I was the second of two kids, meaning nine months ago marked the second time my parents had sex. Ever. I refuse to believe anything else.
1981: Cable TV introduced at my grandparents’ house.
My grandparents, parents, sister and uncle all gathered to watch a movie, which featured a naked woman rising from a bed to answer a door. I hid behind the couch and pretended not to be interested. I had no idea what was on, but given my family’s howls of protest (primarily from the women; if the men complained, I’m sure it was just a cursory grumble or two), I knew it had to be good.
1983: Chris King explains the birds and the bees.
While at a high school baseball game, Chris ordered a group of us together. “Guys, guys, I’ve got something I have to tell you,” he said, nervously sneaking glances over his shoulder to look for hovering parents. He then proceeded to tell us all about sex, not quite proclaiming first-hand knowledge but still making us view him as an expert.
Chris explained that a boy takes his “thing,” lays down on top of a girl and places said “thing” into her belly button. So that’s what the belly button was for, we thought. We were far too young to understand homosexuality, so we failed to grasp the fact that we, too, had belly buttons, which would poke some holes in Chris’ theory.
To be fair, Chris was 8.
And we were stupid.
1983 (the following week): Chris King discovers revelations, re-explains the birds and the bees.
Much like the previous week, Chris rounded up this pre-pre-pubescent posse, again looking over his shoulder like a childhood drug deal (possibly involving Big League Chew or Giant Pixie Sticks) about to go down.
“Guys, I was wrong,” Chris explained. I thought that was very bold of him. It’s hard to admit you were wrong, particularly since none of us would have had any idea whatsoever. But still, we were glad to have this correct piece of information.
“It’s not the belly button,” he said. We gasped. Really, what else could there possibly be down there? Girls our age looked like us with longer hair, so it was only natural to believe they had penises for private parts. Our little minds had to be wondering if you smashed them together or, God forbid, does something happen involving the pee-hole?
“See, girls have hair down there,” Chris told us, discretely nodding toward “down there.” “And we lay our ‘things’ on it.”
You know, it really did make sense at the time.
1984: Classmate tells me I’m cute.
Not just any classmate, mind you, but Sarah King, the most popular girl in my grade and possibly the whole school, if not the universe.
As we marched back inside from a round of P.E., Sarah, who was a few feet behind me, loudly told Phoebe and Bobbi: “You know who is cute? Kevin Hall.”
Afraid that this might lead to a serious bout of hand-holding, I scurried away, never to get Sarah, or any girl, really, to say that again.
1985: Fifth-grade classmate sneaks copy of Penthouse to school.
Oh. My. God.
I wasn’t sure what I was looking at, but damn it, I liked it.
I’m not sure my friends really knew either. One told me (and I swear this is a direct quote, seared into my memory even 22 years later), “You can see her pisser.”
I wasn’t sure why I’d want to see that, but it sounded dirty, which meant it had to be good.
To this day, I can still recall one of the models posing under a waterfall, and as Patrick Stewart said on Extras, you could see everything. The mere fact she had hair “down there” led a lot of credence to Chris King’s Theory of Sex.
Later, Lisa Skidmore threatened to tell my mom that I’d looked at the magazine. To this day, I’m still a bit afraid that she’ll tattle on me.
1986: Sixth grade.
Others hormones go into a rage. I was still years away from the thought of puberty. My friends called girls. I played with my Star Wars toys.
1987: The Twins win the World Series.
Now, this might not seem like a part of the Sexual Revolution, but I remember watching the Twins clinch the Series. John Tipton and I were spending the night at Bowen Smallwood’s house, and after the game, an episode of Cheers ran on some channel. In it, Sam Malone (Ted Danson) said he was horny. Bowen and John laughed. After realizing they were laughing, I started chuckling, not wanting to be left out.
“Kevin, do you know what that means?”
“Yeah,” I stammered. “It, uh, well, it, um, means that you are, um, you know, um hard.”
After they stopped laughing at me, they told me I was wrong and clarified things for me.
In my defense, come on, to be “horny” sounds very much like you have a horn — a hard, pointy object —sticking out of you.
1989: Met Jessica Ramsey, a senior, and the prettiest girl in the school.
1989, that evening: Discovered masturbation.
From that point on: Life-changing self-discovery alters course of universe.