excerpted from the upcoming memoir, Glory Guitars
By Gogo Germaine
Iwasn’t really attracted to Cameron Starling, I just wanted to try him like a drug. His name was carved into my psyche from years of staring at its graffitied presence on the bathroom wall at Paris on the Poudre, Fort Collins’ goth cafe. Yet, if Cameron hadn’t wanted me, I’d have walked away. He reminded me of the yellow plastic swan necklace I found at the Eiffel Tower—both the swan and Cameron found in interesting places and both growing in importance simply for continuing to be present in my life. If it had wanted to fuck me, I’d have fucked the plastic swan.
When you walk into a bedroom with someone that you know you’re going to have sex with, there’s a heaviness in the air—the unrelenting burden of space between you—and the time before you’re touching weighs unbearably upon your chest. It doesn’t matter whether you’re dying for that touch or not, the tension needs to be eased.
In the grey early-morning light of his dust-speckled bedroom, he began to kiss me and walk me backwards to the mattress on the floor. Lying underneath him, I looked down to see a chrome ring glinting ominously from Cameron’s erection. It was intimidating, but I figured cock piercings were typical for mature 24-year-olds. Before I thought too long about it, the sudden give of penetration took me.
People with synesthesia, like me, might be able to see sensation in their mind’s eye in color and texture. Sex for me is always silver. Slippery catches of pleasure shimmer like the comma-shaped reflection on a cartoon candy apple. I can see the metallic taste of tongues in hues of dark pink. When I close my eyes, I can almost picture each sensation like it’s on the other side of black latex, Cameron’s fingerprints or mouth or tongue making indentations from the other side, like he’s fucking me from a secret, guarded world that I can’t see.
With Cameron, the jagged pain of penetration bloomed within me from Velvet Elvis-navy to deep black around the edges. It felt like something was yanking inside of me. But the pain wasn’t remarkable. When you’re a 16-year-old girl being introduced to this world of sex, where your desires are peripheral, pain is just your tolerated companion. Cameron’s breath turned ragged as serrated knives. The initial plunge of pleasure and pain that Cameron elicited inside of me became muddled and grey as he was pounding away. In the barrage of all the colors bleeding together, I couldn’t feel anything at all anymore.
Afterwards, I went to pee, and the toilet was filled with my blood. Must be from the cock piercing, I thought blandly. I couldn’t look away from the wisps of red curling in the water, the realization tightening in my throat that I should feel something about this. Some unseen force from deep within my psychology emerged to blanket the feeling in fog; it was so stealthy, I didn’t know it was there. It wasn’t until later, when my mind forced me to question the hazy recollection of details that I considered I might’ve felt numb.
I couldn’t recall if Cameron used a condom. How does a condom work when you have a metal ring hanging off the front of your junk? I don’t know how this accessory added or subtracted to my early sexual experience, but I cringe to think of it today. But also, I wonder if I’d enjoy it, just a little bit.
They say that youth is wasted on the young.
I wasn’t sure if most people learned about sex this way, but since I was a sensory learner, that meant learning the hard way: by trying things beyond my comfort. I didn’t know I didn’t like something until I was embroiled in it. I was living blurry. I was given too wide and vivid a sexual landscape to explore. I was shitty at figuring out where to go, and when to pack up.
I had wanted to do it. Even sex that didn’t care about me was sex that I was interested in trying. People like me reach a time in their lives, usually early on, when we realize the way we think is at odds with the world. We are wired differently. We have to choose a side—to perform life the way we assume is expected of us, or live by our internal guidance—and we rarely choose our own. Some of us thrive by finding an acceptable outlet for the voice that whispers deep within. I found writing. Still I’ve felt like a guest, writing in someone else’s world, not carving out space for myself. In terms of sex, this lends itself to making a lot of decisions based on the desires of others, instead of my own.
You can have high self-esteem and no self-worth. Give me an empty room and I know I’ll make it beautiful. But a beautiful room with just me in it is a whole lot of fuss over nothing.
I woke up next to Cameron the next day in a musty bed with dirty sheets and with my friend Corinne straddling me. She was grinning, half-naked, her lion’s mane messy and haloed by tangerine sunrise coming through the filmy window—the picture of a satisfied woman in control of her desires. She raised an eyebrow. “So. You guys fuck?”
Gogo Germaine is the punk rock alter-ego of the memoirist behind Glory Guitars: Memoirs of a Teen Degenerate. Due to the misbehavior detailed in said memoir, it’s probably best you don’t ask Gogo her true identity, or anyone else’s in Glory Guitars, for that matter. Gogo currently lives in Denver with her two kids, husband and really old dog named Iggy Pup. She is no longer a thrill-seeking asshole.