Welcome Lynn Townsend to the blog, she reminisces about growing up and the first time she saw a naked man…
I grew up in a different era.
(To be frank, those “have you ever played in the creek, got whipped by your mamma for being smart with her, caught fireflies and put them in a jar” memes that you see on Facebook? Those are talking about my childhood. To be even more frank; I don’t flipping miss those days at all. Days when ordering a new book meant a half-hour drive with my mom to the mall, requesting the book when it wasn’t in, and then waiting several weeks before I could go pick it up? Yeah, I miss that, all right. Days when there were only three channels and I missed my afternoon cartoons one day because the news wanted to tell me that President Reagan had been shot?)
But because I grew up in a different era, I was quite old – comparatively – when I saw my first naked man.
These days, if you want to see a naked man – and even if you don’t want to see a naked man! – a few minutes on the Internet will quickly give you what you want (or didn’t want!) Want a pretty pretty pink unicorn pony boy with glitter and a smoldering come hither look? You got it.
(The curse of the Internet is also that you can’t unsee something, once you’ve seen it, which is why I’m a nice woman and I’m not linking the unicorn picture. If you want to see it, you can google it. “Pretty unicorn boy” are your search terms! It is completely awesome, by the way, and I love the picture, but sometimes you need to have your coffee first, so… )
I lived in a small town. I’m not kidding. Small. (I live in a medium sized city these days and there were more people in my last apartment complex than in the entirety of my town. I keep having trouble with the idea that there are more than eight different high schools in my city… we had ONE high school for the ENTIRE county and it was SMALLER than my daughter’s third grade!) And we lived right next door to the local car-wash.
Young African-American men would come to wash their cars, listen to their street-music, drink beer out of squat mikey bottles, and socialize with their friends. There was a wide chain-link fence around the wash, and then a very steep hill into my backyard, but this didn’t keep out the noise, the empty bottles, or the young men who needed to take a piss.
As a twelve-year-old girl who honestly hated both types of music available from our local radio station (you had your country AND your western!) I was enthralled. They played motown. And reggae. And rap. And R&B. Music I’d never heard before. No Tiffany or New Kids on the Block, or Duran Duran for them! There was one guy – I never knew his name, but I always knew his car, a 1977 El Camino, dark blue with a light blue stripe – and he played Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald.
I would lay on the picnic table in our back yard, hands laced behind my head, staring up at the spangled patterns of sunlight through the pink and white petals of the crab apple tree, and just listen.
One hot summer day, I’m out there, a bottle of lemonade that my mom had left in the freezer for me gently melting, pooling condensation against my stomach, when someone crashed through the bushes of the embankment.
I sat up.
From the ridiculous age of twelve, he looked like a man to me. But in retrospect, he probably wasn’t any older than twenty. Shirtless, sun gleaming off his ebony skin, his tight curls were clipped close to his skull. He wore cut-off and patched jeans with sharpie drawings all over them, elaborate graffiti, the sorts I’d only seen in pictures of the urban cities that my parents were so convinced were the center of all things evil. He was dripping, sweat or spray from the car wash, I couldn’t tell.
He didn’t see me, didn’t look around. He unzipped his fly and pulled out his cock.
Of course, even at twelve, even in those “times of innocence,” I’d heard about black guys and their cocks. I didn’t really know what that meant, mind you, but I’d heard it.
Watching that unnamed man take a leak in my back yard gave me tingles in weird places, places I didn’t have names for. Not real names; my mom was big into cutesy words for your private parts, and somehow, those names didn’t seem to fit. Not what I was feeling.
My mouth was dry and my stomach somehow felt tight and that secret place between my legs felt both loose and too wet. My cheeks were flaming and the muscles in my thighs jumped and danced, twitched. And I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
He finished up his business, shook his works, and tucked it back into his pants. I could breathe again and I did so with a huge inhalation.
The man froze, then turned, slowly, as if expecting to be faced with something a little more fearful than a teenaged girl who’d just gotten her first real dose of sexuality.
“Oh, girl, I’m sorry!” He said. I think he was blushing; his throat turned a hair darker and he certainly had the expression of someone who was desperately embarrassed. “I didn’t know there was nobody down here.”
Looking at him, I recognized him. He drove the gold Chevy Camaro and listened mostly to street-music on blank cassette tapes; the sort of thing that would eventually become N.W.A. “Straight out of Compton.”
“S’okay,” I managed. “When you gotta go… you gotta go.”
He grinned, easy and cheerful and sweet. I fell in love.
“That’s exactly right.” He wiped his hand self-consciously on his jeans-shorts and turned to climb back up the embankment.
“Hey,” I said. I wanted something, wanted to make this moment memorable for him, the way it was for me. “I like your music.”
Lynn Townsend is a geek, a dreamer and an inveterate punster. When not reading, writing, or editing, she can usually be found drinking coffee or killing video game villains. Lynn’s interests include filk music, romance novels, and movies with more FX than plot. Her safeword is Oxford Comma.