Lesfic: ‘Wonderful Tonight’ – How Saying No Can Save Your Soul


At 16, I lost my virginity in the driver’s seat of a red Volkswagen Jetta. Ryan and I were parked next to Woodsboro Park tennis courts where my brother Jeremiah and I would ride our Huffy bikes to hit tennis balls with our beat-up Wilson rackets that we had found in our basement just a couple summers before. Jeremiah made a deal with me. If I played tennis with him, on the ride home he would go in the video store and rent me a Jessica Lange movie. Forehands and Backhands for Tootsie and Blue Sky …now that’s a nice volley if you ask me.

It was my first time. Having sex, not tennis. I’d become recreational at tennis at that point. Not great at the serve, but I could keep the ball in play if I needed to keep companionship with my brother going. Our sets never lasted too long, which is great foreshadowing for my young sex life. As far as sex went, I knew nothing about it other than the usual Catholic lingo around the house. “Don’t do it until you’re married!” “It’s a sin and if you do it before marriage you are a very bad person.”

Sex honestly seemed scarier than the movie ‘What Lies Beneath’ starring Michelle Pfeiffer and that’s saying A LOT. My sister Marta and I held each other during that movie like a terrier holds a tennis ball in her mouth. A combination of clenched jaws and terror.

Sex honestly seemed scarier than the movie ‘What Lies Beneath’ starring Michelle Pfeiffer and that’s saying A LOT. My sister Marta and I held each other during that movie like a terrier holds a tennis ball in her mouth. A combination of clenched jaws and terror. I saw them allude to sex in the show “Melrose Place”, but mostly seeing Heather Locklear in skirts and suit jackets really got me going. I mean what a guest star role and complete God send to a young closeted lesbian in her early days of finding out what is emotionally and physically attractive. An empowered woman in a feminine powered blue business suit.

Speaking of Heather options, excuse me, Healthier options. Sorry, Freudian slip. You know when you look at a menu and you think the veggie burger is the best option? Then after you go back to the restaurant you realize there’s this incredible mushroom side dish that has agrodolce sauce. It’s made with Balsamic, Tamarin, and Maple syrup. And then you put it on top of a Kale salad that has fresh pistachios, olives, and purple radishes. And you’re like, I can’t believe my instincts were to get that veggie burger first. I’m so glad I branched out and tried other things on the menu.

Like any Veggie Burger, Ryan was easy on the system. He didn’t take himself too seriously and he loved to laugh. He was the star point guard of our high school basketball team and his father was the coach. He was fair skinned with auburn hair, and he was cute in a non-threatening way. He loved rap music, the movie ‘Dumb and Dumber’ and his best friend was the class clown. We met over peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at an after homecoming party.

Ryan made me laugh. I liked him. We both lived in the same town which was out of district from our public school systems. We both beat the system to play sports. So we already had a record together. We were no Bobby and Whitney as there was no crack cocaine use (that I know of), but we did want to shoot hoops and dribble a soccer ball at a better school, and we had to do some finagling to get there. I was recruited for the soccer team by coach Nichols, so in order to go to the school out of district I had to say my mother was mentally unstable and I needed childcare from my best friend Lauren Griffee’s family, who lived IN the district. Which actually wasn’t a lie.

Ryan beat the system and went to school out of district because his dad was the head coach, and it just made sense for carpool reasons. Ryan’s dad was like the ‘Friday Night Lights’ coach and I felt comfortable being around a sports family because that’s what I grew up around. Ryan and I started carpooling post peanut butter and jelly and the next thing you know we were having your usual heavy makeout sessions in his mother’s red Jetta. Then he wanted more and at that point I didn’t even know what I wanted, besides getting a division 1 scholarship and maybe brown sugar pop tarts. And sometimes I didn’t even know if I wanted the pop tarts toasted or untoasted.

I realize I’m making a lot of food metaphors in this story which clearly means I used food as a way to cope with my emotions. I was looking for love in all the wrong pop tarts. One night, Ryan drove us to the courts, parked his mother’s red Jetta and we played Eric Clapton’s “You Look Wonderful Tonight.” That was my picking. Subconsciously I must have known . If I’m about to lean into a passive sexual decision, I may as well do it to one of the greatest singer/songwriters playing in the background. That’s my Libra rising astrologically speaking. Libras are always seeking balance.

I was on top physically, but emotionally I felt like I just sunk to the bottom of a very deep public pool. You know the ones that are 25 feet deep. And let’s just say there was no tea party in sight. The word disassociate rings a bell. I was not there anymore. I wonder where I went? What part of my soul dispersed into the ether?

I was on top physically, but emotionally I felt like I just sunk to the bottom of a very deep public pool.

I like to think it went to Switzerland and skied down a bunny slope. Nothing too intense. Just a bunny slope. My soul needed something gentle and to be around someone that didn’t have strong opinions. Like the Swiss, my soul needed fine chocolate like they were known for, and I knew there was something out there finer than Hershey’s. There just had to be! Sorry, one can get so passionate when talking about fine chocolate. It’s very unswiss of me. I think he “enjoyed” it as he ejaculated over his own thigh when he pulled out, but, did he really? We certainly were not emotionally connected.

When he dropped me off later that night I remember going into my parents rose colored bedroom and metaphorically taking off my own rose-colored glasses. As I kissed them goodnight I remember all I wanted to do was crumble in my mother’s arms and cry. But instead, I formulated lies of omission as I knew she would shame me if I told her the truth. I told her, “We watched Tommy Boy,” trying to preserve some semblance of my innocence.

