You'll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again: One Woman's Painfully Funny Quest to Give It Upby Heather McDonald
New York Times bestselling author, comedian, and Chelsea Lately writer Heather McDonald’s hilarious true story of finding herself in the predicament of being an unwilling virgin at the age of twenty-seven.
Can’t a girl dress like a hooker, dance like a stripper, and kiss like a porn star and still be a nineteen-year-old virgin?
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New York Times bestselling author, comedian, and Chelsea Lately writer Heather McDonald’s hilarious true story of finding herself in the predicament of being an unwilling virgin at the age of twenty-seven.
Can’t a girl dress like a hooker, dance like a stripper, and kiss like a porn star and still be a nineteen-year-old virgin?
You’ll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again is the laugh-out-loud story of an attractive Los Angeles woman who found herself in the predicament of being an unwilling virgin. As an actress, writer, and stand-up comedienne, Heather McDonald passed up ample opportunities to have her V-card revoked by handsome, rich, and sometimes even fabulously famous men, but she could not bring herself to do “it” until well after her friends had been deflowered.
As Chelsea Handler so lovingly puts it, “Thank God Heather waited twenty-seven years to lose her virginity or she wouldn’t have any material for this book.” Whether in a backseat, a community pool, or a sports stadium, with a frat boy, a doctor, or an A-list celebrity, Heather McDonald knew how to turn those boys blue. Unlike “putting out,” blue balling might not have paid her rent or landed her free trips to Hawaii, but it did provide her with hilarious stories and adventures in her search for true love—and, ultimately, her very own happy ending. Now, Heather McDonald will never blue ball in this town again.
—Kim, Kourtney, & Khloe Kardashian
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Can’t a Girl Dress Like a Hooker, Dance Like a Stripper, and Kiss Like a Porn Star and Still Be a Nineteen-Year-Old Virgin?
Do you ever find yourself in your office daydreaming of an old crush and wondering what your life would have been like with him, especially on the days when your husband isn’t treating you like the princess you still are? Suddenly the crush comes to mind and you decide to Internet stalk him to find out if he is still single or to see how ugly his wife is or what your kids may have looked like with him. Well, Kevin O’Sullivan is the guy I Google and search on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Classmates, and so on. When my husband is not being nice to me, he refuses to help me on the computer in my attempt to track down this old flame of mine.
With a name like Kevin O’Sullivan, I knew he was Irish. In fact, his parents were from Ireland: the land of potatoes; four-leaf clovers; leprechauns and Lucky Charms cereal; and, of course, famine and bloodshed. He went to Arizona State, where I was visiting my friend Suzanne, but his family lived in Pasadena, which is just outside of LA, but at least an hour from my home in Woodland Hills. We went through the usual college pre-hookup-meet-and-greet of “What’s your major? Dorm? High school? What was your SAT? Is there a history of cancer in your family? How about acne?”
With Kevin the conversation was really easy, and the alcohol helped. I don’t think I ever saw the bottom of my red plastic cup. Fraternity guys are trained to never allow a sorority sister’s drink to run out. They’re such gentlemen in that way.
At about one a.m., it was time for us to leave. Suzanne was from Arizona and we were crashing at her parents’ house, so we couldn’t be too late. Kevin asked for my number and I asked for his. I loved having the guy’s number. At the time, my Heather philosophy was that these guys always lose the little pieces of paper with the numbers scribbled on them; they must lose them, or what other explanation is there for them not calling? I couldn’t risk the possibility that my precious phone number might be held hostage in the crevice of a futon for months and by the time it was rescued the guy would have no recollection of who I was.
If you can believe it, in the nineties there were no Black-Berrys or iPhones or Palm Pilots, so the potential boyfriend could not program my digits in his telecommunicative device. By getting his number I had control if I chose to call him. He said he’d be back in Pasadena over Thanksgiving and we should go out then. I was going to hold him to it and that’s why I kept his number safe in my Velcro Louis Vuitton knockoff wallet. I also transcribed it into two different notebooks in two different locations just in case I was approached by a mugger while walking to my car and I couldn’t reach my mace or kick him in the groin while yelling “fire” (I was told “fire” gets more of a response than “rape”) and he successfully grabbed my purse.
