknown reason, my high school made us wear matching outfits. We wore cloned baby blue Fender guitar t-shirts I purchased at Sam Goody and sitting in the basement cafeteria, he put his hand up the cotton of mine to touch my bra for the first time. I’m sure Jesus did not approve.
We moved slowly, thanks to Jesus. That spring, we both went to a Christian youth conference, where again, teenagers praising Jesus were packed into a hotel room for a weekend. This was my first time touching a penis, of course, in the hotel hot tub.
We broke up not long after that. Soon after, I lost my virginity to an atheist.
Ironically, I got fired from that same Jesus camp four years later for making out with my co-counselor named Buddy**. Buddy was the doppelganger of Freddie Prinze Jr. We kept in touch and later, in college, Buddy went to Africa to save children at orphanages while I spent my time saving beers at Kam’s in Champaign. He became a missionary and minister, while I write risque dating essays.
I’ve lost of my love for Jesus and since discovered my love for telling stories about my dating life.
*Name has been changed.
**Name has not been changed, because seriously, his name was Buddy for the love of Jesus.