Hi, I’m Zen. I moved to Austin 3 years ago from Moralton, Statesota (same place Moral Orel is from). My father was the town preacher and my mom was the perfect preacher’s wife. Along with my little brother, we were the stereotypical midwestern Protestant church family in every way, right down to our many unacknowledged dysfunctions. I’m telling you all this stuff here so I won’t have to repeat everything ad nauseum when we meet.
My first exposure to sex was at 13 when I caught my little brother masturbating in my bed. He was naked from the waist down, free hand clutching the flowered panties I had worn to church that morning, moaning something under his breath. Though the scene was surreal, I truly believed that he had must have gotten chiggers and was vigorously scratching at their burrows, seeking relief before donning my underwear for their gentler material. The uncapped bottle of calamine lotion on the nightstand served to confirm my assessment of the situation. I left the room without him hearing and forgot about the incident.
Forgot, until my high school prom, that is. Gene, son of a church elder, was the only boy my age that my father aprroved of. He was an athlete but not a star, accomplished but not a scholar, always volunteering at church functions but not a leader, hard-working on the family farm but not overly ambitious. Father always encouraged us to do things together like leading the youth prayer group and making holiday-themed posters and signs. A perfect husband for daddy’s dowdy wallflower.
Gene asked my father if he could take me to the senior prom and gained his blessing. (Literally, my dad said a prayer over him, something about being prosperous and fruitful with me. It was weird.) We were supposed to go straight home after the dance, but Gene said it would be alright to stop and look at the stars for a minute, given that it was our special night as seniors and the prom was star-themed and the Three Wise Men and yada yada. “A minute” stretched into five and I began to get nervous. Though Gene had been a perfect gentleman all evening, I had never been on a date with anyone before and heard stories from the girls at church about virginity-robbing setups just like this. I began to insist that he drive me home at once, fearing Father’s skinniest belt, the one with the tassel-thingys on it (someone recently told me it was a leather flog, whatever that is).
Gene said only one thing could make the night more memorable for us both – something called a “handy.” I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about and held up my right hand as if to receive a high-five. Gene had managed to slip his stretch-waist pants down and had been hiding his penis under his shirt tails. Slowly guiding my hand, I still didn’t know what was going on. “Here, like this,” his hand covering mine as he directed his thing through our cupped palms. He began a slow, rhythmic motion and the image of Ronnie jerking off on my bed flooded my mind. The date was over. Gene nervously drove us home while explaining how he and his buddies liked to do something I don’t understand called a “reach-around” and how it was just like being alone but better and how he had never done that with a girl before and thought I would be OK with it since we had known each other so long and then there’s the thing with the sheep and… Huh? That was the first, last, and only date I had in Moralton.
After college, it was time to follow my bliss and grab the world by the tail. I had gained a degree, some life experience, and a clearer understanding of sex thanks to the more relaxed environment at Statesota University. At 22, Father was disappointed that I wasn’t wed and bred yet but “at least I still had my virtue intact,” seemingly the one thing I possessed of any value. Now I had to decide where I wanted to work: Portland, Oregon or Austin, Texas. Though I could teach anywhere, I had settled on these two cities because of the way they are portrayed in pop culture – trendy, hip, live music-loving towns with lots of attractive, successful single people. Loathing cold weather since nearly having frostbite of the labia while sledding one winter in Moralton, Austin was the clear choice. My summer dresses would be comfortable there almost year-round and they would fit right in with the back-to-basics style of Austin’s backyard chicken farmers I had read about online. Visions of a burly, bearded man with deep brown eyes and cowboy boots began to dominate my thoughts as moving day approached.
Dan was exactly as I had imagined: Husky, hairy, and hunky. I met him the very first day in my new apartment on the east side. Dan’s easy manner and deep familiarity with my religious upbringing made us fast friends, barbecuing on Saturday afternoons and attending church together on Sunday. After several months of strictly-daytime activities, I convinced Dan to come to my apartment for dinner. We had a great meal and I had my first experience with real Fredericksburg wine, definitely not the dopey Welch’s grape “communion wine” at Father’s church.
The night ended abruptly when I turned to Dan, staring longingly into his eyes, leaning in for an anticipated kiss, as I muttered the only thing I could think of in my wine-dulled state, “Want a handy?” I didn’t know exactly how to do it, nor did I know that Dan was gay. Hell, I never understood gay-dom anyway and I sure didn’t think I would ever meet one. And I really don’t understand why Dan’s gayness would prevent him from enjoying a handy – Gene was all for it, though now I wonder if he is gay too.
My neighbor Cindy heard me pleading with Dan as he clumsily stuffed his wine-dribbled white shirt into his pants while making a hasty exit, cowboy boots tapping out the steps of my shame as he left the building. “Come on in,” she rasped. “What happened, Zen darlin’?” By this time my eyes had started to tear up and my mascara was beginning to run. “I just wanted to show Dan how much I like him. I don’t know why it was so wrong to be nice to him. I just wanted to make him feel good.” Cindy was older, with some erstwhile black hairs on her chin, and resembled one of the virtuous chicken-raising Austin women I had seen on the Web. “It’s OK, darlin’. Here, have a glass of wine,” she purred in her gravelly voice, eyes half-closed, slender body draped over the couch like a pinup girl from the 1950s. She held my hand and played with my hair and soon I was feeling better.