Like Oprah says, “Never go to the second crime location,” even if it means a potential boyfriend’s phone number might be lost forever. I also decided to always keep a bottled water and granola bar in my car so that when the big earthquake strikes and a freeway collapses on my car, I can eventually tell Oprah, “And even though there was only a small pocket of air, I managed to reach down and get that water and granola bar until help arrived.” Oprah always tears up at a good story about survival and rationing one granola bar over a period of ten days.
Thanksgiving weekend rolled around and I left USC, where I was in my sophomore year, for the long forty-six-minute drive home to the Valley. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day is always a great party night. People don’t have to work the next day, and some are staying, like me, at their parents’ house. I loved flopping into my double bed with its pink ruffled canapÉ top, which, by the way, does not work like a bunk bed. My sister and I learned this the hard way. I would lie among my stuffed elephants and panda bears, which were impossible to cuddle because they were all won by my dad from various trips to Six Flags and therefore synthetic, and watch my junior varsity cheer-leading ribbons spinning around my room before I passed out. This memory repeated itself every Thanksgiving. It just always screamed “autumn” to me.
Around six p.m. on Thanksgiving, with some Blue Nun wine and tryptophan in my bloodstream, I decided to call Kevin O’Sullivan and see if he still wanted to take me out that weekend. Needless to say, he hadn’t called me. I retrieved the number from my wallet and dialed. It was his home number and an Irish woman answered, which freaked me out because any Irish woman sounds like a nun to me. My heart was already beating because I was calling a boy, and now I was having flashbacks of my fourth-grade math teacher, Sister Therese.
“Yes, is Kevin there please?” I asked as politely as I could, thinking she could ask me to solve a long division problem at any moment.
“One moment dear,” she replied.
“Hello?” Kevin said.
“Oh, hi. This is Heather. I met you at the ATO party a while back. I go to USC and ...” He cut me off.
“Of course. How are you, Heather?” he asked. The rest of the conversation was easy, yet my heart still managed to beat at an excessive rate. Whenever I was on the phone at my parents’ house I never knew when my dad would start yelling about something so loud that the person on the other end would hear, “Don’t get your tit in a wringer about the blood. Just get me the goddamn Band-Aids!” When that happened, I would immediately hang up, and then when the house was quiet again I’d call back and say, “What’s up with your phone, we just got disconnected, that’s so weird, you should have that checked out.” We made plans for Kevin to pick me up on Friday night at my parents’ house and decided we would go out in Woodland Hills.
The next day, my sister Shannon and I went shopping. I love when you shop for a new outfit and then have plans to wear it that very night, provided the idiotic salesgirl doesn’t forget to remove the security tag. When that happened to me, I called the store in a panic demanding that they send someone from Forever 21 immediately to my home with the security removal gun and take care of the situation or I would file a lawsuit on the grounds of intentional infliction of emotional distress. When the salesgirl made a sarcastic remark about how they don’t make house calls for purchases under twenty-nine dollars, I attempted to remove the tag myself and went out that night looking like I’d been shot by a blue paintball gun.
Being a virgin never conflicted with the way I dressed. My philosophy at the time was: If I don’t show it, how will people know I have it? So the shorter and tighter the outfit the better. Shannon was not as risquÉ and didn’t always agree with my clothing. I was so confident with my Forever 21 purchases that even as an aspiring attorney she wasn’t able to convince me that cleavage and upper thigh should not both be the focal points of a dress made out of 100 percent hot pink spandex.
When Kevin met me at Arizona State University, I was wearing a salmon-colored mesh tank-style minidress with white cowboy boots and big white hoop earrings. Obviously, that look worked for Kevin.
