During my tender 'tween years, I had a penchant for bible camp, young adult fiction, and strong teacher's pet tendencies. Unsurprisingly, I had never kissed with tongue, had a boyfriend, or any worldly knowledge other than what MTV and the trashy Up All Night (with Gilbert Gottfried) B-Movies taught me.

Then came Jenna. Jenna was a babysitter my parents hired, mostly to take care of my young sister. I thought that I was way too old to be babysat, and after a few times at our house, Jenna agreed. Quickly, our babysitter-babysittee relationship turned into a friendship/mentorship. I hung on Jenna's every word and followed her around like a hungry puppy, because at the age of 16, Jenna had the kinds of experience with boys and sex and dating that I had only fantasized about at night while staring into the dreamy eyes of any one of the 103 Jonathan Brandis posters adorning my wall.

If I'm being honest about the kind of relationship we had, I guess you could call Jenna my slut mentor. A sensuously curvaceous teenager with long brown hair and Wet N Wild-lined blue eyes, I envied her languid pace, killer rack, and overt sex appeal. Jenna had a loose tongue, and we would stay up late into the night while I listened to her long and detailed accounts of blowjobs in playgrounds at night, getting fingerbanged in a car after a movie date, and many epic erotic dreams Jenna claimed she could direct even while asleep.

By word alone, Jenna exposed me to the seedy underground of teenaged exploits that seemed a universe away from the G-rated life of books and church I had been living. With each tale, I felt more and more impatient to grow breasts and hips and exercise what seemed like her free reign to be as sexual as I wanted to be. Awkward and friendless, I saw sexuality as my ticket out and in my post-Jenna years, did everything I could to get myself into the same kinds of trouble (mostly aided by the installation of a home computer).

Jenna and her life weren't perfect, though. God, this one time, she tried to set me up with this kid named Greg. It was all sweet and good for awhile; we met once and took a chaste walk through the woods, and he wrote me hand-written letters and sent me his school photos. But when he drew a picture of a Confederate Flag and wrote "The North shall fall, and the South shall rise again!" (not an uncommon rallying cry for where I grew up) on his last correspondence, that was the end for me. Jenna also dated a series of shitty dudes and ended up going the way of so many working class girls in my hometown. She became a young single mother and moved back into her mom's duplex soon after that. As a teenager, I often babysat her infant daughter while she worked the afternoon shift at Marshall's. She loved her daughter and didn't regret her choices, but Jenna also struggled with trying to create more opportunities for herself and her family. I don't know if she ever got that.

I could certainly make arguments about the impropriety of Jenna's relationship with me as a babysitting charge and fault her influence on my subsequent pursuit of sketchy dudes on the internet, but more than anything, I credit Jenna for seeding my budding pursuit of outlaw sexuality. I don't know if I would have had the bravery to come out as queer at 14 without her influence. I also see our relationship as a lasting lesson I learned about the power of erotic storytelling as a form of friendship bonding, and certainly as a key predecessor for my later desire to start writing about my sexual adventures and mishaps.

So, my hats (and skirts and bras) off to Jenna. This blog is for you.


Post a Comment

<< Home