Day 3: How did you discover you were kinky?
It was my first boyfriend, with the kinky book, in a ’97 Jeep Wrangler.
B and I had been sort-of dating for about six weeks. I was fifteen, too-tall and too-thin, the pale ginger nerd with glasses. He was sixteen, three inches shorter than me, muscular and tan from surfing and sailing. I say sort-of dating because at first we were both too shy to call it that. There were dinner-and-movie nights, he didn’t laugh when I wiped out on the long board (on probably 90% of the waves I tried to catch. I’m a really terrible surfer), and he wasn’t too shy to respond when I kissed him. All pretty standard teenage stuff.
Then one day I noticed an orange 5-gallon bucket in the back of his brother’s Jeep. It was full of tangled rope. “What’s this for?”
He looked back. “Oh, I meant to leave that on the boat.”
Now, I’m kind of compulsive. B wasn’t acting like he was covering up a big secret. And that rope was tangled. So I started pulling and wrapping it into neater coils, at which point B almost crashed the car and shouted “Don’t do that!”
A little too late, because I’d already noticed the book in the bottom of the bucket, and I was not about to give it up without seeing what it was.
It was a badly battered copy of Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns. The cover is not exactly subtle.
I’m pretty sure B expected me to freak the hell out, demand to be taken home, and probably go on to tell everyone at both of our high schools that he was a pervert. Instead, I told him to shut up and started flipping through it. “Is this what you’re into?” I didn’t give him time to answer, just said “hot” and kept reading. He kept quiet and kept driving until we ended up parked at a beach downtown. Then we talked for a long time. I don’t remember a lot of details, though I’m sure it was awkward. He asked more than once if I thought he was a freak. I asked if I could borrow his book.
I couldn’t articulate any reason for the appeal at the time, but I found the whole idea of BDSM exciting. I had never been drawn to relationships as seen in Cosmo or on TV, but this book presented a whole different paradigm that I just had to try out. To be clear, B and I were just teenagers with a book. We made a lot of mistakes and weren’t actually all that well suited to each other. I’m glad we did it. Having someone to just be kinky with and try new things with and to just talk to without worrying that saying “I want…” would be met with “that’s insane” was invaluable to both of us.