It was only a baguette but I didn’t take the bite, as instructed. Rob was going to respond the same way whether I did or not, and he did: “You’re not a virgin any more. At least not in my book.” It was elbows to ass room in the tiny box of a house where throngs of young pro-cyclists and their entourages had gathered for a drunken New Years Eve celebration. Rob was the friend of the guy I was dating, Matt, and what he knew about me, he didn’t like: my virginity. “We all write different books I told him.”
He pushed past me and grabbed the gingersnap cookie out of my hand. I had held it together until that moment. But nobody steals my cookie. I felt the lump grow in my throat and a burning in my chest.
It was the same lump that pumped tears of angry humiliation to my eyes when Shawn would run into me on the school bus to knock all the books out of my hands. Or Eric would sing to the tune of the Chevy truck commercial, “Like a rock, she was duuuumb as she could be” whenever he beat me on a test. Eric and Bob had made a bet in that sophomore biology class: if I beat either of them on a test, the other could slug the loser in the arm.
Only this time, I felt the lump for both myself and Matt sitting next to me watching his “friend” treat me this way. I leaned over to where Rob, chocolate pretzel cigar in mouth and wool scarf encircled neck, was watching his pretty sequined fiancé take a shot-ski. Without questioning myself, I casually dumped my gin and tonic concoction into his glass.
That wasn’t the most mature thing to do, my mother advised later when I relayed the scene. But that lump went away.
I’ve gotten the “in my book” comment a couple dozen times now. “If you’ve had or given oral sex, you’re not a virgin.” Really? When is the last time you heard anyone say they “made love” when giving or receiving fellatio or cunnilingus?
There was something in Rob offering a bite of the baguette (Matt had brought to the party) and my denial of that bite that infuriated him. His response went beyond his typical asshole surface behavior. Somewhere at sometime, he’d offered his baguette and been denied. Or maybe he’d forced it upon some girl and now felt guilty for his actions. Perhaps someone had forced their baguette on/in him and then questioned his masculinity.
Whatever the case, I drew the line when he took my cookie.