My nephew, the college senior, called last night to thank me for a piece of advice I gave him several years ago. “Uncle Richard,” he said, “I had my first beer and tequila blackout this weekend. I couldn’t remember shit the next morning, and I’m sure glad I listened when you told me to lose my virginity first and then start drinking heavily! Thanks a lot!”
It felt odd – but good – to receive thanks for advice given to a teenager. Mostly, I’ve heard the opposite for my pearls of wisdom, including the earful my sister gave me the day I imparted that particular guidance to her son. Jack was a senior in high school then, and I spoke to him only because Louise feared excessive partying would ruin his grades in college.
After confirming the kid was still a virgin, I’d advised him not to get shitfaced in college until after he lost his virginity — if he wanted to remember losing it, that is. Naturally, he didn’t believe anyone could forget having sex for the first time. But I assured him it could happen, and did happen to me. To emphasize the point, I told him my tale.
One night, freshman year, Patty Stepowski and I both stunk up a game of “Quarters” at the campus pub. After downing pitchers of beer, my last recollection before blacking out was of Patty and me collapsing onto my bed. I awoke the next morning face down on the floor, clad only in my underwear. Patty was gone, and I had no idea what we might have done between the sheets. Nevertheless, I felt sure we hadn’t screwed, since even in the midst of a blackout I couldn’t believe I’d forget losing my virginity.
Some years later, I ran into Patty and we reminisced about old times. Unsurprisingly, our discussion turned to the night we met. Very surprisingly, her version of the events differed significantly from mine. Just how significantly I discovered when I innocuously broached the subject of our rendezvous:
“Patty, you remember the time we played Quarters at the pub?”
She laughed, and rather bluntly replied: “How could I forget that night? You were the first guy I fucked at Cornell.”
I felt sure I’d misheard her. She didn’t just say ‘fucked,’ did she? No, that’s crazy. It must’ve just sounded like ‘fucked’: ‘bucked?’ … no; ‘tucked?’ … no; ‘sucked?’ … perhaps. I sought confirmation, delicately: “Really? I was the first guy you sucked face with at school?”
“No, Richard; I made out with a few guys before you. I didn’t fuck ’em though.”
Apparently, there was nothing wrong with my ears. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard, however. “Patty, are you telling me you think we had sex that night?”
“What do you mean ‘think,’ Richard? I don’t ‘think’ we had sex; I know. Wait a minute, are you telling me you don’t remember?”
That’s exactly what I was telling her, of course. It’s also the position I continued to take for the next ten minutes, as the two of us engaged in the most surreal argument of my life.
Like I told Jack after finishing my sad story: “So, if you don’t want to ridiculously debate whether you popped your cherry, lay off the booze!” It was sound advice, but I doubt his mother will appreciate it any more now than she did back then.