Dating


I've been on exactly one date in my life (was born in 1950), and I didn't realize until afterwards that it had been a date. That's when I lost a coat I inherited from my grandmother because all I could think of to do (to escape) was to sneak out of the theater when my "date" thought I was in the ladies' room. (I was 19 at the time.) Most young women would have tried talking to their "date," but I had no idea how to do that.

From there, I wandered the streets of downtown Philadelphia alone for a while (at night) and then got the bright idea of visiting my sister. So I got on the train and, when I got off again, realized I had no idea how to find the way from the train stop to where she was living. So I was wandering around at night in the country (narrow roads, no sidewalks) until a man picked me up. Luckily, he took me directly to my sister (instead of raping me and leaving my dead body by the side of the road), and she managed to get me home again.

That was my one big date!

I suspect I wouldn't have had any sexual experience either if I hadn't been perseverating on anti-war activities in the 1960s. As always, my "friends" (some of whom, a few, actually did become real friends) were those with whom I shared a strong interest. And, as I wrote earlier, a couple of the people with whom I was engaged in that work managed to arrange things so that sex was a "natural" part of it all. Never meant anything to me, it was just another "social activity" that I allowed myself to be walked through because: 1) I dimly wanted to do what was the right thing to do (and I had to take other people's word for what was right socially, because I had no independent idea of what social interactions should be like among my age peers); and 2) it was too much trouble to figure out how to say No. I had no words to explain anything about myself, so I tended to let other people's expectations go unchallenged.



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