When I was young (back in the Dark Ages), and the product of 12 years of Catholic education, I thought that sex was something you did after you were married --- the nuns did a good job. In fact, I remember a hilarious incident (well, it seems hilarious in retrospect) in which a few of us at the innocent age of 16 were talking about a girl we know who had “gotten in trouble”. One of my friends said (with utter horror), “They say she doesn't even know who the father is!” We were all speechless --- probably because we didn't know what she was implying --- until our friend Sharon said, “Well, that's easy.” “How?” we all wanted to know. “Well,” she said, “she must be secretly married --- they have to find out who her husband is.” Oh.
It seems kind of astonishing now to realize that at 16 some of us thought you couldn't actually have sex unless you were married. Like, along with the wedding ring, you got the key to the chastity belt. But, lucky for us, we mostly wised up within a few years and either got married or proceeded merrily down the road to assorted misbehaviors and sins. I think it was Robin Williams who once said that women need a reason to have sex, while all men need is a place. Let me tell you, finding a place has not always been easy.
On the message board discussion a lot of folks have been talking about cemeteries. Well, yeah, I did my share of that. In fact one of my most memorable experiences (when I tell you the story you'll know how long ago it was) took place in a cemetery. My boyfriend and I were parked in a cemetery and were having a wonderful time except for the fact that we couldn't get anything on the radio except static. A fact that was aggravating him. But youth being what it is, physical demands trumped aesthetic ones, and things proceeded as they usually do. Anyhow, by some strange voodoo, just as we were approaching that magic moment, the radio kicked in and Jim Morrison's sultry voice singing “Riders on the Storm” carried us home, so to speak. When the song (and we) ended, the radio reception crapped out again. The next day he called me, in shock, and reported that the previous night Jim Morrison had died in a hotel room in Paris. Brrr.
I suppose one could write one's autobiography in places one has had sex but I'm not at all sure they would be particularly unique. I've never done it on an airplane, in a nightclub, or a movie theater (as mentioned in the article on the message board) but I have a few intriguing memories. There was a moonlit night on the top of the Bolivar Ferry crossing the channel from Galveston with dolphins cavorting in the waves --- that was with the Australian I mentioned in an earlier post about the destruction of The Balinese Room by Hurricane Ike. And there was an unforgettable night on Playa Luperone in the Dominican Republic... sigh.
And the scene I wrote in The Old Mermaid's Tale in which Clair and Baptiste do it at the top of a lighthouse was based on first-hand knowledge (so to speak --- have you ever noticed how hard it is to talk about sex without seeming to be loading every sentence with puns?) I might have missed out on nightclubs and movie theaters but not church. And that's all I'm going to say about that (well, actually “those” --- it was more than once, or twice).
But my favorite memory was an unseasonably warm winter night not all that long ago. It was his birthday and we had just come back from having dinner in a Revolutionary War era tavern and were in a very romantic mood. He had never been to Hammond Castle so we drove down to take a look and it was beautiful and warm and mysterious. No one was around and the flash of light from Eastern Point Lighthouse was illuminating the fog. And there we were on the drawbridge.
Thanks for reading.