Today I’d like to get into a topic that I know you find exceedingly fascinating: teenage girls.
My experience with girls at seventeen was limited to my short-lived debacle with Medea. However, I thought about girls and meeting girls and doing things with girls (both romantic and sordid in nature) as much as any teenaged heterosexual male, I suppose. Probably more, actually: Once I met you, Dionysus, I thought about them constantly.
I was still a virgin at this point, and was likely still too cowardly to do the coital quadrille even if I had a willing partner. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t try, just to see how I measured up.
One of the regular haunts for me and my friends back in those days was the local skate park. We were all avid skateboarders, and it was the perfect environment for adolescents who were up to no good to congregate. We would meet up there almost every day, frequently when we were supposed to be in school. It was a relatively safe place to do illegal activities too, like smoke cigarettes and drink forties, which we were pretty into at the time.
I showed up to the skatepark one afternoon and was surprised to see that none of my friends were there. I decided to skate for a bit anyways, so I grabbed my board out of the back of my truck and headed in to the park.
As you know, I used to dress pretty punk rock in those days, Dionysus: short, tight black Dickies and high top Chuck Taylors and red back-pocket bandanas. I was wearing all of the aforementioned items that day, in addition to a red baseball shirt on which I had spray painted, in pink, block letters, PINHEAD GUNPOWDER* (which was one of my favorite bands at the time).
As I was skating up, I saw this girl smoking a cigarette at one of the benches. She was wearing a green sweater with tons of punk band patches on it and red plaid pants and black Doc Martins. She was punk as fuck, Dionysus. Way punker than me and I knew it because most of the bands she was sporting were absolutely terrible.
It was, essentially, love at first sight.
I suppose I should also mention that she was absolutely stunningly beautiful and had what is, to this day, one of the most unbelievable pair of doe eyes I’ve ever seen.
“Do you have an extra smoke?” she asked as she put out the one she was smoking.
Of course I fucking did, Dionysus.
I gave her a Chesterfield, just like in that Jawbreaker song. It was something straight out of Cometbus, except it wasn’t really at all.
We started talking and comparing bands. It’s a special process of mutual interrogation that young punks often engage in, a subtle yet serious way of separating punk from poseur. I was all Crimpshrine and Ramones and Screeching Weasel, and she was more Crass and Rudimentary Peni and Subhumans.
She was definitely more punk than me, Dionysus, and I loved it.
Her name was Barretta and she went to the school (when she fucking felt like it) right next to the skate park. I gave her a ride home that night and, not only was she super impressed by the hundred or so stickers I had on my truck (punk bands and skate companies mostly), but she seemed to like me. She gave me her number, and, unlike last time that happened, I intended to use this one.
Barretta and I started dating. At least, that’s how I saw it, Dionysus. As it turns out, despite my penchant for words and my ability to turn a phrase, I’m pretty lacking in the communications department.
Barretta and I would do really cool stuff on our “dates.” For example, we would drive around for hours in search of liquor stores and gas stations. When we found one, she would give me a five spot and I would go in and see if they would sell me a pack of Marlboro Reds (punk as fuck). It was so terribly romantic.
One such time I was walking out of the liquor store, feeling rather pleased with my performance and relishing in the fact that this date was going so swimmingly when, out of nowhere, this middle aged woman comes screeching up in her station wagon, blocking my truck in its parking spot.
“Barretta! Barretta! Come with me right now!”
I’ve misread and misjudged a lot of situations and people in my time, but I knew right away what this was: one very pissed off mother trying to take away one very rebellious and very punk rock daughter.
But Barretta just wasn’t having any of it. She was off in a flash, leaving punk patches and pins in her wake as I just stood there staring at this livid, hysterical, purple-faced adult before m.
“Where is my daughter going?! What have you been doing with her?!”
As for the first, I honestly hadn’t the slightest clue; She could have been headed for the Mexican border for all I knew. As for the second, I had to think for a moment.
What was I doing with her daughter?
