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My parents raised us very catholic. We went to church every Sunday, all the holy days, went to confession on a regular basis, etc. My father rarely went with us to mass, but he worked shift work at the steel mills, so I never really questioned it. I went to catholic school from 1st-8th grade. I am an atheist now; a recovering catholic, if you will. I was very sheltered. I never even heard the f-word until a movie I saw in high school. The nuns at the school told us that masturbation was wrong and sex was until marriage, blah, blah, blah. Even if you are not catholic, you know the drill. Sin, sin, sin. Well, I started masturbating in about 6th grade, I think; 7th for sure. I never confessed to the act, just to impure thoughts. (By the way, if you want a funny catholic coming-of-age movie, I HIGHLY recommend 'Heaven Help Us', with Andrew McCarthy, from 1985. OMG! So funny!!)
My mom tells me that I never really believed in Santa, so the atheism was not really a shock to me. I always had my doubts. But I think my atheism was cemented right before my 8th grade confirmation. It was all Julio Iglesias' fault. At my catholic school, when you were in 8th grade, you went through your Confirmation. If you are Jewish, it's like a Bar Mitzvah. It's a big deal; it's one of the sacraments you receive. It's as big as your baptism or wedding. So you get to pick a godmother/sponsor for it and I picked my mom's best friend from childhood, S. Things were on track, rehearsals, etc, but then when the day of the confirmation came, my mother had to stand in for S. Why? Because there was a Julio Iglesias concert and that was more important. If Julio trumps a confirmation, then the confirmation must not be that big of a deal. So that incident really opened my eyes. After that, I only went to church because my parents made me. I wasn't going for me anymore, not that I really remember going for anything other than tradition.
Also in 8th grade at the catholic school, I was bullied. I was always chubby, and nerdy, but what they made fun of me the most was for being Mexican. I was one of like 4 Hispanic kids in the school and my family was one of about maybe 10 in a town of 25,000. It was the 80s and racism was a little more out in the open than it is now. They made fun of me constantly. It got to the point where I was sitting the principal's office every English class while the bullies got to be in class. For a nerd, that was hard. I actually wanted to be in class. It was just easier to get me out of the way than to punish like half a class. One day, they were teasing me in science class and I ran out of the room in tears. I hid out in the computer closet. (In 1986 computer classes were not really in vogue, so we had a closet with about 5 computers in it where a mini class was held.) My favorite nun eventually found me. She was so relieved, she said. She was hoping that she wouldn't find me hanging from a tree. That had never even occurred to me, but now the idea was in my head. Hmmm. Later on, I would have 2 suicide attempts; one in 8th grade, one in 9th. Pills once, razors once. (And some other thoughts like that later, like in my early 20s.)
So by high school, I wasn't a believer anymore. I also saw a lot of hypocrisy in the church go-ers I knew and I couldn't square that with any sort of faith. However, the morality stuff they shoved down our throats stuck. I really wanted to be virgin for my somewhere-out-there husband-to-be. Not for religious purposes, but because they told us that men don't want used-goods. I wanted to be a virgin for him, and I hoped that he would be a virgin for me. And my definition of virgin was vaginal-penile penetration. I didn't know about anal sex, and only a little bit about oral sex. In fact, for the longest time, I thought that oral sex what when you read those penthouse forum type stories out loud. Seriously! That's what I thought oral sex was! Reading sexually explicit stories out loud. Sheltered much?
Anyway, my parents really didn't let me date till I was about 16 or 17. I went to the big dances at the school, starting with Turnabout sophomore year, then Homecoming, Turnabout, and Prom Junior year, and the same 3 dances Senior year. I had a pretty steady Jewish boyfriend for most of Jr year. We kissed, petted, and were very handsy, but he never made me cum and I only jerked him off about 6-8 times maybe. I loved him. But the summer between Jr and Sr year he went to Israel and when he came back, he broke up with me because I wasn't Jewish. I was devastated. I had even lost all my baby fat that summer and was looking really great! I was 5'0, 110 lbs and cute as a button! So I rebounded and dated a couple of guys but never did anything with them, not even kissing. I really regret that. I would have kissed a lot more boys if I knew then what I know now. Those were the nice boys that got away.
So then I went away to the Big Ten school. Honors college, accelerated graduation program, the whole bit. I was on track to graduate in 3 years with a degree in Biology and then go on to dental school. That was the plan anyway. My freshman year was ok. I didn't date anyone. I had a crush on N from my high school and he went to the same university as I did and we even lived in the same dorm, but we never went out, never kissed, etc. And we had so much opportunity to do so, but we were both good (former) catholic kids and it just never entered our minds, I guess. (Though he did end up getting some girl pregnant our Jr or Sr year of college. He dropped out soon after and went to work for his dad. And about 2 years ago (2011) I heard he knocked up some other girl, but this one he married. I might talk about him more later.) I also remember, I went to a Latino house party with some of my new Latino friends and TOOK A GUY HOME!! I was so sheltered that it didn't even occur to me that something might happen. I just took him home because he was from out of town and had nowhere to stay. Nothing happened, but that is how naive I was! I look back at that now and realize how stupid that was. Thank goodness he was a nice boy. Didn't even lay a finger on me. Didn't even try.
That happened a lot. I would meet guys and they would never even try to kiss me. I thought there was something wrong with me. I wasn't fat anymore and I was smart and nerdy, but those were good things (I thought) since we were in college. So no one paid any attention to me and I felt left out. On the other hand, my new female Latina friends were dropping out of college left and right because they were getting pregnant or just flunking out. I should have considered myself lucky to not have had male attention like they did.
So now it's sophomore year. I went to another Latino house party and met a friend of a friend, O. He was a huge, 6'5, 350 lbs former football player. I don't really think I was that interested at first. He was black and I had never had any black friends or really even known any black people. Hell, before college, I didn't know many Latinos either! But he paid a lot of attention to me, something no other guy had done for a long time. I was flattered.