Driving home from the mall, I anticipated my first date with Kevin and I imagined myself in my new purchase: a rust-colored minidress paired with brown go-go boots, gold hoop earrings, and bangles. Madonna’s Like a Prayer provided the soundtrack. What a perfect fall-colored palette to wear tonight, I thought. I looked at the clock and it was already 5:17 p.m. I would be ready just in time for an eight o’clock pickup, since I was starting from scratch—that meant washing my hair and conditioning it with Vidal Sassoon hot oil treatment, blow-drying it, setting it with hot rollers, and putting enough Sebastian Shaper hair spray in it to do significant damage to the ozone layer.
I feared the moment Kevin would meet my parents because of my dad’s temper. More often than not, my dad flew off the handle because of a simple miscommunication. My parents had a few poorly matched ailments. My dad couldn’t hear and my mom only had one vocal cord. Dad, a former Marine, lost his hearing in one ear during combat. He refused to get a hearing aid because of vanity and the related fear of looking old. And once, when my mom was screaming at one of her five kids for making a mess, “right after the goddamn maid had just left,” one of her vocal chords suddenly became paralyzed. So she can be heard, but she has trouble yelling or really projecting her yell.
What usually happened was my dad misunderstood my mom and thought she had said something other than what she actually said. Whatever he thought she said would piss him off and then he’d start to yell. We would try to correct the situation by saying, “But Dad, wait, that’s not what she said!” He would yell back, “Don’t interrupt! Let me finish my goddamn sentence.” Afterward, we suffered through an agonizing ten minutes of his ranting.
For example, my mom might say, “Please pass the bread.” And my dad would respond, “Fred? You’re still dealing with that asshole? I told you to dump him as a client. He’s never going to buy a house and we don’t need his business. He’s a patronizing little fuck with his goddamn Jaguar and the way he pronounces it ‘Jag-u-r.’” My mom would try to interject, “But Bob, wait...” That only made my dad more angry. “Don’t tell me to wait. I’ve been in the corporate business for twenty-five years. I thought we were partners in real estate. If you don’t want my opinion, you can take my name off the twenty-five bus benches now and it will just read ‘Pam McDonald welcomes you to Woodland Hills.’” At this point, my mom and I would fight back laughter as she struggled to get the words out. But in no way could she reach his level of volume, causing him to be even more irate.
Before Kevin arrived, I remembered one time when my sister Kathi was waiting for her date, a concrete salesman, to pick her up. Some argument began to escalate to the point where my dad raged about everything and anything. He was mad that he was just hearing (if you can technically call it that) that Kathi was going on a date that night. My mom, in contrast, was happy that Kathi’s date sold concrete for a living and was not a roadie for Poison or a Rick James celebrity impersonator. She managed to screech, “But Bob, this guy is into concrete.” My dad got even louder and said, “I’m supposed to be impressed that he’s into Kathi’s feet. What a sick fuck. Just because he’s the first guy whose eyes won’t be glued to her boobs, we’re supposed to jump for joy like a bunch of assholes? Well, unless he’s a podiatrist, he’s a pervert and he’s not going out with my daughter.”
About five minutes later, my sister’s private line in her bedroom rang and she picked it up. When she returned, she told us it was the concrete salesman and that he was on the walkway when he heard Dad screaming about him and his foot fetish, so he decided it was best he didn’t ring the bell. She told him everything was fine and to come back, which he did. My dad felt terrible and actually was impressed that the guy sold concrete. He made conversation and asked where he was from and what college he went to. When the concrete salesman said the University of Michigan, my dad immediately brought up their mascot and said, “Oh you’re a Wolverine, are ya?” He then talked sports for a few uncomfortable minutes. Though my dad’s outburst didn’t help the date, he couldn’t be entirely blamed. My sister did admit to yawning several times at Red Lobster when he explained the intricacies of a concrete convention, and they never went out again.
But my dad wasn’t a bit embarrassed. He never altered his mood, activity, or volume for anything. It didn’t occur to him that I was having eight friends over for a slumber party and that might be the day to forgo his usual routine of swimming naked in our pool except for a pair of goggles and flippers. His daily routine included twenty-five laps of free style with flip turns and ten of the butterfly stroke. No, he never worried that one if not all of my eight friends from the fifth grade might at one point look out the living room window and witness him.
