Junior High is the worst period of everyone’s life. If anyone tells you, “I loved junior high;” punch them. They’re lying. To make this terrible benchmark of my young life worse, Health Class was morose. You’d think teaching health topics like, “good nutrition” or “ advances in the medicine” would be a priority. Not a chance. For three years straight, it was all about Sexual Transmitted Diseases. We watched movies like “Captain Condom” and learned how to catch/not catch herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis (A, B, & C), Bacterial Vaginosis, HPV, syphilis, crabs, scabies, Trichomoniasis, HIV/AIDS. (Contracting some of the disorders is as easy as sitting on a toilet seat.) If we were lucky, we got a reprieve and learned about teen pregnancy and alcoholism.
Welcome to Health Class in the early ‘90s.
I had my second first kiss during this time.
When I was 14 (and in the eighth grade) my friend Evie invited me to go camping with her. I was dismayed when I arrived and found out “camping” meant going with her on her weekend visitation to see her dad at the trailer park.
We barely saw him.
She hung out with five highly-unsupervised boys and the chosen activity was Truth or Dare. Dares involved, up the shirt (sometimes under/over shirt), down the pants, kissing, French kissing, and any sex act the boys could think of. It never involved eating something nasty or doing something crazy. My kissing experience was limited to Robbie Nelson when I was eight. Aside from my extreme shyness, I only knew Evie and this heightened my anxiety about not knowing how to kiss on the lips. What if I did it wrong? What if they laughed at me? I don’t know these boys; do I really want my first kiss to be with someone I don’t know? I was near tears. I refused the first kissing Dare, but was told I couldn’t pass. I refused any kind of Dare that involved some derivation of sex. (They were okay with it, but it didn’t stop them from giving me the dare again a couple turns later.)
It was a cards-on-the-table kind of game and we performed the dares in front of each other. I did kiss incorrectly. And, they did laugh. My “friend” recited her step-by-step kissing manual. It I was beyond miserable and hated every moment of the weekend. I was “busy” for every future “camping” trip.
Even though all I did that very terrible weekend was awkward junior high making out, with the heavy-handed dose of sex-education we received in school, I was convinced I contracted something, or worse, was pregnant. I wasn’t thinking clearly; I hadn’t even had my first period. Let alone have sex. It took time for me to rationalize myself out of the panic:, but I eventually breathed a sigh of relief after deducing I dodged the teen pregnancy bullet. Later, I learned one important fact in Health Class, “you’d have to drink a 5 gallon bucket of saliva from an infected person to get an STD.” I’m not sure how scientific that statement is, but I breathed a little easier.
Between Health Class and that weekend, it no wonder why my fear of boys was reinforced. And made me keep a good distance for years to come.
Drink a 5 gallon bucket of saliva from an infected person.