Writing in the Raw: Valentine Confessions

I was 14 when I had my first sexual experience.  It began at 9:45 am and ended abruptly but successfully at 9:49 am.  Central Standard Time.  On the morning of December 25, 1969.  The bringer of that brief but memorable Christmas morning gift was a covertly adventurous “older woman” of 18 whose family lived next door.  She was admired by mothers in the neighborhood as a “nice girl” who had no interest in “that hippie music” so many of their daughters listened to when they weren’t busy “sassing their parents”.

I had always liked her too, she had all of the features and accessories 14-year-old guys admire very much.  

Unlike many first timers back then, who discovered paradise by the dashboard lights, I discovered paradise by the Christmas tree lights.  I was concerned that my parents would come home earlier than expected from exchanging gifts at my aunt and uncle’s and catch us, but the version of paradise I was experiencing would at least have enabled me to wag my finger at them and say “I did not have sex with that woman.”      

I wasn’t concerned about my parents returning early for very long though, my attention focused rather quickly on the gifts being exchanged where I was, not where they were.   At the time, I felt I was receiving much more from this exchange than I was giving, but I made up for that with future lovers.  I’ve learned that it IS better to give than to receive, especially when it comes to love.            

Since that Christmas morning in 1969, I’ve found love and lost it, found it again and lost it again, but losing love the first time is so heartbreaking.  Breathing the fire of rejection is no fun at all, but we get used to it.  We have no choice.  This world is filled with dark and lonely backstreets, where no one cares, where people just use each other, where love is all too often filled with defeat.  But love is always worth seeking.  It’s worth seeking no matter how elusive it is, no matter how many years have come and gone, no matter how many times you’ve had to overcome defeat . . .        

Some travelers through life are no longer interested in seeking love.  They’ve had their hearts broken too many times and have a rather low opinion of it:


Others have somewhat higher expectations of love:


OK.  REALLY high expectations.

Sometimes the high expectations of couples deeply in love are fulfilled, but all too often, love fades as the years pass.  But love doesn’t have to fade away and become just a bittersweet memory.  If you love someone on this Valentine’s Day 2008, make it count.  Put on some music.  Slow dance in the dark.  Quit reading this stupid essay, find your way to the bedroom, savor the passion you inspire in each other, and just hope the roof stays on.      

If you’re alone, don’t wait for the bells to ring.  Find someone to ring them with you, and ring them like they’ve never been rung before.   Hold each other.  Love each other.  Let the deep heart of the night set you loose from everything.  

If your heart gets broken, if you have to scrape your tears up off the street, scrape them up, blink away the last tear, and never stop believing in yourself.  Take comfort in the love your friends have for you, and your heart will heal.  Then give your heart to someone again, that’s what hearts are for.  

Give your heart to America too.  Progressives have big hearts and the wisdom to understand that love creates more love, at every level of society, while hatred only creates more hatred.  There’s so much hatred in the world, so much suffering, so much violence and loneliness and despair.  Sometimes it seems we can hear the whole damn world crying.  But don’t lose your faith in humanity.  Don’t lose your faith in America.  Don’t lose your faith in love or your faith in yourself.  Cherish the love for others within you that all progressives have, and join together with them to bring change.  Keep bringing change so we can end this dark age of selfish cynicism, keep bringing change until love for others becomes the status quo in America.

The power to make that happen is in your hands:


Use that power.

So we can take our country back from the haters, so we can will heal America. One broken heart at a time if that’s what it’s going to take.   Give your heart to America this year and never stop giving it, so little people with big hearts won’t have to live on the backstreets until the end, ignored and forgotten by big “leaders” with no hearts. Love America enough to fight even harder for democracy, so we won’t have to live in a country where no one cares, where people just use each other, where love and caring and idealism are all too often filled with defeat.

If enough of us give our hearts to America, our children can live in a country where everyone matters, where everyone’s lives are filled with love, where government of the people, by the people, and for the people isn’t just a hollow phrase in a history book.  We can redeem America, we can make it happen.  If enough of us redeem love in our own lives, love can be redeemed across this country, and then across this world.  


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  1. Be not hesitant, be not afraid.  Come forth and share your steamiest romantic experience(s) with Cupid . . . or, tell us about the romantic misadventures “a friend” had . . . or just browse through one steamy confession after another until the Soapblox Chapter of Mothers Against Steamy Confessions shuts us down.

    • Edger on February 15, 2008 at 05:39

    It was good, and it looked liked the thread had some potential.

    Anyway, this is what I was trying to post there… it should work here too. 😉

    • pfiore8 on February 15, 2008 at 05:44

    opening of a DD essay I’ve read yet.

    totally unexpected, funny, sweet.

    i started out laughing, felt a little teary eyed in the middle, and ready to look for redemption at the end.


    and i’m thinking the DD gals would love to be your valentine tonight, rusty!

    • Edger on February 15, 2008 at 06:02

    • nocatz on February 15, 2008 at 06:03

    was with Raquel Welch, or rather, via Raquel Welch.

    Excellent essay Rusty.


    • Alma on February 15, 2008 at 06:04

    Just turned 18, and a guy I had my eye on for many years had just been waiting for me to be legal.  Walking down the street, to get to the docks & boats to go to an island party, he leans over and grabs me for a kiss.  That was early May of 1980.  We’ve been together ever since.