Luckily for me, the night Kevin came, everyone was calm and the meet-and-greet was quick and painless. My parents trusted me and it was understood that I’d be back around one a.m. or so. One good thing about being the youngest of five kids is that by the time you’re a young adult, the parents are too old and exhausted to bother to check up on you. With my older brothers and sisters, I’d often wake up to the sound of my parents having been up all night because someone never made it home. They were calling hospitals only to have one of their children walk in at eight a.m. claiming to have fallen asleep at a friend’s house while listening to an eight-track tape. When my turn came, they simply took two Tylenol PMs, said an “Our Father,” and called it a night.
I decided to take Kevin to a happening bar in our neighborhood called Patty’s. It was an English bar with drink specials like Sex on the Beach and Long Island Iced Tea. Kevin ordered a Guinness (he was obviously taking the Irish thing pretty seriously) and I had a KahlÚa and cream. This was long before I knew the caloric dangers of sweet, creamy alcohol. The bar also offered karaoke, and for a brief moment I considered performing my tried and true “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About” by Bonnie Raitt. I can do the raspy voice and had memorized it years before. I never even have to glance at the screen with the highlighted words but occasionally would, just so it wasn’t obvious that I practice regularly at home—but instead I chose to lean in for our first kiss. We started to make out at the bar before our second round. I’ve always been a strong advocate of PDAs. I feel it is only inappropriate when you’re sober and witnessing it. When you are partaking in a PDA, it’s just two people who are really enjoying each other’s tongues. We even made out walking to the car. We made out on top of the car. We made out in the car. We made out underneath the car. … Because all I really did was kiss, I believe I was quite good at it and very passionate, too. I was willing to kiss a lot. I would have been a perfect contestant on Brett Michaels’s Rock of Love.
While sitting in the passenger seat, I’d managed to puff out my chest and arch my back, flipping my long hair from one side to the other. Kevin was saying everything I loved to hear including my particular faves: “You’re so hot. … You’re so sexy. … You’re better looking than Cindy Crawford.” And then he said something that shocked me: “Let’s go to your room at USC.”
I was totally floored. What? Was my dad’s hearing problem in fact hereditary? He didn’t just suggest we go back to my room at college?
“Let’s go to your room at USC so we can really do this.”
Oh my God. This was our first date. Earlier in the evening, I had mentioned that I lived in a defunct sorority house now renamed the Honor House for any members of sororities and fraternities who had a 3.0 grade-point average. I much preferred to live there than in the dorms where my roommate freshman year was a former member of the Israeli army, six-two, roughly 220 pounds, and played the cello. Between her body mass and that of her cello, I barely had room to raise my arms to tease my hair. What had stuck in his mind from the story was the fact that I could go to the Honor House anytime, even when school was on break.
Living with guys and girls in such close proximity made for a lot of fun. During Greek Week, I drank a lot during the day and passed out on my bed with the door wide open. When I awoke, one of the guys down the hall had put a squirt of white lotion on my inner thigh in an attempt to make me believe that a guy came on my leg while I was unconscious. Having never seen cum, I didn’t get it, at first, but when I did, oh the hilarity of frat humor. But did Kevin think I was hinting at something when I told him about my college boarding situation?
I immediately pushed his hands off my well-moisturized, Calvin Klein Obsession-scented cleavage and said with an annoyed tone, “Are you kidding me? Did you really think that I was going to have sex with you tonight? Did you think I’d be so desperate to have it that I’d let you drive me all the way back to USC to go do it on my twin bed? How would that even be feasible? You’d have to drive me all the way back to Woodland Hills before the sun came up and my parents awoke. Do you even have that much gasoline?”
