When I was twelve I was it. Confident. Together. In seventh grade, I had power, but didn't know how to use it wisely. When a geek boy asked me to a school dance I turned him down flat, without a thought.
I remember noticing a boy during Hebrew School. That year, to prep for our Bar/Bat Mitzvah's, we had to go to temple one afternoon a week, and friday night services. It was a flirtfest. I never thought about God or religion, only boys. The whole bunch of us sat together and giggled. One day the hormones kicked in and I realized David was looking at me. And he was cute.
He started calling me - no cell phones back in the 70s. I hogged our phone for hours talking about nothing. I was bold, and invited a whole crew of boys to my Bat Mitzvah -- the first of the crowd to make a co-ed party. But David couldn't go to mine... he had to be at camp. Such a trauma!
Thats when my mom had the talk with me. In the car, after picking me up from services. I was wearing the shortest minidress ever. Basically a crotch-skimmer. She said something to the effect of, "If you want a boy to touch you or you want to touch a boy, its ok." Thats it. Thats the sex talk I got from my mom. (I know she'd told me about the "facts" when I was much smaller, in a clinical way.)
So when David put his arm around me, I knew I could make the move, and our first kiss was sweet. (As sweet as kissing a boy with braces could be.) But this puppy love didn't last, out of sight out of mind, and that summer I turned 13 there was spin the bottle and kissing on the beach. I was testing the limits and it was fun.
The power stayed with me for a few years, but as I grew I learned I had to be nicer. I learned that I couldn't be smarter or better or first with boys. And it changed things around in my head. And then my dad had his talk with me.
I was sixteen. Going on a school trip - with the orchestra - to Bermuda for four days. Four days away from home. I'm running down the stairs, and my dad stops me to say, "If you need birth-control, I will take you to a doctor." As if being at home was the only thing controlling my wild sexual impulses. As if one night away from home and I'd start doing it. As if boys hadn't been climbing through my bedroom window for a few years.
Bermuda was beautiful, with fun friends, alcohol and sand, and few rules. The orchestra teacher fed me cigarettes and cocktails - I still had power. Then he came to his senses and ran away. And I got busy with a boy my age. Who was sweet. And who went back to his room and told everybody. In his defense so did I.
The geek boy I was so mean to? Started a software company. The boy I loved but who couldn't come to my party? Ignored me when I cut my hair short and then got into serious trouble in high-school. The Bermuda boy? Love. For a few months at least. Me? Not caught yet, to the dismay of both parents.