This story came out of the blue, when I read it to my keenest critic they pointed out that I knew nothing about how girls think as I have had no sisters or daughters. Further what did I know about what young people got up to these days? In reply I admitted that the story was based on a party I went to in 1962. After I had written the sequel, or second part, I realized that this is really a story about a father and, without going deeper into details, the father acted as I hope that I would in similar circumstances.
They had just moved into town and she had started at a new High School. Although she had grumbled about the move she was secretly happy about the new opportunities and freedoms that beckoned for finding a new social life. Her parents had optimistically suggested that she would find a youth group at church that would introduce her to new friends. “Fat chance”, she thought.
So here she was Saturday night and her first real party, her new school friends and assured her that there would be plenty of drinks and even hinted at drugs (perfectly safe exploration of course.) But it wasn’t working out; she hadn’t realised that she had to bring drinks to get drinks. How could she turn up with a case when her father had dropped her off several blocks away? Worse by joining the girls in the know, and listening carefully, she heard that those little pills were $40 each. If she had had known earlier she could have withdrawn $40 for a trial, one pill would have been a safe limit; but she didn’t normally carry that sort of money around with her.
She had been surprised, and a little overawed, by the number of strange new boys at the party; she was told they were mostly boys from previous years who had now left school. After several hours she was feeling out off her depth, there was no one she could really talk to and not much else to do; she even wished she hadn’t come at all.
Then it happened; one of the dominant males started to take a genuine interest in her. He was so sincere, he had noticed that she didn’t have much to drink and he politely started to bring her some drinks. Yes, they were alcoholic and quite new to her, but at last she was part of the party. She wasn’t so stupid that she would get drunk; she was more sophisticated than that. The youth had really taken a shine to her they moved down to the lounge at the far end of the room and he put his arm protectively around her. Party animal at last! From hugging they moved to kissing and half an hour later to groping. This was the limit and she firmly moved his hands away; “Not in public” she said knowingly. Gently he moved her out to the room at the back and they rolled on the sofa in the dark.
Well that was that, she was a woman now. She had a real man as a partner, not a boy; he was all hers. As she was only sixteen she thought that they would probably get married in a couple of years, she couldn’t wait. It had been uncomfortable but not really painful and now it was all over. She had done it at last.
They rearranged their clothes and he led her back to the party. He sat her in a comfortable chair and went off to get her a drink. But everything stopped there! He went to talk to his mates and the conversation became animated, after ten minutes she overheard one of his mates ask, quite loudly, “Had he scored today?” They were talking football weren’t they? Why did his friends keep looking at her so surreptitiously? Why didn’t he come back with the drink he had promised? What had gone wrong? Everyone in the room kept looking at her; or so she thought. It was it all over sooner than it had started.
She sat there in a growing panic, red faced but to old to cry and no idea what to do next. She had picked out the word ‘slut’ in one of the nearby conversations, but this couldn’t be her, could it? About midnight the boys all left for another party and this party was over. What could she do? Her father had told her to ring him when she was ready to come home, but she couldn’t; that was not longer possible, she just could not face him. One of her friends took pity on her and suggested that she go home with her for a ‘sleep over’; yes that was a temporary solution. As she sat in the car her misery increased, how could she ever face her new friends again? They all knew. How could she have been such a fool? Would she get pregnant? How could she ever face her parents and keep this nightmare secret? Would she ever find a decent husband? Why, why, why did this happen so easily? How could she have been so stupid?
The next day she crept home, no one saw her arrive and hours later, when she was noticed, the family just seemed glad to see her; no questions were asked. The following day at school she saw her new friends again, but that fateful party seemed forgotten; no one even mentioned it. She lived in terror of being questioned about what had happened, especially being taunted. She saw the boy a week later at the supermarket; he either didn’t see her, or deliberately ignored her. Life went on as usual except for a guilty aching pain. After several weeks she felt she must tell her father.
There came a time when her father was working in his study and every one else was out. She slipped into his room, quietly closed the door and waited for his full attention. It was hard to talk, but when she had blurted out a few details she felt a little better. As they say ‘A burden shared is a burden spared.’ Her father paused to think; did he look angry or disappointed? When he spoke he simply asked an obvious question; did she think she was raped? Well no, not really. Then he asked if the young man was still interested in her? She sadly answered that it was obvious he did not. Then her father quickly explained that despite her being under age this was not a legal matter.
Then, somewhat to her surprise her father seemed to relax. She didn’t want to explain anymore and she didn’t have to. Her father asked if she thought she was pregnant. She didn’t think so. Her father explained why he had asked: he said that if she was pregnant there was no way he wanted his first grandchild aborted. If a baby came she and her baby would continue to live at home until she felt free to leave. If the baby’s father wanted to pick up his responsibilities as a father then he could do so financially, but she was not leave until she had a safe home for her and her child. This response surprised the young lady she felt a burst of love and gratitude towards her father.
They had become good friends again, she was so glad to have a supportive father but should she tell Mum? Her father answered that question; he would tell her mother at the right time, which would be fairly soon.
Her father explained that she was probably wondering what she had done wrong; he was right about this. To her surprise, instead of a moral lecture, she was told that she had done almost nothing wrong, what she had done was very common. Without checking unreliable statistics, her father claimed that probably half the girls in her class had also experienced ‘sex’; only any many cases their experiences were much worse, i.e. more violent, more revolting and with more unsuitable people (including relatives). These experiences are all too common but few girls ever feel free to discuss their experiences. This is why statistics are so unreliable. In her case, she was relatively lucky.
As far as moral issues are concerned, her father reminded her of the story Love in a Well, the point of the story was that love flourishes best when partners respect and care for each other; this is why planned monogamy is so desirable. Although he knew she had stopped going to church or being religious, her father still quoted the bible to her: 1 John 1: 9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Pretty old and corny, but containing a deep truth. This is better understood as: “If we acknowledge our mistakes to another person, God will forgive us and let us start living again clean and guilt free.” He said that in discussing her problem with her parents and not trying to hide anything, or reason anything away, she had confessed. She can confidently put her first sexual encounter behind her and look forward to much better sexual experiences. She is still loved and cherished in the sight of God and her parents. In her case, she is lucky to have good parents; otherwise she would need to talk to a trusted relative, grandparent, aunt or uncle; or a responsible woman connected with a place of worship; or ask, perhaps through school, for a properly trained counsellor. In all cases she should receive sympathetic and correct advice. When her father actually said a short prayer with her, she felt embarrassed, but also impressed and comforted.
Finally her father passed on a valuable piece of advice (he had learned this from her mother), she is not to admit or discuss this matter with anyone else. If at a later date she has a well chosen partner or husband who asks if she is a virgin; then she will be able to look them in the eye and say quite truthfully “You are the first person I have ever made love to.”
Three days later, she passed her mother in the passageway, their eyes met and her mother quietly hugged her with silent tears. Dad had told her!
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