Chasin’ that Zack Morris High (and Other Vagina Victories): River

(Chasin’ that Zack Morris High is a recurring series that details my experiences dating and having one-night stands with (mostly younger) dudes.

Teeter tottering between equal parts genius and whore, either way totally not giving a fuck- these blogs are an ode to the fact that Zack Morris will always just be a castle in my sky and so, I’ve been  wayfaring through life in the spirit of a whiny break-up song sung by Adele- eating a lot of cupcakes and searching for someone like him.

In a vain attempt to showcase that it takes more than no shame and killer cleavage to turn sex into a lesson plan- I invite you to share in the grossly negligent comedy my dating life has been and will certainly continue to be. 

Think of it as your Chicken Soup for the Whore Soul.

Reader Discretion Advised always.)

When I was in junior and senior high, I used to lie and say that my first kiss occurred by the railroad tracks at the end of a dead-end road called Orchard Street in pouring rain with some guy who was totally adorable and like, so super into me that he was devastated when I moved to Vermont. Apparently, I thought if I took every ‘first kiss’ scene from every movie starring James Van Der Beek and made it my own I would sound more – I dunno – exciting? Desirable? Experienced? (Cliche?)

The fact is it’s entirely untrue and I didn’t stop telling this story until after I graduated high school.

The actual truth is far less glamorous.

In the 8th grade, I started going out with this guy named River who was a year younger than I was. That year, it was the cool thing to go to the movies every Friday night and so our first date was just that. (I am totally disappointed with myself but I have no idea what the movie was that we saw.)

We spent the first half of the movie just sitting next to each other very super awkwardly, chewing on single milk duds for 4 minutes a piece as the caramel and chocolate wedged itself in between each of our teeth. Maybe our hands touched, but I’m pretty sure my sweaty palms were glued tightly to the arm rests in dreaded anticipation and uncertain expectation.

Eventually he turned to me and blurted “do you like it fast or slow?”

I had no idea what he was talking about.

“Wait, what?”

“Like kissing – do you like it fast or slow?”

I still really had no idea what he was talking about because I had never kissed anyone before and the question he posed made me nervous. Knowing to apparently ask this weird question, it seemed that he was much more experienced than I and my pulse quickened as I tried to figure out all of life’s mysteries in that single moment. (I would later learn of course, that the question was not necessary at all, but little baby Becki was not the wiser at the time.)

“I mean, I guess I like it sorta in the middle. You know, like middle speed.” Nice, safe answer, little baby Becki.

“Oh, like not too fast, but not too slow. Yeah, that’s cool.”

WHY IS HE TALKING ABOUT IT LIKE THIS? This is not how Freddie Prinze Jr. would do it. I’m going to throw up popcorn all over my feet. Maybe I should just get up and run. Everything is stupid. Nothing is fair. 

He didn’t kiss me right then, of course. No, we sat another 15 minutes in unbearably awkward silence before he finally did.

And it was terrible.

His tongue raced around mine like the high heat delicate cycle of a dryer, every now and again jabbing at the back of my throat like a drunken sword fighter. As I removed my tongue, it felt like it just went through a car wash buff and wax machine and I silently cringed at how utterly disappointing my experience and how naive I couldn’t admit I really was while I dreamt of the day when I would kiss a man so confidently his knees would buckle.

I would break up with River just a few days after that, and wouldn’t kiss another until over a year later when I was almost through with my freshman year of high school. It would take me almost a decade to achieve the overwhelming sexual confidence I wished for that night, but I would, and many a man that met me after I turned 25 has been ever so thankful for it.

Where are they now? 

River apparently came into some money doing some work involving numbers and now wiles away his hours playing golf and terrorizing his ex-girlfriends by shutting off their hot water and driving passed their houses a million times and other fun gestures of affection. Also, I’m going to safely assume his kissing technique has improved.

Weirdly, just last night, as I stopped by a bar to drop off some smooches to my current boyfriend Bill who bartends on the weekends, there sitting in one of the stools drinking a beer was River with a few other guys that I went to high school with. No words were spoken between the two of us, but he looks exactly the same as he did in 7th grade.

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