    • Edger on February 15, 2008 at 06:06

    She never asked my name. I never thought to ask hers. And I don’t want to know how old she was. 🙂

    I was 16 and my brain could only handle one thought at the time…

    • Edger on February 15, 2008 at 06:17

    used to be killers, I remember that much…

    • Edger on February 15, 2008 at 06:26

  2. After an Elvin Bishop concert


    Cat Stevens on the radio…I finished before the song did


    Those folks in that picture are going to get soaked by that wave!

    • Edger on February 15, 2008 at 06:53

    They all kept turning around wondering why she was bouncing up and down.

    And in a field at a rock festival in front of 60,000 people once. 🙂

  3. but only if I hear Ek’s confession first. And I bet he does not.

  4. up feeling somewhat romantic myself, right here and now, and then, GD, I remembered, that as I was crunching on some crusty bread that I had made yesterday for soup, I felt something hard in my mouth, almost swallowed it, but realized that as hard as the crutons were, they weren’t that HARD. It was hard to believe, but I pulled the hard thing out of my mouth — what was it?  A tooth, an upper tooth, the third from the middle tooth.  So, here I am with a very visible missing tooth and suddenly, I just don’t feel romantic, but cheers to everyone else who does!


    Love is love, whether we love in the personal sense, or in the humanitarian sense, it’s important to love always.  We can’t always have love in the personal sense for X, Y, Z reasons, but we sure can love in the humanitarian sense.

    Rusty, you’re essay was delightful!  I sincerely hope that with the time you’re estimated duration has grown from four minutes to, at least, five minutes!  😉

    • TMC on February 15, 2008 at 07:07

    I married my first love at 18 and was a widow 7 months later at 19. One year later, I thought I had found love again. NOT. Took me about 6 months after the “Ido’s” to realize that I had made a major error packed my bags and did not let the door hit me in the butt. After numerous  liaisons, none of which I could even call “Love Affairs” more like prolonged one night stands, I met my current husband. As they say, the course of true love never runs smooth. It took him awhile to convince me that getting married for a third time was the charm, like 3 years. Yeah, he’s stubborn. He’s a Taurus. After 12 years of ups and downs, marital bliss had lost its sheen and we divorced but remained in contact. No kids, so that was a plus. He went off to do humanitarian stuff around the world, actually Bosnia, and I did my thing. After about 5 years, something changed, actually lots of things, that threw us back together. Sounds really sappy at this point, doesn’t it? It gets sappier.

    Well, I was living in NYC and he was living in Paris, yeah, France and the dating commute was getting really silly. I think we got to know all the flight attendants and pilots of Air France. Here’s where it gets very sappy and somewhat weird. On August 31, 1997, we went for dinner and a boat ride on the Seine. I was in Paris for my birthday. Well, he proposed, again, with apologies for not realizing that I was the only woman he had ever met that would put up with him. He said he wanted to try again and I said I would think about it. That night, Princess Diana and her boyfriend were killed in a terrible car accident. Paris life seemed to stop. For that entire week, there was no other news. The deaths of 2 people, who we did not know but were so close to us, opened all the flood gates to all the things in both our lives that had brought us together in the first place and the second time. On my birthday, I said, “Yes”, again.

    So my current husband is my third and fourth husband. And we still commute between Paris and NYC. And why am I here tonight, Valentine’s Day, you ask? Only people who work in Emergency Medicine would understand. He’ll be home in the morning, maybe. 😉

  5. …in person after checking to see who is listening.  It’s wasn’t bad at all, quite the opposite, but…trust me on this.

    Other partial story from slutty youth…

    I was twenty or so and determined to see Amsterdam, a very very young and very queer twenty, coming back after a much longer trip and having convinced the airline to let me stay a few nights.  I slept on the hard seats at Schipol for four days and the first day, knowing nothing of trains and reveling in the first-world polish of the place, walked straight off the airplane through customs for twenty kilometers or so in the dutch countryside, right out into nowhere, found a train station and got to the city.  Walked until nightfall, amazed, exhausted, the world a brilliant, confusing sheen of crowds and bakeries and ordered water below apartments with huge hooks above the windows.  As I came back to the centraal station,  wandering in circle by circle, under a bridge behind the post office a guy met my eyes…


    Being a guy was much easier in many ways.  

  6. …these feelings in my heart always, all the time, uninterruptedly, then all would be as it should be.

    But I can’t, so it takes work.  But inspirational writing like this helps to keep the tiller steady and the compass true.


  7. this is better than tv. Well, actually almost anything is better than tv, but you’re onto something here with the steamy confessions. Mine will have to wait for another time. It’s pretty late and I’m probably the only person around here who’s still awake, so that wouldn’t be much fun.

    But meanwhile, thank you for this:

    Then give your heart to someone again, that’s what hearts are for.

    I’m following your advice. It feels really good. Great actually. Thanks!

    • RiaD on February 15, 2008 at 08:59

    thanks rusty


  8. Happy belated Valentine’s Day!

    From my heart to yours.

    And to everyone at DD.

    You may be driving down that dark road, but your heart has a light that can’t be extinguished, such a beautiful light.

    Thanks for this.

  9. sorry I missed all the fun last night. I was in bed…sleeping.

    But as usual, you provide just enough heat and light to keep us going. Thanks!!

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