Come to think of it, I may also have told him how my dad snores and my mom wears earplugs and therefore they can never hear me when I come home late at night. I guess he interpreted that comment as a major hint that I wanted to have sex all night until the Daily News hit our driveway. Was Kevin one of these guys who takes everything you say and do as a major indicator that you want to have sex with them? You could say, “I’m tired.” And then that certain type of guy interprets it as, “Oh yeah. She wants to go to bed with me.” You could say, “I want a sucker.” And he thinks: “She’d like to suck on my cock like a lollipop.” Or you could say, “Look, I’m fucking someone else.” And that certain guy interprets it as “Poor guy. She’s thinking about me while she’s with him.”
I asked myself, “Can’t a girl dress like a hooker, dance like a stripper, and kiss like a porn star and still be a nineteen-year-old virgin? Why is this such an enigma?”
“I think you should just take me back to my parents’ house,” I told Kevin firmly as I put on my seat belt and looked straight ahead.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you, Heather. I’m just really attracted to you and I didn’t mean anything by it.”
Well, of course, I forgave him in about three to four minutes. I really liked him and I wasn’t going to blow him off for wanting to sleep with me. But at that point I wasn’t ready to tell him I was a virgin, either. It was only our first date, and I was fine if he assumed I wasn’t one. At my age, not many girls still were. We kissed again at my parents’ front door. Kevin said he’d call me the next day, and he did.
Over the next few months, we’d talk on the phone all the time, especially late at night when we’d both come back to our rooms after being out drinking at our respective sorority/ fraternity parties. During one of these intoxicated phone calls, I insinuated that he should invite me to his fraternity’s spring formal. I was surprised that he hadn’t brought it up yet. That’s when he told me that he really wasn’t an ATO. He had pledged, but then something happened and he depledged. He said he was still friends with the guys and that’s why he was at the party, but he was not an active member. I was in utter shock. Everything I had imagined for us was gone. It was like finding out that Santa is just a creepy fat guy at the mall who gets paid by the hour. No ATO formals were in my imminent future. And this wasn’t even the first time something like this happened to me.
In high school, Doug Malcolm was my only kind-of boyfriend. I kept waiting for him to ask me to the homecoming dance, so finally I brought it up with only a week left for me to purchase the iridescent lavender strapless dress with matching silk pumps I’d been eyeing at Macy’s. That’s when he told me that he had been grounded for driving his dad’s car without a license. Sure, the parents wanted to teach their child a lesson, but what about the crime of leaving a desperate fifteen-year-old dateless on homecoming?
I’m sorry, but this Greek thing was my life. It was in my bloodline. To have him tell me he was a GDI (goddamn Independent) was not a turn-on. This was my identity. I was a Gamma Phi Beta and I thought that my long-distance boyfriend was an ATO, but now he was just a junior at Arizona State University—a place where kids went when they couldn’t get into USC or any of the University of California schools. If Kevin wasn’t in a fraternity, I had no hope of ever getting pinned.
In case you don’t come from this world, being pinned is when your fraternity boyfriend gives you his pin in a ceremony on a Monday night in front of all your sorority sisters and all his fraternity brothers. Then everyone gets drunk and hooks up with one another. If the sorority sister getting pinned was dating a guy in a top house, every girl would be dressed to the nines and willing to drop a class if she had a test the next day. If the sister getting pinned was dating a guy in an average to below average house, then suddenly many girls would have to get a two-month jump on finals. Yes, shallow and horrible, but it was my reality at the time. If I was to stay with Kevin, I would never have that fraternity pin, and that was something I had dreamed would happen at college.
Sometimes the calls with Kevin turned sexual but only on his part. He talked about how when he went down on a girl his rather prominent nose was worth its weight in gold. I really was too embarrassed to say anything back or do anything to myself, but I did enjoy listening to how turned on he was. I’d kind of cringe under the covers as we whispered to each other for hours. One night he even told me that he had had an affair with a twenty-six-year-old Playboy Playmate. I immediately questioned how he knew she was in fact a Playmate.
“Did you ever see her spread in the magazine?” I probed.