Unfortunately, I suddenly realized, I hadn’t been doing much of anything with her daughter except driving around and procuring contraband cigarettes.
Before I could explain to her the regrettable condition of my love life, however, she had sped off after her defiant child. She wouldn’t find her though; I’d pick her up a couple hours later at the Tower Records where she was hiding out.
She told me that she hated her parents and school and rules (be still, my punk rock heart!) and that she was going to stay at her friend’s house for a while. And of course, I would drive her there.
I had never seen so many punk rockers in one place before (outside of shows, naturally). This was, according to my limited knowledge of such things, a bona fide punk house: There was spray paint on the walls and mohawked kids in leather and studs who formulated entire sentences using nothing but expletives. And there was booze.
Now here were some people I could relate to, Dionysus.
Nevertheless, at first I was nervous and self-conscious. Remember that I was still, at my core, a very timid and shy teenaged boy. And here were real punks who just didn’t give a fuck and didn’t go to school and didn’t shower and had really cool names like Drunky and Jizz and shit (or Shit, as that was one of their names if I recall correctly).
I was very, very concerned that, despite my impressive record collection, I simply wouldn’t measure up.
But once we all started drinking, Dionysus, I was in my element. Even in my early drinking career, I could really put it away, you know? Suddenly, I wanted to fight cops and burn down churches and gob in old ladies’ faces and if you thought you were punker than me you fucking weren’t, pal.
I was merely mistaking Anarchy In The UK for Bored With The USA, Dionysus, but I didn’t care.
That night was a night of firsts for me. It was the first time I knowingly trespassed on private property, for one. There was a house nearby that was not currently occupied, and we all thought that it would make a stupendous drinking locale. In my mind, I see a group of about ten of us punx marching right up to the door, kicking it in, and taking it as our own like proper antisocial types. But the way it probably went down is we opened the door, which was unlocked, and snuck in very quietly because we were, despite appearances, teenagers that were afraid of getting into trouble.
We were drinking cheap vodka and malt liquor–standard punk fare. I was determined that night to finally make a move on Barretta. I was to declare my undying love and devotion, promising to join our record collections and band related apparel in holey matrimony until fucking death do us part, right? Which would be twenty-two or however old Sid and Nancy were when they checked out.
Barretta got so drunk that she ended up in the bath tub. I remember looking at her, legs askew in her bondage pants and dyed hair all a mess, and thinking that she was the most alluring creature I had ever seen.
I was full of courage and eloquence and passion (but mostly vodka and malt liquor):
“Barretta, I, uh, I think you’re pretty rad.”
She looked at me with watery eyes. Her face began to tense up. Was she going to cry? I had definitely hit a nerve; this love was beyond us now. It was bigger than me and her, bigger than punk rock, bigger than the fucking world, and it could not be held at bay for a minute, nay a second, longer. She opened her mouth, as if to speak.
And then she threw up all over my shoes. Some of it splashed up and hit my pants, as I was kneeling in an attempt to be closer to her during our tender moment of shared intimacy.
Dionysus, that vomit was the best possible profession of love I could have hoped for.
Remember how I said this was a night of firsts? Well, it was the first time I made out with a chick right after she vomited. It wasn’t even close to the last, though.
After all, class isn’t punk rock, Dionysus.
</3 Sir Rateval Hurtlinge
P.S. That one bout of drunken kissing would be the physical extent of my relationship with Barretta. She moved in with her father shortly afterwards and I didn’t see her for a few years, although we eventually rekindled a friendship that lasts to this day. There are a few other interesting incidents involving that initial and short-lived “relationship” (including one involving an appearance by the police), but those are different stories for different days.
P.P.S. The house in which the latter part of this story transpires is still around and, I believe, currently occupied. I have contemplated knocking on the door and asking the residents if I could come in and take a picture of their bathtub, but I haven’t been brave enough to do so yet.
*A Fun Game: Keep track of all the punk references and award yourself one Punk Point for every one you know.