The truth is, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know if I wanted to have sex with him. I knew he wanted to and would get mad and pout if I told him I was not sure. While my mother taught me how to do a crossover behind the back, and between the legs basketball dribble, she never taught me how to say “No.” In fact, I didn’t learn what a “boundary” was until I was 30 years old and my therapist had to set one with me after I texted her, “I hope you are playing the flute.”

It wasn’t completely random. She pulled out a flute in our previous session. It was playful. But nonetheless, at that point, I didn’t understand boundaries – I didn’t even know that wasn’t okay! I had to learn the hard way. But, ultimately the best way to experience intense growth. So really I came out of my trauma with gratitude, and observe it like an angel watching a car accident. Specifically a red Jetta car accident. It’s not as bad as we think it is if we can ascend above and observe the greater lesson. Mine, I believe, was giving myself physically to someone when it could have put my life and future in danger when I didn’t really want to.

Say I got pregnant, it could have messed things up for me as my real love at the time was getting that D1 scholarship. Luckily, I never got pregnant, I just became asexual for about 5 years. And, man is that lonely. Lonely Planet for Thailand, Lonely Planet for Italy, Lonely Planet for Asexual should be added to the bookshelf. I learned the value of physical touch and how important connection is after that 5-year stint of abstinence.

But before that, I did what any 16-year-old gal raised in an intense Catholic Family would do. I became a born again Christian and focused even more on soccer. A LOT of soccer.

I never broke up with Ryan but I made myself available to him as little as possible. Each morning I’d pop my brown sugar pop tart and say hello to my new best friend… my soccer ball. We were inseparable. We would start off the day with a series of exercises called Coerver, where you use every nook and cranny of each left and right foot to improve your touch. If only Ryan and I had thought of such a thing.

As Mary Kay workers say, “Who needs a man when you have Mary Kay.” I started to sing the same tune. Who needs a man when you have Nike . Then, came the wind sprints up the driveway. I’d do that for an hour till I was good and exhausted and could numb myself from any sexual memory in the Red Jetta by the tennis courts. It worked! I was officially numbing. I’d come in and take a break for lunch by making cheese omelets with my sister Marta that were one part cheese and one part egg. Let the numbing continue. When that digested I’d go outside and start juggling with my best friend, the soccer ball. I’d take my parents Boss CD player out onto the patio, pop in my Backstreet Boys CD and get to my mission.

I would juggle every day till I beat my record from the previous day. By the end of the summer I was up to 1,000 juggles using my feet, thighs, chest, and head till it finally hit the ground. But my shame kept going. She was relentless. Like Carrie Fisher was to Paul Simon when they were married. She just wouldn’t let up. But the songwriting and music was never better on Paul’s part. So I suppose relentlessness has it’s advantages.

How impressive my parents would marvel. Anything to distract and take them far away from my deep dark secret as possible. If Ryan called me on the phone I’d keep it brief and tell him I was practicing. Or, I’d have my mom do it like I was some sort of Pop Star Diva. You know the way Lady Gaga has her staff talk to her male suitors? I told him he could join me if he wanted to but only if he’d play me 1 on 1 and I could improve my game. Pretty cold hearted huh?

If I could offer any advice to my young self it would be: wait for a girl with soft skin who makes you laugh and you feel safe with to invite you into her bed.

If I could offer any advice to my young self it would be: wait for a girl with soft skin who makes you laugh and you feel safe with to invite you into her bed. I’m so glad our generation is changing and I can go watch a movie with teenage girls falling in love, and acting on it. Like in- Hearts Beat Loud or Blue is the Warmest Color.

Having visible role models like the hilarious Tig Notaro who conquered cancer and is happily married to a woman with twin boys is so inspiring. Or Ellen DeGeneres and Portia showing to the world that you can have a wife, house, great career, and even add a little dancing in the afternoon.

There’s comedian Kate McKinnon, the first lesbian hire on SNL who is equally talented as she is beautiful, showing lesbians you can have long hair and blue eyes and want to get naked with another woman. I know…how shocking? There’s actress Sarah Paulson who is even breaking bounds as a lesbian by dating a significantly older lesbian, Holland Taylor.

Could you imagine a lesbian winning an Emmy and saying how much she loves another woman in her speech 30 years ago? It was unthinkable. All these ways of loving someone are so good for our society. It’s good for young lesbians to know its safe to love whoever they choose to love. As long as its pure and authentic, it should always be allowed.

But no matter what your sexual orientation is, we all do it. We all say yes to things we want to say no to.

But no matter what your sexual orientation is, we all do it. We all say yes to things we want to say no to. I agreed to a straw in my iced almond milk latte when I knew darn well I’d not use it and just put it on a napkin at my local coffee shop. There is a new type of therapy called Somatic Therapy. You think of a time when you said “yes” to something you didn’t want to say yes to and you feel it in your body and then release it. We all do this at some point or level in our life. Especially if you are a young lesbian and the societal norm is to be with men.

I guess the best way to stop this is to breathe and check in with yourself. We usually tend to disconnect from our truest nature for two reasons. Fear and Ego. Your soul knows what’s best for keeping it whole and happy. Mine needs a little Eric Clapton and fresh pressed Celery Juice. Thanks to the Medical Medium our collective emotional traumas are all being healed one celery juice at a time.

Growing up on a farm where it wasn’t okay to be who I was, I started to develop fantasies about older successful Hollywood Actresses. They were my window into emotions, sexuality, and freedom. And in my imagination, I thought it would be fun to experiment with them wanting a grounded experience that diverted from this big strange Hollywood world where they were maybe not able to be their true selves.