Saturday, April 7, 2012
When you're raised in a culture where dating is prohibited until you're 16, then only allows double dates until after you graduate from high school, then expects you to not kiss passionately, touch inappropriately, think inappropriately, or do anything that could potentially arouse sexual feelings until AFTER you're married...THEN expects you to go forth and replenish the earth by the time your 25..."healthy sexual attitude" is nothing more than a really confusing oxymoron. (And my therapist wonders how I learned to think in rigid black and white terms...).
One cannot go from point A to point Z without passing through bcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxy, yet that is exactly what we're expected to do as Mormon women...with a smile on our face and a prayer in our hearts. Now, before I get backlash from the uber righteous conservative types, I am not advocating masturbation or a reformation of standards...I'm just saying that A to Z when you say "I do" isn't going to happen without some sort of navigation through the rest of the alphabet. And honestly, once you step out of the safety zone of A chances are you're going to be bitch slapped with guilt and shame like you've never been bitch slapped before.
That's why I started down that slippery slope ages ago and have come to a rather peaceful place somewhere between saint and slut. Before anyone gets too excited, I'm not going to delve into a long list of transgressions...and I'm not even implying that the list is even long...I'd just like to take you on a short narrated trip from A to "did I just sin?".
See, in addition to feeling like a dirty little whore the first time a mildly nasty thought flickers through your head (like the day I actually envisioned Alex P. Keaton without a shirt on...), the fact that anything even remotely sexual is taboo...ALL TABOO...really nurtures a heightened guilt-o-meter and blatant ignorance.
I might be making this up, but I swear my mom once told me that she thought she was pregnant at 15...because she'd sat on the floor and held hands with a guy.
Me: "Held hands?"
Mom: "Yep, held hands."
Me: "Like actual hand-to-hand or "hand-to-hand" if ya know what I mean?"
Mom: "Oh my word Carrie...HELD HANDS."
Me: "I didn't know pregnancy was possible via hand-to-hand contact."
Mom: "I obviously didn't know either. But it was the 60's and we didn't talk about...you know..."
Me: "The nasty? Doing-it? SEX?"
Mom: "Carrie Lyn Hanson we do not talk about...."
It was about this point when the red rash of death started creeping up her neck, signaling that our jovial chit-chat about the birds and the bees had entered uncomfortable territory and it was time to change the subject.
Just so you know, going from A to B can not lead to pregnancy, but it can lead to a pregnancy panic...which leads to loads and loads of guilt and a petition to the menstrual gods to send in the Crimson Tide.
I like to refer to this as "the day I left my innocence in a swanky hotel room."
I was on the award winning editorial staff of the Rigby High Trojaneer in high school. I wrote columns about random crap (imagine that) and won awards and thought I was cool and stuff. But the greatest perk, other than a press pass that got me out of seminary*, was the vay-cay to the Sun Valley Resort for a state newspaper competition. My best friend, Andrea Merrill (the girl I corrupted when I went through my super evil phase at age 12...see previous post) was there as well as a bunch of older, cooler, obviously not as righteous as I was upper classmen. We were assigned individual rooms, but all ended up cramming into one room. There I was, with four other girls and the male newspaper cartoonist trying to share a bed.
Now, all good Mormons know that you should NEVER, EVER recline past a 45 degree angle when next to the opposite sex. It's one of Newton's basic laws of physics: "the velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force"...a.k.a. touching of the lady parts or man giblets.
Looking back, I don't think lady parts or man giblets were even on the minds of the Trojaneer staff, but it didn't matter, I felt nasty. And not in a good way, but in a "what would Jesus say if he you saw you" way. I sat in my guilt for a whopping 5 minutes before I threw myself prostrate on the floor and begged God to forgive my immoral slip.
Sleeping in bed with boy = more guilt than my 16-year-old self could handle.
Side note: I returned and worked at Sun Valley for a couple of years where I ended up making out on the golf course, the ice rink, in the pool, on top of the ski hill, in Hemminway's summer cabin, and a million other places I wouldn't have seen as a uptight Trojaneer.
Now, let's fast forward to a more recent date and time...
Considering my bra size, the fact that this is Exhibit D is super fitting...had to point it out.
So, every girl has, or should have, one special bra that lifts and separates and makes you look like Pamela Anderson's cousin. I have that bra. I call it my "porn star bra" because it takes the girls to unnatural heights and fullness. Not that someone my size needs padding, but hell, if they offer it, you might as well try it. Anyway, I bought the porn star bra several years ago when I dragged my boyfriend into Victoria's Secret one day to see what his tolerance was for such joints. I tried it on and when I saw the look on his face, well, that little number had to go home with me. Since then it's mostly just sat in the back of my drawer. There is rarely an occasion when I need or even want boobs that big. But a while back, when I was neglecting the growing laundry pile, I discovered it was the only clean bra I had. So I wore it.
That also happened to be the night my guy friend was coming over to hang out. Hanging out was our thing. Flirting was our thing. Doing anything about it was not our thing. Oh sure, we were cuddlers and if I was cold, I expected him to warm me up...but that's about as far into the alphabet as we'd ever gotten. But then we broke two great Mormon moral commandments. We were WAY PAST the 45 degree rule AND hanging out after the Holy Ghost had gone to bed (which is approximately 11:59pm). In fact, we were spooning it up in a blanket love nest watching Pumpkin Chunkin (you can check that out here)...you see where this is headed.
I was dozing in and out of consciousness when I thought I felt a hand over my boob. Now I say "over my boob" because my boob was buried under an unearthly amount of thick Victoria's Secret bra padding. That's when I had this conversation with myself,
"Is he?...Is he touching my boobs? Jeepers...this bra is FAMAZING! I can hardly tell...oh gosh, I hope he doesn't think my real boobs are that firm...that would be impossible...but totally awesome if they were. Hmmmmm...yep, yep, he's feelin' me up...oh man...does this count as a sin if I can't actually feel anything? I mean, really? What's the harm in this? He's probably loving this and I can't feel a thing. This bra is like boob armor. Who knew the porn bra could double as a chastity tool? Wait...he's feeling me up?!?! Seriously? I should stop this, that's what a self respecting girl would do...but wouldn't it be weird to put an end to it now, I mean, it's been 5 minutes of me laying here trying to figure out what's going on...hmmm...to stop or not to stop...that is the question..."
Now, 20 years ago I'm sure this episode would have put my guilt-o-meter into the nuclear red zone...but as a mid 30-something I'm just confused as to what is and what is not technically a moral sin. In my eyes, moral sins should be pleasurable...the fact that little to no pleasure was derived from the porn bra boob touch really lumps it into the "no shame no blame" category.
Yes, I obviously left point A many, many moons ago...and truth be known, I'm probably wandering in somewhere between F and U...but the fact remains, I'll never know what's normal...because I'm a Mormon...and Mormons are not normal
Posted by Carrie at 5:12 PM