Pretty When Pink

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She was my first love. And my first venereal disease.

I’ve written a little about Laura from Florida in these pages before. Five years ago in an essay for the 10th anniversary issue, I wrote about my summer of 1987. I was living with my grandparents at the Jersey shore, working at a liquor store, preparing to ship off for college. I’d met Laura the previous summer when she was fooling around with my friend Winston, with whom I worked on the boardwalk separating tourists from their quarters by way of imbalanced games of chance. We had some flirty runabouts one night, then said goodbye for the season. Ten months later, she tracked me down—Winston was long gone—and we fell into each other.

Laura was a fling that should’ve remained a fling. She was a cute, slutty chick who sighed heavy at my ailing 1968 Mustang, even with its limp straight-six 200. We rutted as kids rut: awkwardly, eagerly and with wide eyes, as if we’d uncovered a secret unknown to the rest of the world. Many fond sexual memories are held safe from that summer, but by the end of August, I could no longer ignore the morning burn and drip.

In the mid-80s, my hometown boasted one of the first sex-ed programs in the state. We learned about all the nasty, real-life stuff that boys need to learn when the world of women has heretofore been restricted to air-brushed beavers in passed-along girlie mags. I’d seen the birthing videos. I’d seen the photos of the herpetic cocks and syphilitic snatches. But Laura was on the pill, and I never would’ve imagined that someone so sweet and adorable could be packing heat down below. So there was no hope for me using protection when she dropped her trailer-park stretch pants and offered it up. Thank god it was only chlamydia.

I’d had proper sex before, exactly twice, with two different young ladies—and maybe a handjob here or there—but it’d been mysterious, harried and not at all that satisfying. On that first night with Laura, five years of teenage agony was released. Five years of wondering and desiring and masturbating and being terrified of girls—set free with one welcoming woman. All the misery and tension and self-loathing and fear that comes with being a teenage boy—gone in eight weeks of calisthenic, captivating sex.

And then, one year later, I found myself released from the glorious grips of young love, released from the immaturity of the unheartbroken by way of a wrenching ache that’s all too familiar to anyone who’s watched a true love walk away.

On May 21, New York Press will publish Summer Guide 2003: Full Release. As always, we will provide a complete guide to events, parties and other assorted happenings for the patch between Memorial and Labor days. This year, we will also feature essays by our favorite writers discussing their favorite summertime exploits.

And you’re invited.

We’re asking readers to tell us about their favorite full release. We want to hear about that summer after that spring when the world was so miserable or so overwhelming or so painful or so goddamn boring that there was no option other than expulsion. Or explosion. Or repulsion. We want to hear about that summer that changed everything—for the better or worse. That summer when you faced the demons or vanquished your enemies or said goodbye to love. Whatever full release meant to you, we want to hear about it.

One thousand words or less. Email your tale to Include your full name and daytime phone number. Pseudonyms will not be allowed, nor will obvious fiction, so be prepared to answer for your sins. Due to what we expect to be a heavy response, we may not be able to acknowledge all entries, so please forgive us if we seem impolite. You can also fax to 212-244-9864, attn: editor, or drop off the blessed, old-school hardcopy: Editor, New York Press, 333 7th Ave., 14th floor. No phone calls.

The essay that catches our fancy will be featured in Summer Guide 2003: Full Release, and the lucky writer will receive dinner for two at Mexican Radio ($100 limit) and 2 tickets to B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, as well as a much-coveted invitation to our annual New York Press Summer Guide party. Deadline is Friday, April 25.

Now then, release unto us.

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