“No, but her license plate read BUNNY87.” Guys will believe anything that will make them feel better about themselves. Something tells me a real Playmate wouldn’t want everyone on the 405 freeway and in the grocery store parking lot to know she posed naked in a magazine. “Excuse me, Miss. Sorry to follow you to your car, but didn’t I see you on page thirty-eight of the June ’87 issue lying on a gravel driveway in nothing but a chauffeur’s hat and white gloves?”
That’s around the time that Kevin told me our sex life was, in fact, a carcinogen. I can’t help but wonder if Lance Armstrong was severely blue balled at some point in his young life.
Kevin was home in Pasadena for the summer, so we saw each other as much as we could. Still, we were a good hour and a half apart depending on traffic. Sometimes he’d come to the Valley; sometimes I went there. My friends at USC who were from Pasadena performed a clothing style intervention, so I had started wearing things with sleeves and collars. I traded my cowboy boots for flats in an attempt to fit in better with Kevin’s town and family. I was becoming a preppy just like James Spader in Pretty in Pink.
One thing that bugged me about Kevin was that he was such a snob about the Valley. The night before his sister’s wedding, where I was to be his date, my sister Shannon and I went to an all-you-can-eat sushi place. I don’t know if it’s a cross between inherent frugalness or gluttony or a combination of both, but I now know I can’t handle any restaurant with “All You Can Eat” in its headline. I just kept ordering and ordering ahi, eel, yellowtail, octopus, scallops, crab, and imitation crab. It never occurred to me that the fish they were so willing to offer for a fixed price of $19.95 may not have been the freshest catch. That night I puked until the morning. I still felt ill when I called Kevin. I said, “Kevin, I’ve been sick all night. I think I might be OK by five o’clock for the ceremony, but I just wanted to let you know in case I’m not up to it.”
He said, “Do you think your stomach is upset because you’re nervous about the wedding and meeting everyone at our country club?”
After ten and a half hours of using the porcelain toilet bowl as my pillow and barely any sleep, I lost it. “No, I ate twelve pounds of bad sushi. I have food poisoning. Look, Kevin, let’s get something clear here. You’re not a Rockefeller and I’m not Betty from the Bronx. My parents are college graduates who run a successful real estate business. We have a beautiful home which is not in a track area, might I add. Yes, it gets hot here, but last I checked, Pasadena is only ten degrees cooler than Woodland Hills, and we have central air and a huge in-ground recently remodeled pool. Your parents live on two acres and have five kids, too, but still refused to ever build a pool. That’s practically child abuse!” I yelled. Kevin apologized, and I felt empowered.
I managed to get myself together and we went to the wedding, where many of the older guests made comments like, “Are you two next?” I knew I wasn’t into Kevin anymore when that question made me feel sicker than the sushi from the night before. Later during the reception, Kevin took me into some empty alley and said something about wanting to do me like Andrew McCarthy did Jami Gertz during the family Christmas party in the movie Less Than Zero. Now, I loved that movie. But instead of getting me hot, it made me wonder, Do people actually wear thigh-high nylons? In the sex scene, Jami Gertz is still wearing her black nylons, skirt, and pumps. In real life, if you had to wear nylons for an important event, would you forgo the slimming bonus of control-top pantyhose for the bulkiness of that contraption with the clips to hold up the thigh highs just so you could have sex in an alley while fully clothed? It didn’t seem worth it.
About a week later, Kevin called me and said he talked to a tarot card reader at a party he went to with his parents. He said, “I asked her about you and she said you were really nervous about losing your virginity and that I just had to be patient and soon it would happen.”
This is why I don’t believe in psychics now or then. I had no intention of ever losing it to him, and poor Kevin thought it was just around the corner. At that point, I didn’t have a physical desire to have sex with him and I didn’t want the relationship to get more intense than it already was. I liked having a long-distance boyfriend who I just made out with.
For my twentieth birthday, he presented me with a framed poster of a famous black-and-white photograph of a man and woman embracing at a train station with a handwritten poem that said something about, “How we are far apart, I can sing like a lark.” I was flattered that he brought up my singing, because besides my parents and me, no one thinks my voice is that great. I thanked him for it. But the truth was it gave me a stomachache and I never hung it up for display.
