by Brittney Herz

I sat in her living room jabbing a pen into the bottom of my worn sneakers, trying to reprint the embedded design in the rubber that was now starting to become flat. From behind me I heard her banging around, moving this box and that, followed by a curse word every now and then. Finally after a loud thud she emerged breathless in the doorway holding a VHS. An unmarked VHS, which the very sight of was unsettling for some reason.

The only thing I knew about sex was from jokes older people said around me, thinking it was over my head when they literally said them right over my head. I saw music videos that confused me. Why did the creepy women who were dressed alike in some sort of vampire/secretary attire all lick their lips in that Robert Palmer video? Why did I have to get a close-up of Prince’s ass every 30 to 40 seconds? Why did Madonna feel the need to molest men and women in a black and white setting? Is it more artsy that way? I thought about watching these videos and assumed that this black nameless VHS couldn’t be much worse as my friend put it into her VCR.

The tape started with a blank screen and then a man with long blonde hair appeared. I remember distinctively  thinking that men should not have that long of hair. He lay beside a woman who was much thinner and much prettier than I could ever dream to be. Bright pink eye shadow highlighted her blue eyes and thick black liner made them seem twice as large as they should have. The makeup didn’t cover the bags under her eyes though. She should take a nap, I thought. Blonde curls fell around her as if she were a fallen princess that landed in the arms of this she-man with great hair. As he got on top of her I remember thinking that looks so uncomfortable. Her face tightened as if she was getting ready to cry, only moans came out instead of tears.

“Pretty cool huh?” My friend said not taking her eyes off the TV. She had obviously watched this a few times before.

“Yeah. It’s…cool.” I said squirming uncomfortably on her couch.

Then came the finishing scene when her beautifully done make up was ruined by the long haired man. Involuntarily my hands covered my mouth as I tried to hide a disgusted sigh. My friend just laughed a little more to herself, and then took the tape out. She went back to her mom’s room and put it where it belonged. I realized after a moment my hands were still covering my mouth. After a minute she revealed herself again.

“You want to go ride bikes?”

“Uh huh.” I answered, not sure I could do something so innocent ever again.