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 I Remember Sandy 

March 23, 2007 
Every harlot was a virgin once.
— William Blake
first girlfriendToday I’ll be discussing what is called “sex,” drawing on my own personal experience, so I hope the reader will put up with some frank language. Chiefly I’ve learned that a woman doesn’t have to be “sexy.” She just has to be female.

Today's column is "I Remember Sandy" -- Read Joe's columns the day he writes them.first girlfriendIt started back in Michigan with my first girlfriend, Sandy, when I was about 14. No, not “about” 14. Fourteen exactly. It’s not as if I can’t remember. How could I ever forget?

first girlfriendSandy was not your homecoming queen type. Far from glamorous, she was a shy, some would say mousy girl, but very sweet, with a soft voice you could hardly hear. Her ears protruded somewhat, but I thought they were cute. I was probably the first boy who had ever walked her home from school. If she didn’t have much to spend on clothes, I never noticed or gave a darn. Maybe she wasn’t a knockout, but she was a lot more feminine than most of the girls who were. I couldn’t have been happier if she’d been Audrey Hepburn. In fact she was better. I didn’t have to worry that Sandy might ditch me for some rich, suave Cary Grant.

first girlfriendShe was a pretty typical girl of the time, the Fifties, who I guess had played with dolls and dreamed of getting married and having babies some day, just as I had dreamed of making Little League and, eventually, the New York Yankees. She was about as far from being a vamp as I was from being a wolf. We were both skinny kids. Somehow we wound up holding hands. Necking? Petting? Are you kidding? If you wanted that stuff, you waited until you grew up and went to the painted women of the big cities out East.

first girlfriendIt was the age of Elvis, but I didn’t dance, so we mostly stayed home and listened to Pat Boone’s version of “Tutti-Frutti,” or maybe Nat “King” Cole singing “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home.” A couple of real Fifties swingers, Sandy and I. That was before baby was pronounced “bye-buh.” Not that I’d ever call Sandy “baby”; I let Pat and Nat say it for me. I think she knew what I meant.

girlfriendSandy’s family was so poor that she could only afford one falsie; not that she told me this in so many words, but she had a bratty little brother it was hard to keep secrets from. Falsies were what the Fifties had instead of implants. I tried to assure her that her goiter was barely noticeable. She tried to cover it up with makeup, if Clearasil counts as makeup. (Tip to guys: Later in life I found the line “Goiter? What goiter?” useful with the fair sex. It puts them at ease immediately. Elementary savoir-faire.)

first girlfriendSandy and I never got around to discussing marriage. Or even going steady. I wasn’t ready to settle down. Besides, I was already settled down, essentially. I was born settled down. And our chief ambition wasn’t to set the world on fire. It was just to be normal. That was hard enough when that brother of hers kept taunting, “Sandy’s got a boyfriend! Sandy’s got a boyfriend!” (Tip to the girls: If you wish to project the image of an exotic woman of mystery, lose the kid brother.)

[Breaker quote for I Remember Sandy: Real women don't need glamour.]first girlfriendSure, I knew the facts of life (by then I was well into puberty), but you didn’t mention them around nice girls. Remember nice girls? They had to learn the facts of life by marrying guys who already knew them, I figured. We didn’t talk about “family values.” You just behaved yourself — or else.

first girlfriendOne fact of life your parents never told you about was what was then called impotence (when people mentioned it at all), now known as ED. Not that I’d have believed it anyway. In fact if my elders had told me about it I’d never have believed another doggoned word they said. The very idea would have seemed inherently improbable. And a teenage boy could use a little ED now and then. The least of our problems. We prayed for it. And now they want to “cure” it?

first girlfriendIn her unassuming way, Sandy taught me all I really needed to know about women. Even later, when I (inadvertently) encountered those painted women out East, I found I couldn’t go too far wrong as long as I remembered that each of them had once been a Sandy.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2007 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
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