Friday, January 2, 2015

First Time

by Jean Roberta

(Note: This is a true story. A much longer version, named "Family Gathering," can be found in Up All Night: Adventures in Lesbian Sex, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel and Stacy Bias, published by Alyson Books, 2004).

The woman I met in the gay bar is sitting on my hide-a-bed, the place where I sleep. She calls herself a dyke, but I suspect it would be rude of me to call her that.

“How do you like to do it?” She is smiling, licking her lips.

I don’t know how I might like to do it with a woman, underneath a woman, on top of a woman. Or a dyke. “I never did this before,” I blurt.

I feel mortified. She looks delighted. “Oh, I’m gonna love this,” she promises, wrapping me in her arms. Her lips are hot. Her hands feel careful but determined.

“Mom!” My four-year-old is awake. “I hear noises! I think an animal is in our house!”

“There’s no animal in our house, honey. Go back to sleep.”

“I’m scared!”

“Sorry,” I mumble, standing up. I go to my daughter’s bedroom, and find her sitting up, wide-eyed.

“Why can’t that man or lady go home?”

“It’s okay,” I insist. I’m not convinced. “You sometimes have a friend stay for the night. I can have a friend stay with me.”


Grown-up laughter wafts in: dyke-language competes with child-language. I have to multi-task.


  1. Ah! So what finally happened?

    Lots of information and emotion packed into this 200 word gem!

  2. Lisabet is so right. I'm glad you mentioned where the original, longer version could be found. I'm going to have to track that down. I got totally invested in this story almost immediately.

    Also, I love the last line. Colliding contexts produce so many tricky/amusing/frustrating situations.

  3. This is a truly unique flasher. Great form. So much we can read into this. There lies the potential of the flasher concept. All that's left unsaid enables the reader to think up scenarios to fill in the blanks. Engages us far beyond the read.

  4. I have to enter the ranks of those who'd be fascinated to hear the rest of the story. There is a big non fiction piece there as well, how a child reacts to mommy bringing home a girlfriend. How do you tell your children you're gay or lesbian? If you do write that piece please submit it to The Good Men Project.

  5. So many layers to this! It works perfectly s a flasher, and in complete story form as well.

  6. Thanks for commenting, everyone! To answer the burning question, yes, I did have sex that night and it was much, much better than my first time with a boy. (But then, a lot of years had intervened.) My daughter was never really resigned to my relationships with women, but she told me (when I asked her) that she didn't want me to date men either. The sex lives of single parents (usually mothers) are problematic, to say the least. I sometimes wonder if my daughter would still be speaking to me if I had stayed celibate until she left home. One thing I never regret is that I didn't go looking for "a new father" for her by dating men. I'm well aware that not all men are predators, but I wasn't willing to risk my child's welfare. (Had I joined Parents Without Partners, as several friends/relatives advised me to do, I could have met several men like my ex-husband. Egad.)

    1. Jean:
      Thank you for your honesty. Here's the thing for me. When we become parents we don't know what we are doing. I've said many times as an at-home dad, I did my best every day but on a lot of days my best wasn't very good. But I was always there and so were you and in the end that is what really matters. I did men's spiritual development groups for years. Men come to the group with 'father wounds' mostly indifference, abuse or abandonment. I've always said my boys will come to those groups because their dad was at home. All parenting strategies lead to the psychiatrist's couch. But if we love them and tell them how much we love them, things seem to work out for the best.

  7. Spencer, it seems too true that all parenting strategies lead to the psychiatist's couch. (Great line.) At the moment, I'm just hoping that eventually, before I die, my grandchildren will seek me out because I'm not their parents. (And however conscientiously my daughter & her husband raise their kids, it just seems like a matter of time before the kids rebel.)

    1. I'm really sorry to hear that your daughter is estranged from you.

      I'll say from personal experience that the looking for a new father thing can be really awful from a kid's perspective, so I'll second your no regrets there. My mother dated men who tried to step into that role. For some reason, this always involved the idea that they needed to impose "discipline" on the house (they all used that word), which meant the introduction of sudden strict rules and harsh punishments, many of which conflicted from man to man. I know there are great stepfathers out there, but I think that comes more organically with time. It seems to me that it's a general warning sign when a dude thinks he ought to discipline the children of a woman he's been dating for a week and a half.

      In any case, I hope your wish comes true and that you will get a chance to know your grandchildren.

  8. This is an area I don't know a lot about. I don't have kids and my parents believed in at-a-distance parenting. Not a lot of communication. Fascinating tale though.

  9. Hi Jean!

    Finally getting caught up a little.

    It does have the ring of truth for its simplicity and the awkwardness of family. That would have been a powerful moment, I can't imagine how powerful, when after living without touch, without sex, finally deciding on your orientation and taking that first step to exploring it, sitting there on the bed with your new friend, you must have felt like you were sitting on the edge of a cliff, or in front of a strange door getting ready to see what's on the other side. It must have felt a little like a virgin feels the moment before beginning, even though you weren't exactly a virgin, you were about to taste something new that might define you from then on. Of course that's powerful.

    I think also, it must be a very powerful feeling, exhilarating and a little scary, to be sitting on the edge of the bed with someone new to you, knowing this person wants you, is eager to take you and touch you intimately and long, to gaze at you in your nakedness and reveal their nakedness to you for the taking. There are few things in this world more thrilling than to be alone in the presence of a kindred soul who wants so badly to fuck you and give you pleasure.


  10. That's true, Garce. The moment was all that. Before I ventured into the local gay club, I imagined that I would have to be the seducer, despite my lack of sexual experience with other women. (I suppose I didn't really believe that anyone calling herself a dyke would be attracted to me.) Then, several weeks later, there she was at my place after we had gone to a movie together. We both knew what was going to happen. Luckily, she was amused by the interruptions by my suspicious, territorial four-year-old.

  11. Annabeth, I'm glad to get confirmation of what I strongly suspected would happen if I dated men while I had a vulnerable child in my life. Since then, I've seen & read enough real-life drama in the media to know that the "new father" thing could get much worse than sudden, strict rules. It makes me outraged that so many interested bystanders encourage single mothers to find men, any men, so their children will have father-figures, but those mothers are the first to be blamed when/if those men do something criminal (ranging from the use/sharing of intoxicating substances to sexual abuse to murder) to the children. Hm. It seems I have a topic for the theme of anger. :)

    1. Completely agree on all counts. I think the key is what you say about the idea that any man will do, and that the single mother must find him immediately or somehow can't go on without him.


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