Then an explosion happened. Kevin said to me, “I think I’m going to transfer to USC for my final year.” Oh God, no. I’m not solely the reason, I thought. USC is a better school for an undergraduate degree, but he made it clear he wanted to continue our relationship once he arrived.
I felt panicked. I didn’t want Kevin as a full-time boyfriend. I couldn’t date him and still go to other fraternity parties like I had been doing this whole time. I loved dancing at fraternity parties, especially to MC Hammer’s “Too Legit to Quit.” Those three minutes and twenty-three seconds were sheer hip-hop delight. I’d do the hand move that went along with the song, two fingers up, then make the shape of an L (symbolizing legit), then two fingers up again, then the quit sign across the neck. Then I do my MC Hammer legs going to the left then to the right, next the sprinkler, the chainsaw, and finally the all-sacred running man. A boyfriend would totally suffocate my expressive dance floor moves and I wasn’t about to give it all up. Yes, I was shallow—most sorority girls are.
For example, a couple of girls on campus had claimed that they were date raped, each by a different guy but all members of the same fraternity, Kappa Delta. We discussed it at our chapter meeting along with the fact that it was likely that their fraternity would be suspended and thrown off the row.
One of the girls, Marci, piped up, “How do we know they really date raped them?” Another sister argued, “Because it’s three different girls all from different sororities all with similar stories.”
“Yes, but the Kappa Delts have the best parties and I’ve already bought my flapper dress for the Great Gatsby Ball,” she whined.
I felt my inner Gloria Steinem come out, and I stood up and said, “Look, I know this is not Cal-Berkeley and we choose to shave our armpits regularly. But don’t we have enough feminism in our bones to back other women’s claims over attending a 1920s party, a theme, which by the way, has been done to death!” I stated this as the majority of the girls cheered in agreement. Besides, the party was a week away and the one Kappa Delt in my medieval civilization class who I thought was going to ask me was already going with a Pi Phi, so screw those rapists.
I tried to talk Kevin out of transferring to USC. “Really, won’t it take you longer than one year to finish and graduate if you transfer?” I asked.
“Yes, but you still have two years left, so it will be fun,” he said with a smile.
It was pretty much after that conversation that I started being brief with him on the phone and not calling him back. Clearly, I was afraid of intimacy—both physically and emotionally. What was wrong with me? This guy actually liked my singing voice! He shouldn’t be so easily dismissed. But timing is everything, and this was not the time. It was still party time.
I was a junior living in our sorority house. When I wouldn’t return his calls on my private line in my room, he’d call on the house main line and ask whoever answered for me. They would come find me, but it got to the point where I’d say, “Tell him that I just left.” Then one night at around eight, I was in my room with my roommate and I heard on the loudspeaker, “Heather McDonald, you have a guest downstairs, Heather McDonald you have a guest downstairs!” Oh shit. I literally hid under the covers. I wouldn’t go down. I asked my friend Suzanne to go down and tell him that I was asleep. She went and didn’t come back for twenty minutes. When she returned, she said, “Oh my God, Heather. Just be honest with him. He was relentless. I told him you were asleep and he begged me to go wake you up, saying that if you knew it was him, you’d want to talk to him. He kept on saying I was a convincing-type person and I could get you to come down. Finally, I said, ‘Look, Heather is a total bitch, especially if you wake her up, and I’m not doing it.’” I apologized to Suzanne for making her do my dirty work.
Although I didn’t see him that night, I called him and stuck to my story of falling asleep extremely early the night before. We made plans to meet. He was already enrolled at USC, and that night I told him the very original line, “Kevin, I just want to be friends.” He said OK, but later that night when he was driving me back to my sorority house, he pulled the car over and walked around to my side, opened my car door, and knelt down and pleaded with me. I didn’t know what to say. He started to cry. I remember seeing his giant tear fall onto my light blue jean miniskirt and thinking, God, this guy really likes me. Imagine if he had gotten some actual pussy. What would he be like then? Then I realized he probably did put me on such a pedestal because I hadn’t slept with him or anyone else.