When I woke up the next day Cindy was in the kitchen. As consciousness returned, I realized that I was completely nude and under the sheets of the only bed in her tiny efficiency flat. My clothes were nowhere to be seen. “Mornin’ darlin’,” Cindy cooed as she crouched over me on all fours. “I’m fixin’ breakfast and wanted to make sumthin’ fittin’ just for you, darlin’. I got some Kerbey Lane pancake mix that’ll taste just like you – cinnamon, peaches, and maple syrup!” I must have been screaming for five minutes as the neighbors crowded the hallway to gawk at me struggling, naked, to get into my locked apartment. Cindy eventually brought out my clothes and keys, hanging a robe around me and unlocking the door. “I washed your clothes for you, darlin’. I like taking care of you.” I was still screaming when the door slammed in her face. She still tries to talk to me in the hallway, and I swear her voice is even deeper. Now I think Cindy might really be a man but I’m not sure.
Then I met Pete. He told me about lesbians, and about somnophilia, and he even wrote a blog post about it on this Website. I really connected with him because he knew so much about what I had been through. I knew there were gay girls in college but never had any contact with them that I know of. But I had never heard of somnophilia, and I never knew that someone could be perverted in more than one way. Apparently Cindy had both and I wondered what else might be hiding there.
Pete suggested that I start getting out more and meeting new people. There are Meet-Up groups, all sorts of singles clubs, and general cultural/social events like Austin City Limits and all the music venues on Sixth Street. Great, I thought – the adult world I’ve been looking for! I already knew about Craigslist from using it to acquire furniture for my little apartment and remembered that it had a singles section. I got online and started browsing the various categories. Before long it was clear that I was out of my depth. I had only been on one date and that ended in disaster. I couldn’t possibly strike up a friendship with a complete stranger and meet them for a date – it would be sleazy.
But one ad caught my eye. It spoke of an alternative lifestyle where everyone accepts the others for who they are, one in which “no means no” and there’s no pressure to do anything you don’t want to. It sounded like a commune for awkward single folks, gathered peacefully together to tease out the halting starts and stops of polite conversation, hopefully leading to a rewarding relationship with a suitable candidate you might meet after several months of attending events. Like a church singles mixer back home, without all the church. I sent a reply and soon received a note with the address of a local eatery where the group liked to meet. “This is just perfect!” I beamed at Pete. Asshole didn’t tell me what I was getting into.
The food was good, and the place was cool, and so were the attendees. It was about 20 people that night, ranging from a few my age to others in their 50s. Everyone was very polite, talk was non-specific, and soon small groups began to form with lively conversations emanating from the tables. It was apparent that many knew each other quite well, bantering about work and school and kids. After a couple of hours the group leader announced that it was time to move to another place, someone’s home nearby. A line of cars made their way to a large, stately home near South Congress.
A girl at Statesota U had shown me porn once, telling me that this is what she wanted her husband to do to her after they got married. It was the only “real” sex I had ever witnessed. Within 10 minutes everyone except me was naked and engaging in the stuff I had seen on the college girl’s phone. I knew from the restaurant that not everyone there was married, and though I had heard that some people have sex without being married I had always imagined that it was somehow different, like maybe with pentagrams on the floor and a bonfire and some skulls hanging on pikes. But it wasn’t like that at all, except that I wasn’t always sure who was supposed to be with who. Several asked me if I wanted to join them but I just said no and drank vitamin water until I felt like I had been there long enough to make a polite exit. I went home and read the Bible to confirm that I wouldn’t be cast down for merely witnessing the sodomy that occurred in front of me that night. I was safe.
If Pete had been there I would have castrated him on the spot, just like I saw Gene do with sheep on their family farm. Pete knew I wanted to learn about sex and love and do it the right way; apparently he thought it would be funny for me to get a demonstration. Asshole couldn’t stop laughing when I told him about the swinger’s party and how unprepared I was. “Well, you wanted to meet laid back, open-minded, hippy-type people from Austin…” I cut him off in mid-thought, “Don’t you dare, me bucko. You knew I had never seen anything like that before.” “Exactly,” his face contorted in a near-demonic grin.
I haven’t really met anyone new lately and I still haven’t had a date since moving to Austin. Seems like everybody I do meet is either married, gay, or perverted. But I know a whole lot more than when I left Moralton. This one girl I met downtown showed me how to have an orgasm. It was incredible! I don’t understand why Father never mentioned this in church because it’s so good and natural and powerful, like God is right there inside me, ready to burst forth in gushing sacred spurts. It’s got to be a holy thing because the other night I was doing it and involuntarily yelled out “Oh God, Oh Jesus!” I know I’m right about this because Cindy peeked out her door and said, “Glad you finally got religion, darlin’.” Why didn’t Father tell us about this great way to be closer to the Divine One above?
Anyway, that’s my sexual history. Everyone seems so obsessed about sexual history and I got tired of telling the same things over and over, so I put it here so you’ll already know it all when we meet. To be completely honest, I don’t know if I’m actually a virgin or not since I touched Gene’s weiner and I don’t know what the hell happened with Cindy that night. But I learned from President William Jefferson Clinton, a man I dearly admire, that it wasn’t sex if there was no penetration. So I guess I’m really still a virgin since Cindy couldn’t have penetrated me, right? I mean, I don’t think she could have. But she does have a lot of facial hair. And that voice.
Maybe Pete knows.