Performer: The Motels
Songwriter: Martha Davis
Original Release: All Four One
Definitive Version: None
I suppose if I were threatened with torture—and by that I mean strapped to a chair and forced to listen to auto-tune pop until I broke—I would say that I couldn’t remember what song was on the radio my first time. In fact, I might even say that there wasn’t any music on at the time. More likely, my mind was so focused on other things that I wasn’t hearing whatever it was, and it was thus lost to the sands of time.
But under less duress, I would say this was the song that was on the radio during that magical—and long overdue—moment. Yes, dear reader, we’ve come to the obligatory sex scene in this magnum opus, although I will keep the TMI down to as much of a minimum as is possible when discussing such matters.
Beth’s birthday always was right around the start of winter break at Wabash. She’s one of those unfortunates who has their birthday so near to Christmas that it can get lost in the holiday shuffle.
Beth wasn’t the sort to let that happen, however, and to my (rare) credit, I never forgot or wrapped her presents in Christmas paper or anything like that. Although I have to say that I tended to get her better stuff for Christmas, but that was true of everybody I bought presents for back then.
In 1983, my sophomore year (told you it was a huge year for me), I decided that she needed some Wabash apparel, so I got her a Wabash sleepshirt. I had two reasons for deciding this, and both were—in the grand tradition of great presents—meant as much for my benefit as they were for hers. First, that look—a hot babe in a sleepshirt—turned me on in a big way. Second, I was hoping to see Beth in it … some day.
By this time, Beth and I had been together for a year and a half, and her chastity remained intact—to my ongoing frustration. I suppose it should go without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised by how things had transpired up to that point. Beth was Catholic, not Rick Santorum evangelical Catholic but enough so that she had been well-taught by enough nuns that sex was a no-no. You know Only the Good Die Young? I definitely know what Billy Joel was talking about in that one.
But more to the point, Beth was only 16, fer chrissakes. OF COURSE, she was going to withhold, right? She was a kid. But when you’re 19 and have more testosterone shooting out your pores than Barry Bonds on a supercycle bender, logic is pretty far down on your list of thought processes.
I wasn’t going to force the issue. That’s not my m.o. I might give it a shot every once in a while, letting my hand wander south to the edges of the Forbidden Zone until she’d grab my hand and I’d have to go back to the ample and offered charms that lay above. That isn’t to say that that wasn’t great, but, well, you know how it is: I was ready for more; she wasn’t.
But there recently had been hopeful signs: At Thanksgiving, during one of our otherwise heavy-duty make-out sessions, I gave it another shot, and this time she didn’t grab my hand. Awwwwesssommme! The next night we took it a little bit farther and her hands went roaming as well if you know what I mean. The Forbidden Zone(s) were now officially open to exploration. So, obviously, I was, shall we say, looking forward to Christmas to see what happened next.
That year, Beth’s birthday was the day I got home after my last final. We went out to dinner at DaVinci’s, our regular spot for special occasions, and then back home and camped out in the den of the condo—the one with the Happy Days wallpaper in my bedroom. I gave her her present, and although acknowledging that it wasn’t exactly her style, she said she liked it.
We bided our time, and before long, Scott had gone to bed, and we were alone. Mom was asleep, and even though we were in the room directly below hers, when Mom slept, a train running through her room might not wake her up. Beth dismissed herself to go to the bathroom, and I got out a portable radio to set up for the make-out session that was about to commence.
The door opened and Beth walked in wearing the sleepshirt—and nothing else. Yes! Yes! Yes! It’s go time!
After I had completed my celebration, I worked her gloriously for a long time, delighting in all of the new sensations while occasionally testing for readiness. At one point—and she still had the sleepshirt on—we were on the bad shag carpeting that lined the tiny den, I lifted her up and set her down on me next to the sofa and let gravity do its work … and I was there. There had been only minimal resistance (and no blood), but we both knew exactly what just happened.
This was ecstacy … and also a huge problem. Because I wasn’t necessarily expecting the big thing to happen that night and in that location, I didn’t have proper protection either on or handy. Like I said, I was a failed Boy Scout for a reason. So as soon as I was in, I had to withdraw promptly. Crap! Another time (sigh).
But there was no question that a barrier had been surpassed, and after that night—Beth’s 17th birthday (some celebration, huh)—there was no going back. Rare was the date from then on that ended without us consummating our courtship. And unshakable is the memory I have whenever I hear this song—regardless of whether this was actually on the radio at the time.