Months later, my mom confessed that shortly after our official breakup, Kevin had showed up at our house. My mom was expecting a refrigerator repairman, so when the doorbell rang, she opened it and said, “Oh hi, come in, it’s right here. I love my Sub-Zero, but for some reason it’s not making ice cubes.”
Kevin said, “I’m sorry to hear that about your refrigerator, Mrs. McDonald, but I’m just so sad about Heather.”
As my mom told me the story, she laughed. “Heather, I felt so embarrassed that I didn’t recognize him right away. But these Sub-Zero guys are so hard to get to come over because a Sub-Zero is like no other refrigerator and you have to have a Sub-Zero specialist fix it; otherwise, they could really fuck it up and …”
“Mom,” I yelled. “Tell me about Kevin—and how could you have not told me sooner?”
“Well, he made Bob and I swear we wouldn’t say anything.”
“Dad, you were here and didn’t tell me, either?” I questioned.
“Well, I walked in and I thought, Why is the Sub-Zero guy crying and pouring his heart out to Pam? How much is it going to cost to fix this refrigerator?”
“How could both of you not recognize him? You met him like on five different occasions, two of which were full meals.” They obviously didn’t think he was the one; otherwise, I think they would have paid more attention.
“Well, Heather, you don’t know what we had been through with this Sub-Zero. It was five thousand dollars and we hadn’t had ice cubes for three days,” my mom said.
“Mom, enough with the fridge. What did he say?”
“Well, he was just heartbroken, and I said to him, ‘You’re a nice, tall guy. You’ll find someone else.’ And he said, ‘Why bother when I already found the greatest girl and she was a virgin,’ ” my mother explained.
I thought, Ugh, gross, why is he telling that to my parents? Well, of course, the virgin statement made both my parents’ afternoon even though the actual Sub-Zero guy failed to show up that day.
One afternoon I went into my dad’s Trans Am looking for a book I thought I had left in there and as I searched under the seat I found something I had never seen before. It was wrapped like a candy. I brought it into the house and opened it. It was round and slimy and looked like a balloon. I said to my mom, “What is this?” And just as I asked the question I realized it was a condom. “Ew, disgusting,” I screamed. We soon put two and two together that it was my brother Jim’s—he had borrowed my dad’s muscle car the night before—and everyone had a good laugh about it, especially my parents, which I felt was so hypocritical.
From the time I started stripping off my diaper and wearing my mom’s high heels around the house, she told my two sisters and me that we “must” remain virgins until we were married. She herself was such a virgin that two weeks after her wedding night, she had to have her hymen surgically removed by a doctor. She and my dad had honeymooned in the Bermuda Triangle, but my mom’s hymen didn’t disappear. Yet when it’s her son who is having the premarital sex, it’s funny and cool and completely OK? What a double standard. Yes, she should be happy that he was smart enough to be using condoms, but if only for the sake of her daughters, she should have pretended to be just a little mortified at my brother’s behavior. Wasn’t it a sin for him, or is it only a sin for the woman?
“Look, Heather, you did the right thing, and Kevin did have rather narrow shoulders for his stature,” my mom added for good measure.
“He never looked me in the eye the whole time he was crying to your mother. What am I, a potted plant, just sitting there like an asshole sprouting leaves?” My dad has always been quite sensitive and requires a lot of attention.
“Well, I’m glad you finally told me,” I said. How weird if my ex-boyfriend would have had a pinky-swear-secret with my parents, who still associate him with the Sub-Zero man who never showed up.
It made me feel bad, but at the same time the whole Kevin experience gave me a lot of confidence. He was really my first boyfriend, and I knew I was capable of being loved by a man without having to have sex with him. So now I could just continue on with my life until I found a guy who I wanted to be my boyfriend and could still enjoy being the blue ballee as much as I enjoyed being the blue baller.
© 2010 Heather McDonald
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